Islamo-Bibica - 2 Ishmaels 2 Davids

Two Ishmaels and Two Davids in Bibical, Islamic and Babi-Baha'i Sources.

Stephen Lambden


Adapted from the Lambden doctoral thesis (1980s/2002).

In progress and revision - 29-02-2016.

Biblical, Qur'anic and associated literatures have a great deal to say about pre-Christian and/or pre-Islamic prophet figures...

The Biblical and Qur'anic Ishmael-Isma'il and the Question of Two Ishmaels.

The biblical Hebrew figure  יִשְׁמָעֵאל , yišmā`ēl ("God will hear" ) is  the eldest son of Abraham and his second wife Hagar (Gen. 16:11ff).


The Qur'anic Ismā`īl.

The biblical Ishmael is the Qur'anic Ismā`īl who is referred to as a rasul (sent messenger) as well as a nabi (prophet) in the Qur'an where he is mentioned twelve times in a total of eight Surahs. This biblical eldest son of Abraham and Hagar (Gen. 16:11ff) is said in the Qur'an to have received divine revelations (Q. 2:136; 4:163). In the Qur'an 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).

Abraham’s intended sacrifice of Ishmael is occasionally mentioned in Bābī- Bahā’ī sources where he is a paragon of detached, personal sacrifice (BA*Tablet to Riḍā’ GWB:XXXII). Following the post qur’ānic story Baha'-Allah likened the actual death of his son Mīrzā Mihdī (d. 23nd June 1870) in Acre, to Abraham’s intended sacrifice of Ishmael (ibid). As in various Islamic (Shī`ī) and Shaykhī texts, Bābī- Bahā’ī primary sources mention two Ishmaels, one the son of Abraham and the other the rasūl and nabī mentioned in Q. 19:54-5 as interpreted by Imam Ja`far al-Ṣādiq and others (Biḥār 213:388-91+ `Abdu'l-Baha' and Shoghi Effendi unpublished mss.). This second Ismā’īl is sometimes identified as the Israelite prophet, Ismā’īl son of Hizkīl (son of Ezekiel) (Shaykh Aḥmad, JK 1/1:101).

Two Moses’ in Islamic prophetology:  Moses son of Amram and Moses son of Manasseh.


The Biblical Hebrew and Qur'anic Davids.

The Biblical Hebrew דָּוִיד dāwı̂d.

The Hebrew name דָּוִד (Dawid, "One Beloved") is that of the well-known second king of ancient Israel who lived during the 11th- 10th century BCE  (c. 1037?- c.961[7] BCE).

The other David of the Sepher ha‑Zohar.

It is worth noting here, that the Sepher ha‑Zohar (Book of Splendour), does speak of a heavenly David. Gershom Scholem writes (art. David (in the Kabballah) in EJ 5:1311): "As a counterpart to the Biblical king David, God has "another David" (David ara) who is in charge of all the inhabitants of the upper world; and he is the Shekihah (Zohar 3.84a)."  It is extremely unlikely that the Bāb was influenced by this tradition though the Zohar was known among some Persian Jews living in Qajar times.

The Qur'anic,  Arabic as داؤد‎  Dā'ūd or Dāwūd (David).

In the Qur'an the Biblical Hebrew דָּוִיד dāwı̂d (David) is several times mentioned in Arabic as داؤد‎  Dā'ūd or Dāwūd who is reckoned a nabī (prophet).  The biblical youngest son of Jesse (I Sam. 16:1, etc.). He is an Israelite prophet six times mentioned in nine sūras of the Qur'an. The Qur'an 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 Qur'an 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).

David is a figure of great importance both for the Persian born messianic claimants Sayyid `Ali Muhammad Shirazi, the Bāb (1819-1850 CE) and Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri, Baha'-Allah (1817-1892 CE). His position as the revealer of the Zabūr (Psalter) is acknowledged. In line with Qisas al-anbiya' and Persian poetical writings David is pictured as possessing a sweet-singing voice. Just after his claim "I am al-bahā’ (the glory/Beauty), the Bāb, addressing the "Concourse of Lights" (malā’ al-anwār) in Qayyum al-asma' CVIII [108] states, "This is the Bird (al-ṭayr) which singeth in the firmament of heaven with the elevated accent of David (`alā laḥn al-dāwūd)" (108:433). This same prophetological motif is utilized by Baha'-Allah in the eighth couplet of his early proclaimatory Halih, Halih, halih, yā
Bishārat (Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad-Tidings! c. 1862 CE):

This sweet Davidic voice (naghma-yi dāwūdī) came from the Divine Lote-Tree (sidra-yi lāhūtī), with the messianic Spirit (rūḥ-i masīḥ) ... (Ganj-i shayigan, 34).

