The Info List - Golden Calf

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According to the Bible, the golden calf (עֵגֶּל הַזָהָב ‘ēggel hazāhāv) was an idol (a cult image) made by the Israelites during Moses' absence, when he went up to Mount Sinai. In Hebrew, the incident is known as ḥēṭ’ ha‘ēggel (חֵטְא הַעֵגֶּל) or "The Sin of the Calf". It is first mentioned in Exodus 32:4. Bull worship
Bull worship
was common in many cultures. In Egypt, whence according to the Exodus narrative the Hebrews had recently come, the Apis Bull was a comparable object of worship, which some believe the Hebrews were reviving in the wilderness;[1] alternatively, some believe the God
of Israel was associated with or pictured as a calf/bull deity through the process of religious assimilation and syncretism. Among the Egyptians' and Hebrews' neighbors in the ancient Near East and in the Aegean, the Aurochs, the wild bull, was widely worshipped, often as the Lunar Bull and as the creature of El.


1 In the Book of Exodus

1.1 Exclusion of the Levites and mass execution

2 Other mentions in the Bible 3 Jeroboam's golden calves at Bethel
and Dan 4 Jewish views 5 Islamic narrative 6 Criticism and interpretation

6.1 As adoration of wealth

7 In popular culture

7.1 Eponymous subjects 7.2 Others

8 See also 9 Notes 10 External links

In the Book of Exodus[edit]

The Worship of the Golden Calf by Filippino Lippi
Filippino Lippi

When Moses
went up into Biblical Mount Sinai
Biblical Mount Sinai
to receive the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24:12-18), he left the Israelites
for forty days and forty nights. The Israelites
feared that he would not return and demanded that Aaron
make them "gods" to go before them (Exodus 32:1). Aaron
gathered up the Israelites' golden earrings and ornaments, constructed a "molten calf" and they declared: "These [be] thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." (Exodus 32:4) Aaron
built an altar before the calf and proclaimed the next day to be a feast to the LORD. So they rose up early the next day and "offered burnt-offerings, and brought peace-offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play." (Exodus 32:6) God
told Moses
what the Israelites
were up to back in camp, that they had turned aside quickly out of the way which God
commanded them and he was going to destroy them and start a new people from Moses. Moses besought and pleaded that they should be spared (Exodus 32:11-14), and God
"repented of the evil which He said He would do unto His people." Moses
went down from the mountain, but upon seeing the calf, he became angry and threw down the two Tablets of Stone, breaking them. Moses burnt the golden calf in a fire, ground it to powder, scattered it on water, and forced the Israelites
to drink it. When Moses
asked him, Aaron
admitted collecting the gold, and throwing it into the fire, and said it came out as a calf (Exodus 32:21-24). Exclusion of the Levites and mass execution[edit] Main article: Levite The Bible
records that the tribe of Levi did not worship the golden calf. When Moses
stood in the gate of the camp, and said: 'Whosoever is on the LORD's side, let him come unto me.' And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them: 'Thus saith the LORD, the God
of Israel: Put ye every man his sword upon his thigh, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.' And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. (Exodus 32:26-28) Other mentions in the Bible[edit] The golden calf is mentioned in Nehemiah 9:16–21.

"But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, 'This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,' or when they committed awful blasphemies. "Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen."

