A Brief Sketch of Ilyas and Yusha‘
According to a tradition from of Ibn ‘Abbas, after Musa, Yusha‘ Bin Noon divided the population of The Israelites in Syria and Syria was divided among them. One of the groups was settled in the city named Baelbak where Ilyas preached the people. There was an idol worshipper king who compelled his subjects to worship the statue named ‘Baggal’ as their god.
Allah the exalted says,
“And Ilyas was most surely of the apostles. When he said to his people, do you not guard (against evil): (Are you not afraid of Allah’s chastisement? What! Do you call upon Ba’l and for sake the best of creators. Allah, your Lord and the Lord of your father of yore?” (37:123-6)
But they called him a liar and didn’t believe his words. The king’s wife was a sinful woman. When the king went abroad, he entrusted the kingdom to his wife. She had a clerk. He was very wise and intelligent who saved the lives of three hundred people from her. She was the most sinful woman of the world. Seven kings of Jerusalem married her. She was mother of 90 children and grandchildren.
The king’s neighbor was virtuous. He believed in Allah and His apostles. His garden was next to the king’s palace. The income of garden was his livelihood. The king also respected him. Once the king went for a traveling. She took a chance of the absence of the king and murdered him and took away the garden from his family. Allah became very angry. When the king returned from the journey, he was informed by his wife. The king said that she had done wrong.
Allah commissioned Ilyas on the people to preach them about true religion and pray to Allah and Him only, and give up idol worship but the people said that he was a liar, insulted him and threatened to kill him but he remained patient. Again, he invited people towards Allah and to obey his commands but their attitude became worst day by day. According to Allah’s revelation, Ilyas informed the king to “give up all controversies otherwise Allah will destroy you.” The king became very angry and decided to punish him severely and kill him. Ilyas learnt of it and left the city and took shelter on a mountain. He stayed there for seven years and spent his time in prayer and survived on fruits only. Allah kept His Prophet in His protection and kept his place secret from their sight. In the meantime the king’s son became worst, people lost all hopes and were disappointed. He was very much beloved to king. People worshipped their idols for the recovery of king’s son but failed. The king thought that Ilyas would be on the mountain so he sent his men. The men called out to him and requested him to come down and pray for the king’s son. Ilyas came down and said, “Allah the creator has sent me to you and I am the Prophet. Listen to me. Go to the king and give the message. Allah is one. He is alone and has no partner. Allah gives livelihood to every one. He creates men and He can destroy. He has power and command. Why does the king not request Allah, the merciful and instead prays to the dumb and idols?”
The people went to the king and narrated that to him. The king got annoyed and ordered his men to bring him as a prisoner “because he is my enemy.” The people could not find him and returned. The king sent his fifty chiefs from the army to arrest him. He said, “First tell him that we trust you and your Allah. When he comes to you, arrest him and bring him here.” The fifty commanders went to the mountain and said in the loud voice, “We trust you so please come down and meet us.” Ilyas was in the forest, he heard them. He raised his hands to Allah for the prayed to allow him to go to them “and if they are liars, protect me from them and send a chastisement of fire to burn them.” Allah is knowing and hearing. Allah sent a chastisement of fire at once and they were all destroyed in a moment. When the king came to know he was furious and ordered his wife’s clerk who was good and pious and a believer of Allah to go along with people. And said, “It is time of repentance, go to Ilyas and pay allegiance to him and ask him to come and preach and show the right path.” Then he told his people to give up idol worship.
The clerk went along with the people to the mountain and called out. Ilyas recognized his voice. Allah revealed to him to go to the believer, greet him and shake hands. Ilyas came to him. The clerk narrated the king’s condition and said, “If you won’t come the king will kill me.” Allah revealed to His apostle that the king’s message is false. He wants you under his control and wants to kills you. Allah said, “Tell the clerk not to worry of the king. His son will die. The king will be sad and not harm him.” When the clerk reached the king, he saw the condition of his son becoming worst and he died.” The king did not take care for them as he was sorrowful of his son’s death. After a long time the king became comfortable and asked the clerk about the Ilyas. He said he didn’t meet Ilyas. After that Ilyas came down from the mountain and stayed in the house of Prophet Yunus for a year.
When Yunus was born, Ilyas left his house and went to the mountain again where he was staying before. When Yunus was young, his mother stopped suckling. She went towards the mountain in search of Ilyas and gave the sad news of her son’s death and said that Allah has revealed to her “to come to you for my child’s life. If you pray Allah for my son, Allah will make my son alive. I have kept my son secretly and I have not informed anyone of his death nor buried him.” Ilyas asked, “How many days have passed since his death?” She said, “Seven days.”
