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Muslims regard as prophets of Islam ( ) those non-divine humans chosen by Allah (the standard Arabic-language word for "the God"). Mere humans rely on revelation or tradition to identify prophets.

Each prophet brought the same basic ideas of Islam, including belief in a single God and the avoidance of idolatry and sin. Each came to preach Islam and told of the coming of the final law-bearing prophet and messenger of God: Muhammad. Each prophet directed a message to a different group and each prophet taught minor variations in sharia (or the practice of religion) to a different target-audience. These variations constitute applications of Islam: mainstream Muslims do not consider them discrete versions of Islam.

Islamic tradition holds that God sent messengers to every nation. Muslims believe that God sent only Muhammad to convey the divine message to the whole world, whereas he sent other messengers (rasuls) to convey their messages to a specific group of people or to an individual nation.

Unlike Judaism and Christianity, Islam distinguishes between a direct messenger of God (rasul) and a prophet (nabi). Both function as divinely inspired recipients of God's revelation. However, in addition, rasuls receive a divine message or revelation for a community in book form. Thus the rasul category forms a subset of the nabi category.

Muslims regard Adam as the first prophet and Muhammad as the last prophet; hence Muhammad's title Seal of the Prophets. Islam regards Jesus as a rasul (and sometimes as a nabi) because he received wahi (revelation) from God, through which God revealed the Injil (Gospel) to him.Islam recognises as many as 224,000 prophets.Five of them (sometimes known as Ulul Azmi or the Imams — literally: "leader" — of the Rasuls) receive the highest reverence for their perseverance and unusually strong commitment to God in the face of great suffering, namely:

  1. Nuh (Noah)
  2. Ibrahim (Abraham)
  3. Musa (Moses)
  4. Isa (Jesus)
  5. Muhammad


In both Arabic and Hebrew, the term nabī (plural forms: nabiyyūn and anbiyāʾ) means "prophet". These terms occur 75 times in the Qur'an. The term nubuwwa (meaning "prophethood") occurs five times in the Qur'an. The terms rasūl (plural: rusul) and mursal (plural: mursalūn) denote “messenger” or "apostle" and occur more than 300 times. The term for a prophetic “message”, risāla (plural: risālāt) appears in the Qur'an in ten instances.

The Syriac form of rasūl Allāh (literally: "messenger of God"), s̲h̲eliḥeh d-allāhā, occurs frequently in the apocryphal Acts of St. Thomas. The corresponding verb for s̲h̲eliḥehs̲h̲alaḥ, occurs in connection with the prophets in the Old Testament (Exodus, iii, 13-14, iv, 13; Isaiah, vi, 8; Jeremiah, i, 7).

Prophets and messengers in the Bible

The words "prophet" (Arabic: nabi, نبی) and "messenger" (Arabic: rasul, رسول) appear several times in the Old Testament and the New Testament .The following table shows these words in different religious languages:

Prophet and Messenger in Bible
Arabic Arabic Pronunciation English Greek Greek pronunciation Hebrew Hebrew pronunciation বাংলা
نبی Nabi Prophet προφήτης prophētēs נביא nâbîy' নবী
رسول Rasool Messenger, Apostle ἄγγελος angelos מלאך malak রাসূল

In the Old Testament the word "prophet" (Hebrew: nabi) occurs more commonly, and the word "messenger" (Hebrew: malak) refers to angels, But the last book of the Old Testament, the Book of Malachi, speaks of a messenger that some commentators interpret as a reference to the future prophet John the Baptist.In the New Testament, however, the word "messenger" becomes more frequent, sometimes in association with the concept of a prophet."Messenger" can refer to Jesus, to his Apostles and to John the Baptist

It seems that in the New Testament messengers have a higher rank than prophets: Jesus Christ said about John the Baptist:

But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

Prophets and messengers in the Qur'an

The table below charts the Qur'anic verses which explicitly reference a prophet (nabi), a messenger (rasul) , a leader (imam) or Christ (Messiah). It also includes explicit references to prophets' book(s) / people / divine law (sharia).

Men of Allah in Qur'an
Name Prophet Messenger Imam Messiah Book People Sharia
Adam (Adam) (Adem)
Idris (Enoch)

Nuh (Noah)


People of Noah

Hud (Eber)

Saleh (Salih)

Zikr Thamud
Ibrahim (Abraham)



Suhuf Ibrahim (Scrolls of Abraham) People of Abraham

Lut (Lot)


People of Lut
Isma’il (Ishmael)


Is'haq (Isaac)


Yaqub (Jacob)


Yusuf (Joseph)

Ayyub (Job)

Shu'ayb (Jethro)

Musa (Moses)


Scrolls of Moses (Suhuf Mossa) Pharaoh and his Chiefs

Harun (Aaron)

Dawud (David)

Zabur (Psalms)
Sulayman (Solomon)

Ilyas (Elijah)


People of Elijah
Al-Yasa (Elisha)

Yunus (Jonah)


People of Jonah
Dhul-Kifl (Ezekiel)
Zakariyya (Zechariah)

Yahya (John the Baptist)

Isa (Jesus)



Injil (Gospel) Sent to Children of Israel

Sign for the whole world



Qur'an All people


For Ahl al-Kitab (followers of the Holy Books), see People of the Book.

Distinguishing between prophets and messengers

The Quran, like the New Testament, ranks a messenger higher than a prophet. For example, in the Qur'an whenever both titles appear together, "messenger" comes first. According to the Muslim scholar al-Baydawi, a messenger establishes a new religious law (sharia) whereas a prophet continues an old one. This would imply that prophets were more numerous than messengers and occupied a lower rank. God/Allah sends both prophets and messengers as givers of good news and as warners to their people. In the case of messengers, however, it appears that a close relationship exists between them and their people (ummah). A messenger will become the witness that God will take from that community on the Day of Judgment (see Sura X, 48; XVI, 38; XXIII, 46; XL, 5; IV, 45; XXVIII, 75). According to the Qur'an, Allah sent Muhammad to all of humanity and to the Djinn.

Muslims distinguish between celestial and human messengers. In the Qur'anic world, God has made the angels messengers but not prophets. The human messengers, however, also function as prophets — though not every prophet serves as a messenger. Angels always carry "orders" to the human prophets or messengers on what to say, what to do, and so forth. While human messengers deliver some messages about new orders to the people, prophets only reinforce previous orders by earlier messengers or prophets, but since the angels carry orders to prophets to do their duty, then all angels of revelations count as messengers.

The status of prophets

The Qur'anic verse 4:69 lists various virtuous groups of human beings, among whom prophets (including messengers) occupy the highest rank. Verse 4:69 reads:

And whoever obeys God and the messenger, these will be [in paradise] with the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the righteous, upon whom God has bestowed favors"

Jesus as an apostle

Qur'an, 4:157-159

157. That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-

158. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise

159. And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them


Islam views Muhammad's greatest miracle as the revelation of the Qur'an to mankind; Muslims regard this as the last in a series of divine revelations, one delivered word by word by the Angel Gabriel. At the time of the revelation of the Qur'an, Arabs who stood at the pinnacle of linguistic and poetic eloquence expressed astonishment at its linguistic perfection. The Qur'an seemed even more miraculous to the Arabians of his time given Muhammad's illiteracy (a very common state in the 7th century, especially in Arabia). Moreover, Muslims believe he had not read or written down any of the previous religious scriptures. Muslims used this situation as an argument and evidence against those who opposed Islam during the Muhammad's day, to testify to the fact that Muhammad couldn't have produced such perfect eloquence as appears in the Qur'an without divine intervention.

The Qur'an has survived in stable form since its compilation of 653/654 (but compare History of the Qur'an). Muslims up until have memorized it,making it the most memorized book in human history. Muslims believe that, unlike other miracles performed by other prophets who came before Muhammad, all ages can witness the miracle of the Qur'an. With the revelation of the Qur'an came a revolution in science, literature and philosophy that not only took place in the Islamic empire but worldwide.

Prophets and scriptures

The prophets and Muhammad

Islam views every single prophet from Adam (Arabic: ادم) to Muhammad as important. According to the Qu'ran, the prophets 'Isa (Jesus), Musa (Moses), Dawud (David), Ibrahim (Abraham), Saleh (Shelah), and Muhammad had the responsibility of ushering in their own holy scripture, given to them by Allah. 'Isamarker received the Injil (Gospel), as expressed in the following verses from the Qu'ran:

(The Qu'ran, Surah Maryam, verses 27-34)

Then she brought him (the baby) to her people, carrying him. They said: "O Mary! Indeed you have brought a thing Fariya (an unheard mighty thing). "O sister (i.e. the like) of Harun (Aaron) [not the brother of Musa (Moses), but he was another pious man at the time of Maryam (Mary)]! Your father was not a man who used to commit adultery, nor your mother was an unchaste woman." Then she pointed to him. They said: "How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?" He ['Isa (Jesus)] said: Verily! I am a slave of Allah, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet; and He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me Salat (prayer), and Zakat (charity), as long as I live. And dutiful to my mother, and made me not arrogant, unblest. And Salam (peace) be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!" Such is 'Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary). (it is) a statement of truth, about which they doubt (or dispute).