The language suggests that there are some inconsistencies in the other accounts of the Israelites
and their use of the calf. As the version in Exodus and 1 Kings are written by Deuteronomistic historians based in the southern kingdom of Judah, there is a proclivity to expose the Israelites
as unfaithful. The inconsistency is primarily located in Exodus 32.4 where "gods" is plural despite the construction of a single calf. When Ezra retells the story, he uses the single, capitalized God.[2] Conversely, a more biblically conservative view offers a tenable explanation accounting for the discrepancy between "gods" in Exodus 32 and "God" in Nehemiah 9:18. In both instances, the Hebrew 'elohim' is used. Since ancient Hebrew failed to distinguish 'elohim' God
(known as the majestic plural) from 'elohim' gods, Biblical translations are either determined by a) context or b) the local verb(s). In the original account in Exodus 32, the local verb is in the 3rd person plural. In Nehemiah 9, the verb connected to 'elohim' is singular. For the JEDP (i.e. Deuteronomistic) theorist, this inconsistency is confirmatory since the theory maintains a roughly equivalent date for the composition of Exodus and Nehemiah. More conservative scholarship would argue that these two texts were composed about 1000 years apart: Exodus (by Moses) circa 1500 BCE, and Nehemiah circa 500 BCE. The biblically conservative framework would therefore account for the verbal inconsistency from Exodus to Nehemiah as a philological evolution over the approximate millennium separating the two books. Jeroboam's golden calves at Bethel
and Dan[edit] Main article: Jeroboam

Worshiping the Golden Calf

According to 1 Kings 12:26–30, after Jeroboam
establishes the northern Kingdom of Israel, he contemplates the sacrificial practices of the Israelites.

thought to himself, "The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam
king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam." After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel
and went as far as Dan to worship the other.

His concern was that the tendency to offer sacrifices in Jerusalem, which is in the southern Kingdom of Judah, would lead to a return to King Rehoboam. He makes two golden calves and places them in Bethel and Dan. He erects the two calves in what he figures (in some interpretations) as substitutes for the cherubim built by King Solomon in Jerusalem.[3] Richard Elliott Friedman says "at a minimum we can say that the writer of the golden calf account in Exodus seems to have taken the words that were traditionally ascribed to Jeroboam
and placed them in the mouths of the people." Friedman believes that the story was turned into a polemic, exaggerating the throne platform decoration into idolatry, by a family of priests sidelined by Jeroboam.[4] The declarations of Aaron
and Jeroboam
are almost identical:

'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt' (Exod 32:4, 8); 'Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt (1 Kings 12:28)

After making the golden calf or golden calves both Aaron
and Jeroboam celebrate festivals. Aaron
builds an altar and Jeroboam
ascends an altar (Exod 32:5–6; 1 Kings 12:32–33).[5] Jewish views[edit] In Legends of the Jews, the Conservative rabbi and scholar Louis Ginzberg wrote that the worship of the Golden Calf was the disastrous consequence for Israel who took mixed multitude in their exodus from Egypt. Had not the mixed multitude joined them, Israel would not have been misled to worship this molten idol. The form of calf itself came from a magical virtue of an ornament leaf with the image of the bull which is made by Moses.[6] The devotion of Israel to this worship of the calf was partly explained by a circumstance at passing through the Red Sea, when they beheld the most distinct creature about the Celestial Throne which is the resemblance of ox, then they thought it was an ox who had helped God
in their journey from Egypt.[6] After seeing Hur son of Miriam
who was carelessly murdered by the people following his rebuke of their ingratitude action to God, Aaron
was willing rather to take a sin upon himself to make an idol than to cast the burden of an evil deed upon the people if they commit so terrible sin of killing a priest and prophet among them.[6] Also there would be among Israel no caste of priesthood, and the nation would have been a nation of priests only if Israel had not sinned through worshiping the Golden Calf that the greater part of the people lost the right to priesthood, except tribe of Levi as the only tribe who remained faithful to God
and did not partake in this sinful deed.[7] Islamic narrative[edit]

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See also: Moses
in Islam and Islamic view of Aaron

Musa Mūsa   ٰمُوسَى Moses

Ten Commandments Tawrat Ṣuḥuf Mūsā [Biblical and Quranic narratives Prophets and messengers in Islam Golden calf Asiya

