The Prophets of Islam

MV: Prophets in Islam are non-divine, model human beings chosen by Allah who preached his oneness and the avoidance of idolatry and sin. They committed very few sins, if any, were almost ‘perfect’ people, and all of them were men. Prophets went to different people and to every ‘nation’ (this does not mean everyone, as many people weren’t organized in nations). For example, the Native Americans or Australoids had no prophet come and teach them, so they are not held accountable for not believing in Allah. Also, not every prophet (nabi) is a messenger (rasul), because rusul also received a message in book form in addition to being given wahi (revelation). The first prophet was Aadam, the last was Muhammad, and there were many in between, for a total of 124,000. The Five Ulul Azmi (Leaders of the Rasuls) who have the highest referance in the Islamic world for their great efforts are: Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Isa (Jesus), and Muhammad.

The Holy Qur’an mentions 25 prophets by name, here are 13 of them for now:

1. Aadam (Adam):

  • The first human ever  created by Allah in Jannah, brought to life 40 days after being a dry body
  • His wife was Hawwa (Eve)
  • They went near the forbidden tree and ate from it
  • They were banished from Jannah and sent to Earth

2. Idris (Enoch?):

  • An important prophet who was an ancestor of Noah
  • His story is not in the Qur’an but in tradition
  • He taught early humans many usefull skills and invented other things, like writing and math
  • When many people had forgotten Allah and there was a drought, he prayed for them, and it rained
  • In one story he was lifted up to heaven, and he returned to Earth in Giza, Egypt where he described polar ice caps, the reasons behind astronomy, etc.

3. Nuh (Noah)

  • For hundreds of years, he warned people about a painful doom that was going to come to those who rejected Allah
  • He told people that they needed to serve Allah, and they could not delay the Deluge
  • The cheiftains and people did not believe him
  • Allah commanded Nuh to build a huge ship, and while he was, people mocked him for making a ship in the desert
  • When the ship was completed, pairs of animals and all of the believers went aboard it
  • The people who disbelieved drowned, including Nuh’s son
  • The flood lasted 40 days and nights, coming to rest at Mt. Judiyy in Turkey
  • He never drank, being a prophet, so Muslims do not accept the biblical ‘Drunkenness of Noah/Curse of Ham’ story

4. Hud (Eber?)

  • Born five generations after Nuh
  • Sent as a warning to the poeple of  ‘Ad
  • Despite Hud’s warnings, the people continued idolatry
  • Allah sent a drought to punish them, but they didn’t relent, so a huge storm was sent in which everybody in ‘Ad except for Hud and a few believers

5. Saleh

  • Born nine generations after Nuh
  • Born and raised among the people of Thamud
  • The people worshipped stone idols, so Saleh told them to embrace tawhid
  • They refused, asking for a miracle, so Saleh created a camel out of a rock using Allah’s help
  • Saleh said they could use it for milk only and couldn’t kill it
  • They killed it anyways, so Saleh was ordered to leave his people
  • A huge thunderous sound sent by Allah killed all of the disbelievers

6. Ibrahim (Abraham)

  • A very significant prophet, also a messenger
  • Son of a man named Tarikh and nephew of Azar, an idol maker
  • As a child, he wondered who to worship an ultimately became a believer in Allah
  • In the king’s temple, he destroyed all of the idols except the largest one, hanging the hammer he used on its neck
  • After Ibrahim beat the king, Namrud (Nimrod), in a debate, he ordered Ibrahim to be burned
  • He was not affected by the fire, staying inside it for 40 days because Allah made it pleasant for him
  • He, Lut, and his followers left ancient Iraq to go to Palestine, the land that Allah promised to him
  • Later on, he married Sarah, but they had no kids, so he also married Hajar, his servant
  • He had a son, Isma’il (Ishmael), from Hajar
  • To avoid arguments between his wifes, he took Hajar and baby Isma’il into the Arabian desert and left them there by Allah’s command
  • Hajar soon ran out of water and became worried because Isma’il was thirsty
  • She ran between the hills Safa and Marwa seven times, and miraculously the well Zamzam started to flow and they could drink from it
  • Ibrahim went back to his wife Sarah, but still visited Hajar and Isma’il sometimes
  • When he was an adult, Isma’il helped build the Kaaba with Ibrahim
  • Before Is’haq (Isaac) was born, Ibrahim saw a dream in which he was to sacrifice his son Isma’il
  • Isma’il was convinced it was Allah’s order, so he was ready to be sacrificed
  • Three times Shaitan (Satan) tried to stop them from following the order, but Ibrahim threw stones at him each time
  • Right when he was going to sacrifice Isma’il, Ibrahim heard Allah telling him not to sacrifice his son, but a sheep, because it was just a test of Ibrahim’s faith
  • Eid al-Adha is celebrated to commemerate this event
  • When they were very old, Sarah and Ibrahim were blessed with good news that they were going to have a child, Is’haq (Isaac)
  • He is called the “Father of the Prophets” and the “Friend of Allah”

