Isaf and Na'ilah

Abu-al-Mundhir Hishim ibn-Muhammad said: Al-Kalbi[1] related on the authority of ahu-Sahlih[2] who, in turn, related on the authority of ibn-'Abbas[3], that Isif and Ni'ilah (a man from the Jurhum called Isif ibn-Ya'la and [a woman called] Ni'ilah, the daughter of Zayd, another Jurhumite) [were two lovers). Isif was courting Na'ilah in the land of Yemen. They set out to perform the pilgrimage. Upon their arrival in Mecca they entered the Ka'bah. Taking advantage of the absence of anyone else and of the privacy of the Sacred House, Isaf committed adultery with her in the sanctuary. Thereupon they were transformed into stone, becoming two miskhs. They were then taken out and placed in their respective places. Later on, the Khuza'ah and the Quraysh, as well as everyone who came on pilgrimage to the Sacred House, worshipped them.

The first among the Children of Ishmael, and among other people besides, to adopt such idols and give them individual names, in accordance with the traditions which persisted concerning them when the people departed from the religion of Ishmael, were the Hudhayl ibn-Mudrikah.[4]




1. Muhammad ibn-al-Sa'ib, the father of the author.

2. Dhakwan al-Samman, d. A.H. 101 / A.D. 719-720; Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, vol. 1. p. 83; ibn-Sa'd, vol. v, p.222, vol. vi, p.158.

3. Abdullah, cousin of the Prophet, d. A.H. 69 / A.D. 688-689; abu-Nu'aym al-Isfahani, Hilyat al-Awliya wa-Tabaqat al-Asfiya', vol. 1, Cairo, 1351, pp.334-329; al-Nawawi, Tahdhib al-Asma', ed. F. Wüstenfeld, Göttingen, 1842-1847, pp.351-354.

4. Ishtiqaq, p. 108.