Balaam Samiri

Ulu'l azm prophets

Category Islam portal

v t e

The incident of the worship of the Golden Calf is narrated in the Qur'an
and other Islamic literature. The Qur'an
narrates that after they refused to enter the promised land, God
decreed that as punishment the Israelites
would wander for forty years. Moses continued to lead the Israelites
to Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai
for Divine guidance. According to Islamic literature, God
ordered Moses
to fast for thirty days, and upon near completion of the thirty days, Moses
ate a scented plant to improve the odour of his mouth. God
commanded Moses
to fast for ten more days, before receiving the guidance for the Israelites. When Moses
completed the fasts, he approached God
for guidance. During this time, Moses
had instructed the Israelites
that Aaron
(Harun) was to lead them. The Israelites
grew restless, since Moses
had not returned to them, and after thirty days, a man the Qur'an
names Samiri raised doubts among the Israelites. Samiri claimed that Moses
had forsaken the Israelites
and ordered his followers among the Israelites to light a fire and bring him all the jewelry and gold ornaments they had.[8] Samiri fashioned the gold into a golden calf along with the dust on which the angel Gabriel had trodden, which he proclaimed to be the God
of Moses
and the God
who had guided them out of Egypt.[9] There is a sharp contrast between the Qur'anic and the biblical accounts the prophet Aaron's actions. The Qur'an
mentions that Aaron attempted to guide and warn the people from worshipping the Golden Calf. However, the Israelites
refused to stop until Moses
had returned.[10] The righteous separated themselves from the pagans. God informed Moses
that He had tried the Israelites
in his absence and that they had failed by worshipping the Golden Calf. Returning to the Israelites
in great anger, Moses
asked Aaron
why he had not stopped the Israelites
when he had seen them worshipping the Golden Calf. The Qur'an
reports that Aaron
stated that he did not act due to the fear that Moses
would blame him for causing divisions among the Israelites. Moses
realized his helplessness in the situation, and both prayed to God
for forgiveness ( Qur'an
7:150-151). Moses
then questioned Samiri for the creation of the Golden Calf; Samiri justified his actions by stating that he had thrown the dust of the ground upon which Gabriel had tread on into the fire because his soul had suggested it to him.[8] Moses
informed him that he would be banished and that they would burn the Golden Calf and spread its dust into the sea. Moses
ordered seventy delegates to repent to God
and pray for forgiveness.[11] The delegates traveled alongside Moses
to Mount Sinai, where they witnessed the speech between him and God
but refused to believe until they had witnessed God
with their sight. As punishment, God
struck the delegates with lightning and killed them with a violent earthquake.[12] Moses
prayed to God
for their forgiveness. God
forgave and resurrected them and they continued on their journey. In the Islamic view, the Calf-worshipers' sin had been shirk (Arabic: شرك‎), the sin of idolatry or polytheism. Shirk is the deification or worship of anyone or anything other than the singular God
(Allah), or more literally the establishment of "partners" placed beside God, a most serious and unforgivable sin, with the Calf-worshipers' being ultimately forgiven being a mark of special forbearance by Allah. Criticism and interpretation[edit]

This section relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources. (April 2015)

Despite a seemingly simplistic façade, the golden calf narrative is complex. According to Michael Coogan, it seems that the golden calf was not an idol for another god, and thus a false god.[13] He cites Exodus 32:4-5 as evidence: He [Aaron] took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!" When Aaron
saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron
made proclamation and said, "Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord (Yahweh)." Importantly, there is a single calf in this narrative. While the people refer to it as representative of the "gods", this is a possessive form of the word Elohim (אֱלֹהֶיךָ‬ elo'hecha, from אֱלֹהִים‬), which is a name of God
as well as general word for "gods". While a reference to singular god does not necessarily imply Yahweh worship, the word usually translated as 'lord' is Yahweh יהוה‬ in the original, so at least it can't be ruled out.[13] It should also be noted that "in the chronology of the narrative of the Ten Commandments" the commandment against the creation of graven images had not yet been given to the people when they pressed upon Aaron
to help them make the calf, and that such behavior was not yet explicitly outlawed.[13] Another understanding of the golden calf narrative is that the calf was meant to be the pedestal of Yahweh. In Near Eastern art, gods were often depicted standing on an animal, rather than seated on a throne.[13] This reading suggests that the golden calf was merely an alternative to the ark of the covenant or the cherubim upon which Yahweh was enthroned.[13] The reason for this complication may be understood as 1.) a criticism of Aaron, as the founder of one priestly house that rivaled the priestly house of Moses, and/or 2.) as "an attack on the northern kingdom of Israel."[13] The second explanation relies on the "sin of Jeroboam," who was the first king of the northern kingdom, as the cause of the northern kingdom’s fall to Assyria in 722 BCE.[13] Jeroboam’s "sin" was creating two calves of gold, and sending one to Bethel
as a worship site in the south of the Kingdom, and the other to Dan as a worship site in the north, so that the people of the northern kingdom would not have to continue to go to Jerusalem
to worship (see 1 Kings 12.26–30). According to Coogan, this episode is part of the Deuteronomistic history, written in the southern kingdom of Judah, after the fall of the Northern kingdom, which was biased against the northern kingdom.[13] Coogan maintains that Jeroboam
was merely presenting an alternative to the cherubim of the Temple in Jerusalem, and that calves did not indicate non-Yahwehistic worship.[13] The documentary hypothesis can be used to further understand the layers of this narrative: it is plausible that the earliest story of the golden calf was preserved by E (Israel source) and originated in the Northern kingdom. When E and J (Judah source) were combined after the fall of northern kingdom, "the narrative was reworked to portray the northern kingdom in a negative light," and the worship of the calf was depicted as "polytheism, with the suggestion of a sexual orgy" (see Exodus 32.6). When compiling the narratives, P (a later Priest source from Jerusalem) may have minimized Aaron’s guilt in the matter, but preserved the negativity associated with the calf.[13] Alternatively it could be said that there is no golden calf story in the J source, and if it is correct that the Jeroboam
story was the original as stated by Friedman, then it is unlikely that the Golden Calf events as described in Exodus occurred at all. Friedman states that the smashing of the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
by Moses
when he beheld the worship of the golden calf, is really an attempt to cast into doubt the validity of Judah's central shrine, the Ark of the Covenant. "The author of E, in fashioning the golden calf story, attacked both the Israelite and Judean religious establishments." [14] As to the likelihood that these events ever took place, on the one hand there are two versions of the ten commandments story, in E (Exodus 20) and J (Exodus 34), this gives some antiquity and there may be some original events serving as a basis to the stories. The Golden Calf story is only in the E version and a later editor added in an explanation that God
made a second pair of tablets to give continuity to the J story.[15] The actual Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
as given in Exodus 20 were also inserted by the redactor who combined the various sources.[16] Archaeologists Israel Finkelstein
Israel Finkelstein
and Neil Asher Silberman say that while archaeology has found traces left by small bands of hunter-gatherers in the Sinai, there is no evidence at all for the large body of people described in the Exodus story: "The conclusion – that Exodus did not happen at the time and in the manner described in the Bible
– seems irrefutable... repeated excavations and surveys throughout the entire area have not provided even the slightest evidence."[17] As adoration of wealth[edit] A metaphoric interpretation emphasizes the "gold" part of "golden calf" to criticize the pursuit of wealth. This usage can be found in Spanish[18] where Mammon, the Gospel personification of idolatry of wealth, is not so current. In popular culture[edit] Eponymous subjects[edit] See also: Golden calf
Golden calf

Le veau d'or est toujours debout (The Golden Calf is still standing), an aria in Charles Gounod's opera Faust Cave of the Golden Calf, a notorious nightclub in Edwardian London, created by Frida Uhl "The Golden Calf and the Altar", an episode in the unfinished opera Moses
und Aron, a three-act, uncompleted opera by Arnold Schoenberg The Golden Calf, a sculpture by conceptual artist Damien Hirst "The Golden Calf", a song on the Prefab Sprout album From Langley Park to Memphis Mooby the Golden Calf, a fictional character featured in the works of Kevin Smith The Little Golden Calf, a satirical novel by Soviet authors Ilf and Petrov.


