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In the Qur'an, prophets are presented as of one mold. Their world is one, even if diversified, dispersed, and different. Indeed, the Qur'an indicates that the Prophets received one and the same call; they came with one and the same message, and their community (ummah) was one. The following Qur'anic verse suggests this view by poetically reciting certain facts repetitively:

We sent Noah to his people. He said: `O my people! Worship God! You have No Other god but Him.' (Surah 7 Al A'raf: 59) To `Ad (We sent) Hud, one of their (own) brethren: He said: `Oh my people! Worship God! Ye have no other god but Him . . . .' (Surah 7 A1 A'raf : 65) To Thamud (We sent) Salih, one of their brethren: He said: `O my people! Worship God; ye have no other god but Him.' (Id. at 73) "To Madyan We sent Shu'ayb, one of their brethren; he said: `O my~eople! Worship God; Ye have no other god But Him.' (Id. at 85)1

Although the Qur'an recreates the dia]ogue of a given prophet with his nation, it also groups al] prophets as speaking the same language¬that which constitutes the essence of their call2. The Qur'an, thus, creates a chain of prophethood3, and places the highest emphasis on the unity of this chain of prophets, their message and their community:

Then, We sent our messengers in Succession: every time there came to a nation their messenger, they accused him of falsehood; so We made them follow each other, and then, We made them tales. So away with a people that will not believe. T'hen We sent Moses and his brother Aaron, with our verses (signs) and authority manifest, to Pharaoh and his Chiefs: but these behaved insolently: they were an arrogant people. They said: Shall we believe in two men like ourselves? And their people are subject to us!' So, they accused them of falsehood, and they became of those who were destroyed. And We gave Moses the Book, in order that they might be enlightened (guided). And We made the son of Mary and his mother as a sign. We gave them both Shelter on high ground, affording rest and security and fumished with springs. O you messengers! Enjoy (all) things good and work righteousness; for I am all knowing with (all) that you do. And verily this community of yours is a single community. And I am your Lord. Therefore be pious. But they [the followers] tore off their affair (of unity) between them, into sects: each party rejoices in that which it has. But leave them in their confused ignorance for a time. (Surah 23 Al Mu'minun: 44-54)

These verses repeatedly insist on the unity of prophethood, the unity of prophetic messages, and the unity of the Prophets' community. We also learn that, once the prophets were gone, this community was fragmented and torn apart. Yet, those belonging to its various fragments are content in its fragmentation and brokenness:

These are some of the stories of communities, which We relate unto you: of them some are standing and some have been mown down (by the sickle of time).
It was not We who were unjust to them. They were unjust to themselves. Their deities whom they invoked profited them no wit when there issued the decree of thy Lord. Nor did they add aught (to their lot) but perdition.
Such is the chastisement of you Lord when He chastised the villages (communities) in the midst of their injustice. Grievous indeed and severe is his chastisement.
In that is a sign for those who fear the penalty of the hereafter. That is a day for which humankind will be gathered together. That will be a day of testimony. (Surah 11 Hud : 100-103)

These peoples do not sense that this brokenness among themselves is evidence that they have lost what the prophets had called for: God's monotheism, the unity of their community and the unity of the content of the prophetic message4.

Then the Qur'an states: "And We sent Moses, with our clear signs (verses) and an authority manifest unto Pharaoh and his chiefs. But they followed the command of Pharaoh, and the command of Pharaoh was not of guidance." (Id. at 96-97)

The Qur'an, therefore, prohibits us from distinguishing or privileging one prophet above another, for all prophets are unified and share common traits. In verse after verse, the Qur'an commands that its followers believe in all prophets, for example:

The Messenger believed in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the believers each believes in God, his angels, his books, and his messengers. `We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of his messengers.' And they say: `We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your forgiveness. Our Lord, and to You is all destination5.' (Surah 2 A1 Baqarah: 285)
Those who deny God and his messengers, and (those who) wish to separate God &om his messengers, saying: `We believe in some but reject others.' And (those who) wish to take a course midway. They are in truth (equally) unbelievers (infidels); and we have prepared for unbelievers a humiliating punishment.
To those who believe in God and his messengers and make no distinction between any of the messengers, We shall soon give their (due) reward: for God is oft-forgiving, most merciful. (Surah 4 A1 Nisa': 150-152)

