Prophets and messengers in Islam

Prophets in Islam (Arabic: ٱلْأَنۢبِيَاء فِي ٱلْإِسْلَام‎‎, romanizednabī, lit. 'prophet' pl. الأنبياء,نبanbiyāʼ) are individuals who Muslims believe were sent by God to various communities in order to serve as examples of ideal human behavior and to spread God's message on Earth. Some prophets are categorized as messengers (Arabic: رسل‎, romanizedrasūl pl. رسولrasl), those who transmit divine revelation through the intercession of an angel. Muslims believe that many prophets existed, including many not mentioned in the Qur'an. The Qur'an states: "There is a Messenger for every community".[1][2] Belief in the Islamic prophets is one of the six articles of the Islamic faith.[3]

Muslims believe that the first prophet was also the first human being, Adam (آدَم), created by Allah. Many of the revelations delivered by the 48 prophets in Judaism and many prophets of Christianity are mentioned as such in the Qur'an but usually in slightly different forms. For example, the Jewish Elisha is called Eliyas, Job is Ayyub, Jesus is Isa, etc. The Torah given to Moses (Musa) is called Tawrat, the Psalms given to David (Dawud) is the Zabur, the Gospel given to Jesus is Injil.[4]

The final and most important prophet in Islam is Muhammad (Muhammad ibn ʿAbdullāh), who Muslims believe to be the "Seal of the Prophets" (Khatam an-Nabiyyin, i.e. the last prophet), to whom the Qur'an was revealed in a series of revelations (and written down by his companions).[5] Muslims believe the Qur'an is the sole divine and literal word of God, thus immutable and protected from distortion and corruption,[6] destined to remain in its true form until the Last Day.[7]

Although Muhammad is considered the last prophet, some Muslim traditions also recognize and venerate saints (though some modern schools, such as Salafism and Wahhabism, reject the theory of sainthood).[8]

In Islam, every prophet preached the same core beliefs, the Oneness of God, worshipping of that one God, avoidance of idolatry and sin, and the belief in the Day of Resurrection or the Day of Judgement and life after death. Prophets and messengers are believed to have been sent by God to different communities during different periods in history.

In Islam there is a tradition of prophetic lineage, particularly with regard to the prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) who had many prophets in his lineage - Jesus (Isa), Zakariyyah, Muhammad, David (Dawud)), etc. - through his sons Ismael and Isaac.

Etymology

In Arabic and Hebrew,[9] the term nabī (Arabic plural form: أَنْبِيَاء anbiyāʼ) means "prophet". Forms of this noun occur 75 times in the Quran. The term nubuwwah (Arabic: نُبُوَّة meaning "prophethood") occurs five times in the Quran. The terms rasūl (Arabic plural: رُسُل rusul) and mursal (ِArabic singular: مُرْسَل mursal; plural: مُرْسَلُون mursalūn) denote "messenger with law given/ received by God" and occur more than 300 times. The term for a prophetic "message" (ِArabic singular: رِسَالَة risālah; plural: رِسَالَات risālāt), appears in the Quran in ten instances.[10]

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 Hebrew Bible.[11][12][13][14]

The words "prophet" (Arabic: نبي nabī) and "messenger" (Arabic: رسول rasūl) appear several times in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The following table shows these words in different languages:[15]

Prophet and Messenger in the Bible
Arabic Arabic Pronunciation English Greek Greek pronunciation Strong Number Hebrew Hebrew pronunciation Strong Number
نبي Nabī Prophet προφήτης prophētēs G4396 נביא navi' /nabiʔ/ H5030
رسول, مرسل Rasūl, Mursal Messenger, Prophet, Apostle ἄγγελος,
ἀπόστολος
äggelos,
äpostolos
G32,
G652
מלאך,
שלח (verb)
mal'ach /malʔak/,
shalah /ʃalaħ/ (verb)
H4397,
H7971

In the Hebrew Bible, the word nabi ("spokesperson, prophet") occurs commonly. The biblical word for "messenger", mal'akh, refers today to Angels in Judaism, but originally was used for human messenger both of God and of men, thus it is only somewhat equivalent of rasūl. According to Judaism, Haggai, Zaqariah, and Malachi were the last prophets, all of whom lived at the end of the 70-year Babylonian exile. With them, the authentic period of Nevuah ("prophecy") died,[16] and nowadays only the "Bath Kol" (בת קול, lit. daughter of a voice, "voice of God") exists (Sanhedrin 11a).

In the New Testament, however, the word "messenger" becomes more frequent, sometimes in association with the concept of a prophet.[17] "Messenger" may refer to Jesus, to his Apostles and to John the Baptist. But the last book of the Old Testament, the Book of Malachi, speaks of a messenger that Christian commentators interpret as a reference to the future prophet John the Baptist (Yahya).[18]

Other Languages
башҡортса: Пәйғәмбәрҙәр
беларуская: Прарокі ў ісламе
čeština: Proroci islámu
ދިވެހިބަސް: މުސްލިމް ނަބީން
Bahasa Indonesia: Nabi Islam
Bahasa Melayu: Nabi
Minangkabau: Nabi Islam
မြန်မာဘာသာ: တမန်တော်မြတ်(ဆွ)
norsk nynorsk: Profetar i islam
português: Profetas do islão
Simple English: Prophets of Islam
slovenščina: Preroki islama
Soomaaliga: Nabiyada Islaamka
српски / srpski: Пророци у исламу
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Islamski proroci
தமிழ்: நபி
ไทย: นบี
українська: Пророки ісламу