Islamo-Biblica and the Twenty-Eight Qur'anic + Traditional Islamic prophets

Adam and Eve

Image from Istanbul. Topkapi Saray Museum Istanbul. © AISA/Everett Collection

From Adam until Muhammad in Islamo-Biblical Sources : The `Twenty-Eight'  and other Pre-Islamic Prophets and Associated Figures.

Some Bibliographical Notes and Studies I

Stephen N. Lambden 1980s [2015]

  • Prophetological History and Qisas al-Anbiya' (Tales of the Prophets) Literatures

Prophetological and qisas al‑anbiyā’   motifs, stories and associated materials exist within a very large corpus of Islamic literary sources including the many categories listed on this Islamo-Biblica webpage. They are encapsulated within a variety of literary forms and subjected to diverse hermeneutical transformations.  In his All the King’s Falcons, Renard usefully listed the following categories into which such Islamicate prophetological materials might be divided.They are -:

  • [1] Qur’ānic prophetology
  • [2] Historical prophetology,
  • [3] Philosophical prophetology,
  • [4] Theological prophetology,
  • [5] Theosophical prophetology and
  • [6] Mystical prophetology. The difference between Renard’s categories (5) and (6) is not particularly distinct.

Though this list has its merits one might supplement it with the observation that prophetolovcal motifs and materials permeate most categories of Islamic literature. They are often found in suprising places such as devotional texts. 

 

01. Adam = Arabic, Ādam =   آدَم  ; Hebrew =   אָדָם  `ādām"humankind’.

Notes and Bibliography

Thematic

01A Cain and Abel

  • Stillman, N. A. "The Story of Cain and Abel in the Quran and Muslim Commentaries." JSS 19 (1974): 231-239.

02.  Seth Arabic = Shīth,  شِيث  Hebrew =  שֵׁת,   šēt.  = translation,

In the Qur'an Seth is the unnamed (Q.x 0) third son of Adam and Eve (Gen. 4:25ff.). He is often considered an important post‑Adam prophet in extra‑qur’ānic sources, as one of the recipients of waḥy   ("divine revelation"). In Shī `ī and other sources his progeny, in particular, as opposed to that of his brothers Cain and Abel (Ar. Ḥābīl and Qābīl, unnamed, cf. Q. 5:27)  constitute the truly "righteous" primogenitors (Quinn, 1962; Klijn, 1977; Huart [Bosworth] EI2 IX:489‑90).  Seth is very seldom mentioned in Bābī‑ Bahā’ī sources. BA* briefly narrates his story as Adam’s son Seth in his late Iraq period S. Nuṣḥ (Sūra of the Counsel, 244). Therein he is represented as a rejected messenger of God to his contemporaries who failed to orient themselves in the direction of the wajh al‑jamāl, ("the Beauteous Divine countenance"). 

Notes and Bibliography

  • Seth in Biblical Scholarship
  • Seth in Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Seth.

03. Idrīs  إِدْرِيسN  (= ? Heb. חֲנוֹךְ, ḥānōk), Enoch

Enoch (Gen 4:17f; Q.x 2 = 19:57; 21:85) the biblical  son of Jared   who "walked with God" (Gen. 5:21‑4) an  "upright man  and a prophet" (Q.19:57‑8; 21:85). Numerous legends are related of Enoch (Vajda, EI2 III:1030‑1; Fraade, `Enoch’ Enc. Rel.5:116‑118). Numerous legends about Idrīs exist in Islamic sources. He is  "said to have introduced several sciences and arts, practised ascetic piety, received revelation, and entered paradise while still alive" (Fraade, `Enoch’ Enc. Rel. 5:116‑118).  Enoch is occasionally mentioned in Bābī‑Bahā’ī sources as the father of ḥikmat  (wisdom‑philosophy, etc) and, as in Islamic sources,  is  equated with the first of the thrice born Hermes’ (Martin, `Hermes’ DDD:771‑783; `Hirmis’, EI2 III:463; BA* L.‑Ḥikmat, tr.148; Ma’idih 7:143).

Notes and Bibliography

  • Enoch in Biblical Scholarship
  • Enoch in Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Enoch in Abrahamic Sources.

04. Nūḥ,   نُوحٍ R+N+M* (= Heb. נֹחַ, nōaḥ) Noah,

Noah (fl. [trad.] fl. 3000 BCE??) is the long-lived the biblical son of Lamech. In both the Bible and the Q. is reckoned to have lived at least 950 years (Gen. 9:29; Q. 29:13‑14) and along with most of his family to have survived the world engulfing flood  (Q.  x 43 in 28 suras). As a prototype of Muhammad and one blessed with  waḥy  (divine inspiration, Q. 11:36) the legend of Noah and  the associated story of the all‑encompassing  "flood" and salvific "ark",  is important in  the Q., one sura of which is named after Noah (Q. 71 [title]). He is mentioned 43 times in 28 suras of the Q. hence his story is repeated around ten times.  The Noah story is frequently told in Qiṣaṣ al‑anbiyā’  and other post‑qur’ānic literatures as it is in numerous Jewish and Chritian soirces.

Notes and Bibliography

  • Noah in Biblical Scholarship
  • Noah in Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Noah in Abrahamic Sources.

Three pre‑Islamic Arabian prophets

Islamic traditions reckon Hūd (=05), Ṣāliḥ (=06), Shu`ayb (=07), Ibrāhīm (=08) and  Muhammad (=028),  the five Arabian prophets..

05. Hūd  هُود - RHeber ?

Possibly the biblical Heber (Heb. חֶבֶר, ḥeber) or (Ar.) `Ābar the Kenite descendant of Hobab and father‑in‑law of Moses (? Judg. 4:11). Q title sūra 11 and  x 7 in 3 sūras. Alternatively, a purely allegorical ancestor of the Jews (? cf. EI2 Wensinck [Pellat]  art.`Hūd’). Seven times mentioned in 3 sūras of the Q. Hūd is also the title of sūra 11.  In the Q. Hūd is a messenger sent to his people `Ād whose story is related three times in three sūras (Q.7:63‑70; 11:50‑60; 26:123‑40). His monotheistic message was ridiculed by the `Ādites (of al‑aḥqāf, "the sand dunes"; Q.46:21). In consequence they were largely destroyed by the violent ṣarṣar   ("clamorous [raging] wind"). Hūd finds succinct qiṣaṣ al‑anbiyā’ rooted mention in  select  Bābī‑ Bahā’ī sources. In his S‑Nuṣḥ (c. 1861?) BA* refers to him as a nabī   (prophet) sent to both orient and occident (S‑Nuṣḥ, 246; cf. KI:7‑8 /6‑7). 

Notes and Bibliography

  • Hud in Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Hud

06. Ṣāliḥ,  صَالِح    R+N is mentioned x 9 in 6 sūras of the Q.

He was a (pre‑Abrahamic?) prophet sent to the tribe of Thamūd (Q. 7:73‑9, etc). He came with the "sign", "proof" or "test" of  the nāqa (`[she‑] camel’) but was rejected. His mocking audience were all destroyed by a storm or earthquake. BA* explained (the tribe of) "Thamud" allegorically as opponents of truth in any    age (BA* T‑Shams, 15‑16; cf. S‑Nuṣḥ, 246; KI 7‑8/7). He quite frequently utilized the motif of the "she‑camel" (L‑Dhi`b/ESW, index) On one occasion AB* explained that the nāqa indicates Ṣālīḥ’s "sanctified self" (nafs‑i muqaddas).  Being "hamstrung" indicated an event within Ṣālīḥ precipitated by his enemies which prevented him from proffering the "milk" of spiritual beatitude to his people (AB* Ma’idih 2:99). 

Notes and Bibliography

  • Salih in Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Salih

07. Shu`ayb, شُعَيْب   R+N,

Perhaps to be identified with the the biblical [uncle of ?] Jethro (Heb.  יִתְרֹו Yitrô,) priest of Midian and father of Zipporah the wife of  Moses, the father‑in‑law of Moses (Exod. 3:1; 4:18; 18:1ff; Qx11 in 3 Sūrahs). A messenger‑prophet sent with risālāt   ("messages") to the people of Madyan (Midian, NW Arabia? cf. Q. 20:40; 28:22f) or the aṣḥāb al‑ayka ("people of the thicket"; Q. 7:83‑91,1  In his  EI2 article` Shu`ayb’, (IX:491+see refs. and bib.) Rippin notes that it was on the basis of Q. 9:91 that he was "understood to have come after Ḥūd, Ṣālīḥ and Lot (Lūṭ )."A qur’ānic rasūl   though not a Bābī‑Bahā’ī maẓhar‑i ilāhī, Shu`ayb is infrequently mentioned in  Bābī‑ Bahā’ī sources (BA* KI:7‑8 /7).

