Published in  
April 1, 2024

The Two Warnings: The Fall of the Kingdom of Israel

Bani Israel reached the peak of their power and honour as a nation under Prophet Sulayman عليه السلام. In Surah al-Isra, Allah mentions Two Warnings or Corruptions regarding Bani Israel. How did the mighty Kingdom of Israel fall from power? What do these ayat have to do with Masjid al-Aqsa today? Let's take a deep dive into these interesting ayat and reflect upon the many lessons that we can learn from them.

Bani Israel reached the peak of their power and honour as a nation under Prophet Sulayman عليه السلام. Imam al-Baghawi رحمه الله states that Prophet Sulayman عليه السلام lived for 53 years and ruled for 40 years. He became king after Prophet Dawud عليه السلام at the age of 13 and started building Baytul-Maqdis in the fourth year of his reign. 

After his passing away, corruption, enmity, and infighting grew among Bani Israel. The mighty and prosperous kingdom that was built under the reigns of Prophet Dawud and Sulayman began to crumble. The united kingdom of Israel lasted for 90 years, from 1020-922 BCE. In 922 BCE, the kingdom split into:

  1. The Kingdom of Israel or Samaria in the North, which lasted for 200 years, from 922-722 BCE. Its capital was Shechem (Nablus) and its king was Jeroboam. The Israelite tribes swore allegiance to him, except for Judah and Benjamin.

  2. The Kingdom of Judea (Yahuda) in the South, which lasted for 336 years, from 922-586 BCE. Its capital was Jerusalem (al-Quds) and its king was Rehoboam. Two Israelite tribes swore allegiance to him, namely Judah and Benjamin. They were plagued by idolatry and oppression was rampant in the community. Despite multiple prophets being sent to them, they remained aloof, and slowly the kingdom spiralled into decline. 

In both these kingdoms, the Canaanites still lived among Bani Israel and even participated in the battles against the invaders who attacked Palestine.

The Temple of Solomon is in reality Masjid al-Aqsa that Prophet Sulayman عليه السلام rebuilt and continued to take care of after his father, Prophet Dawud عليه السلام. He was also aided by the Jinns in rebuilding the Masjid. 

As per Jewish sources:

  1. The temple was destroyed for the first time by the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE. Several decades after that, the captive Jews in Babylon were allowed to return to Jerusalem, so they returned and rebuilt the temple circa 521 BCE.

  2. Then, the temple was destroyed again at the hands of Titus, the son of the Roman emperor Vespasian. This was the second destruction of the temple, and took place on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Ab. The Jews fast on this day every year in commemoration of this event. To make sure that the Jews would not forget the temple, and so that it would remain alive in their memories, their rabbis introduced rituals and ceremonies that every Jew performs in order to remember the Temple, at the time of birth, at the time of death, at the time of marriage, when painting the house, and so on.

  3. In 313 CE, Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity and began to build churches. The Church of the Resurrection was the first church to be built during that period, and the site of the temple became a rubbish dump, to spite the Jews.

  4. In 135 CE, at the time of Emperor Hadrian, the city was destroyed completely and the Jews were expelled from it. A new city was built in its place, which was called Aelia Capitolina in honour of his pagan God, Jupiter. It continued to be known by this name until the Muslims entered it during the caliphate of the second caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab ,رضي الله عنه when it became known as al-Quds or Bayt al-Maqdis. Many ahadith refer to it as Ilya, as that was what it was commonly known as during the Prophet’s ﷺ time.

  5. The Jews today talk about the building of the Third Temple. The nature of the Third Temple is a subject of heavy controversy, even among Jewish scholars. There is nothing explicit that mentions its construction. If we add to this the Christian interpretation based on the words of Paul, then the Third Temple will merely be a spiritual ‘temple’: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” [Corinthians 3:16]

The Fall of the Kingdom of Israel

In 740 BCE, Assyrians from Mesopotamia occupied Palestine. The Jews were rounded up, oppressed, and forced to pay a tax to live there. The Northern Kingdom was absorbed and now controlled as Assyrian provinces. This reign lasted for about eight years. 

In 732 BCE, the Assyrians were defeated by a people known as the Chaldeans who had occupied the entirety of Mesopotamia. The Chaldeans were a tribe of people that settled near the city of Babylon and the city of Ur. This tribe was absorbed by the Babylonian Empire and created the country of Chaldea in the southern part of Babylonia. Babylonia is sometimes called Shinar or the land of Babylon but later came to be known as the land of the Chaldeans because of their might and power. Its inhabitants were referred to as Babylonians and also as Chaldeans. The term “Chaldean” was also used by several ancient authors to denote the priests and other persons educated in classical Babylonian literature. Be it under the Assyrians or the Chaldeans, the Canaanites still occupied the lands and continued to live under all these different rulers. 

In 597 BCE, the Chaldeans conquered Palestine and Jerusalem. King Je-hoia-chin of Jerusalem was the last Jewish king who tried to resist the Babylonian invasion. The kingdom was surrounded by the Babylonians, who laid siege and cut off supplies from entering. It is reported that when the people started running out of supplies, the king made a tunnel to escape. The tunnel partially collapsed, the resistance had to give in and the Babylonians entered Jerusalem. It is reported that over ten thousand Jews were captured. The Babylonians appointed a man named Zedekiah in charge as their governor.

In 586 BCE, Zedekiah attempted a coup against the Babylonians. The Babylonian leader Nebuchadnezzar (Bakhtnasr or Naboukhed Nasr) had entered Jerusalem and destroyed it in around 587 BCE. He destroyed the ‘Temple’ of Solomon brick by brick and over forty thousand people were taken prisoner. Those who managed to escape fled to Egypt. Historically, this is known as the first Babylonian captivity or exile. Later, he would go back to the city and destroy it again, in what is known as the second Babylonian captivity or exile, which put an end to the Kingdom of Judah. The original Tawrah was lost and some of the rabbis wrote parts of it from memory again including their own additions and interpretations. 

