Comparison of Prophets

Is there distinction between Al-Khadhir and Moosa (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ)?

If we accept that Khadir was a prophet, in spite of the fact that, Prophet Moosa (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ) was still on a higher level than Al Khadir, because he was from Banu Israeel, they were from a special group of Prophets who were given particular jobs to do. We are told not to make any distinction among the prophets.

"We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers"[1]

 But Allah also says, translation of which is:

 "Those Messengers! We preferred some of them to others; to some of them Allah spoke (directly); others He raised to degrees (of honour)" [2]

There is no doubt that some of the Prophets and Messengers are superior to others; the Messengers are superior to the Prophets, and the “Messengers of strong will”[3] are superior to all the others. The Messengers of strong will are the five whom Allah has mentioned in two verses of the Qur’an, the first of which is in Soorat al-Ahzaab: “And (remember) when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you (O Muhammad), and from Nun (Noah), Ibraaheem (Abraham), Moosa (Moses), and ‘Eesa (Jesus) son of Maryam (Mary)” [al-Ahzaab 33:7 – interpretation of the meaning] – these are Muhammad, Nooh, Ibraaheem, Moosa and ‘Eesa ibn Maryam (عليهم السلام).

 The second verse is in Soorat al-Shoora:

 “He (Allah) has ordained for you the same religion (Islamic Monotheism) which He ordained for Nooh (Noah), and that which We have revealed to you (O Muhammad), and that which We ordained for Ibraaheem (Abraham), Moosa (Moses‎) and ‘Eesa (Jesus)”[4]

These five are superior to all others.  With regard to what Allah says concerning the believers (interpretation of the meaning) – “Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. (They say,) ‘We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers’” [5]

What this means is, we make no distinction between them in terms of belief, we believe that they are all truly Messengers from Allah, and that they did not tell lies, so they all spoke the truth. This is the meaning of the phrase “We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers”, i.e., in terms of belief, we believe that they were all truly Messengers from Allah.

But in terms of the kind of belief that implies following, for those who come after the Messenger (ﷺ), this applies only to the Messenger (ﷺ). He is the one to be followed because his sharee’ah (law) abrogates all other laws. Hence we know that we must believe in all of them and believe that they are truly Messengers from Allah, but after the Messenger (ﷺ) was sent, all previous religions were abrogated by his sharee’ah, and it became obligatory upon all people to follow Muhammad (ﷺ) only.

Allah by His wisdom abrogated all religions apart from the religion of the Messenger (ﷺ), hence He says (interpretation of the meaning): “Say (O Muhammad): O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah — to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He). It is He Who gives life and causes death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad), who believes in Allah and His Words [(this Qur’an), the Tawraat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and also Allah’s Word: “Be!” — and he was, i.e. ‘Eesa (Jesus) son of Maryam (Mary)], and follow him so that you may be guided” [6]  So all religions other than that of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) are abrogated, but we must still believe in the Messengers and that they are true.[7]

So we have to look at both these verses together. We shouldn’t make distinction in the sense that we say that they are not Prophets or saying negative words about any of them. However, within the ranks of Prophets Allah elevated some over others, gave some major jobs, or spoke to some of them, etc., but from our own self we don’t make any distinction.

And Allah knows the Best!

References:

[1] (Al baqarah: 285)

[2] (al Baqarah: 253)

[3] (cf. al-Ahqaaf 46:35)

[4] [al-Shoora 42:13 – interpretation of the meaning].

[5] [al-Baqarah 2:136]

[6] [al-A’raaf 7:158].

[7] From the fatwas of Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Kitaab Fataawa Islamiyyah, 1/81.

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