The human nation originally emerged from their father, the first man Prophet Adam and their mother, Eve (Peace be upon them) (Qur’an 4:1). Allah, the Creator and Lord of the universe, created Adam (PBUH) from dust (Qur’an 30:20).
After that, He wanted to confer honour upon him (Adam) and so commanded all angels to prostrate to him and they did. Because of his angel-like piety, this command was also meant for Iblees (who was not an angel, but a jin), but he declined. Allah asked him to show the cause of his disobedience. He (Iblees) replied, “I am better than he (Adam), (for) You created me from fire and him from clay” (Qur’an 7:12). At this, Allah expelled him from Paradise, and told Adam and Eve to live together there (in Paradise) with one prohibition that they should not eat from a particular tree (Qur’an 7:18-19).
Jealous of Adam and Eve, Iblees was hatching a machination to depose them of Paradise. He deluded them by swearing that if they ate from the forbidden tree, they would never be expelled from Paradise. They fell prey to his trick (Qur’an 7:20-21). At this, Allah got angry with them and said, “Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that Satan is to you a clear enemy?” (Qur’an 7:22). They repented most for their misdeeds and cried out with this prayer – “O our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If you do not forgive us, we will be lost” (Qur’an 7:23).
Allah ordered both of them to leave Paradise and to go down to the earth and advised them at the same time that during their earthly lifetime, there would be sent guidance for them to the way of Allah. If they followed that, they would be no fear or grief for them (i.e., they would regain their Paradise) (Qur’an 2:38). On the other hand, Iblees took a challenge to take the children of Adam stray (Qur’an 7:16-17). Thus, two divergent paths opened for Adam, Eve, and their children (mankind) – right path (path of Allah leading to Heaven) and wrong path (path of Iblees/Satan leading to Hell).
Allah chose Adam (PBUH) as a prophet (Qur’an 3:33 and Ibn ‘Abbas 2020) and gave him a code for the right conduct of life. This is called Shari’ah. The other name of Shari’ah is Islam. After Adam (PBUH), more than one hundred thousand prophets were sent to people of different times and places of the world to guide them to the way of Allah and Shari’ah/Islam (Ibn Hibban 361).
The Holy Qur’an mentions 25 prophets’ names. Prominent of them are Prophets Muhammad, ‘Isa/Jesus, Musa/Moses, Ibrahim/Abraham, and Nuh/Noah (Peace be upon all of them). All prophets were commissioned by Allah to convey one and the same message – the Message of Islam – to their respective people, namely obey only ONE God (Allah) in the way of the prophet of your time (Qur’an 23:52; 21:92; Ibn ‘Abbas; Ibn Mubarak Ali 2017). Thus, Islam is the religion/way of life chosen by Allah for humans and commonly propagated by all prophets at all times (Qur’an 22:78).
As said above, Allah sent numerous prophets to people. There were no people who did not have a prophet to guide them (Qur’an 5:48; 10:47; 13:7; 35:24). And Allah did not punish any people without sending a prophet to them (Qur’an 17:15). Each prophet came to his own people (tribe or race or community) and called them to Allah in their own languages (Qur’an 14:4). As such, there were more than one prophet commissioned for various places and people at the same and different time(s) (Pinterest n.d.).
For example, Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham (1997-1822 BC) (PBUH) was responsible for the people of Iraq while his nephew, Prophet Lut/Lot (1950-1870 BC) (PBUH) was entrusted with the dead sea area including, among others, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Again, Isma’il/Ishmael (1911-1779 BC) (PBUH) was the prophet for Makkah and his half brother, Prophet Ishaq/Isaac (1761-1638 BC)(PBUH), was the prophet for the area of Syria-Palestine (Ash-Sham). Prophet Suaib/Jethro (1600-1500 BC)(PBUH) was responsible for the people of the Midian (northwest Arabian Peninsula, on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Se). Prophets Musa/Moses (1527-1408 BC) and Haroon/Aaron (1531-1408 BC) (PBUH) were Prophets for Egypt. Meanwhile, Prophet Zulkifli/Ezekiel (1500-1425 BC) (PBUH) was responsible for the people of Armenia and Damascus.
In the chain of prophethood, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the last (Qur’an 33:40). There is no prophet after him (Jami’ al-Tirmidhi). Before him, came two prominent prophets, namely Prophets Musa/Moses and ‘Isa/Jesus (Peace be upon them). Both of them were prophets for Bani Israel (progeny of Prophet Yakub/Jacob whose other name was Israel). In between, many prophets came like Prophet Dawd/David (PBUH).
As confirmed by the Holy Qur’an (7:157), both of them (Prophets Musa/Moses and ‘Isa/Jesus) foretold their followers of the future advent of the last prophet. For example, in Torah Prophet Musa/Moses is quoted to have said, “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me (Torah, Deuteronomy 18:15 cited in The Presidency of Islamic Researches, n.d., at p. 450 n. 1127). Israelites (the children /progeny of Prophet Yakub/Jacob/Israel, son of Prophet Ishaq/Isaac) ) were the brethren of Ismaelites (the children/progeny of Isaac’s step-brother, Prophet Ismail/Ishmael). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the Prophet from Ismaelites. He (PBUH) brought a Shari’ah like Musa/Moses (PBUH). Thus, the Prophecy of Musa/Moses came into reality.
In the same way, Prophet ‘Isa/Jesus (PBUH) prophesied in the Bible that “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever” (King James Bible, John 14:16). Here, “comforter” refers to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as Allah sent him as a mercy (comfort) for all (Qur’an 21:107) (Zawadi n.d.). And “that he may abide with you forever” is interpreted as that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) being the last prophet will remain in his followers’ practice until the last day of the world (The Qur’an Project, n.d.).
The Holy Qur’an (61:6) has a similar saying from Prophet ‘Isa/Jesus as thus – “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” Long before these two prophets (PBUH), Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham (PBUH) prayed for commissioning the last prophet among from the offspring of his son, Prophet Ismail (PBUH) (Qur’an 2:129).
With a long gap of time after Prophet ‘Isa/Jesus (PBUH) had been lifted up, in 570 AD Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born in Makkah in the Quraish family that is linked directly to Prophet Ismail/Ishmael (PBUH) and thus the prayer of Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham (PBUH) and prophecies of Prophets Musa/Moses and ‘Isa/Jesus (PBUH) came true. He received the prophethood in 610 AD. Allah commissioned him with the prophetic responsibility for the whole world. The Qur’an says, “And We have not sent you but comprehensively to mankind as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. But most of the people do not know” (34:28). Allah asks the Prophet to convey the message of Islam to all mankind:
“O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to you all, [from Him] to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death” (Qur’an 7:158).
Then, mankind are urged to believe in Allah and His Messenger (Prophet Muhammad) and to follow his way of life so that they can be guided (Qur’an 7:158). With special reference to the people of Torah and Bible, Allah says, “they who have believed in him (Prophet Muhammad), honored him, supported him and followed the light (Islam) which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful” (Qur’an 7:157). Thus, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the Prophet for all mankind regardless of the fact that they are people of Book or not.
To conclude, until the last day of the world, the Shari’ah (Islam) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the only prescribed way of life from Allah for mankind. To quote the Holy Qur’an, “And whoever desires other than Islam as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers” (3:85).
In the words of the Prophet (PBUH), “By the One in Whose Hand is my soul (i.e. Allah), even if Musa/Moses (PBUH) were alive, he would have no choice but to follow me”(Ahmad 3/387, no. 14859).
Ahmad. Musnad at https://www.abukhadeejah.com/even-if-musa-and-isa-moses-and-jesus-were-present-today-they-would-have-no-choice-but-to-follow-the-book-and-sunnah-because-it-is-sufficient/.
Bin Mubarak Ali, AR (2017), Tafsirul Qur’an Bil Qur’an, Dhaka: Imam Publications (in Bangla).
Ibn Abbas, Tafsir Ibn Abbas (2020), Amman: Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, at https://www.altafsir.com.
Ibn Hibban at https://www.quora.com/How-many-prophets-of-Islam-were-there.
King James Bible at https://biblehub.com/kjv/john/14.htm.
The Presidency of Islamic Research, Ifta, Call and Guidance (n.d.), The Holy Qur’an: English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary, Madinah: King Fahd Holy Qur’an Printing Complex.
The Qur’an Project at https://www.quranproject.org/A-quotParacletequot-like-Jesus-592-d.
Zawadi, B. ‘Rebuttal to David Wood’s Article “Muhammad in the Bible?: An Analysis of the Muslim Appeal to Biblical Prophecy” ‘ at http://www.calltomonotheism.com/rebuttal_to_david_wood_s_article__muhammad_in_the_bible___an_analysis_of_the_muslim_appeal_to_biblical_prophecy (read on 01/03/20`7).