The Prophets in Islam were extraordinary individuals sent by Allah to various communities for the purpose of being exemplary role models to inspire and spread the message of Islam. It is stated in our narrations that Allah sent 124,000 prophets in total to different nations, with Prophet Adam being the first one, and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) being the last. There are 25 prophets, who are mentioned in Quran by their names and brief descriptions about them and their followers.
وَرُسُلًا قَدْ قَصَصْنَٰهُمْ عَلَيْكَ مِن قَبْلُ وَرُسُلًا لَّمْ نَقْصُصْهُمْ عَلَيْكَ ۚ وَكَلَّمَ ٱللَّهُ مُوسَىٰ تَكْلِيمًا
“And [We sent] messengers about whom We have related [their stories] to you before and messengers about whom We have not related to you. And Allāh spoke to Moses with [direct] speech.” (Surah an-Nisa Ayat 4:164)
Allah sent a prophet to every nation, and most prophets were of that same nation. Islamic prophets are messengers sent by Allah to demonstrate ideal behaviour and spread the word and teachings of Allah to people on Earth. Quran is the divine message of Allah, which is revealed for the Muslims to read, understand and follow. It consists of religious beliefs, rules and regulations for everyday life, dues and supplications.
وَلَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا رُسُا مِّن قَبۡلِكَ مِنۡهُم مَّن قَصَصۡنَا عَلَیۡكَ وَمِنۡهُم مَّن لَّمۡ نَقۡصُصۡ عَلَیۡكَۗ وَمَا كَانَ لِرَسُولٍ أَن یَأۡتِیَ بِءَایَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِۚ فَإِذَا جَاۤءَ أَمۡرُ ٱللَّهِ قُضِیَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَخَسِرَ هُنَالِكَ ٱلۡمُبۡطِلُونَ
‘We have sent messengers before you. Some We have told you about, and others We did not. No messenger can produce a miracle except with God’s permission. Then, when God’s command comes, just judgment will be passed, and those who followed falsehood will be lost then and there.” (SurahGhafir 40:78)
Allah (SWT) selected 25 Prophets to spread His messages are mentioned in the Holy Quran:
- Prophet Adam (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Adam (A.S) is the first Islamic prophet. He and Hawwa (Eve) were the first humans on Earth, and Adam is considered the father of the human race. He stayed in heaven for some time with his wife, Amman Hawwa (Eve). Later on, they were sent down to earth. Prophet Adam (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 25 times.
- Prophet Idris (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Idris (A.S) spent a great deal of time preaching, worshipping, and researching his ancestors, It is said that he was the first person to start writing with a pen. Prophet Idris (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 2 times.
- Prophet Noah (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Noah (A.S) preached for 950 years and was the first prophet to be persecuted by his nation. Allah sent a huge flood as a punishment for the disbelievers. His wife and one of his sons were also disbelievers, so they drowned in the great flood. Nuh (A.S) is mentioned 43 times in the Holy Quran.
- Prophet Hud (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Hud (A.S) was sent to Aad, a nation known to be destroyed by wind, blown for seven days and eight nights. They were disbelievers and turned a deaf ear to Allah’s message. Prophet Hud AS was said to be the first prophet to speak the Arabic language. He was the first Arabic prophet. He is mentioned 7 times in The Holy Quran.
- Prophet Salih (Peace Be Upon Him): His miracle was the birth of a camel from a stone. He was an Arabic prophet and was sent to Thamud. Allah (SWT) punished them for their arrogance and disobedience to Allah’s message. He is mentioned 9 times in the Holy Quran.
- Prophet Ibrahim (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) is one of the most highly regarded prophets, and it is his devotion to Allah that is revered at Qurbani, celebrated during the festival of Eid. Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) is also known as Khalil Allah, the friend of Allah. He was mainly known for being the first person to build the sacred Kaaba. Hazrat Ibraheem AS is one of the most important messengers of Allah. He is called “Jaddul Ambia,” i.e., Father of the Prophets. Allah sent seventy thousand prophets from His descendants, including the last and final prophet, Hazrat Muhammad Peace be upon Him. He is mentioned 69 times in different verses of the Holy Quran.
- Prophet Lut (Peace Be Upon Him): Allah Almighty sent him to the people of Sodom. Prophet Lut (A.S) was Ibraheem AS’s nephew. His nation indulged in homosexuality. All the men and women indulged in this grievous crime. He preached to them to leave this crime. But they did not follow his preaching. At last, Prophet Lut (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 27 times.
- Prophet Ismail (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Ismail (A.S) was the son of Ibrahim. Allah (SWT) ordered Prophet Ibraheem (A.S) to sacrifice his youngster son, Hazrat Ismail A.S, for the sake of Allah. He obeyed the order and brought Ismail (A.S) to slaughter. But Allah (SWT) replaced him with a sheep. Prophet Ismail (A.S). is the forefather of Arabs. He is mentioned 12 times in the Quran.
- Prophet Ishaaq (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Ishaq (A.S) was the son of Ismail and, like his father, Ismail, continued on the path to spreading the name of Allah (SWT). Prophet Ishaq (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 17 times.
- Prophet Yaqoob (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Yaqoob (A.S) (also known as Jacob) is an important prophet and is mentioned 16 times in the Qur’an. He is the father of the 12 tribes and is revered as a man of might.
- Prophet Yusuf (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Yusuf (A.S) (sometimes referred to as Joseph) was the son of Yaqub. His father loved him dearly, and this caused jealousy amongst his brothers, so they threw him in a well. He was picked up by travellers and used as a slave, finally being imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Despite his hardship, he did not give up his faith in Allah (SWT). Prophet Yusuf (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 27 times.
