In Islam, there are two types of messengers which are used by the Quran, the Rasool and the Nabi. Both positions are regarded highly by Islam’s followers. While most if not all messengers were Nabi, only a few were both a Nabi and a Rasool. The difference lies in the responsibilities that each is given.
Rasool is defined as a messenger, an individual who was given a new Sharia or code of law by Allah (God). The message is received by the Rasool as a vision while he is asleep or as a conversation with angels while he is awake.
A Rasool is born a Nabi but becomes officially a Rasool the instant he receives the position and makes it known. Of the several thousand Nabis and the 25 prophets that are mentioned in the Quran, there are five Rasools who are called Ulul azm:
Hazrat Nooh(as) who received the Sharia which was followed by other prophets until Hazrat Ibrahim(as).
Hazrat Ibrahim(as) who received the Sharia followed by other prophets until Hazrat Musa(as).
Hazrat Musa(as) who received the Sharia followed by other prophets until Hazrat Isa(as).
Hazrat Isa(as) who received the Sharia which was followed until the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sws).
Prophet Muhammad(sws) who received the most perfect Sharia which is to be followed until the last day of the world.
This Sharia can never be changed, and there can be no other prophet after Prophet Muhammad(sws) because he is the last prophet. He also holds the highest rank and position among all the prophets, Rasools, and Nabis.
Of a slightly lower rank than a Rasool is the Nabi who is also a messenger of Allah (God). Unlike the Rasool, though, the Nabi is not given a new Sharia but follows the Sharia which was given to the Rasool who came before him.
“Nabi” is a term that is used in both Arabic and Hebrew to refer to “prophet.” While a Rasool can communicate with angels, a Nabi can only see them in his sleep. Both the Rasool and the Nabi are tasked with sharing and delivering the messages of Allah (God) to His people.
1.“Rasool” is an Islamic word for “messenger” while “Nabi” is the Islamic as well as the Hebrew word for “prophet.”
2.There are several thousand Nabis while there are only a few Rasools.
3.While both the Rasool and the Nabi are tasked with sharing the message of Allah to His people, a Rasool holds a higher position while a Nabi holds a lower position.
4.A Rasool is always a Nabi while a Nabi may or may not become a Rasool.
5.While a Rasool receives a new Sharia from Allah, a Nabi does not and only follows the Sharia of the Rasool before him.
6.A Rasool receives messages through visions and communication with angels while awake while a Nabi receives messages which are conveyed to him by angels in his sleep.