Notes and Bibliography

  • Shu`aybin Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Shu`ayb.
 Abrahamic patriarchs and associated figures

08. Ibrāhīm, إِبْرَاهِيم  N+M* (= Heb. אַבְרָהָם,`abrāhām) , Abraham

Abraham (fl.19th cent. BCE?). Frequently mentioned in the Q. (Q14 [title] x 69 in 245 verses within 25 sūras) Abraham in the Q. is a son of Āzar (Q. 6:74 cf. the Eliezer of Gen. 15:2f and  Gen.11:26 where the father is Teraḥ). He is the khalīl‑Allāh (`the friend of God’, Q.4:125; 6:125) and scriptural father of monotheism. For Muslims Abraham became a proto‑Muslim proponent of primordial Islām, the millat Ibrāhīm ( "religion of Abraham", Q. 2:130 etc.). Neither genealogically a Jew nor a Christian (Q. 3:67) Abraham is several times accorded the epithet ḥanīf , loosely, `pure monotheist’ (cf. Syr. ḥanpo  pl. ḥanpe , Q. 2:135; etc). According to Q. 29:27 God established nubuwwa  (`prophethood’) and al‑kitāb  (`The Book’ , `Scripture’) "among his progeny" (‑‑> 09 &10).

 In Bābī‑ Bahā’ī sources Abraham is a centrally important maẓhar‑i ilāhī.  (BA* S‑Nuṣḥ, 246‑7; KI:8/7‑8). Several legendary episodes within Abraham’s life are given a spiritual interpretation, including his being cast into the "fire" (al‑nār) which became "light" (al‑nūr)  and his unfulfilled sacrifice of [Isaac] Ishmael (BA* S.Nuṣḥ, 247‑8, etc. ). For AB* his exiles prefigured those of BA* (AB*, SAQ : IV).

Notes and Bibliography

  • Abraham in Biblical Scholarship
  • Abraham in Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Abraham.
 Lowin, Shari L
  • The making of a forefather : Abraham in Islamic and Jewish exegetical narratives, 2006 English   Book xvi, 308 pp.  Leiden ; Boston : Brill, ; ISBN: 9004152261 (alk. paper) 9789004152267

09. Isḥāq,  إِسْحَاقَ   N ( = Heb.  יִצְחָק), Yiṣḥāq), Isaac 

Isaac  (Q. x17  in 12 sūras) according to Gen. 22:1f  the son of Abraham. In the biblical tradition he was the one bound for sacrifice (akedat Yiṣḥāq,  cf. Gen 22:9). Linked (among others)  with Jacob and  his half‑brother Ishmael (Q. 9:71; 19:39; cf.10 below) most of the qur’anic references to  Isḥāq, occur in miscellaneous lists of prophets and associated  figures. (Alexander, DBI:44‑7+ bib.; Montgomery Watt `Isḥaq’ EI2 IV:109‑110; Naudé, 1971).

Though this is not explicit in the Q.  some early Persian and other  Muslim sources  supported his status as dhabīḥ  (`the one [well‑nigh] sacrificed’)1  Isaac is rarely mentioned in Bābī‑ Bahā’ī primary sources. BA* and AB* have commented upon the meaning and discrepancy between the biblical (Isaac) and qur’ānic exegetical (Ishmā’īl) references to different sons of Abraham involved in the near  sacrifice (Māzandarānī, AK 3:196‑201). They held that both narratives enshrine the same "spiritual" truth.

Notes and Bibliography

  • Isaac in Biblical Scholarship
  • Isaac in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Isaac  in Abrahamic Sources.

Thematic

10. Ismā`īl,    إِسْمَاعِيل R+N (= Heb  יִשְׁמָעֵאל yišmā˓ēl), Ishmael,

Ishmael  (Qx12 in 8  sūras) the biblical eldest son of Abraham  and Hagar   (Gen. 16:11ff) said in the Q. to have received divine revelations (Q. 2:136; 4:163).  In the Q. he (or a second Ismā’īl) is explicitly named a prophet‑Messenger (rasūl an nabīyy an ,  Q.19:54b) though little concrete information is given about him. He most probably was the one who (it is implied) among other things assisted his father in establishing the Meccan Ka`bah as the centre of pilgrimage (Q. 2:125f) (Paret, `Ismā’īl’ EI2 IV:184‑185+bib., Firestone, 1988;1990).  Some Muslims hold that he was the ghulām al‑ḥalīm ("the wise youth") whom Abraham prepared as the dhabīḥ (`one [well‑nigh] sacrificed’, Q. 37:101‑7).

