Prophet Yaqub (Alayhis salaam)
Yaqub (Alayhis salaam) was the son of Ishaq (Alayhis salaam) and the grandson of Ibrahim (Alayhis salaam). He wasa also the daughter’s son of Batweel, Ibrahim’s nephew. His mother was Rafqah. He was his mother’s favourite. He was also loved by Esau, his maternal uncle.
When Yaqub (Alaihis salaam) went to Faddan (Padan-aram) at the indication of his mother, his maternal uncle, Laban took a pledge from him that he will shepherd his sheep for ten years. This period of ten years would be his dowry in exchange of Laban’s daughter. When Yaqub (Alaihis salaam) completed the ten-year period, Laban wanted him to marry his elder daughter, Laee’ah. However, Yaqub (Alaihis salaam) expressed his inclination for the younger daughter, Raaheel. Laban proffered the excuse that according to the custom it was not legal to allow the marriage of the younger daughter before the marriage of the elder one. He suggested that Yaqub (Alaihis salaam) accept the proposal of the elder one and live with him for another ten years in order to marry Raheel, the younger daughter as well. In that era it was permissible to marry two sisters simultaneously. Yaqub (Alaihis salaam) completed the second ten-year period as well and married Raaheel. He had two other wives viz. Zilpah, Laee’ah’s handmaid and Bilhah, Raheel’s handmaid. Besides Binyameen, all his other children were born at his uncle’s house and when he returned to Palestine, Binyameen was born. After having kept Yaqub (Alaihis salaam) for twenty years, Laban allowed him to leave and showered him with many gifts and flocks of sheep. Yaqub (Alaihis salaam) went to live in Palestine, the land of his grandfather.
When Yaqub (Alaihis salaam) went away to Faddan, Esau, his maternal uncle was displeased and went to live with his uncle (Yaqub’s paternal uncle), Ismaeel (Alaihis salaam). Esau married his daughter and began living nearby. The altercation that existed between the two also dissipated during this period. They began loving and sending gifts to each other.
These are all the details derived from the Torah. The Quran has not elaborated on any details. It only mentions Yaqub (Alaihis salaam) as a great Nabi, one who was patient and who was the father of Yusuf (Alaihis salaam). Yusuf’s other brothers are also mentioned at this juncture but without any names.
In the Quran
Yaqub (Alaihis salaam) has been mentioned at ten places in the Quran. The following table indicates these verses:
Baqarah 33, 136, 140; Nisaa 163; An’aam 85; Yusuf 6, 38; Maryam 6; Ambiya 72; Saad 45
Yaqub’s name in Hebrew is Israeel. It is composed of two words viz. Isr’a (servant) and Eel (Allah). Thus it is translated as Abdullah in Arabic. His descendants are therefore referred to as Banu Israeel (the descendants of Israeel).
The Progeny of Yaqub (Alayhis salaam)
Yaqub (Alaihis salaam) had 12 sons. Binyameen was born in Palestine while the others were born in Faddan.
According to the Torah, they are:
the sons of Laee’ah: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun
the sons of Rachel: Yusuf (Joseph) and Binyameen (Benjamin)
the sons of Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali
the sons of Zilpah: Gad and Asher.
Yaqub (Alaihis salaam) was a great prophet of Allah. He was sent to guide the Canaanites. He spent many years fulfilling this mission.
Note: All Biblical text is taken from The Holy Bible, King James Version without any changes in the sentence construction or punctuation.