An account of Irmiya (Jeremiah), Daniel and Uzair
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
“Or the like of him (Uzair) who passed by a town, and it had fallen down upon its roofs...” (2:259)
Some say that the one who passed by that town was Uzair, as said by Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq. Some say that he was the Prophet Irmiya. So Imam Muhammad al-Baqir is reported to have said that, (according to some) that town was Jerusalem which was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Some say that the township mentioned here was the one from where thousands fled for fear of death and all of them died.
The Qur’anic Verse:
“He said, when will Allah give it life, after its death?” (2:259)
These words of the Prophet did not indicate his disbelief but were uttered by him only to express the Might of Allah. Or, like Ibrahim, he said this just to know the details of the coming alive of the dead. Since the words of the Ayat show some sort of apparent weakness of faith, some commentators have said that the one who said this was not the Prophet Irmiya or Uzair but was a denier. But this version is against a number of hadiths.
“So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years then raised him to life.”
“He asked: How long have you tarried? and he replied, I have tarried a day, or a part of a day.” (2:259)
When he saw that the sun had not yet set and it was about the evening time, he said, Rather I slept for less than a day. Some say that the one who asked this question was Allah and that they heard a voice from the heaven. Some say it was an angel or a Prophet or an old man who had recognized them after becoming alive.
“Said he: Nay! you have tarried a hundred years” (2:259)
He said, “But you have remained dead here for a hundred years and have become alive now.” “Then look at your food and drink, years have not passed over it.” 1
Look at your food and drink, they have not changed at all. It is reported that when they reached that place they had grapes and figs and grape juice with them and despite having delicacy therein, they had not decomposed at all and, by the power of Allah, had remained fresh for a hundred years.
“And look at your donkey” (2:259)
Its bones have rotted and disintegrated.
And that We may make you a sign.
We have, after keeping you dead for such a long time, made you alive so that you may likewise be an evidence/argument about the resurrection of people in the Hereafter.
“And look at the bones, how we set them together, then clothed them with flesh” (2:259)
Most of the commentators have said that Allah enlivened their ass before their eyes so that they may see how Allah makes the dead alive. Some have said that Allah first enlivened their eyes. They then saw their disintegrated and dilapidated bones come together and join with one another and flesh begin to cover them.
“So when it became clear to him he said, I know that Allah has power over all things.” (2:259)
That is, I knew it earlier but now my knowledge has strengthened.
It is reported from reliable chains that Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq said that when The Israelites became disobedient they ignored Allah’s commandments totally and when Allah desired to impose someone on them who would kill them and degrade them, he first sent a revelation to Prophet Irmiya that he may ask The Israelites “Which was the city I selected from all other cities and bettered it and planted many good trees therein and saved it from every undesirable tree, then the condition of that city deteriorated and now it has become full of the worst trees of carob in place of good trees?” Irmiya put this question to the religious scholars of The Israelites and they said, “We do not know. Please ask Allah and let us know.”
So Irmiya fasted for seven days and prayed. Allah sent a revelation to him that: that city is Jerusalem and that tree is The Israelites whom I had planted (and made to live in) in that city. But since they disobeyed Me and changed my religion and turned thankless to me, I swear by My Holy self that I will put them to a test through so severe hardships that wise people will be astonished and I will impose one of my slaves on them who would be born of the worst sperm and whose food would be of the worst kind and he will kill their males and would arrest their women and he would destroy Jerusalem which is their holy house and of which they are proud and he will throw down that stone on dunghills of which (stone) they make tall talks throughout the world. This would continue for a hundred years.
Irmiya made the Israelites aware of this. They again requested him to ask Allah what was the sin of the poor and the powerless who would also suffer the said calamities. So Irmiya passed the next seven days only on one morsel of food and yet he did not receive any Revelation. So Irmiya again fasted fully for the next seven days and took only one morsel after that seven-day fast. Even then, no Revelation arrived. Therefore, he fasted for another seven days. Allah revealed to him: ‘O Irmiya! Refrain from such asking, otherwise I will turn your face back. Do you intend to make a recommendation in a matter which has already been resolved? Tell them that their sin was that they observed others indulging in sins but did not stop them (they neither admonished them nor got away from them). Then Irmiya prayed to Allah: O Lord! Just tell me whom will you impose upon them so that I may approach him for asking safety for myself and my family members. Allah said to him: Go to that village. There you will find a boy suffering from the worst inflicted chronic ailments. His birth is of the worst and the dirtiest kind. That is, he is the outcome of adultery and his chastisement is worse than all. Irmiya reached there and saw a boy in a caravanserai whom the people had thrown on a dunghill. He was lying on ground. With him was only his mother breaking dry bread in a bowl and brought it before him along with swine milk. That boy ate the bread and drinks the milk. Irmiya understood that this must be the boy hinted by Allah. He went to the boy and asked him his name.
He answered: “Nebuchadnezzar.” After hearing his name, Irmiya became sure that he was the one. He treated the boy who recovered. After his recovery, Irmiya asked him: Do you know me? He said, No. I only know that you are a virtuous gentleman. Told him: I am Irmiya, the messenger for The Israelites. Allah has informed me that you will gain control over The Israelites and kill their men and do such and such things. Hearing this Nebuchadnezzar felt pride in his heart. Then Irmiya asked him to give him a warrant of safety. He wrote it and handed it over to Irmiya. He then began to pass his days by cutting wood from the forests and selling it. At last, the people encouraged him to fight against The Israelites. When he got the assistance of a group of people, he invaded the residence and shelter of The Israelites, that is, Jerusalem.
At that time, innumerable people came from all around to join him. When Irmiya came to know that he was advancing toward Jerusalem, he stood in his path but could not approach him due to the huge army around him. So he tied the said warrant of protection on a staff and raised it up. Seeing it, Nebuchadnezzar asked: who are you? The messenger replied, “I am Uremia, the Prophet, who had given you the tiding of overcoming The Israelites and this is the warrant of safety written by you for me.” Nebuchadnezzar said, “I assure protection to you but as regards your family members, it depends upon the arrow that I shoot toward Jerusalem. If this missile hits that place from this much distance, I will not give protection to them. But if it does not reach there, then they are also protected.” He released that arrow which (by the will of Allah) reached Jerusalem. So he said, “I will not protect them.” He went on to conquer Jerusalem.
On reaching there, he saw a hillock in the midst of the city. Fresh blood was gushing out of it. The more earth the people threw on it the more forceful became its gushing. He inquired as to what kind of blood it was. They replied that it was the blood of a Divine Messenger whom the kings of The Israelites had killed. Ever since that day, the blood continued to boil. It did not stop despite throwing earth over it. It was the blood of Yahya son of Zakariyya. In his time, there was a king who used to indulge in adultery with the women of The Israelites. Whenever Yahya passed by his residence he admonished the king telling him: O King! Fear Allah. This deed is not lawful for you. One day when the cursed fellow was out of his senses due to drinking of wine, one of the adulteress women told him to kill Yahya. The condemned king at once passed the order for cutting off the head of Yahya and to bring the head to him. So Yahya was killed and his head was taken to the king. Yet the decapitated head continued to admonish that cursed king to refrain from his illegal deeds and to fear Allah. At that time, a drop of the blood of the martyred Prophet fell on the ground and since then that blood continued to boil until the time Nebuchadnezzar entered Jerusalem though a hundred years had passed since the incident. However, after reaching that place Nebuchadnezzar began to kill the men, women, children and animals of The Israelites living in those cities. The pious blood of the executed Prophet still continued to boil on the said hillock until all were done to death. Then he asked: Is anyone from The Israelites still alive?
He was informed that a very old lady of The Israelites was still alive and living in a certain village. She was called and her head too was cut off. Only then did the boiling blood of Yahya calm down. She was the last person from The Israelites to be killed. From there Nebuchadnezzar went to Babylon and resided there. There he dug a well and threw Daniel along with a tigress. (The remaining part of this hadith will be presented afterwards together with a full account of Daniel. That tigress was living by eating the earth and Daniel was drinking her milk. A long period passed in this way. Allah sent a Revelation to one of His Messengers (living in Jerusalem then) and asked him to take food and drink to Daniel and to convey His Salaam to him. The Messenger inquired: ‘My Lord! Where is he?’ “In such and such well and in such and such village of Babylon” came the Divine reply. Hearing it, he reached there and shouted: ‘O Daniel!” Daniel replied, “Labbaik (Here I am). I am hearing a new voice!” The Messenger said, “Your Lord sends you Salaam.” Lowering the eatables into the well he added, “Allah has sent these things for you.”
Daniel exclaimed, “I praise Allah Who never forgets whosoever calls Him. I praise the Lord Who never leaves the one (to the mercy of others) who relies on Him. I praise the Allah who bestows good for good. I praise the Allah who gives salvation from the chastisement of the grave and the Hereafter to the one who bears patiently. Praise belongs to Allah who removes our troubles and losses. Worthy of praise is Allah who is the centre of our hopes when we miss all other avenues of salvation and success. Praiseworthy is Allah on whom alone we depend hopefully after committing misdeeds based on misunderstanding.”
Thereafter Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream that his head was made of iron, his legs of copper and his chest of gold. He called astrologers and inquired about the meaning behind his dream. They said we know nothing; but if you describe to us what you saw in your vision then we will explain the dream. Nebuchadnezzar retorted: I have been giving you so much salary for such a long time and yet you cannot tell me what I saw in my dream? Angrily he killed all of them. Then some of his courtmen told him that what he wanted to know could be told to him by a man whom he (king Nebuchadnezzar) had thrown into a well, as he was still alive and living on the milk of a she tiger which was eating the earth and had not at all harmed that man.
Nebuchadnezzar called Daniel and asked him to describe what he saw in his vision?” Daniel described the king’s dream. The king said it was correct and added: “now tell me its meaning.” Daniel replied, “Your regime has come to an end. You will be killed after three days by a man from Faaris.” Nebuchadnezzar said, “I have built seven concentric towns and have fixed weathercocks made of copper at the gate of every city which cry out at the sight of every stranger so that he may be caught.” Daniel said, “What I have told you is sure to happen.” So Nebuchadnezzar once again ordered his soldiers to continue their rounds and to kill anyone moving towards him (whosoever he may be).” He detained Daniel warning him that if he (Nebuchadnezzar) was not killed within three days Daniel would be executed. As evening approached, his restlessness increased so much he came out, gave his sword to one of the slaves who belonged to Faaris and roared: “Kill anyone you see, even if it is I.” The slave took the sword from his hand and decapitated him in one stroke thus sending Nebuchadnezzar to Hell instantly.
After the mass massacre of The Israelites, Irmiya came out of Jerusalem, rode his ass, took figs and grape-juice with him and reached a place where the dead bodies of many people were scattered and animals of the land, sea and air were devouring their corpses. Irmiya halted there for a while. Then he uttered: “How will Allah enliven those, whose limbs have been eaten up by beasts”! Allah immediately retrieved his soul and made him alive after a hundred years. Allah showed His Mercy to The Israelites and killed Nebuchadnezzar. The Israelites flourished in the world and the Messenger who came to life after remaining dead for hundred years was Prophet Irmiya.
As regards Uzair, when Nebuchadnezzar overpowered The Israelites and became king, he (Uzair) escaped from his evil regime and disappeared in a stream of water. The first portion of the corpse of Irmiya to be made alive was his eyes. The pupil of his eye moved like the whiteness of an egg and it could see. Allah sent a Revelation asking him for how many days had he remained at that place. He said, for a day. Then when he observed that the sun had gone up, he said, even less than a day. Allah said, No, but a hundred years have passed since you were here. Look at the figs and the fig juice. They have remained fresh for all this time. And see your ass. It has turned into a heap of rotten bones. Now see, how I make it alive. Uzair saw the broken bones drawing near one another and joining until the entire body of himself and all the limbs of his ass became alright and both of them arose. Irmiya said, I know that Allah is Omnipotent and it is mentioned in a reliable tradition that two Kafir (disbeliever) kings had ruled over the entire world. They were Nimrod and Nebuchadnezzar.
According a reliable source Imam as-Sadiq said that when Irmiya saw the destruction of Jerusalem and the people lying dead in that city he exclaimed: “Will Allah ever make all of them alive?” Allah retrieved his soul also. Then after a hundred years when he was made alive he saw how various parts of his body joining one another, flesh was growing on them and the joints and veins coming together. Finally when he became alright he sat up said, “I know for sure that Allah is able to do everything.”
It is reported in a reliable tradition that Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq said that a man who becomes gloomy concerning his sustenance has a sin listed in his account. Verily Daniel had lived in the time of a heartless and oppressor king who arrested him and had him thrown in a well. Allah sent His Revelation to another Messenger of that time asking him to take food (provision) to Daniel. He submitted: “O My Nourisher! Where is he (Daniel)?” Then came a Divine indication: “When you get out of the city a voice will come to you. Just follow that voice. It will take you to a well wherein lies Daniel. When that Messenger approached Daniel and dropped food and water in the well, Daniel recited the prayer which has been quoted earlier. Thereafter Imam as-Sadiq said, “Almighty Allah provides sustenance to the faithful (Mu’mineen) from unthinkable sources.”
In another hadith, it is said by Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq that when the time of Sulayman’s death came near, he made by the command of Allah Asif bin Barkhiya his caliph (successor). His Shi‘ahs (companions) were always going to Asif to learn about religious issues. Once, Asif absented himself from them for quite a long time. Then he came back and lived among them for a long period before he allowed them to go. The Shi‘ahs asked him: Now when and where will we meet you? He replied, “Near Sirat (the bridge in Hereafter).” Then he disappeared. The Israelites was subjected to difficulties and pains. When Nebuchadnezzar got control over them, he killed everyone who was caught and sent his men after those who escaped from him. He arrested their children. Accordingly, he picked up four persons of great personalities from The Israelites. One of them was Daniel another was Uzair a progeny of Harun. They were quite young. He arrested them. He tortured The Israelites severely and subjected them to all sorts of disgrace and dishonor. At that time their (Israelites’) guide and leader was Daniel who remained imprisoned in Nebuchadnezzar’s jail for ninety years.
When Nebuchadnezzar came to know about Daniel’s greatness and when he heard that The Israelites were awaiting Daniel for the removal of their troubles he imprisoned Daniel in a very spacious and deep well and released a tiger in it so that it would kill him. He also ordered that nobody should offer food to Daniel. However, the tiger never approached Daniel and Allah provided food and water to Daniel through one of His Messengers. Daniel fasted during the day and broke his fasts in the evening with that provision. During this period his Shi‘ahs (companions) and friends were put to more and more troubles and tortures and all were in await for his appearance. Many of them had, due to the lengthening of the period of his occultation (absence), begun to doubt their religion. Finally, when the calamities on the Prophet Daniel and his community crossed all limits, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. In that dream he saw armies of angels descending from the heaven and proceeding to the well in which Daniel was imprisoned; they were saluting Daniel and gave him good tidings of the removal of all his calamities.
When Nebuchadnezzar woke up in the morning, he felt ashamed of his misdeeds. He brought Daniel out of the well, begged his pardon and entrusted all the affairs of his regime to him and made him the ruler of his country. Then all the people of The Israelites who were in hiding came out and gathered around Daniel. They drew a sigh of relief. Time passed by peacefully. Eventually Daniel passed away into the Mercy of His Lord leaving his vicegerency and caliphate to Uzair. Believers joined and obeyed the latter and continued to obtain solutions to their affairs from him. Allah made him also disappear for a hundred years. After a hundred years, he was again reappointed over them. After him, the hujjahs of Allah remained in hiding and calamities continued to fall on The Israelites until the time Yahya arrived.
According to reliable sources Imam Muhammad al-Baqir in reply to people’s query whether Daniel knew the science of explaining dramas and whether he had taught it to others too, replied, “Yes, because Allah was sending revelations to him. He was a Prophet and was one of those who was given the knowledge about dreams or visions. He was very truthful and wise and his heart was full of love for us Ahl al-Bayt.”
According to reliable narrations Imam al-Ridha said, In the time of Daniel there was a king who had told Daniel that he wished to have a child just like him (Daniel) of good character. Daniel asked the king how much respect and value he had for him. The king replied, “I have high regards and much respect for you.” Daniel told him: when you go to your wife (for sexual intercourse) keep my thought in your mind wholeheartedly. Complying with this advice the king got a son who was the best of all others and resembled Daniel a lot.
According to authentic reports, the Holy Prophet said, Nebuchadnezzar ruled for 187 years. After 47 years of his rule, Allah Almighty appointed Uzair as a Messenger (Divine) for those city-dwellers who were made alive after a hundred year old death. They were residents of different townships who had fled for fear of death and had resided near about Uzair. All of them were believers. Uzair talked pleasantly with them and heard them with interest. He loved them due to their faith and tied the knot of brotherhood-in-faith with them. One day he dad gone away for them for some reason. When he returned the next day, he saw all of them lying dead. He became very sorry and surprisingly exclaimed: “When will Allah enliven them?” Allah retrieved his soul also then and there. Thus, all of them remained there in the same state for one hundred years. After a hundred years, Allah made Uzair alive along with the others. They were warriors numbering 1,00,000. But Nebuchadnezzar overpowered them and killed each and every one.
Thereafter Nebuchadnezzar died and his son Mehrooyah became king. After ruling for 17 years and 20 days Mehrooyah dug a very big cavern and threw Daniel and his Shi‘ahs in it and torched it. But nobody was harmed. When Mehrooyah saw that the flames of fire did not touch them he imprisoned all of them and released many beasts of prey therein and tortured them in various methods until Allah Almighty released them from his clutches. The group referred to as ‘Makers of the pit’ in the holy Qur’an were these people. When Allah desired to call back Daniel to His Mercy, He commanded him to turn over his Divine light of wisdom to his son Yakja and to make him his caliph.
According to reliable chains, Imam as-Sadiq said, “Amir al-Mu’minin said, Daniel was an orphan. Neither his father nor mother were living. An old woman of The Israelites had nourished Daniel. The king of that time had appointed two Qadis (judges). A very virtuous man was a friend of both of them. He had a very beautiful, pious and God-worshipping wife. That pious man used to meet the king also. Facing a problem the king told the two judges that he required a reliable man to whom he could entrust such and such work. The two judges recommended the name of the aforesaid person. The king dispatched that pious man on that job. While going away that pious man asked his two friends to look after his wife during his absence. They went to his house to inquire about her well-being. As she was extraordinarily beautiful both of them fell in love with her at first sight and desired to have an illicit relationship with her. But she did not agree. They threatened her as such “We will give witness before the king that you have committed adultery and he will stone you to death.” But she was adamant and retorted: “Do whatever you can but I will not tolerate such a heinous misdeed.” Both those dishonest men (helplessly) went to the king and gave a false statement that she had committed adultery. The king was shocked to hear it because he had heard a lot about her piety and chastity and was all praise for it.
On the other hand he could not reject the witness given by the two judges. At last after a lot of thinking he told them that he would accept their witness but would give the punishment of stoning her after three days. He announced in the city that there would be a stoning of a Allah-fearing and virtuous woman of the town as she had committed adultery according to the witness given by two judges and called upon the people to gather at a certain place for the stoning. The people were not prepared to agree with this allegation which they knew was false and continued to argue with the king. The king consulted his vizier and asked him whether he could show him a way by which the woman could be saved? He said, “No.”
On the third day when that lady was to be stoned to death the vizier got out of his home and proceeded toward the king’s court. On his way he saw some children playing, among whom was also Daniel. The vizier did not know Daniel. When the vizier approached them Daniel told the children: “Let us stage a play. I will act as the king, this boy will act as the pious lady and those two boys will take the role of the two judges.” They made an earthen stage and Daniel sat on it. He took a sword made of reed in his hand and ordered the rest of the boys to take one of the two witnesses and make him stand afar and to make the other witness stand at a distance on the other side. Then he called one of the witnesses near him and said, “Tell the truth otherwise you will be decapitated instantly.” The vizier was observing this game. The boy witness said that the pious woman committed adultery.
Daniel asked: “When?” He said at such time and on such day. Then Daniel asked: “With whom?” He replied, “With the son of such and such man.” Daniel then asked: “At what place.” He replied, “At such and such place.” Then Daniel called the other witness and asked him: “What is your witnessing?” He said, “I give witness that this lady has committed adultery.” He was asked: “when?” He replied, “At this time.” He asked: “With whom?” He said, “With that person.” He asked: “At what place?” He said, “At such and such place.” As there was contradiction in the statements of the two, Daniel exclaimed: “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest). These two have given false witness. Then he ordered that an announcement should be made that the people should gather to witness the execution of the two persons who gave false testimony. Observing this wonderful judgment of Daniel the vizier rushed to the king and described it to him. The king called those two qadis, made them stand apart at an out-of-hearing distance. Then he called one of the two and questioned him about the pious woman as Daniel had done. Then he called the other person and interrogated him likewise. As there was obvious difference between their accounts the king called upon the people to come together and witness the execution of the false witnesses and passed orders for their killing.
It is reported authentically that Imam al-Baqir said, Allah Almighty revealed to Messenger Dawud and ordered him to got to Daniel and to tell him: “You disobeyed Me and I forgave you. Again you disregarded my command and I pardoned you. Once more you did not comply with my orders and I will not forgive you.” Dawud conveyed the Divine Commandment to Daniel. Daniel said, “You have fulfilled your mission of the Divine messenger-ship.” Then Daniel arose before next daybreak, wept profusely and prayed earnestly to Almighty Allah saying: O My Nourisher! I disobeyed you on three occasions and you were kind enough to forgive me. Now that you are not to pardon me on the fourth occasion, I humbly submit before you, swearing by you Honor and Grandeur. If you will not continue to be kind to me and if you will not guide me, surely I will err, I will err, I will err, I will err.”2
According to an authentic narration Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq said, “Once the Holy Prophet said, Appreciate the value of bread, for its making. The entire creation of Allah situated between His Throne.”
According to an authentic narration Imam as-Sadiq the Holy Prophet once said, “Appreciate the value of bread, because for its making the entire creation of Allah situated between His throne and the earth have toiled.” Then he told the people around him: “Do you want me to tell you something?” They replied, “Surely, O Prophet of Allah! may our parents be sacrificed for you! Do enlighten us.” The holy Prophet said, “Before your time, there was a Divine Messenger named Daniel.
Once upon a time he gave a bread (loaf) to a ship-fairer and requested him to take him across the river. That fellow threw away the bread retorting: What shall I do with this bread? A number of it is being wasted all around us all the time. Shocked by the behavior of that man Daniel raised his hands towards the heavens and exclaimed: O Nourisher of the universe! You have already seen what this man has done to this loaf, and what he said about it.
Almighty Allah ordered the sky to stop raining and commanded the earth to become as hard as baked bricks so that even grass may not sprout therefrom. Consequently there was a famine which became so severe that people began to kill and eat one another. The intensity of famine reached the extent willed by Allah so as to make the people disciplined. One woman who had a baby son told another woman who also had a baby son: Today I will slaughter my son so that both of us may eat his flesh; tomorrow you should do likewise with your son. Then she killed her son and both ate his flesh.
The next day when both became hungry the other woman refused to kill her son. Quarrelling with one another they approached Daniel for judgment. He exclaimed: Has the condition worsened so much that you are prepared to eat up your own offspring’s? They said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah! The situation is even worse than that.” So Daniel raised his hands to pray to Allah and said, O Provident of sustenance to all! Resume Your Mercy upon us and please do not chastise the poor and their children because of the sins of proud men like the ship-fairer and other thankless people. So Allah commanded the sky to shower rain and ordered the earth to grow grains and said, Compensate the loss of My creation which they suffered until now. I have shown My Mercy to them due to the young children.
