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Part IX. (21) Dhū’l-Kifl - son of Job - Ezekiel + (22) Yônāh - Jonah - Yūnus (22) associated Patriarchs and Prophets and their sacred Books.

Part IX.



Dhū’l-Kifl -

otherwise unknown son of Job or  Ezekiel  +


Yônāh - Jonah - Yūnus and 

associated Patriarchs and Prophets and their sacred Books.

Stephen Lambden, UC Merced.

In progress 26-03-2023, Revised from a recension of the 1980s PhD- 2002,

21. Dhū’l-Kifl   RS  (trad. Nabi), `The twice recompensed’ (Q.x 2 = 21:85; 38:48) is an unknown figure, thought by Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Ṭabarī (d. 923) to be a pious nabī (prophet) named Bishr (or Bashīr), allegedly a son of Job (Tārīkh, 1:195,).1 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.

1 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".

DHU'L-KIFL 1 in the Ara'is al-Majalis fi Qisas al-Anbiya' of Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tha`labi (d.1035 CE), trans. William M. Brinner, 2002, 272-3.

Fn.1 A prophet mentioned in Qur'anl 21:85 and 38:49. See discussion in EI2. II: 242; also the second account or Dhu' I-Kifl, pp. 476-478 

"'This session comes at the end of the book after the tale of Elisha. What is written here is an addition to the session just mentioned.

     Al-A'mash-al-Manhal b. 'Amr-'Abdallah b. al-Harith, that one of the prophets said: "Who will guarantee me that he will stay awake all night and fast all day and not become angry?" A young man arose and said, "I shall." But he said to him, "Sit down'.Then he repeated the same as his first words and that young man said, "1 shall," but he said to him, "Sit down." Then he repeated the same as his words a third time and the young man said, "I shall," and he said to him, "You will stay awake all night and fast all day and not become angry?" Then he said, "Yes," and their prophet died, And th young man sat in his place, judging between people, and would never become angry. Satan came in human form to anger hirn while he was fasting but was allout to break his fast. He knockcd loudly at the door and he said, "Who is it?" He replied, "A man who nerds something" He sent out a man to him and Satall said, "I don't want this man." So he sent another one with him and he said, "I donl't  want him either" 'l'hen he went out to him and Satan took him by. the hand and went off with him, and when they were in the marketplace, he let go of him and went away. Therefore he was callcd Dhu'l-Kifl (guarantor).
      Someone said: "Dhu'l-Kifl  was Bishr, the son of Job the Steadfast?' whom God sent after his father as a messenger to the land of Byzantium. They believed in him and considered him truthful and followed him. Then God commanded jihad to them, but they refrained from that and became weak, saying, 'Bishr, we love living and dislike dying, yet we also dislike disobeying God and His Messenger, so if you would ask God to lengthen our lives and not cause us to die until we want, then we will serve  Him and fight against His enemies' [p.273]. Bishr answered them. 'You have asked of me a tremendous thing, and have expected too much of me.'  But he arose and prayed and called out, saying, 'My God! You commanded me to deliver the message and I have delivered it. You have commanded me to fight your enemies. But You know that I have power only over myself, and now my people have asked me that which You know better than I. Do not blame me for another's sin. I take refuge in Your goodwill from Your anger, and in Your forgiveness from Your punishment."' He said, "Then God inspired him, 'O Bishr!  I have heard the words of your folk and I have granted them what they have asked of me. I have lengthened their lives and they will not die unril they want to. Give them this assurance rrom me.' Bishr delivered God's message and informed them of what God had inspired him, and he pledged this to them as God had commanded them. Hence, he was called Dhu'I-Kifl (guarantor).

     Then they multiplied and increased and grew in number until their land became too narrow for them, their lives became troublesome, and they suffered because of their large numbers. They asked Bishr to pray to God to return them to their appointed terms of life, and God inspired Bishr, 'Did not your people know that My choice lor thein is better than their choice for themselves?' So then they were returned to their life spans and died at their appointed terms. He said, "'Therefore the people of Byzantium are so numerous. So much so that it is said tliat the world is their habitation five-sixths of it belongs to Byzantium. They were. called Rum because they were traced back to their grandfather Rum, son of Esau, son of' Isaac the son of Abraham. "Wahb said, "Bishr, son ol'.Job,known as Dhu'l-Kifl, remained in Syria until lle died, his age being ninety-five years." And God is All-knowing. '"


The Biblical prophet Ezekiel



The Islamic Ezekiel - Hizkil





22. Yūnus Mursal [=Rasul] and a Nabi (= Heb         , 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 sūra bear the name of Jonah (Q.10).


The Biblical book of  Yônāh - Jonah.

Jonah is both a name of a book of the Hebrew Bible - one of the `minor prophets’ - and a surah 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).


The Story of Jonah - Yūnus in the Qur'an.

In the Q. Jonah appears as a sent messenger and a prophet and is four [+2] times mentioned in four [+2] sūrahs.



He seems to be 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




Jonah and the "Fish" in Babi-Baha'i sacred writings.

Dhu’l-Kifl" (Q. 6:86; 38:48) is only very rarely mentioned in Bābī- Bahā’ī sacred writings (cf. `Abdu'l-Baha' in PP:12).

The story of Jonah is frequently interpreted allegorically in esoteric (irfānī) Shī`ī-Shaykhī sources and occasionally in Bābī- Bahā’ī primary texts. In his commentary upon the basmala and letter "n" (T nūn) prefixed to Sūra 68, Baha'u'llah explained that among  the innumerable significances of the letter "n" is "fish" (al-ḥūt) a sense it also has according to the Hebrew of the jafr alphabet of Ibn Sīnā, Avicenna (Massignon 1997:70). Figurative understanding of the story of Jonah and the fish is reckoned to indicate Muhammad as one "drowned in the ocean of ecstatic revelation (baḥr al-mukāshifat) and mystical insight" (INBMC 56:38-9).

`Abdu'l-Baha' gave allegorical explanations to the story Jonah and Dhū’l-Nūn. In one text he states the "fish" (ḥūt) represents the human propensity to materiality, the danger of being engulfed in the dark "ocean" of contingent existence (Mā’idih 5:21).