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Madyan (tribe)

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This article is about the Madyan tribe. For other usages of Madyan, see Madyan (disambiguation).

Madyan (Arabic: أَصْحابِ مَدْیَنَ) was an Arab tribe, for guiding whom Prophet Shu'ayb (a) was chosen by God. Also, Prophet Moses (a) lived among them for several years. Some researchers attributed this tribe with Midian, son of Prophet Abraham (a) and some others attributed them with Prophet Isma'il (a). This tribe lived in the city of Madyan near the Gulf of 'Aqaba. Madyan tribe was inflicted with divine punishment because they did not accept to believe in God.


Madyan was a tribe from Arab race [1]. The word "Madyan" is mentioned ten times in the Qur'an[2], some cases of which refer to Madyan tribe[3] and other cases refer to the city of Madyan[4]. About the lineage of Madyan tribe, there are different opinions:

Midian b. Abraham (a)

According to explicit text of the Torah[5] and some Islamic sources[6], after the demise of Sarah, Prophet Abraham (a) married another woman and had children from her. One of his children was Madyan (Midian). Midian married daughter of Prophet Lot (a) and their progeny continued[7]. Some researchers and historians considered Madyan tribe attributed with this person.

Prophet Isma'il (a)

Some researchers considered Madyan tribe from the progeny of Prophet Isma'il (a)[8].

Madyan b. Midian b. Abraham (a)

Ibn Kathir considered Madyan tribe from the progeny of Madyan b. Midian b. Abraham (a)[9].

Place of Living

Main article: Madyan (city)

Madyan tribe lived in the city of Madyan and the name of the city is adopted from the name of the tribe[10]. This city is considered to be located in the east coast of the Gulf of 'Aqaba[11] and was developed and green. This city was near Tabuk region[12], near the city of Lot tribe[13]. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq considered Madyan a village which had no more than forty houses[14].

Some researchers considered this city among the cities of Syria [15]and considered it possible that the present city of Ma'an in Jordan[16] has been built over it[17]. Some others believe that Madyan was located in the present Arabia[18].

The Prophet

For guiding Madyan tribe, God chose Prophet Shu'ayb (a)[19]. Shu'ayb was a man in Madyan tribe[20].

Prophet Shu'ayb (a) preached divine religion among his tribe for years and invited them to monotheism[21], equity, justness in transaction[22], avoiding corruption on the earth[23] and fearing the punishment in the hereafter[24].

Presence of Prophet Moses (a)

According to the explicit text of the Qur'an[25] and the Torah[26], after escaping from Egypt, Prophet Moses (a) went to Madyan. Prophet Moses (a) married Shu'ayb's daughter in Madyan[27] and was occupied in shepherding for years in Madyan tribe[28].

Madyan tribe fought Banu Israel in some periods of its history. In the book of Judges from the Hebrew Bible, stories of the fights between Midianites (Madyan tribe) and Israelites are mentioned, when Israelites defeated Midianites after years of failure and humiliation[29].

Divine Punishment

In Qur'an 7, God reports the conversation between Prophet Shu'ayb (a) and his dissidents. Many polytheists refused Shu'ayb's (a) invitation and were finally inflicted with divine punishment[30]. According to verses of the Qur'an, Madyan tribe was destructed by an earthquake[31] and its people fell dead in their houses as if they never lived in that city[32].


  1. Balaghi, Hujjat al-tafasir, p. 267.
  2. Qurashi, Qamus al-Qur'an, vol. 6, p. 245.
  3. Al-Husayni al-Shirazi, Tabyin al-Qur'an, p. 243.
  4. For instance: Qur'an 11: 84
  5. Genesis 25:1
  6. Burujirdi, Tafsir jami'', vol. 2, p. 432.
  7. Al-Tabrisi, Tafsir jawami', vol. 1, p. 451.
  8. Makarim Shirazi, Tafsir nimuna, vol. 9, p. 200.
  9. Ibn al-Kathir, al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya, vol. 1, p. 185.
  10. Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu'jam al-buldan, vol. 5, p. 77.
  11. Makarim Shirazi, Tafsir nimuna, vol. 9, p. 200.
  12. Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu'jam al-buldan, vol. 1, p. 291.
  13. Qurashi, Qamus al-Qur'an, vol. 6, p. 245.
  14. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Kamal al-din wa tamam al-ni'ma, vol. 1, p. 220.
  15. Makarim Shirazi, Tafsir nimuna, vol. 6, p. 249.
  16. Qurashi, Qamus al-Qur'an, vol. 6, p. 245.
  17. Balaghi, Hujjat al-tafasir, p. 267.
  18. Dehkhoda, Dehkhoda Dictionary, under the word Madyan.
  19. Qur'an 7: 85
  20. Fakhr al-Razi, Mafatih al-ghayb, vol. 14, p. 313.
  21. Qur'an 7: 85.
  22. Qur'an 7: 85.
  23. Qur'an 29:36.
  24. Qur'an 11:84.
  25. Qur'an 28:22
  26. Excile 2:15.
  27. Qur'an 28:27-28
  28. Excile 1:1.
  29. Book of Judges chapter 6-8.
  30. Makarim Shirazi, Tafsir nimuna, vol. 12, p. 112.
  31. Qur'an 7:91.
  32. Qur'an 7:91.


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