Question: What are the different degrees of prophethood? Imam Ali (as) is not higher in rank than Prophet Muhammad (saws), but he is higher than the other prophets. What is the basis of this claim?
Answer: Prophets can be divided into two categories: 1) The Arch-Prophets who were sent on a mission by Allah (swt). They are considered as the prophets of Law and religion. They include Noah (as), Abraham (as), Moses (as), Jesus (as) and Muhammad (saws), whose religions were spread in a wide area at their times. The Last Prophet, Muhammad (saws), is the last of the divine prophets who brought the universal religion, which will remain until the Last Day. There is no prophet after him. 2) The second category includes those prophets who propagated the religions of the Arch-Prophets. The extent of their prophethood and mission was not so great. Imam Ali (as) is higher in rank than other prophets, because of his Imamate, but he is not higher in rank than the Prophet Muhammad (saws), because Muhammad (saws) was both Prophet and Imam and he was the best of all creations.