History of the Prophets

by Maulana Muhammad Ali


Among Adam’s descendants, Enoch is mentioned in the Holy Quran under the name of Idris twice (19:56–57; 21:85). On the first of these occasions it is stated:

“And mention Idris in the Book, surely he was a truthful man, a prophet.”

“And We raised him to an elevated state.”

Under the influence of Jewish and Christian traditions, Enoch’s being raised to an elevated state has been misinterpreted by some commentators as his being raised alive to heaven. According to the Bible:

“Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis, 5:24)

“God took him” perhaps meant no more than that he died, but tradition took a different view, and under the influence of that tradition, Paul wrote:

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, and was not found because God had translated him.” (Hebrews, 11:5)

Reliable commentators of the Holy Quran have, however, rejected the Christian tradition, and have held that the raf of Idris or his being raised to an elevated state, only signifies his exaltation in rank and not his bodily translation to upper regions, which, according to one commentator, does not carry the least importance. Use of this word raf about Jesus Christ has led to a similar misunderstanding.

References mentioned above:

“And Ishmael and Idris and Dhu-l-Kifl; all were of the patient ones;” (The Holy Quran, 21:85)