A very interesting point to note here is how successive Prophets and Messengers were sent to Bani Israel who invited them to the Mercy and Oneness of Allah and yet they rejected and assassinated many of them. It could be said that Allah then allowed Nebuchadnezzar to take over and destroy these people as a punishment even though Nebuchadnezzar was not a believer and Bani Israel now witnessed the Wrath of Allah. 

In the Bible itself, it says. “...behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares the Lord, and for Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations.”. [Jeremiah 25:9]

The term ‘servant’ has been used for Nebuchadnezzar. This reminds me of the hadith where the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Verily, no one will enter Paradise but a soul submissive to Allah, yet Allah may support this religion by the hands of a wicked man.” [Bukhari]

This period marks the end of Jewish rule in Palestine. The Babylonians laid waste to the entire place. Nebuchadnezzar would die a year after he destroyed the Jewish kingdom.

At this point, it is important to reflect on some key ayat from Surah al-Isra, also known as Surah Bani Israel. Allah says,

وَقَضَيْنَآ إِلَىٰ بَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ فِى ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ لَتُفْسِدُنَّ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ مَرَّتَيْنِ وَلَتَعْلُنَّ عُلُوًّۭا كَبِيرًۭا - فَإِذَا جَآءَ وَعْدُ أُولَىٰهُمَا بَعَثْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ عِبَادًۭا لَّنَآ أُو۟لِى بَأْسٍۢ شَدِيدٍۢ فَجَاسُوا۟ خِلَـٰلَ ٱلدِّيَارِ ۚ وَكَانَ وَعْدًۭا مَّفْعُولًۭا - ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَا لَكُمُ ٱلْكَرَّةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَمْدَدْنَـٰكُم بِأَمْوَٰلٍۢ وَبَنِينَ وَجَعَلْنَـٰكُمْ أَكْثَرَ نَفِيرًا - إِنْ أَحْسَنتُمْ أَحْسَنتُمْ لِأَنفُسِكُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ أَسَأْتُمْ فَلَهَا ۚ فَإِذَا جَآءَ وَعْدُ ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ لِيَسُـۥٓـُٔوا۟ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَلِيَدْخُلُوا۟ ٱلْمَسْجِدَ كَمَا دَخَلُوهُ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍۢ وَلِيُتَبِّرُوا۟ مَا عَلَوْا۟ تَتْبِيرًا - عَسَىٰ رَبُّكُمْ أَن يَرْحَمَكُمْ ۚ وَإِنْ عُدتُّمْ عُدْنَا ۘ وَجَعَلْنَا جَهَنَّمَ لِلْكَـٰفِرِينَ حَصِيرًا

And We warned Bani Israel in the Scripture, “You will certainly cause corruption in the land twice, and you will become extremely arrogant. When the first of the two warnings would come to pass, We would send against you some of Our servants of great might, who would ravage your homes. This would be a warning fulfilled. Then We gave you your turn to overpower them, and increased your strength with wealth and sons, and made you greater in number.

If you act rightly, it is for your own good, but if you do wrong, it is to your own loss. “And when the second warning would come to pass, your enemies would (be left to) totally disgrace you and enter that place of worship as they entered it the first time, and utterly destroy whatever would fall into their hands. Perhaps your Lord will have mercy on you (if you repent), but if you return (to sin), We will return (to punishment). And We have made Hell a (permanent) confinement for the disbelievers.” [Surah al-Isra, 4-8]

There is no direct or explicit explanation of the warnings mentioned in the above ayat. Scholars of Tafsir interpreted it based on what was available to them. Many of the classical scholars interpret both these events as something that occurred way in the past during the time of Bani Israel. They mostly agree that these events pre-date Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, yet they differ over what exactly these two warnings or events were. Since there is nothing explicit from the Prophet ﷺ, it could be that many of them took their interpretations from the Israeliyat to supplement their understanding. 

Some scholars say that the first event or warning was the murder of Prophet Zakariyyah and Yahya عليهما السلام and this is mentioned also in the books of the Jews who took the divine punishment to be a result of the killing of John the Baptist.

Some scholars say that the first event was Bani Israel being exiled for 40 years till they eventually entered Palestine and then the Kingdom of Israel was set up under Prophet Dawud and Sulayman عليه السلام. The first warning referred to the well-known destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE when the Jews were carried off to Babylonia in captivity, and the second warning or event was the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans under Titus in 70 CE.

Another group of scholars of tafsir including many contemporary scholars lean more towards the opinion that one of the warnings has come to pass and the second event is yet to come.  Keeping this in mind, let's explore the two warnings. 

Before delving further, we can look at six key incidents where Bani Israel went through immense turmoil:

  1. After the death of Prophet Sulayman عليه السلام, Bani Israel deviated and started engaging in evil actions. An Egyptian army pillaged Jerusalem and raided all the city’s treasure. They did not destroy Masjid al-Aqsa.

  2. Around four hundred years later. Bani Israel were again engaged in evil actions that included idolatry. Another Egyptian army attacked Jerusalem, raided the city, and destroyed parts of Masjid al-Aqsa.

  3. Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem and partially destroyed the city.

  4. A few years later, Nebuchadnezzar returned and the ‘Temple’ of Solomon was completely destroyed. More than seventy thousand people were killed and many others were taken as slaves back to Babylon.