Though the troubled, apparently far from `iṣmat (infallible) personal life of David spelled out in the Bible, would seem to ill-befit his occupying an elevated position, the Islamic David is often represented as an extra pious penitent, a major prophet whose shortcomings were forgiven by God. Though not now regarded by Bahā’is as a maẓhar-i ilāhī (Manifestation of God), David is given high rank by Baha'-Allah. In his Kitab-i īqān (Book of Certitude, c.1861 CE) for example, he refers to David, son of Jesse, as being among the "greatest of prophets" (anbiyā’-yi a`ẓam ; Baha'-Allah, KI: 39/51).

The Question of Two Davids.

At times the Bāb viewed David as prophet figure who revealed the Zabūr and founded a religious community distinct from that of Moses before Moses' own appearance. Details may be gleaned from the Persian and Arabic versions of the Dalā'il-i sab`ih and the Kitāb-i panj sha'n  which represent the developed or later teaching of the Bāb.

Most probably as a result of Shī`ī Irfānī or Ahl-i Ḥaqq influence, the prophetology of the Bāb recognizes a David prior to David the son of Jesse (see the Bab, Ar. Dala'il al-sab`a. Per. Dala'il-i sab`ah, Tehran Baha'i Archives ms. 6007C: 189-197; 195; Kitab-i panj sha`n 424ff; cf. Nuqtat al-Kāf, 27; Muḥadarāt, 1:371f). This second pre-Mosaic David is most probably the Dāwūd exalted by the Ahl-i Ḥaqq faction known as the Dawūdīs ("Davidites") whom the Bāb encountered in Ādhirbayjān and elsewhere (Fr. Anastase the Carmelite, al-Dāwūda aw al-Dāwūdiyyūn in al-Mashriq VI [1903], 60-67).

While the various dates given for the time of the manifestation of Moses may be accounted for in the light of the Bāb's knowledge of divergent Shī`ī  chronological traditions and his own qabbalistically informed chronological scheme 1 it is difficult to account for the David whom he evidently believed preceded Moses, revealed the Zabūr and  founded a religious community distinct from that of Moses (see below). Mainstream Jewish Judaeo‑Christian, Christian  and Islamic (including Shī`ī) sources do not date David before Moses or speak of "two Davids". [1]

[1] Islamic sources sometimes contain chronological data which radically contradicts Jewish‑Christian or Biblical traditions. Imam Ja`far al-Ṣādiq for example, according to a tradition recorded in the Bihar al‑anwar 14:234) is alleged to have taught that "Between David and Jesus son of Mary…  were 400 years..' . Other Shī`ī traditions, on the other hand (noted by Shaykh Ahmad in his Sharh al‑Ziyāra l:195 (Kirman. nd) reckon : Moses à David =500 years and David -> Jesus = 1,000 years. This 500 year period is probably in line of Christian ideas of the Christian era lasting for 5, 500 years the year 6,000 or commencement of the 7th millennium being related to the realization of 5,500+500 = 6,000 = the commencement of the era of Muhammad.

 Various extremist groups however, such as the Ahl‑i Ḥaqq  (to use an imprecise term‑‑ see Minorsky EI2 1:260f.) who existed, among other places, around Māh‑Kūh (where the Bāb was imprisoned, as well as in Fars) did give David (= Dawud; as well as Benjanin in the Bible Joseph's brother) an important position among the hierachy of angelic beings or past worthies such that it might be thought that he preceded Moses.  

