However, Bani Israel, who were ever mischievous and insolent and were habitual of disobeying the commandments of Allah , at the time when they reached near Bayt-ul-Muqaddas, all of a sudden a mischief stirred their minds and these disobedient people entered in a crawling posture dragging their buttocks on the ground instead of entering with their heads bowed down. Furthermore,
instead of praying
for their forgiveness, they
were uttering (one grain in one hair)
and entered the Bayt-ulMuqaddas by cutting jokes and making fun. Due to this disobedience and ridiculing the commandment of Allah . , the wrath of Allah afflicted them in the form of a torment. All of a sudden, plague spread among them and seventy thousand Israelites died within an hour painfully like that of fish out of water.
(As-Saawi, vol. 1, pp. 31 and Jalalayn)
Plague is a very fatal and epidemic disease. Due to this disease, certain lumps grow in neck, armpits and in the joints of thighs. Severe pain and a lot of inflammation are felt in these lumps. High grade fever and reddening of eyes also take place. Due to acute pain and excessive restlessness, the patient dies soon in a very painful way. Due to plague epidemic, high death rate takes place in the affected locality. Consequently, a horrific situation prevails all around.
Allah mentions this incident of Bani Israel in the Holy Quran as: And when We said, ‘Go to this town (Jernsalem), then eat from it freely wherever you desire, and enter the gate while prostrating and declare, ‘May our sins he forgiven’. We shall forgive your sins and soon We will give more (reward) to the righteous ones.’ Then the transgressors changed the words to other than that which had been commanded to them, so We sent upon them a punishment ( of plague) from the sky; the recompense of their disobedience.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)J (Part 1, Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 58-59)
Moral: From this incident, we have come to know that non-compliance to the commandments of Allah Jz_; and making fun of them is a cause of a horrible end. In addition to the torment in afterlife, the Divine wrath results in punishment during worldly life also – people are destroyed and their dwellings are ruined.
An important point
‘Plague’ was a torment for Bani Israel but fortunately, it is a mercy for the Ummah of the Holy Nabi , because it is mentioned in a blessed Hadees that the one who dies of plague is a martyr.
(Tafseer As-Saawi, vol. 1, pp. 68; part 1, Al-Baqarah, Ayah 59)
The ruling in this regard is that one should not visit the town affected by plague and if plague spreads in one’s own town, then he should not leave the town, instead he should keep staying in the town observing patience and trusting in Allah . If he dies of this disease, he will be a martyr. Moreover, it is a grave sin to escape from the plague affected town like that of fleeing from the battlefield of ‘Jihad’. Therefore, one should never escape and should patiently stay in his town as Allah has promised for a great reward for such a person.