Ilyas came to the house, raising his hands for prayer, requested Allah to make him alive. Allah the merciful granted his prayer and gave him a new life and then Ilyas went back.
When Yunus was forty years old, Allah appointed him as a Prophet. When Allah granted him a new life Ilyas went away to his own place. After seven years Allah revealed and said to Ilyas to ask whatever he wants, He will grant him. Ilyas said, he was fed up with life, and tired of The Israelites. They are deadly against You and because of You I am also against them. Allah revealed, “O Ilyas there is a time to come to me. I do not intend to keep my land empty without you. There must be an apostle on land. Ask any other thing.” Ilyas said, “Take my revenge with them, do not send rain for seven years. When they come to me with request, I will pray to you for rain.” Due to Ilyas’s curse there was no rain, and there was a famine. The people understood that this was due to curse of Ilyas.” All of them approached him and said, “We will obey you and do whatever you say.”
Ilyas along with his companion Yusha‘ went to the king. The king said you have destroyed the country with divine wrath. Ilyas said, “Allah has destroyed the unbelievers who had no faith.” The king requested him to pray to Allah to relieve them from His wrath. In the dark Ilyas raised his hands and prayed to free people from chastisement and asked Yusha‘ to watch the sky. Yusha‘ said he sees a cloud. Ilyas asked him to inform the people, it will be raining now and to be careful for their safety. Rain started falling everywhere and famine disappeared by the grace of Allah. Ilyas stayed there for a long time. People also spent their lives doing good deeds. Then after sometime they all turned against the Prophet. Sometimes Allah takes revenge by His apostle and sometimes He takes revenge by sending the enemy of his own community.
All of a sudden, one of the king’s enemies attacked him and killed the king and queen and threw them in the garden of the follower of Allah. Ilyas declared Yusha‘ his legatee. Almighty Allah favored him with wings and raised him up to the heaven. While moving towards the heaven Ilyas threw his scarf for Yusha‘ and Allah appointed Yusha‘ as a Prophet of Palestinians and bestowed him with all His bounties by revelation upon him. The Israelites respected him and followed his path.
Muzaffar bin Qamar has stated that one day they went to Imam as-Sadiq’s house and asked for permission to enter. Upon entering they heard the Imam’s voice speaking with someone in a strange language. It was Syriac. The Prophet wept too much and we also wept with him. After that the servant came out and asked us to go in. We all entered the house. The narrator said that he heard his voice at the door and asked whether the language was Arabic or Syriac? “You wept and we also wept.” Imam replied that I remembered Ilyas one of the best Prophets and I was reciting the dua that he recited. The Imam recited the same Dua in front of the people. The people had never heard recitation of such verses before. Then he translated it in Arabic and said when was recited this Dua, Allah revealed to him to raise his head from prostration. That He will not give any punishment to him.” Ilyas said, “I am Your servant and you are My Lord, the Beneficent.” Allah revealed to him to raise his head from Sajdah. He will keep his promise what he said.
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir has narrated the same story. (By Musa bin Aqeel) indicated the name Iliya instead of Ilyas.
According to a tradition Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq said, “Ilyas and Yusha‘ ibn Nun ate Parsley seeds with their food.”
Imam Muhammad al-Taqi is quoted in a book that Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq said that once his father Imam Muhammad al-Baqir was circumambulating the Ka‘bah when a man came. After the Imam’s circumambulation he took him to a house near the hill of Makkah. “He called me there. The three of us were there and no one else. He welcomed Imam as-Sadiq and blessed the Imam by putting his head on Imam’s head. Then he turned his face to Imam Muhammad al-Baqir and said, “Would you like to inform me first or I question you? Imam- Muhammad al-Baqir said, “As you like.”
The man said, “If I ask you question, answer me only with what is inspired in your heart.” Imam al-Baqir replied that he had heard from his father that he who ask like this has two types of knowledge (ideas) which are different from each other, the knowledge of divine has no differentiation. The man said my question this, what is that? Imam replied- Allah, the great. And he has given the knowledge to the Prophet and Imams for the necessity of the people. Hearing this he lifted his veil from his face and sat comfortably and became very happy and said, I have came for this reason. Then he inquired that the necessity of the knowledge for the people has been given to the Prophet and their descendent but say how they know? Imam said, by revelation of Allah and they hear the voice of angels but the Prophets can see them, the descendents can’t. They can listen the angel’s voice. The status of the Prophet is very high and they can go to Allah and talk in the moment and come back. But this position is not given to all. The man said, “It is true what you have said, O, the son of Prophet! Now I will ask you a difficult problem. Why does Imam not disclose their knowledge on the people as the Prophet did?”