According to a reliable tradition, Amir al-Mu’minin ‘Ali said, “Whenever you see a beast of prey recite:
I come into the protection of the Lord of Daniel and of the well in which he was thrown from the harm of the tiger and of every animal.”
It is recorded that Imam Zayn al-‘abidin said, “Almighty Allah told Daniel through a revelation: “In My View the most inimical and most ignorant and unwise among My creation is he who underestimates the rights of the knowledgeable and does not follow him and most dear to me is a pious person who is eager to gain My Reward and who serves the learned and does not go away from him and who follows the patient and takes lessons from the wise.”
Through authentic chains, al-Qutb al-Rawandi and Ibn-Babawayh have narrated from Wahab bin Munabbah that when Nebuchadnezzar became king he was expecting only sinfulness from The Israelites because he knew that he would not be able to overcome them until they became unworthy of Allah’s help. Hence he was constantly spying on them to ascertain their condition until all their virtues turned into vices and evils. When they began to kill their Prophets Nebuchadnezzar arrived with his armies and encircled The Israelites. As the Holy Qur’an describes:
“And We have made known to the children of Israel in the Book: most certainly you will make mischief in the land twice, and most certainly you will behave with great insolence.” (15:4)
“So when the promise of the first of the two came true, we sent over to you our servants of mighty prowess. So they went to and from among the houses, and it was a promise to be accomplished.” (15:5)
Accordingly they arrested and killed many according to Allah’s word. Wahab bin Munabbah has said that the said group was that of Nebuchadnezzar and his army men. Commentators have said that their first haughtiness was opposing the commandments of the Torah and the second misdeed of corruption was the murder of Sohyaa or Irmiya or Zakariyya or Yahya and their intention to kill ‘Isa. Some commentators have written that those mischief-makers were Nebuchadnezzar and his fellow-travelers and some have said they were Jalut. Some say they were Sakhaadeeb who were residents of Nineveh. Then the Qur’an goes on to mention:
“Then we gave you back the turn to prevail against them, and aided you with wealth and children and made you a numerous band.” (15:6)
Commentators describe that from the side of the king of Babylon, Lahraasf, Nebuchadnezzar finished them off and when his son Gustaf came to throne he showed mercy towards The Israelites, released their captives and sent them towards Syria and made Daniel their king. Then The Israelites overpowered the companions of Nebuchadnezzar. According to another wording this indicates the killing of Jalut by Dawud. Wahab has narrated that when Nebuchadnezzar surrounded The Israelites and the latter could not stand against the former they turned toward Allah and wept and did good deeds and also prevented ignorant from doing evils beside enjoining them to do good. So Allah made them overpower Nebuchadnezzar even though they had been defeated and their cities conquered. Nebuchadnezzar returned left because an arrow hit the forehead of his horse which ran and carried him out of the city. Thereafter The Israelites became rebellious and corrupt. As they once more drowned themselves into the sea of sins, Nebuchadnezzar intended to invade them as says Almighty:
“So when the second promise came true (we raised another people) that they may bring you to grief and that they may enter the mosque as they entered it the first time, and that they might destroy whatever they gained ascendancy over with utter destruction.” (15:7)
The commentators have commented that the king of Babylon came again to fight with them and Wahab has narrated that when The Israelites reverted to evildoing and corruption Irmiya informed them that Nebuchadnezzar was coming to fight them and that Allah had become very angry with them and that He (Allah) says: if you repent I will be kind to you due to your previous ancestors and asks “Have you ever seen someone rebel against Me and become successful or someone obey Me and become unlucky or a loser lose because of (My) obedience? But your priests and (insincere) worshippers have enslaved my servants and they are issuing orders in contravention of My Book and your kings and wealthy people have become rebellious due to My bounties and the world has made them proud and the readers of Torah and your clergymen (religious jurisprudents) have all become subservient and loyal to the kings and are giving them oaths of allegiance on innovations and they are disobeying Me for obeying them and their sons are indulging in the wrong and ignorance with others. Despite all this rebellion and waywardness, I continued to protect them. Now I swear to turn their honor into disgrace and tranquility into troublesome danger. I will not answer when they make supplications to Me.”
When their Prophet conveyed this command of their Lord to them, they denied it and said “You are attributing untruths to Allah and are claiming that Allah will suspend worship in His prayer houses.” So they arrested and jailed the Prophet. At last, Nebuchadnezzar invaded their cities and surrounded them for seven months until they were obliged to devour their wastes due to hunger. He overpowered them completely and massacred them like furious oppressors. He executed many and cut off the tongues of many, broke down their teeth and imprisoned their womenfolk disgracefully. People told Nebuchadnezzar that among these people was one who had warned them about all that they are facing now but they denied him and jailed him. Nebuchadnezzar ordered that he should be brought to him from jail. People brought Irmiya to Nebuchadnezzar. He asked him whether he had warned the people about what would happen to them. Irmiya replied, “Yes because I knew it all; Allah had informed me about it and He appointed me as a messenger for them.”
Nebuchadnezzar asked: “Did they beat you up and jail you?” Irmiya replied, “Yes.” Nebuchadnezzar said, “These are bad people and also evil as they beat up their Prophet and they deny their Lord’s Message. If you please, you may live with me, I will keep you with honor or if you wish, you may live in the cities. I give you security.” Irmiya said, “Ever since I have awakened I have remained in the shelter of Allah and have never been out of His protection. Had The Israelites too not been out of His asylum they also would not have feared you.” However, Irmiya remained in the land of Elia where he was. At that time, that city had been destroyed and a part of it had been totally ruined. When the remaining people of The Israelites heard this, they collected near him and said, “O Messenger of Allah! We have recognized that you are our Prophet. Please give us admonition. We are obedient to you.” He asked them to remain with him. They said, “We will live in the protection of the king and ask for his asylum.” told them “The protection of Allah is the best protection. You should not go out of His protection and enter the asylum of others.” But they left Irmiya and went to Egypt and asked the king for his asylum. He gave them asylum.