  5. Around 170 years before the birth of Prophet Isa عليه السلام, a king from Antioch attacked Jerusalem where buildings were destroyed, more than forty thousand people were killed, and many others were enslaved. This king did not destroy the ‘Temple’ in this initial attack, but the ‘Temple’ was attacked and destroyed in the subsequent attacks by his descendants.

  6. In 70 CE, the Jews rebelled against the Romans and Titus razed the entire city of Jerusalem to the ground and flattened the Temple of Solomon. 

The First Warning

Allah had already told Bani Israel that they would be given positions of power and prestige that they would then end up using for spreading evil and corruption. The rulers after the demise of Prophet Sulayman عليه السلام had become oppressive, corrupt, and arrogant, and some people had even fallen into idol worship. Time and time again, Allah kept giving Bani Israel chances to repent and even blessed them with His bounties. Yet, they kept turning back to disobedience.

It can be understood that the first of these Warnings came to fruition when Bani Israel were at the peak of their power and might. This is when Prophet Dawud عليه السلام defeated Jalut (Goliath) and set up the Kingdom. This also includes when Prophet Sulayman عليه السلام built the kingdom to such a degree, the likes of which will never be seen ever again. His Kingdom spread across many countries, and he even commanded the winds, the animals, and the Jinn.

قَالَ رَبِّ ٱغْفِرْ لِى وَهَبْ لِى مُلْكًۭا لَّا يَنۢبَغِى لِأَحَدٍۢ مِّنۢ بَعْدِىٓ ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلْوَهَّابُ - فَسَخَّرْنَا لَهُ ٱلرِّيحَ تَجْرِى بِأَمْرِهِۦ رُخَآءً حَيْثُ أَصَابَ - وَٱلشَّيَـٰطِينَ كُلَّ بَنَّآءٍۢ وَغَوَّاصٍۢ - وَءَاخَرِينَ مُقَرَّنِينَ فِى ٱلْأَصْفَادِ

He prayed, “My Lord! Forgive me, and grant me an authority that will never be matched by anyone after me. You are indeed the Giver (of all bounties).” So We subjected to him the wind, blowing gently at his command to wherever he pleased. And (We subjected to him) every builder and diver of the jinn, and others bound together in chains. [Surah Sad, 35-38]

After this, Bani Israel became corrupted and indulged in their desires and oppression. Many engaged in idolatry, consumed wine, and turned away from the Tawrah among other evils. It is reported that around this time they were sent Prophet Irmiyah (Jeremiah) عليه السلام. He was informed by Allah that punishment was about to descend upon Jerusalem. 

Prophet Irmiyah عليه السلام tried to plead on behalf of Bani Israel. He 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. O Lord, You are the Overlord! 

Are you going to destroy their country when it is the place of Your prophets and the place of Your revelations? O Lord, Exalted and Blessed be Your Name! For You to destroy this Masjid and all pertaining to it, and those houses which landed Your Praise! O Lord, for You to kill these people and punish them, when they are the descendants of Ibrahim, Your faithful friend, and the nation of the one You have Spoken to Musa, and Dawud, Your chosen one! O Lord, which village will escape Your punishment then? Which worshipper will escape Your vengeance after the children of Your faithful friend Ibrahim, the nation of Musa whom You delivered, and the people of Dawud, your chosen one? Will you afflict them with the fire worshippers?”

Allah told him, “He who disobeys Me should not detest My punishment. I had only honoured them because they obeyed Me. If they disobey Me, I will place them among the disobedient, until I rescue them out of My Mercy." [al-Bidayah wan Nihayah]

When Prophet Irmiyah عليه السلام delivered the Warning of Allah, Bani Israel mocked the warnings. They said, “You are lying and fabricating a grave lie against Allah, claiming that there will come a time when Allah’s land and His places of worship will be devoid of His Books and devoid of anyone to worship Him and affirm His Oneness. So who would worship Him when there is no worshipper, place of worship, or book in the land? You have fabricated a grave lie against Allah and you must be possessed!” Then they took him, tied him up, and imprisoned him. 

With this, their downfall started, and the Kingdom of Israel was eventually annihilated by Nebuchadnezzar in 586-587 BCE as we have mentioned above. It is narrated that he killed one-third of them and took one-third captive, leaving the chronically ill and old men and women, and then he trampled them with horses. He destroyed the ‘Temple’, captured the young boys and carried them off, paraded the women bareheaded in the marketplace, killed the men of fighting age, demolished the fortresses, destroyed their places of worship, and burned the Tawrah.

Masjid al-Aqsa (or the Temple of Solomon as the Jews call it) was completely destroyed, and blood flowed in the streets when more than seventy thousand people were killed and many others taken as slaves back to Babylon. This has been reported to be the position of Imam Sa'eed ibn al-Musayyib, the son-in-law of Abu Hurairah and the leading scholar of the tabi'in. 

It is reported on the authority of Wahb ibn Munabbih that after Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed Jerusalem, he was told that Bani Israel 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 Tawrah. They had said he was lying, and so they had tied him and kept him in prison. Nebuchadnezzar ordered that he be brought out of prison. 

Jeremiah was released and Nebuchadnezzar said to him, "Did you warn those people against what has happened to them?" Jeremiah affirmed it and Nebuchadnezzar said, “I knew that.” Jeremiah stated, “Allah sent me to them and they accused me of lying.” He asked, “Did they beat you and imprison you?” He replied, “Yes.” Nebuchadnezzar said, “What a wicked race, to deny their prophet and their Lord's message! 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 will grant you protection.” 