Hearing this Imam al-Baqir laughed and said that Allah does not want the ordinary people to be notified of divine knowledge except His apostles, as Allah has tested their hearts. Prophet Muhammad al-Mustafa kept patience on high handedness of the people of Makkah by the permission of Allah and Allah had not given permission of war against the unbelievers and kept secret of his Prophethood to his community. Then after a long period Allah revealed to him to do publicize His orders to the unbelievers. The Prophet did, first he was worried to tell them openly. He was waiting for the correct time to show his position and his Divine knowledge because he knew people would not believe him. He had no permission of war. Prophet said, to wait until the approach of Imam al-Mahdi and take revenge of Prophet’s killer and ungrateful persons and give them punishment with their companions. Hearing him the man drew his sword and said, “This sword is one of the sword when there will be great battle against sinners.” Imam al-Baqir said, “Yes, By Allah, Prophet Muhammad is a true and respectable Prophet.” Again that person covered his face and said, “I am Ilyas and whatever I asked, I knew it well. But I wanted to strengthen faith.” Then he asked many questions and disappeared.
According to a tradition of Imam Al-Hasan al-’Askari Prophet told his follower Zaid bin Arqam that if he wanted to save himself from drowning, burning, choking to death, he should recite this Dua every morning:
“Bismillahe MashaAllaho la yasrifus-su’a, Il-lallaho, Bismillahe MashaAllaho la-yasukul Khaira illallaho. Bismillahe Masha Allaho Ma-yakuno min-nehmatin, famenallahe. Bismillahe MashaAllaho la haulo wala kuwwata illa billahil Aliyal Azeem. Bismillahe MashaAllaho Sal-lul-laho ala Muhammadin wa-alehit Taiyabin.”
Those who recite this Dua three times in the morning and three times in the evening will be protected from all kinds of troubles.
Prophet said that al-Khidhr and Ilyas meet each other in Hajj every year and recite the above Dua when they depart part.1
According to Shaykh Muhammad bin Shahr Aashoob one day the Prophet heard someone saying ‘O Allah let me be the disciple of Prophet Muhammad the last age’s community.’ Prophet went to the top of the mountain. He saw an old man with white hair. His height was 300 feet in length. He saw Prophet Muhammad and stood up and embraced him and said, “I eat only once a year and this is my time to eat.” A dish full of different eatables came for heaven and they ate together. He was Ilyas.
Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq has stated there was a person named Ilya. He was a leader of four hundred people of The Israelites. The king of The Israelites fell in love with a woman of another community. She was an idol-worshipper. The king proposed to her. She said yes if he allowed her to bring her idol along with her and worship it. The king refused then he accepted her terms and married her and brought her with the idol. Another eight hundred people came with her with their idols. At that time Prophet Ilya came to the king and said, “Allah has made you a king with a long life and you have become disobedient to Allah.” The king did not care what he said. Ilya cursed him and prayed to Allah to let them be struck with famine for three years. The famine struck everywhere, they slaughtered their animals and ate them except one foal on which king was riding. The king’s minister was good, religious and a believer of Allah.
He was staying with Prophet Ilya along with his followers. Allah revealed to his Prophet to go to the king and ask him to repent and that Allah will forgive him. Prophet went to the king and gave him the message of Allah and said to him to obey him. The king argued and promised him he will obey him. Then the Prophet called all his followers. First he sacrificed an animal as offering, secondly he killed the king’s wife and burnt her idol. The king repented very much and became a true follower of Ilya. Allah the Merciful showered the rain and made them free from famine.
Imam al-Ridha said, the people of Jerusalem believed ‘Isa as their god because he made the dead alive. Yusha‘ also made all dead, alive, walked on water and healed the blind.2
- 1. Ilyas is still on the earth like al-Khi¤r and he will be there until the time of Imam al-Mahdi’s.
- 2. It is possible that Ilya and Ilyas are the same as their names are alike. Shaykh Tabarsi has stated that there are different opinions about him. Some say, “He is Idris and some said he belonged to the family of Harun and was the paternal cousin Ya’saa and was one of the Prophets of The Israelites. According to the ancient tradition, he was the descendant of Hizqil. When Allah raised him up. Prophet Ya’saa came after him. It is said that Ilyas helped the weak and the travelers like al-Khi¤r and they both meet each other in the time of hajj. According to a tradition Ilyas is Dhulkifl.