7. Lut (Lot)

  • The nephew of prophet Ibrahim
  • Preached against homosexuality and crimes to his people in Sodom and Gomorrah
  • When his messages were ignored, the cities were destroyed with everyone in them, including Lot’s wife (but not the rest of his family)
  • Muslims do not believe the biblical story about his relationships with his daughters

8. Isma’il (Ishmael)

  • Not a cursed or bad man (as believed in Christianity and Judaism), but a good prophet
  • First-born son of Ibrahim from Hajar
  • For a long time, Ibrahim had no son, but was very happy when Isma’il was born
  • Even though he was Ibrahim’s only son, Ibrahim was ready to sacrifice him, so Allah stopped him
  • Isma’il built the Kaaba with his father and settled in Mecca; he was a righteous man

9. Is’haq (Isaac)

  • He was born to Ibrahim and Sarah when they were very old
  • Was a righteous prophet and many of his descendants were prophets

10. Yaqub (Jacob)

  • He was born in Canaan (Palestine); the son of Is’haq
  • He had twelve sons, including Yusuf, and a daughter
  • Preached the oneness of Allah like his family

11. Yusuf (Joseph)

  • Son of Yaq’ub
  • In a dream as a child, he saw 11 planets, the Sun, and the Moon bowing before him
  • His father foresaw that he would be the one who would fulfill Ibrahim’s prophecy of spreading Allah’s message
  • His father warned him not to tell his brothers the story because they would be jealous and plot against him
  • The only brother he shared his mother with was Bin Yamin (Benjamin), and both of them were handsome and respectful
  • Yusuf’s brothers became very jealous and plotted to kill him, but feeling sorry for him decided to throw him down a well instead
  • They asked their father’s permission to take out Yusuf to play, and then carried out their plan
  • They brought back a piece of Yusuf’s clothing covered in sheep’s blood to tell their father that Yusuf had been eaten by a wolf, but they didn’t believe him
  • A passing caravan rescued him and sold him into slavery in Egypt to a rich man referred to as Al-Aziz
  • When he was an adult, he obtained prophethood and wisdom
  • Al-Aziz’s wife, Zulaikha, approached him many times to seduce him, but he was a pious man who would not do such an evil act
  • She tore the back of Yusuf’s shirt and they raced each other down a hall, meeting her husband at the end
  • Zulaikha said that the only way of keeping her honor would be to put Yusuf in jail, but Yusuf said that she was coming to him
  • A person from Zulaikha’s family said if the tear was in the front, Yusuf was a liar, but if the tear was in the back, he was telling the truth
  • After seeing the tear in the back, Al-Aziz told Zulaikha to beg forgiveness
  • Zulaikha invited a bunch of women to her house, and when they saw Yusuf, they wanted him too
  • Disobeying Zulaikha’s orders, Yusuf decided prison would be better than having to deal with the women
  • While in prison, Yusuf interpreted two dreams
  • After interpreting the king’s dream and saving Egypt from famine, Yusuf became a prominent advisor to the king
  • After many years, he saw his brothers come to Egypt to buy food
  • He learned that his father had turned blind from crying over the loss of Yusuf
  • As a surprise, Yusuf revealed his identity to his whole family, including his parents, therefore fulfilling his dream of them bowing down to him
  • He used his cloth to rub his father’s eyes, and they were cured of blindness

