Can you provide us with some information about Prophet Idris (a.s.)?

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Please throw some light on the life of Prophet Idris, peace be upon him...

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Prophet Idris’ name has been mentioned twice in the Quran, he has been revered and celebrated as truthful, prophet, patient, righteous etc. Prophet Idris is among the grandsons of Prophet Seth reaching Adam (a.s.) through five intermediaries. One of his grandfathers is Prophet Noah (a.s.). Most historians have said that he lived 365 years before his ascension, or his death according to another report. Based on narrations, four of the prophets are still alive two of whom i.e. Prophet Khizr and Prophet Ilyas (Elias), peace be upon them, are living on earth and the two others i.e. Prophet Idris and Prophet Jesus, peace be upon them are in the heavens.Detailed Answer

Among the prophets whose names have been mentioned in the Holy Quran is Prophet Idris (a.s.) who has been revered and celebrated as truthful, prophet,[1] patient, righteous[2] etc.

Quoting the Holy Prophet (pbuh), Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: “Enoch is the Hebrew name of Prophet Idris that has been mentioned in Torah.[3] He is referred to in Greek as Hermos[4], the Theosophist, Hermes, Hermosa[5], Ermes and Termes.[6] Prophet Idris is among the grandsons of Prophet Seth and one of the great grandfathers of Prophet Noah (a.s). He reaches Adam (a.s.) with intermediaries as such: Idris son of Yarda son Mahlail son of Qenan son Anush son of Seth son of Adam.[7]

Some have said that Prophet Idris (a.s.) was born 622 years or 308 years before Adam’s death.[8] Ibn Athir says, Prophet Idris was 386 years old when Adam (a.s.) died.[9] Also, some have said that Idris (a.s.) was born and lived in Babylon. Other historians have said that he was born in Egypt.[10] As for the place of his residence, he, according to a narration, lived near Kufa where the present Sahla Mosque is built.[11] Based on the Muslims’ sources (which have been apparently extracted from Torah), there are two opinions about Idris’ life: The first opinion is that he died and the second opinion is that he ascended to the heavens. There is still discrepancy about how long he lived before death or before he ascended to the skies with most of the historians saying that he lived 365 years.[12]

Prophet Idris’ Traits and Qualities

He is one of the four prophets (Adam, Seth, Idris and Noah[13]) who spoke Syriac language.[14] Following Adam (a.s.), Prophet Idris is the first apostle and the first person to be appointed as prophet.[15] He was the first person to use pen to write, the first person to know the art of tailoring, (sewing) glorifying Allah and reciting Takbir and saying ‘la ilaha illallah’ while tailoring. He taught others the method of sewing and stitching clothes. It was at a time when people used animal skin to cover themselves.[16] He was the first person to have knowledge of astrology, counting, stars and configuration[17]. He was the first person to take up a weapon and fight unbelievers.[18]

According to a narration from Abu Ishaq Ka’b bin Mate’ al-Humairi al-Ahbar (a Sunni narrators), four of the prophets are still alive two of whom i.e. Prophet Khizr and Prophet Ilyas, peace be upon them, are living on earth and the two others i.e. Prophet Idris and Prophet Jesus, peace be upon them are in the heavens.[19]

Prophet Idris’ Position

There is a verse in the Quran which says: «وَ رَفَعْناهُ مَکاناً عَلِیًّا»[20] And We raised him to a lofty station.

There are a lot of discrepancies among exegetes of the Holy Quran about the meaning of this particular verse. Some have said that it means ‘raising the status and position of Prophet Idris and some have said that he was taken to the first sky (firmament), some have said that he was taken to the fourth or sixth sky;[21] and some others have said that he was taken to Paradise. This last saying is closer and nearer to reality.[22] It has been narrated from the Holy Prophet (pbuh) that he said: “In the night of Me’raj (ascension), I saw a man in the fourth sky. I asked Gabriel: “Who is this man?” Gabriel answered: “This is Idris whom God raised to an elevated position.”