Jeremiah replied, “I have been under the protection of Allah all my life, and have never been without it for a moment. If the Children of Israel had not chosen to disregard Allah’s protection, they would never have feared you or anyone else, and you would never have gained any power over them.” When Nebuchadnezzar heard this, he left him alone, and so Jeremiah went to live in his place in Aelia (Jerusalem). [al-Bidayah wan Nihayah] 

Nebuchadnezzar had installed a member of the family of the former king as a ruler of the city as his deputy. This new king was extremely corrupt and worshipped idols. He rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar which rekindled his fury. He returned, killed even more people, destroyed all property, and burned the city, razing it to rubble. Bani Israel had lost their kingdom and power. 

As time progressed, Bani Israel lived in humiliation as slaves in Babylon and Masjid al-Aqsa was destroyed. The land around Jerusalem was still inhabited by the Canaanites. 

Meanwhile, the Persian empire was rising on the horizon. They attacked and defeated the Babylonians in 539 BCE when they took over Mesopotamia. Only a small number of Jews returned to Jerusalem while others opted to stay in Babylon or Persia as that is where fortunes were to be made. This is similar to what we see today in Israel. The state occupies Palestinian lands and sets up many amenities inviting Jews to come and live there, yet the majority of the Jews live abroad in the West where they mint their fortunes instead of going to the allegedly “Promised Land”.

Some scholars of Tafsir mention that the part of the ayah that states, ‘Then We gave you your turn to overpower them, and increased your strength with wealth and sons, and made you greater in number.’ - refers to the Muslims or rather Allah is Addressing the Muslims and then Commanding us to reflect. This part of the ayah highlights how the Muslims were Aided by Allah to defeat the Persian and Roman empires following which Allah Blessed the ummah’s wealth and increased them in numbers. No ummah in terms of numbers is greater than the ummah of Prophet Muhammad as was confirmed by Prophet Musa himself in Al-Mi’raj. 

The Time of Prophet Uzair

In 458 BCE, Cyrus (Khosroe), the King of Persia, allowed Bani Israel to return to Al-Shaam and resettle in Jerusalem. They were led by Prophet Uzair (Ezra) عليه السلام during the period following the Babylonian Exile. He emphasized and redirected Bani Israel to follow the Tawrah. It is reported that Cyrus allowed and aided them in rebuilding Masjid al-Aqsa or the Second Temple of Solomon again. All the surviving relics that were looted and taken to Babylon were returned back to Jerusalem.

Allah narrates an incident about Prophet Uzair عليه السلام in the Qur'an where he contemplated how Allah would bring a city so severely destroyed back to life. Allah says,

أَوْ كَٱلَّذِى مَرَّ عَلَىٰ قَرْيَةٍۢ وَهِىَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَىٰ عُرُوشِهَا قَالَ أَنَّىٰ يُحْىِۦ هَـٰذِهِ ٱللَّهُ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا ۖ فَأَمَاتَهُ ٱللَّهُ مِا۟ئَةَ عَامٍۢ ثُمَّ بَعَثَهُۥ ۖ قَالَ كَمْ لَبِثْتَ ۖ قَالَ لَبِثْتُ يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍۢ ۖ قَالَ بَل لَّبِثْتَ مِا۟ئَةَ عَامٍۢ فَٱنظُرْ إِلَىٰ طَعَامِكَ وَشَرَابِكَ لَمْ يَتَسَنَّهْ ۖ وَٱنظُرْ إِلَىٰ حِمَارِكَ وَلِنَجْعَلَكَ ءَايَةًۭ لِّلنَّاسِ ۖ وَٱنظُرْ إِلَى ٱلْعِظَامِ كَيْفَ نُنشِزُهَا ثُمَّ نَكْسُوهَا لَحْمًۭا ۚ فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُۥ قَالَ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍۢ قَدِيرٌۭ

Or (are you not aware of) the one who passed by a city which was in ruins. He wondered, “How could Allah bring this back to life after its destruction?” So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years and then brought him back to life. Allah asked, “How long have you remained (in this state)?” He replied, “Perhaps a day or part of a day.” Allah said, “No! You have remained here for a hundred years! Just look at your food and drink—they have not spoiled. (But now) look at (the remains of) your donkey! And (so) We have made you into a sign for humanity. And look at the bones (of the donkey), how We bring them together then clothe them with flesh!” When this was made clear to him, he declared, “(Now) I know that Allah is Most Capable of everything.” [Surah al-Baqarah, 259]

Imams Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir at-Tabari recorded that Ibn Abbas and Ali bin Abi Talib رضي الله عنهم explained that this ayah referred to Uzair. Explaining further Imam Ibn Kathir رحمه الله said, 

“The city was rebuilt seventy years after the man (Uzair) died, and its inhabitants increased and Bani Israel moved back to it. When Allah resurrected Uzair after he died, the first organ that He resurrected were his eyes, so that he could witness what Allah does with him, and how He brings life back to his body. When his resurrection was complete, Allah said to him, meaning through the angel, "How long did you remain (dead)?" He (the man) said, "(Perhaps) I remained (dead) a day or part of a day."

The scholars said that since he had died in the early part of the day and Allah resurrected him in the latter part of the day when he saw that the sun was still apparent, he thought that it was the sun of that very day. He said, "Or part of a day." The Angel said: "Nay, you have remained (dead) for a hundred years, look at your food and your drink, they show no change." He had grapes, figs, and juice, and he found them as he left them; neither did the juice spoil nor the figs become bitter nor the grapes rot.” 

