Prophet vs Messenger
A common issue that arises when discussing the Quran, the holy book of the Muslims, is the difference between a Prophet and a Messenger. It is important to note that only God truly knows the distinction, as He created these roles to help spread the religion of Islam around the world. Although there are clear definitions of both Prophets and Messengers, confusion often arises among people, particularly those who are not followers of Islam. Many people use the terms Prophet and Messenger interchangeably, but there are distinct differences between the two.
A Prophet is considered a chosen one, a man to whom God reveals divine laws in the form of scriptures. These divine laws are communicated to the Prophets by God and are sent to serve humankind. Prophets, referred to as Nabis in the Holy Quran, are chosen by God to reveal the truths and warnings contained in these scriptures to their people. There are 25 Prophets in total in Islam, and many of them have also been Messengers. The main criterion to be a Prophet is to be chosen by God, to receive scriptures and wisdom. A Prophet is an individual to whom God reveals scriptures in their dreams, and thus there is a direct communication between God and a Prophet.
A Messenger, referred to as Rasool in the Holy Quran, is a chosen one to whom God reveals scriptures and commands them to convey these scriptures to the disbelievers. By definition, a Messenger is one who must convey the message of Islam as revealed by God to them. Some of the prominent Messengers in Islam are Muhammad, Jesus, and Moses. These individuals are described as chosen ones who have received scriptures from God and are supposed to carry forward these revelations in the form of a Deen, or religion. Angels appear in person and reveal scriptures to Messengers, who are required to spread the message among the non-believers.
• There are more Prophets than Messengers in Islam, and while Prophets receive revelations from God, Messengers are chosen by God to carry these scriptures among non-believers.
• Some notable Prophets include Jacob, Ismail, Solomon, and David, while Muhammad, Jesus, and Moses are considered Messengers.
• Prophets are called Nabis in the Holy Quran, while Messengers are called Rasools; Prophets receive revelations in their dreams from God, while angels appear in front of Messengers to reveal divine laws.