Prophets (a) (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.
A prophet is an elite person who has a special relationship with God and possesses 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'.
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.
Since all the prophets were selected by the same God, there are many common themes in their missions, including:
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.
Only 25 or 26 prophets have been mentioned in the Qur'an: Adam (17 times), Noah (Nuh) (43 times), Idris (2 times), Hud (7 times), Salih (9 times), Abraham (Ibrahim) (69 times), Lot (Lut) (27 times), Ishmael (Isma'il) (11 times), Elisha (Alyasha') (2 times), Dhu l-Kifl (2 times), Elijah (Ilyas) (2 times), Jonah (Yunus or Dhu l-Nun) (4 times), Isaac (Ishaq) (17 times), Jacob (Ya'qub) or Israel (16 times), Joseph (Yusuf) (27 times), Shoaib (11 times), Moses (Musa) (136 times), Aaron (Harun) (19 times), David (Dawud) (16 times), Solomon (Sulayman) (17 times), Job (Ayyub) (4 times), Zechariah (Zakariyya) (7 times), John (Yahya) (5 times), Jesus ('Isa) (25 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.
|Name||Repeat||In the Bible||Prophet||Rasul||Imam||Book||People||Burial place||Shari'a|
|Idris||2||Enoch||prophet||Raised to the sky|
|Isma'il||11||Ishmael||prophet||Masjid al-Haram (Mecca)|
|Isma'il (Sadiq al-wa'd)||1||prophet|
|Shu'ayb||11||Jethro, Reuel, Hobab||Rasul||Midian||Bayt al-Maqdis|
|Musa||136||Moses||prophet||Rasul||Torah||Pharaoh and Israelites و بنی اسرائیل||Around Bayt al-Maqdis||yes|
|Harun||19||Aaron||prophet||Rasul||Pharaoh and Israelites ||Around Mount Sinai|
|Dhu l-Kifl||2||Ezekiel||Between Kufa and Hillah|
|Dawud||16||David||prophet||Zabur (Psalms)||Bayt al-Maqdis|
|Ilyas||2||Elijah (Elias)||prophet||Rasul||Raised to the sky|
|Yahya||5||John the Baptist||prophet||Umayyad Mosque, Damascus|
|'Isa||25||Jesus||prophet||Rasul||Gospel||Israelites||Raised to the sky||yes|
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.
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 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.
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.
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 shari'a. Some scholars believe that these prophets are Ulu l-'Azm just because they had shari'as. According to 'Allama Tabataba'i, the first divine book and shari'a were revealed to Noah.
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.
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 shari'a: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, peace be upon them.