Notes and Bibliography

Thematic

11. Lūṭ  لُوط   R+N (= Heb. לֹוט Lôṭ), Lot 

Lot the biblical son of Haran and nephew  of Abraham (Gen 11:27f;13:5‑13,7f)  In the Q.  Lot is an envoy‑prophet mentioned 27 times in 14 sūras. He is said to have survived the catastrophic, meteor‑like stoning (with sījill) of "upturned" (mu’takifa) ,`vice‑ridden’  cities such as (the unnamed) Sodom. Lot is seldom mentioned in Bābī‑ Bahā’ī primary sources though aspects of his biblical‑qur’ānic story are non‑literally interpreted. In a letter dating to 1938, for example, SE* defended the integrity of Lot relative to the incestuous episode narrated in Gen.19:29‑38 (SE* Dawn: 201).

Notes and Bibliography

  • Lot  in Biblical Scholarship
  • Lot in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Lot in Abrahamic Sources.

Thematic

12.  Ayyūb َأَيُّوب N  (= Heb. אִיֹּוב, ‘āyôb). Job  

Job   is a non‑Hebrew, universal legendary hero known from the biblical book named after him and various post‑biblical sources including the Qumran texts. In the biblical book Job is pictured as an inhabitant of Ur (= Edom?). He is four times mentioned in 3 suras of the Q., twice in lists (Q. 4:163; 6:84). Twice mentioned in fragmentary allusions to his story (Q. 21:83‑4; 38:41) this Islamic legendry hero is sometimes considered a descendant of Abraham through Isaac (Ṭabarī, Tārīkh  I:194).

 Notes and Bibliography

  • Adam in Biblical Scholarship
  • Adam in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Adam in Abrahamic Sources.

Thematic

Jacob Wrestling with God

13. Ya`qūb, يَعْقُوب  N (= Heb. יַעֲקָב , ya`āqôb,), Jacob.  

Jacob also know as (Heb. יִשְׂרָאֵל, yisrael) (Ar.)  إِسْرَائِيلُ   Isrā’īl (= Israel, cf. Q. 3:87, etc), the son or brother of the biblical Isaac (Q.  37:113; 6:84).

Jacob may have flourished in the  mid. 2nd millen. BCE.  He is reckoned a a nabī  and is 16 times mentioned  in 10 sūras of the Q. The father of the (twelve) tribes (Q. 2:126f) including that stemming  from  his beloved son Joseph. It was over separation from this "son of his old age" (Gen. 37:3b) that he was blinded with grief until Joseph’s "coat" (qamiṣ)  was cast upon his head thereby restoring his  sight (Q.12:93‑4). In Shī`ī tradition the sacred qamīṣ ("garment")  was thawb min thiyāb al‑janna,   ("one of the robes of Paradise") with which God through Gabriel clothed Abraham. It was handed down to Jacob who bestowed this scented (rīḥa) garment ( Q. 12:94b) upon Joseph (Biḥār 2 12:249).

Notes and Bibliography

  • Jacob in Biblical Scholarship
  • Jacob in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Jacob in Abrahamic Sources.

Thematic

14. Yūsuf  يُوسُف     M [=R]+N+M* (= Heb יֹוסֵף, Yôsêp), Jospeh. 

Joseph after whom Sūrah 12 is named, is mentioned  27 times in the Q., twice outside Q. 12  (Q. 6:84 and 40:34). He is the biblical eleventh son of Jacob (= Israel) and Rachel. Though according to the Q. he came with "clear proofs" (Q.6:85b; 40:34b) he was doubted as a prophet. In Islam Joseph is an important messenger‑prophet of  God. His story is the longest continuous prophetological narrative in the Q. (111 verses) mirroring the extended biblical narrative (Gen 37‑50). The Sūrat Yūsuf   (Q.12)  is reckoned the  aḥsan al‑qaṣaṣ, the "most beauteous of narratives" (Q.12:3). It contains dimensions of the extended biblical story (Gen. 37‑50) with supplementary haggadic‑rooted and other unique features. In Islamic tradition Joseph is reckoned a paragon of handsome beauty (ḥusn / jamāl)  and one eminently righteous (al‑ṣiddiq).

See Coats, `Joseph...’, ABD 3:976ff; Dijkstra, `Joseph..’ DDD:895‑8; Enc.Jud. X:202‑217; Heller, `Yūsuf b. Ya`kūb’, EI VIII:1178‑9+bib.; MacDonald,  MW 46 (1956), 113ff+207ff; etc.

Notes and Bibliography

  • Joseph in Biblical Scholarship
  • Joseph in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Joseph in Abrahamic Sources.

Thematic

15. Mūsā  مُوسَى  R+N+M* (= Heb.   מֹשֶׁה, mōšeh), Moses.

Moses (13th cent. BCE?) in the Bible is the son of the Levites Amram and Yochebed (Exod. 2:1ff). The central lawgiver and prophet figure in biblical Judaism, Moses is also a key prophet‑messenger of the Q. A major prototype and annunciator of Muhammad (Q.7:156), Moses is mentioned in the Q more frequently than any other prophet figure (Q. x 137 in 502 verses within 36 sūras).

Many of the biblical episodes associated with Moses have qur’ānic counterparts; examples are the Sinaitic call, theophany (Q.7:142‑3) and revelation of the Torah (tawrāt); Pharoah and the exodus and various miracles associated therewith (Q.20:12; 7:143f; etc). As in the Q. Moses the exalted divine manifestation is very frequently mentioned in Shaykhī and in Bābī‑ Bahā’ī literatures. The interpretation of the theophany on Sinai was foundational for the self‑understanding and claims of the Bāb and BA*. This especially as it is mentioned in the semi‑ghuluww  (“extremist”), Shī`ī khuṭba al‑ṭutunjiyya  (loosely, `"Sermon of the Gulf") ascribed to Imam `Alī (Lambden, 1986:84‑5).

Notes and Bibliography

  • Moses in Biblical Scholarship
  • Moders in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Moses in Abrahamic Sources.

Thematic

16. Hārūn, هَارُون R+N (= Heb. אַהֲרֹן, ‘aḥārōn), Aaron.

Aaron  fl. 3th cent. BCE?) is the biblical  elder brother of Moses (Exod. 2:1f) and  an Israelite priest of the tribe of Levi. In the Q. he is 20 times mentioned in 13 sūras. He is the wazīr   of Moses (Q. 20:30; 35:17) with whom he is almost always mentioned. Aaron is again very seldom mentioned in B ābī‑ Bahā’ī sources save in association with Moses.

Notes and Bibliography

  • Aaron in Biblical Scholarship
  • Aaron in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Aaron in Abrahamic Sources.

Thematic

17 Dāwūd  دَاوُود  N [+M*?] (= Heb. דָּוִיד, dāwîd), David.  

David (fl. 11th ‑10 cent. BCE/ c. 1037?‑c.961(7) BCE?) the biblical youngest son of Jesse (I Sam. 16:1, etc.). He is a nabī mentioned six times in 9 sūras of the Q. The Q. twice states that God revealed the zabūr  (Book, Psalter) to David (Q 4:163;17: 55). God is is said to have taught him `ilm  (knowledge) and  ḥikma  (`wisdom’ Q. 21:78f) as well as how to make armour and soften iron (Q. 21:80; 34:10). David in the Q. is considered God’s just khalīfa on earth (Q. 38:35–38 cf. 2Sam 11‑12 cf. Q.  21:78). His victory over Jālūt  (Goliath) is specifically mentioned (Q. 2:251) as are  a few other episodes in his unusual and ultimately pious life. Abrahamic religious traditions picture David  as a type of both the  eschatological messiah and his enemy the anti‑messiah or Dajjāl  (Syr. Deceiver).  He is a figure of great importance both for the Bāb and BA* as, among other things...

Notes and Bibliography

  • David in Biblical Scholarship
  • David in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to David in Abrahamic Sources.
  • Davids in Babi-Baha'i Literatures.

Thematic

18. Sulaymān, سُلَيْمَان N   (= Heb שְׁלֹמֹה, šēlōmōh), Solomon.  

Solomon (fl. 10 cent. c. 961‑922 BCE?) was the son and successor of David (and Bath‑Sheba, 2 Sam 12:24f; cf. Q.27:1b,16) as the Israelite king. In the Q. he is a nabī   mentioned 17 times  in 7 sūras. He is a faithful servant of God (Q.38:29) and another important antitype of Muhammad. Solomon is credited with esoteric knowledge including the speech of animals and birds (Q. 27:16,19) as well as great powers of magic and divination. In Islamic and other magical sources he is reckoned to have been privy to the secret of the ism al‑a`ẓam, (mightiest Name of God).  Rooted in the biblical text and Jewish traditions, the tale of Solomon and the variously named Bilqīs, the Queen of Sheba, is recounted in Q. 27 : [16] 20‑45).

Notes and Bibliography

  • Solomon in Biblical Scholarship
  • Solomon in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Solomon in Abrahamic Sources.

Thematic

19.  Ilyās   إِلْيَاسَM [=R?]+N (= Heb. אֵלִיָּה, `ēlīyāh, Gk. Elias), Elijah. 

Elijah (fl. mid. 9th cent. BCE.,1 Kings 17ff; 2 Kings 1‑2)  is three times mentioned in two surahs of the Q. He is referred to as a sent messenger and a prophet. Ilyās is reckoned "among the righteous" (Q.6:85) having been a staunch opponent of the cult of Baal (Q. 37:123ff).