12. Ayyub (Job)

  • Ayyub was a blessed man with a large family, large home, and many luxuries
  • Allah tested Ayyub’s faith by killing his family and crops, destroying his house, and making him sick and poor
  • In the end, Allah blessed Ayyub with even more than what he had in the beginning

13. Shuaib (Jethro?)

  • His story is not in the Qur’an, but is all tradition
  • Great-grandson of Ibrahim
  • Sent to warn the Midianites to give up their evil ways, but when they refused, Allah desroyed them
  • Father of Safoorah (Zipporah) and therefore the father-in-law of Musa

24 thoughts on “The Prophets of Islam

  1. A serious question if you don’t mind:

    You write,

    They committed very few sins, if any, were almost ‘perfect’ people, and all of them were men.

    But yet I read in the Qur’an that Muhammed himself sinned — Surah 47:19, Surah 48:2, and Surah 33:36-38.

    If Muhammed is the greatest prophet, then why is he recorded as sinning when we have no record of other prophets (like Isa) sinning? It seems to me, that the greatest prophet should be the most perfect prophet…

  2. thank you for your response.

    Allah tells Muhammad that he [Muhammad] has sinned, then, correct?

    Why does the Qur’an not call Isa a sinner, but yet Muhammad is a sinner who needs forgiveness?

  3. I will need a little while to process all that you have said, but look forward to interacting with you and asking more questions. Let me just say this from the beginning:

    I can honestly say I have no idea what Jihad Watch is. I am a Christian that is studying Islam. I don’t hate anyone, nor do I associate with anyone who hates Muslims.

  4. FYI, we do not recognize Lot as a prophet. But that’s besides my point.

    I openly recognize these men as sinners, every one of them committed wicked sins.

    However, Jesus did not commit a sin, neither in my Bible nor in your Qur’an. That’s my point. I would think that the greatest prophet would be the perfect one…

  5. You are very interesting to talk with; this is most enjoyable to me:)

    Who is al-Mahdi? I’m interested as I’m still studying Islam.

    So the life of Jesus’ is not over yet? Why would Allah not allow Jesus to die upon the cross (as that would indicate failure), but then allow him to die in the final battle against Anti-christ?

  6. Welcome again Clearly!

    Sorry I was away today but I will be happy to answer your questions again.

    Al-Mahdi, or Imam al Mahdi meaning “The Guided one”. Mahdi is a normal man who is going to follow the true Islam. His name will be Muhammad and his father name will be ‘Abdullah. He is a descendant from Ali and Fatima (daughter of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh)) so he will be descendant from al-Hasan or al-Husain. He is to come and fight along side with Jesus (Prophet Isa) and will bring the world in peace before the end of the World.

  7. Clearly,
    Jesus will not die during the battle with the Anti-Christ.

    Following are two of the many hadith on this subject:

    # The Holy Prophet (after making mention of the appearance of the Dajjal) said: “In the meantime, When the Muslims will be making preparations to fight him, will be lining up (for the Prayer) and the lqamah will have been pronounced, Jesus son of Mary shall descend and lead them in the Prayer; and the enemy of Allah (Dajjal i.e. the Antichrist) on seeing him shall start dissolving like salt in water. If Jesus were to leave him alone, he would melt to death anyway, but Allah will have him killed at his hand, and he will show his blood on his spear to the Muslims.” (Muslim).

    # “There is no prophet between me and him (i.e. Jesus Christ), and he shall descend. So, recognize him when you see him. He is a man of medium height, of ruddy and fair complexion; he will be dressed in two yellow garments; the hair of his head will appear as though water was going to trickle down from it, whereas it will not be wet. He will fight people in the cause of Islam, will break the Cross and kill the swine and will abolish jizyah; and Allah will put an end to all communities in his time except Islam; and he will slay the Antichrist (Dajjal); and he will stay in the world for 40 years; then will die and the Muslims will offer the funeral Prayer for him.” (Abu Da’ud and Ahmad).



  8. Hello Clearly,

    Which Surah? Can you please quote reference of such a verse? I don’t know of any Surah of the Qur’an that contradicts these hadiths.
    A hadith can never trump Qur’an. Qur’an is the highest authority.