However, Muslims believe that humans have altered the Injil, therefore, it now does not represent the full truth, as given by Allah. Musa received the Books of Moses, and Ibrahim the Books of Abraham. Dawud is responsible for the Zabur (Psalms). Saleh is responsible for the Zikr, which is a practice that focuses on the remembrance God. It often includes the repetition of the names of Allah. On the other hand, Muhammad was given the Qu'ran, which is believed by Muslims to be the purest and truest holy book of God. In Islam, it was believed to have been given to Muhammad through divine revelation by the angel Jibreel (Gabriel). Its purpose was to perfect the beliefs of the one true God, Allah, because of the turning away of the Jews and Christians from the true religion, into dogmas and doctrines.

The scope of the prophetic mission

The purpose of messengers

The following list summarises the purpose of sending Messengers of Allah:

i. Allah sent messengers to every nation to guide them to path of Allah:

وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولاً أَنِ اعْبُدُواْ اللّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُواْ الطَّاغُوتَ فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ هَدَى اللّهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ حَقَّتْ عَلَيْهِ الضَّلالَةُ فَسِيرُواْ فِي الأَرْضِ فَانظُرُواْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ

Transliteration: Walaqad baAAathna fee kulli ommatin rasoolan ani oAAbudoo Allaha waijtaniboo alttaghoota faminhum man hada Allahu waminhum man haqqat AAalayhi alddalalatu faseeroo fee al-ardi faonthuroo kayfa kana AAaqibatu almukaththibeena (Qur'an 16:36)

Pickthal Translation: And verily We have raised in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming): Serve Allah and shun false gods. Then some of them (there were) whom Allah guided, and some of them (there were) upon whom error had just hold. Do but travel in the land and see the nature of the consequence for the deniers! (Qur'an 16:36)

ii. Messengers warned nations to follow Allah’s commands and gave them glad tidings:

إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَإِن مِّنْ أُمَّةٍ إِلَّا خلَا فِيهَا نَذِيرٌ

Transliteration: Inna arsalnaka bialhaqqi basheeran wanatheeran wa-in min ommatin illa khala feeha natheerun (Qur'an 35:24)

Pickthal Translation: Lo! We have sent thee with the Truth, a bearer of glad tidings and a warner; and there is not a nation but a warner hath passed among them. (Qur'an 35:24)

iii. Messengers gave guidance from Allah, taught knowledge and provided a path to purification:

كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِيكُمْ رَسُولاً مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُواْ تَعْلَمُونَ

Transliteration: Kama arsalna feekum rasoolan minkum yatloo AAalaykum ayatina wayuzakkeekum wayuAAallimukumu alkitaba waalhikmata wayuAAallimukum ma lam takoonoo taAAlamoona (Qur'an 2:151)

Pickthal Translation: Even as We have sent unto you a messenger from among you, who reciteth unto you Our revelations and causeth you to grow, and teacheth you the Scripture and wisdom, and teacheth you that which ye knew not. (Qur'an 2:151)

iv. Allah explained that obedience to Him and to His Messenger will earn paradise:

وَمَن يُطِعِ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ يُدْخِلْهُ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

Transliteration: Tilka hudoodu Allahi waman yutiAAi Allaha warasoolahu yudkhilhu jannatin tajree min tahtiha al-anharu khalideena feeha wathalika alfawzu alAAatheemu (Qur'an 4:13)

Pickthal Translation: These are the limits (imposed by) Allah. Whoso obeyeth Allah and His messenger, He will make him enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow, where such will dwell for ever. That will be the great success. (Qur'an 4:13)

v. And whosoever disobeys will earn hell fire:

وَمَن يَعْصِ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَهُ يُدْخِلْهُ نَارًا خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَلَهُ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ

Transliteration: Waman yaAAsi Allaha warasoolahu wayataAAadda hudoodahu yudkhilhu naran khalidan feeha walahu AAathabun muheenun (Qur'an 4:14)

Pickthal Translation: And whoso disobeyeth Allah and His messenger and transgresseth His limits, He will make him enter Fire, where he will dwell for ever; his will be a shameful doom. (Qur'an 4:14)

vi. Allah said that He will judge people only after receipt of the Message from His Messengers, judging everyone based on their own actions:

فَلَنَسْأَلَنَّ الَّذِينَ أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَنَسْأَلَنَّ الْمُرْسَلِينَ - فَلَنَقُصَّنَّ عَلَيْهِم بِعِلْمٍ وَمَا كُنَّا غَآئِبِينَ

Transliteration: Falanas-alanna allatheena orsila ilayhim walanas-alanna almursaleena. Falanaqussanna AAalayhim biAAilmin wama kunna gha-ibeena (Qur'an 7:6-7)

Pickthal Translation: Then verily We shall question those unto whom (Our message) hath been sent, and verily We shall question the messengers. Then verily We shall narrate unto them (the event) with knowledge, for We were not absent (when it came to pass). (Qur'an 7:6-7)

مَّنِ اهْتَدَى فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدي لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا وَلاَ تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّى نَبْعَثَ رَسُولاً

Transliteration: Mani ihtada fa-innama yahtadee linafsihi waman dalla fa-innama yadillu AAalayha wala taziru waziratun wizra okhra wama kunna muAAaththibeena hatta nabAAatha rasoolan (Qur'an 17:15)

Pickthal Translation: Whosoever goeth right, it is only for (the good of) his own soul that he goeth right, and whosoever erreth, erreth only to its hurt. No laden soul can bear another's load, We never punish until we have sent a messenger. (Qur'an 17:15)

تَكَادُ تَمَيَّزُ مِنَ الْغَيْظِ كُلَّمَا أُلْقِيَ فِيهَا فَوْجٌ سَأَلَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ نَذِيرٌ- قَالُوا بَلَى قَدْ جَاءنَا نَذِيرٌ فَكَذَّبْنَا وَقُلْنَا مَا نَزَّلَ اللَّهُ مِن شَيْءٍ إِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ كَبِيرٍ

Transliteration: Takadu tamayyazu mina alghaythi kullama olqiya feeha fawjun saalahum khazanatuha alam ya/tikum natheerun. Qaloo bala qad jaana natheerun fakaththabna waqulna ma nazzala Allahu min shay-in in antum illa fee dalalin kabeerin (Qur'an 67:8-9)

Pickthal Translation: As it would burst with rage. Whenever a (fresh) host is flung therein the wardens thereof ask them: Came there unto you no warner? They say: Yea, verily, a warner came unto us; but we denied and said: Allah hath naught revealed; ye are in naught but a great error. (Qur'an 67:8-9)

vii. Thus, those who received His message will not have excuse of ignorance:

رُّسُلاً مُّبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ لِئَلاَّ يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَى اللّهِ حُجَّةٌ بَعْدَ الرُّسُلِ وَكَانَ اللّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا

Transliteration: Rusulan mubashshireena wamunthireena li-alla yakoona lilnnasi AAala Allahi hujjatun baAAda alrrusuli wakana Allahu AAazeezan hakeeman (Qur'an 4:165)

Pickthal Translation: Messengers of good cheer and of warning, in order that mankind might have no argument against Allah after the messengers. Allah is ever Mighty, Wise. (Qur'an 4:165)

Distinguishing Muhammad from other messengers

Muhammad differs from other messengers in two respects:

  1. Allah sent all previous messengers to a specific nation in specific regions of the Earth. Their teachings also applied in a limited way for a specific time and period. But Allah uniquely sent Muhammad to the entirety of creation (Mankind and Djinn), intending his message (the Qur'an) to serve until the end of time.
  2. The teachings of previous Messengers confined themselves to specific nations and times, thus their laws relating to ethics and moral code, justice, trade, financial deals, and civil law remained incomplete. Allah through his final Messenger Muhammad completed the religion and perfected it. It includes all the teachings from previous Messengers, and abrogated those portions specific to separate peoples and times.

Most Muslims thus believe that since the days of the prophet the teaching of Muhammad remains as the only trustworthy source to reach the guidance of Allah, and that the Qur'an contains the true teachings of Moses and Jesus.

The relationship between Messengers (rusul), Prophets (anbiya), the Announcement (naba), and the Sender (mursil)

The verse about the great news (aweful tiding, great event, mighty tiding, mighty event, tremendous announcement, grand news, awesome tiding) reads:

Quran 78:2AAani alnnaba-i alAAatheemiConcerning the Great News

Nabi, Naba

The word used in this verse, naba, relates to the word nabi.

  • Nabi (prophet) means: "one who informs others".
  • Naba means: "news", "announcement", "information".
  • Anbiya represents the plural form of nabi.

Anbiya inform others of a coming naba. The Qur'an says that the naba is not the Qur'an itself but that it comes in the future.

Rasul, Mursil

Note that the word rasul relates to the word mursil.

  • Rasul means: "a messenger", "a bearer of a message".
  • Mursal(een) also means: "a messenger", "a bearer of a message".
  • Mursil means: "one who sends", "a sender".
  • Risalat means: "messages".
  • Rusul also represents the plural form of rasul.

So a mursil sends a rasul to give risalat. The Qur'an says that risalat of the mursil (Allah) form His kalimat. The Quran says that risalatullah cannot end.

All together

Putting these together, we see that the mursil sent both Jesus and Muhammad (each a rasul) to act as a nabi and to inform of the naba.