In Episode 79 of Batman the Golden Calf was nabbed by The Riddler Le veau d'or est toujours debout (The Golden Calf is still standing) is an aria in Charles Gounod's opera Faust

See also[edit]

Gugalanna Ki Tissa
Ki Tissa
and Eikev, Torah
parshiot dealing with the Golden Calf Red Heifer Tauroctony Apis (deity)


^ The early Christian
Apostolic Constitutions, vi. 4 (c. 380), mentions that "the law is the decalogue, which the Lord promulgated to them with an audible voice, before the people made that calf which represented the Egyptian Apis." ^ Coogan, 2009, pg. 116–7. ^ Coogan, pg. 117, 2009 ^ Friedman, Richard Elliott "Who Wrote the Bible?" 1987 pp 72–3 ^ Harvey, John E. (2004). Retelling the Torah: the Deuteronomistic historian's use of Tetrateuchal Narratives. New York; London: T & T Clark International. p. 2. : "The subsequent declarations of Aaron's people and Jeroboam
are almost identical: 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt' (Exod 32:4, 8); 'Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from the land ..." ^ a b c Ginzberg, Louis (1909). The Legends of the Jews Volume III : The Golden Calf (Translated by Henrietta Szold) Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society ^ Ginzberg, Louis (1909) The Legends of the Jews Volume III : The Revelations in the Tabernacle (Translated by Henrietta Szold) Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society ^ a b M. Th Houtsma. First encyclopaedia of Islam: 1913-1936. p. 136.  ^ Abdul-Sahib Al-Hasani Al-'amili. The Prophets, Their Lives and Their Stories. p. 354.  ^ IslamKotob, Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi. Stories of the Prophets - قصص الانبياء. p. 115.  ^ IslamKotob, Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi. Stories of the Prophets - قصص الانبياء. p. 113.  ^ Iftikhar Ahmed Mehar. Al-Islam: Inception to Conclusion. p. 123.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j Coogan, M. A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament: The Hebrew Bible
in its Context. Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2009. p.115. ^ Friedman, Richard Elliott "Who Wrote the Bible?" 1987 p 74 ^ Friedman, Richard Elliott "The Bible
with Sources Revealed" 2003 page 177 ^ Friedman, Richard Elliott "The Bible
with Sources Revealed" 2003 page 153 ^ Finkelstein, Israel and Silberman, Neil Asher "The Bible
Unearthed" 2001 p 63 ^ becerro de oro in the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Golden calf.

The Golden calf
Golden calf
from a Jewish perspective at Chabad.org Rabbi
Fohrman's Lectures on the Golden Calf The Golden calf
Golden calf
from Ein Hod perspective Islamic interpretation of the story of the Golden calf
Golden calf
in the Qur'an Story of Muses and Aaron
in the Qur'an Jewish Encyclopedia: Calf, Golden Online Quran
Project 20.83

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People and things in the Quran



Allâh ("The God")

Names of Allah
found in the Quran

Beings in Paradise

Ghilmān or Wildān Ḥūr



The baqarah (cow) of Israelites The dhi’b (wolf) that Jacob
feared could attack Joseph The fīl (elephant) of the Abyssinians) Ḥimār (Domesticated donkey) The hud-hud (hoopoe) of Solomon The kalb (dog) of the sleepers of the cave The nāqaṫ (she-camel) of Saleh The nūn (fish or whale) of Jonah


Ḥimār (Wild ass) Qaswarah
('Lion', 'Beast of prey' or 'Hunter')


‘Ifrîṫ ("Strong one") Mârid ("Rebellious one")

Iblīs the Shayṭān (Devil)




