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Related to prophet: Prophet Mohammed, Prophet Muhammad


[Gr.,=foreteller], a religious leader and spokesperson, particularly used in the Bible. The prophets emitted messages from the divine through inspired speech, the interpretation of omens and dreams, and the casting of lots and divination. The word derives from Greek cults, in which prophets interpreted answers to questions put to oracular mediums (see oraclesoracle,
in Greek religion, priest or priestess who imparted the response of a god to a human questioner. The word is also used to refer to the response itself and to the shrine of a god. Every oracular shrine had a fixed method of divination.
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). The concept of a divine interpreter is common in religion, yet the function varies according to culture; thus the term can be defined only with respect to a particular religion. Usually prophet connotes inspired utterance of a spontaneous nature, while priest suggests established ritual duties.

The Prophetic Tradition in the Ancient Middle East

Prophets are clearly evident in Mesopotamia from the first centuries of the 2d millennium B.C. They are mentioned in texts from Emar, Egypt, and Aram, as well as from Assyria during the Old Testament period. In Assyria, prophets appear to have been closely associated with the court, delivering oracles regarding the prospects of foreign policies.

The phenomenon of prophetic speech is also present in Israel from the monarchical era to the post-exilic era. Court prophets (e.g., Nathan), as well as unofficial prophets (e.g., Amos) are attested. Not all the prophets of Israel left deposits of oracles. The most extensive of the collections are found in the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. The title of prophet is also accorded to others of varying importance, e.g., Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Nathan, and Jehu. Certain of their divine mission to purify Israel's religion, the prophets attacked many aspects of people's lives and came forward as the advocates of the poor and oppressed and as the leaders in social reform. According to them, Israel could be reconciled with God only by complete purification in religion and in the state. It is part of traditional Christian belief, found in the Nicene Creed and Second Peter, that the Holy Spirit "spoke through the prophets" concerning the intentions of God for his people.

In Christianity and Islam

In the New Testament, the term prophecy is used of enthusiastic, presumably inspired utterances. This tradition was perpetuated in MontanismMontanism
, apocalyptic movement of the 2d cent. It arose in Phrygia (c.172) under the leadership of a certain Montanus and two female prophets, Prisca and Maximillia, whose entranced utterances were deemed oracles of the Holy Spirit.
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, an early Christian sect (late 2d cent. A.D.). Such prophecy has a somewhat dubious history in Christianity (e.g., in Joachim of Floris and Joanna Southcott), but there have been millennialists and miracle-working preachers among the unassailably orthodox (e.g., St. Vincent Ferrer). Some varieties of Protestantism have emphasized "inspired" utterances or behavior; the most spectacular were the Anabaptists (e.g., Thomas Münzer and John of Leiden). Emanuel Swedenborg and Joseph Smith are examples of self-proclaimed prophets who came out of Protestant backgrounds. Islam confesses MuhammadMuhammad
[Arab.,=praised], 570?–632, the name of the Prophet of Islam, one of the great figures of history, b. Mecca. Early Life

Muhammad was the son of Abdallah ibn Abd al-Muttalib and his wife Amina, both of the Hashim clan of the dominant Kuraish (Quraysh)
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 as the last and greatest of prophets. He gathered a community based on his being the divine messenger of the final revelation of God.

Among Native Americans

Native American prophets resembled the great prophets of Israel in preaching a definite message; the ordinary medicinal healer (see shamanshaman
, religious practitioner in various, generally small-scale societies who is believed to be able to diagnose, cure, and sometimes cause illness because of a special relationship with, or control over, spirits.
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) had no such role. The Native American prophet in the late 18th and the 19th cent. normally foretold the regeneration of the indigenous peoples and the recapture of lands from the settlers, provided that Native Americans accepted the idea of ethnic brotherhood and that they follow prescribed religious practices. Frequently prophets were connected with their military leaders, such as the Delaware ProphetDelaware Prophet
, fl. 18th cent., Native American leader. His real name is not known. He began preaching (c.1762) among the Delaware of the Muskingum valley in Ohio. He spoke against intertribal war, drunkenness, polygamy, and the use of magic, and he promised his hearers that
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 with PontiacPontiac,
fl. 1760–66, Ottawa chief. He may have been the chief met by Robert Rogers in 1760 when Rogers was on his way to take possession of the Western forts for the English.
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, and the Shawnee ProphetShawnee Prophet,
1775?–1837?, Native North American of the Shawnee tribe; brother of Tecumseh. His Native American name was Tenskwautawa. He announced himself as a prophet bearing a revelation from the Native American master of life.
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 with his brother, TecumsehTecumseh
, 1768?–1813, chief of the Shawnee, b. probably in Clark co., Ohio. Among his people he became distinguished for his prowess in battle, but he opposed the practice of torturing prisoners.
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. Two later prophets of renown were SmohallaSmohalla
, c.1815–1907, Native American prophet, chief of a small tribe (the Wanapun) of the Columbia River valley. He preached a religion based on a vision of returning to Native American modes of living.
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 and Wovoka (of the Ghost DanceGhost Dance,
central ritual of the messianic religion instituted in the late 19th cent. by a Paiute named Wovoka. The religion prophesied the peaceful end of the westward expansion of whites and a return of the land to the Native Americans.
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See R. R. Wilson, Prophecy and Society in Ancient Israel (1980); D. E. Aune, Prophecy in Society in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World (1983); J. Blenkinsopp, A History of Prophecy in Israel (1983); J. Barton, Oracles of God (1986).


any ‘individual bearer of charisma (e.g. as demonstrated by ecstatic powers or MAGIC) who by virtue of his or her mission, ‘proclaims a religious doctrine or divine commandment’ (WEBER, 1922). For Weber, it is the ‘personal call’ and personal revelation of the prophet which distinguishes him or her from the priest, who has authority only as the 'servant of a sacred tradition’. Weber also notes that prophets have usually come from outside the priesthood.

A further significant distinction in Weber's discussion is that between ethical prophecy, in which the prophet proclaims God's will (e.g. Mohammed), and exemplary prophecy, where the prophet demonstrates by personal example the way to personal salvation (e.g. Buddha). According to Weber, the latter is characteristic of the Far East and the former appears initially in the Near East, and is associated with the appearance of conceptions of a personal, transcendental, ethical God only in this region. See also MONOTHEISM.

Prophet; Prophecy

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A prophet is one who speaks the will of a deity, quite often revealing future events. The ancient Hebrews called a prophet nabhi. In the early period (c. 1050–1015 BCE), a nabhi appeared to be little more than a fortune-teller. Rather than claiming to use any special techniques that would draw such information, the nabhi simply made him or herself receptive to whatever messages or prophecies might come from deity. David Christie-Murray said, “The prophets aimed not so much at foretelling the future as at describing what they saw as the will of God in the circumstances of their time. But in doing so, their prophesies were fulfilled, often in ways more profound and long lasting than they ever imagined.”

The Bible’s Old Testament used the term prophet very loosely, applying it to all those who were “friends” of God. For example, Abraham, Moses, Aaron, and Miriam were all named as prophets though Moses was the only true prophet of the four, as “the appointed mouthpiece of divine laws,” according to Geoffrey Ashe. There were those who became known as the “Fanatical Prophets.” In I Samuel, 10, there are bands of prophets who existed c.1000 BCE, in Gibeah and Ramah. They were devotees of the national deity Jehovah (Yahweh). They were stimulated by rhythmic music, dancing and chanting, building up into ekstasis (ecstasy) when their frenzied behavior exercised a hypnotic effect on the onlookers.

In ancient Greece the prophets were generally attached to the oracles, and in Rome they were represented by the augurs. In ancient Egypt the priests of Ra at Memphis acted as prophets. The Druids were frequently prophets to the Celtic people.


Ashe, Geoffrey: Man, Myth & Magic: Prophecy. London: BPC Publishing, 1970
Christie-Murray, David: Mysteries of Mind Space & Time: The Unexplained. Westport: H.S. Stuttman, 1992
Spence, Lewis: An Encyclopedia of the Occult. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1920

What does it mean when you dream about a prophet?

A prophet in a dream may indicate that the dreamer is seeking or needs guidance and spiritual advice. The dream itself may provide that assistance, if the dreamer internalizes the inspirational feeling they receive from the dream encounter.


1. a person who supposedly speaks by divine inspiration, esp one through whom a divinity expresses his will
2. Christian Science
a. a seer in spiritual matters
b. the vanishing of material sense to give way to the conscious facts of spiritual truth


1. the principal designation of Mohammed as the founder of Islam
2. a name for Joseph Smith as founder of the Mormon Church
References in classic literature ?
And the prophet lost five hundred thousand pounds and committed one of the most brutal and brilliant murders in human history for nothing.
Abdul Wahid Ali Al-Hattab, adviser at the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques talking to Saudi Gazette said Islamic scholars and prominent personalities as well as pilgrims from around the world have hailed the idea to ease difficulties of pilgrims and worshipers who intend to greet the Prophet (PBUH).
Students alongwith the audiences recited Durud-o Salam and Naat in reward to Holy Prophet (PBUH).
AJK President Sardar Masood Khan said, 'Allah Almighty through his last Prophet (PBUH) blessed us with a complete religion which encompasses all the aspects of our life.
Only Allah knows about Prophet and his dignity and superiority.
Moreover, Quraysh even conspired to kill him when their leaders met and exchanged views in order to decide on what course of action to take regarding the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and his followers.
The importance of successor in the life of Holy Prophet (PBUH)
As the world continues to discuss the brutal attack by Islamist extremists on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in revenge for cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, Today's Zaman spoke with theologian YE-cel Men on how Muslims should react in the face of insults to their beliefs.
There has never been a human being so well respected, loved and followed as Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last messenger of Allah.
Gentle manner, excusable mind and modesty were the qualities of the Prophet by virtue of which people were attracted to him.
BEIRUT: As Muslims across the world prepare to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammad Saturday, Muslim preachers in Lebanon highlight the meaning of the occasion and the necessity that Muslims abide by the teachings of the prophet as more important than celebrations.
However, the performance of a miracle is not proof that the prophet is true (Deut.