Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
In discussing prophethood in Islam, what is the Sunni position on the possible prophethood of ancients like Krishna, Buddha, or Confucius?
Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
It is very probable that many of the great religious figures of other traditions were true prophets. Similarly, we see traces of monotheism in the beliefs and practices of such traditions.
However, we do not affirm prophethood or Divine Origins for any prophet or religion that the primary texts of the Quran and Prophetic sunna have not affirmed such for. However, we also believe that the origin of religions is monotheistic, and they corrupt towards polytheism.
Shaykh Umar Faruq Abdallahs paper One God, Many Names on www.Nawawi.org has some excellent insights.
This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.