Allah says in the holy Qur’an:
“Are they better, or the people of Tuba and those before them? We destroyed them, for surely they were guilty. 44:37”
Here ‘they’ refers to the Qurayshite disbelievers or deniers. There is a difference of opinion about whether Tuba had believed or he died on Kufr. Some say the holy verse refers to Tuba and the people of his community whom Allah destroyed. Some say Tuba had believed and his community remained on Kufr and was annihilated by Divine chastisement. This conclusion is weightier. It is recorded in reliable sources that Imam as-Sadiq said, Tuba said to Aus and Khazraj: You may stay here in Medina until the Prophet of the last age appears. If he comes during my life time, I will definitely help him in rising against his enemies. And Sunnis (non-Shi‘ah) have mostly reported from the holy Prophet that “Do not abuse Tuba as he was a Muslim.” It is related by Ka’b al-Ahbar that Tuba was a good-natured pious man and that Allah has condemned his community not him.
With authentic chains it is reported from Imam al-Ridha that a man (from Syria) asked Amir al-Mu’minin as to why Tuba was called ‘Tuba’? ‘Ali replied, “Because when he was a boy he was a scribe of the king of his time. Whenever he wrote any letter (etc...) for the king, he started it with these words on the top of the letter: (Meaning: I begin and seek grace from the Allah Who created the morning and the wind). The king used to insist that he begin writing the letter with the name of king Raad but he insisted that: I will begin only in the name of my Allah. Thereafter I will write whatever you say. As a reward of this deed Allah Almighty turned the regime of that king in his favor and the people followed and obeyed him and therefore he is called Tuba.”
It is mentioned in a reliable tradition that Jabir bin Isma‘il bin Jabir says: Once I was traveling with my friends between Makkah and Medina and we were talking about Ansar. Some said that people belonging to various tribes had gathered and some said they were from Yemen. Finally, we went to Imam as-Sadiq resting under a tree. We sat there. Before we could ask him anything, he said surprisingly: Tuba arrived from Iraq and the people belonging to Ulama and the Prophets’ progeny were with him. They reached the valley known as belonging to the Huzail tribe. People of other tribes came to him and said, You are going towards citizens who have been fooling others since a very long time. They have named their city ‘Haram’ and have built a house there and regard it as their Allah. They meant Makkah and the Ka‘bah. Tuba said, If what you say is correct then I would kill their men folk, imprison their boys and destroy their houses. At once, his eyes bulged out and hug over his face. Then Ulama and the progeny of Prophets were called. He asked them to think and let him know why this trouble overtook him. They asked him: First of all tell us what was in your mind (intention). He replied, “I had intended that when I enter Makkah I will kill their men folk, capture their children and break their house (Ka‘bah).” They at once told him that in their opinion the only reason for his trouble was this intention entertained by him. He asked the reason. They said that city is the Haram (sanctuary) of Allah and that house if the House of Allah and the residents of that city are the progeny of Prophet Ibrahim. Tubba said, You are right. Now tell me what I should do by way of repentance so that this trouble may be warded off. They said, Now decide and intend to do what opposite of your earlier is thought so that perhaps the trouble may be removed. What they intended to convey was that he should now pay respect to Makkah and Ka‘bah and think of doing good to the residents of Makkah. With this new intention, his eyes went back to their original place. He then called that group which had inspired him to destroy Ka‘bah and killed them all. When he reached Makkah he covered Ka‘bah with a gilaaf and gave a feast to the citizens of the holy city for 30 days. Every day 100 camels were sacrificed and its meat was put in big vessels placed in mountains for feeding the forest animals. Grass and grain was provided for four footed animals in fields and deserts. Then he came from Makkah to Medina and made some Yemenis reside there who belonged to the tribe of Bani Ghassaan so that they might await the arrival of the Prophet of the last age. Ansar are their progeny.
It is mentioned in another narration that he cut off royal dresses to make a cover for Ka‘bah and poured perfume on it.
