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Massive Online Encyclopedia of Islam : PROPHETS
PROPHETS

Muhammad believed that he is the seal of the prophets (See also SEAL OF THE PROPHETS). Muslims believed that prophets are truthful, trustworthy, intelligent, brave and do not commit sins, have no repulsive qualities, have nice voices and faces.

According to Tradition the prophets number 124,000. Their work is to teach and guide, like a preacher today. Among them are messengers (rasul), of whom Islam says there are 313. Each messenger comes with a book revealed particularly to him for the particular people. 25 of these are mentioned by name in the Qur'an. Once people are sent a prophet, they are responsible for their beliefs and no excuse will be accepted for not heeding the message, and it applies also to those which the message reaches in coming times.

List of prophets mentioned:

Muslims believe that prophethood is the free gift of Allah, and not by own choice. They must be free from

  1. telling lies,
  2. committing wrong deeds,
  3. stupidity or laziness,
  4. concealing any part of the message.
  5. Also, are male (there are some disagreements about this. see below), free and not slaves, free from disfiguring and disabling diseases.
Absent from the list are many of the biblical prophets, be they "Major" (because their prophetical writings are long) like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, or "Minor" (because their prophetical writings are short) like Amos, Haggai, Malachi, etc, except Jonah.

We note that Abraham and Isaac have both told lies. See Abraham for more details. The Qur'an also accuses Muhammad for having concealed some of the revelations. See Muhammad for more details.

From the above, it is not difficult to understand the Muslim objection to various Christian beliefs about prophets. In the Bible, the shortcomings of many of the prophets are clearly recorded, without any attempt to justify or cover up. Muslims feel that the Bible has done an injustice to these prophets by fabricating these "sins" to justify our own sins. However, a careful reading of the Bible shows that these sins of the prophets are not in anyway commended, and the disastrous results following these sins are often clearly portrayed.

Also, it is also not difficult to see the Muslim objection to the crucifixion of the Jesus on the Cross, for they view that God does not forsake his prophets, and that they must have very "nice" physical properties.

"Once in every year, Gabriel recited the Quran to me. This year he recited it twice. He also told me that every succeeding Prophet has lived to half the age of his predececssor. He told me that Jesus, son of Mary, lived to a hundered and twenty years. Therefore, I think, I may live to about sixty years." (Mawahib-ud-duniya by Qastalani, vol 1,p. 42)
This hadith, however, is suspect in its content. Consider the three prophets believed by Muslims: Zechariah, his son John the Baptist and Jesus. If Jesus lived to 120 years, then John the Baptist should have lived to 240, but he died before Jesus (and they were born less than a year apart), executed by Herod. Moreover, that must mean that Zechariah lived to 480 years old! By the time we reached Adam, he would have to live millions of years! If we work the other way round, the Bible records that Adam died at 930 years old (Genesis 5:5). Then geometric halving of ages clearly brings the life of Muhammad (or even Jesus) down to mere seconds.


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