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The Qur'an in 33:37 mentions Zayd ibn Harisa by name, although he was not a prophet or messenger.

And [remember, O Muhammad], when you said to the one on whom Allah bestowed favor and you bestowed favor, "Keep your wife and fear Allah," while you concealed within yourself that which Allah is to disclose. And you feared the people, while Allah has more right that you fear Him. So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort [i.e., guilt] concerning the wives of their claimed [i.e., adopted] sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command [i.e., decree] of Allah accomplished. (Al-Ahzab [33] : 37)

And Samuel is mentioned in 2:246-247, but not by name.

Have you not considered the assembly of the Children of Israel after [the time of] Moses when they said to a prophet of theirs, "Send to us a king, and we will fight in the way of Allah"? He said, "Would you perhaps refrain from fighting if battle was prescribed for you?" They said, "And why should we not fight in the cause of Allah when we have been driven out from our homes and from our children?" But when battle was prescribed for them, they turned away, except for a few of them. And Allah is Knowing of the wrongdoers. (Al-Baqarah [2] : 246)

And their prophet said to them, "Indeed, Allah has sent to you Saul as a king." They said, "How can he have kingship over us while we are more worthy of kingship than him and he has not been given any measure of wealth?" He said, "Indeed, Allah has chosen him over you and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature. And Allah gives His sovereignty to whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing [in favor] and Knowing. (Al-Baqarah [2] : 247)

Why? After all, Samuel is a great prophet, and he had more right to be mentioned than Zeid. And in addition, there are 125,000 prophets, and many of them are great (such as Daniel, Isaiah, Yusha), who have much more rights to be mentioned. Why are they not mentioned, but Zeid is mentioned? And why are the other closest and strongest companions of the Prophet (Abu Bakr, Umar, Ali) not mentioned?

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    "he had more right to be mentioned" Where and when was he given this right?
    – goldPseudo
    Sep 8 at 18:43
  • Who are we to judge Allah's choices?
    – Medi1Saif
    Sep 9 at 7:30

1 Answer 1

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The prophet of theirs is Samuel. We cannot know why his name is not mentioned in the verse, but take into account:

Of course, it is significant if a person is mentioned in the Quran in a positive way. Some are mentioned but e.g. the list in 4:163 is not complete.

But (in my view) the Quran has not not in first place been revealed to give honorifics to certain persons; there are two principal reasons for the Quran to be revealed: One is to teach us the right way to live here in our word and to prepare us for our future lives in Jannah, and the other is a concrete advice to Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and his people in their situation.

2:246-247 is not written to resume or honour the work of Samuel (a.s.). You may read the Books of Samuel in the Tanakh (suppose you did) to be informed of his work, and it is even very helpful to understand the verses cited above:

He warned Bani Israel that a king has no advantage (so far, they had no worldly ruler, only "judges", who tried to decide in the sense of the message they received from God. But they insisted. Then God lead Samuel to Saul (Sha'ul) who was not from the most recognised branch (Sam 1:9f.). The Quran adds to the tradition that Saul was a soldier. Finally, when it came to a battle, he did not fight properly (1Sam 15:9). The Quran adds that it was not only Saul but many of Bani Israel who did not want to fight. So that God was not satisfied with Saul (1Sam 15:11)

The whole citation is to be seen in the context of the message of the Quran that is given in the introductory sentence: "Fight in the cause of God, and know that God is Hearing and Knowing." in 2:244. Evidently, it was a situation where the Muslim had to fight. It is not cited to honour Samuel (a.s.) or to put down Saul but to give an advice to the prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and his people in a concrete situation.

There are many other significant prophets whose words and/or deeds can be read in the Books of the Prophets (Joshua -Kings, Isaiah-Malachi) of the Tanakh ("Old Testament" in Christian Bibles). Like Muhammad (p.b.u.h), they gave advice from God to their people in the concrete situation and they gave advice from God that is still valid in our times. We shall honour all prophets as they obeyed God and revealed the Word of Him, as it is said (2:136):

Say, “We believe in God; and in what was revealed to us; and in what was revealed to Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Patriarchs; and in what was given to Moses and Jesus; and in what was given to the prophets—from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we surrender.”

(see also 2:177 3:84 5:44 17:55 17:77 19:58)

Glory be to God and his prophets.

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  • And I'm just wondering why some names are hidden. For example, the Pharaoh is mentioned, but not his name. But his vizier is mentioned by name (Haman). And again Talut and Jalut are mentioned, but Samuel (a.s.) is not mentioned. I just wanted to understand why this is so? And what is the significance of mentioning by name in the Quran?
    – Insan
    Sep 9 at 13:05
  • The simple answer is that we cannot really know why the Quran is as it is. The Pharaohs name is not mentioned in the Torah, either. You may try to find out a logic behind it but you needn't be disappointed if you don't find it...
    – Jeschu
    Sep 9 at 16:42
  • Thank you for your reply. I won't be disappointed.
    – Insan
    Sep 9 at 17:38

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