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Wahb ibn Munabbih

wahb ibn munabbih writing, wahb ibn munabbih
Wahb ibn Munabbih Arabic, وهب بن منبه was a Yemenite Muslim traditionist of Dhimar two days' journey from Sana'a in Yemen; died at the age of ninety, in a year variously given by Arabic authorities as 725, 728, 732, and 737 CE1 He was of Persian origin234He is counted among the Tabi‘in and narrated Isra'iliyat5

His full name was Abu 'Abd Allah al-Ṣana'ani al-Dhimari 1 or Wahb ibn Munabbih ibn Kamil ibn Sirajud-Din Dhee Kibaar Abu-Abdullah al-Yamani al-San'anicitation needed


  • 1 Biography
    • 11 Family
    • 12 Early life
    • 13 644 – 656: Uthman's era
    • 14 717 – 720: Umar II's era
    • 15 724– 737: Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik's era
  • 2 Legacy
    • 21 Works
  • 3 Hadith
    • 31 Students and intellectual heirs
    • 32 Sunni view
  • 4 Further reading
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References



On his father's side he was descended from Persian knights, while his mother was a Himyarite1

Early lifeedit

His father, whose name was Munabbih ibn Kamil, had been converted to Islam in the lifetime of the Prophet, although a single authority, the "Al-Tibr al-Masluk" ed 1306 AH, p 41, states that Wahb himself had turned from Judaism to Islam Other biographers such as Al-Nawawi and Ibn Khallikan, did not write that he was a Jew either in race or in religion The fact that he was well versed in Jewish traditions, on which he wrote much, probably gave rise to the statement that he was a Jew, although he might have acquired his knowledge from his teacher Ibn 'Abbas1

He also had a brother named Hammam ibn Munabbih, who is reported to have written 138 Hadiths in his Sahifa6

644 – 656: Uthman's eraedit

He was born in AH 34 654/655citation needed

717 – 720: Umar II's eraedit

He was made a judge during the reign of ‘Umar II7

724– 737: Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik's eraedit

He died at the age of ninety, in a year variously given by Arabic authorities as 725, 728, 732, and 737 CE1

Some sources for date of death: d c 110 728/9 7


Wahb is said to have read more than seventy books on the prophets, and he was an extremely prolific narrator "rawi" of stories regarding Mohammed and Biblical personages1 He had a son named Abdallah al-Abnawi5


Among Wahb's many writings may be mentioned his "Qiṣaṣ al-Anbiya'" "Story of the Prophets" and "Kitab al-Isra'iliyat" "Book of the Israelites," "Ḥajji Khalfa," iv 518, v 40 The former, which is believed to be his earliest literary work, is, as its title indicates, a collection of narratives concerning Biblical personages, the accounts being drawn from Jewish folk-lore though presented in Islamitic guise Thus, like Ibn 'Abbas and Ka'b al-Aḥbar, he was an authority for many legends narrated by Al-Ṭabari, Mas'udi, and others The "Kitab al-Isra'iliyat," or "Book of Jewish Matters," is lost, but was apparently a collection of Jewish stories, many of them incorporated by a Jewish compiler into the "Arabian Nights" In the latter collection there are indeed many stories that bear the Jewish stamp, and some of them, such as the "Angel of Death," are ascribed to Wahb by the author of "Al-Tibr al-Masluk" There are also other stories which are attributed to Wahb, and many more which, from their Jewish character, may be traced to him His Jewish learning may be illustrated by his opinion of the Shekinah Arabic, "Sakinah" as stated by different Arabic authors1

According to Al-Baghawi in his "Ma'alim al-Tanzil" Ignác Goldziher, "Abhandlungen zur Arabischen Philologie," i 182, Leyden, 1896, Wahb believed that the Shekinah was the spirit of God On the other hand, Al-ḥabari "Annals," i 544, in recording the fact that the Israelites sometimes took the Ark of the Covenant into battle when they were at war with their enemies comp I Sam iv 4 et seq, quotes Wahb as saying in the name of a certain Jewish authority that the Shekinah which rested in the Ark was a being in the shape of a cat, and that when the Israelites heard the mewing of cats coming from the interior of the Ark, they were sure of a victory1


He narrated hadith from:

  • Anas ibn Malikcitation needed
  • Jabir ibn Abd-Allahcitation needed
  • `Abd Allah ibn `Abbascitation needed
  • Abd-Allah ibn Umarcitation needed
  • Abu Hurairahcitation needed
  • Abu-Sa'id al-Khudricitation needed
  • Tawoos ibn Kaysaancitation needed
  • Amr ibn Dinarcitation needed
  • Amr ibn Shaybcitation needed
  • Hammam ibn Munabbihcitation needed
  • otherscitation needed

Students and intellectual heirsedit

F Perles, in a series of papers contributed to "Monatsschrift" xxii, has pointed out that several of the stories of the "Arabian Nights"—mainly those taken from the Cairene additions—deal with Jewish topics or are derived from Jewish sources V Chauvin, in a special treatise on the Egyptian recension of "One Thousand and One Nights" Brussels, 1899, has suggested that these Jewish tales and others were introduced by one of the last redactors, a converted Jew, probably the author of the "Story of a Man of Jerusalem," sometimes attributed to Abraham, son of Maimonides The Jew-ish tales themselves are probably extracted from a work of a Jewish convert to Islam, Wahb ibn Munabbih 638-738, entitled "Jewish Matters" 8