The Qur'an itself even states that the messages (risalat) — by definition the kalamat (words) of God — remain inexhaustible. Therefore the naba which the anbiya (plural of nabi) announced must itself precede more risalat (messages).

If or when the naba appeared, no further need exists for any more nabi (who give the news of the naba). What about rusul (messengers) and risalat (messages)? Does the mursil stop sending rusul to give his risalat? The Quran says no .

Note that the sender of messages and messengers (mursil) functions as a rasul if he gives the risalat himself. And note that the mursil can send rusul who are not anbiya.


To summarize, we have four words: nabi, naba, rasul, and mursil.

  • Some rusul (plural of rasul) rank as anbiya (prophets) if sent (arsala) before the naba.
  • Some rusul are not anbiya if sent after the naba.
  • The naba itself is a risalatun.
  • The Qur'an associates the naba with the mursil.
  • Risalat cannot be exhausted.
  • The mursil sends rusul to give risalat even after naba.
  • Nothing prevents a mursil giving risalat himself (and acting as a rasul).

Points of belief about Muhammad

The belief in Muhammad includes four points:

  1. that as the Messenger of Allah he brought humankind the Book of Guidance, the Qur'an
  2. that he brought us the deen ("way of life", or "path") — complete and perfected, which remains applicable to all mankind until the end of time
  3. that he receives his guidance from Allah and that his knowledge and guidance have no defects
  4. that he represents the Last and Final Messenger of Allah who has perfected the deen (way of life, or path, or religion) of Allah, and that no further Messenger will come after him, as the world needs none after the deen is completed and perfected. And the teachings of Muhammad are for the remainder of mankind.

The reception of the prophets

R. Joseph Hoffmann compares the different Abrahamic prophetic traditions and attitudes to prophecy:

... Like Christianity, [Islam] claimed to be a common heir of the Abrahamic traditions. Unlike Judaism, it taught that much of that tradition had been corrupted by false prophets and evildoers. Like Christianity, it claimed a continuum with the prophets of old; unlike Christianity it made little use of any specific passages of the Hebrew bible, did not incorporate it into its own sacred library, and did not regard the finality of Muhammad’s prophethood to be based on any adumbration in the books of the Jews or Christians.... Islam alone found error not merely in interpretation but in the sources themselves. The idea of error was both tied to and a consequence of the doctrine of finality: Muhammad is the prophet of God in a conclusive and indubitable sense. What is contained in the book revealed to him is true beyond question.

Stories of prophets

The story of Yusuf (Joseph), as told by Qur'anic verses

The Qur'an depicts this tale as the most beautiful of the stories it narrates (Qur'an 12:03). The story of Yusuf moves in a stream from beginning to end — its substance and form equally coherent. It documents the execution of Allah's rulings despite the challenge of human intervention (Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most men know not (Ch 12:21).)

The story of Yusuf confirms this categorically, for it ends with comfort and marvels, as described in the Qur'an.

Table of prophets in the Qur'an

The following table lists the prophets mentioned in the Qur'an. Biblical versions of names also appear where applicable:

Name (Arabic & Arabic Translit.) Name (Biblical) Main Article(s) Number of times mentioned by name
آدمAdam Adam 25
"Adam, the first human being, ranks as the first prophet of Islam. God created him, then brought him to life after forty days of keeping him as a dry body."
إدريسIdris Enoch 2
Idris lived during a period of drought inflicted by God to punish the people of the world who had forgotten God. Idris prayed for salvation and for an end to the suffering, and so the world received rain.
نوحNuh Noah 43
Although best known for his role in the story of the Deluge, Nuh became a primary preacher of monotheism at his time. Muslims believe his faith in God led to his selection for building the Ark .
هودHud Eber 7
Muslims believe that only Hud, for whom the eleventh chapter of the Qur'an takes its name, and a few other people survived a great storm, similar to the Deluge five generations earlier. God inflicted the storm to punish the people of the 'Ad who had forgotten about God. (Hud receives no mention in the Old Testament of the Bible. )
صالحSaleh Shelah 9
According to the Qur'an God ordered Saleh to leave behind his people, the tribe of Thamud, after they disbelieved and disobeyed God's order to care for a special camel and instead killed it. In Saleh's and his followers' (believers') absence, God punished the people with an utter cry from the skies that killed his people instantly. (Note that Saleh does not equate to the Shelah mentioned in the Old Testament.)
إبراهيمIbrahim Abraham 69
Muslims regard Abraham as one of the significant prophets, because they credit him with rebuilding the Kaabamarker in Meccamarker. His family, including his son Ishmael, also receives credit for helping create the civilization around Meccamarker that would later give birth to the final prophet of Islam, Muhammad. Ibrahim also significantly almost sacrificed his son Ismail (Ishmael) to God in an event now commemorated annually by Eid ul-Adha. He is also the first prophet to name the believers as "Muslims" meaning "those with full submission to God".
لوطLut Lot 27
Muslims know Lot best for attempting to preach against homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorra, in addition to preaching for his people to believe in the Oneness of God, although his community mocked and ignored him. Islam also denies the acts which the Old Testament attributes to Lut, like drinking and becoming drunk, and having intercourse with and impregnating his two daughters.
إسماعيلIsma'il Ishmael 12
Muslims regard Ismaïl, first-born son of Ibrahim, as a notable prophet in Islam for his near-sacrifice in adulthood. As a child he and his mother Hagar's search for water in the region around Meccamarker led God to reveal the Zamzammarker well, which still flows to .
إسحاقIs'haq Isaac 17
According to Islamic tradition, Isaac, the second-born son of Ibrahim, became a prophet in Canaan. He and his brother Ismaïl carried on the legacy of Ibrahim as prophets of Islam.
يعقوبYaqub Jacob 16
Th Qur'an portrays Yaqub as "of the company of the Elect and the Good". He continued the legacy of both his father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham. Like his ancestors, he deliberately worshipped God exclusively.
يوسفYusuf Joseph 27
Yusuf, son of (Yaqub) and great-grandson of Ibrahim, became a prominent advisor to the pharaoh of Egyptmarker after he interpreted the pharaoh's dream which predicted the economic state of Egyptmarker. He spent a large part of his life away from his eleven brothers, who showed jealousy of Yusuf because their father favored him. They took him out one day, telling their father that they would play and have fun, but they planned to kill him. Instead, they threw him down a well and told their father Yaqub that a wolf had eaten him. According to Islam Yusuf received the gift of half of the beauty granted to mankind.
أيوبAyyub Job 4
According to Islamic tradition, Ayyub received the reward of a fountain of youth, which removed all illnesses except death, for his service to God in his hometown outside Al Majdalmarker. Legend recounts that Ayyub suffered an illness for 18 years as test of patience carried out by God.
شعيبShu'ayb Jethro 11
Jethro descended directly from Abraham. According to Islam, God appointed him to guide the people of Midyan and Aykah, who lived near Mount Sinaimarker. When the people of the region failed to listen to his warnings, God destroyed the disbelievers' villages. Although the Qur'an and the reported speeches from Muhammad mention that Musa married one of Shu'ayb's daughters, the Old Testament tells the same story of a man named Jethro. Some scholars regard Jethro in the Old Testament as distinct from Shu'aib in the Qur'an.
موسىMusa Moses 136
Moses, whom the Qur'an refers to more than to any other prophet, had the distinction of revealing the Tawrat (Torah) to the Israelites. The Qur'an says Musa realized his connection with God after receiving commands from him during a stop at Mount Sinai. He later went on to free the enslaved Hebrews after the Egyptian pharaoh denied God's power. Musa subsequently led the freed Hebrews for forty years through the desert after they refused to obey God's command and enter the Holy Land, saying to Moses (as mentioned in Qur'an , "O Moses! We will never enter (the land) while they are in it. So go thou and thy Lord and fight! We will sit here." On another trip to Mount Sinai during this long journey, Musa received the Tawrat and the Ten Commandments. At the end of his life, according to Islamic tradition , Musa chose to die to become closer to God instead of taking an offer that would have extended his life.
هارونHarūn Aaron 20
Harun (Aaron) served as an assistant to his older brother Musa (Moses). In Islam, he, like Musa, received the task of saving the Israelites from the Egyptianmarker pharaoh. He would often speak for Musa when Musa’s speech-impediment prevented him from doing so himself.
ذو الكفلDhul-Kifl most likely Ezekiel 2
The status of Dhul-Kifl as a prophet remains debatable within Islam, although all parties to the debate can agree in seeing him as a righteous man who strived in the way of God. Some studies identify Dhul-Kifl with Obadiah, mentioned in the Old Testament as taking care of a hundred prophets: see 1 Kings, 18:4.
داودDawud David 16
In Islam, God revealed the Zabur (Psalms) to Dawud (David). Dawud also has significance as the conqueror of Goliath. Note that Islamic tradition and the Bible differ in their accounts of the story of King David and Uriah. Islam denies acts attributed to King David in the Old Testament like sending Uriah to be killed so that David could marry his wife.
سليمانSulayman Solomon 17
Sulayman (Solomon) learned a significant amount from his father David before God made him a prophet. According to Islamic tradition, Sulayman received power to manipulate nature, including the jinn and the power to communicate with and control animals. Known for his honesty and fairness, he also headed a kingdom that extended into southern Arabia.
إلياسIlyas Elijah 2
Ilyas (Elijah), a descendant of Harun (Aaron), took over control of the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula after the kingdom of Sulayman (Solomon) collapsed. Islamic tradition says he attempted to convince the people of the peninsula of the existence of only one God, but when the people refused to listen they were smitten with a drought and famine.
اليسعal-Yasa Elisha 2
Al-Yasa (Elisha) took over the task of leading the Israelites after the death of Ilyas (Elijah). He attempted to show the king and queen of Israelmarker the power of God, but they dismissed him as a magician. Subsequently, the Assyrians could make people burn and inflict significant damage on them.
يونسYunus Jonah 4
Islamic tradition states that God commanded Yunus (Jonah) to help the people of Ninevehmarker towards righteousness. However, after Nineveh's people refused to listen to God, Yunus became disgruntled and angry with God. After an incident where Yunus escaped death, he decided to re-commit himself to striving for God, attempting to lead the people of Nineveh to righteousness. But after the Ninevites returned to evil, illicit ways, the Scythians conquered them.
زكرياZakariyya Zechariah 7
A descendant of Sulayman, Zakariya (Zachariah became a patron of Maryam (Mary) the mother of 'Isa. According to the Qur'an, he prayed to God asking for a son, since his sterile wife al-Yashbi (Elizabeth) could not provide one. God granted his wishes, temporarily lifting his wife's sterility and allowing her to give birth to Yahya (John).
يحيىYahya John the Baptist 5
Of Yahya (John), cousin to 'Isa, Islam says that, throughout his lifetime, he captivated audiences with his powerful sermons that preached Abrahamic monotheism. (The Qur'an does not mention baptism.)
عيسىIsa Jesus 25
God sent one of the highest-ranked prophets in Islam, Eisa al-Maseeh, (Jesus the Messiah) to guide the Children of Israel. The Qur'an makes the nature of Jesus very clear, portraying him not as the begotten (physical) son of God, but rather as a nabi and rasul (messenger) of God.

