Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra
Question: What is the difference between a Nabi and a Rasul?
Answer: Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Thank you for your question.
A Prophet (nabi) is someone who received revelation from Allah Most High in the form of Divine instructions; if he is commanded specifically to convey and propagate these Divine instructions to specific people, then he is also called a Messenger (rasul), and if he is not commanded to convey any specific message, then he remains a prophet (nabi) only. Thus, according to the strongest view, every Messenger is a Prophet, but not every Prophet is a Messenger. [Sharh Jawhara al-Tawhid, al-Sawi]
The differing meanings for Prophet and Messenger stem from the difference in connotation of the two words in Arabic, and how they are used in the Qur’an. There are also opinions that both words have the same meaning, or that a Messenger is more general than a Prophet because angels have also been called messengers, however, these are not the strongest views. [Sharh `ala al-Jawhara, al-Bayjuri]
May Allah Ta’ala send peace and blessings on the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, and upon all His Prophets and Messengers.
Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani