Salam,

Here is an interesting article written in the web page www.answeringislam.net with the title “Were Prophets from among all nations or only from Abraham’s seed? The first verse of the Quran that was quoted is at Surah 29:27 And We gave (Abraham) Isaac and Jacob, and ordained among his progeny Prophethood and Revelation, and We granted him his reward in this life; and he was in the Hereafter (of the company) of the Righteous.

With reference to the above verse the writer makes a claim of contradiction in the Quran by questioning whether all prophets were from among all nations or from Abraham’s seed only. In Surah 29:27 above it is stated that all prophets came from Abraham’s seed. But Surah16:36 claims that Allah raised messengers from among every people. In Surah 29:27 as stated above there are some will debate whether “his seed” refers to Jacob as the last person mentioned or to Abraham (him) whom Isaac and Jacob were given to. In either case, the prophethood is stated to belong to Abraham’s descendants. If all prophets are from Abraham’s seed as Surah 29:27 declares, it can hardly be possible that at the same time there are messengers from among every people as stated in Surah 16:36 For We assuredly sent amongst every People a messenger, (with the Command), “Serve Allah, and eschew Evil”: of the People were some whom Allah guided, and some on whom error became inevitably (established). So, travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who denied (the Truth). The claim of contradiction then is, does anybody intend to claim that all people groups are physical descendants of Abraham?

In response to the above alleged contradiction it is not true the claim by the disputant that messengers and prophets were chosen only from the descendants of Prophet Abraham through Isaac and Jacob or those of the descendants of the Children of Israel as claimed by some especially the Jews. Allah is fair that all humanity will have a fair chance to receive His warning and glad tidings through messengers from their own people and since Adam He has sent messengers to all generation of communities around the world with the first original message to Adam when he disobeyed his Lord as stated in Surah 2:38-39 We said: “Get ye down all from here; and if, as is sure, there comes to you Guidance from Me, whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. “But those who reject faith and belie Our Signs, they shall be companions of the Fire; they shall abide therein.” And this message of warnings and glad tidings had never failed to come through the messengers to all generation of communities, thereafter to Noah as stated in Surah 26:105-108 The people of Noah rejected the apostles. Behold, their brother Noah said to them: “Will ye not fear (Allah)? “I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust: “So fear Allah, and obey me. And after Noah Allah continue sending bringers of warning and glad tidings as in Surah 23:31-32 Then We raised after them another generation. And We sent to them a messenger from among themselves, (saying), “Worship Allah. ye have no other god but Him. Will ye not fear (Him)?” The reason messengers were sent to every communities by justification is stated in Surah 28:59 Nor was thy Lord the one to destroy a population until He had sent to its centre a messenger, rehearsing to them Our Signs; nor are We going to destroy a population except when its members practice iniquity.

However, judging from the writing of the disputant in this article it is clear that he is unaware of the difference between a messenger (Rasul) and a prophet (Nabi), he is assuming all the messengers were equal or are corresponding to all the prophets which it is not. In the Quran it is stated all prophets were messengers but not all messengers were prophets. Messenger who were prophets received a book the examples as stated in Surah 6:83-89 That was the reasoning about Us, which We gave to Abraham (to use) against his people: We raise whom We will, degree after degree: for thy Lord is full of wisdom and knowledge. We gave him Isaac and Jacob: all (three) guided: and before him, We guided Noah, and among his progeny, David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, and Aaron: thus do We reward those who do good: And Zakariya and John, and Jesus and Elias: all in the ranks of the righteous: And Ismael and Elisha, and Jonas, and Lot: and to all We gave favour above the nations: (To them) and to their fathers, and progeny and brethren: We chose them, and we guided them to a straight way. This is the guidance of Allah. He giveth that guidance to whom He please, of His worshippers. If they were to join other gods with Him, all that they did would be vain for them. These were the men 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 reject them not. The examples of a prophet who is also a messenger is Moses as stated in Surah 19:51 Also mention in the Book (the story of) Moses: for he was specially chosen, and he was a messenger (and) a prophet. And of Ismael at Surah 19:54 Also mention in the Book (the story of) Ismael: He was true to what he promised, and he was a messenger (and) a prophet. And of Muhammad as stated in Surah 7:158 Say: “O men! I am sent unto you all, as the Messenger of Allah, to Whom belong the dominion of the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: it is He That giveth both life and death. So, believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Unlettered Prophet, who believe in Allah and His words: follow him that (so) ye may be guided.”

Although messengers can come from all communities and irrespective of the times, the prophets were not, they were individuals chosen by Allah from certain communities at specific times. Nevertheless the prophets will not only come from the descendants of Jacob as stated in Surah 29:27 quoted above as claimed by the disputant but there were other individuals as those that has been chosen since the generation of Noah to that of the prophet Muhammad as shown in Surah 4:163 Surely We have revealed to you (O Muhammad) as We revealed to Noah, and the prophets (Nabiyeena) after him, and We revealed to Abraham and Ismael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Isa and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon and We gave to David the Psalms.  However, there is no regulation or limitation on the messengers as that of the prophets as stated in Surah 4:164 And (We sent) messengers We have mentioned to you (O Muhammad) before and messengers we have not mentioned to you; and to Moses, Allah addressed His Word, speaking (to him). From the ending part of this verse 4:164 after Moses messengers will still come to human communities but not any more of the prophets as the Prophet Muhammad is the last of the prophets as stated in Surah 33:40 Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things. Thus, it is clearly stated in the Quran the messengers were sent to all human communities before and after Muhammad but the prophets were chosen from certain communities not only from Abraham or Jacob but from the seeds which goes back to that of Noah until the time of the days of the Prophet Muhammad. There is therefore no contradiction in the Quran as perceived by the writer but it is the fault of him being lack of knowledge on the differences between a messenger and a prophet as told in the Quran.

Asar