Ādam (Adam) Al-Yasa‘ (Elisha) Ayyūb (Job) Dāwūd (David) Dhūl-Kifl (Ezekiel?) Hārūn (Aaron) Hūd (Eber?) Idrīs (Enoch?) Ilyās (Elijah) ‘Imrān (Joachim the father of Maryam) Is-ḥāq (Isaac) Ismā‘īl (Ishmael)

Dhabih Ullah

Isma'il Ṣādiq al-Wa‘d (Fulfiller of the Promise) Lūṭ (Lot) Ṣāliḥ Shu‘ayb (Jethro, Reuel or Hobab?) Sulaymān ibn Dāwūd ( Solomon
son of David) ‘ Uzair
(Ezra?) Yaḥyā ibn Zakariyyā ( John the Baptist
John the Baptist
the son of Zechariah) Ya‘qūb (Jacob)

Isrâ’îl (Israel)

Yūnus (Jonah)

Dhūn-Nūn ("He of the Fish
(or Whale)" or "Owner of the Fish
(or Whale)") Ṣāḥib al-Ḥūṫ ("Companion of the Whale")

Yūsuf ibn Ya‘qūb ( Joseph
son of Jacob) Zakariyyā (Zechariah)



Aḥmad Other names and titles of Muhammad

ʿĪsā (Jesus)

Al-Masīḥ (The Messiah) Ibn Maryam (Son of Mary)

Mūsā Kalīmullāh ( Moses
He who spoke to God) Ibrāhīm Khalīlullāh ( Abraham
Friend of God) Nūḥ (Noah)

Debatable ones

Dhūl-Qarnain (Cyrus the Great?) Luqmân Maryam (Mary) Ṭâlûṫ (Saul or Gideon?)


Irmiyā (Jeremiah) Ṣamû’îl (Samuel) Yūsha‘ ibn Nūn (Joshua, companion and successor of Moses)

People of Prophets

Evil ones

Āzar (possibly Terah) Fir‘awn ( Pharaoh
of Moses' time) Hāmān Jâlûṫ (Goliath) Qārūn (Korah, cousin of Moses) As-Sāmirī Abî Lahab Slayers of Saleh's she-camel (Qaddar ibn Salif and Musda' ibn Dahr)

Good ones

Adam's immediate relatives

Martyred son Wife

Believer of Ya-Sin Family of Noah

Father Lamech Mother Shamkhah bint Anush or Betenos

Luqman's son People of Aaron
and Moses

Believer of Fir'aun Family (Hizbil/Hizqil ibn Sabura) Imra’aṫ Fir‘awn (Âsiyá bint Muzâḥim or Bithiah) Khidr Magicians of the Pharaoh Moses' wife Moses' sister-in-law Mother Sister

People of Abraham

Mother Abiona or Amtelai the daughter of Karnebo Ishmael's mother Isaac's mother

People of Jesus

Disciples (including Peter) Mary's mother Zechariah's wife

People of Joseph

Brothers (including Binyāmin (Benjamin) and Simeon) Egyptians

‘Azîz (Potiphar, Qatafir or Qittin) Malik (King Ar-Rayyân ibn Al-Walîd)) Wife of ‘Azîz (Zulaykhah)


People of Solomon

Mother Queen of Sheba Vizier


Implied or not specified

Abrahah Bal'am/Balaam Barsisa Caleb or Kaleb the companion of Joshua Luqman's son Nebuchadnezzar II Nimrod Rahmah the wife of Ayyub Shaddad



Aş-ḥāb al-Jannah

People of Paradise People of the Burnt Garden

Aş-ḥāb as-Sabṫ (Companions of the Sabbath) Christian

Ḥawāriyyūn (Disciples of Jesus)

Companions of Noah's Ark Aş-ḥāb al-Kahf war-Raqīm (Companions of the Cave and Al-Raqaim? Companions of the Elephant People of al-Ukhdūd People of a township in Surah Ya-Sin People of Yathrib or Medina Qawm Lûṭ (People of Sodom and Gomorrah) Nation of Noah