Imam As-Suddi رحمه الله said, “Uzair (عليه السلام) observed the bones of his donkey, which were scattered all around him to his right and left, and Allah sent a wind that collected the bones from all over the area. Allah then brought every bone to its place, until they formed a full donkey made of fleshless bones. Allah then covered these bones with flesh, nerves, veins, and skin. Allah sent an angel who blew life in the donkey’s nostrils, and the donkey started to bray by Allah's leave.” All this occurred while Uzair was watching, and this is when he proclaimed, “I know (now) that Allah is able to do all things," meaning, "I know that, and I did witness it with my own eyes." [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]

It is reported in some of the Israeliyat that Uzair then rode his donkey back to his hometown, but with the passing of time, the people were unfamiliar. The streets had changed and he located his old house with great difficulty. When he arrived, he was greeted by a crippled blind old woman who was over a hundred years old. She was his maid in the past and was a young lady when he last saw her. He asked her whether this was the house of Uzair, to which she wept and replied that no one even remembered Uzair anymore. He told her that he was indeed Uzair and that Allah had caused him to die for a hundred years before bringing him back to life again.

The maid said: “Glory is to be to Allah! We lost Uzair one hundred years ago and never heard anything about him.” However, she was not prepared to accept his words as the truth. She said that from her recollection, Uzair was a man whose supplications were accepted by Allah. So she asked him to invoke Allah to return her sight to her, and if he were truly Uzair, his supplication would be accepted and she would confirm that he was who he claimed to be.

She rushed to the assembly of Bani Israel which had members of Uzair’s family present as well. Uzair’s son is reported to have been around one hundred eighteen years old, and his children's children now were lords of the assembly. She called out to them saying: "This is Uzair coming to you." They accused her of lying. She said: "I am your old maid. He has just prayed to Allah for me, and here I am whole again, walking and seeing." The people stood up and looked at him. 

Uzair’s son needed further convincing, so he described a certain birthmark that was unique to Uzair. He said: "My father had a mark between his shoulders, a black mole," and they discovered it. They said: "None among us memorized the Torah since Nebuchadnezzar (Bakht Nasr) burned it, except Uzair; and there was only one copy of the Torah, which was hidden by Uzair’s father. He buried it in the days of Nebuchadnezzar in a place none but Ezra knows." Uziar led the people to the hidden place and took out that copy of the Torah. Its leaves had rotted, and the book itself crumpled.

Uzair sat under the shade of a tree surrounded by the Bani Israel. Two stars shone on him. Uzair reproduced the entire Torah from memory, thus restoring its contents for Bani Israel.

Since this narration of his meeting the family and then reproducing the Torah is from the Israeliyyat, we neither affirm nor deny it as per the teachings of our Prophet ﷺ. Imam Ibn Kathir رحمه الله said, “The Shariah has permitted narrating from the Banu Israel as it comes in the statement of the Prophet ﷺ: “Narrate from Banu Israel, there is no sin.” This only applies to what has the possibility of being sound. As for what is known nor even doubted to be false, then that will be denounced completely.” [al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah]

Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taimiyyah رحمه الله said, “However, these Israeli traditions are quoted as supporting evidence and not as primary sources. These Israeli traditions are of three types: first, are authentic as attested by our own sources. Second, is false as attested by our own sources. And third, does not fall within the two previous categories, where we can neither judge it to be authentic nor inauthentic. One is allowed to quote from this third type as justified previously above, and the majority of these Israeli traditions are contained in matters with no immediate Islāmic religious benefit…” [Muqaddimah fī Usull at-Tafsir]

Based on Jewish sources, Ezra is credited with being a skilled scribe and teacher of the Torah. He is said to have gathered the exiled Bani Israel in Jerusalem and read aloud the Torah to them, explaining its meaning and significance. This event, known as the "Reading of the Law" or "Ezra's Assembly," marked a significant moment in Jewish religious history. 

Seeing his miraculous return and the recital of the Torah, Bani Israel transgressed and elevated Uzair’s status to that of being the son of Allah. They started worshipping him as the son of Allah, similar to what they would do to Isa in later generations. Allah says, 

وَقَالَتِ ٱلْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ٱبْنُ ٱللَّهِ وَقَالَتِ ٱلنَّصَـٰرَى ٱلْمَسِيحُ ٱبْنُ ٱللَّهِ ۖ ذَٰلِكَ قَوْلُهُم بِأَفْوَٰهِهِمْ ۖ يُضَـٰهِـُٔونَ قَوْلَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ مِن قَبْلُ ۚ قَـٰتَلَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ ۚ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ

The Jews say, “Ezra is the son of Allah,” while the Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allah.” Such are their baseless assertions, only parroting the words of earlier disbelievers. May Allah condemn them! How can they be deluded (from the truth)? [Surah at-Tawbah, 30]

In a narration related to the false attribution of divinity to Prophet Uzair عليه السلام - Narrated Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri رضي الله عنه that during the lifetime of the Prophet (ﷺ) some people said,  “O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?" The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Yes; do you have any difficulty in seeing the sun at midday when it is bright and there is no cloud in the sky?" They replied, "No." He said, "Do you have any difficulty in seeing the moon on a full moon night when it is bright and there is no cloud in the sky?" They replied, "No." The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "(Similarly) you will have no difficulty in seeing Allah on the Day of Resurrection as you have no difficulty in seeing either of them. On the Day of Resurrection, a call-maker will announce, "Let every nation follow that which they used to worship." Then none of those who used to worship anything other than Allah like idols and other deities but will fall in Hell (Fire), till there will remain none but those who used to worship Allah, both those who were obedient (i.e. good) and those who were disobedient (i.e. bad), and the remaining party of the people of the Scripture. 

Then the Jews will be called upon and it will be said to them, 'Who did you use to worship?' They will say, 'We used to worship Ezra, the son of Allah.' It will be said to them, 'You are liars, for Allah has never taken anyone as a wife or a son. What do you want now?' They will say, 'O our Lord! We are thirsty, so give us something to drink.' They will be directed and addressed thus, 'Wouldn’t you come to drink?' whereupon they will be gathered unto Hell (Fire) which will look like a mirage whose different sides will be destroying each other. Then they will fall into the Fire. 

