The Arabic words used to express the prophetic office are nabi نبي pl ambiya; rasul , pl. rursul and marsal مرسل, p1. mursalun. In Persian, the three titles are invariably translated by the word paighambar بيغمبر(i.e. a messenger).
Nabi is the Hebrew naabi which Gesenius says means “one who bubbles forth” as a fountain. The Arabic lexicon, the Qamus, derives the word from nubu, “to be exalted”.
According to Muslim writers a nabi is anyone directly inspired by God, and rusul and mursal, one to whom a special mission has been entrusted.
Muhammad is related to have said (Mishkat, book. xxiv. ch. 1. pt. 3) that there were 124,000 ambiya, or prophet, and 315 apostles or messengers. Nine of these special messengers are entitled U1u ‘l-’Azm, or possessors of constancy, namely, Noah. Abraham, David, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. Six are dignified with special titles: Adam, Satiyu ‘llah, the Chosen of God; Noah, Nabiyu ‘llah, the Preacher of God, Abraham, Khalilu ‘llah, the Friend of God, Moses, Kalimu ‘llah, the Converser with God; Jesus, Ruhu ‘llah, the Spirit of God; Muhammad, Rasulu ‘llah, the Messenger of God.
The number of sacred books delivered to mankind is said to have been 104 (see Majalisu ‘l-Abrar p. 55); of these, ten were given to Adam, fifty to Seth (a name not mentioned in the Qur’an), thirty to Enoch ten: to Abraham, the Taurat to Moses; the Zabur to David; the Injil to Jesus, and the Qur’an to Muhammad.
The names of twenty-eight prophets are said to occur in the Qur’an.
Adam, Adam; Idris, Enoch; Nuh, Noah; Hud Heber?; Salih, Methusaleh; Ibrahim, Abraham; Ismai1, Ishmae1, Ishaq Isaac, Ya’qub, Jacob, Yusuf, Joseph, Lut, Lot; Musa, Moses, Harun, Aaron; Shu’aib, Jethro?, Zakariya, ‘ Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist; Yahya, John Baptist, ‘Isa, Jesus, Da’ud, David; Sulaiman, Solomon; Ilyas, Elias Alyasa, Elisha; Aiyub, Job: Yunus, Jonah; ’Uzair, Ezra; Luqman, Aesop? more likely Balaam?, Zu ‘l-Kifl, Isaiah or Obadiah?, Zu ‘l-Qarnain, Alexander the Great.
An account of these prophets will be found under their respective names.
A Persian book, entitled the Qisasu ‘l-Ambiyi’, the “Tales of the Prophets,” professes to give an account of the prophets mentioned in the Qur’an, but the utter the recklessness of the writer passes all description; for example, it is a matter of uncertainty whether Zu ‘l-Qarnain is Alexander the Great or some celebrity who lived in the days of Abraham!
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam