If someone is under the impression that by obeying Allah-SWT his life would become very difficult or impossible, it is his misconception. All the problems of life are created by the people themselves. If they renounce Allah-SWT's disobedience, Who-SWT is all Powerful, they will certainly be at peace.
To highlight and clarify this misconception, Allah-SWT gives an example to the Holy Prophet-SW of a people from Bani Israil who were thousands in number and had fled from their homes fearing death. The Divine address: "Have you not seen?" refers to that sure and definite knowledge of the Holy Prophet-SW, which is as good as actual observation, and is above all doubt.
Observation of Past Events through Kashf
It is reported in ‘Hadith’ pertaining to the Night of Ascension that when the non-believers questioned the Holy Prophet-SW about Bait al-Maqdas, Allaah-SWT placed the entire building right in front of the Holy Prophet-SW who answered their queries by direct observation. If this is taken as the observation of the subtle heart it will be correct as confirmed by ‘Fatah al Qadeer’. It proves that if Allah-SWT wills, the heart with the same degree of clarity can see the incidents of the past as if seen by the eye.
The Bani Israil had fled from their settlements in an attempt to avoid an epidemic. The term uluf (sing: alf) denotes at least ten thousand people, or more. Most of them must obviously have been physically fit, leaving the sick, the elderly and the poor behind. Allah-SWT did not approve of this action and commanded them to die, and they died. They had fled to save their lives yet their planning proved futile and resulted in their extermination.
The Holy Prophet-SW forbids flight from an epidemic stricken area, as well as the return to it by those who happen to be away at the time. There are many sayings of the Holy Prophet-SW on this episode and the basis of all is that life and death is the domain of Allah-SWT . He-SWT is all Powerful to protect against a disease or give death without it. It is, therefore, not proper to flee from the affected settlements, nor to stage a come back from the safe areas.
According to reports, Allah-SWT sent His-SWT angel to that valley, who conveyed to them the Divine Command to die. All died instantly including their cattle. When people of the surrounding areas heard of this episode they rushed to the scene but there was no way to arrange the funeral of so many. Therefore, they constructed a wall around them to let them decay in the natural process. After many years Prophet Ezekiel-AS from Bani Israil passed by the heap of bones and prayed to Allah-SWT to forgive and restore them to life. He-AS was told to say: "Come to life, by Allah-SWT's Command".
And they all came to life at once, praised Allah-SWT and affirmed His-SWT Unity. They completed their normal span of life and died a natural death thereafter. Their previous death was abnormal whereby they neither lived in this world nor was the ‘Akhirah’ disclosed unto them. And once the ‘Akhirah’ is stepped into, there is no return to this world neither belief nor worship remains credible. Had they died after the completion of their natural span of life, they could have been brought to life only as a miracle for a short while but would have never been given the chance to inhabit the world once again. The episode only presented an evidence of Allah-SWT's Omnipotence, so that people may learn a lesson and also be sure of Resurrection.
Punishment and Reward in Barzakh
Now let us take the question of how the decomposed parts of a dead body could come together. A modern segment of intellectuals raises the objection as to how can the components of the deceased, which are devoured by animals or burnt away or scattered over the land in the form of ashes, unless animated on the Day of Judgment, be rewarded or punished?
It is an irony that people take Allah-SWT's Powers like their own otherwise aren't these components less scattered now, than they were before birth? Every food and medicine consumed by a person comes from the soil, whether in the form of grains or vegetables. He gets his pre-determined share from all around the world. What is not meant for him is stored in his spine for the purposes of procreation and ultimately passes on to the mother's womb where it begins to develop into a separate entity. The mother consumes the food but the portion predetermined by Allah-SWT reaches the baby without let or hindrance.
Similarly, even if after death the elements of the body are scattered they still maintain a connection with the Spirit and are affected by the joy or agony experienced by it. Allah-SWT is all Powerful to punish or reward the components of a body even if in the belly of a predator without the animal knowing it. All creation is servile to the Creator, Whose-SWT Command conveyed through a Prophet-AS to the rotten bones and scattered elements, brought to life all dead in the valley, as mentioned above. Allah-SWT is indeed Merciful. He-SWT delivered those people from the agony and at the same time provided a solid proof of the Day of Judgment for others. Despite this there are many ingrates who are negligent in His-SWT obedience. Just to demonstrate an Islamic disposition is not enough. One must fight in His-SWT Way without any hesitation or reservation, because He-SWT controls life and death and He-SWT is well aware of everything.
Allah-SWT is free of any wants and is not dependent on anyone for anything. Nevertheless He-SWT accepts the obedience of His-SWT servants as an excellent debt. And since a debt has to be liquidated, He-SWT will return it as a reward, duly multiplied manifold commensurate to His-SWT Magnanimity. The sincerity behind the actions will determine the proportion of the increase. Everyone has to return to Allah-SWT one day.. The best policy will, therefore, be to sacrifice the rituals over His-SWT Laws and to strive, in His-SWT Cause with everything one has, including life itself.
A Companion-RAU from the ‘Ansar’, on hearing this Ayah went to the Holy Prophet-SW and donated his date palm garden with hundreds of laden trees in Allah-SWT's Cause. The Holy Prophet-SW said, "Allah-SWT will reward you with Paradise instead." When he returned home he called his wife and children to announce the goodly loan. His-SWT wife was extremely happy. The Holy Prophet-SW is reported to have said: "What spacious palaces and date palms laden with dates await Abi 'Addhah-RAU!”
The attention of the Holy Prophet-SW is drawn to Bani Israil who adhered to the teachings of Prophet Musa-AS only for a little while after him, and gradually gave up obedience to the Divine Commandments. They took to modern civilization against conservatism as is customary today. Allah-SWT subjected them to the rule of infidels, the 'Amaliqah’. They captured their cities, took many as captives and seized the Ark containing the sacred relics of Prophets Musa-AS and Harun-AS including the broken tablets of the Torah, which were a source of Allah-SWT's Blessings, peace and tranquility for them. The incompetent descendants are always deprived of the sacred relics of their Prophets-AS and saints, just as the westernised Muslims of today have been deprived of their first ‘Qiblah’. May Allah-SWT relent and not deprive us of the K'abah. May He-SWT forgive us and grant us the courage to redeem the first ‘Qiblah’!
'Allama Ibn Kathir-RUA quotes a ‘Hadith’ in this context that because of the piety of a true Muslim, Allah-SWT guides his children, grandchildren and also his neighbours. He also quotes the Holy Prophet-SW that until the ‘Yaum al-Qiyamah’ there will be seven persons amongst Muslims in every age, who will be a source of invoking Allah-SWT's Source, in the form of provisions and rainfall. Similarly in another ‘Hadith’ the presence of thirty ‘Abdal’ is reported.
In short, not only is the presence of Allah-SWT's people a cause of ‘Barakah’ but their belongings like dress, shoes etc also invoke His-SWT Blessings. This, however, is only for those who believe, act righteously and seek Allah-SWT's cognition through the ‘Aulia’ and not for those who ascribe divinity to them, a disastrous act both here and in the ‘Akhirah’.
After a long time of subjection, a child was born in the Bani Israil who belonged to a Prophetic family. A pregnant lady who had survived the war prayed to Allah-SWT to grant her a son and bless him with Prophet-hood. Her prayer was answered and the boy was named Shamuel (Samuel), which literally means 'My prayer is answered' (Mazhari). When he grew up and was appointed as Allah-SWT's Prophet-AS he told his nation to obey Allah-SWT and fight the infidels. They requested him for the nomination of a king, under whose command they would fight. The Prophet-AS said that he saw no hope in them that they would be able to execute Allah-SWT's Command once the fighting was enjoined. They said that given a strong leadership, they would wage a war against the infidels to avenge the capture of their cities, imprisonment of their youth, demolition of their homes and their overall disgrace. Yet the Prophet-AS's fears came true. Once the fighting was enjoined, most of them evaded it and made all sort of lame excuses to escape. In those days the kings used to run the Government under the guidance of the Prophets-AS. So by Allah-SWT's command, prophet Shamuel-AS nominated Talut (Saul) as the king who was a descendant of Binyamin (Benjamin). Because the earlier monarchs had been from the affluent tribe of Yahuda, the Bani Israil objected to the nomination of Talut and argued that it was their right to have a king from the latter tribe and that Talut was poor and had no financial status.
The Prophet-AS declared that Allah-SWT gave the rule to whomever He-SWT desired, purely at His-SWT own accord. And that Talut excelled everyone in wisdom, knowledge and physique. It was in Allah-SWT's knowledge that he would be able to govern in conformity with His-SWT Laws. And he was a man of commanding appearance and personal charm.
This highlights the fact that a ruler ought to be sound in the knowledge of Deen or else he must have such experts who can guide him on every matter to ensure that the politics and the government are run in accordance with Allah-SWT's Laws. He must also be fit both physically and mentally to ensure that ill health and mental worries of the ruler do not spoil the affairs of the State. The Bani Israil are reminded that the land belongs to Allah-SWT and He-SWT may select anyone to rule over it. So their objection to the appointment of Talut is baseless. When He-SWT gives responsibility, the capability to fulfill it follows in the natural course.
The Eligibility to Hold an Office
Amongst the ‘Aulia’, we observe that the offices are conferred upon those who are learned scholars, and if not, they are simultaneously bestowed knowledge directly from His-SWT Presence. In the latter case even the scholars of repute benefit from them. There are many such examples amongst the Sufis. May Allah-SWT bless them all!
The Bani Israil now demanded from their Prophet-AS some indication as a manifest symbol for their satisfaction. They were told that as a clear evidence of the Divine nomination of Talut as their king, the Ark containing sacred relics of Prophets Musa-AS and Harun-AS; their personal effects like garments, shoes, the staff of Prophet Musa-AS, and also the Tablets of Torah given to him on Mount Tur will be brought to them by the angels without any effort on their part.
Allah-SWT put the 'Amaliqah’, who had taken the sacred Ark as booty, in trouble. In whichever temple they would store it, the idols therein would be torn to Pieces. Even the house or the city where that Ark was kept was destroyed. The ‘Amaliqah’, thoroughly frustrated mounted it on some animal and drove it to the jungle, from where the angels guided it to the Bani Israil.