"I have resolved to compile a treatise about the issue of the differences between the Prophets and Messengers, because I saw a need for that. (This need) is due to there being some ambiguity towards understanding some of the verses and ahaadeeth connected to this great issue, and the scarcity of what has been written about this topic. Some of the contemporaries have written concerning that, proceeding upon (the notion) that there is no difference; and I consider this to be insufficient with regards to transmission of the speech and writings of the people of knowledge concerning this issue. I do not deem that I have come with something new; in my estimation, I have gathered some of the evidences and statements of the people of knowledge to make clear for the reader the difference between the Prophets and Messengers. And this distinction is important because it is linked to the ‘aqeedah and it includes giving everyone from amongst them his right; and placing the Prophets in their proper station and the Messengers in their proper station. And this occurs from a completion of honour and reverence for Allaah's Prophets and Messengers; and from the completion of Justice is giving them their rights."
From the pillars of the Islaam is the belief in the Prophets and Messengers. The book before you explains this belief and educates the reader upon the upright creed of ahlus-sunnah wal-jama'aah without tafreet (neglect) or ifraat (exaggeration).
?The author lists twelve differences between a Prophet and a Messenger:
The First: The Prophet is the one who Allaah Informs
The Second: Most of the Messengers were sent to a Disbelieving People
The Third: The Messenger is sent with the Language of his People
The Fourth: The Messengers continue Conveying the Religion of Allaah to their people up until they embrace Islaam or Allaah destroys them
The Fifth: The Messengers’ Legislation was Different in Most Cases
The Sixth: The First of the Messengers was Nooh (‘alayhi salaam)
The Seventh: The Difference between the Number of Prophets and Messengers
The Eighth: The Saving of the Messengers
The Ninth: The Messengers were denied by their People
The Tenth: There are Specific Rights of the Messengers
The Eleventh: The Agreement amongst the Scholars upon One Statement – that Maryam, Aasiyah, Haajar and the Mother of Moosaa – were not Messengers…
The Twelfth: The Virtue of the Messengers over the Prophets
After establishing these differences and the importance of having a correct understanding of the issue, the author discusses the need for Prophets and Messengers and the Wisdom behind them being sent by Allaah to Mankind. He dispels prevalent misconceptions and errors, including those who claim, "There is no difference between the Prophets and Messengers." He illustrates the correct understanding and status of the awliyaa and concludes by addressing and refuting the horrible errors and gross exaggeration of the some of the deviated sects. A comprehensive read on a matter that is widely misunderstood.
Translator’s Foreword V A Brief Biography of Shaykh Abu Nasr Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdullaah al-Imaam VII His Name VII His Birth VII His Offspring VII His Upbringing and Seeking of Knowledge VII His Teachers IX His Students IX Author’s Introduction XI Definition of an-Nabee in the Language and Its Usage XIII Definition of ar-Rasool in the Language and Its Usage XIV The Condition for Prophethood and Messengership amongst Adaam and his Offspring XV Prophethood is not confirmed for Anyone Except with a Legislative Evidence (for their Prophethood) XX Principle: Every Messenger is a Prophet but Not Vice-Versa XXI Section 1: Differences between Prophets and Messengers 1 1.1 The First: The Prophet is the one who Allaah Informs 1 1.2 The Second: Most of the Messengers were sent to a Disbelieving People 3 1.3 The Third: The Messenger is sent with the Language of his People 13 1.4 The Fourth: The Messengers continue Conveying the Religion of Allaah to their people up until they embrace Islaam or Allaah destroys them 17 1.5 The Fifth: The Messengers’ Legislation was Different in Most Cases 21 1.6 The Sixth: The First of the Messengers was Nooh (‘alayhi salaam) 23 1.7 The Seventh: The Difference between the Number of Prophets and Messengers 24 1.8 The Eighth: The Saving of the Messengers 25 1.9 The Ninth: The Messengers were denied by their People 29 1.10 The Tenth: There are Specific Rights of the Messengers 31 1.11 The Eleventh: The Agreement amongst the Scholars upon One Statement – that Maryam, Aasiyah, Haajar and the Mother of Moosaa – were not Messengers… 33 1.12 The Twelfth: The Virtue of the Messengers over the Prophets 35 Section 2: Two (Separate) Messengers are not sent to One People 39 Section 3: The Different Levels of Virtue between the Messengers 41 Section 4: The Difference between the Prophet-King and the Slave-Messenger 45 Section 5: Those Who Say: “There is No Difference between a Prophet and a Messenger” 47 Section 6: The Proofs Employed by Those Who Say: “There is No Difference…” and a Refutation of Them 49 Section 7: The Risaalah (Message) of the Prophets is Limited and Not Absolute 55 Section 8: Mentioning the Messengers with the term “Prophets” does not Negate Them Being Messengers 61 Section 9: Matters which the Prophets and Messengers have in Common 65 Section 10: The Status of the Prophets before their Prophethood 79 Section 11: The Prophets and Messengers are the Absolute Best of Creation 84 Section 12: The Need of Human Beings for the Sending of the Messengers 86 Section 13: The Wisdom of Sending the Messengers 90 Section 14: The Duties of the Messengers 93 Section 15: The Ruling on the One Who Defames the Prophets and Messengers 97 Section 16: The Worst of People with Regards to Allaah’s Punishment is a Man who was killed by a Prophet or a Man who killed a Prophet 103 Section 17: The Most Severely Tried amongst Mankind are the Prophets 105 Section 18: Allaah Took a Covenant from all of the Prophets and Messengers 107 Section 19: The Gatherings of the Prophets are Preserved from Contention and Differing 109 Section 20: It is not proper for a Prophet that He has Deceitful Eyes 111 Section 21: The Prophets Do Not Die Until They Choose To 113 Section 22: The Prophets and Messengers are Buried Wherever they die 115 Section 23: The Prophets and Messengers are Not Inherited From 117 Section 24: The Prophets and Messengers are Alive in Their Graves 119 Section 25: The Earth Does Not Consume the Bodiesof the Prophets 121 Section 26: The Meaning of His (sallaallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) Statement: "Do Not Show Preference between the Prophets" 122 Section 27: The Difference between the Prophet and the Muhaddath (al-Mulham) 124 Section 28: The Difference between the Prophet and the Walee 126 Section 29: Is it Possible for someone from the Awliyaa’ to have the Status of the Prophets? 131 Section 30: The Angels Do Not Speak with the Awliyaa’ and the Muhaddathoon 133 Section 31: Statements that are said concerning our Prophet Which Are in Opposition to Having Good Manners with Him 136 Section 32: The Raafidah (Extremist Shee’ah) Place the Status of their Imaams above the Status of the Prophets and Messengers 143 Section 33: The Excessiveness of the Soofees in Placing the Status of their Awliyaa’ Above the Status of the Prophets 149 Section 34: The Position of the Groups that have exited from al-Islaam 153 Section 35: A General Mention of the Collection of Books Containing Distortion and Defamation of the Prophets and Messengers 154 Section 36: The Criminality of Whoever Defames the Prophets and Messengers, Even Defaming Allaah, In the Era - are a Small Group of al-Hadaathiyeen (Innovators) 157 Section 37: The Weak Ahaadeeth in Connection to Our Topic Concerning the Prophets 165 Closing Comments 169 Appendix: The Forty-Six Parts of Prophethood 171 Glossary of Important Arabic Words and Phrases 183