'Isa performed many miracles with the permission of God, for example: raising the dead, creating a bird from clay, and talking as an infant. Islamic traditions states that he abstained from drinking alcohol. It also states that he received a revelation, the Injil (Gospel), though according to Islam, it subsequently suffered from distortion. Muslims believe that no crucifixion of 'Isamarker took place, meaning he did not die on the cross. Muslims believe that God raised Isa up to himself and that Isa will return to Earth to fight the Dajjal (the imposter) and to break the cross. The Qur'an and Saheeh Hadeeth tell a consistent story. From the Qur'an: Ch:4,verses:157-159 as translated: '157. And because of their saying (in boast), "We killed Messiah 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah," - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of 'Iesa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) ]; 158. But Allah raised him ['Iesa (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise; 159. And there is none of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), but must believe in him ['Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), as only a Messenger of Allah and a human being], before his ['Iesa (Jesus) or a Jew's or a Christian's] death (at the time of the appearance of the angel of death). And on the Day of Resurrection, he ['Iesa (Jesus)] will be a witness against them.' From Hadeeth as translated: "Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, 'By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler and will break the Cross and kill the pig and abolish the Jizya (a tax taken from the non−Muslims, who are in the protection, of the Muslim government). Then there will be abundance of money and no body will accept charitable gifts.'"{Sahih Bukhari}
محمدMuhammad Ahmad أحمد: in the original Gospel and Bible 5
Habib u'l A'zam, Imam u'l Anbiya Sayyidina Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah,(53 B.H-11 A.H; 571-632 AD) ranks as the last prophet in Islam ("seal of the Prophets"). (Muslims shun idolatry of any of the prophets, as their messages from God hold the most weight.) Muhammad appeared on earth as the son of his father 'Abdullah ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib and of his mother Amina bint Wahb az-Zuhriyya. Born in Meccamarker in 571 AD (53 AH), Muhammad spent the first part of his life as a well-travelled merchant. He would often spend his time in the mountains surrounding Mecca in prayer contemplating the situation with the city. At the age of forty, during one of those trips to the mountain, Muhammad began to, despite his illiteracy, receive and recite verses from Allah which today make up the Qur'an. He quickly spread the message he was receiving, converting a few others in the city, including his wife. He is the last (seal) of the prophets with a message to all humanity. When oppression became intolerable for his followers, Muhammad first asked his fellow Muslims to migrate to Medinamarker and later himself migrated to Medinamarker away from the oppressors in Mecca. Muhammad served not just as a prophet, but as a military leader who helped defeat the Meccans in 624 during the Battle of Badrmarker. He continued to lead the Muslims as Islam spread across the Arabian Peninsula. He performed the first hajj in 629 and established Islam in the form that Muslims still practise it . Others continued Muhammad's legacy after his death in 632, having been given the position of caliph (or successor) to Muhammad. The Five Pillars of Islam were established from his Hadiths after Muhammad's death.

