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Prophets

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Islam
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Prophets (Arabic: الأنبیاء) are elite people selected by God who enjoyed the Knowledge of the Hidden and were in charge of guiding other people. Only 25 prophets are mentioned in the Qur'an, but according to hadiths, there were 124000 prophets, the first of whom was Adam (a) and the last of whom was Muhammad (s), the prophet of Islam. All the prophets were Infallible, and they propagated common ideas. They had different rankings, and some of them held the position of imamate in addition to prophethood. Every prophet had his own successor, and the Twelve Imams (a) are the successors of the last prophet.

Prophethood

Main article: prophethood

A prophet is an elite person who had a special relationship with God and possessed the Knowledge of the Hidden. From an Islamic point of view, all prophets are elite people in whom it is obligatory to believe. According to the fatwa of the majority of Shiite fuqaha (jurisprudents), it is forbidden to touch the names of the prophets without having wudu'.

Difference between Nabi, Rasul, Imam, and Hujja

Some theologians believe that the prophet is a more general notion than "Rasul" (messenger): "Rasul" is used to refer to a prophet who is in charge of guiding other people as well. However, some people believe that all prophets were "Rasul" as well.

Of "Rasuls", some of them also held the position of imamate, such as Ulu l-'Azm prophets. "Hujja" literally means a convincing or decisive proof, and in addition to the reason or intellect, it also refers to divine messengers who function as decisive proofs or ultimatums for people. In his Mir'at al-'uqul, al-'Allama al-Majlisi believes that in hadiths according to which the Earth never remains without a Hujja, "Hujja" refers to the prophets, Imams, and Infallible successors of prophets.

Common Messages

Since all the prophets were selected by the same God, there are many common themes in their missions, including:

Number

In many hadiths, the number of the prophets is said to be 124000, and of these, 313 prophets are said to be "Rasul" as well. Every prophet had a successor. According to some other hadiths, the number of the prophets was 8000. Al-'Allama al-Majlisi suggested that the latter hadiths only refer to prominent prophets. Other less known figures have also been mentioned, such as 320,000 and 140,000. In extant sources, very few prophets have been mentioned.

In the Qur'an

Only 25 or 26 prophets have been mentioned in the Qur'an: Adam (20 times), Noah (Nuh) (43 times), Idris (2 times), Hud (10 times), Salih (10 times), Abraham (Ibrahim) (66 times), Lot (Lut) (27 times), Ishmael (Isma'il) (12 times), Elisha (Alyasha') (2 times), Dhu l-Kifl (2 times), Elijah (Ilyas) (2 times), Jonah (Yunus or Dhu l-Nun) (5 times), Isaac (Ishaq) (15 times), Jacob (Ya'qub) or Israel (16+2 times), Joseph (Yusuf) (22 times), Shoaib (11 times), Moses (Musa) (134 times), Aaron (Harun) (20 times), David (Dawud) (15 times), Solomon (Sulayman) (14 times), Job (Ayyub) (4 times), Zechariah (Zakariyya) (7 times), John (Yahya) (4 times), Jesus ('Isa) (23 times), and Muhammad (4 times).

Some people believe that two distinct prophets have been mentioned in the Qur'an as "Isma'il" (Ishmael): Ishmael the son of Abraham, and Ishmael the son of Ezekiel. Some people have identified the two. There are people mentioned in the Qur'an but it is not known whether they were prophets: Dhu l-Qarnayn, Joachim the father of Maryam, 'Uzayr, and Luqman.

There are also some Quranic verses in which certain prophets are referred to by their characteristics and attributes, such as verses 243 and 246 of Sura al-Baqara, respectively, about Ezkiel (Hizqil) and Samuel (Ishmu'il), or verse 259 of Sura al-Baqara about Jeremiah (Irmia) or 'Uzayr. The verse 65 of Sura al-Kahf is about Khidr, but it is not known whether Khidr was a prophet.

Some Quranic chapters or Suras are named after prophets, such as Sura Al 'Imran, Sura Yunus, Sura Hud, Sura Yusuf, Sura Ibrahim, Sura Muhammad, Sura Nuh, and on one account, Sura Luqman. There is also a Sura called Sura al-Anbiya' (the chapter of prophets). The verse 164 of Sura al-Nisa' makes it explicit that only some prophets have been mentioned in the Qur'an.

