Isāf and Nā'ila

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Isāf (إساف) and Nā'ila (نائلة) were two idols worshipped as a god and goddess in pre-Islamic Arabia.


Some scholars, including al-Azraqi, claimed that 'Amr ibn Luhayy, the patriarch of the Arab tribe Banu Khuza'a, who introduced idolatry in Mecca, was responsible for the worship of Isāf and Nā'ila. He had called on people to worship them and justified the fact that their ancestors had already done so. The Qurayshi Qusaiy ibn Kilāb had then taken the two stones to the well of Zamzam near the Kaaba.[1]

After the Muslim capture of the city in January 630, the two stone idols were destroyed.[2]

Islamic perspective[edit]

According to Islamic legend, Isāf and Nā'ila were two lovers who performed fornication inside the Kaaba, and thus, was petrified.

Ibn al-Kalbi handed down the legend in his Book of Idols as follows:

They set out to perform the pilgrimage. Upon their arrival in Mecca they entered the Ka'bah. Taking advantage of the absence of anyone else and of the privacy of the Sacred House, Isaf committed adultery with her in the sanctuary. Thereupon they were transformed into stone, becoming two miskhs.[3]

According to the traditions of the Meccan local historian al-Azraqī, the incident happened at the time when the Arab tribe of the Jurchh ruled over Mecca. The two stones were then removed from the Kaaba and placed on the Al-Safa and Al-Marwah hills, so that the people would be warned. Over the course of time, they were then venerated as idols.


  1. ^ al-Azraqi, Akhbār Makka, pg. 49
  2. ^ al-Azraqi, Akhbar Makka, pg. 50
  3. ^ Ibn al-Kalbi, Book of Idols, pg. 34