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Why Yaqoob Jacob was called Israel.

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One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Why and when did Prophet Yaqub (PBUH) was called as Israel ?

Is it valid to keep the name of nation on prophet`s names like the state of Israel ? 


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Why Yaqoob Jacob was called Israel

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


Your Question: Why and when did Prophet Yaqub (PBUH) was called as Israel ?

Exactly why or when was Prophet Yaqoob (a.s.) assigned or given the name ‘Israel’ is known to Allah Subhanah Alone.


There are several Jewish and Biblical traditions regarding the change of name of the Noble Prophet Yaqoob (a.s.) from the Old Testament and the Bible, which in our humble opinion border on manifest blasphemy!


Israel or in Hebrew ‘Yisra-El’ is derived from two Hebrew root words: ‘Yisra’ meaning to strive or struggle; and ‘El’ means God….thus the literal meaning of the Hebrew term Israel would mean ‘he who struggles with God and with men’ and it was a name apparently given to Prophet Yaqoob (a.s.) after he apparently (and I seek refuge in Allah from even saying this!) wrestled with God, as stated according to Jewish tradition and in the Bible in the Book of Genesis 32:22-32.


Book of Genesis Chapter 32: 22-32


22. That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of Jabbok.

23. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.

24. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.

25. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.

26. Then the man said: ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’

27. The man asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob’, he answered.

28. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.

29. Jacob said, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ Then he blessed him there.

30. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.’

31. The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.

32. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

Book of Genesis Chapter 35:10

10.     After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. God said to him, ‘your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.’ So he named him Israel.


Your Question: Is it valid to keep the name of nation on prophet`s names like the state of Israel ? 

A name, regardless of whether it be assigned to an individual, a thing, or even a nation is no more than a sign or a mode of recognition of that individual or thing or nation….and if one wishes to name their nation through the name of one its most ‘famous sons’, there is absolutely no harm.


For example, what we know and recognize as the city of ‘Madinah’ today was once known as ‘Yathrib’…..but in honor of the Noble Prophet Mohamed (saws) migrating and residing in ‘Yathrib’ it came to be later called, named, and recognized as “Madinat un-Nabi” or literally the ‘City of the Prophet’, or simply ‘Madinah’.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your brother and well wisher in Islam,





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