Difference between Prophet and Messenger (Rasul and Nabi) in Islam

Difference between Prophet and Messenger (Rasul and Nabi) in Islam

What is the difference between Prophets and Messengers? there are many definitions, the most authentic is that a messenger is someone who is sent with a new law and scriptures while a Prophet is sent to follow and verify the law of the Messenger before him. That’s why we have a few messengers for Bani Israel while they have hundreds, if not thousands of Prophets, and some of them were killed by them. So for example, John the Baptist (Yahya A.S.) peace be upon him was a Prophet and not a Messenger while Jesus (Isa A.S.), his cousin was a Prophet and a Messenger because Isa (A.S.) got the Book of Injeel (Gospel).

Difference between Rasul and Nabi (Messenger and Prophet)

When Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala created us and sent messengers, and sent messages with those messengers, there were two types of people that He sent. One were those known as Rusul (also spelled Rasool, Arabic: رسول) and the other were Nabi (Arabic: نبي‎). There is a difference between a Rasul and a Nabi. So, what is the difference? One is a Messenger, and one is a Prophet. The one who has a higher status is a Rasul, a Messenger, because every Messenger is a Prophet, but not every prophet is a Messenger.

A Rasul is a person who came with a new Sharia, with some law, with a book, with something that Allah gave him – an instruction, revelation. Allah said to them to go and teach this to the people and go and warn them, and so on. That is known as a Rasul, a person who is a Messenger given a message to go and deliver.

A Nabi, who is a Prophet, is one who also delivered the Message of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala but not given to him specifically, but rather given to some Messenger who came before him. So, this is why when we look at Haroon (Alaihis Salaam), Allah speaks about Musa (May peace be upon him), and Allah says,

“We certainly gave Moses the Book and appointed his brother Harun as his helper.”

[Quran 25:35]

Which means as a Prophet to help him. So whose message was it? It was the message of Allah. Given to whom? Given to Moses (May peace be upon him), but Harun (A.S.) assisting. Then it’s automatically known that a Rasul is higher than a Nabi.

Also Read: 25 Prophets of Islam

The duties owed by prophets and the duty owed by a messenger, who is not a prophet are clearly distinguished in Quran 3:81:

And [recall, O People of the Scripture], when Allāh took the covenant of the prophets, [saying], “Whatever I give you of the Scripture and wisdom and then there comes to you a messenger confirming what is with you, you [must] believe in him and support him.” [Allāh] said, “Have you acknowledged and taken upon that My commitment?” They said, “We have acknowledged it.” He said, “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.”

Also Read: Four Prophets of Islam who are still alive

Rasul (Messenger)Nabi (Prophet)
MeaningOne who receives a divine message and is given a new set of laws and scriptures.One who receives a divine message but generally follows the laws of the previous messenger.
Scope of MessageGiven a specific message or a new set of laws applicable to their people.Often reaffirms the existing laws or may have a message for a specific community.
Number MentionedA specific category of messengers, fewer in number.A broader category, more numerous.
LifeThere has been in case in History where a Rasul (Messenger) was killed by Non-believers.Many Nabi (Prophets) were killed by Non-believers.
Status in IslamElevated status, as they bring a new message and laws.Respected, but their role is seen as continuing the message of previous prophets.
Examples in IslamProphet Muhammad (PBUH), Prophet Musa A.S. (Moses), Prophet Isa A.S. (Jesus).Prophet Ibrahim A.S. (Abraham), Prophet Yusuf A.S. (Joseph), Prophet Ayyub A.S. (Job).

This was the difference between Prophets and Messengers in Islam (difference between Rasul and Nabi) in Islam. Read more Islamic Blogs or follow us on social media for Islamic reminders.

Kashif Ali

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Millionaire Danny Lambo converts to Islam Importance of Rajab Month in Islam