“Commemorate Idris in the Book, verily he was a man of truth and a Prophet and We raised him to a lofty station.” (Qur’an 19:56)
In Surah Maryam, verses 56 and 57 there is praise of Prophet Enoch (Idris) that he was highly upright, pious, and that God raised him to a high place. Some said this place was the fourth heaven and some said the sixth. What is confirmed is that Prophet Enoch then came back to Earth after being raised to the heavens. He came back to Earth and died on Earth. Enoch was a Prophet and Messenger, confirmed in the Qur’an. We must have a firm belief that Enoch was a Prophet of God and that he conveyed the message from God.
All (Isma’il, Zhul-Kill and Idris) were men of constancy and patience. We admitted them into Our Mercy, for they were of the righteous ones.” (Qur’an 21:85-86)
Migration to Egypt
There is a difference in opinion about the lineage of Enoch, but the famous one is the one we said. He was given the name “Idris” with the root of “Idris” coming from the Arabic word “dirasah” which means “lengthy studying.” He is called Idris because he studied a lot what was revealed to Prophet Adam and Prophet Seth.
As to his physical appearance, Al-Hakim said in his Mustadrak, copying from Samurah, the son of Jundub, that Enoch was tall, with a white complexion. He had a wide chest. Enoch had little body hair, and a lot of hair on his head. He had a light discoloration on his chest, different than skin diseases like leprosy.
When injustice and enmity occurred among people on the Earth, God raised Enoch to the heavens. It was cited that Enoch was the first to use the pen after Adam (Adam had the knowledge of how to use the pen) and the first to cut material and sew it. Ibn Hibban said in his book As-Sahih, from Abu Dharr, that the Prophet said, “O Abu Dharr, four among the Prophets spoke a language called Syriac: Adam, Seth, Akhanukh (Enoch, the first to use the pen after Adam), and Noah.
Enoch is the Third Prophet
Enoch is the third of the Prophets. There is difference of opinion as to his place of birth. Some said he was born in Babylon and some said Egypt. The correct saying is that he was born in Babylon, in Iraq. In the first years of Enoch, he followed the knowledge spread by Adam and Seth. Then God made him a Prophet and Messenger. God revealed 30 short booklets (suhuf) to Enoch, as stated in the hadith, narrated from Abu Dharr, by Ibn Hibban. Enoch taught the people about God, and called them to implement the rules of the Religion. He emphasized that the only One Who deserves worship is God. All the people were Muslim during the life of Prophet Enoch.
Some people were disobedient in following certain rules of the Religion. Enoch made the decision to leave Iraq and go to Egypt. When Prophet Enoch became in sight of the great Nile river of Egypt, he started to think of the great power of God. He praised God, as he looked pensively at the Nile.
Prophet Enoch stayed in Egypt with his people for a period of time, calling people to follow the rules of the Religion. It is said that he lived 82 years on Earth. Then God raised him to the heavens. Then he descended and died on Earth.
There are several wise sayings known about Prophet Enoch. Prophet Enoch called the people to be good Muslims, following all the rules of the Religion revealed to him. He called the people to a non-luxurious life, as our Prophet Muhammad did also. Prophet Muhammad told Mu^adh ibnu Jabal, “Leave luxury alone, the righteous are not people who live luxuriously.”
Prophet Enoch told his people to be just with each other. He told them to perform the prayers and showed them how to pray. They were ordered to fast certain days every month. They were ordered to pay Zakah (an obligatory payment from some to help others who deserve it) from their money to help the poor. He was very strict about teaching the people about taharah (specific ablutions) and to clean one’s self after having sexual intercourse. He made it clear that alcohol was forbidden.
At the time of Enoch, the people spoke 72 languages. God made Enoch know all the 72 languages, so that he could teach all of the people in their own language. Surah Ibrahim, verse 4, states that, “God did not send a Messenger except that he spoke the language of his people, in order to make the teachings clear to them.”
God gave Prophet Enoch the knowledge of sciences, which he taught the people. God gave him the knowledge of Astronomy. He was the first to look into the science of medicine. He was the first to warn that a flood would come as a punishment (as it did come in the time of Noah). Enoch was the first to set down the rules of city planning. It is said that Prophet Enoch built the two famous pyramids of Egypt.
Among his famous wisdoms were that he said, “Being patient, while believing in God, leads one to victory.” This was engraved on the stone of his ring. He said to have a sincere intention when you make a supplication to God, pray, and fast. Enoch told the people not to swear by God when lying, and not to lie.
The Story of Prophet Enoch and the Devil
Abu Ishaq al-Isfarayiniyy, in his book At-Tartib fi ^Usulil-Fiqh, (The Order in the Matters which Pertain to the Fundamentals of Fiqh) said that the first to present the concept of an “intellectual impossibility” was Prophet Enoch. He narrated the following incident:
Satan came to Prophet Enoch, who was sewing. Prophet Enoch was saying “Subhanallah” (God is free of imperfections) each time he put the needle through. Each time he took it out he would say “Al-Hamdulillah” (praise and thanks to God). Satan came to him and brought a peel. Satan said “Does God have the power to put this entire universe in this small peel?” Prophet Enoch said, “If God willed, He has the power to make this entire universe be inside of the opening of this needle I am using for sewing.” Then Prophet Enoch poked the eye of Satan with the needle. Satan became one-eyed.
Abu Ishaq explained the meaning of the saying of Prophet Enoch to Satan: If God willed to make the entire universe tiny enough to go inside the eye of a needle, then God has the power to do it. However, if one is talking about taking the entire universe with the size that it has, and putting it through the eye of a needle, with the size that it has, then this is intellectually impossible.
Abu Ishaq said that Prophet Enoch did not give the details of that to Satan because Satan was a stubborn creature. Satan only posed the question to confuse. Satan did not want a correct answer. He only asked the question to be evil, and in a fruitless endeavor to take Enoch out of the Religion.
Abu Ishaq said that this concept did not spread very widely at the time of our Prophet, but later the understanding of this became so widespread that it cannot be refuted.
Some sayings of the Prophet Idris (pbuh):
- Do not feel jealous of the prosperity of others.
- He who has unlimited desires is deprived of the wealth of contentment.
- One should be sincere in the acts of devotion.
- It is an act of grave sin to take false oaths.
- Patience is a key to victory.
- He who controls his passions is fortunate. Only a good act will be a living intercessor before The Almighty on the Day of Judgment.
- One who is desirous of attaining perfection in knowledge; should have no concern with immoral acts.