THE PROPHETHOOD OF HZ. ALYASA (ELISHA)
Hz. Alyasa is mentioned in two places in the Quran. The relevant verses are as follows:
“And Ismail and Elisha and Jonah and Lut: and to all We gave favor above the nations.”1
“And commemorate Ismail, Elisha, and Dhul-Kifl: each of them was of the company of the Good”2
Hz. Alyasa, who was one of the members of those caravan of good people, became the successor of Hz. Ilyas to guide Children of Israel.3
Alyasa was born eight centuries before Hz. Isa (Christ).4 Hz. Alyasa was together with Hz. Ilyas for a while.5
According to what is written in Tajrid translation, Hz. Ilyas, who left the city he was living in due to the oppression of the king of Baalbek, travelled from village to village to teach the Torah secretly. According to a narration from Ibn Abbas, during his travels, Hz. Ilyas went to a village and stayed in the house of an old woman from Children of Israel. The woman’s son, Alyasa was ill.
Alyasa, who got well thanks to the prayer of Hz. Ilyas, believed in Hz. Ilyas and learned the Torah from him. After the death of Hz. Ilyas, Hz. Alyasa was sent as a prophet to Children of Israel.6 He gave them advice and preached. He did his best to improve Children of Israel.
The efforts of Hz. Alyasa did not turn out to be successful. Children of Israel did not heed his advice and preaching. They transgressed the bounds gradually and started to fight one another for property, throne and administration. Allah Almighty sent Assyrians to attack this disobedient nation.7
1 al-Anam: 86
2 Sa’d, 48
3 Muhammed Hamdi Yazır, ibid, V/4103
4 Ö.N. Bilmen, ibid, II/917
5 Ö.N. Bilmen, ibid, II/917
6 Tajrid trnsl., IX/89; A.C. Paşa ibid, I/36
7 A.C.Paşa, ibid, I,36; Bilmen, ibid, II, 917
Al-Yasa has been mentioned twice in the Holy Qur’an:
And commemorate Ismail, Elisha and Dhul-kifl; each of them was of the company of! the good. (38:48)
And Zachariah and John and Jesus and Ilyas all in the ranks of the righteous; and Ismail and Elisha (Al-Yasa) and Jonas and Lot; each have We preferred above the nations. (To them) and their fathers and progeny and brethren, We chose them and We guided them to a straight way. (6: 85-87)
The commentators give no account of him except that he was the son of Ukhtub. The Bible says that his father was Shaphat.
Al-Yasa was the cousin and spiritual successor of the Prophet Ilyas (peace be upon him).
One day Ilyas (peace be upon him) passed through the fields while the owner (Al-Yasa) was busy in ploughing. No sooner had the owner seen the Prophet than he abdicated his own work and approached Ilyas (peace be upon him) in hot haste. Al-Yasa began to follow him. The Prophet was much surprised and remarked: Why do you accompany me after leaving your own work? Al-Yasa retraced his steps and fetched his ox. He slaughtered it, lit the fire and cooked the beef. He fed Ilyas, his companions and many other guests to seek the pleasure of Allah. The Prophet was much pleased with the host for his sincerity, hospitality and righteousness. When Ilyas(peace be upon him) was about to depart, Al-Yasa expressed his keen desire to live in the company of his honourable guest during the rest of his life and serve him whole heartedly as a humble servant. As the noble attitude of Al-Yasa had enamoured Ilyas (peace be upon him), the latter accorded him permission without hesitation. When the Prophet Ilyas (peace be upon him) was on his death-bed, he wished to bid him farewell. AL-Yasa was not prepared to leave him. Then Ilyas (peace be-upon him) asked him to express any of his desires to be fulfilled. Al-Yasa said: I wish that Allah may bestow blessings upon me in the same way as He has blessed you. The Prophet Ilyas (peace be upon him) supplicated and invoked blessings of Allah upon his successor. His prayer was granted. Allah chose Al-Yasa as His Prophet after the death of Ilyas (peace be upon him). He derived spiritual magnificence from the company of his guide and became the favourite of Allah.
After some time he proceeded to Yariha to preach the religion of Allah. The inhabitants of that locality gave him a warm reception. At that time they were under the spell of starvation. The land was barren and water was not available. Al-Yasa (peace be upon him) supplicated to Allah to show mercy to the famine-stricken people. His prayer was granted and Allah showered his bounties upon them.
Elisha (Arabic: اليسع, Al-Yasaʿ) is venerated as a prophet in all of Islam, and is also honored by Muslims as the prophetic successor to Elijah (Arabic: Ilyās = Greek: Elias). Elisha is mentioned twice in the Quran as a prophet, and is mentioned both times alongside fellow prophets. According to the Quran, Elisha is exalted “above the rest of creation” (Arabic: فَضَّلْنَا عَلَى ٱلْعَالَمِين faḍḍalnā ʿalā l-ʿālamīna) and is “among the excellent” (Arabic: مِنَ ٱلْأَخْيَار mina ’l- akhyāri). Although the Quran does not give any details about Elisha’s life, later Muslim tradition fleshed out Elisha’s narrative through consulting the Hebrew Bible. Sources that identify Elisha with al-Khidr cite the strong relationship between al-Khidr and Elijah in Islamic tradition.
Some Muslims believe the tomb of Elisha is in Al-Awjam in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia. The shrine was removed by the Saudi Government because such veneration is not in accordance with the Wahhabi or Salafi reform movement dominant in Saudi Arabia. It had been an important landmark for many centuries during and before the Sunni Ottoman rule of the Middle-East, and had been a very popular pilgrimage destination for Muslims of all sects throughout the pre-modern period. A shrine of Elisha is also present in the Eğil district of Diyarbakir Province, Turkey.