Afterwards, the Christians will be called upon and it will be said to them, 'Who did you use to worship?' They will say, 'We used to worship Jesus, the son of Allah.' It will be said to them, 'You are liars, for Allah has never taken anyone as a wife or a son,' Then it will be said to them, 'What do you want?' They will say what the former people have said. Then, when there remain (in the gathering) none but those who used to worship Allah (Alone, the real Lord of the Worlds) whether they were obedient or disobedient. 

Then (Allah) the Lord of the worlds will come to them in a shape nearest to the picture they had in their minds about Him. It will be said, 'What are you waiting for?' Every nation has followed what they used to worship.' They will reply, 'We left the people in the world when we were in great need of them and we did not take them as friends. Now we are waiting for our Lord Whom we used to worship.' Allah will say, 'I am your Lord.' They will say twice or thrice, 'We do not worship any besides Allah.'" [Bukhari]

The period following this was a time in which the Roman-Persian conflicts raged. The Jews naturally sided and helped the Persians against the Romans. The Persian control of these lands including Jerusalem lasted for nearly 200 years before the invasion of Alexander the 'Great' in 332 BCE.

It is interesting to note that in the Jewish sources, there are prophecies that talk about the destruction and the subsequent rebuilding of the Temple of Solomon. This prophecy is attributed to a man named Isaiah who is reported to be a prophet sent to Bani Israel. He was sent approximately 20 years before the destruction of the first Temple of Solomon, in the period between Prophet Dawud and Prophet Zakariyyah. He called Bani Israel to turn back to Allah in repentance and warned them that if they didn't, then they would be destroyed along with their Temple. 20 years later, his prophecy came true and the Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. 

In the prophecy, he also mentioned how after the temple is destroyed, it will be rebuilt again. He predicted that the temple would be visited by people from all over the world and he singled out the Arabians as being one of the people who would visit the Temple of Solomon. The Dome of the Rock can be called the Third Temple of Solomon today, looking at the location where it stands. In his prophecy, Isaiah talked about the flocks of Kedar and the rams of Nebaioth, and how their offerings would be accepted at the Temple. It says,

“A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord. All Kedar’s flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on my altar, and I will adorn my glorious temple.” [Isaiah, 60:6-7]

The Seerah of Ibn Hisham and other biblical sources mention that Prophet Ismail has 12 sons. Qaydar (Kedar) and Nabit (Nebaioth) are from among these 12 sons. This prophecy of Isaiah can be said to have come to fruition after the death of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ when the Muslims opened Jerusalem during the caliphate of Umar ibn al-Khattab رضي الله عنه. Not just Arabians, but Muslims from all races and ethnicities have been visiting al-Aqsa as a pilgrimage, to honour the blessed sanctuary, and to worship the One True Lord of the Temple of Solomon (i.e. Masjid al-Aqsa). 


The Second Warning

Allah says,

فَلَهَا ۚ فَإِذَا جَآءَ وَعْدُ ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ لِيَسُـۥٓـُٔوا۟ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَلِيَدْخُلُوا۟ ٱلْمَسْجِدَ كَمَا دَخَلُوهُ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍۢ وَلِيُتَبِّرُوا۟ مَا عَلَوْا۟ تَتْبِيرًا - عَسَىٰ رَبُّكُمْ أَن يَرْحَمَكُمْ ۚ وَإِنْ عُدتُّمْ عُدْنَا ۘ وَجَعَلْنَا جَهَنَّمَ لِلْكَـٰفِرِينَ حَصِيرًا

“And when the second warning would come to pass, your enemies would (be left to) totally disgrace you and enter that place of worship as they entered it the first time, and utterly destroy whatever would fall into their hands. Perhaps your Lord will have mercy on you (if you repent), but if you return (to sin), We will return (to punishment). And We have made Hell a (permanent) confinement for the disbelievers.” [Surah al-Isra, 7-8]

From a classical perspective, the Second Warning could refer to when Bani Israel came back to power after the Babylonian era till they became corrupt again and were then subsequently destroyed and expelled from Jerusalem by the Romans when Titus razed Jerusalem in 70 CE.

It could also be said that the Jews were gaining prominence around Yathrib and had amassed a lot of wealth. They were then called to Islam by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, and when they rejected and fought against him, they were defeated. Imam Qatadah said, "Bani Israel returned to aggression, so Allah sent this group against them, Muhammad ﷺ and his sahaba, who made them pay the Jizyah, with willing submission, and feeling themselves subdued." This opinion is famous, yet highly debated because of the way the ayah describes the warning to come to pass which includes destruction, etc in a manner that wasn’t seen at the time of the sahaba. 

Even though the focus is on Bani Israel, these ayat are being relayed to the Muslims for us to learn from the mistakes of Bani Israel. If we neglect the Shariah, shun the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ, and fall into evil and transgression, Allah’s Punishment will befall us and other parties will be given the upper hand over us such that we will be overpowered and humiliated. When this happens, the desecration of the places of worship will also not remain too far. This is something we need to seriously reflect on. We see that a group of people who are just a handful in number when compared to the global Muslim population; a state that is surrounded from all sides by Muslim countries, still manages to do as they please to the Muslims in Palestine and desecrate Masjid al-Aqsa while the world watches. There is no remedy for this except for turning back to Allah immediately in sincere repentance. The only way to seek honour, victory, and power is to completely submit to the Will and Commands of Allah. 

Allah does not explicitly mention the time or even how this second corruption will be caused by Bani Israel. It could be said that all that happened with the Bani Israel including their fall under the Roman empire is all part of the First Warning, and the Second Warning is a prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled. How?

