Ka'ab al-Ahbar

Ka ʿ b al - Ahbar (Arabic كعب الاحبار, DMG Ka ʿ b al - Ahbar; † 652-655 in Homs ) was a Yemeni Jew who converted during the caliphate of Umar ibn al - Khattab to Islam, is operated as Koranexeget and in Islamic tradition literature as a transmitter Jewish and Old South Arabian Legendenguts appears.


The information on Ka ʿ bs life are sparse. He came at the time of ʿ Umar's caliphate to Medina, was the adviser and accompanied the Caliph, when he took 638 Jerusalem for the Muslims in possession. In various reports, which provides at- Tabari, is told of how Ka ʿ b the Caliph was the holy sites in the city, and the Islamic conquest of the city propaganda interpreted as fulfillment of biblical prophecy. He should it have been, the ʿ Umar al - Faruq honorable epithet bestowed. This title was then used in Jewish circles in connection with the Messiah. The close relationship with the Caliph seems to have then passed further. According to a report in al-Tabari said Ka ʿ b three days before ʿ Umar's death preceded it arises.

Also during the caliphate of Uthman ibn Affan seems to have Ka ʿ b still played an important political role. As an ascetic circles in Syria brought against the caliph to accusations of self-enrichment, Ka ʿ b is said to have defended him against it. This earned him a physical and verbal attack of the Prophet's companions Abu Dharr al - Ghifari, during which his Jewish was discussed. After this incident to draw as his advisers to Damascus Muawiya, Ka ʿ b tried, but nothing about this Syrian stage of his life handed down.

Koran exegesis

As part of its Koranic exegesis Ka ʿ b led numerous legends and narrative motifs derived from the Talmud and Midrash, in Islam one. Following on Q 3:96, he wrote, for example, the Kaaba a similar role in the cosmogony as she had Jerusalem in Jewish legends: at the beginning of forty years before the creation of the heavens and the earth, the Kaaba was the foam on the been water; from her forth God had then spread the earth. Also the idea of ​​the "well- preserved tablet " ( LAVH Mahfuz ) and ties to a place in the Quran ( Q 85:22 ), probably goes back to Ka ʿ b. It is a kind of celestial Urtafel that will contain the entire earthly events already. Whenever God wants to bring forth something as taught Ka ʿ b, he orders his pen to write on this board. He then put down the board to Israfil, a mighty angel whose body extends from heaven to hell. Israfil then reads the table and transmits the divine commands to the Archangel Michael, which in turn a myriad of other angels are available, which then implement the divine commands in the world. In this way, God controls the events in the world.

Ka ʿ b as a Jewish witness for Muhammad's Prophethood

Ka ʿ b al - Ahbar served early in the Muslims as a witness that the Jewish scriptures Muhammad had predicted coming. A story cited by Muhammad ibn Sa ʿ d in his Tabaqat plant, reported that Ka ʿ b was once asked why he had converted only under the caliphate of ʿ Umar to Islam. Then he told me that his father had to hand over to him in his youth, a book that he had compiled from the Torah. All other Jewish books he had, however, kept under lock and banned him under oath to read it. Only after the death of Muhammad, he had decided to perform the oath which he had given to his father to break, and study the books. In it he had then found a description of the Prophet and his community that led him to embrace Islam. This legend brought Ka ʿ b the reputation of being in possession of a secret Jewish book tradition which confirmed Muhammad's claim to prophecy.

ʿ Umara ibn Wathīma al - Farisi, the first Qisas al - Anbiya ʾ plant was drafting in the 9th century, resulting in in Ka ʿ bs name a narrative of what God is already at the beginning of time, before he created Adam, the Angel Gabriel instructed so the light of Muhammad from the location of his tomb, which was the brightest spot in the world at that time to record. This light was then kneaded into a white pearl with the water from two sources paradise and placed after the creation of Adam in the body to be passed down from generation to generation and only to accept the appearance of Mohammed human form. This story about Muhammad's pre-existence has been adopted in many Arab later works and there has been further designed.

The negative Ka ʿ b- image

Ka ʿ b was early on, however, also accused that he had tried to secretly introduce Jewish customs and ideas into Islam. So there is a report in al-Tabari, consequently he had tried to bring the caliph ʿ Umar to set up the prayer-place in Jerusalem at the back of the Temple Mount so that the Muslims had prayed out also to the rock praying to Mecca. However, Umar is this attempt to make the venerated by the Jews to rock Qibla of Muslims, seen through and have therefore moved the prayer-place in the front area of the Haram. After later scholars such as Ibn Katheer stories of biblical origin had branded as alien to Islam Isra ʾ īlīyāt, the returned to Ka ʿ b al - Ahbar legend material was viewed with considerably more critical.

In the course of dealing with the modern state of Israel, the tone of the Arab scholars over Ka ʿ b has further aggravated. Mahmūd Abū Rayya, a student of Rashid Rida 's even gone so far as Ka ʿ b blame a conspiracy against Islam and to call him in an article from 1946 when the first Zionists. Because of this polemic Abd Alfatah Twakkal saw called for in his 2007 dissertation submitted to McGill University, Ka ʿ b al - Ahbar to rehabilitate tradition as Aryan.