According to another tradition when Tubba bin hasan came to Medina he executed 350 Jews and wanted to destroy Medina. At that time a Jew who was 250 years old said, O King! Nobody is more oppressive than you. You accept false notions and you kill people in fits of anger. You cannot destroy this city. Tubba asked: Why not? The Jew said, Because a Prophet from the progeny of Isma‘il will rise and will migrate to this city. Hearing this he stopped killing people, came to Makkah, clothed Ka‘bah, fed people and sang some couplets meaning: I bear witness in favor of Ahmed that he is a Messenger of Almighty Allah who is the Lord Creator of the universe. If I live up to his time, I will become his minister (adviser) and will assist him.
Ibn Shahr Aashob has narrated that Tubba is one of those five kings who ruled over the entire world. He reached every part of the world and took ten wise and learned men from every city with him and came to Makkah. When the people did not respect him, he became angry. He consulted his vizier Ayaareesaa. He said, These are ignorant people. They are proud of this Ka‘bah. So the king decided in his heart to break this building and to kill the residents of Makkah. Allah made his head and brain so sick that dirty material began to flow from his eyes and ears and nose. Doctors could not cure it and they said this ailment is divine (a trouble arrived from above) and hence they could not help. They went away. At night, a scholar approached the minister of the king and told him in a very slow tone that if the king is prepared to reveal the intention he has in his heart I will be able to treat him. The minister told this to the king and with his permission called the scholar there. The scholar asked the king whether he had any bad intention about Ka‘bah. The king said, Yes, I had intended to break it and kill the residents of Makkah. The learned man advised him to give up this thought and to repent so that he may get the good of both this world and the Hereafter. Tubba said, I repent and I give up this idea. He got relief instantly. From then he believed in Allah and Ibrahim Khalilullaah. He covered Ka‘bah with seven pieces of precious cloth and went toward Medina. Medina was situated at a place where a spring was flowing. When they reached there, 400 from the 4000 Ulama came to the king and told him: We left our cities and traveled with you for a long time. Now we wish you to allow us to reside here forever. The king asked the wisdom behind it. The learned men said, O vizier! The grandeur of the Holy Ka‘bah is due to Muhammad who holds the Qur’an and Kiblah and flag and pulpit. He will be born in Makkah. He will migrate from there and arrive here to settle. We intend earnestly that we or our progeny may be fortunate to serve him. When Tubba heard this, he also decides to camp there for one year hoping to be able to get the honor of serving the holy Prophet. He built 400 houses for those 400 Scholars there and married them with 400 freed slave girls. He gave them a lot of wealth and wrote a letter for the holy Prophet mentioning therein his faith and obedience (Islam) and appealed to him to intercede for him in the court of Allah Almighty.
The opening of that letter was: This is a letter from Tubba to Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah who is the last Messenger of Allah and a Prophet for all the worlds. He handed over this letter to the learned man who had give him good guidance (and prevented him from harming the Haram and Makkah city). Then he left Medina and went toward India and died in Ghaslaan. One thousand years passed between the date of his death and the birth of the Holy Prophet. Finally, when the Holy Prophet was sent by Allah most of the residents of Medina had become Muslims. They sent Abu Ya’la Laila with Tubba’s letter to the Holy Prophet. When he reached the holy Prophet he (the Prophet) was among the tribe of Bani Salim. When the holy Prophet saw the courier, he asked: Are you Abu Laila? He replied, “Yes.” Then the holy Prophet asked, “Have you brought Tubba’s letter?” He replied, “Yes, O Prophet of Allah!” and handed over that letter (the courier was astonished that the holy Prophet knew the details of that man and the letter in advance). The holy Prophet gave the letter to Amir al-Mu’minin ‘Ali to read. He read it out to the holy Prophet. Then the holy Prophet said thrice: Well done, O My Pious brother! and told Abu Laila to go back to Medina. The events of Tubba and of all others in the days of pre-Islamic ignorance will be narrated-Allah willing-along with the details of the Holy Prophet. (Author)
It is recorded in reliable sources from Salman Farsi through Imam al-Baqir that Salman Farsi said there was a Persian king called Roseen. He was a cruel enemy of the truth and a big oppressor. His oppression increased with the power of his kingship. When his oppression crossed all limits Allah made him suffer an ailment of the head. The trouble started in the right side of his head and became so severe that it was impossible for him even to eat and drink. It made him very restless. He explained his trouble to his viziers, took many medicines but to no avail. He became hopelessly disappointed as he could not find a cure for his ailment.
Allah sent a Prophet and asked him through revelation that: Go to My cruel slave Roseen in the form of a physician. First give him respect and honor and tell him kindly not to get disheartened about the treatment of his ailment and tell him that he can be cured without any medicine. When he pays attention to you and is inclined to believe your words then tell him his cure lies in the blood of a suckling infant whose parents may be ready to offer its blood without any coercion and willingly. Dropping three drops of that blood in your right nostril will remove the pain. The Prophet did what Allah asked and showed the cure to that king. The king said, I do not think anyone will be prepared to sacrifice his child willfully. The Prophet said if you spend enough money in the search for such a child it can happen. The king sent out his men in search of such parents. After many efforts, they found a child whose parents were very poor and needy and were prepared to kill their child and give its blood in return for a lot of money.
When they were brought to the king, he called for a plate and a knife. The king ordered the mother of the child to hold the child firmly and asked its father to slaughter the child. When the parents readied to do so Allah made the child speak and it spoke up saying: O King! Prevent my parents from killing me. They are evil parents for me. O King! When somebody oppresses a weak child, its parents protect it but mine are killing me. Do not help them in this deed. Hearing these words from the mouth of the child the king became very fearful. His pain vanished at once and He fell asleep. In his dream, he saw that someone was telling him: Allah made the child speak to prevent you and his parents from killing him and He made you ill so that you may take admonition, give up your oppression and be kind to your people. When the king woke up after seeing this dream, he became aware that all this was from Allah. He changed the entire course of his future life and spent the rest of his life with justice and equity.
Ibn Babawayh has with authentic chains narrated from Abu Rafe that Archangel Gabriel brought a Book from Allah to the Holy Prophet which contained the accounts of all the past Prophets and kings. The holy Prophet narrated their stories briefly.1
Ibn Babawayh has narrated through Ibrahim Tusi that at the age of 97 he described in the house of Yahya bin Mansur that: I met a king named Sarbabak of a city called Soh in India and asked him: What is your age? He replied, “Nine hundred and twenty five years. He was a Muslim.” He said, “The holy Prophet had sent to me ten of his companions including Hudhayfah bin al Yaman, Umar Aas, Usama bin Zaid, Abu Musa Ash ari, Suhaib Roomi and Safeenah. They invited me to Islam. I accepted it and became a Muslim. The Prophet had also sent me a letter. I kissed that letter. (Ibrahim Tusi says) I asked him as to how he was praying the prayers at this advanced age?” He replied, “(Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides).” I asked him, “What is your food?” He said, “Stew seasoned with garlic.” I asked, “Do you get motions?” He said, “Yes, a little once in a week.” Then I inquired about his teeth to which he replied, “My teeth fell and grew again and again for twenty times. I also saw a four footed animal in his stable which was bigger than an elephant. It is called Zenda feel.” I asked, “What service do you take from it?”
He said, “My men use it to carry the clothes of the servants for washing to the washer man’s place.” The length and width of that king’s territory required four years to cross and his capital city was in an area which measured 50 fifty square parasang and an army of 1,20,000 always stood on guard at every gate of that city so that if attacked by the enemy he would be fully prepared and not require anybody’s help.
His palace was in the middle of the city. I have heard that he used to say, “Once I went to Maghrib and entered a desolate area in Jabalaqa the city of the community of Musa. The upper storeys of their houses were flat. The barns of their wheat and barley were kept at a place outside the city. They used to carry home the needed quantity of grains therefrom and leave the remaining there. Their graves were in their houses. Their gardens were at a distance of two parasang from the city. No man or woman from that community ever grew old or fell ill until the time of their death. Their markets were always kept open. Whosoever wanted anything would take it himself from the shop and put the cost there as no one attended to the shops. All used to assemble in the mosques at the time of prayers, offer prayers and return home. They never quarreled and they never talked about anything except death.”2