Prophet Idris (إدريس) عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is one of the earliest Prophets in the history of mankind. Of the 25 prophets mentioned in the Quran, Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ happens to be the second after Prophet Adam عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. According to some Islamic historians and commentators, he is the third, as they count Sheeth as the second Prophet, who was the third son of Prophet Adam عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. He is believed to be from the fifth generation of Prophet Adam عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. In the Bible, Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is mentioned as Enoch, and the majority of Islamic scholars consider Enoch as Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَام.

Prophet Idirs عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is mentioned twice in the Quran. Only 25 Prophets out of more than 124,000 are mentioned in the Quran by name. That reflects the importance and status of the Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ.

Status of Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ in the Quran

Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is mentioned in the Quran as a truthful man. He is highly praised as a Prophet in the Quran.

Verses 56 and 57 of Surah Maryam narrate his status as under:

Translation

Commemorate Enoch in the Book. He was a truthful person and a prophet,

And We raised him to an exalted station.

The second mention of Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ in the Quran is in verses 85 and 86 of Surah Al-Anbiya:

Translation

(Remember) Ishmael, Edris and Dhu’l-Kifl. They were men of fortitude,

And they were admitted to Our grace. Verily they were among the doers of good.

Mention of Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ in Hadith

Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is also mentioned in Hadith. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ told his companions that he met Idris in the fourth heaven, as mentioned in the Hadith 3157 of Jami-At-Tirmidhi.

Translation – Narrated Shaiban from Qatadah, that regarding Allah’s saying: And we raised him to a high station (19:57). He said: “Anas bin Malik narrated that Allah’s Prophet (ﷺ) said: “When I was brought up, I saw Idris in the Fourth Heaven.”

Life and Prophet-Hood of Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ

There is no detailed information about the birth, life, and Prophet-Hood of Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. Most of the information about him is mentioned by the Islamic Scholars of Islam’s Classical and Medieval eras. According to these traditions and commentaries, he was born in Babylon, in the fifth generation of Prophet Adam عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. He was a follower of the religion of his ancestors, Prophet Adam عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and Sheeth عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. It is also believed that he was born in the lifetime of Prophet Adam عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ.

After the death of Sheeth عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, he was chosen to be the Prophet by Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. By that time, the majority of people had left the righteous path and were badly involved in sins and wrongdoings. Even his own people started following the wrong practices. Despite his utmost efforts, very few people came back to the righteous path.

Teachings of Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ

Despite all his efforts, he could only convince a very limited number of people to return to the religion of Adam and Sheeth. Consequently, on the Command of Allahسُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى  he gathered his followers and migrated to Egypt. During his stay in Egypt, he continued his mission of calling people back to the right path.

Among the teachings of Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, fasting on some particular days and offering prayers were the most significant. Another important part of his teachings was a kind of Zakat per current Islamic practice. He asked his people to spare some of their income and wealth and distribute it amongst the poor segment of society.

Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ as an Inventor

Apart from being a Prophet, Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ also a curious person who deeply observed the universe, the earth, the sky, and the stars. He is also believed to have been an astrologer and mathematician. He is also believed to have invented many things during his life. One of his most important contributions to mankind was the art of writing. He invented writing skills and introduced the basic format of writing.

Sayings of Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ

Some of the sayings of Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, as narrated in different research works of the Islamic Scholars are quoted here:

Quote

  • “Happy is he who looks at his own deeds and appoints them as pleaders to his Lord.”
  • “None can show better gratitude for Allah’s favors than he who shares them with others.”
  • “Do not envy people for what they have, as they will only enjoy it for a short while.”
  • “He who indulges in excess will not benefit from it.”
  • “The real joy of life is to have wisdom.”

Unquote

Death of Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ

As with other aspects of his life and prophethood, there is hardly any authentic information about his death. However, as per various Islamic commentators, it is narrated that when he was too old and knew that his death was inevitable, he tried to gain some more life on this earth, which was not granted to him. Eventually, per the command of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى the Angel of Death took his life.

So, the exact period of his birth, life, and death is not specifically mentioned. The only authentic information about him is that he was from the children of Prophet Adam عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ in his fifth generation and that he was granted prophet-hood after the death of Sheeth عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ.

So, that is the story of a Prophet who was highly praised by Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى in the Quran, assigning him a higher status. The life and struggle of Prophet Idris عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is highlighted by a righteous and truthful person, devoted to preaching to his people to come back to the religion of their ancestors, Prophet Adam and Sheeth. To achieve this goal, he has to leave his hometown, Babylon, and migrate to Egypt.