Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Verily, those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers and wish to make distinction between Allah and His Messengers (by believing in Allah and disbelieving in His Messengers) saying, We believe in some but reject others, and wish to adopt a way in between. * They are in truth disbelievers. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating torment. * And those who believe in Allah and His Messengers and make no distinction between any of them (Messengers), We shall give them their rewards, and Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [Surat An-Nisa': 150 - 152].
The difference between a Prophet and a Messenger:
Commentators and scholars differed about the meaning of a Prophet and a Messenger, and perhaps the most correct opinion is the view of those who said that a Prophet is sent to renew a previous message which its followers deviated from the right course and did not abide by its guidance; which is the general case in all Prophets who were sent to the Children of Israel.
As for a Messenger, it is the one who is sent with an independent message or brought a modification to a previous message by abrogating its rulings, adding to them or omitting from them.
The number of Prophets and Messengers:
Allah's Way of conducting affairs is to send a Messenger to every nation to convey to it the messages of its lord so as to set the proof against them. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Verily! We have sent you with the truth, a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner. And there never was a nation but a warner had passed among them." [Surat Fatir: 24].
Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) also says: "And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning)." [Surat Al Isra': 15].
It was reported in the Hadith of Abu Dhar Al Ghifary (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: "I asked the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him): O Messenger of Allah, what was the number of Messengers? He said: 310 and few more." In another narration: I said: O Messenger of Allah, how many was the number of Prophets? He said: 124.000 among them there were 315 Messengers."
Allah (Glory be to Him) mentioned twenty-five Messengers with their names, and believing in them by their exact names is obligatory as well as those whose names were not mentioned.
Disbelieving in one of them is considered disbelief in all of them. Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) said: "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), Ishaq (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 `Eisa (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)." [Surat Al Baqarah: 136].
Belying Messengers was attributed to the people of Noah, taking into consideration that none but Noah was sent to them, but belying Noah himself is considered belying to all Messengers. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "The people of Nuh (Noah) belied the Messengers." [Surat Ash-Shu`ara': 105].
Allah says: "`Ad (people) denied the Messengers." [Surat Ash-Shu`ara': 123]. And Allah's Saying: "Thamûd (people) denied the Messengers." [Surat Ash-Shu`ara': 141].
The religion of Prophets and their codes:
All Prophets and Messengers had the same religion which Allah spoke about in His Book saying: "Truly, the religion with Allâh is Islâm." [Surat Al `Imran: 19]. He also says: "And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers." [Surat Al `Imran: 85]. So, it came on the tongue of many Prophets that their religion was Islam, or invoked Allah to count them among Muslims, or Allah spoke about them as Muslims. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Ibrâhîm (Abraham) was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim Hanîf (Islâmic Monotheism - to worship none but Allâh Alone) and he was not of Al-Mushrikûn." [Surat Al `Imran: 67]. It was reported on the tongue of Yusuf [Joseph] (peace be upon him): "My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty, and taught me the interpretation of dreams" [Surat Yusuf: 101].
It was reported in the invocation of Abraham and Ishmael (peace be upon them) while building the Ka`bah: "Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You." [Surat Al Baqarah: 128].
It came in the will of Jacob to his children: "Or were you witnesses when death approached Ya'qub (Jacob)? When he said unto his sons, What will you worship after me? They said, We shall worship your Ilah (God - Allah), the Ilah (God) of your fathers, Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma'il (Ishmael), Ishaque (Isaac), One Ilah (God), and to Him we submit (in Islam)." [Surat Al Baqarah: 133].
It came on the tongue of Jesus' disciples: "And when I (Allah) put in the hearts of Al-Hawarieen (the disciples) [of `Eisa (Jesus)] to believe in Me and My Messenger, they said: We believe. And bear witness that we are Muslims." [Surat Al Ma'idah: 111].
It came in the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah: "The Prophets are brothers; their mothers are different but their religion is one, and there is no Prophet between us." So, all Prophets were sent with the basics of belief such as: The oneness of Allah (Glory be to Him), the belief in all previous Messengers and Prophets, and in the Last Day. Moreover, all of them called to adhering to the basics of the acts of worship and manners, but as for branches of the Shari`ah, they differ from a Prophet to another because codes or Shari`ah were revealed to organize communities and fighting behavioral deviations. Social diseases differ from a nation to another, therefore codes differ according to societies and their diseases. Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way." [Surat Al Ma'idah: 48].
The excellence of Muhammad's prophethood to other Prophets:
Previous messages had been under persecution, distortion, alteration, and secrecy throughout history which resulted in the interruption of its chain of transmission. Moreover, perhaps centuries passed without hearing any news about these messages, and the following prophecies used to renew the previous codes, but these historical gaps could not be filled and remained a point of weakness in its history.
However, the message of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is concluding to other previous messages in the continuity of its chain of transmission since his mission until today and up to the Day of Recompense, where the Glorious Qur'an has been frequently transmitted from the beginning of the mission of Muhammad (peace be upon him) until today and shall continue until Allah inherits the earth and all that therein. Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Quran) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption)." [Surat Al Hijr: 9].
History is unable to prove the message of Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus (peace be upon them) in a scientific documentary way except through the Glorious Qur'an, therefore the nation of Muhammad (peace be upon him) has occupied the place of judging and testifying over other nations according to the Qur'an. Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "Thus We have made you [true Muslims - real believers of Islamic Monotheism, true followers of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his Sunnah (legal ways)], a Wasat (just) (and the best) nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) be a witness over you. And We made the Qiblah (prayer direction towards Jerusalem) which you used to face, only to test those who followed the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) from those who would turn on their heels (i.e. disobey the Messenger). Indeed it was great (heavy) except for those whom Allah guided. And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost (i.e. your prayers offered towards Jerusalem). Truly, Allah is full of kindness, the Most Merciful towards mankind." [Surat Al Baqarah: 143].
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) explained this testimony by the Hadith that was reported by Al Bukhari from the Hadith of Abu Sa`id Al Khudry (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Noah will be called on the Day of Resurrection and he will say: 'Labbayka and Sa`dayk, O my Lord!' Allah will say: 'Did you convey the Message?' Noah will say: 'Yes.' His nation will then be asked, 'Did he convey the Message to you?' They will say: 'No Warner came to us.' Then Allah will say (to Noah), 'Who will bear witness in your favor?' He will say: 'Muhammad and his followers. So they (i.e. Muslims) will testify that he conveyed the Message. And the Messenger (Muhammad, peace be upon him) will be a witness over yourselves, and that is what is meant by the Statement of Allah :- 'Thus We have made of you a just and the best nation that you may be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad, peace be upon him) will be a witness over yourselves.'" [Surat Al Baqarah: 143]
The testimony of this nation over other nations cannot be confirmed except by the Glorious Qur'an because the Qur'an mentioned that Noah conveyed the messages of his Lord to his nation.
Likewise, previous Prophets and the Messenger (peace be upon him) shall be a witness over his nation.
He used to repeat in every occasion that he delivered the messages of his Lord as he did in the Farewell Hajj.
After he had finished his sermon, he said to the people: Have I informed you? They said: Yes. He repeated it then said: O Allah, be my witness, while he was pointing his finger to the people once and pointing to the sky another time while saying: O Allah, be my witness. Frequent transmission from trustworthy Muslims to others is a great merit by which the nation of Muhammad (peace be upon him) was characterized and for that it gained that great status among all nations.
 See Al Alusy's Tafsir 17/157, the Messengers and the message by Al Ashqar.
 Reported by Imam Ahmad in Al Musnad.
 Reported by Al Bukhari, Muslim, and Ahmad.
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