Sunday 2 December 2018

Prophet Idris as mentioned in the Holy Quran - Was he Biblical Enoch?

In the series of posts on Prophets mentioned in the Holy Qur'an, today we share the very scant mention of Prophet Idrīs and some correlations that some Muslim scholars make with the Biblical Prophet Enoch.

As mentioned before, there is only very scant information available in the Holy Qur'an as for Prophet Idris, may Allah's blessing on him, is concerned. However he is mentioned as a pious and upright man, man of truth and patience. 
And [mention] Ishmael and Idrīs and Dhul-Kifl; all were of the patient..[Surah Al Anbya 21:85] 
(56) And mention in the Book, Idrīs. Indeed, he was a man of truth and a prophet. (57) And We raised him to a high station.[Surah Maryam 19:56-57] 
So who was Prophet Idrīs? Well going by the information available in the Holy Qur'an, this is all what is given. However, in some history books, Prophet Idrīs has been described as the immediate descendant of Prophet Adam. Some relate him from the 5th generation of Prophet Adm and consider him to be the first prophet after Prophet Adam.

From the verse 56-57 of Surah Maryam, the 19th chapter of Qur'an, some scholars deduce that Prophet Idrīs was raised to the Heavens without his biological death "And We raised him to a high station." But only Allah knows the truth. 

Islamic tradition has unanimously identified Idris with the biblical Enoch, although many Muslim scholars of the classical and medieval periods also held that Idris and Hermes Trismegistus were the same person. [Hermes Trismegistus is the purported author of the Hermetic Corpus, a series of sacred texts that are the basis of Hermeticism.] In some history books, it is mentioned that After Idrīs, his son and successor Mehthusaleh continued in Allah’s path, calling His servants to him; his lifespan is said to have been 919 years. Methusaleh’s son Lamaq succeeded him and lived 780 years.

In the Hadith books, a mention of Prophet Idrīs is available which is related to the heavenly journey of Holy Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).  

A companion of the Prophet of Allah, Abu Dharr has been reported as saying: “Four – that is, messengers – were Syrians; Adam, Shiith, Nuh, and Idrīs, who was the first to write with a pen. Allah revealed 3 scrolls to him.”  (Tabari). From this hadith and saying of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) we  know of the quality of writing of Prophet Idrīs and him being the first one to have written with a pen. These attributes remain consistent with the identification of Enoch with Idris, as these attributes make it clear that Idris would have most probably lived during the Generations of Adam, the same era during which Enoch lived.

Prophet Idrīs is generally accepted to be the same as Enoch. Many of the early Qur'anic commentators, such as Tabari and Al-Baizawi identified Idris with Enoch. Al-Baizawi said: "Idrīs was of the posterity of Seth and a forefather of Noah, and his name was Enoch (ar. Uhnukh). However, later scholars do not concur with this identification because they argue that it lacks definitive proof. As Qur'anic translator Abdullah Yusuf Ali says in note 2508 of his translation:
Idrīs is mentioned twice in the Quran, viz., here and in Chapter 21, verse 85, where he is mentioned as among those who patiently persevered. His identification with the Biblical Enoch, may or may not be correct. Nor are we justified in interpreting verse 57 here as meaning the same thing as in Genesis, v.24 ("God took him"), that he was taken up without passing through the portals of death. All we are told is he was a man of truth and sincerity, and a prophet, and that he had a high position among his people.
As per Biblical details, Enoch is of the Antediluvian period in the Hebrew Bible. Enoch was son of Jared and fathered Methuselah. This Enoch is not to be confused with Cain's son Enoch (Genesis 4:17).

Whether Prophet Idrīs was Enoch or not, no one is very sure of the claims. For us, it is suffice to conclude that Idrīs was one of the very earlier prophets, perhaps second to Prophet Adam, and we should revere him as a prophet, whether related to Enoch or not. Allah knows the best.

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