Prophets in the Qur'an
Name Repeat In the Bible Prophet Rasul Imam Book People Burial place Shari'a
Adam 20 Adam Najaf
Idris 2 Enoch prophet[1] Raised to the sky[2]
Nuh 43 Noah prophet[3] Rasul[4] Najaf yes[5]
Hud 10 Eber Rasul[6] 'Ad[7] Najaf
Salih 10 Rasul[8] Thamud[9] Najaf
Ibrahim 66 Abraham prophet[10] Rasul[11] Imam[12] Suhuf[13] Al-Khalil (Palestine) yes[14]
Lut 27 Lot prophet[15] Rasul[16] Palestine
Isma'il 11 Ishmael prophet[17] Masjid al-Haram (Mecca)
Isma'il (Sadiq al-wa'd) 1 prophet[18]
Ishaq 15 Isaac prophet[18] Imam[19] Al-Khalil (Palestine)
Ya'qub 18 Jacob prophet[20] Imam[21] Al-Khalil (Palestine)
Yusuf 22 Joseph prophet[15] Israelites Al-Khalil (Palestine))
Ayyub 4 Job prophet[15] Hauran
Shu'ayb 11 Jethro, Reuel, Hobab Rasul[22] Midian[23] Bayt al-Maqdis
Musa 134 Moses prophet[24] Rasul[24] Torah[25] Pharaoh and Israelites[26] و بنی اسرائیل[27] Around Bayt al-Maqdis yes[14]
Harun 20 Aaron prophet[28] Rasul[29] Pharaoh and Israelites[30] [31] Around Mount Sinai
Dhu l-Kifl 2 Ezekiel Between Kufa and Hillah
Dawud 15 David prophet[15] Zabur (Psalms)[32] Bayt al-Maqdis
Sulayman 14 Solomon prophet[15] Bayt al-Maqdis
Ilyas 2 Elijah (Elias) prophet[15] Rasul[33] Raised to the sky
Ilyasa' 2 Elisha prophet[15] Damascus
Yunus 5 Jonah prophet[15] Rasul[34] Kufa
Zakariyya 7 Zechariah prophet[15] Bayt al-Maqdis
Yahya 4 John the Baptist prophet[35] Umayyad Mosque, Damascus
'Isa 23 Jesus prophet[36] Rasul[37] Gospel[38] Israelites[39] Raised to the sky yes[14]
Muhammad 4 prophet[40] Rasul[41] Qur'an[42] All people[43] Median yes[14]

In Hadiths

Al-'Allama al-Majlisi collected the hadiths concerning the prophets until Muhammad (s) in 4 volumes (vol. 11 to 14) of his Bihar al-anwar. In addition to the prophets mentioned in the Qur'an, the following have been mentioned in these hadiths too: Hayquq or Habquq (Habakkuk), Daniel, Jirjis (George), Hanzala, Khalid, and Asif b. Barkhiya. Some successors of the prophets have been mentioned in hadiths but it is not known whether they were all prophets, such as Hibat Allah (Shayth or Seth), the successor of Adam, and Shem (Sam) the successor of Noah.

In the Torah and the Gospel

The Judo-Christian conception of the prophet is different from that of the Muslims. They have sometimes referred to soothsayers as prophets. Here are some of the prophets mentioned in the Torah: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Joseph, and Moses, and the last 17 books of the Old Testament are attributed to the Israelite prophets: Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah (Ash'iya), Hosea (Husha'), Joel (Yu'il), Amos ('Amus), Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. The Jews and Christians take Solomon and David to be Israelite kings, rather than prophets.

The First and the Last Prophet

The first prophet was Adam who was created, together with his wife, Eve, in the Heaven, and was ousted from the Heaven because of eating the Forbidden Fruit. His first successor was his son, Hibat Allah (Seth). And the last prophet was Muhammad (s) who was born in Mecca in 570 and died at the age of 63. His first successor was 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a). According to the Qur'an, Muhammad’s (s) religion, that is, Islam, is a global religion. Muhammad’s (s) last successor is Imam al-Mahdi (a) who will establish the religion and justice throughout the world.

Simultaneous Prophets

According to Quranic verses, there were some prophets who lived at the same time, such as Moses and Aaron, and Abraham and Lot. There are different hadiths according to which the Israelites martyred 70 prophets in one day.

Prophets with Books and Sharia

According to a hadith transmitted by Abu Dhar from the Prophet (s), God sent about 100 scriptures (Sahifa) and 4 books to prophets: 50 scriptures to Seth, 30 scriptures to Idris, 20 scriptures to Abraham, the Torah to Moses, the Zabur to David, the Gospel to Jesus, and the Qur'an to Muhammad, peace be upon them. The Qur'an does not point to the name of Abraham’s book and only refers to it as Abraham’s scriptures ("Suhuf Ibrahim").

According to the verse 13 of Sura Shura, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad had their own sharia. Some scholars believe that these prophets are Ulu l-'Azm just because they had sharias. According to 'Allama Tabataba'i, the first divine book and sharia were revealed to Noah.

