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The Difference between a Messenger, a Prophet, and a Muhaddath


باب الفرق بين الرسول والنبي والمحدث

The Difference between a Messenger, a Prophet, and a Muhaddath


عدة من أصحابنا، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن أحمد بن محمد بن أبي نصر، عن ثعلبة بن ميمون، عن زرارة قال: سألت أبا جعفر عليه السلام عن قول الله عز وجل: " وكان رسولا نبيا " ما الرسول وما النبي؟ قال: النبي الذي يرى في منامه ويسمع الصوت ولا يعاين الملك، والرسول الذى يسمع الصوت ويرى في المنام ويعاين الملك، قلت: الامام ما منزلته؟ قال: يسمع الصوت ولا يرى ولا يعاين الملك، ثم تلا هذه الآية: وما أرسلنا من قبلك من رسول ولا نبي ولا محدث 

Several of our companions from Ahmad b. Muhammad from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Abi Nasr from Tha`laba b. Maymun from Zurara.

He said: I asked Abu Ja`far عليه السلام about the saying of Allah: “He was a messenger, a prophet” (19:51) – what is a messenger and what is a prophet? He said: The prophet is one who sees [revelation] in his dreams and hears the voice, but does not witness the angel. And the messenger is one who hears the voice, sees [revelation] in the dreams, and witnesses the angel. I said: What is the position of the Imam? He said: He hears the voice, and does not see nor witness the angel. Then he recited this verse: “Never have We sent a messenger nor a prophet nor a muhaddath (i.e. one receives implicit inspiration) [but when He recited the message, Satan proposed opposition in respect of that which he recited thereof…]” (22:52) (al-Kafi, Volume 1, hadith 434)

Translator’s note: The segment of the latter ayah that mentions the muhaddath can be ta’wil of the Qur’an.

(sahih) (صحيح)


محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن الحسن بن محبوب، عن الاحول قال سألت أبا جعفر عليه السلام عن الرسول والنبي والمحدث، قال: الرسول الذي يأتيه جبرئيل قبلا فيراه ويكلمه فهذا الرسول، وأما النبي فهو الذي يرى في منامه نحو رؤيا إبراهيم ونحو ما كان رأى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله من أسباب النبوة قبل الوحي حتى أتاه جبرئيل عليه السلام من عند الله بالرسالة وكان محمد صلى الله عليه وآله حين جمع له النبوة وجاءته الرسالة من عند الله يجيئه بها جبرئيل ويكلمه بها قبلا، ومن الانبياء من جمع له النبوة ويرى في منامه ويأتيه الروح ويكلمه ويحدثه، من غير أن يكون يرى في اليقظة، وأما المحدث فهو الذي يحدث فيسمع، ولا يعاين ولا يرى في منامه.

Muhammad b. Yahya from Ahmad b. Muhammad from al-Hasan b. Mahbub from al-Ahwal.

He said: I asked Abu Ja`far عليه السلام about the messenger, the prophet, and the muhaddath. He said: A messenger is one who Jibra’il comes to him, he sees him (i.e. the angel) and speaks to him – this is a Messenger. As to the prophet, he is the one who sees in his sleep the like of the vision of Ibrahim and the like of what the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله saw by the means of prophethood prior to the revelation until Jibra'il عليه السلام brought him the message from Allah. And when Muhammad صلى الله عليه وآله had prophethood combined for him and the message came to him from Allah, Jibra'il would bring it to him and speak to him with it before him. And from the prophets was he who had prophethood combined for him, and who see in his sleep and the Spirit would come to him and speak to him and narrate to him, without him seeing in wake. As to the muhaddath, then he is the one who is narrated to and so he hears, but he does not see [in wake] and does not see in his sleep. (al-Kafi, Volume 1, hadith 436)

(sahih) (صحيح)
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