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['Aalim Network QR] Nabi & Rasul

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\

Salamun Alaykum,

The following questions were kindly answered by Mulla Bahsir Rahim.


Abbas Jaffer
Acting Moderator - Alim Network


Question 1:

In out Quran lesson, a question came up as to the difference between the
terms Nabi and Rasool. I was previously told that every Rasool is a Nabi,
but not every Nabi is a Rasool. A Rasool receives revelation whereas a Nabi
doesn't necessarily receive revelation. However, the verse 3:80 points says:

And when God took the pledge of the NABIEEN, "Verily, what I have given you
of the Book and Wisdom ...." 

This leads one to believe that the Nabi receives a Book (revelation). 

Can you please clarify.

Question 2: 

Is Prophet Haroon a Nabi or a Rasool? Taking into consideration the verse
21:48 which says 

And indeed We did grant unto Moses and Haroon Criterion and Light and a
Reminder for the pious ones 



First of all I tender my abject apology for the the delay.

(1) On the distinction between nabi and rasul scholars are not agreed. There
is a school of thought which subscribes to the view that a rasul was the
prophet who brought a new shariah while those prophets who did not bring a
new shariah were called nabi. The following excerpts from the book entitled
"Prophethood" by Maulana Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizwi may prove of some
assistance although the learned author does not commit himself to any
particular difference:

"The word nabi is derived from "Nabuwwat" which means to be high and thus
"nabi" means 
a high (exalted) person in the presence of Allah.  Another interpretation of
"nabi" is
that it is derived from "nubu-at" that is to prophesize. According to this
interpretation "nabi" means one who prophesizes.
The word "rasul" is derived from "risalat" which means to send and "rasul"
means one who is one who is sent from Allah."

Maulana adds-

"According to Muslim terminology, "nabi" means "a man sent directly by God
to the mankind to lead them to the right path".

"The phrase 'sent directly' shows that the nabi does not get his inspiration
or revelation through the agency of any other man. By this phrase we
differentiate between nabi and imaam., because imaams are also sent by God
to the mankind to lead them to the right path but they are sent through the
prophet; they get their direction through the prophet, not directly from God."

I have quoted the above to demonstrate that there is no easy answer to the
question and perhaps for the madressah children the simplistic answer
suggested by the questioner may be more comprehensible.

Allama Sayyid Muhammad Hussayn Tabatabai discusses the whole question
extensively in the
Al-Mizaan, Vol.3, pp 204-215 (Tafseer Ayah 213 Surah:II). At one stage he

"In short the words os Allah do not show any difference between the two
(nabi and rasul) except what appears from their literal meaning."

The learned author cites a hadeeth of the fifth Imaam (A.S.) from al Kafi.
Commenting upon Ayah 51 of Surah 19 in which Allah describes Hazrat Musa
(A.S.) in these terms: "Lo ! He was chosen and he was a rasul and a nabi"
the Holy Imaam says "The Prophet (nabi) is the one who sees in his dream and
hears the voice but does not see the angel; the apostle (rasul) is the one
who hears the voice, and does not see in dreams, and sees the angel."  

(2) In view of the above the status of Haroon would be difficult to
determine. I would be
tempted, for teaching to our children, to present the distinction suggested
by you. Haroon was not given a shariah, he was to uphold the one given to Musa. 

With regard to Ayah 48 of Surah Anbiya (XXI) Mir Ali in his tafseer
distinguishes between the shariah given to Musa and the Furqan, crtiterion
to differentiate between right and wrong. Tafseer-e-Nammonah discusses at
length ( Vol.13 p. 316) the meaning of furqan in the tafseer of this Ayah.

Nonetheless if you feel you want a detailed and reasoned answer, I shall be
happy to do more research on the subject.

Please remember me in your du'aas.
With salaams and du'aas from an humble servant  of Ahlul Bayt and their

Bashir Rahim

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