When Nebuchadnezzar came to know this, he wrote a letter to the king of Egypt stating: “Arrest them and send them to me otherwise be prepared for a war.” When Irmiya came to know this, he showed mercy on them and went to Egypt so that he may relieve them from the evil of Nebuchadnezzar. He told The Israelites that Allah Almighty had revealed to him that he will make Nebuchadnezzar overpower that king and a sign of it is that “He has shown me the place where Nebuchadnezzar will ascend the throne after conquering Egypt.” Then he fixed four stones at the place of the throne. When Nebuchadnezzar invaded and conquered Egypt, he gained control of them, and arrested them. He intended to distribute the booty. He thought to kill some of the captives and to set some free. When he saw Irmiya among them, he said to him: “I respect you, but you have joined my enemies.” He replied, “I had come here to inform these people that you will win over them and I warned them of your power and might even while you were in Babylon. Yet I have shown them the place of your throne and even fixed stones at the place of each leg of your throne. They have seen all this.”
As ordered by Nebuchadnezzar, the throne was moved aside and the ground beneath every leg of the throne was dug. When the said stones were seen he was convinced that the words of were true. He said, “Now I will kill these people because they did not believe in your words and denied you.” At last, all of them were killed. Thereafter Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon. Irmiya stayed in Egypt for some time. Allah commanded him to go to the city of Elia. On his way back to Irmiya when approached Jerusalem and saw its destruction, he exclaimed: “When will Allah make this city flourish?” Then he camped on the outskirts of the city and fell asleep. Allah retrieved his soul and kept him hidden from the sight of people. He remained dead there for one hundred years. Allah had promised him that that city would be inhabited. When seventy years passed by after his death, He permitted the settlement of the city of Elia. Allah then sent an angel to the king of Faaris called Gong with the message: “Allah orders you to proceed to Elia with your army and men and treasure and rebuild that city.” The king of Faaris appointed 30 thousand persons and gave each one of them one thousand helpers and provided all the material required for building that city. The city of Elia began to flourish after thirty years. Allah made Irmiya alive as has been mentioned in the holy Qur’an.
Again, it is reported from the same Wahab bin Munabbah that when Nebuchadnezzar arrested The Israelites and took them with him, Daniel and Uzair were also among them. Nebuchadnezzar enslaved The Israelites after reaching Babylon. After sever years he saw a dream which frightened him but forgot about it entirely when he woke up the next morning. He collected his people and asked if anyone could tell him what he had seen in his dream. He also warned them that if they did not tell him the details of his dream within three days he would kill all of them. Daniel was then in jail. When he heard about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he told the jailer: “You have done much good for me. Can you do a little more for me? Please intimate to the king that I know his dream as well as its meaning.” The jailer came to Nebuchadnezzar and conveyed Daniel’s message. The king called Daniel. Every one arriving in his court used to prostrate before him first but Daniel did not do so. He stood silent for quite a long time but the king did not speak to him. Then he asked the watchmen to go out of his presence and asked Daniel: “Why did you not prostrate before me?” He replied, “My Lord Who has given me the knowledge about dreams has prohibited me from prostrating before anyone except Him. If I bow before anyone except Him this knowledge of mine will vanish from me then you will not get its benefit. Hence I did not prostrate before you.” Nebuchadnezzar said, “Since you have fulfilled you Lord’s condition you are saved from my harm. Now tell me about what I dreamed.” Daniel said, “You saw a very huge idol. Its foot was on earth and its head touched the sky. Its upper part was made of gold, the middle of silver and the lover of copper. The shin of its legs was of iron and feet of bricks. You were observing its grandeur and strength and the difference in the various limbs of its body. Suddenly an angel threw a stone on that idol which hit its head and made it small in such a way that all the parts of its body which were made up of gold and silver and copper and iron and brick mixed with one another and you thought that even if all the men of the world joined together and tried to disintegrate those parts they would not be able to do so. Then you thought that a little breeze of wind could also sweep off all of them. Then you had a vision that the stone thrown by the angel began to enlarge until it covered the entire earth. Then, despite all efforts you could not see anything except the sky and that stone.”
Nebuchadnezzar said, “You are quite correct. I had seen the same things. Now please tell me what it all means.” Daniel said, “The example of the idol seen by you is like the communities of people who will appear like that of the past, medieval times and the last ages. The golden part resembles your community and your regime, silver is like that of your son who will rise after you and copper indicates the people of Room (Byzantine), iron hints at the Iranians and the kings of non-Arabs and the brick is that of the kingdom of two communities. Their king will have two wives, one in the east of Yemen and the other in the west of Syria. The stone which came from the sky and belittled the idol indicates the religion which will cover the people of the last age. It will defeat all other religions (and falsify them). The Lord of the world will send an unlettered Prophet in the Arab land and through him subjugate all other people and religions. As you have seen in your vision that that stone enlarged until it encircled the entire world.”
Hearing this Nebuchadnezzar said, “The extent of your kindness to me is unprecedented and I want to reward you for it. If you intend to go to your cities I will send you there, and will rebuild those cities for you. If you would prefer to live with me I will keep you with me with full honor and respect.” Daniel said, “Until Allah so desires our cities will continue to ruin as destined by Him and He will rebuild them when He wants to do so. I prefer to live with you.” Nebuchadnezzar gathered his sons and servants and tribesmen and told them: “This gentleman is very wise and knowledgeable. It was because of him that Allah relieved me from a calamity regarding which you could not help. So now I have entrusted all my affairs as well as that of yours to him. O my sons! Earn knowledge from this great man and obey him. If you get orders from me and from him simultaneously, then first comply with his commandment.” Thereafter, he did not do any work without consulting Daniel.
When the people of Nebuchadnezzar’s community saw this they became jealous of Daniel. They went to him (Nebuchadnezzar) and told him: “You are the owner of the entire world then how is it that you have made even yourself subject to his orders? Our enemies think you have lost your senses and hence you have given up your kingship.” Nebuchadnezzar said I obtain help from this gentleman who belongs to The Israelites for reforming your affairs because his Lord makes him aware of good things.” They told him: “We are making a god for you who will help you in your affairs and then you will have no more need of Daniel.”
Nebuchadnezzar said, “It is up to you.” Hearing this all of them went away and constructed a very huge idol and fixed a day of festival on which all were invited to attend a sacrificial ceremony wherein many animals were to be slaughtered and offered to the gigantic idol. A big fire was lit in front of the idol like the fire of Nimrod. Anybody who refused to prostrate before that idol was thrown into that fire pit. Daniel had four youth friends named Yushaal, Yooheen, Eswwaa and Marsoos all belonging to The Israelites. They were both faithful and sincere. They were caught and brought there and ordered to bow before the idol.
They said, “This idol is not Allah. It is a log of wood having no sense, carved up by men. We can prostrate before the only one Allah who created this idol.” Angered by this reply they tied up all the four and threw them into the blazing fire. Next morning Nebuchadnezzar saw from the balcony of his palace that all of them were alive and another aged personality was sitting near them. He also saw that the fire has cooled down. On seeing this he got frightened and called Daniel and enquired about them. Daniel said, “All those four youths belong to my faith. They worship only my Allah. Therefore He protected them from your evil. The person sitting near them is an angel who is in charge of heat and cold. Allah has sent him to help those youths.”
Nebuchadnezzar ordered them out of the fire pit and asked them: “How did you pass the night?” They replied, “Ever since we were born we have not passed a night which was not better than the previous one.” Hearing this Nebuchadnezzar respected them and allowed them to live with Daniel. Thirty years passed by. Then Nebuchadnezzar saw another dream which was more frightening than the previous one and again he forgot the whole of it. He called scholars of his country and told them that he had seen a dream which, he was afraid would indicate his death and asked them to enlighten him on its meaning. They told him that they did not know its meaning. He turned out all of them and called Daniel and consulted him about his dream. Daniel, describing his dream, said, In your dream you have seen many green trees with their branches reaching up to the sky. Birds of the sky were sitting on that tree. Under it were wild animals of the land. You were looking at that tree and its freshness and greenery astonished you.
Suddenly an angel descended from the heavens with an axe-like iron instrument hanging round his neck. That angel asked another angel standing at the gate of the heavens in what way Allah had ordered him to cut off the tree, that is, down right from its roots or to leave it standing on a shortened trunk? The angel replied that that Allah had commanded him to cut off some part of the tree and to leave some part of it intact. Then you saw that when the angel hit the tree with that axe it fell down crashing and all the birds flew away and all the animals scattered from under its shade. Only the trunk of that tree stood on the ground. Its greenness and freshness vanished.” Nebuchadnezzar said that was exactly what he had seen in his dream. Then he requested for its meaning.
Daniel said, “The tree was you yourself, the birds on it were your family members and the beasts under it were your servants and slaves etc. You made Allah angry because of your idol worship.” Nebuchadnezzar asked: “What will your Lord do now?” Daniel replied, “He will involve you in the matter of your body. Your body will be metamorphosed for seven years. Then you will revert to the shape of man as you are now.” Nebuchadnezzar was severely shocked. He kept weeping for seven days. After seven days he went to the top floor of his palace where Allah turned him into an eagle and he flew away. Daniel ordered his sons not to make any changes in his regime until their father’s return. Finally he was metamorphosed in the shape of a mosquito and returned to his palace flying.
Allah turned him into a human being again. He took a bath, wore jute clothing, collected his people and said, “You and I worshipped, instead of only one Allah, a thing which cannot either give us any benefit or any loss. Verily, in the matter of my own self I am convinced Allah’s Might has become manifest and I have understood that there is no Allah except the Allah of The Israelites. So whosoever will follow me is from me and will have equal status and whosoever opposes me I will cut off his head, until Allah makes a final decision between me and him. I give you respite until next morning. Return all of you next morning.” Then he went inside his palace and reclined on his bed. Allah retrieved his soul then and there. Wahab says he heard the whole of this story from Ibn ‘Abbas.
Then al-Qutb al-Rawandi relates, when Nebuchadnezzar died, people obeyed his son who consulted Daniel regarding his vessels (containers) which were made by Shaitans and jinn for Sulayman from pearls and rubies etc. fetched out from rivers which could not be crossed by ships. Nebuchadnezzar had obtained them as booty from Jerusalem and Babylon. Daniel said, “These vessels are clean and pure they have been made by a Prophet and his son so that they might become means of worship of the Lord. So do not make them impure with pork and other dirty things because their inheritor is someone else to whom Allah will send them very soon.” But he did not act according to the instruction of Daniel and drove him out and freed him.
He had a very intelligent wife who was educated by Daniel. She tried her best to advise him saying that: “Your father consulted Daniel in every difficult problem and obtained his help.” But he did not heed her advice and indulged in every vice until because of his innumerable sins, the earth complained to Allah. Finally one day when he was in the festival ground he saw a hand come out of the heavens and inscribe three words on the wall and then both the hand the pen disappeared. He called Daniel and asked for its meaning.
He said, “The first word means your intelligence was weighed in balance and it was found very light. The second word means you had promised that after becoming a king you would do good deeds but you did not keep that promise. And the third word means Allah Almighty gave you and your father a very great kingdom but you destroyed it with your misdeeds. Now until the Last Day of the Resurrection Day no one from your dynasty will ever become a king.” He asked: “What would happen after our deprivation from the kingship?” He said, “You will fall prey to Allah’s chastisement.” In the meanwhile Allah sent a mosquito which entered into his nose and began to eat his brain. (It stopped biting only when his head was hit). As a result he loved most the man who would hit his head with an iron club.’ After passing 40 days like this he entered hell (died).3
It is reported by Ibn ‘Abbas: One day Uzair prayed to Allah: “O Lord Nourisher! I have pondered over all of Your affairs and orders and am convinced that Your Justice is Perfect. Of course, there is one thing which my mind could not understand. It is that when You become angry with a community and send Your punishment on them it sweeps even sinless (innocent) children.” “Get out of the city and go to the desert” came the Divine Voice. He complied with it and went to the forest. When the heat increased he took shelter under a tree and fell asleep. While asleep an ant bit his leg. Bothered by it he hit the ground with his leg killing hundreds of ants at that spot. He understood then that Allah had taught him a lesson through this example. Allah told him through revelation that: “O Uzair! Whenever a group becomes liable to My punishment I fix a time for their chastisement in such a manner that the children who had lived for their appointed terms of life die at that hour and the sinners are destroyed by way of My chastisement.”