  9. Saad, thanks for interacting with me regarding al-Mahdi.

    Here’s a question. How do you fit this Surah into what has been discussed? It’s from Surah 3. In your view, when will Allah cause Jesus to die? Is this referring to Jesus’ death on the cross or is this referring to that battle (which you think now is the wrong view) or is this his peaceful death years afterwards?

    When God said, O Jesus, verily will I cause thee to die, and I will take thee up unto me, and I will deliver thee from the unbelievers; and I will place those who follow thee above the unbelievers, until the day of resurrection: then unto me shall ye return, and I will judge between you of that concerning which ye disagree. Moreover, as for the infidels, I will punish them with grievous punishment in this world, and in that which is to come; and there shall be none to help them


  10. Clearly,

    I believe you are referring to verse 55 of the third Surah. This verse never says that Jesus will die.
    Let me quote this verse from three of the most authentic English translations of the Quran:


    YUSUFALI: Behold! Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.

    PICKTHAL: (And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ.

    SHAKIR: And when Allah said: O Isa, I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto Me and purify you of those who disbelieve and make those who follow you above those who disbelieve to the day of resurrection; then to Me shall be your return, so l will decide between you concerning that in which you differed.

    Which translation/interpretation are you using? If you are sincerely studying Islam then the very first thing you should do is to pick an authentic English interpretation of the Qur’an and not from one of the orientalist or anti-islam authors whose intent from the day one is to distort Islamic teachings and spread false propaganda.

    For a more explicit refutation of his” Crucifiction”, see verse 157 onwards of Suran 4.

    By the way, you did not answer me question in the previos message: Which Suran/verse of the Quran contradicts the two hadiths i quoted?



  11. Christlover,

    I didn’t answer the question regarding hadith’s and the Qur’an because I did not know of one. Remember, I know very little Qur’an in comparison to you.

    I was under the impression, however, that the Arabic behind “I will take thee” (Yusfali) was a common idiom for death.

    Is there an easy way for me to acquire such a translation of the Qur’an or a website where I can easily search and reference it?

  12. Thanks ChristLover.

    Were you going to comment regarding:

    I was under the impression, however, that the Arabic behind “I will take thee” (Yusfali) was a common idiom for death.

    Thanks for the resources everyone!

  13. I think that it means, The Prophet (PBUH) was going to be taken away from this world to the after world- it could mean death but it could mean to continue in another place/a better or worse place. Like, in this sense don’t think of death as an end.

  14. Syed,

    Does anyone in this discussion believe that death means “the end?”

    I thought we were all in agreement that when each of our bodies succumbs to physical death, that we will still live on elsewhere…am I wrong? I’m sorry, but I don’t see understanding this as a remedy to the problem…

  15. Clearly, Sorry but I don’t seem to understand what your trying to say, let me however refraice what I was trying to say, You said, “I will take thee” (Yusfali) was a common idiom for death. However in this case the line does not mean that, it refers to The Prophet (PBUH) going to be taken away from this world to the after world. So in this case the line does not refer to death as the end.

  16. Hello Clearly,

    You are right that it is the same root word that is used for death, but you must know that this word is not used just of death as we know it. This same word is used by God in the Qur’an for “sleep” in verse:
    [وَهُوَ الَّذِى يَتَوَفَّـكُم بِالَّيْلِ]
    (It is He Who takes your souls by night (when you are asleep).) [6:60]

    So as you can see in this verse, the same word is used but it is not meant for the permanent death, but the temporary departure of soul that happens during our sleep.

    The word “Mutawaffeeka” is used in the same context in 3:55

    Please see detail in one of the most reputed and historic Tafseer of Ibn-Kathir:

    Besides this linguistic analysis, as a general rule; when Muslim scholars interpret Qur’an, they do it in-light of other Quranic verses on the subject and also the explanation given by the Prophet.



  17. Christlover and Syed,

    You have been longsuffering and kind toward me throughout this discussion, even though you know that I am a committed Christian. For that, I thank you.

    Christlover, thanks for the time that you spent to research the above question for me. Another question, however, now arises in my mind.

    Why do the Injils and the Qur’an have conflicting documentation regarding the death of Jesus Christ. The Injils state emphatically that Jesus died on the cross, while the Qur’an seems to have major problems with this teaching. Please inform…

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