Aramaya’s (A.S.) Family History
Another prophet is Aramaya (A.S.) Ibn Hilkiah from the House of Levi Ibn Yaqub (A.S.). It has been claimed that he was Al-Khidr. This was related by Al-Dahak from Ibn Abbas but it is not true.
Traditions About Aramaya’s (A.S.)
Ibn Asakir reported that it is written in some scrolls that Aramaya (A.S.) stood upon the blood of Yahya Ibn Zakariah (A.S.) while it was flowing and he said: “0 blood! You have enlightened the people, so take a rest.” So it stopped and condensed until it disappeared.
There is a tradition that Aramaya (A.S.) asked Allah: “0 Lord! Which of Your slaves is more lovable to You?” He answered: “Those who remember Me most away from their remembrance of My creatures; those who are not thinking of death, nor speak of eternal living; those who, when they are allured by the riches of this world, despise them, and when they lose them are happy; those have My love, indeed, and I shall reward them more than they desired.”
Allah’s Warning to the Children of Israel
Almighty Allah declared: And We gave Moses the Scripture and made it a guidance for the children of Israel (saying): “Take not other than Me as (your) Wakil (Protector, Lord, or Disposer of your affairs, etc.). 0 offspring of those whom We carried (in the ship) with Nuh! Verily, he was a grateful slave.”
And We decreed for the children of Israel in The Scripture, that indeed you would do mischief on the earth twice and you will become tyrants and extremely arrogant! So, when the promise came for the first of the two, We sent against you slaves of Ours given to terrible warfare. They entered the very innermost parts of your homes. And it was a promise (completely) fulfilled. Then We gave you once again, a return of victory over them. And We helped you with wealth and children and made you more numerous in manpower.
(And We said): “If you do good, you do good for your own selves, and if you do evil (you do it) against yourselves.”
Then, when the second promise came to pass, (We permitted your enemies) to make your faces sorrowful and to enter the mosque (of Jerusalem) as they had entered it before, and to destroy with utter destruction all that fell in their hands.
(And We said in the Torah): “It may be that your Lord may show mercy unto you, but if you return (to sins), We shall return (to Our Punishment). And We have made Hell a prison for the disbelievers.” Surah 17:2-8
Allah’s Message to the Children of Israel
Wahb Ibn Munbah reported that when sin increased, Allah revealed to an Israelite prophet called Amos (Mamia) that he should stand before his people and admonish them that they are hard-headed, blind, and deaf and tell them: “I i.e., Allah remember their forefathers, and that makes Me merciful with them. And ask them about My bounty: can any of them benefit from disobeying Me? and does any suffer who obeys Me? The beasts remember their countries and return to them, but those people have forgotten why I have favored them for the sake of their forefathers, and have misused My generosity. Your scribes have forgotten My tenets and your reciters worship other than Me, and your women have not learned a useful lesson and their rulers have lied against Me and My messengers. Their hearts and mouths are full of lies. And I swear by My majesty and power that I will send upon them people with strange tongues, and strange faces, merciless in the face of their tears; and I shall send them a tyrannous cruel king, with an army like clouds, and followers like storms, and their flags like the wings of eagles, and the paces of their horses like the decades of a journey. They will return buildings to dust, and leave the villages a wilderness. Woe betide it and its inhabitants if they shout and invoke! I will not look at their faces.”
Allah’s Warning to the Children of Israel – Variation
Ibn Asaker has related the same in these words: Ishaaq Ibn Bishr said that Idris (A.S.) told them that Wahb Ibn Munbah said that Allah the Exalted sent Aramaya (A.S.) to the children of Israel when the situation had become worse among them – in disobedience, killing of prophets and covetousness. Allah was determined to revenge Himself upon them vindictively; and so He revealed to Aramaya (A.S.): “I am going to destroy Jerusalem (the children of Israel) in revenge. Go the Dome of the Rock. I will give you My commands and revelation.”
Aramaya (A.S.) stood up and rent his clothes, and applied ashes to his face and fell prostrate and said: “0 Lord! would that my mother had not borne me, when You made me the last prophet of Israel, and Jerusalem be destroyed in my time.” Allah said: “Raise your head.” He raised his head, wept, and said: “0 my Lord! whom will You set against them?”
He said: “The worshippers of fire who do not fear My punishment, nor expect My reward. Stand up, Aramaya (A.S.), and hear the news about Israel. Before I chose you, I had made you and favored you and honored you. Go with the king and guide and protect him.” (He was with the king while he was receiving revelation from Allah, and they forgot how Allah saved them.) “Go and tell them what I have told you.”
“0 Allah! I am weak if You do not strengthen me.”
“Do you not know that all affairs are controlled by Me? I am Allah without semblance, or any like Me. I spoke to the oceans so; I am with you, and nothing shall harm you. Go to your people and tell them: Allah has remembered you, with His remembrance of your forefathers good deeds. The animals remember their countries and return to them. But those people of yours are drenched in destruction and damnation, for they have forgotten the purpose of My generosity to their forefathers and have misplaced My favors. The scholars and priests have gone astray and have worshipped another god besides Me.