It is recorded in reliable sources that Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq said, “Allah appointed a Prophet called Irmiya for The Israelites. Allah revealed to him: Ask The Israelites what is the name of the city which I selected and honored, wherein I grew nice quality trees everyone of them being different and better that the other and I purified it. Then it became a dirty city which was then spoiled where from trees with good fruits vanished and in their place grew up carob. When Irmiya asked this question to The Israelites they laughed and made a mockery of him. complained to Allah. Allah asked him to tell them that that city is Jerusalem and that tree is The Israelites whom I had spared from the control of every king but still they spread corruption and disobey Me, so now I will impose upon them such an oppressor that he will shed their blood and plunder their wealth and properties. They will complain much but I will not hear them or have mercy on them. They will make supplications before Me but I will not accept it. This will continue for a hundred years. Then after a hundred years I will make them flourish.”
When Irmiya narrated this foretelling to The Israelites their religious scholars began to cry: “O Prophet of Allah! where is our fault in it? Our deeds are different from those of the sinners. So please pray to Allah.” Irmiya fasted for seven days. But he did not get any revelation. He continued his fast for another seven days and again for further seven days. On the twenty-first day it was revealed to him: “Refrain from your intention. Do you want to intercede with me in a thing which has already been decided finally by Me? If you say anything again about it I will turn your face toward your back. Tell the Ulama (religious scholars of The Israelites that your sin is that you continued to see them sinning, you connived at their sins, you did not prevent them from sinning. Allah imposed Nebuchadnezzar on you. You have already heard what he did with them. At last Nebuchadnezzar called Irmiya and said, I have heard that you had already informed them what was going to happen to them by me but they did not care. Well, now if you please you may stay with me. otherwise you can go wherever you please. preferred to remain separate and took with him, as provision, grape and figs. According to anther narration he took grapes and garlic, and went away from the city as far as an eye could see.
Then he turned around and looked at the city and exclaimed: “How will Allah make these people alive” So Allah retrieved his soul and kept him dead for a hundred years. He had died in the morning hours but when Allah made him alive it was evening and the sun was about to set. The first part of his body which was made alive was his eye. He was asked: “How long did you stay here?” He replied “For one day.” But when he looked at the sun which had not yet gone down he said, “Rather less than a day.” He was told: “No, you have been here for one hundred years. Just look at your ass. How disintegrated it has become.” Then, before his eyes, Allah joined parts of his body as well as that of his animal with one another and recreated veins and flesh and skin etc and he became alright. Then he arose and said, “I know that Allah is able to do everything.” Imam as-Sadiq has said, “Nebuchadnezzar’s name is like that because he was fed with the milk of a bitch. Bakht was the name of a she dog and Nassar was the name of her owner. Nebuchadnezzar was a fire worshipper. He invaded Jerusalem and entered the city with six hundred thousand flags and did what he did.”
It is related from Amir al-Mu’minin that Jerusalem was destroyed on the last Wednesday of the month and on the same day Masjid Sulayman was burnt in Iran.
According to authentic narration Ibn Kuwaa asked Amir al-Mu’minin: “People narrate from you that you had said that there had been a boy (apparently) much older than his own father, though my mind does not accept (believe) it.” ‘Ali said, “When Uzair went out of his home his wife was pregnant and then she delivered a son. The age of Uzair was 50 years when Allah retrieved his soul. Then after a hundred years when he was made alive, Allah raised him up in the same condition in which he was at the age of 50 years. Thus when he returned home his age was fifty but his son was much older than him in age.”
It is recorded in reliable sources that when Husham bin Abdul Malik took Imam Muhammad al-Baqir with him a great Christian religious scholar then living in Syria, asked some questions to the . Hearing his replies, he became a Muslim. One of his questions was: “Enlighten me about a man who went into his wife and she got pregnant with two sons both of whom were born at the same time. Both died at the same time and both were interned in the same grave and yet the age of one of them was 150 years and that of the other only 50.” ‘Ali said, “Those two brothers were Uzair and Ezra who were born twins. When they were thirty years old Allah Almighty turned Uzair dead for one hundred years. After Allah made him alive he lived with Ezra for another twenty years and thereafter both of them entered the Mercy of Allah (expired) at the same time. Thus the age of Uzair was 50 years and that of Ezra 150 years.”4
- 1. Surah Baqarah 2:259
- 2. The meeting of Dawud with Daniel is indeed strange in view of the earlier hadiths according to which there was a vast distance of time between the two. Perhaps Daniel had become very aged or maybe this was another person named Daniel though it too is quite strange.
- 3. These stories which have been narrated by Wahab have spread through common people and hence are not authentic. Reliable traditions do not indicate that Nebuchadnezzar had become a Muslim. Since Ibn Babawayh and Rawandi had noted this narration I also quoted it. In ‘Tawhid Mufa¤¤al’ there is a hint of the metamorphosing of Nebuchadnezzar but without specification.
- 4. Since the hadiths which indicate that the man whom Allah had kept dead for a hundred years was Irmiya are more correct and numerous in number it is possible that the hadiths mentioning Uzair might have been by way of Taqiyyah and that the might have spoken in favor of Ahl al-Kitab to guide them to the true path and so that they might not be able to deny them. It is also likely that the event might have occurred to both the gentlemen. What has come in this verse relates to Irmiya. It should be remembered that this story also provides proof of Raj‘ah (Resurrection) like the recurring traditions mentioned by us earlier and that what happened to The Israelites would happen to this Ummah also.