Notes and Bibliography

  • Elijah in Biblical Scholarship and Judaic Studies and Sources
  • Eliajh  in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Elijah  in Abrahamic Sources.

Thematic

 

20. Alyasa`    َالْيَسَعَ (N) (=? Heb. אֱלִישָׁע, `ēlīšâ`, Elisha

Elisha, most likely the biblical prophet Elisha son of Shaphat (? 9th cent. BCE), the (Heb.) `īsh `ēlōhîm  ("man of God")  commissioned by Elijah (no.19) whom he succeeded  (1 Kings 19:16f; 2 Kings 2f). In the Q.  Alyasa` is only mentioned in two lists of prophet figures, "Ishmael, Alyasa` [Elisha], Jonah and Lot / Dhu’l‑Kifl" (Q. 6:86; 38:48). He is only very rarely mentioned in Bābī‑ Bahā’ī sacred writings (cf. AB* in PP:12).  

Notes and Bibliography

  • Elisha in Biblical Scholarship and Judaic Studies and Sources
  • Elisha  in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Elisha  in Abrahamic Sources.

Thematic

 

21.   Dhū’l‑Kifl  ذَوالْكِفْلِ    (trad. N?), `The twice recompensed’ (Q.x 2 = 21:85; 38:48)

An unknown figure, thought by al‑Ṭabarī to be a pious nabī  (prophet) named Bishr (or Bashīr), allegedly a   son  of Job (Tārīkh, 1:195, cf.  Walker, (MW 16 [1926]:399‑400) where it is argued on the basis of Job 42:10 that this title indicates Job himself who received "twice as much as he had before".Other Islamic sources variously, for example, reckon that he was Joshua, Ezekiel, Elijah, a cousin of Elisha  or Zacharias (Tha`labī, `Arā’is, 144‑5, 231‑2; Kisā’ī, Qiṣ aṣ, trans. Thackston, 204,  351 n. 97; 399‑400). He remains an obscure figure and is very rarely named in Bābī‑ Bahā’ī primary sources.

Notes and Bibliography

  • Dhū’l‑Kifl  in Biblical Scholarship and Judaic Studies and Sources
  • Dhū’l‑Kifl  in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed toDhū’l‑Kifl in Abrahamic Sources.
  • Dhu'-Kifl

Thematic

22. . Yūnus يُونُسَ M [=R]+N (= Heb   יֹונָה, yônāh), Jonah. 

Jonah   who may be the (mythical?) son of Amittai [Mattai] (8th cent. BCE?; II Kings 14:25). One biblical book and one qur’ānic sūrah bear the name of Jonah (Q.10). In the Q. Jonah appears as a sent messenger and a prophet and is 4 [+2] times mentioned in 4 [+2] sūras. He seems once designated dhu’l‑nūn  ("Lord of the fish", Q. 21:87) and once ṣāḥib al‑ḥūt  ("Man of the Fish", Q. 68:48). 1   Both a name of a book of the Hebrew Bible (one of the `minor prophets’) and a sūra of the Qur’ ān (Q.11) are  after this legendary (?) figure (cf. II Kings 14:26 +  New Testament refs.).Having been swallowed but cast out of a large fish (al‑ḥawt)  he was called by God to prophesy against a people (100, 000 or so  Assyrians of Ninevah) whom he induced to faith (Q. 37:139ff).

Notes and Bibliography

  • Jonah  in Biblical Scholarship and Judaic Studies and Sources
  • Jonah  in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Jonah in Abrahamic Sources.
  • Jonah

Thematic

23.  `Uzair, عُزَيْرٌ N (=? Heb. עֶזְרָא, `ezrā’), Ezra. 

Ezra, (N) the biblical sage and scribal priest of  the Archaemenian monarch Artaxerxes I (fl. late 5th cent. BCE? early 2nd Temple Period). He led some exiled Jews from Babylon back to Jerusalem and is believed to have been the post‑exilic restorer of the Mosaic Law (Ezra; 4 Ezra). Ezra is only mentioned in  Q. 9:30 (cf. Q. 2:259) which probably records the opinion of Medinan Jews that he was the ibn Allāh  (Son of God; so Ayoub, 1986). The issue of Ezra’s "sonship"  is several times mentioned and contested by the Bāb.  BA* and AB* rarely refer to Ezra save in connection with his role as restorer of the text of the Torah.

