Have you ever heard your Muslim friend say the phrase “Peace be upon him” after saying Muhammad’s name? Have you ever wondered why they say it?
All Muslims try to follow Muhammad’s example and copy as much of his life as they can, because they consider him second to Allah and the most revered prophet. Let’s look at all of the prophets of Islam together.
Important figures in Islam
- Allah—He is the Islamic god, the only one they can worship. There are many phrases Muslims say after Allah’s name that are supposed to increase their standing with him and show respect for Allah, for example they say in Arabic, “glorious and exalted is He.” We go into detail about Allah’s characteristics in other blog posts: Who is Allah compared to Yahweh? and The origin of Islam’s god, Allah.
- Muhammad—He claimed to be the prophet of Allah and was the founder of Islam. Muslims don’t worship Muhammad, but they do give him the most respect above any other prophet. They try to copy his life and follow his teachings that are recorded in the Hadith. Saying PBUH (Peace be upon him) when referring to Muhammad is supposed to bless the Muslim and show thier reverence for him.
- Isa/Jesus—According to Islam, Jesus was a prophet and a great teacher. Like they do with all prophets, Muslims say PBUH after saying his name, hoping that it will get them more blessings. To learn more about what Islam teaches about Jesus, read our post “Introducing your Muslim friends to the true Jesus.”
- Abraham and Moses—considered messengers and great prophets. Islam claims that they go back in their geneology to Ishmael, Abraham's son, and that Muhammad was Ishmael’s descendent who was supposed to establish a great nation.
- The remaining 21 main prophets of Islam are: Adam, Enoch, Noah, Heber, Methusaleh, Lot, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Jethro, Job, Ezekiel, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Elisha, Jonah, Zachariah, and John the Baptist. A famous Hadith says that the number of prophets is 124,000, because there were some prophets who received revelations from Allah that were not supposed to share them.
Muslims believe that Allah has spoken through many prophets, such as Noah,
Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. However, Muhammad was the last and most important in a long line of prophets who were tasked with giving their people revelations from Allah. According to Islam, there are two classes of prophets: “rasul” and “nabi.” A rasul, or messenger, is a law-bringing prophet, given a major new revelation and called to communicate what Allah sends to his people. A nabi, or prophet, is also one whom Allah speaks to, but his mission lies within the framework of an existing religion. According to Islam, no prophet/messenger will come after Muhammad. In the present time, Allah sanctions Imams to guide the Muslims.
The Books "sent" by Allah through his messengers:
- Sahifat Nuh- scroll revealed to Noah (no copy found)
- Sahifat- scroll revealed to Abraham (no copy found)
- Taurat- book revealed to Moses
- Zabur- Psalms revealed to David
- Injil- Gospel revealed to Jesus
- Qur’an- revealed to Muhammad
Your Muslim friend has been told to base their entire life off of the writings about Muhammad, what he did and said. He is pictured as a humble, meek person who wears simple clothes and helps the poor and broken wherever he goes. As Muslims go deeper in their Islamic practices, they become more connected with Muhammad to the extent of adoration. They yearn to see him in their dreams and meet him in paradise. In recent years, hundreds of Islamic songs were written dedicated to Muhammad imitating the Christian worship songs to Jesus. Sadly, most Muslims do not know the real life story of Muhammad, his cruelty towards his enemies, his lust after women, and love for political and financial gain.
And although the Quran teaches that only Isa (Jesus) was sinless (Surah 19:19), they are taught to mimic Muhammad’s life instead. There is no one in the list of prophets of Islam that compares to Jesus, but Islam tries to twist the image of Jesus into a diluted form so that Muslims do not see the truth about who He is.
How to talk to your Muslim friend about it
First, your Muslim friend will never say that they worship Muhammad, they believe worship is only left for Allah. However, we know that there is more emphasis on living like Muhammad than there is to try to live like Allah (which makes sense because Muslims claim Allah cannot be known to humans). Read more about Allah in this blog. To start a conversation about prophets in Islam, ask your Muslims friend questions like:
- Why do you model your life after Muhammad’s life?
- I try to live like Jesus, because of how loving He is. I would love to share His life and miracles with you so you would know the true Jesus. Are you comfortable with that?
- Why do you say “peace be upon him” when talking about Muhammad?