The Difference Between a Prophet and a Messenger by Shaykh Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn Abdullah al-Imaam
From the author's introduction:
"I have resolved to compile a treatise about the issue of the differences between the Prophets and Messengers, because I saw a need for that. (This need) is due to there being some ambiguity towards understanding some of the verses and ahaadeeth connected to this great issue, and the scarcity of what has been written about this topic. Some of the contemporaries have written concerning that, proceeding upon (the notion) that there is no difference; and I consider this to be insufficient with regards to transmission of the speech and writings of the people of knowledge concerning this issue. I do not deem that I have come with something new; in my estimation, I have gathered some of the evidences and statements of the people of knowledge to make clear for the reader the difference between the Prophets and Messengers. And this distinction is important because it is linked to the ‘aqeedah and it includes giving everyone from amongst them his right; and placing the Prophets in their proper station and the Messengers in their proper station. And this occurs from a completion of honour and reverence for Allaah's Prophets and Messengers; and from the completion of Justice is giving them their rights."
From the pillars of the Islaam is the belief in the Prophets and Messengers. The book before you explains this belief and educates the reader upon the upright creed of ahlus-sunnah wal-jama'aah without tafreet (neglect) or ifraat (exaggeration).
The author lists twelve differences between a Prophet and a Messenger:
The First: The Prophet is the one who Allaah Informs
The Second: Most of the Messengers were sent to a Disbelieving People
The Third: The Messenger is sent with the Language of his People
The Fourth: The Messengers deny Conveying the Religion of Allaah to their people up until they embrace Islaam or Allaah destroys them
The Fifth: The Messengers’ Legislation was Different in Most Cases
The Sixth: The First of the Messengers was Nooh (‘alayhi salaam)
The Seventh: The Difference between the Number of Prophets and Messengers
The Eighth: The Saving of the Messengers
The Ninth: The Messengers were denied by their People
The Tenth: There are Specific Rights of the Messengers
The Eleventh: The Agreement amongst the Scholars upon One Statement – that Maryam, Aasiyah, Haajar and the Mother of Moosaa – were not Messengers…
The Twelfth: The Virtue of the Messengers over the Prophets
After establishing these differences and the importance of having a correct understanding of the issue, the author discusses the need for Prophets and Messengers and the Wisdom behind them being sent by Allaah to Mankind. He dispels prevalent misconceptions and errors, including those who claim, "There is no difference between the Prophets and Messengers." He illustrates the correct understanding and status of the awliyaa and concludes by addressing and refuting the horrible errors and gross exaggeration of the some of the deviated sects. A comprehensive read on a matter that is widely misunderstood.