Assalaamu'alaikum wa Rahmatullah!
Iman or faith in the prophets and messengers of the God is among the conclusion in our pillars of faith. In arabic, prophet is called as nabi. While for the messenger of the Lord, we call it as rasul.
A prophet basically means someone who has the ability to see or perceive whatever behind the metaphysical boundary of other fellow human-being. He is a person who has the connection or contacts with other supernatural entity. In english, the translation for nabi is prophet.
In Islam, prophet terminologically means a man who receives the revelation from the God but was ordered to practice what had been revealed among their family members, clan, and tribe. They were not ordered to spread the teaching to other nations or the whole world.
Some people might call these kind of people as sages or teachers. As for the hindus and the buddhist, they are calling these kind of people as the teachers or sages who talked or inspired by the devas (gods and angels). For example they have maharishi Vaalmiki who composed the Ramayanna Kawiyam.
For Siddhartha Gautama who had challenged the authority of Brahmannau (Brahmins) who generally controlled the ritual life of the people around the Ariya Varttam and Indus civilization during his enlightment period. As in Buddhism, Buddha has another title which is khuru (guru) which means someone who tries to enlight others in the darkness after they received enlightment. The God is out of any mention by Buddhists but only on morality. Siddharth Gautama only reached buddhahood or enlightment after a long tapa (meditation) under a Bodhi tree.
There are many teachers, rishis (sages), saints in Hinduism. So does Buddhism where there are many gurus and buddhas but Buddhism is considered as anastika (agnostic) Hinduism. And Hinduism means anything that emerges from Indus civilization whether it is in the form of culture, customs, beliefs, philosophies and others. Before Buddhism, there was actually another teaching known as Jaina taught by a person whose name is Mahavira. Enough said about the comparison on what I understood from my experience as a confused young man.
In the meanwhile, rasul in Islam means a man who receives revelation from the God but was ordered to universally convey the teachings of the God to the whole nations and the world for a certain period or era so that everybody receives the message from Him. In Islam, there are men who are just a prophet but not a messenger of the God and there are also a man who holds these two titles like where they were a prophet and also a messenger of the God.
Sometimes brethren in humanity, we may hear that muslims including myself calling the holy prophet Muhammad (saw) as rasulullah. It means that he is the messenger of the God. He is the prophet and the messenger of the God for this period and era which is known as the period or era of near resurrection. The teachings transmitted through him will be valid from the time he received gradual revelations from the God period until the resurrection happens according to the prophecy in our scripture which is the noble Quran. That is also why he is called as the seal of the nubuwwah (prophethood). The period of near resurrection is actually marked just after the era of prophet Isa (as).
We do not only believe in the prophethood of Muhammad (saw). We believe in others' prophethood as well. Some of them are from the children of Israel while others are from the ancient Arab tribes and nations. As a Muslim, how many prophets and messengers of the God that I need to at least know and recognize? I need to at least know about 25 prophets and messengers. These 25 people are in the same time, a prophet and also a messenger of the God. These names of prophets and messengers of the God are also good names for a muslim's sons.
1. Adam 2. Idris (Enoch) 3. Nuh (Noah) 4. Hud 5. Saleh 6. Ibrahim (Abraham) 7. Lut (Lot) 8. Isma'il (Ishmael) 9. Ishaq (Isaac) 10. Ya'akob (Jacob) 11. Yusuf (Joseph) 12. Ayyub (Job) 13. Zulkifli 14. Syu'aib (Jethro) 15. Musa (Moses) 16. Harun (Aaron) 17. Dawud (David) 18. Sulayman (Solomon) 19. Ilyas (Elijah) 20. Ilyasa' (Elisha') 21. Yunus (Jonah) 22. Zakaria (Zechariah) 23. Yahya (John) 24. 'Isa (Jesus) 25. Muhammad (saw).
These 25 prophets and messengers of the God are the ones that we have faith in according to our articles of faith in the pillars of faith. Others are only prophets of the God which their names are not mentioned in the Quran but they were also prophets of the God to their tribes and nation during their era and period of time.
One thing that I would like to mention here. Not all in the 25 prophets and messengers of the God in the list displayed here are from the children of Israel. From Adam (as) to Nuh (as), these prophets have no racial or tribal identification. Nuh was the father of the Semites. Hud and Saleh are both of ancient Arab tribes and classified under Semitic branch of people. They are not Israelites. Hud was a prophet and messenger of the God to the 'Ads whom are an Arabian tribes in southern Arabia. While Saleh was ordained by the God to the Tsamud in northern part of Arabian peninsula. Syu'aib was from ancient Arab nation called classified as the Levants. All of these prophets and messengers of the God are the Semites but I am not sure about Ayyub because some mufassirin (commentators) said that he is the father of the Romans.
Once upon a time during my childhood time, I love to read the translation of Qisasul Anbiyaa' (the stories of prophets) and I still remember some of the stories. Later when I was sent to Perlis and feeling angry with my family for sending me away that I began to approach jataka tales learning about the avataram (incarnations) of the Buddha before he ends his samsara cycle, lectures about the teachings from phra acharn (teachers), and phra phor (fathers) to forget my sadness because I was not so close to relatives there. So, I tried to find other alternatives and those who could accept me without criticizing me for my pathetic self because folks in the village have this attitude where they could be destructive when they have evil intention to anyone, they would try to harm others even with their words and I was just a 13 years old lil' kid.
Then I also began to be exposed to Advaita teachings and philosophies when I was in upper six because I had contact with Indian students as the majority of my classmates were hindus but at that time I had already return to the religion and the faith of our fathers, Islam. I learned many things from the hajj rituals, praise be only to Allah, my dear Lord!!!!
May Allah forgives us our sin. May He place our souls among the souls of the faithful servants and fearful to Him. I am looking to see other servants of the God who sacrificed for His sake with love and peace. May He accept our humble du'as, aaamin!!