In Surah Yaseen verses 13-14, Quran mentions about two prophets being sent with a mission to a certain city. But these two prophets were rejected by the people in that city. So Allah strengthened these two prophets with a third.
The above occurence is not a special case. Multiple prophets being sent together is quite common in the story of prophethood. Even among the 25 prophets that we have to know, there were many occasions whereby more than one prophets lived together in the same era.
Below is the list of 25 prophets and their placement in the list.
Let’s analyze the above list.
The Bible says that when Enoch (Nabi Idris) was born, Prophet Adam was still alive, although they were separated by a few generations. Prophet Idris was born when Prophet Adam was 622 years old.
We know that as long as Prophet Adam was still alive, and he being the father of all human beings at that time, there was no issue about people worshiping false gods. This is because all of his children, grandchildren, etc., believed in the tawhid brought by him. Why did Allah send Prophet Idris then?
Prophet Idris was sent to usher in a new era for mankind. He came to teach people writing, reading, counting (arithmetic), taming horses and astronomy. This tells us that prophets did not only teach tawhid, but practical knowledge for better living as well. This might be a better explanation why Prophet Idris was sent. It is unlikely that he was sent to strengthen Prophet Adam.
Whatever the case may be, it is clear that multiple prophets are sent simultaneously since the beginning, that is, since Prophet Adam was still alive.
After Prophet Idris, those prophets in the list, namely Noah, Hud and Shalih, did not live in the same era. Starting with Prophet Abraham, however, we find that five prophets lived at the same time. They are Abraham, Lot, Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob.
Prophet Abraham (Nabi Ibrahim) is number six in the list. The seventh prophet in the list is Prophet Lot. He was the nephew of Prophet Abraham, and was slightly younger than Abraham, around 16 years according to Bible commentary. He lived together with Prophet Abraham until he moved to the town of Sodom and Gomorrah.
After Lot came Prophet Ishmael, who is number eight in the list. He was the first son of Abraham, through Prophet Abraham’s second wife, Hagar. He was born when Abraham was around 86 years old.
Then came Prophet Isaac (Nabi Ishak), number nine in the list. He was the second son of Abraham, but from his first wife, Sarah. He was born when Abraham was around 100 years old, and Sarah about 90 years old.
We can say that the birth of Isaac is no less miraculous than the birth of Jesus. While Jesus was born from a virgin mother, Isaac was born from a mother who was not only barren but already way pass her menopause stage. That is why Sarah, the mother of Isaac, was as surprise as Mary, the mother of Jesus, when the news about her getting pregnant was relayed to her. Sarah was surprised because she was barren and already way pass menopause; Mary was surprise because she was a virgin and no man has touched her.
After Isaac came Jacob (Nabi Yaakob), number ten in the list. He was the son of Isaac, hence the grandson of Abraham. He was born when Isaac was around 60 years old, and Abraham was around 160 years old. Since Abraham lived for about 175 years, we know that Jacob was born 15 years before Abraham died.
The prophet who came after Jacob was Joseph (Nabi Yusuf). He is number eleven in the list of 25 prophets. He was the son of Prophet Jacob. He was born when Jacob was around 86 years old. Joseph had 10 older brothers and one younger brother as Prophet Jacob had twelve sons. Joseph was the great grandson of Abraham, but when Joseph was born, Prophet Abraham had died already.
Here we see that all those five prophets who came after Abraham, and included in the list of 25 prophets, are directly related to him. Two of them were his sons (Ishmael and Isaac), one of them was his nephew (Lot), one of them was his grandson (Jacob), the remaining one was his great grandson (Joseph).
With regard to the prophets being sent together with Prophet Abraham, it is not so much to strengthen him, but rather to continue his mission especially after he died.
Another great prophet surrounded with other prophets during his time was Moses (Nabi Musa), who is number 14 in the list. Like many other prophets in the list, he was the descendant of Prophet Abraham, through Prophet Jacob. Prophet Jacob is also known as Israel. Hence, the people known as Israelites are his descendants.
When Prophet Moses was born, the Israelites or the Children of Israel lived in Egypt. At that time, they were enslaved by the ruler of Egypt, known as Pharaoh. Moses grew up in the Palace of Pharaoh, but was forced to flee Egypt later on when he had accidentally killed an Egyptian in a fight.
Eventually Prophet Moses had to come back to Egypt when Allah commanded him to face Pharaoh. His task was to invite Pharaoh to tawhid, as well as to deliver the Israelites from the bondage of Pharaoh.
As Moses was a run-away fugitive, and belonged to the nation enslaved by Pharaoh, it is natural that he was apprehensive to face the mighty Pharaoh. Like King Nimrod during Prophet Abraham’s era, Pharaoh also considered himself a god and his subjects worshiped him. Moses therefore asked Allah to send his older brother, Aaron, to strengthen him. So Aaron (Prophet Harun), number 15 in the list, was also made a prophet to strengthen Moses.
Allah also sent another prophet to strengthen Moses. His name is Joshua (Nabi Yusha). Joshua is considered a prophet although not listed in the list of 25 prophets. Like the story in the the Surah Yaseen mentions above, Aaron and Joshua were made prophets to strengthen Prophet Moses.
Then there was Prophet David (Nabi Dawood/Daud), or more popularly known as King David in Biblical narrative, as he was the king of the Kingdom of Israel. He is number 17 in the list. He has many sons, and one of them, named Solomon, was also a prophet. Prophet or King Solomon (Nabi Sulaiman), number 18 in the list, continued the work and ruled the kingdom established by his father, making it great, powerful and respected.
After them we have Prophet Elijah (Nabi Ilyas), number 19 in the list. He has a disciple known as Elisha (Nabi al-Yasa), who is also a prophet. Prophet Elisha, number 20 in the list, was sent to strengthen Prophet Elijah, as well as to continue the mission after the death of Prophet Elijah. Or, accoding to Bible, after Prophet Elijah was raised to heaven riding the Chariot of Fire.
Finally, when Jesus (Nabi Isa) was born, there were already two prophets who lived in the area. The first was an old prophet named Zechariah (Nabi Zakaria), number 22 in the list. The second was a boy about three years old who, like Jesus, would grow up and become a prophet. The boy name was John. As an adult, he was known as John the Baptist (Nabi Yahya), number 23 in the list. He was the son of Prophet Zechariah.
These two prophets are related to Jesus (Nabi Isa). Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the niece of Elizabeth. As Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist, he is therefore a cousin to Mary. This makes John the Baptist the cousin of Jesus as well; or more properly, the mother’s cousin. And Prophet Zechariah, the husband of Elizabeth, is Jesus’ grand uncle in law.
Jesus, number 24 in the list, was not sent to strengthen Prophet Zechariah or John the Baptist. Rather, both of these older prophets were sent to pave the way for Jesus, who was to carry greater mission.
Prophet Muhammad, number 25 in the list and being the last prophet, was not strengthened by any prophet, but by his illustrious companions. But, just as Prophet Zechariah and John the Baptist were sent to prepare the way for Jesus, we can say that all other prophets were sent to pave the way for the last brick in the House of Prophethood, the Seal of Prophet, Muhammad S.A.W.