Chapter 7: Account of the death of Prophet Musa, occultation of Successors and Divine Proofs till the period of Prophet Isa
1 - Narrated to us Ahmad bin Hasan al-Qattan: Narrated to us Hasan bin Ali Sukkari: Narrated to us Muhammad bin Zakariya al-Basri: Narrated to us Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Ammarah from his father that he said: I said to As-Sadiq Ja’far bin Muhammad (a.s.): Tell me about the passing away of Musa bin Imran (a.s.). He replied:
“When the end of Musa (a.s.) approached and the angel of death came and said, O Kalimullah (the one with whom Allah conversed)! Assalaamo A’laikum, Musa (a.s.) responded, “Wa a’laikas salaam! Who are you?” The angel replied, “I am the angel of death.” He asked, “Why have you come?” He replied, “To take your soul.” Musa (a.s.) asked, “From where will you seize it?” He replied, “From your mouth.” Musa (a.s.) asked, “How will you seize it from the mouth when I have conversed with the Almighty with it?” The angel replied, “All right! I will seize it from your hands.” Musa (a.s.) exclaimed, “How will you seize it from my hands when these hands have held the Torah?”
The angel said, “I will seize it from your feet.” Musa (a.s.) said, “I have gone to Mount Toor on these very feet to talk with My Lord.” The angel said, “Then I will take it from your eyes.” Musa (a.s.) said, “I have always looked with these eyes hopefully towards my Lord’s Mercy.” The angel said, “Then from your ear.” Musa (a.s.) said, “I have heard my Lord’s Words with these very ears.” Then Almighty Allah revealed to the angel, “Do not seize his soul until he himself desires it.” So the angel of death went back and Musa (a.s.) lived for quite a long time thereafter. Then one day he called Yusha, gave his will to him, made him his legatee and asked him to keep the will a secret till the time of his (Musa’s) death.
He also asked Yusha to pass on the Wasiyyat (Will) at the time of his (Yusha’s) death to someone else as desired by Allah. Saying this Musa (a.s.) disappeared from his people. During these days of his absence he once met a man digging a grave. Musa (a.s.) told him that he would like to help him in digging that grave. He said, ‘Why not?’ Musa (a.s.) engaged himself in the digging. Soon the grave was completed by them. Then Musa (a.s.) lay down in it sideways to see how it feels.
At that moment the Almighty Allah showed him his place in Paradise. So he said: “My Lord, call me towards You.” So the angel of death seized his holy soul then and there. Then he buried him in the same grave and closed it by filling it with earth. That man digging the grave was actually the angel of death in the shape of a man.
This happened in Tiyah. An announcer announced from the heavens that Musa Kalimullah (a.s.) has died and who is it that does not die?”
Narrated to me my father from my grandfather from his father (a.s.) that:
The Messenger of Allah (S) was asked about the location of the grave of Prophet Musa (a.s.). He replied: “Near the highway adjacent to the red hillock.”
After Musa (a.s.), Yusha bin Nun (a.s.) became the leader of Bani Israel. He was always busy in their affairs and was bearing all kinds of difficulties caused to him by the kings of those days. Three of those kings died. Thereafter the condition of Yusha (a.s.) became strong and be became independent in the matter of law and order (giving orders to do or to refrain from doing things).
Then two hypocrites of the community of Musa (a.s.) conspired and took Safra daughter of Shuaib, the wife of Musa (a.s.) with them and revolted against Yusha bin Nun (a.s.) with 100000 men. Yusha bin Nun (a.s.) overpowered them. Many groups of them were killed and those who remained alive fled by the Divine Order and Safra daughter of Shuaib became a captive. Yusha (a.s.) told her, “I am leaving you in this world so that in the other world when I meet Musa (a.s.) the Prophet of Allah, I may complain to him about you and your community about what I have suffered due to you.”
Safra said, “By Allah! If Paradise is made open to me so that I can enter it I will feel ashamed of seeing there Musa (a.s.) the Prophet of Allah, as I have torn his veil and thereafter I revolted against his legatee.”
The Imams and leaders that succeeded Yusha bin Nun for four hundred years till the time of Prophet Dawood (a.s.) remained in concealment. They were eleven in all and during each of their times the people used to visit them and obtain guidance. Finally it was the turn of the last of them. He remained away from the people then he reappeared and gave the glad tidings of the advent of Prophet Dawood (a.s.).
He also foretold that it is only Dawood (a.s.) who would cleanse the earth from Jaloot and his army and that the deliverance of the people was dependant only upon his reappearance. So the people began to await for him. When the time of Dawood (a.s.) arrived, he had four brothers and his father was very much advanced in age. Among them Dawood (a.s.) was the bearer of the divine message and prophethood. He was the youngest among his brothers. While they were unaware that it is Dawood for whom they were waiting and one who will cleanse the earth from Jaloot and his army. And the Shias of Dawood (a.s.) had learnt that he has already taken birth and reached maturity. Whereas those people used to see and meet him but they did not know that it was him.
After that one day Dawood, his brothers and their father went out to take part in the battle organized by Taloot. But Dawood (a.s.) did not accompany them saying: In what way would it help me from this aspect? The father and brothers of Dawood (a.s.) made fun of him and he began to graze the sheep belonging to his father. When the battle intensified and people faced terrible hardships, the father of Dawood (a.s.) came to him and said: Take some food and provisions for your brothers so that through it they may be able to defeat the enemies. Dawood (a.s.) was of a short stature and there was scanty hair on his head.
But from the aspect of conscience and morals he was absolutely pure. Thus when he came to the battlefield he saw that all the people of his side were close to each other and all of them had returned to their centers. When he passed by a stone it spoke up in a loud voice: “O Dawood, take me with you and through me slay Jaloot. Indeed I have been created to kill him.” So Dawood (a.s.) picked it up and put it in his bag that he used for carrying stones when he was grazing sheep and goats. When he entered the army he found that those people considered Jaloot very great and they thought that it was no use trying to subdue him. So he said: “Why do you consider it a difficult proposition.
By Allah if I were to see him, I would slay him.” The people began to discuss about him and at last he was taken to Taloot. Taloot asked him: O young man, how much strength do you posses and how have you tested yourself? Sometime a lion attacks my flock and carries off an animal. So I used to chase the lion, catch it by its head, pry open its jaws to release my animal. Now the Almighty Allah had previously revealed to Taloot that none can slay Jaloot except one who can wear Taloot’s coat of mail with a perfect fit.
So he called for his coat of armor and when Prophet Dawood (a.s.) wore it, it fitted him perfectly. Taloot was amazed and so were the people of Bani Israel who were present at the scene. Taloot said: It is hoped that Allah will kill Jaloot through him. When it was morning and the people met him, Dawood (a.s.) said: Show Jaloot to me. When Jaloot was shown to him, he took that stone and shot it at Jaloot. It hit him between the eyes and split his head upto the brain. Jaloot crashed down from his mount.
There was a furor in the people that Dawood has killed Jaloot and in this way they made Dawood their king. Gradually the influence of Taloot waned and people gathered around Dawood (a.s.). The Almighty Allah revealed the Psalms upon him, taught him the skill of working iron and made the iron soft for him. Allah ordered the mountains and birds to sing the divine praises with Dawood (a.s.). The Almighty Allah gave him such a melodious voice that no one had ever heard such a voice. He also bestowed him the strength for the worship of God and made him His prophet in Bani Israel.
And the method of the Qaim shall also be such. The Almighty Allah will give him such a standard that it will spread among the people on its own and the Almighty will bestow it the power of speech and it will call out: O Wali of Allah, eliminate the enemies of Allah. And he shall have a sword that will be concealed in the scabbard. When it would be the time of his reappearance he will take it out and the Almighty Allah will also provide it the power of speech.
It will call out: O Wali of Allah, rise up! Because it does not behove that you keep sitting during confrontation with the enemies of God. Thus he would arise and set out and wherever he comes across the enemies of Allah he shall slay them. He shall enforce the divine laws and apply the prescribed penalties. And he shall judge and rule according to the divine commands.”
