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What is meant by the اولو العزم Messengers?

Question:

What do the expert scholars of shari’ah say: What is meant by the اولو العزم (strong-willed) Messengers and who are they?

Answer:

العزم من الرسل refers to those pure Messengers, May Allah ﷻ be pleased with them all, who faced greater trial and difficulties whilst propagating the message of tawhid compared to the other Messengers that were sent.

‘Al-‘Azm’ is to have a firm will and resolve in any given matter. It also means to be unwavering, firm footed and patient in the face of difficulties.

‘Allama Tahir ibn ‘Aashur mentions: ‘اولو العزم’ are those who have the character of being strong willed. ‘Al-‘Azm’ is having a firm intention to carry out a certain task without any hesitation. (Al-Tahrir wa Al-Tanwir).

Similarly in Tafsir Jalalayn, verse 35 of Surah Al-Ahqaf has been explained as the following: “Be patient upon the insults of your people, just as the strong-willed ones, those who were patient and firm footed before you.”

The former Shaykh Al-Azhar, Doctor Sayed Tantawi mentioned: العزم من الرسل refers to those blessed Messengers who faced greater test and tribulations compared to other Messengers. They remained patient and strong-willed in the face of these trials. (Al-Tafsir Al-Wasit)

It is narrated that Prophet Nuh, Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Musa, Prophet Isa, and Prophet Muhammad, may Allah ﷻ be pleased with them all, are the ‘strong-willed’ Messengers. Imam Ibn Kathir mentions in his tafsir, “the most famous narration is that the ‘strong-willed’ Messengers are Prophet Nuh, Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Musa, Prophet Isa, and Prophet Muhammad, may Allah ﷻ be pleased with them all. These blessed names are mentioned as evidences in two chapters of the Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab and Surah Al-Shura.”

And Allah ﷻ knows the best

This Fatwa is written by Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Munir Al-Azhari