I greeted Idris (a.s.) and I prayed for his forgiveness. He also greeted me and prayed for my forgiveness.”[23]

When it comes to how Idris was raised to one of the seven skies and also whether he died or will be alive until reappearance of Imam Mahdi (atf) and will fight the tyrants of his time, there are different reports and narrations in our narrative[24], exegetical and historical sources which we cannot rely upon due to weakness in their chain of transmission and contents.[25]

The Scriptures of Idris (a.s.)

Idris (a.s.) was calling on people to embrace the Shari’ah of Prophet Adam (a.s.).[26] As many as 30 to 50 scriptures (sohof) were revealed to him.[27]

Some of Prophet Idris’ Sermons

Citing Idris’ Scripture, Sayed bin Tavus (ra) narrates: “O Man, you look as though death has overtaken you, there is perspiration on your forehead flowing down, your lips are pulled back, your tongue is no longer moving, your saliva has dried up, the blackness of your eye has turned into whiteness, your body is shivering, you are struggling with the agony and bitterness of death. Then soul will depart your body and you will be nothing but a rotten ill-smelling corpse that will serve as a lesson for others. Therefore, admonish yourself now. Learn a lesson about death and its reality which will come to you irrespective of whether you want it or not. Life is mortal, be it long though. O man, you should know that death with all its difficulties is easier as compared to the terrible and horrifying incidents on the Day of Judgment. Beware that standing divine justice for accountability is so difficult and hard that the strongest of men are unable to hear its news.[28]

O man, you should know and believe that piety and continence is a great wisdom and blessing causing one to lead a noble and prosperous life. It is the key to charity, understanding and intelligence because when God loves someone, He gives him intelligence. Spend most of your time invoking, praying and supplicating God. Cooperate and collaborate in the way of God. If God sees your sincerity and cooperation, He will fulfill your desires and will make you needless with His infinite blessings. When you are fasting, make clean your soul of all kinds of impurities, and fast with pure, purged and unpolluted hearts for God, because God soon will seal the impure and contaminated hearts. When you are fasting and refraining from eating and drinking, you should control also your organs so as not to commit sins with them. When you prostrate yourself and place your chest on earth, put away all worldly thoughts, deviations, tricks and the thought of eating haram food, enmity and spite. Get yourself rid of all impurities. God, the Exalted, specified his prophets and Awlia (noble servants) to reaffirm the Holy Spirit and it was because of the same blessings that they became aware of the ins and outs of everything and enjoyed divine wisdom getting rid of misguidance in a way such that their hearts were overwhelmed by the greatness of God finding Him Omnipresent, Absolute and Encompassing all things while not being able to know His Essence…[29]



[1] Maryam, 56

[2] Al-Anbiya, 85 – 86.

[3] Allamah Majlisi, Behar al-Anwar, vol.11, p. 287, Al-Wafa Institute, Beirut, 1404 A.H.

[4] Behar al-Anwar, vol.11, p. 282.

[5] Ibn Kathir al-Damishqi, Ismail bin Umar, al-Bedayah wa al-Nehayah, vol.1, p. 99, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut, 1407 A.H.; Tabatabai, Sayed Muhammad Hussein, Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran, vol.14, p. 71, Islamic Publications Office, Qom, fifth edition, 1417 A.H.

[6] Al-Bedayah wa al-Nehayah, vol.1, p. 99; Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran, vol.14, p.71.

[7] Behar al-Anwar, vol.11, p. 287.

[8] Tabari, Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Jarir, Tarikh al-Umam wa al-Muluk (Tarikh al-Tabari or History of Tabari) researched by Ibrahim, Muhammad Abulfazl, vol.1, p. 170, Dar al-Turath, Beirut, second edition, 1387 A.H., vol.1, 170.

[9] Ibn Athir, Ali bin Abi al-Karam, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, vol.1, p. 59, Dar Sader, Beirut, 1385 A.H.

[10] Ibn Imad Hanbali, Abdul Hay bin Ahmed, Shuzurat al-Zahab fi Akhbar min Mazhab, researched by al-Arnaut, vol.4, p.440, Dar Ibn Kathir, Damascus, Beirut, first edition, 1406 A.H.