Regarding this narrated to me Abul Hasan Ahmad bin Thabit Dawalaini in Baghdad from Muhammad bin al-Fadl Nahvi from Muhammad bin Ali bin Abdus Samad al-Kufi from Ali bin Asim from Muhammad bin Ali bin Musa from his father from his forefathers from Husain bin Ali (a.s.) from the Messenger of Allah (S) in a lengthy traditions at the end of which he has mentioned that which I have included in the chapter of traditions of the Messenger of Allah (S) proving Nass on His Eminence, Qaim (a.s.) and (also) that he is the twelfth Imam.
After that Dawood (a.s.) wanted to appoint Sulaiman (a.s.) as his successor because Allah, the Mighty and the High had revealed to him thus. When he announced this to Bani Israel they raised a clamor that he was appointing a young man over them while there were others more advanced in age. Dawood (a.s.) summoned the leaders of Bani Israel and told them: Your talks have reached me. So show me your staffs and whosever’s staff fructifies will be the master of affair after me. They said: We agree to this proposal.
Dawood (a.s.) said: Now each of you write your name on your staff. So they wrote their names on their respective sticks. Then Sulaiman (a.s.) brought his staff and wrote down his name upon it. Then all the sticks were put in a room and the door was closed. The leaders of Bani Israel kept watch (for the night). In the morning Dawood (a.s.) conducted the Morning Prayer and then stepped forward and opened the door. They took out the sticks and it was seen that all had leaves while the stick of Sulaiman (a.s.) had fructified.
So they gave it to Dawood (a.s.). Dawood (a.s.) then examined Sulaiman (a.s.) in the presence of Bani Israel and asked him: “Tell me son, what is it that gives coolness?” He replied: “Allah’s forgiveness of the people and the mutual forgiveness among the people.” Dawood (a.s.) asked, “What is it that is sweet?” He replied: “Love, and it is the soul of Allah among the people.” Dawood (a.s.) laughed in joy, brought him to Bani Israel and said: “He is my successor among you after me.”
After that Sulaiman (a.s.) kept his matter confidential. He got married and kept himself away from his followers for a long time. One day his wife said: “May my parents be sacrificed on you, how perfect your habits are! How fragrant you are! And I don’t find in you any trait or habit that I may dislike, except that you live depending on my father. Thus if you go to the market and with the help of Allah make effort to earn a livelihood I am sure Allah will not fail you. Sulaiman (a.s.) said: By Allah neither have I done any work so far nor can I do anything properly. But anyway, he set out for the market and spent the whole day roaming here and there without earning anything.
At last he returned home and told his wife that he was unable to make any money. “No problem,” she said, “Try again tomorrow.” Again the next day he departed to the market, spent the whole day roaming about but again did not have any luck. When he returned and told his wife about it she said, “If Allah wills, something will happen tomorrow.” On the third day, after walking for a long time he reached the river banks where he met a fisherman and said to him: “I can assist you in your work, after which you can pay me something.” “Why not?” said the fisherman. So he began to work with the fisherman who at the end of the day paid him in kind with a couple of fishes.
He took up the fishes and thanked and praised Allah for the same. Then he cut open one of the fishes to find that it contained a jewel (ring). He took it out and pocketed it praising and thanking the Almighty. Then he cleaned up the two fishes and brought them home. His wife was much pleased and she asked him to invite her parents so that they may know that he has started earning.
So they were invited, and they arrived and began to eat with them. After the dinner Sulaiman (a.s.) asked, “Do you know who I am?” “No,” they replied, “Except that we have seen nothing but goodness from you.” Thus when he took up his ring in his hand the wind and birds began to move towards him and his rulership became apparent. After that he took his wife and her parents and set out for the city of Istakhar. When he reached there his followers gathered around him and began to talk about the glad tidings of his arrival. Thus the Almighty Allah brought them out from the confusion of his occultation.
When his end approached, according to Allah’s command he appointed Asif bin Barkhiya as his legatee and successor. Asif therefore remained among them and the followers continued to interact with him and sought religious guidance from him. Then the Almighty Allah made Asif also go into occultation and after a considerable period brought him back to the people among whom he lived for a long time.
