WHAT BLESSED, NOBLE, and exalted personalities â€“ They were sent to various people throughout history. They struggled patiently and encouraged others to be patient. They were the beacons from which people in darkness found guidance. They were symbols of mercy sent by Allah to humanity so they may be taken by His permission out from their blind stupor and waywardness to the light of guidance and discernment.
All the Prophets bore a great burden; they met with severe trials and displayed unflinching patience against the abuse of their people. They neither demanded nor sought rewards or thanks of the people. Never did they pursue prestige or engage in temporal vanity. On the contrary, their foremost concern was always that the people should worship their Gracious and Exalted Lord.
Each one of the Prophets was sent to their people at epochal periods in their history. Hence they called by night and day, and exhorted their people both secretly and openly. And in the service of this Call to their Lord they had, more often than not, to put up with fierce opposition, denial, and persecution. On account of this, Allah Almighty decreed that their memory should forever be cherished on the Earth. For there is not one Muslim who does not long to remember them, who does not enjoy speaking about them, or displaying his love for the Prophets by invoking Allahâ€™s peace and blessings upon them every time their names are mentioned. Moreover, the majestic station that Allah has prepared for them in the abode of the Hereafter is indeed beyond the imagination of aspirants. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all.
Imam Ahmad narrated in his Musnad on the authority of Abu Dhar that he said: â€śI came upon the Messenger while he was in the mosque and sat down in his company.â€ť The Messenger said: â€śO Abu Dhar, have you prayed?â€ť I answered: â€śNo, O Messenger of Allah.â€ť He said: â€śStand and pray.â€ť â€śSo I stood and prayed then I sat down.â€ť Then the Prophet of Allah said: â€śO Abu Dhar seek refuge with Allah from the evil devils from among the jinns and men.â€ť I said: â€śO Messenger, are there devils from among men?â€ť The Prophet replied: â€śYesâ€ť I said: â€śO Messenger, what is prayer?â€ť He said: â€śThe best subject, whoever wills should do little and whoever wills should do more.â€ť (referring to nonobligatory prayers) I then asked, â€śO Messenger of Allah, what is fasting?â€ť He said: â€śAn obligation which is rewarded generously by Allah.â€ť â€śAnd what of charity?â€ť The Messenger said: â€śIt will be rewarded manifoldlyâ€ť I asked: â€śO Messenger of Allah, which is better?â€ť He replied: â€śStriving by the indigent and secret charity towards the poor.â€ť â€śO Messenger, who was the first of the Messengers?â€ť â€śAdam .â€ť I asked again: â€śO Messenger of Allah, was he a Messengerâ€ť The Prophet replied: â€śYes, a Messenger who was spoken to.â€ť â€śO Messenger of Allah, how many Messengers were they?â€ť He answered: â€śThree hundred and fifteen, a large groupâ€ť I then asked the Messenger: â€śWhich is the greatest verse revealed to you?â€ť He said: â€śThe verse of the Throneâ€ť â€“ Allah, there is no God except Him, the Ever living, the Self-subsisting.
This large number of Allahâ€™s Messengers and Prophets â€“ over three hundred â€“ all raised the banner of reform in societies that were steeped in every shape and form of corruption. They were not satisfied to reform themselves only, but instead with the Call of truth reverberating charged forth amongst their people who had deviated from the path of Tawhid and divine guidance.
They all carried out this mission. Thus it became necessary to differentiate between the Messengers and Prophets. The more authoritative opinion amongst the scholars indicates that a Prophet was one who was sent to revive the call of his predecessors but did not bring a new law. All of them, however, Messengers and Prophets, were sent to their people to invite them to the religion of Allah. They were guides to the way of monotheism and they struggled unrelentingly for it.