Those who disbelieve in the verses of Allah, and unjustly assassinate the Ambiya, and slay people who order justice, so give them glad tidings of a painful punishment.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)J (Part 3, Surah Aal-e-‘Imran, Ayah 21)
It is narrated by Sayyiduna Abu 1Ubaydah Bin Al-Jarraah that the Revered and Renowned Rasool has mentioned that Jews
killed forty-five Ambiya and one hundred and seventy pious people in one day who used to call them toward righteousness.
(I’areekh Ibn Kaseer, vol. 2, pp. 55)
The martyrdom of Nabi Yahya and Nabi Zakariyya also belongs to same chain of events.
The martyrdom of Sayyiduna Yahya
Ibn I Asakir has mentioned the incident of the martyrdom of Sayyiduna Yahya in his book ‘Al-Mustaqsa fi Fadaail-il-Aqsa’ in the following words: The king of Damascus 1Haddad Bin Hadaar’ had divorced his wife thrice. But later on, he wished to marry her again without meeting the condition of Halalah. The king sought Fatwa (decree) from Sayyiduna Yahya in this regard. Sayyiduna Yahya replied that she is Haraam (unlawful) for him. The woman became too annoyed and she committed to kill Sayyiduna Y ahya – Hence, she compelled the king and sought consent to kill Sayyiduna Yahya . She got him assassinated whilst in state of Sajdah (prostration) when he was offering Salah in ‘Masjid Jabroon’ and she asked for the blessed head to be brought in a platter before her. However, even in that state, it was heard from that blessed head, ‘You are not Halal (lawful) for the king without performing Halalah.’ At the very moment, the torment of Allah struck her, causing her to sink into the earth along with the blessed head of Sayyiduna Yahya –
(Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah, vol. 2, pp. 55)
The murder of Sayyiduna Zakariyya
Having killed Sayyiduna Yahya ‘ the Jews then decided to murder his father Sayyiduna Zakariyya . However, when Sayyiduna Zakariyya came to know about their evil plan,
he quit away and hid himself in the cavity of a tree. The Jews began to cut this tree with a hacksaw. When the handsaw was
about to touch Sayyiduna Zakariyya ‘ Allah said, ‘O Zakariyya, beware! If you cry, then We will devastate the entire earth and if you would observe patience, then We will descend Our torment on these Jews.’
So, Sayyiduna Zakariyya observed patience and the tyrant Jews cut him into two pieces along with the tree. ([areekh Ibn Kaseer, vol. 2, pp. 55)
There is a difference of opinion regarding the place where the incident of the martyrdom of Sayyiduna Yahya took place. According to one of the report this incident took place in Masjid J abroon. But Sayyiduna Sufyan Sawri has reported with reference to Shimr Bin
‘Atiyyah that Sayyiduna Yahya was martyred in Bayt-ul-Muqaddas between Haykul-e-Sulaymani (the Solomon temple) and slaughterhouse,
the place where Jews had killed seventy Ambiya before him.
(Iareekh Ibn Kaseer, vol. 2, pp. 55)
Anyway, it is unanimously agreed that Sayyiduna Yahya was martyred by the Jews. When Sayyiduna ‘Isa came to know about the martyrdom of Sayyiduna Yahya, he openly started preaching the truth. Then, the Jews planned to kill Sayyiduna ‘Isa too. In fact, one of the Jews even entered his home with the intention of assassinating him. But Allah sent a cloud and by virtue of it, lifted Sayyiduna ‘Isa towards the heavens. The detail of this incident is mentioned in our book ‘Ajaaib-ulQuran’ [Quranic Wonders – Part 1].
Several lessons can be derived from the events of the martyrdom of Sayyiduna Yahya and Sayyiduna Zakariyya ‘ just a few of them that are more worthy of consideration are mentioned below:
1. No one in this world can be more stonehearted and wretched than these Jews who killed so many honourable Ambiya who would neither irritate anyone nor would they take another’s money. On the contrary, they would reform people at no cost to them, and would bring success for them in both the worlds. In this context, the blessed companion, Sayyiduna Abu ‘Ubaydah asked the Holy Rasool that who will be deserving of the biggest and severest torment on the Day of Judgement? The Beloved and Blessed Rasoolreplied:
Translation: The one who kills a Nabi or any such person who calls towards righteousness and forbids from evil.
(Iafseer Ibn Kaseer, vol. 2, pp. 22; part 3, Surah Aal-e-‘Imran, Ayah 21)
The way these tyrant Jews committed brutality towards the Ambiya of Allah , and the way they callously shed the blood of these holy individuals, such example of brutality cannot be found in any other nation. For this reason, Allah damned them in both the worlds. Thus, it is necessary for every Muslim to bear hatred and enmity for these accursed people.
2. As the people of Bani Israel were spread in different tribes, that’s why various Ambiya were sent to them in the same era. The source for preaching by all these Ambiya was Torah i.e. the holy book descended upon Sayyiduna Musa and the position of all these Ambiya was like a deputy to Sayyiduna Musa .
3. Islamic scholars should boldly preach the truth until their last breath and they should remain ready to sacrifice even their life for this noble cause. As you have read that even after the beheading of Sayyiduna Yahya the same words were heard from the blessed head: ‘After giving divorce three times, the (previous) husband of the woman cannot remarry her without Halalah.’