When did Hz. Yahya live and based on which book did he practice?

The Details of the Question
It is written in a resource that Hz. Yahya was born six months before Hz. Isa. Besides, it is stated that Hz Yahya was the last prophet that acted based on the shari’ah of Hz. Musa. Is it true?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Hz. Yahya was born six months before Hz. Isa; therefore, he was six months older than Hz. Isa. 1

Besides, according to some narrations, Hz. Yahya was martyred one and a half years before Hz. Isa was raised to the sky; Hz. Isa was thirty-one and a half years old then. Hz. Yahya was martyred when he was thirty-two years old since he was six months older than Hz. Isa. 2

As for the issue of based on what book Hz. Yahya practiced, Allah states the following in the Quran about Hz. Yahya:

"(To his son came the command): "O Yahya! Take hold of the Book with might": and We gave him Wisdom even as a youth, And piety (for all creatures) as from Us, and purity: He was devout, And kind to his parents, and he was not overbearing or rebellious. So Peace on him the day he was born, the day that he dies, and the day that he will be raised up to life (again)!!" (Maryam, 19/12-15)

It is stated in some tafsir books that the book mentioned in the verse is the Torah and that Hz. Yahya practiced based on the Torah.

However, it is possible to find different information in some narrations. According to a narration, Hz. Yahya met Hz. Isa near the River Jordan when he was thirty years old. It is also stated that Hz. Isa sent his twelve disciples under the command of Hz. Yahya to convey the orders and prohibitions of Allah to people. 3

Accordingly, it can be said that Hz. Yahya was thelast prophet that acted based on the Torah. Besides, he might have been ordered to practice based on the Torah first and the Gospel afterwards. We do not find it appropriate to state something definite since narrations and interpretation are different.  


1. Tabari-Tarikh Vol.2, p.16, Thalabi-Arais p.375, Ibn Athir-Kamil Vol.1, p.300; Thalabi-Arais p.375.
2. Yaqubi-Tarikh Vol.1, p.79, Thalabi-Arais s.403, Abulfaraj Ibn Jawzi-Tabsira Vol.1, p,356, Abulfida-al-Bidaya wan-Nihaya Vol.2, p.95; Ibn Athir-Kamil Vol.1, p.307.
3. Tabari-Tarikh Vol.2, p.13; Thalabi-Arais p.376. Abulfaraj Ibn Jawzi-Tabsira Vol.1,, p.332;

(M. Asım Köksal, Peygamberler Tarihi, Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı Yayınları: 2/297-298.)

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