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

Part IX.

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

Stephen Lambden, UC Merced.

In progress 08-03-2022, Revised from a recension of the 1980s PhD- 2002,





21. Dhū’l-Kifl 1 P Q + RS  (trad. N?), `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".

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).