Other prophets

Although the Qur'an mentions only 25 prophets by name, a hadith mentions that 124,000 of them in total existed throughout history. Many verses in the Quran discuss this:

  • "And certainly We sent messengers (rasul) before you: there are some of them that We have mentioned to you and there are others whom We have not mentioned to you..."

  • "For We assuredly sent amongst every People a messenger..."

The 124,000 prophets included 313 messengers all over the world, as mentioned by the prophet Muhammad in the Sahih Hadith.

Historic narratives suggest there existed a prophet named Khaled bin Sinan in pre-Islamic Arabia.

The Qur'an mentions Al-Imran as the father of Maryam. It does not mention Al-Khidr by name, but tradition assumes the reference to relate to him. Ibn Kathir in his book mentions the Biblical prophets Danyal (Daniel), Ishaia (Isaiah), Armya (Jeremiah), and Samuel as prophets.

The Qur'an mentions Luqman in the sura named after him, but does not clearly identify him as a prophet or a wali. The most widespread Islamic belief views Luqman as a wise man, not as a prophet or as a wali. Legend recounts that Luqman had a dream, and in that dream he faced the choice between becoming a King and a wise man, and he chose the second.

Numerous other historical figures may rank as prophets, but debate and contention surround this matter. Such figures include: Zoroaster, Gautama Buddha, Socrates,Merlin, Lao Tzu, Confucius,Krishna,(also mentioned in some books of Hadith) and Rama. However, Muslims will argue that one cannot know this for certain, since the Qur'an does not mentioned them by name. Those in favour of counting such men as prophets often argue that they came with the word of God, but that it later became corrupted, which accounts for the differences between Islam and the various religions and philosophies associated with which each man.

Maryam mother of 'Isa

A few scholars (such as Ibn Hazm)see Maryam as a nabi and a prophetess, since God sent her a message via an angel. The Qur'an, however, does not explicitly identify her as a prophet. Islamic belief regards her as a holy woman, but not as a prophet. The Qur'an usually refers to 'Isa as 'Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus, son of Mary), the matronymic indicating that Jesus had no father.

The world of Islam sees Maryam as a very holy and important woman. She alone of all the women in all of Islam has a surah attributed to her: Surah Maryam, the ninteenth surah of the Qu'ran.

See also


  1. See the Qur'an
  2. Uri Rubin, Prophets and Prophethood, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  3. A.J. Wensinck, Rasul, Encyclopedia of Islam
  4. Strong's ConcordanceS
  5. Albert Barnes Under Mal 2:7 and Mal 3:1
  6. Heb 3:1, Joh 17:3, Mat 11:10, Mar 1:2, Eph 3:5, Eph 4:11, 1Co 28:12
  7. Mat 11:9,10
  8. Qur'an 19:56
  9. Qur'an 6:89
  10. Qur'an 26:107
  11. Qur'an 26:105
  12. Qur'an 42:13
  13. Qur'an 26:125
  14. Qur'an 7:65
  15. Qur'an 26:143
  16. Qur'an 54:25
  17. Qur'an 7:73
  18. Qur'an 19:41
  19. Qur'an 9:70
  20. Qur'an 2:124
  21. Qur'an 87:19
  22. Qur'an 22:43
  23. Qur'an 26:162
  24. Qur'an 26:160
  25. Qur'an 19:54
  26. Qur'an 19:49
  27. Qur'an 21:73
  28. Qur'an 26:178
  29. Qur'an 7:85
  30. Qur'an 19:51
  31. Qur'an 53:36
  32. Qur'an 43:46
  33. Qur'an 19:53
  34. Qur'an 17:55
  35. Qur'an 37:123
  36. Qur'an 37:124
  37. Qur'an 37:139
  38. Qur'an 10:98
  39. Qur'an 3:39
  40. Qur'an 19:30
  41. Qur'an 4:171
  42. Qur'an 4:171:"Christ Jesus the son of Mary was an apostle of God, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in God and His apostles."
  43. Qur'an 57:27
  44. Qur'an 61:6
  45. Qur'an 21:91
  46. Qur'an 33:40
  47. Qur'an 42:7
  48. Qur'an 7:158
  49. "A Brief Illustrated Guide To Understanding Islam, Muslims, and the Quran"
  50. Yusuf Ali's translation of the Qur'an,
  51. Great Muslims Of All Times
  52. Ibn Hanbal, [[Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal | Musnad, no. 21257
  53. Confucianism
  54. Hinduism
  55. Ibn Hazm on women's prophethood

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