Notes and Bibliography

  • Ezra in Biblical Scholarship and Judaic Studies and Sources
  • Ezra  in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Ezra ascribed to Jonah in Abrahamic Sources.
  • Ezra

Thematic

 

24.  Luqmān      لُقْمَن (N) an unknown figure (Q. 31 [title]; 31:12‑13 [x2]).

Traditionally a son of Ād, a wise and pious sage and one al‑mu`ammar, ("one long‑lived"), a venerable Aesop‑like teller of fables. Associated with the Islamic wisdom tradition, he occasionally figures in this role in Bābī‑ Bahā’ī primary sources. In the Valley of ḥayra   ("Wonderment ")  of  his mystical Haft Vadī  (Seven Valleys, 1858 CE), BA* cites a saying of Luqman  whom he says had "drunk from the wellspring of ḥikmat   and tasted of the waters of mercy"  (SV: 34-35). As far as I am aware this is the only substantial reference to Luqman in Bābī‑ Bahā’ī primary sources.

Notes and Bibliography

  • Luqman in Biblical Scholarship and Judaic Studies and Sources
  • Luqman in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Luqman in Abrahamic Sources.
  • Luqman

Thematic

 

ALEXANDER THE GREAT

25. Dhū’l‑Qarnayn  ذوالْقَرْنَيْن  ([trad.] N?),

`Possessed of two horns’ is three times mentioned in the sūra of the Cave (18:82‑98 only). Though this is not at all certain, various Syriac and many post‑qur’ānic Islamic sources apply this epithet to Alexander the Great (III of  Macedon, 356 ‑323 BCE). Islamic sources make many identifications of Dhu’l‑Qarnayn including for example, al‑Khiḍr (the `Verdent’) and (in certain Shī`ī sources) `Alī b. Abī Ṭālib (d.40 /661) (Majlisī,Biḥar 2 12:172ff; Mittwoch, SEI:76).  AB* repeats this latter identification with `Alī but finds ramzī, a cipher or esoteric sense in every aspect of his scriptural story which he classifies as existing in verses mutashābihāt ("needing interpretation"; Tablet to Jināb‑i Nushābādī in Ma’idih 2:42‑3).

Notes and Bibliography

  • Dhu’l‑Qarnayn in Biblical Scholarship and Judaic Studies and Sources
  • Dhu’l‑Qarnayn  in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Dhu’l‑Qarnayn in Abrahamic Sources.
  • Dhu’l‑Qarnayn and Alexander the Great.
  •  

Thematic

Jesus  and Christian  origins.

00. Zakariyyā, َزَكَرِيَّا , N , Zechariah. 

Zechariah,   the father of John the Baptist (fl. 1st cent. BCE/CE., Lk 1, etc) is seven times mentioned in four sūras of the Q ( 3:37f; 6:85; 19:2f, 21:89). He had charge of Mary, the mother of Jesus in the Jerusalem Temple (Q. 3:37f). Despite his advanced age and the barrenness of his wife (Elizabeth) God  granted him the (allegedly) uniquely  named son Yaḥyā (Q.19:7b). In Islamic sources he is one of the ultra pious believed to have suffered cruel martyrdom. Occasionally mentioned in Bābī‑ Bahā’ī primary sources both the Bāb and BA* refer to traditions of his martyrdom.

Notes and Bibliography

  • Zechariah in Biblical Scholarship and Judaic Studies and Sources
  • Zechariah  in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Zechariah in Abrahamic Sources.
  • Zechariah and Alexander the Great.
  •  

Thematic

26.  Yaḥyā    يَحْيَى (N), John the Baptist.  

John the Baptist (> Syr. Yoḥannan?) executed by Herod Antipas c. 29‑34 CE. He apparently renounced the priesthood, lived as an ascetic, announced the near advent of the kingdom of God and preached a baptism of repentance. Very few details are given in the Q. where he is five times mentioned in 4 sūras (Q. 3:39; 6:85; 19:7,12; 21:90).  The angels make mention of his birth as muṣaddaqan bi‑kalimati min Allāh (one "confirming a Word [= Jesus] from God" Q.3:39). Given ḥikma (wisdom, judgement) as a child he was exhorted to "take firm hold of the Book (kitāb = the Torah) (Q. 3:46). Yaḥyā is called a sayyid (leader, authority) and his piety is celebrated, "and [We gave him Yaḥyā] ḥannān (compassion, tenderness) from Us and zakat (goodness, purity); making him taqī   (pious, godfearing, devout) and kind to his parents, neither arrogant nor rebellious"  (Q.19:13‑14).

Notes and Bibliography

  • John the Baptist in Biblical Scholarship and Judaic Studies and Sources
  • John the Baptist  in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to  John the Baptist in Abrahamic Sources.
  • John the Baptist in Mandaean Sources.