Different Rankings of Prophets

According to the verse 55 of Sura al-Isra', prophets have different rankings. According to some hadiths, the Prophet of Islam and his Twelve Successors are superior to other prophets.

Superiority to Angels

The Shi'as and Asharite Sunni Muslims take the position of prophets to be higher than that of angels, but Mu'tazili Sunnis believe in the superiority of angels over prophets.

Prophets with the Position of Imamate

According to the Trial of Ibrahim (a) Verse, some prophets had the position of imamate as well. In verses 69 to 73 of Sura al-Anbiya', Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Lot are introduced as Imams. According to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), all Ulu l-'Azm prophets had the position of imamate as well.

Ulu l-'Azm Prophets

Main article: Ulu l-'Azm

Some of the prophets are known as "Ulu l-'Azm". The word, "'Azm", is said to have different meanings, such as determination, firm will, and pledge. The word, "Ulu l-'Azm", is used once in the Qur'an, Sura al-Ahqaf.

Different views have been proposed about who Ulu l-'Azm prophets were and whether they had a global or a more local mission. The predominant view is that "Ulu l-'Azm" refers to five prophets who had their own sharia: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, peace be upon them.

Prophets Buried in Iran

According to the statistics of the Iranian Endowment and Charity Affairs Organization, there are 33 mausoleums in Iran which are attributed to prophets. Some of these attributions are suspicious because in some cases, different mausoleums are attributed to one and the same prophet. One of the best-known mausoleums of prophets in Iran is that of the prophet Daniel in Shush and Habakkuk (Habbaquq or Hayquq), an Israelite prophet, in Tuyserkan.

