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.

Now, there are Ahadith which inform us the number of Prophets and Messengers. However, majority of scholars state that the narrations to be 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:

“The scholars differed as to the number of Prophets and Messengers, according to what reached them and their opinions on the authenticity of the hadiths that mentioned their numbers. Those who classed the hadiths as sahih or hasan gave their opinion based on those reports; those who classed the hadiths as da‘eef said that the number could not be known except through Revelation, so they refrained from stating a number.”

– Islam Question and Answer: http://islamqa.info/en/95747

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: Ch-13: Ver-07:
“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: Ch-35: Ver-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 Ahadith 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 the Quran and Hadith can be said with certainty that they were Prophets of God. Other Prophets in scriptures like Bible, Talmud, Vedas etc. may have been Prophets of God but we cannot consider them to be Prophets of God with certainty.

Moreover, prophethood wasn’t only bestowed on people in Arabia and Israel, as Quran explicitly informs us that no nation did not have a warner or a guide.

Please Share the Khair 🙂


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