Prophets and messengers
In the holy Quran prophets are of two kinds: human beings such as Nuh and angels such as Jibreel. The former are human and live among their nations. The latter are angels and do not live among people. At another level, they are also bearers of the divine scriptures such as Dawood and non-bearer of divine scriptures such as Sulaiman. There are two types of messengers at a third level. Messengers whom Allah selected to convey the divine message to their nations as the lead messenger such as Musa; and messengers who came in a group or in a sequence as helpers to their lead messenger such as Haroon.
The stories of the prophets appear in different chapters of the holy Quran. The prophets mentioned in the Quran include the first man Adam, Nuh (Noah), Hud (Eber), Saleh, Ibrahim (Abraham), Imran, Israel, Ismail (Ishmail), Lut (Lot), Ishaq (Isaac), Yaqoob (Jacob), Yusuf (Joseph), Ayub (Job), Zulkifl (Ezekiel), Shoaib (Jethro), Jonas (Jonah), Musa (Moses), Haroon (Aaron), Dawood (David), Sulaiman (Solomon), Zakaria (Zachariah), Isa (Jesus), Yahya (John), Ilyas (Elijah) and Al-yas’a (Elisha).
Muslims believe in all divine messengers from Adam to the last and final prophet of Islam, Mohammad, peace be upon him. Musa is the most discussed prophet in the Quran followed by Ibrahim and then Nuh and Lut. Seven chapters in the Quran are named after prophets: namely, Imran, Yunus, Hud, Yusuf, Ibrahim, Nuh and Mohammad. In addition, there is also a chapter named “The Prophets”. Surah Yaseen is not named after a prophet but it contains the story of three messengers whose names have not been revealed [36:14]. Commentators of the Quran are not agreed whether Uzair, Khizr or Yusha bin Noon, the companion of Musa in Surah Al-Kahf [18:32] were prophets.
There have been other messengers who were selected by Allah to guide people in distant lands and different times in the past but their names are not mentioned in the Quran. However this applies to the past and not the future. A section of people who ironically call themselves “the real Muslims” believe that prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the last and final prophet who was given a holy scripture (Quran) with its own moral code and divine law; but that other prophets from his Ummah will continue to come to guide Muslims until the end of the world. This is not a correct belief. It is unanimously agreed by all Islamic schools of jurisprudence that no Muslim, despite his good character or knowledge of the Quran, can claim to be a prophet after Muhammad even if he claims to reinforce the Sharia of Muhammad. The Quran says that the religion of Islam is complete after Muhammad. The door to prophethood of any kind or definition is also closed after Muhammad, peace be upon him. Anyone who harbours this wrong belief is an apostate and not a Muslim.
Angels are among the many creations of Allah who are closest to Him physically and spiritually. The Quran does not say that they are made of light (noor) but it does make clear that they glorify Allah and carry out divine duties assigned to them on the earth and in heavens. They have the ability to take the form of humans. Quran inform us but little about their form that they have wings [35:1]. They are mentioned in the Quran in many chapters, especially in relation to the creation of Adam [2:30], the rebellion of Iblis [38:76], their visit to Ibrahim [51:24 to 28] and Lut [29:33]; the visit of angels in human form to Lady Maryam to give her the good news of the immaculate birth of a son who would be called Christ Jesus, son of Mary, [3:45]; an angel coming to take Prophet Mohammad to a tour of the Heavens [17:1]; the angels appointed to fetch the soul of humans at the time of their death [16:32, 41:30, 8:50 and 47:27]; the angels surrounding the throne (Arsh) of the Almighty Allah [39:75], and their duties at the gates of heaven and hell (39: 71 to 73]. In the holy Quran the angels mentioned by name are: Harut, Marut, Gabriel and Michael [2:97-98].
Jinn and devil
Iblees, shayateen, good jinns and bad jinns are made of fire [55:15]. They are invisible to humans but they have the ability to appear in the form of humans or animals [7:27]. In the holy Quran, they have been mentioned in many Surah, in particular 18:50 (Iblis), 27:39 (Ifreet in Suleiman’s court) and 72: 1 to 15 (conversation of a travelling group of jinn). Among the jinns there are also good jinns who have accepted the message of Islam and have become Muslims [72:11] and bad jinns who are Shyateens. They are always associated with rebellion and disobedience to Allah [55:60] and they are the ones who are constantly working on human beings to misguide them and deprive them from earning a place in their divine ancestral home, which is Paradise.
The Quran mentions only Maryam, the mother of Isa by name. Other women are unnamed and appear in the context of parables, stories of prophets or certain specific events. The Quran mentions the wife of Nuh (believed to be Wagla); wife of Lut (no information is available about her name in Islamic literature); wife of the Pharaoh (Ramses 1) Aa’sia bint Mazahim; wife of Adam (known as Hawa); mother of Ismail (Hagar); mother of Ishaq (sarah); Queen of Sheba (Bilqees); wife of Musa (believed to be Yokabid who was daughter of Shoaib); wife of the nobleman of Egypt who tried to seduce Yusuf (Zulaikha); her friends who were invited by the wife of Aziz to her house see Yusuf; wife of Imran (who was mother of Maryam and sister of Zakaria) [3:35 & 66:12]; wife of Zakaria (believed to be Ilyasabat); wife of Ayub (believed to be Rahma); and some wives of the holy Prophet.
PS: There are other related articles on these items in the archives of this website.
An Essay on Jinns