Islamic Prophets, Messengers & Scriptures

Following is a list of names of prophets and messengers and their scriptures based on the information available in the Quran. There may be more prophets and messengers that just weren’t mentioned in the Quran.

  1. Adam
    • Adam is often regarded as the first prophet but the Quran never specifically says that he was a prophet. However, the Quran in verse 3:33 does mention that Adam was special similar to Noah and Abraham.
  2. Idris / Enoch
    • He was a prophet (19:56)
  3. Nuh / Noah
    • He was a prophet (6:89, 4:163) and a messenger (26:107)
    • He was sent to the people of Noah (26:105)
  4. Hud
    • He was a messenger (26:125)
    • He was sent to the people of Ad (7:65)
  5. Saleh
    • He was a messenger (26:143)
    • He was sent to the people of Thamud (7:73)
  6. Ibrahim / Abraham
    • He was a prophet (19:41, 4:163) and a messenger (9:70)
    • He was sent to the people of Abraham (22:43)
    • He was given the “Scrolls of Abraham” (87:19)
    • Ibrahim was not a Jew or a Christian (3:67)
  7. Lut / Lot
    • He was a prophet (6:85-89) and a messenger (37:133)
    • He was sent to the people of Lot (7:80)
  8. Ismail / Ishmael
    • He was a prophet (19:54, 4:163, 6:85-89) and a messenger (19:54)
  9. Is’haq / Isaac
    • He was a prophet (19:49, 4:163)
  10. Ya’kub / Jacob / Israel
    • He was a prophet (19:49, 4:163, 19:58)
  11. Yusuf / Joseph
    • He was a messenger (12:50)
  12. Ayyub / Job
    • He was a prophet (4:163)
  13. Shuaib / Jethro
    • He was a messenger (26:178)
    • He was sent to the people of Midian (7:85)
  14. Musa / Moses
    • He was a prophet (19:51) and a messenger (19:51)
    • He was sent to Pharoah and his establishment (43:46)
    • He was given the Torah (53:36)
  15. Harun / Aaron
    • He was a prophet (19:53, 4:163)
  16. Dhul-Kifl / Ezekiel
    • He was a prophet (21:85-86 chapter of the “prophets”)
  17. Dawud / David
    • He was a prophet (17:55, 4:163) and a messenger (4:163)
    • He was given the Zabur (Psalms) (17:55)
  18. Sulaiman / Solomon
    • He was a messenger (4:163)
  19. Ilyas / Elijah
    • He was a messenger (37:123, 6:85-89)
    • He was sent to the people of Ilyas (37:124)
  20. Al Yasa / Elisha
    • He was a messenger (6:85-89)
  21. Yunus / Jonah
    • He was a prophet (6:85-89, 4:163) and a messenger (37:139)
    • He was sent to the people of Yunus (10:98)
  22. Zakariya / Zechariah
    • He was a prophet (6:85-89)
  23. Yahya / John
    • He was a prophet (3:39, 6:85-89)
  24. Isa / Jesus / The Messiah
    • He was a prophet (19:30, 4:163, 6:85-89) and a messenger (4:171)
    • He was sent to the Children of Israel (61:6)
    • He was given the Injil (Gospel) (57:27)
    • His other name was The Messiah (3:45)
  25. Muhammad / Ahmad
    • He was a prophet (33:40) and a messenger (33:40)
    • He was sent to the Arabs (42:7) for all of mankind (7:158)
    • His other name was “Ahmad” (61:6)
    • He was given the Quran (42:7)
    • The Quran was revealed in Arabic
      1. because God wanted to make it easy for Muhammad as an Arabic speaker (19:97)
      2. so that Muhammad could warn his local community of Arabs (42:7)
      3. because if it was in another language, the local Arabs would not believe in it (41:44)
    • The Arabic Quran was revealed to Arabs because if it was revealed to non-Arabs, they would not have believed in it (26:198-199)

Prophets and messengers are not the same thing

This is proven based on the wording used in verse 22:52.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ وَلَا نَبِيٍّ …
And We did not send before you any messenger or prophet … (22:52)

What is a prophet?

In verse 2:213, it’s clear that prophets were given scriptures (books). Similar verses are 6:89, 3:79, and 3:81.

كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ …
Mankind was [of] one religion [before their deviation]; then God sent the prophets as bringers of good tidings and warners and sent down with them the Scripture in truth to judge between the people concerning that in which they differed. … (22:52)

What is a messenger?

By definition, a messenger is someone who brings or shares a “message”. In the context of the Quran, a messenger shares or relates the message of the Quran.

The role of a messenger

According to verse 6:48, a messenger’s job is to only “give good news” and to “warn”.

