The Prophets of Allah
The Prophets of Allah (Peace be upon them all) begins with the first Prophet, Prophet Adam who was created by Allah subhana wa taala and fashioned out of clay. The Last of the Prophets, and the Prophet of our time, is Muhammad Sallallahu alayhi wasallam.
All the Prophets (Alayhi salam) of Allah subhana wa taala carried the same message; the message of Tawheed (absolute pure Islamic monotheism).
Surah Al-Muminun-23:44. Then We sent Our Messengers in succession, every time there came to a nation their Messenger, they denied him, so We made them follow one another (to destruction), and We made them as Ahadith (the true stories for mankind to learn a lesson from them). So away with a people who believe not.
A Prophet is termed ‘Nabi’, thus all prophets of Allah subhana wa taala are Ambiyah (Plural of Nabi-Prophets)
However, not all prophets had a message or law (Risalah), many confirmed and continued with the message of the prophet who arrived prior. Thus some ambiyah are Rasul, but not all ambiyah are Rasul.
It is, however, important to understand that not all ambiyah (prophets) who received a form of divine guidance was raised to the level of Rasul. Each of the Ambiyah was unique in their message and guidance for the people of that time.
Muhammad Sallallahu alayhi wasalam is referred to as Rasulallah salalahu alayhi wasalam, this is due to; him being a prophet; a nabi, but He also had a message, a law and that is Quran.
No difference between the Prophets in the message of Tawheed
Surah Al-Baqarah-2:136. Say (O Muslims), “We believe in Allah and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent down to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma’il (Ishmael), Ishaque (Isaac), Ya’qub (Jacob), and to Al-Asbat [the twelve sons of Ya’qub (Jacob)], and that which has been given to Musa (Moses) and ‘Iesa (Jesus), and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islam).”
The message of all prophets was the same and that is the call to absolute pure Islamic monotheism.
Status of certain Prophets
Certain prophets are indeed given greater preference over others;
Surah Al-Baqarah-2:7. And (remember) when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you (O Muhammad Sallallahu alayhi wasalam), and from Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), and ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary). We took from them a strong covenant.
This is further elucidated in Surah Ahqaf:
Surah Al-Ahqaaf-46:35. Therefore be patient (O Muhammad Sallallahu alayhi wasalam) as did the Messengers of strong will and be in no haste about them (disbelievers). On the Day when they will see that (torment) with which they are promised (i.e. threatened, it will be) as if they had not stayed more than an hour in a single day. (O mankind! This Qur’an is sufficient as) a clear Message (or proclamation to save yourself from destruction). But shall any be destroyed except the people who are Al-Fasiqun (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah).
Number of Prophets
Surah Ghafir-40:78. And, indeed We have sent Messengers before you (O Muhammad Sallallahu alayhi wasalam); of some of them We have related to you their story and of some We have not related to you their story, and it was not given to any Messenger that he should bring a sign except by the Leave of Allah. So, when comes the Commandment of Allah, the matter will be decided with truth, and the followers of falsehood will then be lost.
Thus the true number of prophets is not known. There are many ahadith stating one hundred and twenty four thousand (three hundred and fifteen stated as a good number). These ahadith are all graded dhaeef (weak) and may even be considered maudu (fabricated).
Servants of Allah subhana wa taala
Many servants of Allah subhana wa taala are mistaken for prophets. These include; Maryam Alayhi salam, Khidr Alayhi salam, Dhul Qurnayn Alayhi salam. These are amongst the favoured servants of Allah subhana wa taala. There has been no evidence to reflect that they had been prophets of Allah subhana wa taala, even though we are aware that their status is beyond measure.
Prophets mentioned in Ahadith
The ahadith which mentions Sheeth Alayhi salam is dhaeef.
Ibn Hibbaan narrated the hadith of Ibraaheem ibn Hishaam ibn Yahya ibn Yahya al-Ghassaani, who said:
My father told us, from my grandfather, from Abu Idrees al-Khawlaani, from Abu Dharr, who said:I entered the mosque and saw the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) sitting on his own…I said: O Messenger of Allah, how many books did Allah send down? He said: One hundred and four books; fifty pages were sent down to Sheeth (Seth), thirty pages were sent down to Akhnookh (Enoch), ten pages were sent down to Ibraaheem, ten pages were sent down to Moosaa before the Torah, and the Torah (Tawraat), Gospel (Injeel), Psalms (Zaboor) and Furqaan (Qur’an) were sent down…
Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh (al-Ihsaan fi Taqreeb Saheeh Ibn Hibbaan), (2/76-77).
Its isnaad includes Ibraaheem ibn Hishaam, of whom adh-Dhahabi said: He is the narrator of the lengthy hadith of Abu Dharr, of which he was the only narrator from his father, from his grandfather. At-Tabaraani said: No one narrated this from Yahya except his son, and they are thiqaat (trustworthy). Ibn Hibbaan mentioned him in ath-Thiqaat, and narrated his hadith in al-Anwaa‘.
As for Ibn Abi Haatim, he said: I said to my father: Why do you not narrate from Ibraaheem ibn Hishaam al-Ghassaani? He said: I went to his town, and he brought out to me a book that he claimed he had heard from Sa‘eed ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez. I looked at it and saw that it contained the hadiths of Damurah from Ibn Shawdhab and others. I looked at a hadith and like it; it was a hadith of Layth ibn Sa‘d from ‘Aqeel, so I said to him: Read this to me. He said: Sa‘eed ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez told us, from Layth ibn Sa‘d, from ‘Iqeel (he misread the name).And I saw in his book hadiths from Suwayd ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez, from Mugheerah. I said: These are the hadiths of Suwayd! He said: Sa‘eed ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez told us, from Suwayd. Abu Haatim said: I think that he never sought knowledge and that he was a liar.‘Abd ar-Rahmaan ibn Abi Haatim said: I mentioned some of this to ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn al-Junayd, and he said: Abu Haatim is right; no one should narrate from him. Ibn al-Jawzi said: Abu Zar‘ah said: (He is) a liar.
End quote from Mizaan al-I‘tidaal (1/72-73).
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