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Prophets In Islam

The Purpose of the Prophets in Islam

Before talking about the prophets in Islam, I would like to give you an analogy. Well, it’s kind of like a story and an analogy, but it should help explain the significance of the prophets in Islam.

I remember when I first learned to drive. It was in Brooklyn, NY and I was really nervous. I’m glad I didn’t hit anything and I got my license on my first try. Fortunately I had a good teacher.

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Can you imagine learning to drive without a teacher? What if you were ordered to get a license but couldn’t find anyone to teach you? Do you think that would be easy?

Allah has ordered us to worship Him. And in His infinite mercy, He has sent thousands of prophets as guides to help us. These prophets of Islam have been coming to man since the beginning of our existence. The first of these prophets was Adam, and the last was Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon them all.

The Arabic word for prophet is Nabi. The prophets or Nabiyun (plural of prophets) acted as guides and reminders for man. They were usually sent to a specific group of people who indulged in specific sins. The prophets would encourage their people to live righteously and worship Allah alone.

May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon them all.

The Prophets Whose People Were Punished By Allah

Sometimes the people listened to their prophets. And sometimes they didn’t. Those that didn’t were punished by Allah.

Here is a list of Prophets in Islam whose people did not listen and received the punishment of Allah:

  • Noah – He exhorted his people to stop worshiping idols and only worship Allah according to true monotheism. Nuh (Noah in Arabic) called his people towards Islam for nine hundred and fifty years. In all that time, only eighty people accepted his call. Even Noah’s own son  and wife rejected the truth. Allah punished them with a great flood that is still spoken of to this day in almost every civilization.
  • Hud – He was sent to the people of Ad in what is now Yemen. Hud also tried to guide his people towards Islamic monotheism. The Ad mostly derided and insulted Hud and continued to worship idols. Allah punished them by causing a severe drought, then sending a great cloud. The Ad thought this cloud would bring rain but it only brought a mighty wind that destroyed their entire civilization.
  • Salih – This prophet was sent to the people of Thamud who also worshiped idols. The Thamud lived in magnificent buildings carved into the sides of mountains and hills. They refused to worship Allah unless Salih brought them a miracle. So Allah caused a huge rock to split and brought a she-camel out of it. Most of the Thamud still disbelieved so they were punished with a series of violent earthquakes.
  • Lut – The people of Sodom and Gomorrah practiced homosexuality openly and in secret. The Prophet Lut (Lot in English) was sent to them to warn them of the punishment of Allah. Lut encouraged them to repent for their sins and worship Allah alone. When they refused, Allah sent two angels to warn Lut of the pending destruction. Lot and his family (except his wife who was not a believer) fled the town. Allah sent a storm of stones and earthquakes. The entire city was destroyed. Today, the town is beneath the Dead Sea in Palestine and nothing can live or grow there.
  • Shuaib – Shuaib was sent to the people of Midian. The Midianites were excellent tradesmen but resorted to cheating and lying about their wares. They were also bandits who would rob travelers on the roads. Shuaib tried to guide them towards Islamic monotheism but they refused. When Allah decreed their punishment, Shuaib and his few followers fled the city. Allah sent a mighty blast that flattened all of Midian killing everyone and leaving them in a prostrating position.
  • Musa – Moses was sent to his people the Israelites, who were enslaved to the Egyptians at that time. Musa and his brother Haroon (Aaron) had a mission to guide the Pharaoh of Egypt towards Islam, and encourage him to free the Israelites. Pharaoh, believing he was a god, refused on both counts. Allah sent several punishments to the Egyptians including drought, flooding, locusts, frogs and lice.When it became apparent that Pharaoh would not relent, Musa and the Israelites fled Egypt in the middle of the night. When Pharaoh found out his slaves were running away, he led an army in pursuit. The Israelites stopped in front of a sea that could not be crossed. Allah caused the sea to split apart and Moses and his people crossed on dry land. When Pharaoh saw this he tried to cross also. But when his army reached the middle of the sea, Allah brought the waters together, drowning them all.When Pharaoh saw that his death was imminent, he said: “I believe in the God of Musa.” But it was too late by then. He will be in one of the deepest levels of Hell.

The Difference Between The Prophets in Islam and The Messengers of Allah

In Islam, there is a difference between a prophet and a messenger. All of the messengers of Allah were prophets. But not all of the prophets were messengers. The Arabic word for messenger is Rasul.

The prophets were sent to their people to teach them and judge them according to a previous law or message. The messengers were prophets that were sent with a new message and law, generally to a disbelieving people.

Therefore, prophets like Dawood (David) and Sulaiman (Solomon), were sent to judge their people according to the law sent to Moses. They were prophets, but not messengers.

However, Musa (Moses) brought a new law (The Tawrat), so he was a messenger. Isa (Jesus) also brought a new law (Injeel) so he was a messenger and prophet also. And Prophet Mohammad brought the Quran, so he was a messenger and prophet as well.

Prophets in the Quran

There were several thousand prophets in Islam. However, only 25 of them are mentioned in the Quran.

