Monday, 4 August 2014

Number Of Prophets & Messengers

Since there is a difference between the Prophets of God and the Messengers of God, the number of Prophets will differ as compared to the number of Messengers. If you don't already know the difference between Prophets and Messengers, please read the article: Difference Between Prophet & Messenger.
Now, there are hadiths which inform us the number of Prophets and Messengers. However, majority of scholars state the narrations weak, and others are fabricated. Some narrations say that there were 124,000 Prophets & 313 Messengers while others say 124,000 Prophets & 315 Messengers, while others say 224,000 Messengers. A scholar writes:
قد اختلف أهل العلم في عدد الأنبياء والمرسلين ، وذلك بحسب ما ثبت عندهم من الأحاديث الوارد فيها ذِكر عددهم
"The scholars have differed about the number of Prophets and Messengers based on the narrations they had and based on their authenticity." (Islam-QA - Source).

In the same link, Ibn Atiyyah is recorded to have said that no one knows the number of Prophets and Messengers but Allah and whoever gives a number, then it is not Sahih. Also, Sheikh Bin Baz stated that there is no narration (authentic one) that tells us what the actual numbers are, and that only Allah knows. Sheikh Abdullah bin Jibreen stated that the narrations which give numbers are weak.
The same article above gives different opinions by scholars, but it is generally agreed no-one knows the number for sure. Quran even confirms that every nation was sent a warner or a guide:
Surah R'ad 13:7:
"And the Unbelievers say: "Why is not a sign sent down to him from his Lord?" But thou art truly a warner, and to every people a guide."
Surah Fatir 35:24:
"Verily We have sent thee in truth, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner: and there never was a people, without a warner having lived among them (in the past."
By name, only 25 Prophets in Quran are mentioned. Whatever the numbers are, we know there were definitely much more Prophets than Messengers. Large numbers given in the hadiths indicates to us that we know very little about the Prophets. We don't consider all Prophets in other religions to be Prophets in Islam. Only those Prophets mentioned in Quran and Hadiths are Prophets of God. Other Prophets in scriptures like Bible, Talmud, Vedas etc we may consider to them to be Prophets of God. Moreover, Prophethood was not only bestowed on people in Arabia and Israel, as Quran explicitly informs us that no nation did not have a warner or a guide.

We don't consider Paul of Tarsus to be a Prophet, since an authentic Hadith clearly mentions:
Sahih Muslim, Book 30, Hadith Number 5835:
"Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: I am most akin to Jesus Christ among the whole of mankind, and all the Prophets are of different mothers but belong to one religion and no Prophet was raised between me and Jesus."

Hence, Paul is not a Prophet of God according to Islam, since it contradicts the Hadith.

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