Almighty Allah said: Did you (O Muhammad) not think of those who went
forth from their homes in thousands, fearing death? Allah said to them,
"Die." And then He restored them to life. Truly, Allah is full of Bounty
to mankind, but most men think not. (Ch 2:243 Quran).
Mohammad Ibn Ishaaq stated of Wahb Ibn Munbah said that when Allah took
Kalih Ibn Yofra (Jephtha) after Joshua, Ezekiel Ibn Buzi succeeded him as
the prophet to the Israelites. The people had fled from Palestine for fear
of the plague and settled on a plateau. Allah said to them: "Die you all,"
and they all perished. A few centuries passed, and then Ezekiel, passing
by, stopped over them, wondering. There came a voice: "Do you want Allah
to resurrect them while you watch?" He said: "Yes." Then he was commanded
to call those bones to join one to the other and to be covered with flesh.
So he called them by the power of Allah, and the people arose and
glorified Allah in the voice of one man.
According to Ibn Abbas, this place was called "Damardan." Its people
were inflicted with plague, so they fled, while a group of them who
remained in the village perished. The Angel of Death called to the
survivors: "Die you all," and they perished. After a long time a prophet
called Ezekiel passed by them and stood wondering over them, twisting his
jaws and fingers. Allah revealed to him: "Do you want Me to show you how I
bring them back to life? He said: "Yes." His idea was to marvel at the
power of Allah over them. A voice said to him: "Call: 'O you bones, Allah
commands you to gather up.'" The bones began to fly one to the other until
they became skeletons. Then Allah revealed to him to say; "Call: 'O you
bones, Allah commands you to put on flesh and blood and the clothes in
which they had died.'" And a voice said: "Allah commands you to call the
bodies to rise." And they rose. When they returned to life they said:
"Blessed are You, O Lord, and all praises is Yours." Ibn 'Abbas reported
that the dead who were resurrected were four thousand, while Ibn Salih
said they were nine thousand.
Regarding plague, Abu Ubaidah Ibn Al-Jarrah related that 'Umar Ibn
Al-Khattab was on his way to Syria and had reached Sarg when the leader of
the Muslim army, Abu Ubaidah Ibn Al-Jarrah, and his companions met him and
told him of a pestilence that had broken out in Syria. 'Umar remember the
Prophet's (pbuh) saying: "If it (plague) be in a country where you are
staying, do not go out fleeing it, and if you hear it is in a country, do
not enter it." Umar praised Allah and then went off.
Muhammad Ibn Ishaaq stated that we do not know how long Ezekiel (pbuh)
stayed among the Israelites before Allah took him away. After him, the
Israelites deviated from the right way of life, as they usually did, and
deserted Allah's covenant with them. They worshipped many idols, among
them Ba'al, so Allah sent to them the Prophet Elijah (pbuh).
Story of Elisha (Elyas)
And remember Our slaves, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, (all) owners of
strength (in worshipping Us) and (also) of religious understanding.
Verily, We did choose them by granting them (a good thing ) the
remembrance of the home (in the Hereafter and they used to make the people
remember it, and also they used to invite the people to obey Allah and to
do good deeds for the Hereafter). And they are in Our Sight, verily, of
the chosen and the best! And remember Ishmael, Elisha, and Dhul-Kifl, all
are among the best. (Ch 38:45-48 Quran).
Ibn Ishaaq said that Elisha (pbuh) was sent to the children after
Elijah (pbuh). He lived among his people, calling them to Allah and
abiding by the message and laws of Elijah until he passed away. Then
dissension rose among them, and events took momentum. Sins increased
everywhere, and the tyrants increased and killed the prophets.
According to Al-Hafiz Abu Al-Qasim Ibn Asaker, Elisha was Ibn Adi, Ibn
Shultam, Ibn Aphraem, Ibn Joseph, Ibn Isaac, Ibn Abraham. It was said that
he was the cousin of Elijah. Other sources said also that he had been
hiding with Elijah in a cave in Mount Qasium to escape from the King of
Ba'alabak, and when Elijah died, he Elisha succeeded him as a prophet
among his people.
Story of Samuel
Ibn Jarir reported that the condition of the Israelites deteriorated.
They committed many sins and killed whom they wished of the prophets.
Consequently Allah sent them tyrannous king who ill-treated them and
spilled their blood, and set their enemies from outside against them as
well. They used to go war, taking with them The Ark of the Covenant. They
did this so that they would be victorious by its blessings, and it became
a symbol of calm and a relic left behind by Moses's people. When they went
to war with the people of Gaza and Askalon, they were defeated because the
Ark of the Covenant was captured from them. When the king of the
Israelites heard of this he died on the spot.
The children of Israel remained like sheep without a shepherd until
Almighty Allah sent them a prophet named Samuel (Shammil) (pbuh). They
asked him to appoint a king over them to lead in a war against their
According to Ibn 'Asaker, the Israelites believed their Ark of the
Covenant to be very holy and an important symbol of their history. The
carried the Ark even in battle and believed that, because of it, Allah
would protect them from their enemies. This belief gave them peace of mind
and great courage, and their enemies were terrified by it. Their enemies
also believed that it was given special power by Allah. Gradually the
Israelites started to ignore Allah's law; evil habits became part of their
lives. Allah sent upon them an enemy, the Philistines, who defeated the
Israelites, captured their Ark, drove them out of their homes, and took
away their children to use or sell as slaves. Their power was broken. They
separated from one another and were very disheartened.