وَمَا نُرْسِلُ الْمُرْسَلِينَ إِلَّا مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ ۖ فَمَنْ آمَنَ وَأَصْلَحَ فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
And We send not the messengers except as bringers of good tidings and warners. So whoever believes and reforms – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. (14:4)

Each messenger was given the same message

The message that was revealed before the Quran is the same as what was revealed in the Quran. This is proven in verse 41:43.

مَّا يُقَالُ لَكَ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ قِيلَ لِلرُّسُلِ مِن قَبْلِكَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُو مَغْفِرَةٍ وَذُو عِقَابٍ أَلِيمٍ
Nothing is said to you, [O Muhammad], except what was already said to the messengers before you. Indeed, your Lord is a possessor of forgiveness and a possessor of painful penalty. (41:43)

Each messenger received a revelation to worship the one God

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدُونِ
And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, “There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.” (21:25)

A messenger was sent to every community

Verse 16:36 indicates that messengers are sent to every community / nation. Since new communities / nations existed after Muhammad’s time, then there must be messengers after Muhammad died.

وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ
And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], “Worship God and avoid Taghut.” (16:36 part)

Each messenger spoke the language of his people

Verse 14:4 indicates that a messenger speaks the language of his people. Prophet Muhammad only spoke Arabic and he was sent as a messenger for his Arabic-speaking people. Since there are many other languages besides Arabic, there must be many other messengers besides Muhammad, both before and after Muhammad died.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمْ
And We did not send any messenger but with the language of his people, so that he might explain to them clearly; …. (14:4)

Messengers relate God’s verses

In verse 7:35, God tells the Children of Adam (all of mankind) that there will be multiple messengers from among humans rehearsing God’s verses. There is no mention of an end of the messengers. Therefore, certain people who rehearse God’s verses after prophet Muhammad died can be a messenger.

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ إِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُمْ رُسُلٌ مِّنكُمْ يَقُصُّونَ عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِي ۙ فَمَنِ اتَّقَىٰ وَأَصْلَحَ فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
O children of Adam, if there come to you messengers from among you relating to you My verses, then whoever fears God and reforms – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. (23:51)

God gave some messengers higher ranks over others

تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۘ مِّنْهُم مَّن كَلَّمَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَرَفَعَ بَعْضَهُمْ دَرَجَاتٍ ۚ وَآتَيْنَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَيَّدْنَاهُ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ …
We have made some of these messengers to excel the others among them are they to whom God spoke, and some of them He exalted by rank / degrees; and We gave clear miracles to Jesus son of Mary, and strengthened him with the Holy spirit. … (2:253)
وَرَبُّكَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۗ وَلَقَدْ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَ النَّبِيِّينَ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۖ وَآتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُورًا
And We have made some of the prophets exceed others [in various ways], and to David We gave the book [of Psalms]. (17:55)

Believers in God and His messengers must consider all messengers equal

Christians celebrate Prophet Jesus’ birthday and they consider him superior to all other prophets. Likewise, some of today’s Submitters (Muslims) celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday and almost all Submitters (Muslims) consider Muhammad superior to all other prophets. Although God favored some messengers over others, God expects everyone to see all messengers as equal including Prophet Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.

قُولُوا آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَمَا أُوتِيَ النَّبِيُّونَ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ
Say: We believe in God and that which had been revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and that which was given to Moses and Jesus, and that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we do not make any distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him. (2:136)

Related verses: 2:285, 3:84, 4:152, 17:55

Multiple messengers have existed at the same time for the same community

In Quran verse 36:14, God sent two messengers to a town but people denied them so He sent a third messenger to strengthen them. The three messengers coexisted and worked together.

إِذْ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهِمُ اثْنَيْنِ فَكَذَّبُوهُمَا فَعَزَّزْنَا بِثَالِثٍ فَقَالُوا إِنَّا إِلَيْكُم مُّرْسَلُونَ
When We sent to them two but they denied them, so We strengthened them with a third, and they said, “Indeed, we are messengers to you.” (36:14)

We also see plurality of messengers who came to other communities / nations.

“The people of Noah rejected the messengers” (26:105) “The Ad (people) rejected the messengers” (26:123) “The Thamud (people) rejected the messengers” (26:141) “The people of Lut rejected the messengers” (26:160)

The Quran is the last book of God and Muhammad is the last prophet

Scriptures are only given to prophets. Since Muhammad is the last prophet, the Quran is the last scripture.

مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَٰكِن رَّسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا
Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing. (33:40)


Based on the analysis above, we can summarize as follows:

  • A prophet is shares good news, warns, and is given a book (scripture)
  • A messenger only shares good news and warns by relating verses in books (scriptures) given to prophets
  • Muhammad is the last prophet
  • Multiple messengers can exist for any given community / nation both before, during, and after Muhammad’s time

Related articles