Tribes, ethnicities or families

A‘rāb (Arabs or Bedouins)

ʿĀd (people of Hud) Companions of the Rass Qawm Ṫubba‘ (People of Tubba')

People of Saba’ or Sheba

Quraysh Thamûd (people of Saleh)

Aṣ-ḥâb al-Ḥijr ("Companions of the Stoneland")

Ajam Ar- Rûm (literally "The Romans") Banî Isrâ’îl (Children of Israel) Mu’ṫafikāṫ (The overthrown cities of Sodom and Gomorrah) People of Ibrahim People of Ilyas People of Nuh People of Shuaib

Ahl Madyan People of Madyan) Aṣ-ḥāb al-Aykah
Aṣ-ḥāb al-Aykah
("Companions of the Wood")

Qawm Yûnus (People of Jonah) Ya'juj and Ma'juj/Gog and Magog Ahl al-Bayṫ ("People of the Household")

Household of Abraham

Brothers of Yūsuf Daughters of Abraham's nephew Lot (Ritha, Za'ura, et al.) Progeny of Imran Household of Moses Household of Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib ibn Hashim

Daughters of Muhammad Wives of Muhammad

Household of Salih

People of Fir'aun Current Ummah of Islam (Ummah of Muhammad)

Aṣ-ḥāb Muḥammad (Companions of Muhammad)

Muhajirun (Emigrants) Anṣār Muslims of Medina
who helped Muhammad and his Meccan followers, literally 'Helpers')

People of Mecca

Umm Jamil (wife of Abu Lahab)

Children of Ayyub Dead son of Sulaiman Qabil/Cain (son of Adam) Wali'ah or Wa'ilah/Waala (wife of Nuh) Walihah or Wahilah (wife of Lut) Ya’jūj wa Ma’jūj (Gog and Magog) Yam or Kan'an (son of Nuh)

Implicitly mentioned

Amalek Ahl al-Suffa (People of the Verandah) Banu Nadir Banu Qaynuqa Banu Qurayza Iranian people Umayyad Dynasty Aus & Khazraj People of Quba

Religious groups

Ahl al-dhimmah (Dhimmi) Kâfirûn (Infidels) Zoroastrians Munāfiqūn (Hypocrites) Muslims People of the Book (Ahl al-Kiṫāb)

Naṣārā (Christian(s) or People of the Injil)

Ruhban ( Christian
monks) Qissis ( Christian

Yahūd (Jews)

Ahbār (Jewish scholars) Rabbani/Rabbi



Meccan polytheists at the time of Muhammad Mesopotamian polytheists at the time of Abraham
and Lot



Al-Arḍ Al-Mubārakah
Al-Arḍ Al-Mubārakah
("The Land The Blessed")

Al-Arḍ Al-Muqaddasah ("The Land The Holy")

In the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
(excluding Madyan)

Al-Aḥqāf ("The Sandy Plains," or "the Wind-curved Sand-hills")

Iram dhāṫ al-‘Imād (Iram of the Pillars)

Al-Madīnah (formerly Yathrib) ‘Arafāṫ Al-Ḥijr (Hegra) Badr Ḥunayn Makkah (Mecca)

Bakkah Ka‘bah (Kaaba) Maqām Ibrāhīm (Station of Abraham) Safa and Marwah

Saba’ (Sheba)

‘Arim Saba’ (Dam of Sheba)


(Hell) Jannah
(Paradise, literally 'Garden') In Mesopotamia:


Munzalanm-Mubārakan ("Place-of-Landing Blessed")

Bābil (Babylon) Qaryaṫ Yūnus ("Township of Jonah," that is Nineveh)

Door of Hittah Madyan (Midian) Majma' al-Bahrain Miṣr (Mainland Egypt) Salsabîl (A river in Paradise) Sinai Region or Tīh Desert

Al-Wād Al-Muqaddas Ṭuwan (The Holy Valley of Tuwa)