1 . In the same Surah we read: "Such were the towns whose story We (thus) relate unto you: There came indeed to them their messengers with clear signs. But they would not believe what they had rejected before . . . ." Surah 7 A1 A'raf: 101. "Then after them We sent Moses with our signs To Pharaoh and his chiefs. But they wrongfully rejected them: So see what was the end of those who made mischief." Id. at 103.[1]


  1. Then after them We sent Moses with our signs

1. In the same Surah we read: "Such were the towns whose story We (thus) relate unto you: There came indeed to them their messengers with clear signs. But they would not believe what they had rejected before . . . ." Surah 7 A1 A'raf: 101. "Then after them We sent Moses with our signs To Pharaoh and his chiefs. But they wrongfully rejected them: So see what was the end of those who made mischief." Id. at 103.

In the Qur'an there is an entire chapter, (Surah) called the Surah of the Prophets (Al Anbiya') relating to the chain of prophecy. In that chapter we read: "In the past We granted to Moses and Aaron the Criterion (for judgement), and a Light and a Message for those who are pious." Surah 21 A1 Anbiya': 48. "This is a blessed message which We have sent down: will you then reject it? We bestowed aforetime on Abraham his rectitude of conduct (guidance), and well were We acquainted with Him." Id. at 50-51. "And We bestowed on him Isaac And, as an additional gift, (A grandson), Jacob, and We Made righteous of every one of them. And We made them leaders, guiding by our command, and We revealed to them to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers; And to practise regular charity; and they were our worshippers." Id at 72-73. "And Noah, when he cried aforetime; We responded to him (listened to his prayer) and delivered him and his family from great distress." ld. at 76. "And David and Solomon, when they give judgement . . . . To theirjudgement We were witness." Id. at 78. "And Job, when he cried to his Lord, `Truly distress has seized me. But Thou are the Most Merciful of those that are Merciful."' Id. at 83. "And Islmai'il, Idris, and Dhu al Kitl, all were of consta.ncy and patience." Id. at 85. "And Dhu al Nun (Jonah], when he departed in wrath; he imagined that We had no power over him. But he cried through the depths of darkness, `There is no god but You: Glory to You: I was indeed one of those who are unjust."' Id. at 87. "And Zakariya, when he cried to his Lord; `O my Lord! Leave me not without offspring, though You are the best of inheritors.' So We responded (to his prayer) And We granted him Yahya [John]: We cured his wife for him. These (three) were quick in emulation, in good wotks; they used to call on us with longing (love) and reverence, and humble themselves before Us." Id. at 89-90. "And her (Mary) who guarded her chastity; We breathed into her of our Spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all worlds (people). Verily, this nation of yours is a single nation, and I am your Lord: therefore worship me. But (later generations) tore off their affairs (of unity) one from another; (yet) will they all return to Us." Id. at 91-93.

These Qur'anic texts indicate that the world of prophets was one, and that they came with one call. "We sent Moses with our signs (and the command): `Bring out your people from the depths of darkness into light, and remind them of the days of God. Verily in this there are signs for such as are firmly patient and constant-grateful and appreciative. "' Surah 14 Ibrahim: 5. There is also in the same Surah:

Has not the story reached you, of those who (went) before you? Of the people of Noah, and `Ad, and Thamud? And those who (came) after them? None knows them but God. To them came Messengers with clear signs; but they put their hands up to their mouths, and said; `We do deny (the mission) on which you have been sent, and we are really in suspicious doubt as to that to which you invite us.' Id. at 9.

