This book is written by Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi and published by Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania.
The word ‘Nabi’ (نبی)is derived from ‘Nubuwwat’ (نبوه). ‘Nubuwwat’ means ‘to be high’ and, thus ‘Nabi’means a ‘High person’: high in the presence of Allah, The word ‘Nabi’ shows the exalted position of the prophet which he enjoys in the presence of God. Another interpretation of 'Nabi! is that it is derived from 'Nubu-at i.e., to prophesize. According to this interpretation 'Nabi' means one who prophesizes. The word 'Rasul' (رسول)is derived from 'Risalat' (رساله).
'Risalat' means to send; and 'Rasul' means one who is sent. Thus the word 'Rasul' means 'one who is sent from Allah.’ According to Muslim terminology. 'Nabi' means 'A man sent directly by God to the mankind to lead them to right path.’ The word 'man' excludes the angels who are sent by God for various purposes, but they are not called Nabi or Rasul in Islamic terminology. Also, it excludes women. A woman cannot be a Nabi or Rasul.
The phrase 'sent directly' shows that the Nabi does not get his inspiration or revelation through the agency of any other man. By this phrase we differentiate between Nabi and Imam, because Imams also are 'sent by God to the mankind to lead them to the right path' but they are sent through the prophet; thay get their directions through the prophet, not 'directly' from God.
As explained above, a Nabi was the highest person of his time in the eyes of God. It was necessary that the Nabi and Rasul be from amongst man-kind; because if Allah were to send an angel to lead mankind, people would have felt shy of him, as he would have been a stranger. That is why God always sent Nabi and Rasul from amongst the mankind.
The Nabi or Rasul resembles human beings in his body, appearance and needs; but his spiritual perfection is so great, his soul is so pure and his mind so receptive of the messages of Allah that, metaphorically, he can be said to be quite different from other human beings. For a clear example of his spiritual perfection surrounded by the human needs, ha may be likened to a mirror. A mirror has two sides one is the bright side, the other is the dark side. If we put a mirror directly under the sun, it receives the light and reflects the rays to the farthest corner of a room. Likewise a Nabi or Rasul, because of his spiritual perfection, received the messages of Allah, and by his human body conveyed it to the mankind—to his people.
This short booklet discusses the essential nature of Nubuwwah (Prophethood), why infallibility (ismah) is needed for such a position, and follows this by sections on prophecies about the Holy Prophet and the miracles of his prophethood.