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Question: Who is the only woman whose father, husband, brother and son were Nabīs?
Answer: Layyā bint Ya‘qūb – her father was Ya‘qūb عليه السلام ; her husband was Ayyūb عليه السلام ; her brother was Yūsuf عليه السلام ; and her son was Ẓul Kifl عليه السلام .
At the outset, it should be mentioned that there are many unheard of narrations circulating through the blessings of ash-Shaykh Email, al-Allāmah Blackberry and al-Mufti Facebook etc. The scholars are under no obligation to verify each of these circulations. The onus is upon the circulator to prove the authenticity of what he distributes.
عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال… البينة على المدعي
Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “The burden of proof rests upon he who makes the claim.” [al-Bayhaqī]
That being said, my instinct tells me that the Layyā “narration” is but an attempt to provide a female equivalent to the Ḥadīth mentioning Yūsuf عليه السلام as being Nabī, son of Nabī, son of Nabī, son of Nabī.
Daughter of Ya‘qub عليه السلام
Despite the story of Yūsuf عليه السلام being the single most detailed continuous story narrated in the Qurān, the only names mentioned in it are that of his and that of his father. This is because the Qurān is a book of guidance and does not detail dates, names, places etc. as the Hebrew scripture does. However, it is permitted to refer to the Hebrew books for such details – where they make sense and do not contradict anything established by Islām – for Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
عن عبد الله بن عمرو: “بلغوا عني ولو آية، وحدثوا عن بني إسرائيل ولا حرج، ومن كذب علي متعمداً، فليتبوأ مقعده من النار
Convey from me even if it be an Āyah. Narrate from the Children of Isrāīl and there is no harm in it. But he who intentionally lies against me should prepare his resting place in the Fire.” [al-Bukhārī]
According to Genesis, “Leah” or Layyā was a wife of Ya‘qūb عليه السلام who bore him his only daughter, Dīnah. This already debunks the fictitious Layyā, supposed daughter of Ya‘qūb عليه السلام . Genesis further describes her being raped by an idol-worshipper. The Hebrew sources describe her only child, variously a boy or a girl, as the product of that rape. Even if a boy, it would be impossible for Dīnah/Layyā to be a mother of a Nabī, since the Qurān describes Prophets as pure of lineage. Ẓul Kifl عليه السلام could not be the product of rape.
Sister of Yusuf عليه السلام
Firstly Yusuf عليه السلام did not have a full sister. He was the son of Rachel (Rāḥil) whilst Dīnah was the daughter of Leah (Layyā). That aside, Dīnah has been discussed above.
Mother of Ẓul Kifl عليه السلام
Ẓul Kifl عليه السلام is mentioned twice in the Qurān. Although suggestions have been made, he is not clearly identified with any figure in the Bible with absolute certainty. If we accept the suggested names, we also accept that none of them are grandchildren of Ya‘qūb عليه السلام. If we avoid the suggested names and restrict our discussion to Islāmic sources, then neither the Qurān nor Ḥadīth mention his mother. I cannot check every Tafsīr, but neither Ibn Kathīr, al-Baghawī nor al-Qurṭubī mention his mother. Surely being the grandson of Ya‘qūb عليه السلام would have merited a mention?
Furthermore, the narration which the Books of Tafsīr quote from Ibn ‘Abbās , describing how Ẓul Kifl عليه السلام attained his position, makes it abundantly clear that this was generations after Ya‘qūb عليه السلام when there was a large population descended from him and a kingdom had been established. In other words, he was born after Mūsā عليه السلام and was no son of any daughter of Ya‘qūb عليه السلام :
عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما، قال: “إن نبياً من أنبياء بني إسرائيل، آتاه الله الملك والنبوة، ثم أوحى الله إليه أني أريد قبض روحك، فاعرض ملكك على بني إسرائيل، فمن تكفل لك أنه يصلي بالليل حتى يصبح، ويصوم بالنهار فلا يفطر، ويقضي بين الناس فلا يغضب، فادفع ملكك إليه، فقام ذلك النبي في بني إسرائيل وأخبرهم بذلك، فقام شاب،
Allāh granted a Nabī from amongst the Prophets of Banū Isrāīl kingship and prophethood. Allāh revealed to him, “I intend to seize your soul. So present your kingdom to Banū Isrāī. He who guarantees (kifl) you that he will offer Ṣalāh until the morning; and fasts during the day without breaking it; and will judge amongst the people without becoming angry; then give him the kingdom.”
The Nabī stood amongst Banū Isrāīl and informed them of that. A young man stood…..
Wife of Ayub عليه السلام
The Mufassirūn have written extensively about the wife and children of Ayūb عليه السلام . They describe Allāh’s gifts to the Nabī who had succeeded in the tests put upon him. This included the loyal wife and restoration of his deceased children and additional offspring as well. They debate whether the children were resurrected or are to be restored in the Ākhirah. Again, neither Ibn Kathīr, al-Baghawī nor al-Qurṭubī mention his wife being the daughter of Ya‘qūb عليه السلام , which would have been a pertinent point in listing Allāh’s favours in regards his family. Even the Bible does not mention her name.
In all the discussion on the offspring, none mentions Ẓul Kiflعليه السلام as being amongst them. This would have been a most glaring omission in the light of the Qurān describing other prophets (Yūsuf, Yaḥyā and ‘Īsā) as gifts to the virtuous (Ya‘qūb, Zakarīyā and Maryam). How then does the Qurān and commentators maintain silence on Ẓul Kifl عليه السلام being the supposed son of Ayūb عليه السلام ? Although not a unanimous view, the possibility of Ayūb عليه السلام being European and not Asian, makes the above parentage of an Asian Nabī even more farfetched.
In conclusion, the Ummah should be far more careful of what they narrate as fact. In regards the above, I believe the balance of facts point to it being a fiction.