The following are the tales of the "Arabian Nights" that appear from several investigations to be from Jewish sources The numbers are those in W F Kirby's comparative list given in all forms of Burton's edition; the letters in parentheses refer to the identifications by Perles:8 22 Ala Al-Din Abu Al-Shamat 41 Ali Shah and Zumurrud 52 Devout Israelite F 114 Angel of Death and the Proud King

115 Angel of Death and the Rich King

116 Angel of Death and the King of the Children of Israel

117 Izkander Alexander the Great and the Poor Folk

119 The Jewish Cadi and His Pious Wife A

122 Devout Tray-Maker and His Wife J

126 The Moslem Champion

127 The Christian King's Daughter

128 Prophet and Providence C

130 Island King and Pious Israelite

132 Queen of Serpents: a Adventures of Bulukuia; b Story of Jamshah

133 gg The Seventh Voyage of Sindbad

136 Judar and His Brethren

137 Ajib and Gharib

155 Hassan of Bassorah

161 k The Blind Man and the Cripple G

163 Abdallah the Fisherman

168 Abdallah ibn Fazil and His Brothers

183 a Harun al-Rashid and TuḦfat al-Ḳulub

196 Story of Ali Cogia K—one of Galland's additions

203 Sultan of Yemen and His Three Sons

256 Story of Abdallah E

Besides these stories, there are several others obviously inserted by the same hand Thus, the whole collection from 114 to 132 appears to be by the hand of Wahb ibn Munabbih8

Sunni viewedit

Although Muslims regarded him as a reliable authority in these accounts, many of them, such as Ibn Khaldun, declared that in his other writings he simply lied comp "Notices et Extraits des Manuscrits," xxpart 1, p 461; De Slane, Ibn Challikan, iii 673, note 21

It is known that Wahb and Ka'b al-Ahbar taught Tafsir their fellow Muslims Scholars like Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud had warned people not to learn the Tafsir from the People of the Book, arguing that they used to interpolate their own biblical beliefs, teachings and history with the Islamic creeds and preaching9

Ahmad ibn Hanbal said "he was a man of Persian descent" and also "Anyone from Yemen and has a 'Dhee' in his name, then his lineage is noble It is said: So and so has Dhee and so and so has no Dhee10

Al-'Ijlee said: "He was a trustworthy Taabi'ee, and the judge over San'aa" 11

Abd-al-Aziz ibn Abd-Allah ibn Baaz quoted Wahb extensively in a letter where he declared Osama bin Laden to be a Kharijecitation needed

Ibn Hajar Asqalani, a 15th century Sunni Shafi'i Islamic scholar said:

For more on the Sunni view, see "Isra'iliyat"

Further readingedit

He assumed the judiciary over San’aa under the Caliph ’Umar Ibn ’Abdul-’Azeez His narrations have been recorded in the Saheehayn 4 al-Bukharee and Muslim He had much knowledge regarding the people of the Book, and was counted among the pious and God-fearing, who was occupied with worship

He died 110H in San’aa at the beginning of the Caliphate of Hishaam Ibn ’Abdul-Maalik It is also said that he died 114H Yaqoot agreed with the latter in his book, Mu’jamul-Udabaa

See alsoedit

  • Arabian Nights 2
  • Bible in the Mohammedan literature 3
  • Ark of the Covenant 4
  • Islam 5
  • Wahhab name


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jacobs, Joseph "WAHB IBN MUNABBIH Abu 'Abd Allah al-Ṣana'ani al-Dhimari" Jewish Encyclopedia 
  2. ^ Khoury, RG "Wahb b Munabbih" Encyclopaedia of Islam 2nd ed Brill Publishers 
  3. ^ Thomas, David Richard; Roggema, Barbara; Sala, Juan Pedro Monferrer 2009 Christian-Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History 600-900 Brill Publishers p 36 ISBN 900416975X 
  4. ^ Khalidi, Tarif 1994-12-01 Arabic Historical Thought in the Classical Period Cambridge University Press p 7 ISBN 9780521465540 
  5. ^ a b "On The Transmitters Of Isra'iliyyat Judeo-Christian Material" wwwislamic-awarenessorg Retrieved 2016-12-21 
  6. ^ Hadith Book - Section Two
  7. ^ a b http://wwwghazaliorg/articles/personalisthtm, referencing Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, XI 166; Ab Nu‘aym, IV 23-82; Mash…h†r, 122-3
  8. ^ a b c Jewish Encyclopedia 1
  9. ^ http://wwwmostmercifulcom/hadithbook-sectiontwohtm, referencing Dr Muhammad Husayn al-Dhahabi, in his book, Al-Tafsir wal-Mufassirun, Volume 1, Published by Dar al-Qalam, Beirut
  10. ^ al-'Illal 2/52
  11. ^ Thiqaatul-'Ijlee no476
  12. ^ Taqrib al-Tahdhib, Volume II, 1960, Al-Maktabat al-`Ilmiyyah: Al-Madinah, p 339

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