YUDGHAN (Yehuda ; 8th century), sectarian of *Hamadan (Iran). A pupil of *Abu ʿĪsā al-Isfahānī, Yudghan claimed to be a prophet of his followers, the Yudghanites, who believed that he was the Messiah. The *Karaite historian Jacob al-*Kirkisānī writes in his Book of Gardens and Parks (938) that the Yudghanites "prohibit meat and intoxicating drinks, observe many prayers and fasts, and assert that the Sabbath and holidays are at present no longer obligatory." The Muslim historian Al-Shahrastani relates in his Book of Religions and Sects (1128) that Yudghan believed the Torah to have an external and internal meaning, a literal and an allegorical interpretation, but different from that held by the *Rabbanite Jews. The Karaite exegete Japheth b. Ali (last third of the tenth century) states that the Yudghanites considered the holidays as mere symbols and asserted that after the destruction of the Temple many laws were no longer obligatory. It is a matter of controversy whether the Yudghanites are referred to by *Saadiah b. Joseph Gaon in his book Beliefs and Opinions in which he mentions "certain people who call themselves Jews and maintain that the promises and consolations of the prophets refer to the time of the Second Temple." It is also a matter of controversy whether the scholar *Judah ha-Parsi (Judah the Persian), against whom Abraham *Ibn Ezra (12th century) argues in his works, is identical with Yudghan. A small number of Yudghanites still lived in *Isfahan in the year 938. In addition to the Yudghanites, Japheth b. Ali mentions another sect, the Shadganites, about whom nothing is known. Al-Shahrastani mentions a pupil of Yudghan, Mushkha, who fell in battle against his adversaries. Some Mushkhanites believed that Muhammad was a prophet sent by God to the Arabs and others but not to the Jews because they already have their Holy Scriptures.
L. Nemoy, in: huca, 7 (1930), 328, 383; idem. Karaite Anthology (1952), 10, 51, 334, 336, 391; B. Dinur, Yisrael ba-Golah, 1, pt. 2 (1961), 232, 233, 234, 236, 274; J. Rosenthal, in: yivo-Bleter, 21 (1943), 77–78; Baron, Social2, 5 (1957), 182, 185, 191f., 219.
[Judah M. Rosenthal]