What is the difference between prophethood and messengership?

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What is the difference between prophethood and messengership?

(editor) on Mon, 19/03/2018 - 10:28

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Nabi (Prophet) “is a person that is sent so that he will convey the revelation he takes from Allah to people. ”Rasul (Messenger)“ is a person that is sent so that he will convey the decrees of Allah to people.” In general, it is accepted that rasuls bring a new shari’ah and a new divine book, and that nabis receive revelation from Allah based on the shari’ah that is valid at that time (see at-Taftazani, Sharhul-Maqasid, İst. 1305. II, 173; S. Sharif Jurjani, at-Tarifat, Cairo, 1938, p. 98, 214; ar-Raghib, al-Mufradat, Cairo, 1961, p. 53, 195, 482)

The terms bi’thah (sending), risalah (message) and irsal (sending) are used for nubuwwah (prophethood) in the Quran and the terms nabi (prophet), mab’uth (the sent one), rasul (messneger) and mursal (the sent one) are used for nabi (prophet); their plural forms are anbiya, mab’uthun, rusul and mursalun respectively. The word safarah is also used for prophethood and safir (plural sufara) for prophet.

Nabi means the one that brings news; rasul, mursal and mab’uth mean messenger, envoy. Thus, prophet means the messenger and herald sent by Allah. Their duties are to convey the information, news, orders and prohibitions they take from Allah to people.

“It is Our Messenger´s duty to proclaim (the message).” (al-Maida, 5/92, 99)

It is necessary for this proclamation to be so clear as to eliminate all kinds of hesitation. (Balagh al-Mubin, an-Nahl, 16/35, 82) However, a prophet is not an ordinary herald and messenger; he is not a mailman at all. Prophets also have the duties to tell people about the revelation they receive from Allah and to explain it. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in the Quran:

“Now hath come unto you, making (things) clear unto you, Our Messenger.” (al-Maida, 5/15, 19, 89)

In fact, the Quran itself is an explanation. (Tibyan, Bayyina, Bayan; see an-Nahl, 16/89; al-An’am, 6/157; Aal-i Imran, 3/138). The explanation made by a prophet is a statement that tells people about the sacred text and divine explanation in a way that various people and groups can understand.

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