Most scholars of Tafsir interpreted the ayat based on the times that they were living in. Today, many scholars of Tafsir interpret the ayat that talks about the second mischief in light of what is happening in our times. They say that - The indication in these ayat that the Second Promise of Allah which will come to pass refers to the destruction of Israel where it says, “to make your faces sorrowful and to enter the masjid (of Jerusalem) as they had entered it before”. 

In our context, it was the Muslims under the caliphate of Umar ibn al-Khattab who entered Jerusalem. They would then rule the lands for hundreds of years where even the Jews and Christians thrived. Down the line, even though Jerusalem was then captured by the Crusaders for a number of years, it was never properly under the authority of the Jews like it is today under the occupying State of Israel. This is probably the only time since the time of Prophet Sulayman عليه السلام that the Jews have a state or this degree of power and influence. 

Based on the ayah and this understanding of it, Allah tells us that from the signs of their downfall is that they will oppress, harm, and disgrace the Muslims or the people of the land and even harm Masjid al-Aqsa. Orthodox Jews do not enter Masjid al-Aqsa even today because they consider themselves to be ceremoniously or religiously impure and hence cannot enter the Temple. We see this changing as groups of Jews have started entering Masjid al-Aqsa and desecrating it. How will the Jews be cleansed or purified to enter the Temple? As per their Scriptures, the slaughter of a perfectly red heifer is required for a ritual purification necessary for entering in or the construction of a Third Temple in Jerusalem. 

In order for a cow to qualify as a red heifer for this holy purpose of purification, it must meet the following requirements, as outlined in Numbers 19, and also in the writings of the oral tradition of the Talmud:

  1. The red heifer must be absolutely perfect in its redness.  Even two hairs of any other color will disqualify it.  Even its hooves must be red.
  2. It was to be three or four years old.  Although older animals could be used, younger ones could not.
  3. It must be free of any kind of internal or external defect or blemish.
  4. It must not have been used for any type of physical labor and never have been placed under a yoke – not even once!

Only an animal that meets all these requirements may be used to provide the ashes of the purification process in fulfillment of the commandment. It is reported that the Jews have found 4-5 such cows in the USA and have flown them to Israel. They have even built multiple tunnels underneath to weaken the structure. Coming back to the ayah, if this purification ritual is to be performed, it is envisioned that Jews from around the world will flock to Jerusalem for this monumental occasion, and their gathering would be similar to their first entry into Masjid al-Aqsa or Jerusalem at the time of Prophet Sulayman عليه السلام.

On one side, we have tentatively severely negative consequences for Masjid al-Aqsa and Jerusalem if the Jews go ahead and do what they do believing in their prophecies and scriptures. On the other hand, as Muslims, we need to believe that firstly, a leaf doesn't fall, an ant doesn't lift its glance, and a fish in the deep darkness of the ocean doesn't move except without the Permission of Allah. People can slaughter 400 golden cows and nothing will happen till Allah Allows it. And when Allah Allows something, it is from His Infinite Wisdom and Knowledge. 

Secondly, the coming of the Last Hour and the Messiah are matters of the Unseen. Prophets of Allah through whom prophecies reached us, through whom miracles occurred, who led nations and were the closest to Allah - even they did not know matters of the Unseen. Their knowledge was limited to only what Allah told them. The greatest angel Jibreel عليه السلام asked the greatest man Muhammad ﷺ, "Inform me about the Hour." He ﷺ said, "About that the one questioned knows no more than the questioner." [Muslim]

Thirdly, the Scriptures of the Jews have been corrupted. We cannot take their prophecies to be true unless it is backed and confirmed by our Shariah which it hasn't in this case. This red cow situation looks startlingly similar to the story of the cow in Surah al-Baqarah. For all we know, this could be a corruption of the original story. 

Fourthly, even if it is true, then it is from the Plan of Allah. What are we doing? Seeing the signs, have we turned in repentance to Allah? Are we united as an Ummah upon the Shariah of Allah? Take a moment and reflect. Connect with the Qur'an and memorize Surah al-Kahf for their promised Messiah who is prophesied to come when they enter the Temple is the Dajjal. The Prophet ﷺ said, ‎“He who memorizes the first ten verses of Surah al-Kahf will be protected from the trial of the Dajjal.” [Muslim]

A Muslim never loses hope. Allah Promises that as the Jews engage in corruption and evil, this Second Warning will come to pass and their ‘Kingdom’ will fall. Those who submit to Allah i.e., the Muslims will again enter Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem as we entered it before when we conquered it. For this, we need to rectify our affairs immediately, starting now. The occupying state of Israel will crumble InshaAllah and the Deen of Allah will prevail. Allah Knows best.


We have all come across the famous advice of the Prophet ﷺ to his blessed companion, Abu Bakr: لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا - “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us,”

We see this plastered all over Instagram and other social media accounts. What would make it even more beautiful is when we see in what conditions it was revealed.

  1. Muslims were being persecuted severely just for the sake of being Muslim.
  2. An assassination attempt had just been carried out at the house of the Prophet ﷺ, by 11 men from the Quraysh.
  3. There were armed blockades at every exit point leading out of Makkah.
  4. There was a bounty of 100 camels placed on their heads.
  5. Their ration was numbered.
  6. Abu Bakr had been stung by a scorpion in the Cave of Thawr.
  7. One of the bounty hunters had tracked them and was hot on their trail mere meters away.

These blessed words upon the tongue of the Prophet ﷺ are not just “feel good” words. Rather it is a promise of Allah to all believers as long as they are out there putting in their best efforts and struggling to make a change. The strongest tribe of Arabia couldn't stop 2 men, because Allah was their third. If we put our troubles and worries on the scales against the circumstances of the Hijrah, we get an Iman boost and a sense of confidence that if Allah helped them, then surely our problems are not worth the wing of a fly in comparison. Read the rest of the ayah and rest assured.

