HABIB AN-NAJJAR حبيب النجار
“Habib the Carpenter,” whose story is told in the Qur’an (Surah xxxvi 12), as follows:-
“Set forth to them the instance of the people of the city (i.e. Antioch) when the Sent Ones came to it.”
“When we sent two (i.e. John and Jude) unto them and they charged them both with imposture – therefore with a third (i.e. Simon Peter) we strengthened them; and they said ‘Verily we are Sent unot you of God.
“They said, ‘Ye are only men like us. Nought hath the God of Mercy sent down. Ye do nothing but lie.’
They said, ‘Our Lord knoweth that we are surely sent unto you;
To proclaim a clear message is our only duty.’
They said, ‘Of a truth we augur ill from you; if ye desist not we will surely stone you and a grievous punishment will surely befall you from us.
They said, ‘Your augury of ill is with yourselves. Will ye be warned? Nay, ye are a erring people.
Then from the end of the city a man (i.e. Habib the carpenter) came running. He said ‘O my people! Follow the Sent Ones;
Follow those who ask not of you a recompence and who are rightly guided.
And why should I not worship Him who made me, and to whom ye shall be brought back?
Shall I take gods beside Him? If the God of Mercy be pleased to afflict me, their intercession will not avert from me aught, nor will they deliver;
Truly then should I be in a infest error.
Verily, in your Lord have I believed; therefore hear me?
It was said to him, “enter thou into Paradise (i.e. after they had stoned him to death). And he said ‘Oh that my people knew.
How gracious God hath been to me and that He hath made me one of His honored ones.
But no army sent we down out of heaven after his death, nor were we then sending down our angels-
There was but one shout from Gabriel, and lo! They wore extinct.
Oh! The misery that rests upon my servants! No apostle cometh to them but they laugh his to scorn.”
Al-Baizawi, the commentator, says the people of the City of Antioch were idolaters and that Jesus sent two of his disciples, Yahya and Yunas (John and Jude) to preach to them. And when they arrived, they met Habib, the carpenter, to whom they made known their mission. Habib said, “What signs can ye show that ye are sent of God?” And the disciples replied, “We can heal the sick and give sight to those are born blind, and cure the leprosy.” Then Habib brought his sick son to them and they laid their hands upon him and he was healed. And Habib believed on Jesus, and he made known the gospel to the people of the city. Many of the people then came to the disciples and were also healed. The news then reached the ear of the governor of the city, and he sent for the two disciples and they preached to him. He replied, “Is your God different from our God?” They said, “Yes. He it is who made thee and thy gods.” The governor then sent them away and put them in prison. When they were is prison, Jesus sent Sharu’uu (Simon Peter), and he came secretly and made friends with the servants of the governor, and in time gained access to the governor’s presence, and performed a miracle in the presence of the governor by raising a child who had been dead seven days. The child when raised from the dead, said he had seen Jesus Christ in heaven, and that he had interceded for the three disciples in prison. The governor believed and many others with him. Those who did not believe raised a disturbance in the city, and Habib the carpenter exhorted them to believe. For this he was stoned, and, having died, entered into Paradise.
Habib’s tomb is still seen in Antioch, and is visited by Muslims as a shrine.
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam