Praise be to Allah.
In the Book of Allah, may He be exalted, you will find the truest, most beautiful and most trustworthy of stories, because it is the word of Allah, may He be exalted, which illuminated the world with its lessons and rulings. Reading the stories of the Messengers and Prophets in the verses of the Qur’aan is one of the greatest ways of bringing benefits and good to the Muslim, let alone the immense reward that is attained by the one who ponders the Book of Allah, may He be exalted. Hence we advise you to be keen to pursue this way of goodness, for the Muslim can never do without the Book of Allah, may He be exalted, no matter what other books he reads.
With regard to the books of the scholars about the stories of the Prophets, the best of them – as it appears to us – are the following:
Qasas al-Anbiya’ (Stories of the Prophets) by al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer (may Allah have mercy on him) (d. 774 AH). This is perhaps the best of the books of the early scholars on this topic, as it is distinguished by compiling all of the verses having to do with the story of each Prophet in one place, and making connections between them by commenting on them and quoting hadeeths and reports that have to do with them. It is an encyclopaedic and well organised book that discusses the lives of the Prophets, although it quotes rather too many reports that are not proven and some reports from Jewish sources (Israa’eeliyyaat). However for the most part he points out the origin of these reports, and he states that he only quotes for the purpose of studying them and highlighting their status. So we recommend you to read this book and study it. The one who wants to study these stories with the best annotation should read the book al-Bidaayah wa’n-Nihaayah (Dar Hajar edn., published under the supervision of Dr. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abd al-Muhsin at-Turki), because Qasas al-Anbiya’ is taken from the first chapters of al-Bidaayah wa’n-Nihaayah.
al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah min Akhbaar wa Qasas al-Anbiya’ (The saheeh hadeeths that speak of the lives and stories of the Prophets) was compiled and their isnaads evaluated by Ibraaheem Muhammad al-‘Ali (publ. by Dar al-Qalam in Damascus and Dar ash-Shaamiyyah in Beirut, 276 pages). It is a very useful book that is distinguished by the fact that it includes many hadeeths that speak of the stories of the Messengers and Prophets, and the material is organised with comments in a manner that complements these stories. The author (may Allah have mercy on him) put a great deal of effort into selecting saheeh and hasan hadeeths and reports, and avoiding weak and fabricated material. This may be the best contemporary book on this topic.
Qasas al-Anbiya’ by al-‘Allaamah ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan as-Sa‘di (d. 1376 AH). This is a short book that is taken from his book Tayseer al-Lateef al-Mannaan fi Khilaasat Tafseer al-Qur’an, in which he recounts the stories of the Prophets as they were narrated in the Holy Qur’aan, in sequence, and he follows each story with a brief discussion of what we learn from it.
And Allah knows best.