  • Adam
  • Idris
  • Nuh
  • Hud
  • Salih
  • Ibrahim
  • Ismail
  • Ishaaq
  • Lut
  • Yaqoob
  • Yusuf
  • Shuaib
  • Ayyoob
  • Musa
  • Haroon
  • Dhul-Khifl
  • Dawood
  • Sulaiman
  • Ilyas
  • Al-Yasa
  • Yunus
  • Zakarriyah
  • Yahya
  • Isa
  • Muhammad

However, it should be noted that according to some Islamic scholars, there have been over 240000 prophets in Islam. Muslims beliefs require belief in all of the prophets and messengers.

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43 Responses to Prophets In Islam

  1. Just to clear somethings up. There were only 25 Prophets, But many messengers. You cannot say there are thousands of prophets because it is not true. Please correct your information

    • Thank you for visiting the website.

      Normally I ignore these corrections as they are usually just a difference of opinions. But it’s starting to annoy me how quick people are to say I am wrong without proof.

      First of all, we’re dealing with English phrases which Allah did not use in His book. Be that as it may, let’s settle a few things. The English word normally used for “Nabiy” is prophet. The English word normally used for “Rasul” is messenger. There were only a FEW messengers who came with new messages and new books such as Moses, David, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them all).

      But there were THOUSANDS of prophets. And several of them were mentioned in the Quran (25 in total). Perhaps you did not read the article clearly.

      So my information is correct and yours is wrong. There were THOUSANDS of prophets and only a few messengers. You will have to show proof that there were only 25 prophets. To say that is to say that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lied as he said there were THOUSANDS of prophets.

      And Allah knows best.

  2. Alhamdulillah. This was very informative and a good read. My Allah The Almighty reward you with justice. Ameen. Oh Allah forgive me, and my parents guide us (All Muslims) and make us victorious over the disbelieve.

  3. Alhamdulillah. This was very informative and a good read. My Allah The Almighty reward you with justice. Ameen. Oh Allah forgive me, and my parents guide us (All Muslims) to the straight path and make us victorious over the disbelievers.

    • Well, Shiv Kumar, for one thing most Christians don’t know about the Quran and if they do, they have neither read nor studied it.

      Also, many of them are following what they found their parents doing. Their parents said Jesus was the son of Allah so they grow up saying the same thing.

      It is the duty of Muslims to give them the proper teaching about Allah and help them out of their darkness.

  4. […] The Nation of Islam – This group came into being when a man named Fard Muhammad claimed to be Allah. He taught that African-Americans were God’s true chosen people and that white people were the devil. Followers of this group also believe Fard Muhammad’s student Elijah Muhammad was a prophet of Allah. […]

  5. Alhamdulillah, very nice informative site Thanx a million..I would like to know if the sequence of Prophets (a.s.) given, is in the correct chronological order as in real history.I found the sequence a little different in some other Islamic sites.Thanx if you could kindly clarify. Wassalaam.

    • As-Salaamu Alaikum Hisham,

      The sequence may not be 100% correct. Some of the prophets no one knows for sure of when they came compared to other prophets. We do know that Prophet Muhammad was the next Prophet after Prophet Isa. And we know the sequence of Prophet Yusuf’s progeny. He was the son, grandson, and great-grandson of prophets. But for many of the Prophets, this is knowledge that only Allah has.

      And Allah knows best.

  6. Asalamalikum,
    Its nice to read this article while browsing the net fr other purpose.The topic is a simple one yet a great treasure for dm who is trying to explore the basics of islam.THANKS A LOT.

    • Iblees is the actual name of Satan, Shaytan, aka “The Devil.”

      Some people say Iblees comes from the Latin word for devil “Diablos” which would actually make sense.

      • Thank you for this informative read! It was nice to brush up on old knowledge, but just a quick question on your comment above about the Latin root of Iblees. I’m only hazarding a guess here so I could definitely be wrong, but wouldn’t the Latin word come FROM Arabic, and not the other way around? I’m vaguely of the mind that Arabic (especially the proper sort that the Qur’an is written in) is actually older than Latin, but again, I could be wrong!

        Jazaka’allah again for this article!

        • Hey, you may be right. But…since the Roman civilization is so much older than the Arab, I tend to think it may be Latin instead. But of course, it could be that the language spoken by Prophet Ibrahim (AS) has a similar word and that could be where the Arabic word came from.

          Once again, Allah knows best.

  7. I would like to know after the flood , it has been said the no one except Nuh a.s family could have children ( all of Nuh a.s women followers were barren ) then who did Nuh a.s sons have the descendants with ?

  8. […] remind them of their duty towards Him. Muslims believe that all of these men were prophets. These prophets of Allah include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, Jonah, Moses, Joseph, Jesus, and Muhammad, peace […]

  9. […] There are several good names to choose from for Muslim baby boys. You can choose names from the Prophets of Allah. Or a name of one of the companions of Prophet Mohammed, may Allah be pleased with him. Or you can […]

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