The Uniqueness Of Prophets Abraham, Moses, Jesus And Muhammad – OpEd


“Say: We believe in Allah and what has been revealed to us (by Prophet Muhammad), and what was revealed to Ibrahim and Ismail and Ishaq and Yaqoub and the (descendants of the 12) tribes, and what was given to Musa and Isa and to the prophets from their Lord; we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit.” (Qur’an 3:84)

When the Qur’an states that “we do not make any distinction between any of them” it only refers to negative distinctions. The Qur’an refers to Prophet Jesus by name 34 times; 26 times as Prophet Jesus and 8 times as ‘Jesus the Messiah’. The Qur’an rejects Jesus as the Son of God; yet it accepts Jesus as a Prophet and Messianic agent of God: 

“O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah Jesus, the son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.” (Qur’an 4:171)

Yet the Qur’an also says: “And (mention) when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name-title will be Messiah Jesus, son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the hereafter and among those brought near (to Allah)”. (3:45)

This is the positive uniqueness of Prophet Jesus, just as the Uniqueness of Prophet Abraham is in his prophetic descendants promoting three different monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam; and who is the only prophet designated as a friend of God in all three religions. (see Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23 and Qur’an 4:125)

The last of the Abrahamic prophets was Prophet Muhammad whose uniqueness is in being the only messenger that we know of, to bring God’s sacred scripture book all by himself. 

As a rabbi for almost 60 years, I am most interested in the uniqueness of Prophet Moses and the covenant Prophet Moses and the descendants of Prophet Jaqoub-Jacob entered into at Mount Sinai, with the God who had just redeemed them from Pharaoh’s oppression. 

ויקרא כו:מו אֵלֶּה הַחֻקִּים וְהַמִּשְׁפָּטִים וְהַתּוֹרֹת אֲשֶׁר נָתַן יְ־הוָה בֵּינוֹ וּבֵין בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּהַר סִינַי בְּיַד מֹשֶׁה. (Leviticus  26:46) “These are the decrees, laws and teaching which YHWH set between Him (self) and the Israelites at Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.”

Prophet Abraham was the first of the Abrahamic Prophets, Prophet Muhammad was the last of the Abrahamic prophets, and Prophet Moses was the only prophet that God spoke to directly (not through an intermediary): “And Allah spoke to Moses with [direct] speech” (Qur’an 4:164) “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face (directly) as one speaks to a friend.” (Exodus 33:11)

The meaning of “These are the decrees, laws and teaching which YHWH set between Him(self) and the Israelites at Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.” refers to the covenant God makes between Himself and Prophet Jacob’s descendants—Banu Israel which is like a marriage covenant, with Moses as the matchmaker. 

The marriage of God and the People of Israel began when God proposed a marriage covenant at Mount Sinai. God said to Moses (the go between): “Speak thus to the house of Jacob, and tell this to the children of Israel… Now if you listen to me and keep my covenant, then you will be my special possession out of all the peoples, for the whole earth is mine. You will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation. These words you shall speak to the people of Israel” (this is the proposal). 

“Moses came and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all these proposals as God had commanded him. All the people answered together, “All that God has proposed, we will do. (the acceptance, similar to the “I do” at a wedding) Moses brought this answer back to the Lord.” (Exodus 19:5-8)  

Why did God choose the symbolic form of a marriage with the Jewish People? The Torah makes it clear that Divine love isn’t based on popularity or large numbers. “It was not because you were more numerous than any other nation that the Lord cared about you and chose you, for you are the smallest of nations; it was because of the Lord’s love for you, and his oath (engagement proposal) to your ancestors (starting with Prophet Abraham).” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8) 

Who can really fully explain the process of falling in love? God just loved their ancestors. “I will fulfill my covenant between myself and you (Prophet Abraham) and your descendants after you, generation after generation, an everlasting covenant, to be your God, yours and your descendants after you.”  (Genesis 17:7) and “All the families of the earth shall be blessed through you (Jacob) and your descendants.” (Genesis 28:14)

The important thing to remember is that being chosen and special does not automatically make you better. A committed loving relationship results in more giving (Mitsvot), more receiving (Torah, Prophets and sages) and more pain and grief (because each cares about the other). “For you alone have I cared among all the nations of the world, therefore I will castigate you for all your iniquities.” (Prophet Amos 3:2)

Most important, while Israel can’t adore any other God, God can and does redeem other nations. “Are not Israelites like Ethiopians to me? Says the Lord. Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Crete and the Aramaeans from Kir?” (Prophet Amos 9:7)  Thus, Jews are not THE chosen people; they are A chosen people, the first of several monotheistic religions that have lasted to the present. A parent can have many children but only one can be the firstborn. “These are the words of the Lord, Israel is my first-born son.” (Exodus 4:22)

It is a fact and a historical reality that the Jewish people was the first community to enter into an ongoing sacred relationship with the one God of Abraham; but they are not the only community to have done so. In later centuries other religious communities were formed, that Jews see as our younger siblings. As the prophet Zachariah predicted: “Someday many nations will join themselves to the Lord, and (also) become my people, but I will (still) dwell amidst you. You will (then) know that the Lord of Hosts sent me (Zachariah) to you.” (Prophet Zachariah 2:15)

That process is ongoing and will continue until in the Messianic Age all nations have a sacred relationship to the one God of Israel. “Each nation will walk in the name of its God, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.” (Micah 4:5) Even in the Messianic Age the other nations will be free to faithfully follow their vision of the One God.