Al-Wādil-Ayman (The valley on the 'righthand' side of the Valley of Tuwa and Mount Sinai)

Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai
or Mount Tabor




Arabia Ayla Barrier of Dhul-Qarnayn Bayt al-Muqaddas
Bayt al-Muqaddas
& 'Ariha Bilād ar-Rāfidayn (Mesopotamia) Canaan Cave of Seven Sleepers Dār al-Nadwa Al-Ḥijāz (literally "The Barrier")

Black Stone
Black Stone
(Al-Ḥajar al-Aswad) & Al-Hijr of Isma'il Cave of Hira
& Ghar al-Thawr (Cave of the Bull) Ta'if

Hudaybiyyah Jordan River Nile
River Palestine River Paradise
of Shaddad

Religious locations

Bay'a (Church) Mihrab Monastery Masjid (Mosque, literally "Place of Prostration")

Al-Mash‘ar Al-Ḥarām
Al-Mash‘ar Al-Ḥarām
("The Monument the Sacred") Al-Masjid Al-Aqṣā (Al-Aqsa Mosque, literally "The Place-of-Prostration The Farthest") Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarām (The Sacred Mosque
of Mecca) Masjid al-Dirar A Mosque
in the area of Medina, possibly:

Masjid Qubâ’ (Quba Mosque) The Prophet's Mosque

Salat (Synagogue)



Ḥabb dhul-‘aṣf (Corn of the husk) Rummān (Pomegranate) Ṫīn (Fig) Ukul khamṭ (Bitter fruit or food of Sheba) Zayṫūn (Olive) In Paradise

Forbidden fruit of Adam

Bushes, trees or plants

Plants of Sheba

Athl (Tamarisk) Sidr (lote-tree)

Līnah (Tender palm tree) Nakhl (date palm) Rayḥān (Scented plant) Sidraṫ al-Munṫahā Zaqqūm


Al-Injîl (The Gospel
of Jesus) Al-Qur’ân (The Book of Muhammad) Ṣuḥuf-i Ibrâhîm (Scroll(s) of Abraham) Aṫ-Ṫawrâṫ (The Torah)

Ṣuḥuf-i-Mûsâ (Scroll(s) of Moses) Tablets of Stone

Az-Zabûr (The Psalms
of David) Umm al-Kiṫâb ("Mother of the Book(s)")

Objects of people or beings

Heavenly Food of Christian
Apostles Noah's Ark Staff of Musa Ṫābūṫ as-Sakīnah (Casket of Shekhinah) Throne of Bilqis Trumpet of Israfil

Mentioned idols (cult images)

'Ansāb Idols of Israelites:

Baal The ‘ijl (golden calf statue) of Israelites

Idols of Noah's people:

Nasr Suwā‘ Wadd Yaghūth Ya‘ūq

Idols of Quraysh:

Al-Lāṫ Al-‘Uzzá Manāṫ

Jibṫ and Ṭâghûṫ

Celestial bodies

Maṣābīḥ (literally 'lamps'):

Al-Qamar (The Moon) Kawâkib (Planets)

Al-Arḍ (The Earth)

Nujūm (Stars)

Ash-Shams (The Sun)


Mā’ ( Water
or fluid)

Nahr (River) Yamm ( River
or sea)

Sharâb (Drink)


Battle of al-Aḥzāb ("the Confederates") Battle of Badr Battle of Hunayn Battle of Khaybar Battle of Tabouk Battle of Uhud Conquest of Mecca Incident of Ifk Laylat al-Mabit Mubahala Sayl al-‘Arim
Sayl al-‘Arim
(Flood of the Great Dam of Marib
in Sheba) The Farewell Pilgrimage
The Farewell Pilgrimage
(Hujja al-Wada') Treaty of Hudaybiyyah Umrah al-Qaza Yawm al-Dār


Event of Ghadir Khumm

Note: The names are sorted alphabetically. Standard form: Islamic name / Biblical name (titl