Finally when he bid adieu, the people asked when they shall meet again. Upon this he replied: We shall now meet at the Sirat Bridge, and then he disappeared from them according to Divine will. As a result of his occultation calamities intensified on Bani Israel and Nebuchadnezzar gained political power upon them. He used to eliminate whoever he could find and those who managed to escape were pursued and their children and family members were made captives.
Thus he selected four persons from the family of Yahooda whom he had imprisoned, among whom Prophet Daniyal was also included and he selected Uzair from the progeny of Harun (a.s.). Since he was younger of the two he remained under his control and the other people of Bani Israel continued to suffer the worst of the tortures. The Proof of God, Prophet Daniyal (a.s.) remained a prisoner of Nebuchadnezzar for ninety years. Thus he learnt of his excellence and superiority and he came to know that Bani Israel was awaiting for his advent and uprising and that they hope for deliverance and victory at his hands.
So he ordered that he should be kept in a huge pit along with a lion so that it may make him a morsel of death, but the lion did not even go near him. After that he ordered that he should be starved to death. But the Almighty Allah sent him food and water through one of His prophets. Thus Prophet Daniyal used to fast during the days and end his fast in the evening with the food that was sent to him. During that time hardships increased on his supporters and followers, his people and those who were in anticipation of his advent and most of them, due to the excessive prolongation of occultation got deviated from their religion.
When it was time for the end of the hardships of Prophet Daniyal and his people, Nebuchadnezzar saw in dream that army after army of angels is descending from the heavens and entering the pit in which Daniyal was held. Each of them was greeting him and giving the glad tidings of deliverance and success. In the morning he was ashamed for the treatment he had meted out to Daniyal and he ordered him to be taken out from the pit. When he was brought out to him, he asked for his forgiveness for having imprisoned for crime and for having tortured him so much. After that he handed over the reins of his government to him. He was also entrusted to judge cases of litigation.
Thus the people of Bani Israel, who were in hiding so far, came out and assembled around Prophet Daniyal (a.s.) because they were sure that it was the time of deliverance and comfort. Thus Daniyal (a.s.) remained in this condition for sometime and at last departed for the eternal abode entrusting all the affairs of the kingdom to Prophet Uzair (a.s.). Now the people congregated around him and gained proximity from him. They obtained religious guidance and instructions from him.
After that the Almighty Allah kept Uzair in occultation from them for a hundred years and then made him reappear once more. The divine representatives that came after him also remained in concealment. In this way hardships increased upon Bani Israel till Yahya bin Zakariya (a.s.) took birth. He continued to grow upto the time of the declaration of his prophethood which was at the time when he was only seven years old.
He came before the people and addressed them. After extolling the praise and glorification of the Almighty he warned them of divine chastisement and he told them that the hardships faced by the righteous people were due to the sins of Bani Israel and the good end is for those who are pious. He also informed them that Jesus Christ will appear after twenty odd years. When Christ was born the Almighty Allah kept his birth a secret and his presence in concealment because when Lady Maryam conceived him she took him away from the people to a place and later Prophet Zakariya and her aunt followed her footprints and reached there.
The two of them chastised her while Maryam had already delivered the baby and she was saying: Oh, would that I had died before this, and had been a thing quite forgotten! But the Almighty Allah bestowed the power of speech to His Eminence Christ (a.s.) in order to justify Maryam and to establish the proof and evidence. When Jesus declared his mission the troubles and restrictions increased on Bani Israel and the tyrant rulers suppressed him till happened what the Almighty Allah has told us about. After that Shamoon bin Harun and other followers of Isa (a.s.) went into hiding and reached an island and began to spend their lives there.
The Almighty Allah brought out springs of potable water, created all kinds of fruits for them and also provided them with animals. Allah sent a particular type of fish towards them. It was called Qumud and had neither flesh nor bone. It consisted only of skin and blood. The honeybee was made to mount it and these fishes brought the honeybees to the Island. The bees made honeycombs on the trees of the island and soon there was plenty of honey there. Nothing about Isa (a.s.) was concealed from the people of that island.”