  It could then, be argued that "extremist" influence on the Bāb subsequent to his transference to Māh‑Kūh led him to speak of a David who preceded Moses and founded a separate religious community still existing (an "extremist" group?) in his own day. ADD fn? In this light it is worth noting that such a group did in fact exist in Iran and Iraq in the last century (possibly now extinct?), the so‑called "Dawudis" who regarded David as the most important of the Prophets." In his article Dāwūd in the SEI p.72, XXX writes: "In Kurdistan there still exists a small sect of followers of David (Dāwūdīs); they live in the mountainous district of Kirnid, near Khanikin, and at Mandala north of Baghdad; to them David is the most important of the Prophets." See also, Le Pere Anastase, art., Le Secte des Davidiens Al‑Mashriq, No.2. (1903), pp.60‑7). It is not known whether the Bab had any knowledge of the few Iraqī Dawudis' or whether any of them converted to Babism.

 Other theories, perhaps less convincing than that of "extremist" influence, might also be proposed to account for the pre‑Mosaic David spoken of by the Bāb. It could, for example, be proposed that the Bāb, being aware of the fact that the Qur'ān teaches that David brought a book, the Zabūr (see Q.4:161,17: 57; 21:105 ) made him a major prophet who founded a distinct religious community before Moses ‑‑ also following mainstream Islamic tradition by speaking of a David who brought a Zabur after Moses. Attention might also be drawn to the occurrence of the plural zubur six times in the Qur'ān (3:181; 16:44; 26:196;  35:23; 54:43,52) apparently with the  meaning sacred "writ" or "scriptures" or to the fact that David is mentioned before Moses in Qur'ān 6:84  (Noah.. David.. Job, Jonah, Moses and Aaron; cf. also Q. 4:161ff). The plural zubur in the Qur'ān denotes revealed "writ" other than the Zabūr of David; the term being unconnected with any prophet or prophets.

"We verily favoured some of the prophets (al‑nabiyyin) above others through the Dhikr. And We sent down the Zabūr upon David the prophet (al‑nabī)." (QA.XXIX.fol.47a)." Drawing on Qur'an 21:78f and (probably also) those Shī`ī  ḥadīth which reckon that certain of the Israelite prophets received a few letters of knowledge or of the "greatest name of God" he ,in QA LIX (fol. lOlb. cf. on this Karīm Khān Kirmānī Izhaq al‑Batil, Kirman 1392  AH., p.90) explains how David and Solomon were inspired with two letters  of the "greatest word" (kalimat al‑akbar) adding that Dhu'l‑Nun (=Jonah), Idris (= Enoch), Ishmael and Dhu’l‑Kifl (= Job or Ezekiel) were in darkness  until they testified to the truth of the "point of the Gate" (nuqṭat al‑bāb =the Bab ?).

 Muslim commentators have  variously interpreted or identified the Zabūr (and zubur) such that two Zabūrs or two Davids might be proposed (see below).  The Bāb however, does not explicitly mention either "two Zabūrs" or "two Davids" though the existence of "two Davids" (one pre‑Mosaic, the other the father of Solomon) has, as we shall see, been proposed (in reply to questions about such writings of the Bāb as have been discussed above) by `Abd al-Bahā’.

 Another possibility would be that the Bāb was conscious of the existence of the revealed book of David  in the light of the Christian missionary publication of the Psalms in Arabic and Persian.

            At this point, having already drawn attention to most of the more interesting references to David in the Bāb's writings, we may sum up as follows‑:

  • l) The Bāb wrote of a David who preceded Moses and whose followers rejected Moses by clinging to the precepts of the Zabur. This despite David's preticting the coming of Moses.
  • 2) The Bāb wrote of a David who suceeded Moses and whose followers rejected Jesus by clinging to the precepts of the Zabūr. This David appeared 2,270 (lunar) years before the Bāb in ‑1010 A.H. (4th cent. BCE [ 356 BCE.]= 500 lunar years before Jesus ). His followers ‑‑ apparently distinguished from those of Moses ‑‑ still existed in the Bāb's day

NB. Psalms published therefore existing community assumed.

For the Bāb then, David (or both the pre‑ and post‑Mosaic Davids) were important prophet figures among the pre‑Christian messengers of God who brought a book, the Zabur. Exactly why, in his later writings, he speaks of both a pre‑ and a post‑Mosaic David is obscure though it may be the result of his appropriation of "extremist" type prophetological speculations. It could also be argued that the Bāb saw David‑‑ or both of the Davids he mentions -- as great messengers of God equal in rank to Moses and Jesus. We shall see below that the promonence given by the Bab to one or more Davids had its influence upon the prophetology of Baha'-Allah.

Since many modern Biblical scholars, along with some past Jewish, Christian and Islamic writers, reckon that Moses lived sometime between 15th and 13th centuries BCE and that David lived around 1,000 B.C., it will be evident that the Bāb's prophetological schema is not in accord with Biblically rooted chronology [2]

[2] "We verily favoured some of the prophets (al‑nabiyyin) above others through the Dhikr. And We sent down the Zabūr upon David the prophet (al‑nabī)." (QA.XXIX.fol.47a)." Drawing on Qur'an 21:78f and (probably also) those Shī`ī  ḥadīth which reckon that certain of the Israelite prophets received a few letters of knowledge or of the "greatest name of God" he, in QA LIX (fol. lOlb. cf. on this Karīm Khān Kirmānī Izhaq al‑Batil, Kirman 1392  AH., p.90) explains how David and Solomon were inspired with two letters  of the "greatest word" (kalimat al‑akbar) adding that Dhu'l‑Nun (=Jonah), Idris (= Enoch), Ishmael and Dhu’l‑Kifl (= Job or Ezekiel) were in darkness  until they testified to the truth of the "point of the Gate" (nuqṭat al‑bāb =the Bab ?).

The Bibie neither mentions "two Davids”  nor leads us to believe that David (father of Solomon) appeared in X56 B.C.

David chronology in the Persian Dalā'il-i sab`ah

In this work, the Bāb, after listing his seven proofs of true divine revelation, dwells on the successive rejection of God sent prophets figures from age to age by faith aligned or believing segments of humanity. He first comments on the fact that the ummat-i dāwūd, the religious community or  "people of David" (check this)  who preceded the era of Moses and his religious community, for the most part rejected Jesus despite the fact that they were for 500 years nurtured in "the [religion of] the Zabūr ("Psalter")". Underlining the intransigence of the unbelieving followers of David he notes that they still existed in his own day 2,270 years after David's mission:

"Notwithstanding the fact that 2,270 years have passed from the day of the manifestation of David up till the beginning of this manifestation [the Bāb's manifestation] there still remain letters of the Zabūr (ḥurūfāt-i ẓabūr) who cling to their own religion." (P-Dalā'il 17-18).

It is thus clear that at this point the Bāb reckons that David appeared a round 500 (presumably lunar) years before Jesus and that a period of 500 years separates Jesus and Muhammad. This chronological schema may be expressed in the following manner:

These figures when computed back prior to Islam are not intended to be precise according to either the Muslim lunar calendar or the western solar calendar. Rather, as will be demonstrated in the light of various late works of the Bāb,  they operate according to the `ilm al-jafr, loosely, the science of gematria rooted  or “qabbalistic” computation.

Having lamented the folly of the "community of David", the Bāb makes similar remarks about the "people of Moses" who rejected Jesus:

 "And similarly, observe the community of Moses (ummat-i Mūsā) which was nurtured [in the Mosaic Faith] for 1,000 years before [the manifestation of David] until they attained excellence [in their Faith], and [then] that which Moses had promised them about the manifestation of Jesus after David came to pass. But only a few possessed of wisdom and insight attained faith in Jesus" (P-Dalā’il, 18).  

This passage presupposes that Moses appeared 1,000 years before David; presumably 3,270 (lunar) years before 1,260 AH (= 1844.CE); or, in other words in -2010 AH = (counting lunar years = 1,324 BCE.[14th]. Since the Bāb, as we have seen, has it that David appeared 500 years before Jesus, Moses would have appeared 1,500 (lunar years) before the latter. i.e. 1,500 lunar years before -510 AH).

Fn. The Bāb also complains about the Christian rejection of Muhammad and explicitly reckons 500 (lunar) years between the manifestation of Jesus and Muhammad. He thus also assumes a period of 1,770 years between Jesus and his own manifestation (zuhūr) in 1,260 AH (Dalā'il-i sab`a, 19-23 and see further XXXXX).  

He  also however, states that Moses announced his prophethood "2,270 years ago" (presumably before 1,260 AH) which is 1,000 years later than that implied in the above quoted text and the same date as that given (earlier, as noted, in the same work) for the manifestation of David.

Fn. I assume, pending a critical edition of the text of the Persian Dalā'il-i sab`a, that this reading in the Azali edition (p.38) is correct. cf. Nicolas, 1902:40 where reference is made (the lines being absent in the Azali Persian ed) to 2270 years having passed -- as far as the "Psalmists" (community of David) are concerned.

 Moses, we are thus led to believe, either appeared 3,270 or 2,270 (lunar) years before 1,260 AH or in either 14th (1,324 BCE) or 4th (356 BCE) century BCE (counting lunar years).

David chronology in the Arabic al-Dalā'il al-Sab`a. 

This work, a highly condensed though sometimes disparate version of the Persian Dalā'il-i sab`ih, does not in fact give any figures for the time of the manifestation of Moses, David or Jesus. Interestingly though, it is presupposed that David appeared, revealed the Zabūr and founded a distinct community which came to reject Moses when he appeared after David, presumably  500-1000 years [?] after David. This would seem to be in contradiction to the Persian Dala'il if we ignore the texts which imply that they both appeared at the same time (2,270 years before the Bāb). The Bāb asks the reader to consider the proofs presented by those who recited the Torah for those who recited the Zabūr in the light of the fact that the latter "persisted in their religion and did not enter the religion of Moses" (Refer, P-Dalā'il (Azali ed) ed. lām (12).

The Kitāb-i panj sha'n

At one point in this work the Bāb, introducing yet another date for the time of the manifestation of Moses, writes:

Consider the fact that this dispensation (ẓuhūr, = Bābism) is the fifth dispensation and that though 2,771 years have elapsed [from the time of Moses] there still exist members of the community of Moses (ummat-i Mūsā) who act according to the Torah which was their own Book in that [Mosaic] dispensation (ẓuhūr).  (K. Panj Sha'n, 289). [1]

Fn.1 The significance of Babism being the fifth ẓuhūr (reloigious theophany) is not entirely clear. It may be that the Bāb reckons as follows: 1) Moses (Israelite religion-Judaism), (2) David  and his religious movement, (3) Jesus ("Christianity"), (4) Muhammad (Islam) and (5) the Bāb (Bābism).

This passage clearly implies that Moses appeared 2,771 (lunar) years before the Bāb or in -1511 AH which would be around 839 BCE. Since, as has been observed in connection with the chronological scheme presupposed in certain of the relevant texts in the Persian Dala’il-i sab`ah, David appeared in -2,270 AH., the implication is that Moses appeared (ignoring the extra year and taking 2,770 and not 2,771) 500 (lunar) years or so before him (2,770 - 2,270 = 500 ). That the Bāb at times reckoned a 500 year period between Moses and David is, in fact, explicit elsewhere in the K. pani sha'n  as the following notes will illustrate.

More than once in the K. pani sha'n does the Bāb, in cryptic fashion, discusses the question of the varying lengths of past prophetic dispensations. At one point he writes:

... But be assured that the [secret of the] differing lengths of the [past] prophetic dispensations are known only by God or he whom God hath initiated into the (`ilm al-jafr  (“qabbalistic sciences”) since differences are apparent [in the lengths of the prophetic dispensations] in [the period from] the first cycle up till this time: the time span between Moses and David was according to the numerical value of M-T-Y-N as it was between David and Jesus and between Jesus and Muhammad. And between Muhammad and the Point of the Bayān (nuqṭat al-bayān = the Bāb) it was according to the numerical value of G-H-R-Y-S. And only God knoweth the duration of the period between the Point of the Bayān (= the Bāb) and [the time of the advent of the Bābā messiah] Him whom God will make manifest ( man yuhiru-hu Allāh).." (K.Panj Sha'n, 315, cf. p. 199).

This is exactly the same chronological scheme set forth, again in ciphers, earlier in this work (p.199). As the abjad numerical value of M-T-Y-N  is 500 ( M =40 + Ṭ = 400 + Y = 10 + N = 50 ; total = 500 ) and Gh-R-Y-S  is 1,270 (Gh = 1,000+ R = 200 + Y =10 + S = 60:  total =1,270 ), it is clear that the Bāb reckoned that Moses appeared 500 years before David and that a period of 2,770 years separates the beginning of the Mosaic and Bābī dispensations. Thus :

  • (1) Moses --> David = 500 years +
  • (2) David --> Jesus = 500 years +
  • (3) Jesus --> Muhammad = 500 years +
  • (4)  Muhammad --> the Bāb = 1,270 years

Total  duration =  500+ 500+ 500 + 1,270  years = 2,770 years.

Confounding the abovementioned chronological schema are a few passages in the K. panj sha'n which, like the Arabic Dalā'il-i sab`ah, have it that David appeared before Moaes and that some of the followers of David rejected the Mosaic religion. One such pasaage reads:

"So consider the dispensation (ẓuhūr) of David. He promised the coming of Moses unto those who recited the Zabūr. But when God caused him [Moses] to be made manifest they did not believe in him [Moses]; except, that is, for those [followers of David] in whose being were the names of the Zabūr.....

From the foregoing notes it will be evident that the Bāb gives various dates for the appearances of Moses and David. We are led to believe either that Moses,

  • 1) appeared 3, 270 (lunar) years before the Bāb in - 2010 AH / 14th cent. BCE [c. 1,324 BCE], 
  • 2) appeared 2,770/1 lunar years before the Bāb in -1510 AH/ 9th cent. BCE [or 840/39 BCE], or
  • 3) appeared in 2,270 years before the Bāb in -1010 AH/ 4th cent. BCE [356 BCE].

These figures apparently assume that Moses appeared either 1,000 (lunar) years before David (1), 500 years before David (2), or at the same time as David or 3) assuming, that is, that David appeared 2,270 lunar years before the Bāb (as most texts imply) or 500 (lunar) years before Jesus.

The pre-Mosaic David

In various of his later writings the Bāb appears to presuppose that David appeared at an unspecified time before Moses. In the K. Panj sha'n,  424.  (cf. p.425f ) the Bāb lists the pre-Islamic religious communities in the following order-:

  • (1) that of David;
  • (2) that of Moses and
  • (3) that of Jesus.

Alternatively, he implies that David appeared 2,270 lunar years before the Bāb in -1010 AH or 356 BC (after Moses). This chronological data might be expressed as follows:

Difficulties arise in that the Bāb, as demonstrated, gives (at least) three different times for the appearance of Moses and speaks' of a David who came after Moses as well as a David who came before Moses. The question of the `two Davids' will be further discussed below.

`Alī‑ Ilāhis‑ Ahl‑i Ḥaqq  and  Nuṣayris

 The phrase Alī‑ilāhī (`deifiers of Alī’) popularly and imprecisely  designates a range of often highly syncretistic (quasi‑) Islamic factions some of whom  are known as the Ahl‑i Ḥaqq ("People of God"), a term used in Persian Nizarī Ismā’īlī  writings (Ivanow, 1953:1).  Numerous groups and subgroups of these Ahl‑i Ḥaqq  are scattered throughout Iran, especially in Luristān, Kurdistān and Adhirbayjān. Both the Bāb and Baha'-Allah at times encountered them in their various 19th century dwelling places, most notably Tehran, Tabrīz, Māh‑Kū, Baghdad  and Sulaymaniyya. Possible traces of direct or indirect Ahl‑i Ḥaqq doctrinal influences have yet to be thoroughly investigated. Bābī‑ Bahā’ī primary sources occasionally utilize phrases that may be Ahl‑i Ḥaqq rooted [1] and express prophetological teachings that could have relation to Ahl‑i Ḥaqq concepts of the maẓhar‑i ilāhī  and associated figures. 

[1] Ahl‑i Ḥaqq doctrinal concepts might be discerned, for example, in  references to the Ṭā’ūs the Peacock (cf. Malak Ṭā’ūs) (the Bab, T. Baqara, XXX; and Baha'-Allah, S‑Kifāya, etc.).