إِلَّا تَنصُرُوهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ اللَّهُ إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا فَأَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَيَّدَهُ بِجُنُودٍ لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا السُّفْلَىٰ وَكَلِمَةُ اللَّهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيَا وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

"If you do not aid the Prophet - Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” And Allah sent down his tranquillity upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah - that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise." [Surah at-Tawbah, 40]

Likewise in Badr, where a mere 313 ill-equipped Muslims took on and defeated a strong 1000 from the opposing Quraysh. The pagans of Quraysh, once revered as the elites among the Arabs, suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of what was dismissed as a small band of renegades.

Numbers have hardly ever been on Muslim sides except in a few cases. This shows us that it's more about the quality rather than quantity. The reason such small numbers could take on and emerge victorious against impossible numbers of the opposition was tawakkul.

Complete faith in the promise of Allah, utmost sincerity of intention, and more importantly following the commandments of the Prophet ﷺ without any question. They coupled that with harakah to get barakah because we are taught to tie the camel before we leave things to Allah.

Contrast that to what we are today - large in numbers but hardly any quality, looking for loopholes to get around our obligations. Our teacher, Sheikh Dr Sajid Umar حفظه الله , advises us that even today, - yes, even today - if we are sincere in our intention and completely rely upon the aid of Allah alone and put in the work, Allah out of his immense Mercy, will send down angels to help us in our difficulties. Keep going strong and “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.”

It is upon us to reflect deeply on the actions of Bani Israel and why they lost their favour with Allah. We need to understand how we can get support and help from Allah and the details of this have been laid down in the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ.  Just like Bani Israel under Prophet Musa was not allowed to enter Jerusalem till the generation that disobeyed Allah by worshipping the golden calf was gone, we should reflect and see if our actions are also the cause of Allah holding back His victory from us. Victory from Allah is promised to the Muslims for sure. Will it be us, is the question. 

Sheikh Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri رحمه الله records the dua the Prophet ﷺ made in Taif after losing his closest family members, finding a place of refuge away from Makkah, being pelted with stones by the people of Taif, and having his message rejected. He said,

اَللُّهُمَّ اِلَيْكَ اَشْكُوْ ضَعْفَ قُوَّتِي، وَقِلَّةَ حِيْلَتِيْ وَهَوَانِيْ عَلَى النَّاسِ يَا اَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِيْنَ، اَنْتَ رَبُّ الْمُسْتَضْعَفِيْنَ، وَاَنْتَ رَبِّي، اِلَى مَنْ تَكِلُّنِيْ اِلَى بَعِيْدٍ يَتَجَهَّمُنِيْ ؟ اَوْ اِلَى عَدُوٍّ مَلَكْتَهُ اَمْرِيْ ؟ اِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ بِكَ غَضَبٌ عَلَيَّ فَلاَ اُبَالِيْ وَلَكِنْ عَافِيَتَكَ هِيَ اَوْسَعُ لِيْ، أَعُوْذُ بِنُوْرِوَجْهِكَ الَّذِيْ اَشْرَقَتْ بِهِ الظُّلُمَاتُ، وَصَلُحَ عَلَيْهِ اَمْرُ الدُّنْيَا وَاْلاَخِرَةِ مِنْ اَنْ تُنَزِّلَ بِي غَضَبُكَ اَوْ تَحُلُّ بِي سَخَطُكَ، لَكَ الْعَتْبَي حَتَّى تَرْضَي، وَلاَ حَوْلَ وَلاَ قُوَّةَ اِلاَّبِكَ

O Allah! I complain to you of my weakness, my scarcity of resources, and my humiliation before the people. O Most Merciful! You are The Lord of the weak and You are my Lord! To whom have You entrusted me? To one who does not care for me? Or have You appointed my enemy as master of my affairs? شs long as You are not angry with me, I care not. But Your favor is abundant for me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Face, by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or your displeasure descend upon me. I desire your pleasure and satisfaction until You are pleased. There is no power (to do good) and no might (to refrain from evil) except with You. [Ar-Raheeq al-Makhtum]

I know things might be tough. Allah Likes the believer to be strong and productive in society. For that, one has to be physically, mentally, and financially strong. In this process, there will be ups and downs. Don't take all that's happening in your life at face value. Some events could just be your Hudaibiyah. It may look bad at first and you might feel like things are not going your way. But wait - the hidden returns, in the long run, the doors that might open, may all pale the little difficulties you faced at the start. This could be Allah training and preparing you to be able to receive a bigger blessing that He has in store for you. The Conquest of Makkah happened just months after the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. 

Start trying to make a change today. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Whoever among you sees evil, let him change it with his hand. If he cannot do so, then with his tongue. If he cannot do so, then with his heart, which is the weakest level of faith.” [Muslim]

KNOW that your life has been written by the Most Wise. A Lord who is 70 times more merciful and caring towards us than our own mother. What boils down to us, is to put in our maximum effort and have complete faith in the Plan of Allah, never doubting it for a heartbeat. Indeed, there is ease after difficulty. Allah never wants difficulty for a believer just for the sake of making him suffer. There is always some goodness (khayr) in whatever we are experiencing. We have less than a pixel while Allah has more than the clearest picture. 

May Allah Free Palestine from the oppressors and Grant our brothers and sisters who have passed away the station of martyrs and raise them with the Awliyah of Allah. May Allah Enable the Muslims to wake up from the deep slumber that we have fallen into and rectify our affairs. May Allah Allow us to visit and pray in Masjid al-Aqsa soon with our brothers and sisters, as we celebrate the liberation and freedom of the Muslims.  

Source: History of Al-Quds: The City of Jerusalem and The Chronicles of Bani Israel

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