What is Israel chosen for? To be an agent of holiness and enlightenment. “You are the children of the Lord your God…You are a people holy to the Lord your God (see Leviticus 19) and the Lord has chosen you out of all the nations on earth to be his special possession.” (Deuteronomy 14:1-2) “I will make you a light for the nations.” (Prophet Isaiah 49:6) So other nations will also be blessed through their own religions that were ignited by Israel’s original covenant with God at Sinai, thus fulfilling God’s promise to Israel that their descendants would become a blessing to all the nations of the earth.

This theory, that Israel is the first of a series of monotheistic communities that will be established by Divinely inspired prophets; is also supported by the Qur’an which, as the last of the holy scriptures of a worldwide religion, is the only book of revelation that includes within itself a theory of prophethood which includes other religions. 

Of course, there have always been (since the days of Adam) humans inspired by God who urged their own community to avoid destruction by turning away from their corrupt and unjust ways; and turning to the One God who created all human beings. But the ongoing community that descended from Prophets Abraham and Jacob/Israel is the only monotheistic community to have lasted for over thirty five centuries. 

The Qur’an mentions 25 prophets by name (most of them Jewish) and Muslims believe there were one hundred twenty four thousand other prophets, whose names are now unknown. Of the 25 mentioned by name in the Qur’an, only four Prophets; Moses, David, Jesus, and Muhammad (Qur’an 4:163) revealed books of sacred scripture (Torah, Psalms, Gospel, and Qur’an) that are the bases for the three major monotheistic religions that still flourish today.

The Qur’an relates God’s special concern for faithful Jews when Prophet Moses speaks to his people as follows: “O my people! Remember God’s favor upon you, for He appointed among you Prophets, and rulers, and He granted to you favors such as He had not granted to anyone else in the worlds” (Qur’an 5:20). This is one reason why Jews in Sunni Muslim lands have rarely been forcibly converted; as frequently happened in Christian lands.

Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Allen Maller retired in 2006 after 39 years as Rabbi of Temple Akiba in Culver City, Calif. He is the author of an introduction to Jewish mysticism. God. Sex and Kabbalah and editor of the Tikun series of High Holy Day prayerbooks.

4 thoughts on “The Uniqueness Of Prophets Abraham, Moses, Jesus And Muhammad – OpEd

  • May 13, 2023 at 10:46 am

    in your article, you mentioned that the Moses ( pbuh) is the only messenger to whom Allah have directly talked, but it’s lack of oyur knowledge that you don’t know that the prophet Mohamed ( pbuh) have been granted the tile and position which no human have been granted, including taking him to the highest position beyond 7th Heaven, and he was spoken directly, those words between him and almighty Allah have been a part of a every prayer Muslims perform, and before he was taken to the heaven, he was granted the leadership over all the leaders of the world, he was granted the position of leader in the prayer performed in Al’qudus in a congregation of 124k prophets, including Adam, Ibrahim, Moses, Jesus, (peace and blessing of Allah be upone all of them,) and no prophet of Allah did bring any religion other than Islam, Moses didn’t bring Judaism, Jesus didn’t bring Christianity, they all brought Islam, and they said they are Muslims, those other names are fabricated names among the deviated factions of their Islam,

  • May 13, 2023 at 11:15 pm

    God spoke to Abraham, Moses and Jesus. I deeply apologize I have not read all of the Qu’ran but I accept your words. The fact and the problem is one in the same from my understanding of the three religions and that has to do with labels. This article describes a time line that each “religion” that the others accept and builds on. Judaism was the first of them. If you believe in their prophets and their teachings have an influence on what you believe from future prophets than you believe in Judaism. The next is Christianity which takes Judaism and adds the teachings and miracles during his life, which also fulfilled prophecies from the original Testament. God created him, he allowed his spirit to come into a relationship with his spirit and he proved that as a man you could live this life and remain faithful no matter what you were going through including betrayal, torture and death. He gave man the same gift of having God’s spirit to come into you.

    Islam was the next where taking Judaism and Christianity and focusing more on the combined key points and elaborating. There is only One God, live a kind, just, moral Godlike life and love those God loves (everyone), forgive those that have sinned, tolerate those that do not believe what you believe and most importantly spread his word.

    No where does Jesus tell Christians to be hostile towards others that may believe in something else and Muhammad didn’t tell Muslims to do that either. Evil doesn’t equal others praying to the One God. Jesus pray to Jehova who is the same as Allah, Emanuel, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Elah, Elohim, El-Shaddai.

    It is when men start trying to elaborate on God’s teachings that you end up with three religions attacking one another. I am not a follower of men and their names I am a believer in the One God and all his teachings from the ancient times through today. Make no mistake he continues to speak to us through people today. I don’t have to be catholic to see the current Pope is a believer in God and God is using him. Billy Graham said at the outset of his crusades that it didn’t matter what religion you came from, let’s start with excepting God into our lives and go from there.
    I know there are others and there are also the false prophets that look to pull you down into putting up barriers based on only scriptures taken out of context. They encourage judging others.

  • May 14, 2023 at 12:13 am

    Scripture interprets scripture? ” The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.” (Gen.6:5-6) For this wickedness God required a sacrifice. Abraham told Isaac, “God will provide a lamb for the burnt offering.” (Isaiah 53:10); “0 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand;” But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. God fulfilled his promise to Abraham, by sending Immanuel (God with us). This sacrifice was pleasing to God and the gift of salvation was complete.


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