The Quraan mentions twenty five prophets, most of whom are mentioned in the Bible as well. Who were these prophets? Where did they live? Who were they sent to? What are their names in the Quraan and the Bible? And what are some of the miracles they performed? Following are their brief description:
Before we begin, we must understand two matters:
a. In Arabic two different words are used, Nabi and Rasool. A Nabi is a prophet and a Rasool is a messenger or an apostle. The two words are close in meaning for our purpose.
b. There are other men mentioned in the Quran about whom Muslim scholars are uncertain whether they were prophets or not, like Zul-Qarnain is mentioned:
وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنْ ذِي الْقَرْنَيْنِ قُلْ سَأَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْهُ ذِكْرًا إِنَّا مَكَّنَّا لَهُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَآتَيْنَاهُ مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ سَبَبًا [الكهف: 83- 84]
“They ask you about Zul-Qarnain. Say: ‘I shall now recite to you an account of him.
Surely, We gave him power on earth and gave him means to (have) everything (he needs).” (Al-Kahf 18:83)
Similarly, one whole Soorah (Chapter) is dedicated with the name of Luqmaan. One of many Aayaat (Verses) mentions like this:
وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا لُقْمَانَ الْحِكْمَةَ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِلَّهِ وَمَنْ يَشْكُرْ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ [لقمان: 12]
“We gave wisdom to Luqmaan, and said: ‘Be grateful to Allah’; and whoever is grateful is, in fact, grateful for his own benefit, and whoever is ungrateful, then Allah is free of all needs, worthy of all praise.” (Luqmaan 31:12)
1. Prophet Hadhrat Aadam (Adam) is the first prophet in Islam. He is also the first human being Islamic teachings confirm. Hadhrat Aadam is mentioned in 25 Aayaat and 25 times in the Quraan. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) created Aadam with His hands and created his wife, Hawwa (Eve) from Aadam’s rib. He lived in Jannah (Paradise) and was sent from there to earth for mistake due to forgetfulness. The story of his two sons is mentioned once in Quraan
وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ ابْنَيْ آدَمَ بِالْحَقِّ إِذْ قَرَّبَا قُرْبَانًا فَتُقُبِّلَ مِنْ أَحَدِهِمَا وَلَمْ يُتَقَبَّلْ مِنَ الْآخَرِ قَالَ لَأَقْتُلَنَّكَ قَالَ إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللَّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ [المائدة: 27]
“And recite to them the story of the two sons of Aadam rightly: When both of them offered a sacrifice, it was accepted from one of them, and was not accepted from the other. He said: ‘I will kill you’. He said: ‘Allah accepts only from the God-fearing’.” (Al-Maaidah 5:27)
2. Hadhrat Idrees (Enoch) is mentioned twice in the Quraan. Other than that little is known about him. He is said to have lived in Babylon, Iraq and migrated to Egypt and that he was the first one to write with the pen.
3. Hadhrat Nooh (Noah) is mentioned 43 times in the Quraan. He is said to be from Kirk, Iraq. Polytheism (Shirk) appeared for the first time among his people who lived close to the present day city of Kufa, in the south of Iraq. One of his great miracles was the Arc which he built on Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s command that rested on Mount Judi which is said to be between the Syrian-Turkish border today near the city of Ayn Diwar.
4. Hadhrat Hood is said to be Heber in English. He is mentioned 7 times in the Quraan. Hadhrat Hood is the first person to have spoken Arabic and was the first Arab prophet. He was definitely sent to the people of ‘Aad in the area known as Al-Ahqaaf which is around Hadhramaut in Yemen and the Ar-Rub’ al-Khali (the Empty Quarter). Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) destroyed them by a fierce wind that blew for eight days and seven nights.
5. Hadhrat Saaleh is mentioned 9 times in the Quraan. He was an Arab prophet sent to the people of Thamood who lived in an area known as Al-Hijr between Hijaz and Tabuk. Al-Hijr was the ancient name. Today, the place is known as “Madaain Saaleh” in Saudi Arabia and is a UNESCO world heritage site. They are magnificent structures literally carved into rocks. The people demanded to show them a female camel coming out of the rocks, to prove his claim to being a prophet. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) showed this miracle, and warned them not to harm her, but they killed her despite the clear warning. A Saihah (Loud shriek) killed them all.
6. Hadhrat Ibrahim (Abraham) is mentioned 69 times in 25 Soorahs of the Quraan. His father’s name was Aazar. They lived in the city of Ur in the Chaldean kingdom. He migrated from Ur to Harran, in the north of the Arabian peninsula, in today’s Syria, after Nimrod, the king put him in huge fire and Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) saved him. From Harran he went to Palestine with his wife Sarah and the son of his brother, Hadhrat Loot (Lot) and his wife.
Hadhrat Ibrahim then moved his second wife, Haajrah (Hagar), to a barren land, later became Makkah al Mukarramah, with his son Hadhrat Ismail (Ishmael) and left them there, as Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) commanded him to do. Makkah al Mukarramah was provided with the Divinely-gifted water, later known as well of Zamzam, for their survival.
The ancient tribe of Jurhum settled their due to Zamzam. Hadhrat Ibrahim is said to be buried in Al-Khalil, Palestine.
7 & 8. Hadhrat Ibrahim had two sons: Hadhrat IsHaaq (Issac) and Hadhrat Ismail (Ishmael). Hadhrat IsHaaq is mentioned 16 times in the Quraan whereas Hadhrat Ismail is mentioned 12 times. Hadhrat IsHaaq lived with his father, Hadhrat Ibrahim, and died in Al-Khalil, Palestine. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) ordered Hadhrat Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Hadhrat Ismail. Hadhrat Ibrahim visited Hadhrat Ismail several times in Makkah al Mukarramah. One of those times, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) ordered Hadhrat Ibrahim and Hadhrat Ismail to build the Ka’bah, i.e. the Holy House of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa). Hadhrat Ismail died in Makkah al Mukarramah and was buried there. Hadhrat IsHaaq is the forefather of the Jews and Ismail is the forefather of the Prophet of Islam, Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam).
9. Hadhrat Loot is mentioned 17 times in the Quraan. He is the son of Hadhrat Ibrahim’s brother. Hadhrat Loot lived towards the southern tip of the Dead Sea. His people were from Sodom and Gomorrah. People of Sodom were the first to commit homosexuality. That is why homosexuals are sometimes called sodomites. His wife was not a believer. She did not commit the sin, but accepted it. Rocks were rained down on the people of Sodom and Gomorrah that crushed them.
10. Hadhrat Ya’qoob (Jacob), the son of Hadhrat IsHaaq and the grandson of Hadhrat Ibrahim is mentioned 16 times in the Quraan. Hadhrat Ya’qoob’s other name was Israel. The “Bani Israel,” (Children of Israel), are named after him. All the Hebrew prophets came from him, the last of whom was Hadhrat Eesaa (Jesus). Hadhrat Ya’qoob is the father of the twelve tribes known as Al-Asbaaat (7:160) in the Quraan. He is said to have traveled to north of Iraq, returned to Palestine and then settled in Egypt and died there. He was buried in AlKhalil, Palestine, along with his father according to his last will. The Bible mentions that Hadhrat IsHaaq married Rebecca and his son Ya’qoob married Rachel (Rahil in Arabic).
11. Hadhrat Yousuf (Joseph), the son of Hadhrat Ya’qoob or Israel is mentioned 17 times in the Quraan. He was taken to Egypt where he attained a high rank in the government. Later, his father, Hadhrat Ya’qoob, and brothers settled in Egypt.
12. Hadhrat Sho’aib (Jethro), mentioned 11 times in the Quraan, was sent to the people of Madyan, who was one of the sons of Abraham. Sho’aib lived between the time of Hadhrat Loot and Hadhrat Moosaa (Moses). They were highway robbers, and cheated in business dealings. Several punishments came down upon them: an awful cry combined with an earthquake that destroyed them.
13. Hadhrat Ayyoob (Job) is mentioned 4 times in the Quraan. He is said to have lived close to either the Dead Sea or Damascus. He was an affluent prophet who was tested by Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) with poverty and sickness, but he was patient and was helped by his loyal wife who stayed by him in every hardship. Eventually, they are immensely rewarded by Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) for their patience.
14. Hadhrat Younus (Jonah), also known as “Zun-Noon,” is mentioned 4 times in the Quraan. He lived in Nineveh, close to Mosul, in Iraq. He left his people before Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) allowed him to, headed towards modern day Tunisia, but possibly ended up in Yafa. He was swallowed by a big fish, repented to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and went back to his people in Iraq where all 100,000 of them repented and believed in him.
15. Hadhrat Zul-Kifl is mentioned twice in the Quraan. Some scholars say he was the son of Hadhrat Ayyoob, others say he is Hizqeel (Ezekiel) of the Bible.
16. Hadhrat Moosaa (Moses) is the most frequently mentioned prophet in the Quraan, appearing 136 times. Before Hadhrat Moosaa, Hadhrat Yousuf had started spreading the message of Tauheed i.e. Monotheism, worship of One, true God) among the people of Egypt. His mission was strengthened when his father, Hadhrat Ya’qoob, and his brothers also settled in Egypt, slowly converting all of Egypt. After Hadhrat Yousuf, the Egyptians turned back into Shirk (Polytheism) (shirk) and the children of Ya’qoob, the Israelites, multiplied and gained prominence in the society. Hadhrat Moosaa was the first prophet sent to the Israelites at a time when the Fir’aun (Pharaoh) of Egypt was enslaving them. Hadhrat Moosaa went to Madyan to avoid persecution. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) made him a prophet at Mount Toor, situated in the Sinai, Hadhrat Moosaa was given nine great miracles.
17. Hadhrat Haroon (Aaron) is the brother of Hadhrat Moosaa and is mentioned 20 times in the Quraan.
18 & 19. Hadhrat Ilyaas or Elijah and Hadhrat Al-Yasa’ are mentioned two times each in the Quraan and lived in Ba’albek.
20 & 21. Hadhrat Daawood (David) is mentioned in the Quraan 16 times. He led the Israelites in war and won, and had many miracles. His son, Hadhrat Suleiman (Solomon) is mentioned 17 times and was also a king with great miracles. Both are buried in Bait ul Maqdas.
22. Hadhrat Zakariyyah (Zechariah) is mentioned 7 times. He was a carpenter. He raised Hadhrat Maryam (Mary), the mother of Hadhrat Eesaa (Jesus).
23. Hadhrat Yahyaa (John) is the son of Hadhrat Zakariyyah and is mentioned 5 times. He was killed in Bait ul Maqdas, and his head was taken to Damascus.
24. The name of Hadhrat Eesaa (Jesus) is mentioned 25 times, Messiah 11 times, and the ‘son of Maryam’ 23 times. He was born in Bethlehem, Palestine. He is said to have visited Egypt with his mother. He is the last prophet among the Children of Israel.
In conclusion, prophets, biblical and non-biblical, are integral to the Islamic scripture. Muslims see themselves as the true inheritors of the mission of the prophets sent by Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) to explain fellow human beings to worship the One True God and stick to His obedience.
While all other prophets were sent to their own nations or specific territory or for a period of time, the Last and Final Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) was sent for whole of the mankind till the Day of Qiyaamah (Resurrection).