The Arabic term is (Nabi) and is a loan word plagiarised from the Hebrew (Nabi); Admonisher/Prophet.
Among most other peoples, their great men came forth as reformers, philosophers or legislators; not so among the Semitic peoples whose great men invariably came as self proclaimed spokesmen for God, as prophets.
The characteristics of the prophets as portrayed in the Bible are:
1. Impassioned poetical utterances
2. Intense preoccupation with God, morality and above all, justice
3. An inordinate and fearless compulsion urging him to declare the will of the Almighty.
Prophethood should be seen as a sort of spiritual and mental compulsion - in the order of genius - peculiar to extraordinary and visionary individuals who in the depth of their soul and mind conceive the idea of an Absolute Deity Who is inspiring them.
The title of a NABI/ Prophet - like so many others taken from the Bible - did not exist in the Arabic language since the concept itself was alien to them.
Just as the whole history of Israel centered upon the prophets, so has - in emulation - Muhammad created in his Quran.
Invariably, the divinely appointed prophets of Israel acted as if they were God's Vice Regents on Earth.
Muhammad acted and arrogated to himself, in the final analysis, exactly this position as made very clear when comparing the Quranic verses of Mecca when it is only
'Allah Who was to be obeyed' while in the Madinan verses it is invariably
'Allah AND his messenger'.
Muhammad's preaching in Mecca was a copy-cat of concepts and ideas plundered and pirated from Jewish and Christian traditions and beliefs such as:
1. Judgement Day
2. The resurrection of all humans, the just and the unjust
3. The accounting for their sins when the books are opened
4. The rewards of Heaven/Pardise/ Garden and the punishment of Hell
5. The doctrines of angels and evil spirits personified in Gabriel and the Jinn
6. The creation of Heaven and Earth, of Man and of Nature
7. The belief in the One and Only God
8. The retributions that the Allah would inflict on all those who break his rules
9. The idea of the Chosen People which he stole from the Jews and arrogated to himself and his followers.
While the concept of 'chosen' actually meant that the Jews - as descendants of the Israelites - were to be a 'Light unto the Nations' , as an example to be emulated, Muhammad turned it into a different and totally aggressive and unmerciful dogma that required him and his followers to IMPOSE their beliefs by FORCE upon all of humanity.
3:81 Behold! Allah took the covenant of the Prophets [Nabiyeen] saying: "I give you a Book and Wisdom; then comes to you an Messenger [Rassoul] confirming what is with you; do ye believe him and render him help." Allah said: "Do ye agree and take this My Covenant as binding on you?" They said: "We agree." He said: "Then bear witness and I am with you among the witnesses"
*** It is very clear from the verse above that according to the Quran, a Prophet is given Scripture and Wisdom while a Messenger would come only to Confirm existing Scriptures***
22:52 Never did We send an messenger [rassooli] or a prophet [nabi] before thee but when he framed a desire Satan threw some (vanity) into his desire: but Allah will cancel anything (vain) that Satan throws in and Allah will confirm (and establish) His Signs: for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom
*** The above verse makes it crystal clear that there is a definite distinction between a Prophet and Messenger ***
Most important of all is that a prophet by definition is one who can predict future events. Moses was able to do that in his confrontaton with Pharaoh while Muhammad NEVER predicted anything.
According to the following hadith, Aisha confirms that Muhammad was not able to predict the future, hence he could not have been a prophet.
Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 6.378 Narrated byMasruq
I said to 'Aisha, "O Mother! Did Prophet Muhammad see his Lord?" 'Aisha said, "What you have said makes my hair stand on end ! Know that if somebody tells you one of the following three things, he is a liar: Whoever tells you that Muhammad saw his Lord, is a liar." Then Aisha recited the Verse:
"No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision. He is the Most Courteous Well-Acquainted with all things." (6.103) "It is not fitting for a human being that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration or from behind a veil." (42.51)
'Aisha further said,
"And whoever tells you that the Prophet knows what is going to happen tomorrow, is a liar." She then recited:
"No soul can know what it will earn tomorrow." (31.34)
She added: "And whoever tells you that he concealed (some of Allah's orders), is a liar." Then she recited: "O Apostle! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from your Lord..." (5.67) 'Aisha added, "But the Prophet saw Gabriel in his true form twice."
Tabari 1:181 " The Prophet said 'I was sent immediately before the coming of the
Day of Doom. I preceded it like this one preceding that one' -referring to his index and middle finger"
182 "he said 'Allah will not make this nation [of Islam] incapable of lasting half a day -a day being a thousand years- …Consequently, based upon the Prophet's authority,, what remained of time was half a day that had elapsed to the Prophet's statement corresponds to 6500 years"
*** Based upon Muhammad's prophecy, Dooms Day should have occurred 500 years after this 'revelation' which occured about 610 AD.
Well, as we all know, the year 1110 had passed and we are in the year 2007 AD without the prophecy of the infallible 'Prophet' having come true.
Muhammad's alleged prophesies could be counted on one hand none of which ever came true***