- Prophet Ayyub (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Ayyub (A.S) (also called Job) was sorely tested by Allah (SWT) for many years. Still, he did not relinquish his faith in the Almighty and was rewarded for his unwavering belief and obedience. Prophet Ayyub (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 4 times. Prophet Ayyub’s (A.S) mother was the daughter of Prophet Lut and his wife was a direct descendant of Prophet Yusuf.
- Prophet Shoaib (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Shoaib (A.S) was sent to the Midianite community as a prophet and spread the word of Allah (SWT), warning the people that if they did not change their fraudulent ways, they would be punished. When the people did not listen, their community was destroyed. Shoaib is revered as the most eloquent prophet. Prophet Shoaib (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 11 times.
- Prophet Musa (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Musa(A.S) is also known as Moses and is mentioned more than any other person in the Quran. He and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are said to have shared a number of parallels. Prophet Musa (A.S) received the book Tawraat (Torah). Prophet Musa is mentioned in the Quran 136 times.
- Prophet Haroon (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Haroon (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 20 times.
- Prophet Zu-Al-Kifal (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Zulkifl (A.S) was mentioned twice in the Quran and preached the word of Allah (SWT) extensively throughout Iraq. Prophet Dhl Kifl (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 2 times.
- Prophet Dawood (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Dawood (A.S) (also known as David) was a soldier for King Talut and defeated the giant Jalut (Goliath). He is a notable figure because he received the Zabur – biblical psalms – and was one of only a handful of prophets to have done so. Prophet Dawud was given the Zaboor (Psalms) and was gifted with great knowledge and power within the land. He was also an exemplary worshipper of Allah. Prophet Dawood (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 16 times.
- Prophet Sulaiman (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Sulaiman (A.S) Sulaiman (Solomon) was the son of Dawud and took over his prophecy when he died. Sulaiman was the king of Israel, and it is said he could communicate with animals and jinn. He is hailed as one of the greatest rulers of all time, and it is said that no king before or after him was able to reach his level. Prophet Sulaiman (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 17 times.
- Prophet Ilyaas (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Ilyaas (A.S) resided in the northern kingdom of Israel, which was, at the time, inhabited by people who worshipped the ancient God, Baal. Ilyas spoke to the worshippers of Baal and told them about Allah (SWT). He defended Allah’s (SWT) name and remained loyal to the one true God. Prophet Ilyaas (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 2 times.
- Prophet Uzair (Al-Yasa) (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Uzair (A.S) has miracle powers, including being able to walk on water, revive the deceased and cure the diseased.
- Prophet Yunus (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Yunus (A.S) was sent to inform the people of Nineveh of this and to guide them on the right path. He was met with rejection and, against Allah’s (SWT) will, Yunus left Nineveh in search of a community that would accept Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) turned the sky red above Nineveh, and a fierce storm brewed. The people of the city dropped to their knees and begged for mercy, which Allah (SWT) granted. Meanwhile, Yunus was travelling by boat, and a storm came. One man had to be sacrificed for the sake of the others, and Yunus knew this was Allah’s (SWT) punishment for leaving Nineveh, so he dived in and was swallowed by a whale. He repented to Allah (SWT) and spat out to return to Nineveh. Prophet Yunus (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 4 times.
- Prophet Zakariyya (Peace Be Upon Him): Zakariyya (A.S) fathered Yahya, who went on to become the guardian of Mary, the mother of Isa. Prophet Zakariyya (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 7 times.
- Prophet Yahya (Peace Be Upon Him): The son of Zakariyya, Yahya was told by Allah (SWT) about the arrival of Isa (Jesus). He was known as a merciful man who was committed to Allah (SWT), and he was described as a gentle being – so much so that it is said he did not do one thing against the will of Allah (SWT) in his life. Prophet Yahya (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 5 times.
- Prophet Isa (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Isa is the son of Maryam (Mary) a.s. The miracle of this prophet was that he was born without a father. Although he was blessed with many miracles, his sole purpose was to guide the people to believe in Allah only. Prophet Isa (A.S) is mentioned in the Quran 25 times.
- Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him): Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) was the final prophet, sent to all of mankind, and known as the seal of the prophets. He was chosen to preach the message to believe in Allah and forsake other gods. He was sent as a mercy to the people, guiding and setting the greatest example possible of how every Muslim should be. He was also given the final book, the Holy Quran, whereby the Islamic rulings and guidelines are written. Although he wasn’t directly mentioned a lot of times in the Quran, his importance is indisputable and has continued to influence and guide nations for over 1400 years. Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) is mentioned in the Quran 4 times.
There are six Surahs in the Holy Quran that are in the name of Prophets. The names of these Surahs are as follows:
- Surah Ibrahim (A.S)
- Surah Yusuf (A.S)
- Surah Hood (A.S)
- Surah Nooh (A.S)
- Surah Younas (A.S)
- Surah Muhammad (SAW)
In Islam, there are two types of Prophets, Nabi and Rasul.
A Rasul comes with a Sharia Law while a Nabi followed and preached the Sharia of previous messengers. A Rasul was a messenger of Allah who was given a new Shariat (code of law) from Him. A Prophet is always a Nabi by birth, but a Prophet becomes Rasul when he officially receives the post and declares it. The Rasul is higher in rank than a Nabi.
وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَـٰكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَـٰلَمِينَ
“And indeed, We have sent you [O Muhammad] [as] a mercy for mankind.” (Surat Al-‘Anbya 21:107)
It is important to remember that Prophets were sent to preach the message of God. They are not equal in status to God, and must not be over exalted or given prominence over the belief in God. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the last Prophet of Allah on which the Quran was revealed which is the last and 4th sacred Book that is written by Allah. There is a spiritual connection of brotherhood among all Prophets; it is due to the fact that all prophets delivered the same message, but at different times to different people.