What is the Difference Between a Rasul and a Nabi ?

Extracted from ~ Tafseer of Surah Maryam


وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ مُوسَىٰ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مُخْلَصًا وَكَانَ رَسُولًا نَّبِيًّا

And mention in the Book, Moses. Indeed, he was chosen, and he was a messenger and a prophet ~ Surah Maryam 19:51

What is the Difference Between a Rasul and a Nabi ?

Whilst there are differences among the Scholars regarding a Nabi and a Rasul, the majority explain the ffg:

• The word Rasul is literally translated as a ‘Messenger’(one who conveys a message).

• The word Nabi originates from Naba (news) and literally means an ‘Informer’.

• Both a Rasul and a Nabi are referred to as ‘Nabi’s’ … But, a Rasul is Nabi who was given a Risaalat (a Divine Scripture – Quraan, Torath, Zaboor, Injeel) … a Shariah  (religious laws) of his own.

• Therefore, there were certain people Allah chose, who were not just Nabi’s but also Rasul’s.

A Simple Analogy :

We choose and select ‘Prefects’ in a school. Certain pupils are nominated for this title and duty. But then, we have somebody … possibly the ‘Head Prefect’, who has more accolades and added responsibilities. He has more distinguishing characteristics and traits and is a bit more special than the other prefects. 

From the Messengers of Allah there were certain special one’s who had been given an added responsibility by means of a Divine Scripture (a Shariat) …..who became Rasul’s.

Hence, every “Rasul” is a “Nabi,” but not every “Nabi” is a “Rasul” …