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Chieftains of Banu Israel

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Chieftains of Banu Israel or Nuqabā of Banū Israel (Arabic: نقباء بني إسرائیل) were from the twelve Asbat (tribes) of Banu Israel, i.e. children of Banu Israel. Prophet Moses (a) delivered the order of God and one representative was chosen from each of Asbat for their own tribes. In the Qur'an 5:12, this issue is mentioned without details.

Chieftains were among great people of their tribe and their duty was to guard the covenant, Banu Israel was entrusted by God; however, most exegetes believe that beside this duty, they had the task of collecting information about a tyrant nation in order to immigrate to Jerusalem as well.

In both Shi'a and Sunni sources, there are hadiths from the Prophet (s) in which he (s) considered the number of his vicegerents the same as the number of the leaders of Banu Israel.

Representatives of the Prophet Moses (a)

The word "nuqaba" is the plural form of the word "naqib"[1] meaning "knowledgeable[2] and aware of secrets".[3] But, "guardianship[4] and trust-keeping"[5] too can be found in the meaning of naqib. In verse twelve of the Qur'an 5, it is mentioned that God chose twelve leaders among Banu Israel. According to exegetes, nuqaba were from the twelve Asbat (tribes) of Banu Israel,[6] from each of which one representative was chosen.[7]

Leaders of Banu Israel were messengers of Prophet Moses (a) among their own tribes.[8] According to some hadiths, they were chosen by the Prophet Moses (a) following the order of God.[9]

Positions

In the Qur'an, the position of Chieftains (nuqaba) is not clearly mentioned.[10] Therefore, it has led to proposition of different ideas in this regard.[11] In the Qur'an, it is only mentioned that they were ordered to guard the covenant, Banu Israel was entrusted by God.

However, it is certain that Chieftains (nuqaba) were leaders of their tribes[12] and had an influential opinion and special positions.[13] In some exegetical books, Chieftains are considered elites of their tribes,[14] commanders[15] and even kings.[16] Some believe that they were later chosen as prophets.[17] Some others considered higher positions for them and said that they received divine books and were considered to have higher positions than ordinary prophets, but they were below Ulu l-'Azm prophets in ranks.[18]

Duties

The most important duty Moses (a) entrusted his representatives aka "nuqaba" with, after the covenant of Banu Israel was during their journey to Jerusalem.[19] They were ordered to collect information about a tyrant nation[20] who lived in Canaan,[21] Levant[22] or Ariha (Jericho) in Palestine,[23] sometimes called Amalek.[24] After recording their observations, they went to Moses (a) and spoke about the grandeur of the residents of those regions,[25] about which extraordinary stories are also told. Although Moses (a) prohibited them from spreading this information and frightening their people,[26] except two[27] or five of them,[28] others disobeyed the order of Moses (a),[29] went to their people and did what they were prohibited from.

Names

In his commentary, al-Tha'labi, an exegete of the Qur'an mentioned the names of the leaders as below:

1. Shamil b. Ran

2. Shaqat b. Hori

3. Caleb b. Jephunneh

4. Maqail b. Yusuf

5. Joshua b. Nun

6. Qantum b. Arqun

7. Madi b. Adi

8. Jadi b. Qamin

9. Bianun b. Mulkia

10. Naftali Mahar b. Vaqsi

11. Hama'il b. Haml

12. Sabur b. Mulkia[30]

The names of leaders are mentioned in other sources with little differences.[31]

Likening the Prophet's (s) Vicegerents to the Leaders of Banu Israel

In many hadiths, the Prophet (s) mentioned that the number of his vicegerents would be the same as the number of Chieftains of Banu Israel.[32] These hadiths can be considered beside other hadiths of Sunnis in the collection of Hadith of Twelve Caliphs which considered the number of the Prophet's (s) vicegerents twelve individuals, all of whom would be from Quraysh.[33] Some researchers believe that this issue was more focused by Sunnis during the times of Imams (a) and was less focused by Shi'a hadith scholars.

According to another hadith, the Prophet (s) considered the destiny of his people similar to that of Banu Israel.[34].[35] Also, during the al-Aqaba allegiance, the Prophet (s) chose twelve naqibs (leaders) from among the Helpers to be his representatives in Medina.[36]

In Tafsir al-Mizan, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i likened Chieftains (Nuqaba) to Ulu l-Amr in Islam and considered them the authorities of Banu Israel in religious and worldly affairs.[37]