Notes

  1. (وَاذْكُرْ فِی الْكِتَابِ إِدْرِیسَ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صِدِّیقًا نَّبِیا.) Qur'an 19:56
  2. Hadiths under وَ رَفَعْناهُ مَكاناً عَلِيًّا (Qur'an 19:57)
  3. (أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِینَ آتَینَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحُكْمَ وَالنُّبُوَّةَ). Qur'an 6:89
  4. (إِنِّی لَكُمْ رَسُولٌ أَمِینٌ.) Qur'an 26:107
  5. (شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّینِ مَا وَصَّیٰ بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِی أَوْحَینَا إِلَیكَ وَمَا وَصَّینَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِیمَ وَمُوسَیٰ وَعِیسَیٰ.) Qur'an 42:13
  6. (إِنِّی لَكُمْ رَسُولٌ أَمِینٌ.) Qur'an 26:125
  7. (وَإِلَیٰ عَادٍ أَخَاهُمْ هُودًا.) Qur'an 7:65
  8. (إِنِّی لَكُمْ رَسُولٌ أَمِینٌ.) Qur'an 26:143
  9. Qur'an 7:73
  10. (وَاذْكُرْ فِی الْكِتَابِ إِبْرَاهِیمَ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صِدِّیقًا نَّبِیا.) Qur'an 19:41
  11. (أَتَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُم بِالْبَینَاتِ.) Qur'an 9:70
  12. (وَإِذِ ابْتَلَیٰ إِبْرَاهِیمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّی جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا ۖ قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّیتِی ۖ قَالَ لاینَالُ عَهْدِی الظَّالِمِینَ.) Qur'an 2:124
  13. (صُحُفِ إِبْرَاهِیمَ وَمُوسَیٰ.) Qur'an 87:19
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 (شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّینِ مَا وَصَّیٰ بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِی أَوْحَینَا إِلَیكَ وَمَا وَصَّینَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِیمَ وَمُوسَیٰ وَعِیسَیٰ.) Qur'an 42:13
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 15.8 (أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِینَ آتَینَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحُكْمَ وَالنُّبُوَّةَ). Qur'an 6:89/۸۹
  16. (إِنِّی لَكُمْ رَسُولٌ أَمِینٌ.) Qur'an 26:162
  17. (أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِینَ آتَینَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحُكْمَ وَالنُّبُوَّةَ.) Qur'an 6:89
  18. 18.0 18.1 (وَاذْكُرْ فِی الْكِتَابِ إِسْمَاعِیلَ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صَادِقَ الْوَعْدِ وَكَانَ رَسُولًا نَّبِیا.) Qur'an 19:54
  19. (وَ جَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئمَّةً یهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا.) Qur'an 21:73
  20. (فَلَمَّا اعْتزََلهَُمْ وَ مَا یعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَاقَ وَ یعْقُوبَ وَ كلاًُّ جَعَلْنَا نَبِیا.) Qur'an 19:49
  21. (وَ جَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئمَّةً یهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا.) Qur'an 21:73
  22. (إِنی لَكُمْ رَسُولٌ أَمِین.) Qur'an 26:178
  23. (وَ إِلی مَدْینَ أَخَاهُمْ شُعَیبًا.) Qur'an 7:85
  24. 24.0 24.1 (وَ اذْكُرْ فی الْكِتَابِ مُوسی إِنَّهُ كاَنَ مخُْلَصًا وَ كاَنَ رَسُولًا نَّبِیا.) Qur'an 19:51
  25. (إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَا التَّوْراةَ فیها هُدی وَ نُورٌ.) Qur'an 5:44
  26. ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَا مِن بَعْدِهِم مُّوسَیٰ وَهَارُونَ إِلَیٰ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِ بِآیاتِنَا فَاسْتَكْبَرُوا وَكَانُوا قَوْمًا مُّجْرِمِینَ.) Qur'an 10:75
  27. (وَ لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنا مُوسی بِآیاتِنا أَنْ أَخْرِجْ قَوْمَكَ مِنَ الظُّلُماتِ إِلَی النُّورِ وَ ذَكِّرْهُمْ بِأَیامِ اللَّه.) Qur'an 14:5
  28. (وَ وَهَبْنا لَهُ مِنْ رَحْمَتِنا أَخاهُ هارُونَ نَبِيًّا .) Qur'an 19/53
  29. ثُمَّ أَرْسَلْنا مُوسی وَ أَخاهُ هارُونَ بِآیاتِنا وَ سُلْطانٍ مُبین.) Qur'an 23:45
  30. ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَا مِن بَعْدِهِم مُّوسَیٰ وَهَارُونَ إِلَیٰ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِ بِآیاتِنَا فَاسْتَكْبَرُوا وَكَانُوا قَوْمًا مُّجْرِمِینَ.) Qur'an 10:75
  31. وَ لَقَدْ قالَ لَهُمْ هارُونُ مِنْ قَبْلُ یا قَوْمِ إِنَّما فُتِنْتُمْ بِهِ وَ إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ الرَّحْمنُ فَاتَّبِعُونی وَ أَطیعُوا أَمْری.)Qur'an 20:90
  32. (وَ ءَاتَینَا دَاوُدَ زَبُورًا.) Qur'an 17:55
  33. (وَ إِنَّ إِلْیاسَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِین.) Qur'an 37:123
  34. (وَ إِنَّ یونُسَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِین.) Qur'an 37:139
  35. (فَنَادَتْهُ الْمَلَئكَةُ وَ هُوَ قَائمٌ یصَلی فی الْمِحْرَابِ أَنَّ اللَّهَ یبَشِّرُكَ بِیحْیی مُصَدِّقَا بِكلَِمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَ سَیدًا وَ حَصُورًا وَ نَبِیا مِّنَ الصَّلِحِین.) Qur'an 3:39
  36. (قَالَ إِنی عَبْدُ اللَّهِ ءَاتَئنی الْكِتَابَ وَ جَعَلَنی نَبِیا.) Qur'an 19:30
  37. (إِنَّمَا الْمَسِیحُ عِیسی ابْنُ مَرْیمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَ كَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَئهَا إِلی مَرْیم.) Qur'an 4:171
  38. (وَ قَفَّینَا بِعِیسی ابْنِ مَرْیمَ وَ ءَاتَینَهُ الْانجِیلَ.) Qur'an 57:27
  39. (وَإِذْ قَالَ عِیسَی ابْنُ مَرْیمَ یا بَنِی إِسْرَائِیلَ إِنِّی رَسُولُ اللَّـهِ إِلَیكُم مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَینَ یدَی مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَمُبَشِّرًا بِرَسُولٍ یأْتِی مِن بَعْدِی اسْمُهُ أَحْمَدُ.) Qur'an 61:6
  40. (ما كاَنَ محُمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَ لَكِن رَّسُولَ اللَّهِ وَ خَاتَمَ النَّبِینَ.) Qur'an 33:44
  41. (ما كاَنَ محَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَ لَكِن رَّسُولَ اللَّهِ وَ خَاتَمَ النَّبِینَ.) Qur'an 33:40
  42. (وَ كَذَالِكَ أَوْحَینَا إِلَیكَ قُرْءَانًا عَرَبِیا لِّتُنذِرَ أُمَّ الْقُرَی وَ مَنْ حَوْلهَا.) Qur'an 42:7
  43. (وَ ما أَرْسَلْناكَ إِلاَّ كَافَّةً لِلنَّاسِ بَشیراً وَ نَذیراً.) Qur'an 34:28

References

  • The material for writing this article has been mainly taken from پیامبران in Farsi wikishia.