Kaʽb al-Aḥbār (Arabic: كعب الأحبار, full name Abū Isḥāq Kaʽb ibn Maniʽ al-Himyari (Arabic: ابو اسحاق كعب بن مانع الحميري) was a 7th-century Yemenite Jew from the Arab tribe of "Dhi Raʽin" (Arabic: ذي رعين) who converted to Islam. He was considered to be the earliest authority on Israʼiliyyat and South Arabian lore. According to Islamic tradition, he accompanied Umar in his trip from Medina to Jerusalem, and afterwards, became a supporter of Uthman. He died in Hims around 652-6AD.
Abū Isḥāq Kaʽb ibn Maniʽ
Little is known about Ka'b, but according to tradition, he came to Medina during the reign of Umar. He then accompanied Umar in his voyage to Jerusalem. It is reported that when Umar marched into Jerusalem with an army, he asked Ka‘b: "Where do you advise me to build a place of worship?" Ka‘b indicated the Temple Rock, now a gigantic heap of ruins from the temple of Jupiter. The Jews, Ka‘b explained, had briefly won back their old capital a quarter of a century before (when Persians overran Syria), but they had not had time to clear the site of the Temple, for the Byzantines (Rūm) had recaptured the city. It was then that Umar ordered the rubbish on the Temple Rock to be removed by the Nabataeans, and after three showers of heavy rain had cleansed the Rock, he instituted prayers there. Umar is said to have fenced it and, some years later, an Umayyad Khalif built the Dome of the Rock over the site as an integral part of the Aqsa Mosque. Until this day, the place is known as Qubbat al-Ṣakhra (the Dome of the Rock).
According to tradition, Ka‘b believed that "Every event that has taken place or will take place on any foot of the earth, is written in the Tourat (Torah), which God revealed to his Prophet Moses". He is said to have predicted the death of Umar using the Torah. According to one narration, Ka‘b told Umar "you ought to write your will because you will die in three days." Umar responded "I do not feel any pain or sickness". Abu Lulu assassinated Umar two days later.
After Umar's death, Ka‘b vigorously supported Uthman. Subsequently, Mu'awiya asked Ka'b to become his counsel in Damascus, but he most likely chose to withdraw to Hims, where he died in 652-6 AD, according to various accounts. His burial place is disputed.
According to Shia sources Ka‘ab was a Jewish rabbi, who moved from Yemen to Bilad al-Sham (Syria). He was of the clan of Dhu Ra'in or Dhu al-Kila. Ka‘b came to Medina during the time of Umar where he converted to Islam. He lived there until Uthman's era.
Ka`b Ibn Mati` al-Himyari, Abu Ishaq, known as Ka`b al-Ahbar, is trustworthy (thiqah). He belongs to the 2nd [tabaqah]. He lived during both Jahiliyyah and Islam. He lived in Yemen before he moved to Sham [~Syria]. He died during the Caliphate of `Uthman exceeding 100 years of age. None of his reports are in al-Bukhari. He has one narration in Muslim from Abu Huraira from him on the authority of al-A`mash from Abu Salih.
Mention in hadith canonsEdit
Ka'b al-Ahbar is mentioned in some hadith canons such as Sahih Muslim and Muwatta Malik, etc. A hadith reports that the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab appointed him personally an amir over Muslims.
Within the Shia tradition Ka'b is seen as an unreliable figure. Muhammad al-Tijani a 20th-century Shi'a scholar writes that "He was a Jew from Yemen who pretended to have embraced Islam then went to Medina during the reign of Umar ibn al-Khattab." Muhammad Jawad Chirri writes, after having quoted a hadith, "This dialogue should alert us to the deceptive and successful attempt on the part of Ka'b to influence future events by satanic suggestions. It contains a great deal of deception which produced many harmful results to Islam and the Muslims." Ka'b's influence is deprecated within the Shia tradition of Islam.
Accusation of Jewish biasEdit
He has been accused in some traditions of introducing Jewish elements into Islam. For, example, Abd Allah ibn Abbas disputed a view attributed to Ka'ab that "on the day of the judgement the sun and the moon will be brought forth like two stupefied bulls and thrown to hell". According to Al-Tabari, Ibn Abbas responded "Kaab has uttered an untruth!" three times, quoting the Quran that the sun and moon are obedient to Allah. He accused Ka'b of trying to introduce Jewish myths into Islam.
Jewish academic approachesEdit
According to 19th-century Rabbi Joseph Schwarz, he is associated with the development of the Sunni tradition. Liran Yagdar of Yale University said that Ka'b did not have much influence on Sunni tradition and states "Christians and Jews adopted Ka'b into their legends on the emergence of Islam, wishing to refute the credibility of the Quran by referring to Jewish converts such as Ka'b who corrupted Muhammad's scripture from within".
- العيني, محمود بن أحمد العينتابي/بدر الدين (1 January 2006). مغاني الأخيار في شرح أسامي رجال معاني الآثار 1-3 ج3 (in Arabic). Dar Al Kotob Al Ilmiyah دار الكتب العلمية.
- "Composition of Hadith and Its Causes". Al-Islam.org. 13 December 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
- Schmitz, M. (1974). "Kaʽb al-Aḥbār". Encyclopaedia of Islam. 4 (2nd ed.). Brill. pp. 316–317. ISBN 9004057455.
- Ṭabarī (4 November 1999). The History of Al-Tabari: The Sasanids, the Lakhmids, and Yemen. 5. SUNY Press. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-7914-4356-9.
- The History of al-Tabari, vol. XII, Albany: State University of New York Press 2007, pp. 194-195
- Yusuf ibn Abd-al-Barr - al-Istiab, v3, p1287 Printed in Cairo 1380 A.H
- Tarikh al-Tabari v4, p191 Printed by Dar al-Maarif - Cairo
- Ibn Hajar Asqalani, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, Op Cit., p. 135.
- "The Companions and the Jewish Influence Part 1". Al-Islam.org. Archived from the original on 4 October 2006. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- See: Tarikh al-Tabari v4, p191, v1, p62-63. Printed by Dar al-Maarif – Cairo.
- See: Mahmood Abu Rayyah, in his book Adhwa (lights) on AI-Sunnah AI-Muhammadiyyah, reported that Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalani, recorded in his book (Al-Isabah, part 5, page 323). Also, Yusuf ibn Abd-al-Barr – al-Istiab, v3, p1287 Printed in Cairo 1380 A.H
- "Kab al-Ahbar". Archived from the original on 18 August 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 398 Sunnah.com
- Muwatta Malik, Book 5, Hadith 17 Sunnah.com
- Muwatta Malik, Book 20, Hadith 83 Sunnah.com
- The Shi'a: The Real Followers of the Sunnah by Muhammad al-Tijani chapter "Is it "the Book of Allah and my Progeny" or "the Book of Allah and my Sunnah"? Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine" on Al-Islam.org
- Chirri, Muhammad Jawad (1986). Did Muslims Other Than Shi'ites Borrow Religious Teachings from Jews?. The Shi'ites Under Attack. ISBN 0-942778-04-9. Archived from the original on 26 January 2001. Retrieved 28 September 2007 – via Al-Islam.org.
- Tabari - History of al-Tabari, v1, p62 - 63
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 August 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Yakub of Syria (Ka'b al-Ahbar) Last Jewish Attempt at Islamic Leadership - Alsadiqin English". www.alsadiqin.org. Archived from the original on 13 May 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "KA'B AL-AḤBAR - JewishEncyclopedia.com". www.jewishencyclopedia.com. Archived from the original on 12 August 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "The Ka'b al-Ahbar legends among Muslims, Christians and Jews".