Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
brother can you plz give me the reference of a hadith, with its authenticity, in which it states that 124,000 prophets have been sent.
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In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Beloved brother, although this hadith is very famous and constantly quoted by some scholars, the truth is that this hadith has not been narrated by any of the respected scholars of ahaadiths in their ‘sahih’ or authentic collections. None of the respected scholars like Bukhari, or Muslim, or Tirmidhi, or Abu Dawood, or Ibn Maajah, etc. have made mention of the exact number of Prophets that came unto mankind.
This hadith where the number of 124,000 Prophets is specifically declared has found mention in the collections of Musnad Ahmad and Tabarani, but the majority of the good scholars in Islam have classified it as a ‘weak’ or ‘daeef’ narration.
It would be safer to align our beliefs as true believers in what has been mentioned in the Glorious Quran and the authentic Sunnah in this matter, rather than propagating a specific number from a weak narration.
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 40 Surah Mumin verse 78: We did aforetime send Prophets before thee (O Mohamed (saws)): of them there are some whose story We have related to thee, and some whose story We have not related to thee.
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 13 Surah Raad verse 7: And the Unbelievers say! "Why is not a Sign sent down to him (Prophet Mohamed (saws)) from his Lord?" But thou (O Prophet (saws)) art truly a warner, and to every people (We have sent) a Guide.
Thus it should suffice for us to believe that to every people Allah Subhanah has sent His Guides to guide them to the Right Path; and since the Glorious Quran and the authentic Sunnah are silent on the exact number of the Prophets that came unto mankind, we must assume that the number is neither important nor necessary for one’s guidance to the Straight Path.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,