“As for their kings and princes, they have been lavished with My bounty and thought themselves safe from My fate. They abandon My Book and kill My prophets. Is it possible for Me to have a partner? Is it possible for Me to make a creature to be worshipped and to be obeyed besides Me? As for their reciters and jurists, they teach and learn what they like. As for the children of prophets, they are oppressed and seduced and go with the crowd. They want the positions of their fathers without the discipline, patience, piety, and kindness of their fathers.
“By my power, I swear, that I shall send woe upon them that no wise man can understand. I shall replace their luxury with ordeal, chains, and fetters and after dwelling in palaces, they will dwell in dust. I will disgrace and degrade their womenfolk. I create My creatures and slaves with mercy and bounty. If they accept and recognize it, I complete My favors and mercy. When I change My mind, I change My mind; and if I change, I am angry; and if I am angry, I punish; and nothing prospers with My anger.”
Aramaya (A.S.) Pleads on Behalf of His People
According to Kab, Aramaya (A.S.) said: “By Your grace I have come to learn before You; how is it possible when I am weak and powerless, to speak before You? But by Your mercy You have spared me to this day. None fears this punishment more than I do, because I have been among them while they disobeyed You, yet without it changing me. If You punish me, I deserve it, and if You spare me, I expect it of Your kindness. 0 Lord, You are Overlord! Are You going to destroy their country when it is the place of Your prophets, the place of Your revelations? 0 Lord the Exalted and Blessed be Your Name! for You to destroy this mosque and all pertaining to it, and those houses which lauded Your praise! 0 Lord, for You to kill these people and punish them, when they are the issue of Ibrahim Your faithful friend and Dawood Your chosen one! 0 Lord, which village will escape Your punishment then? Which worshiper will escape Your vengeance after the children of Your faithful friend Ibrahim?”
He on High said: “He who disobeys Me will not detest My punishment. I had honored them because they obeyed Me. If they disobeyed me I will place them among the disobedient, until I rescue them out of My Mercy.”
Aramaya (A.S.) said: “0 Lord, You made friends with Ibrahim and for his sake You preserved us; and Musa You did save; and he asked You to save us and not abandon us, nor throw us to the enemy.” And so Allah revealed to him: “0 Aramaya, I made you honored in your mother’s womb and have chosen you to this day. If your people had protected the orphans, the widows, the helpless, and the stranded, I would have been their Sustainer. They would have been like a blissful garden to Me; but I complain of the children of Israel to you. I have been the kind shepherd to them; but I honor only those who honor and despise those who despise My command. Those before them feared Me, but these people displayed their obedience of Me in the temple, market place, hill and mountain tops, and under the shade of trees until the heavens wondered at them before Me, and the earth and mountains, including the beasts, wondered and wailed. All that had no effect on them; nor was the Book useful to them.”
Aramaya’s (A.S.) People Refuse to Listen
Kab said that when Aramaya (A.S.) delivered the message of his Lord, and the people heard the threats and warnings in it, they said: “You are lying, if you are saying that Allah shall destroy the land, His temple, His Book, His worship, and monotheism.” They captured Aramaya (A.S.), tied him up, and imprisoned him. At this, Allah sent Nebuchadnezzar upon them. He entered the country with his troops and surrounded the city. When the siege was prolonged they surrendered to his rule. They opened the gates and Nebuchadnezzar’s troops streamed in.
He ruled them savagely and punished them cruelly. He killed a third of them, captured a third, and spared the lame and the old; then he trampled upon them with the horses, demolished their houses, drew the youth along, and stood the women in the market places as guards. He intimidated the troops and destroyed the castles and temples. He burned the Torah. He asked about Danial (A.S.), the prophet who had written to him, but he was dead. His family took out the letter which he had written to him. Among the family members were Danial (A.S.) the youngest son of Ezekiel, Azariah, and Mishael. He left that letter for them. The younger Daniel succeeded the elder Danial.
Nebuchadnezzar entered Jerusalem with his troops, then marched to Syria. He killed the children of Israel until he almost exterminated them. He returned to Babylon with booty in the form of treasure and men, among them young princes and children of priests numbering seventy thousand.
Nebuchadnezzar and Aramaya (A.S.) Meet
Ibn Ishaaq Ibn Bishr reported that Wahb bin Munbah stated that after Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed Jerusalem, he was told that the Israelites had a man who used to predict what had befallen them, describing the king and his actions, foretelling that he would slay their warriors, capture their children, destroy the temple, and burn their Torah. They had said he was lying, and so they had tied him and kept him in prison.
Nebuchadnezzar ordered that he be brought out from prison. Aramaya (A.S.) was released and the king said to him: “Did you warn those people against what has happened to them?” Aramaya (A.S.) affirmed it and the king said: “I knew that.” Aramaya (A.S.) stated: “Allah sent me to them and they accused me of lying.” He asked: “And did they beat you and imprison you?” He replied: “Yes.” The king said: “What a wicked race, to deny their prophet and their Lord’s message! So would you like to join me, for me to honor you and make you free? And if you want to remain in your country, I grant you that.” Aramaya (A.S.) replied: “I am still in the security of Allah when I did not go away from the country at all. If the Israelites did not go out of it, they would not fear you, nor any other, nor would you have authority over them.” When Nebuchadnezzar heard this, he let him alone, and so Aramaya (A.S.) went to live in his place in Elia (Elat).
According to Hisham Ibn al-Kalbi, Nebuchadnezzar marched on Jerusalem, its king – who was a descendant of Dawood, who had built Jerusalem for the Israelites – made peace with him. Nebuchadnezzar took hostages and departed. When he had gone as far as Thahria, he learned that the Israelites had risen against their king and killed him because he had made peace with him. So, Nebuchadnezzar beheaded all the hostages that were with him. He returned to the Israelites and invaded the city, killing the warriors and capturing their families.
When he had found Aramaya (A.S.) in prison and released him, Aramaya (A.S.) told him his story and his warnings concerning him. Nebuchadnezzar said: “What a wicked people that disobey the prophet of Allah!” He set him free and honored him. Aramaya (A.S.) gathered around him the remaining weak souls of Israel.
The Children of Israel Do Not Repent
He said to them: “Woe to us! We have disobeyed Allah. We must repent to Allah, Great and Majestic, for what we have done, and I shall pray to Allah to accept our repentance.” He prayed so, and Allah revealed to him that He would not accept it: “If they are sincere, they must stay with you in this country (or town).” He told them what Allah had revealed. They said: “How can we stay in this town when it has been devastated and Allah is angry with its people?” So they refused to stay.
Ibn al-Kalbi said that since that time, the children of Israel were dispersed the world over. Some of them went to the Hijaz, Taif and Madina, and others settled in Wadi al-Qura. Some went to Egypt, and Nebuchadnezzar wrote to its king, demanding those who had escaped there, but he refused. So Nebuchadnezzar mounted his army and fought him. He defeated him and captured their children. Then he marched to the extreme of Morocco. He returned from Morocco, Egypt, Jerusalem, Palestine, and Jordan with many captives and among them was Danial.
Ibn al-Kalbi said that it appears that it was Danial, the youngest son of Ezekiel, and not the elder Danial (A.S.), according to Ibn Munbah. Allah knows best.
Aramaya (A.S.) Sleeps for 100 Years, Jerusalem is Rebuilt
Hashim Ibn Al-Kalbi reported that Allah the Exalted revealed to Aramaya (A.S.): “I am going to reconstruct Jerusalem, so go there.” He went and found it devastated. He (A.S.) said to himself: “Exalted be Allah! Allah told me to come to this city and that He was reconstructing it. When will Allah rebuild it? And when will He bring it back to life?” Then he (A.S.) slept, and his donkey with him, for seventy years until Nebuchadnezzar and the king over him – Laharasab, who had ruled one hundred twenty years – had perished. Laharasab was succeeded by his son Bashtaasib (According to the Bible, Uzair 1, this would be King Cyrus of Persia). News of the death of Nebuchadnezzar had reached Bashtaasib through Sham (Syria), which was in utter ruin. The wild beasts had multiplied in Palestine, for it had become empty of men. Bashtaasib therefore called to the children of Israel in Babylon: “Whoever wants to return to Sham (Syria/Palestine) may do so.” It was ruled by one from the House of Dawood, who was ordered by Bashtaasib to rebuild Jerusalem and its temple, so they returned and rebuilt it. Then Aramaya (A.S.) opened his eyes, blinked from the seventy year sleep, and saw how the city was being reconstructed. He (A.S.) remained in that sleep of his until he had completed one hundred years. When Allah awoke him, he (A.S.) thought that he had slept not more than an hour. He had known the city as a devastated land; when he (A.S.) saw it rebuilt and populated, he (A.S.) said: “I know (now) that Allah is able to do all things”
The History of Israel After its Rebuilding
Ibn Al-Kalbi said that the Israelites settled it, and Allah rebuilt their glory. It remained so until Rome vanquished them in the era of the tribal kings; then they lost their community and their authority after the appearance of Christianity.
This is how Ibn Jarir tells their story in his History of Jerusalem. He said that Laharasab was a just king and diplomatic. The people, chiefs, and kings obeyed him, and he was gifted in the construction of cities, canals and institutions. When he grew too weak to rule, after more than one hundred, his son Bashtaasib ascended to the throne. During his reign the religion of Zoroastrianism (Al Majusia) appeared. A man named Zoroaster (Zordahst) had been a companion of Aramaya (A.S.) and had angered him, so Aramaya (A.S.) cursed him. Zoroaster became a leper. He went to the land of Azerbaijan, joined Bashtaasib and converted him to Zoroastrianism, which he chose for himself of his own free will. Bashtaasib forced people to embrace it and killed many people who disobeyed him.
After Bashtaasib, his son Barman ruled. They were among the famous and heroic kings of Persia, and Nebuchadnezzar had been deputy to all three of them. He lived a long time.
The essence of what has been written by Ibn Jarir is that the person or wayfarer passing through this village was Aramaya (A.S.). Others say that it was Hosea (Ozir), and this is the consensus of the ancients and those after them, but Allah knows best.