views updated

Nabī (Arab., ‘prophet’, cf. Heb., nabhi). A prophet, the basic description, with rasūl (apostle), of Muḥammad's role and status. According to the Qurʾān, prophets have been sent to all peoples, conveying the same guidance and warning from God. Thus Moses, Jesus, Ḥūd (to give only three examples) are recognized equally as prophets in the Qurʾān. But Muḥammad is the khātam, ‘seal’, of the prophets. Prophets are characteristically persecuted by the people to whom they come, and Muḥammad was no exception; but ʿĪsā/Jesus alone was exempted from death. In later Islam, considerable effort was made to relate the work of the prophet (whose word by definition comes from God) to that of the philosopher (who relies on intellect, and may therefore be unnecessary to the discovery of the truth that matters).