According to the Tarīkh‑i Zarandī  (Dawnbreakers) and other sources, the Bāb several times during the 1840s had direct contact with Nuṣayrī (`Alī‑ilāhī)  horseman who were commaded to arrest or escort from one place to another. Ḥusayn Khān the governor of Shīrāz has them escourt the Bāb between Bushire to Shīrāz (DB:148). They also escourted him when Muhammad Shāh commanded Gurgīn Khān (d. XXXX) to have him secretly taken from Iṣfahān to Tehran. Muhammad Big‑i Chārpārchī and his Nuṣayrī horsemen accomplished this (DB:215; AB* Trav.Narr. 1:14 ‑‑ CHECK). Bypassing  Qumm they stopped one night at the nearby `Alī‑ilāhī village of Qumrud which was known to Muhammad‑Big (DB:224). This latter person further escourted the Bāb to Tabrīz en route to Māh‑Kū in Adhirbayjān. He and his fellow `Alī‑ ilāhīs apparently became very devoted to the Bab. Accordingto Zarandi Muhammad‑Big was considered a Bābī by the Bāb himself (DB:236). That contact  and dialogue existed between Bahā’īs and certain Iranian Ahl‑i Ḥaqq groups and thinkers has been demonstrated by Minorsky in a 1927 article entitled  Un traite de polemique Behaie Ahle‑Haqq  (‑>bib.)

Partially doctrinally rooted in the perspectives of the Shī`ī ghulāt  factions the Ahl‑i Ḥaqq uphold unusual cosmological and theophanological doctrines details of which can be found in various Ahl‑i Ḥaqq collections of legends including the late  Saranjām,  known in Persian the  Kitāb‑i Saranjām   (Book of the Fulfilment). Therein Biblical and Islamic prophet figures, angelic beings and certain Shī`ī Imams are elevated to high theophanic status. Seven successive divine manifestations existing in the "garb" of divinity are viewed as beings accompanied by a group of 4‑5 angels. [1].

For many Ahl‑i Ḥaqq groups [Arch] angelic beings figure as divine emanations including the well‑known figures Jibrā’īl (Gabriel), Mikā’īl  (Michael), Isrāfīl (XXX) and the usually demoniac,  fallen angel `Azrā’īl.

Imam `Ali has an exalted  place though he is overshadowed by another major manifestation identified as Sulṭān ™ohāk (possibly a 14th cent. figure??)  whose name may be an Armenian form of Isḥāq (Isaac).  Associated with him are Benyāmīn (cf. the biblical Benjamin, son of Jacob[Israel]) and Dāwūd (cf. David,  the Israelite king) who are both seen as exalted beings in the hierarchy of Ahl‑i Ḥaqq.  David more or less appears endowed with "divine powers" (Ivanow 1953:13).

al‑Dāwūdiyyūn, the"Davidites",

One of the most important divisions of the Ahl‑i Ḥaqq are known as the (loosely translated) "Davidites"  (Ar. al‑ dāwūdiyyūn). They are mostly Kurdish groups found in W. Iran. and on the Iranian‑Iraqi border. Other Dawūdī  factions settled around Qazvīn and Rasht (Moosa, 1988:224ff).   

 The importance of Benyamīn can be gauged from the fact that the Ahl‑i Ḥaqq  religion is in some quarters known as the sharṭ‑ i Benyāmīn  (Ivanov 1953:37+ index, 241). A similar importance is given to the Ahl‑i Ḥaqq figure Mūsī (cf. the biblical‑qur’ānic  Moses) whose name may be a variant of  Mīshā (= Moses) b. Manasseh, the other Islamic Moses (al-Ṭabarī, 1:414tr. Brinner, 2:185).  Minorsky has stated that Benyāmīn has the role of deputy (wakīl)  and guide (pīr) and that Dāwūd (David) appears as an an overseer (nāzir)  and possibly "judge".  In the hierarchy of the Ahl‑i Ḥaqq both are certainly elevated way  beyond their distinctly human Israelite biblical status. It will be suggested here that the elevation to exalted status by the Bāb of a second Moses, David, and Ishmael may echo Ahl‑i  Ḥaqq mythology. 







Baha'i Interpretations of the two Davids in the writings of the Bab

The prominence given by the Bab to David (or the Davids) has had its influence on the writings of Baha'u'llāh.

 In a number of his letters the Baha'i Guardian, Shoghi Effendi (c. 1896-1957) clarified the Baha'i doctrinal position regarding the above prophetological issues. Examples include :

Concerning the appearance of two Davids; there is a Tablet from 'Abdu'l-Bahá in which He says that just as there have been two Ishmaels, one the son of Abraham, and the other one of the Prophets of Israel, there have appeared two Davids, one the author of the Psalms and father of Solomon, and the other before Moses." (Shoghi Effendi, Dawn of a New Day, pp. 86–87).





Two Ishmaels and Two Davids in Bibical, Islamic and Babi-Baha'i Sources.