Then came Prophet Samuel (pbuh) among them to bring some relief. They
asked the prophet's help in appointing a strong leader, a king under whose
banner they could unite and fight the Philistines. Prophet Samuel (pbuh),
knowing their weakness, told them: "I fear that when the time comes to
fight you may refuse." But they assured him that they had suffered enough
insults and were now ready to fight in the way of Allah, even if they lost
Prophet Samuel prayed to Allah for guidance. Allah revealed to him that
He had chosen one, Saul (Talut), to be their king. The prophet wanted to
know how to recognize the future king. He was told that Saul would come to
him by himself and that they should then hand over the control of kingdom
to him, for he would lead them in battle against the Philistines.
Saul was tall and sturdy, pious, and very intelligent. He lived and
worked with his father on their farm. One day, several of their donkeys
were lost. Accompanied by his servant, Saul went in search of them. They
traveled for many days and were very tired. Saul said to his servant: "Let
us rather go back, for I am sure that my father will be worried by now,
and the other animals must also be cared for." His servant suggested that
as they were already in the land of Samuel the prophet, they should go to
him to inquire about the lost donkeys.
Saul agreed, and they carried on. On their way, they asked directions
from some maidens carrying water. They were told to go in the direction of
the mountain. Here, a vast crowd was waiting for the Prophet Samuel. When
Saul set eyes on him, he instantly recognized him as a prophet by his holy
men. Samuel also recognized Saul as the king that Allah had chosen for
them. Saul greeted the prophet respectfully. When he asked about his
missing donkeys, Samuel told him not to worry, his donkeys were already on
their way to his fat's farm.
He then told Saul that Allah had chosen him as the king of the children
of Israel. His duty would be to take charge of their affairs, to unite
them under one banner, and to protect them from their enemies. If he
carried out Allah's commands, he would be given victory. Saul was
surprised by this sudden honor offered to him. It was also a heavy
responsibility. He protested to the prophet that he was a of the children
of Benjamin, the least famous of the tribes of Jacob; he did not know
anything of leadership or kingship and had no wealth. Samuel told him that
it was the will of Allah that he should be the king, that he should thank
Allah for His favor and be strong in faith.
Taking Saul by the hand, Samuel led him to the children of Israel, but
they insisted on a direct sign from Allah. Prophet Samuel told them to go
outside the city to see the sign, which they did. Almighty Allah revealed:
"Have you not thought about the group of children of Israel after (the
time of ) Moses? When they said to a Prophet of theirs: "Appoint for us a
king and we will fight in Allah's Way."
He said: "Would you then refrain from fighting, if fighting was
prescribed for you?"
They said: "Why should we not fight in Allah's Way while we have been
driven out of our homes and our children (families have been taken as
But when fighting was ordered for them, they turned away, all except a
few of them. And Allah is All-Aware of the Zalimeen (polytheists, and
And their Prophet (Samuel) said to them: "Indeed Allah has appointed
Saul as a king over you."
They said: "How can he be a king over us when we are better fitted than
him for the kingdom, and he has not been given enough wealth."
He said: "Verily, Allah has chosen him above you and has increased him
abundantly in knowledge and stature. And Allah grants His Kingdom to whom
He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs,
And their Prophet (Samuel) said to them: "Verily! The sigh of His
kingdom is that there shall come to you At Tabut (a wooden box), wherein
is Sakinah (peace and reassurance) from your Lord and a remnant of that
which Moses and Aaron left behind, carried by the angels. Verily, in this
is a sigh for you if you are indeed believers."
Then when Saul set out with the army, he said: "Verily! Allah will try
you by a river. So whoever drinks thereof, he is not of me, and whoever
tastes it not, he is of me, except him who takes thereof in the hollow of
Yet, they drank thereof, all, except a few of them. So when he had
crossed it (the river), he and those who believed with him, they said: "We
have no power on this day against Goliath and his hosts."
But those who knew with certainty that they were to meet their Lord,
said: "How often a small group overcame a mighty host by Allah's Leave?"
And Allah is with the patient.
And when they advanced to meet Goliath and his forces, they invoked.
"Our Lord! Pour forth on us patience and make us victorious over the
disbelieving people." (Ch 2:246-250)
Saul set about organizing his army with strong faith and wisdom. He
ordered that only men free from responsibilities should join. Those
engaged in building homes, men who were about to be married and those
occupied with business should not join.
After establishing a well-trained army, he decided to put them to the
test. He told them that along the route they would pass a river where they
should drink enough water to quench their thirst but not more than that.
To his disappointment, he discovered the majority of them drank more water
than they should have. He discharged them for disobedience and kept only
the few who had obeyed him, as they were the ones who proved their
sincerity. This resulted in a split in the army, but he was not bothered.
He believed in quality and not numbers; better a small band of true
believers he could rely on than a huge army of unreliable men.
Saul's men sighted the enemy on the other side of the river. Their
opponents appeared physically strong and were armed with better weapons.
They were led by the mighty warrior Goliath (Galut), known for his huge
build and brute strength. A great number of Saul's men ran away on seeing
this strong force. The small band that remained was willing to fight,
whatever the outcome, for they had heard that there had been many
incidents in the past in which Allah had caused a small force to defeat a