Prophets of Allah – Elisha: A prophet among ‘the best’


“And We did raise among every people a Messenger”

Jalees Ahmad, Al Hakam

Al-Yasa‘as (اليسع), commonly known or referred to as Elishaas was a noble and great prophet of Allah. He has been mentioned twice, by name, in the Holy Quran.

The Holy Quran remembers him among the “best” of the people he was sent to:

“And remember Ishmael and Elisha and Dhul-Kifl; they were all of the best.” (Surah Sad, Ch.38: V.49)

Son of Shaphat

The Bible states that Elishaas was the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah. He became the successor and disciple of Elijahas. (1 Kings 19:16) Being born in Abelmeholah, a small village located in Galilee, Elishaas was interrupted from his farming duties – “with twelve yoke of oxen before him” – when Elijahas, receiving God’s direction, anointed him to be his successor. (Ibid.)

Elishaas, “…did We exalt above the people”

In the Holy Quran, Surah al-An’am, Ch.6: V.87, we read:

وَ اِسۡمٰعِیۡلَ وَ الۡیَسَعَ وَ یُوۡنُسَ وَ لُوۡطًا ؕ وَ کُلًّا فَضَّلۡنَا عَلَی الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ

“And [We also guided] Ishmael and Elisha and Jonah and Lot; and each one did We exalt above the people.”

As Muslims, it is our belief that prophets of Allah are considered the best of humanity and are honoured by God, our Creator, for their service to humanity. God, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge, elevated Prophet Elisha’sas status and granted him a higher rank and position of honour among the people. This exalted position was due to his righteousness, his devotion to Allah, and his work as a prophet to guide his people towards the truth. 

With regards to being “exalted above the people”, the Five Volume Commentary states: 

“The exaltation spoken of here refers only to the people to whom the Prophets, mentioned in the verse, were sent.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 714)

Much like Elijahas – and other prophets such as Zachariahas and Jesusas – Elishaas had no worldly power and lived a simple life; however, Allah exalted him and granted him grace.

Under the above-quoted verse, we read in the Five Volume Commentary:

“It has been alleged about them that they coveted power and riches. Of Ishmael[as], we read in the Bible: ‘He will be a wild man: his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him’ (Gen. 16:12). In the Talmud, Ishmael[as] is represented as having followed his father Abraham[as] when the latter took Isaac out for sacrifice, rejoicing at the thought that he would inherit all the lands and herds. Of Elisha[as] it is said that he caused a king, who did not obey him, to be slain so that he might thus gain political power. Jonah[as] was displeased with God, because he was disgraced by the non-fulfilment of his prophecy, which, it is alleged, showed that he sought power for himself. Of Lot[as], it is alleged that he coveted fertile pasturelands and was always quarrelling with his kinsman, Abraham[as]. Thus all these Prophets have been accused of coveting wealth and power. But the Quran declares all these charges to be false. These Prophets were a group of heavenly people enjoying spiritual communion with God. They had no need to be covetous or be seekers of power; for, as stated in 6:87, God had ‘exalted’ them above the people.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. 2, p. 891)

The Promised Messiahas has alluded to the fact that Elishaas, like other Prophets of God, was a bearer of many miracles. On one occasion, while mentioning Prophet Jesusas and how the Christians have erred in taking him to be a divine figure, he stated:

“Most Prophets who appeared prior to him [Jesusas] were greater as far as miracles were concerned, such as Moses[as], Elisha[as] and the Prophet Elijah[as].” (Noah’s Ark, p. 98)

Elisha’s link to Isaac, son of Abrahamas

According to al-Hasan al-Basri, after Prophet Elisha’sas passing, conflicts arose among his people, leading to a series of events that fueled the growth of sin and tyranny. (Ibn Kathir, Qasas al-Anbiya’ [Urdu], under Prophet Elishaas, p. 548)

In light of Elisha’sas lineage, it is said that he was the son of ‘Adi, the son of Ibn Shultam, the son of Aphraem, the son of Josephas, the son of Jacobas, the son of Isaacas, the son of Abrahamas. (Ibid.)

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