2 . The Qur'an recites:

Their messengers said: `Is there a doubt about God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth? It is He who invites you, in order that He may forgive you your sins and give you respite for a term appointed.' They said: `Ah! You are no more than human, like ourselves! You wish to turn us away from what our fathers worshiped: then bring us some clear authority (reference).' Their messengers said to them; `True, we are human like yourselves, but God does grant His grace to such of His servants as He wills. It is not for us to bring you an authority except as God permits. And on God let all believers put their trust. No reason have we why we should not put our trust on God. Indeed He has guided us to the ways we (follow). We shall certainly bear with patience all the hurt you cause us. For those who put their trust should put their trust on God.' Id at 10-12.

3 . After the story of Noah, it says: "Then, We raised after them another generation. And We sent to them (each) a messenger from among themselves, (saying), `Worship God! You have no other god but Him. Will you not fear."' Surah 23 A1 Mu'minun: 31-32.

4 . In Sura A1 `An'am, it is said: "Lo! Abraham said to his father Azar: `Do you take idols for gods? For I see you and your people in manifest error.' So did We show Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, that he might have certitude." Surah 6 A1 An'am: 74-75.

The Qur'an follows the dialogue between Ibrahim and his nation. It, then, says:

That was our reasoning (proof) about Us, which We gave to Abraham (to use) against his people. We raise whom We will, degree after degree, for your Lord is full of Wisdom and knowledge. We gave him Isaac and Jacob: all (three) We guided. And before him, We guided Noah and among his progeny, David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, and Aaron. T'hus do We reward those who are compassionate. And Zakariyya and John, and Jesus and Elias, all in the ranks of the Righteous. And Isma'il and Elisha, and Jonah, and Lot. And all We favored above the nations. And to their fathers, and progeny and brethren, We chose them, and We guided them to a straight way. This is the Guidance of God. He gives that guidance to whom He wills of his worshippers. If they were to join other gods with Him, all that they did would be vain for them. These were to whom We gave the Book, and authority and prophethood. If these (their descendants) reject them, behold! We shall entrust their charge to a new people who will not belie them. T'hose were (the prophets) who received God's guidance. Copy the guidance they received. Say: `No reward for this do I ask of you. This is no less than a message for the worlds (people).' Id. at 83-90.

The Qur'an stresses this prophetic unity and its message by saying: "Generations before you were destroyed whey they became unjust. Their messengers came to them with clear signs, but they would not believe! Thus do We requite criminal nations. Then We made you heirs in the earth (the land) after them, to see how you would behave." Surah 10 Yunus: 13-14.

Then it starts with Noah:

Relate to them the story of Noah. Behold! he said to his people: `O my people, if it be hard on you that I should stay (with you) and remind you of God's signs, then to God I commend my trust. Get you then an agreement about your plan and among your partners, so your plan be not to you dark and dubious. Then pass your sentence on me and give me no respite.' Id. at 71.

We see here how Noah subjects himself to rule of law of his society.

Then after him, We sent (many) messengers to their peoples: they brought them clear signs, but they would not believe what they had already rejected beforehand. Thus do We seal the hearts of the transgressors. Then after them sent We Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh and his chiefs with our signs. But they we were arrogant. They were a people in crime. Id. at 74-75.

In Surah Houd, the Qur'an tells the story of Noah with detail, similar to what we have seen above. Then it mentions, in the same fashion as we saw in Surah A1 A'raf, the story of the prophets and how they asked of their people to worship God because they have no god but Him. We also read more about Moses and Pharaoh here.

5 The Qur'an recites, Say you: `We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord. We make no difference between one and another of them. And to Him we are submitters (Muslims).' So if they believe as you believe, they are indeed guided, and if they turn back, it is they who are in schism; but God will suffice thee as against them, and He is the all-hearing, the all knowing. Surah 2 A1 Baqarah: 136-137. There is also: Say: `We believe in God, and in what has been revealed to us and was revealed to Abraham, Isma'il; Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the Prophets, from their Lord. We make no distinction between one and another among them and to Him we are submitters (Muslims).' Surah 3 Ali `Imran: 84.