The name Yusha (يوشع) is the Arabic form of the Hebrew name Yehoshua (يهوشواع). It means “Yahweh (God) is salvation.” This name was given to him by Prophet Musa (Moses) because his original name was Hoshe’a (شواع) but Prophet Musa added the first part and made it Yehoshua (يهوشواع). The name is shortened to Yeshua (يشوع) in the Old Testament. In the English world, he is known as Joshua in the Bible.
His full name was Yusha son of Nun, son of Ephraim, son of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph), son of Prophet Ya’qub (Jacob), son of Prophet Ishaaq (Isaac), son of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). So Yusha is the great-grandson of Prophet Yusuf (pbuh) and out of six of his forefathers, four were prophets.
According to the Bible, he was born in Egypt prior to the Exodus.
Yusha bin Nun was one of prophets sent to the Children of Israel after Prophet Musa, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both. Prophet Yusha was the one responsible for leading an army into Jerusalem and conquering it with the Children of Israel. Before this point, they were all wandering in the desert for 40 years as a punishment from Allah due to constant disobedience of His commands by the Children of Israel. Prophet Musa and his brother Prophet Haroon (Aaron) both passed awayduring the wandering period. Yusha had taken over the leadership role of the Children of Israel after the death of Prophet Musa. Prophet Haroon died two years before Prophet Musa according to Ibn Kathir.
Yusha in the Islamic Traditions
In the Islamic tradition, he is more popularly known as the servant and student of Prophet Musa in the story of Al-Khidr in the Qur’an as mentioned in verses 18:60-64. He is also said to be one of the two referred to in the following verse:
“Said two men from those who feared [to disobey] upon whom Allah had bestowed favor, “Enter upon them through the gate, for when you have entered it, you will be predominant. And upon Allah rely, if you should be believers.” [Qur’an 5:23]
The context of the above verse is that when Prophet Musa commanded the Children of Israel to go into Jerusalem to claim it, they refused because they feared its inhabitants, who were very strong people. They refused to fight them but Yusha was one of the people who tried to persuade them into going into battle with the inhabitants. Due to their disobedience, Allah forbade them to be able to enter Jerusalem and they were made to wander in the desert for 40 years as mentioned in the Qur’an in verses 5:23-26.
One of the wisdoms behind their wandering is said to be that Allah did not want anyone who had worshiped the calf to enter Jerusalem. Therefore, after 40 years, that whole generation had passed away and the new generation was brought up under the direct teachings of Musa, Haroon, and Yusha. It was this new generation under the leadership of Yusha that was allowed to enter Jerusalem with a victory.
According to some sources, “he is also credited with being present at Musa’s death and literature records that Musa’s garments were with Yusha at the time of his departure.”
It is reported that in the last battle, which began on Friday, the Jews were nearing victory with Yusha as their commander. However, the sun was nearing to set and the Jews did not work or fight on Saturday, thus, Yusha started to fear that they may lose the battle. So he looked towards the sun and said:
“You are commanded and I [too] am commanded [from Allah], O Allah stop the sun!”
The sun stopped in its place and remained that way until he was able to conquer Jerusalem and enter it. In Jewish and Islamic calendars, the following day begins with sunset and the Jews were forbidden by God to work on Saturdays.
There is a hadith which details this incident. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said:
“One of the Prophets made a holy war. He said to his followers: ‘One who has married a woman and wants to consummate to his marriage but has not yet done so; another who has built a house but has not yet erected its roof; and another who has bought goats and pregnant she-camels and is waiting for their offspring-will not accompany me.’ So he marched on and approached a village at or about the time of the Asr prayers. He said to the sun: ‘Thou art subservient (to Allah) and so am I. O Allah, stop it for me a little.’ It was stopped for him until Allah granted him victory.” [Muslim]
We know that the above is referring to Yusha bin Nun because in another hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) clearly states:
“The sun has never stopped from setting for any human being except for Yusha on the evening he invaded Jerusalem.” [Ahmad – it was graded authentic by Ibn Khatir, Ibn Hajar, and Al-Albani]
The Children of Israel lived in Jerusalem for some time and Yusha (pbuh) taught them the Torah and ruled according to it. Ibn Kathir says that he lived up to be 127 years old. He lived 27 years after the death of Prophet Musa.
Tomb of Prophet Yusha (upon him be peace)
This is the tomb of Yusha (upon him be peace), a Prophet who was very close to Musa (upon him be peace) and took his place as the leader of the Bani Israil after his death. He is known as Joshua in the Bible.
- Yusha (upon him be peace) was the great grandson of Prophet Yusuf (upon him be peace), his full name being Yusha bin Nun bin Afraeem bin Yusuf. Although he is not mentioned by name in the Holy Quran there are references made to him in two places.
- After the Bani Israil fled bondage in Egypt and wandered the desert for 40 years Musa (upon him be peace) died close to Bayt al-Maqdis, often referred to as ‘The Promised Land’. Yusha (upon him be peace) took over and led the Bani Israil over the River Jordan and into the surroundings of Jericho (also known locally as Ariha). It was a splendid city with large palaces. He laid siege over it for six months and then with a final push, raising the takbeer, he led his army in and conquered it.
- It is said that when they were about to take the city of Jerusalem it was on a Friday at Asr time. The sunset was close approaching which would subject them to the observance of the sabbath (on Saturday), meaning that they would have had to cease fighting. Yusha (upon him be peace) addressed the sun that it was under a command while he was under another command and he prayed to Allah, “O Allah, hold it back from setting!”. It was stopped till Allah made him victorious.
- A hadith has been narrated from Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, ”Surely, the sun has never been stopped from setting down for a human being except for Yusha (upon him be peace) on the evening he invaded the Bayt al-Maqdis.”
- The Bani Israil lived in the Bayt al-Maqdis for some time and Yusha (upon him be peace) taught them the Torah and ruled according to it. He lived for 127 years.