See Also

Notes

  1. Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, al-Mufradāt fī gharīb al-Qurʾān, under the word "Naqib".
  2. Khalīl b. Aḥmad, Kitāb al-ʿayn, vol. 2, p. 121; Ṣāḥib, al-Muḥīṭ fī al-lugha, vol. 2, p. 22.
  3. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 4, p. 308.
  4. Ibn Qutayba al-Dīnawarī, Tafsīr gharīb al-Qurʾān, vol. 8, p. 124; Abū ʿUbayda, Majāz al-Qurʾān, vol. 1, p. 156; Thaʿlabī, al-Kashf wa l-bayān, vol. 4, p. 36.
  5. Abū ʿUbayda, Majāz al-Qurʾān, vol. 1, p. 156; Ṭabarī, Jāmiʾ al-bayān fi tafsīr al-Qurʾān, vol. 6, p. 95; Ṭabarānī, Tafsīr al-kabīr, vol. 2, p. 369; Ibn Hāʾim, al-Tibyān, p. 148.
  6. Ibn Hammūsh, al-Hidāya ila bulūgh al-nihāya, vol. 3, p. 1639; Maybudī, Kashf al-asrār, vol. 3, p. 57.
  7. Thaʿlabī, al-Kashf wa l-bayān, vol. 2, p. 362; Suyūṭī, al-Durr al-manthūr, vol. 2, p. 267.
  8. Dīnawarī, al-Wāḍiḥ, vol. 1, p. 190.
  9. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 3, p. 265.
  10. Mughnīya, Tafsīr al-Kāshif, vol. 3, p. 30.
  11. ʿĀmilī, Tafsīr ʿĀmilī, vol. 3, p. 239.
  12. Thaʿālibī, Tafsīr al-thaʿālibī, vol. 2, p. 362.
  13. Jurjānī, Darj al-durar, vol. 1, p. 552.
  14. Ṭayyib, Aṭyab al-bayān, vol. 4, p. 319.
  15. Deobandī, Tafsīr-i kābulī, vol. 2, p. 52.
  16. Samarqandī, Baḥr al-ʿulūm, vol. 1, p. 375; Ṭabarānī, Tafsīr al-kabīr, vol. 2, p. 369; Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 3, p. 265.
  17. Ālūsī, Rūḥ al-maʿānī, vol. 3, p. 260.
  18. Ṣādiqī Tihrānī, Tarjumān-i furqān, vol. 2, p. 41.
  19. Ibn Hammūsh, al-Hidāya ila bulūgh al-nihāya, vol. 3, p. 1639; Samarqandī, Baḥr al-ʿulūm, vol. 1, p. 375.
  20. Ṭabarī, Jāmiʾ al-bayān, vol. 6, p. 96; Ibn Hammūsh, al-Hidāya ila bulūgh al-nihāya, vol. 3, p. 1640; Samarqandī, Baḥr al-ʿulūm, vol. 1, p. 375; Ṭabarānī, Tafsīr al-kabīr, vol. 2, p. 369.
  21. Thaʿlabī, al-Kashf wa l-bayān, vol. 4, 36; Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, vol. 1, p. 615; Bayḍāwi, Anwār al-tanzīl, vol. 2, p. 118.
  22. Ṭabarī, Jāmiʾ al-bayān, vol. 6, p. 96; Maybudī, Kashf al-asrār, vol. 3, p. 58.
  23. Bayḍāwi, Anwār al-tanzīl, vol. 2, p. 118; Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, vol. 1, p. 615; Ṭabrisī, Tafsīr-i jawāmiʾ al-jāmiʾ, vol. 1, p. 317.
  24. Jurjānī, Darj al-durar, vol. 1, p. 552.
  25. Samarqandī, Baḥr al-ʿulūm, vol. 1, p. 375; Ṭabarānī, Tafsīr al-kabīr, vol. 2, p. 369; Shaʿrānī, Pazhūhishha-yi Qurʾānī, vol. 1, p. 420.
  26. Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, vol. 1, p. 615.
  27. Samarqandī, Baḥr al-ʿulūm, vol. 1, p. 375; Ṭabarānī, Tafsīr al-kabīr, vol. 2, p. 369; Jurjānī, Darj al-durar, vol. 1, p. 552; Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 3, p. 265.
  28. Ibn Sulaymān, Tafsīr maqātil Ibn sulaymān, vol. 1, p. 461.
  29. Thaʿlabī, al-Kashf wa l-bayān, vol. 4, p. 36.
  30. Thaʿlabī, al-Kashf wa l-bayān, vol. 4, p. 36.
  31. Shaʿrānī, Pazhūhishha-yi Qurʾānī ʿAllāma Shaʿrānī, vol. 1, p. 419.
  32. Khazzāz al-Qummī, Kifāyat al-athar, p. 27; Ṣadūq, al-Khiṣāl, vol. 2, p. 468; Nuʿmanī, Kitāb al-ghayba, p. 118; Ibn Ḥanbal, Musnad al-Imām Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, vol. 6, p. 321, 406; Ṭabarānī, al-Muʿjam al-kabīr, vol. 10, p. 157; Abū Yaʿlī, Musnad Abi Yaʿlī, vol. 8, p. 444; Bazār, Musnad al-Bazār, vol. 5, p. 320.
  33. Muʾassisa-yi Maʿārif Islāmī, Muʿjam al-aḥādīth al-Imām al-Mahdī (a), vol. 3, p. 501.
  34. Ṣadūq, Man lā yaḥḍuruh al-faqīh, vol. 1, p. 203.
  35. Abū l-Futūḥ al-Rāzī, Rawḍ al-Jinān, vol.6, p. 294; Ḥasanī Wāʿiz, Daqāʾiq al-taʾwīl, p. 139.
  36. Ṭabarānī, Tafsīr al-kabīr, vol. 2, p. 369; Irbilī, Kashf al-ghumma, vol. 1, p. 55.
  37. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān, vol. 5, p. 240.

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