Thematic

00. Maryam, مَرْيَمَ  (Heb. Myrm, Miryam, Miriam), Mary.  

Mary  the mother of Jesus (d. c.3? CE; Q.19 [title] and x 34 in 12 sūras) is the only woman called by her proper name in the Q. though often in the phrase `Īsā b. Maryam (Jesus son of Mary, Q. x 24). The qur’anic stories of the annunciation‑conception and birth of Jesus to some degree reflect Christian apocryphal writings and select Gospel pericopae. The virgin birth is upheld (Q.19:21; 21:91; 56:22) as is the chastity of Mary who is once curiously referred to as the "sister of Aaron" (Q.3:37‑8; 66:12;19:29). 

Notes and Bibliography

  •  Mary in Biblical Scholarship and Patristic Sources
  • Mary  in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Mary the Baptist in Abrahamic Sources.
  • Mary in Gnostic and related Sources.

Thematic

27.   `Īsā   عِيسَى R+N+M* (= Heb. Aram. Yeshū[a], a late form of the name Joshua, `YHWH saves’; cf. Gk. Ieÿsous), Jesus.  

Jesus   (c.‑ 6?‑ c.30 CE?) the founder of that Jewish faction which became Christianity. He has a prominent, elevated  place in the Q. (x 93 times in 15 sūras). As the "son of Mary" (Q. x 33) he allegedly spoke from the cradle (Q. 3:41; 5:109;19:30). Jesus  both affirmed the Torah and received the Injīl (evangelion = Gospel[s]) from God (Q. 3:43f). Not literally "a son of God" or  a deity consubstantial with God (Q. 9:30f; 5:19f; 43:59), Jesus is said to be al‑masīḥ  (the messiah, Q x11), a prophet (nabī) and a messenger (rasū)  as well as  His "Word" (kalimat;  Q. 3:45;4:171) and  a "Spirit (rūḥ)  from Him" (Q. 4:171); one aided with the "Holy Spirit" ( bi‑rūḥ al‑quds;  Q. 2:81; 5:109:19:30; 58:22). While Jesus’ ability to perform miracles (= āyāt, "signs") is affirmed and several times evidenced (Q. 3:43f; 5:110f), his crucfixion appears to be denied (Q. 4:155f). Though his ascension is mentioned (Q. 4:157)  Jesus’ second coming or role at the eschaton is only  alluded to (Q. 43:61) (Anawati. ``Īsā’ EI2 IV:81‑6; Wensinck [Bosworth], `al‑Masīḥ’ EI 2 V1:776; Parrinder, 1965 esp. 55ff). The more than 500 or so year period between Jesus and Muhammad is often regarded in Muslim sources as a period when the people remained without a concrete or  outward ḥujjat  (`Proof’, Guide’) for 250 or 400 or more years after Jesus  (Biḥār 2 14: 234; 347). Islamic sources greatly expand and celebrate the figure of the Islamic Jesus and see him as a very great prophet and servant of God, the "Spirit of God" (rūḥ Allāh).

Notes and Bibliography

  • Jesus in Biblical Scholarship and Patristic Sources
  •  Jesus in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Books ascribed to Jesus in Abrahamic Sources.
  • Jesus in Gnostic and related Sources.

 

28.  Muhammad,   مُحَمَد  R+N+M* the "One Praiseworthy".  

Muhammad  (c. 570‑632 CE) son of  `Abd‑Allāh and Aminah bint Wahb (Arabic: آمنة بنت وهب‎ ʼĀminah bint Wahb (d. c. 577 CE) is mentioned four times in four sūras of the Q. Sūrah 47 is named after this Arabian prophet‑messenger  who from time to time communicated an Arabic Qur'an  (= "recitation") in 114 sūrahs of varying length.  Muhammad believed that he was restoring and updating the perspicuous, "clear" (mubīn) religion of Abraham. Considered by Muslims to be the greatest of the past messenger‑prophets, Muhammad was designated the khātam al‑nabbiyyīn, the acme (trad. "seal"= "last") of the prophets" (Q. 33:40b).

Notes and Bibliography

  • Muhammad in Biblical Prophecy, Patristic and other Sources
  • Muhammad in  Islamic Prophetology
  • Muhammad in Islamic Historiography and other materials.
  • The Genealology, Parents and Forebears of Muhammad.
  • Books and traditions ascribed to Muhammad in Abrahamic-Islamic Sources.
  • Muhammad in Jewish and Christian polemical literatures..
  • Muhammad in Traditional Islamic Scholarship.
  • Muhammad in modern academic scholarship.