[11] Shaykh Saduq, Man La Yahzuruhu al-Faqih, researched and edited Ghaffari, Ali Akbar, vol.1, p. 232, Islamic Publications Office, Tehran, fourth edition, 1407 A.H.

[12] Tarikh al-Umam wa al-Muluk, vol.1, p. 170; Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, vol.1, p. 60; Behar al-Anwar, vol.11, p. 282.

[13] Tarikh al-Umam wa al-Muluk, vol.1, p. 171; Shaykh Saduq, al-Khesal, researched and edited by Ghaffari, Ali Akbar, vol.2, p. 524, Islamic Publications Office, Qom, first edition, 1362 (1983).

[14] The name of one of the accents of Aramiyu is Hebrew which originated from north of Bayn al-Nahrayn.

[15] Mutahhar bin Taher al-Muqaddasi, al-Bad’ wa al-Tarikh, vol.3, p. 11, Religious Culture Library, (date not found).

[16] Qutbuddin Rawandi, Sa’eid bin Hebatullah, Qesas al-Anbiya (a.s.) researched and edited by: Irfaniyan Yazdi, Ghulam Reza, p. 79, Center for Islamic Research, Mashad, first edition, 1409 A.H; Ibn Tavus, Ali bin Musa, Faraj al-Mahmoom fi Ma’refat Nahj al-Halal min Ilm al-Nujum (History of Astrologers), p. 21 – 22, Dar al-Zakhayer, Qom, first edition, 1368 A.H.

[17] Faraj al-Mahmoom fi Ma’refat Nahj al-Halal min Ilm al-Nujum (History of Astrologers), p. 22

[18] Baghdadi, Ali bin Muhammad, Lobab al-Ta’vil fi Ma’ani al-Tanzil, researched: Shahin, Muhammad Ali, vol.3, p. 190, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, first edition, 1415 A.H.

[19] The Arabic text of the narration is as under:

«و أخرج ابن عساکر عن کعب رضى الله عنه قال أربعة أنبیاء الیوم أحیاء اثنان فی الدنیا الیاس و الخضر و اثنان فی السماء عیسى و إدریس»

Suyuti, Jalal al-Din, al-Durr al-Manthur fi Tafsiral-Ma’thur, vol.5, p. 285, Ayatollah Marashi Najafi Library, Qom, 1404 A.H; Al-Bedayah wa al-Nehayah, vol.1, p. 337; Behar al-Anwar, vol.13, p. 402.

[20] Maryam, 57.

[21] Tabarsi, Fazl bin Hasan, Majma’ul Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran, Introduction: Balaghi, Muhammad Jawad, vol.6, p. 802, Naser Khosro Publications, third edition, Tehran, 1372 (1993).

[22] Qommi, Ali bin Ibrahim, Tafsir Qommi, researched: Musavi Jazair, Sayyid Tayyib, vol.8, p. 458, Dar al-Kitab, fourth edition, Qom, 1367 (1988); Behar al-Anwar, vol.11, p. 277.

[23] Tafsir Qommi, vol.2, p. 8; Arsui Huwaizi, Abd Ali bin Jum’ah, Tafsir Noor al-Thaqalayn, researched by Rasuli Mahallati, Sayed Hashem, vol.3, p. 351, Ismailiyan Publications, fourth edition, Qom, 1415 A.H.

[24] Behar al-Anwar, vol.11, p.277.

[25] Vide: Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran, vol.14, p. 71.

[26] Ibid, p. 72

[27] Khesal, vol.2, Shaykh Mufid, Ikhtesas, p. 264, Congress of Shaykh Mufid, Qom, 1413 A.H.

[28] Hilli, Sayed Ali bin Tavus, Sa’d al-Sa’ud Lil Nofus Manzud, p. 38, Publisher, Muhammad Kazem al-Katbi, Qom, date not found.

[29] Ibid, p. 39...

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