Prophet Ilyas عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم (Part 1)

Lives of the Prophets عَـلَـيْـهِمُ الـسَّـلَام

Prophet Ilyās عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم (Part 1)

Mawlana Abu Ubayd Attari Madani

When the final Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم passed away, the first Caliph of Islām, Abū Bakr al-iddīq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ came and recited اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّاۤ اِلَیْهِ رٰجِعُوْنَ. Whilst reciting alāt, he began to extol the virtues of the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Members of the Household began to cry at a volume audible to worshippers outside.  

The more he described the excellences of the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, the more tears they shed, their voices raising in volume. Amidst their lamenting, a valorous individual came to the door and began to exclaim:

اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَیْکُمO people of the Household! Allah Almighty declares, کُلُّ نَفۡسٍ ذَآئِقَۃُ الۡمَوۡتِ ۟ – “Every soul will taste death.”[1] Everybody will surely stand before Allah Almighty. In His court, there is requital for every good thing. You will be granted complete reward on the Day of Judgement and given salvation from every fear, so hope in Allah Almighty and rely upon Him.

The people of the Household listened to this voice attentively but could not determine who it belonged to. They all fell silent. When this happened, the voice stopped speaking. They looked outside to see nobody there.

After some time they began to cry again, when another unfamiliar voice said:

O people of the Household! Always remember Allah Almighty and praise Him, so you may be included amongst the sincere. Remembering Him makes one patient during tests, and earns one reward when something beloved is taken away. You are to obey Him and act upon His commands.

Sayyiduna Abū Bakr رَضِىَ اللهُ عَـنْهُ explained, “These two voices belong to Khir and Ilyās عَـلَيْهِمَا الـسَّلَام. They have come to visit the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.”[2]

Dear readers! Let us discuss Prophet Ilyās عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم and some aspects of his sacred life.

Brief biography

A beloved prophet of Allah, his name is a Hebrew word[3] which means, “He unconcerned with everyone except Allah.”[4] It can also mean, “The brave individual who does not run away.”[5] His names, Ilyās and Ilyāsīn, are both mentioned in the noble Quran.

His father’s name is Sabāsabā, whereas his mother’s name is affūriyya. His paternal grandmother is the daughter of Prophet Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم, whereas his paternal grandfather is the son of Prophet Hārūn عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم. According to one view, his lineage is somewhat like this: Ilyās b. Sabāsabā b. Ayzār b. Hārūn.[6]


He is tall, his head proportionally and elegantly large, his body slim, and legs slender. His skin is beautifully rugged. A red beauty spot adorns his head.[7] He is from the elect servants of Allah that possess perfect faith. He has been granted the strength of 70 Prophets عَـلَـيْـهِمُ الـسَّـلَام and was created like Prophet Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم with regards to anger, awe, and strength.[8] In fact, he also resembles Prophet Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم in appearance.[9] Fire, mountains, and lions obeyed his commands.[10]


At one point, the Banī Isrāˈīl resided in different cities across the Sham region. He was sent to the city of Baalbek as a messenger and proceeded to call them to Allah Almighty and offer good counsel. Allah Almighty then protected him from a tyrannical king by veiling him from people’s eyes.[11]

Four prophets that are still alive

There are four prophets upon whom death has not come even for a moment: two in the skies and two on Earth. The former are Idrīs and Īsā, and the latter Khir and Ilyās - عَـلَيْهِمَا الـسَّلَام.[12] Prophet Muhammad صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم being the final prophet means no other prophet was born in his era, nor will one be born after him. If a prophet from an earlier period is still alive now, this does not affect the finality of our master Muhammad’s prophethood.[13]

A meeting of messengers

The army of the Prophet Muhammad صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم found Prophet Ilyās عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم in a cave. The latter was making the following prayer, اَللّٰھُمَّ اجْعَلْنِیْ مِنْ اُمَّۃِ اَحْمَدَ الْمَرْحُوْمَۃِ الْمُبَارَکَۃِ الْمُسْتَجَابِ لَھَا – “O Allah, make me from the nation of Amad, which is forgiven, sanctified, and whose prayers are readily answered.”[14]

He told the army to convey his salam to the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم in the following manner, “Your brother Ilyās sends you his salam.” The Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم himself then came to the cave and embraced Ilyās عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم. Both eminent personalities sat and spoke for some time.[15]

Khir and Ilyās عَـلَيْهِمَا الـسَّلَام also both partook in the Bayat al-Riwān, during the Treaty of udaybiyah.[16]

When Khir and Ilyās met

Khir and Ilyās come to Bayt al-Maqdas during Ramadan and proceed to fast. They perform ajj annually and drink Zamzam water upon its completion, which suffices them as sustenance for the entire year.[17]

According to a narration, they meet at Mina during ajj season, shave one another’s hair, and conclude their meeting upon these words: سُبْحٰنَ اللهِ مَا شَاءَ اللهُ لَا يَسُوقُ الْخَيْرَ اِلَّا اللَّهُ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَا يُصْلِحُ السُّوْ ءَ اِلَّا اللَّهُ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَا قُوَّةَ اِلَّا بِاللَّهِ – “Allah is most glorified. Whatever Allah wills ˹comes to pass˺. None brings good except Allah. Whatever Allah wills ˹comes to pass˺. Allah alone repels evil. Whatever Allah wills ˹comes to pass˺. Power to do good is only from Allah.”[18]

The Companion Abdullāh b. Abbās رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهُمَا explained, Whoever recites these words three times in the morning and evening is protected by Allah Almighty from drowning, burning, theft, Satan, oppressive rulers, snakes, and scorpions.[19]

Passing away

For the remainder of the year, Prophet Ilyās عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم traverses jungles and plains. He worships Allah Almighty in solitude in the mountains and wilderness. Prophet Khir عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم perambulates the rivers and seas, engaged in the worship of his Lord. Both lofty personalities follow the rulings of the divine law brought by the Prophet Muhammad صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and will pass away in the end times. [20]

[1] Al-Quran, part 21, Al-ʿAnkabūt, verse 57; translation from Kanz al-ʿIrfān

[2] Ittihāf al-Sādat al-Muttaqīn, vol. 14, p. 153

[3] Zurqānī ʿalā Mawāhib, vol. 7, p. 402

[4] Mahnama Faizan-e-Madina, Jumādā al-Ākhirah 1440 AH

[5] Nām Rakhnē Kē Ahkām, p. 131

[6] Nihāyat Al-Arab fī Funūn al-Adab, vol. 14, p. 10

[7] Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 470, hadith 4175

[8] Sīrat al-Anbiyāˈ, p. 722

[9] Nihāyat Al-Arab fī Funūn al-Adab, vol. 14, p. 10

[10] Ibid, p. 11

[11] Sīrat al-Anbiyāˈ, p. 722

[12] Malfuzāt-i-Ālā Hazrat, p. 505

[13] Miraʾāt al-Manājī, vol. 8, p. 8, selected

[14] Tarīkh Ibn ʿAsākir, vol. 9, p. 213

[15] Fay al-Qadīr, vol. 3, p. 672, under hadith 4133

[16] Miraʾāt al-Manājī, vol. 8, p. 274, summarised

[17] Tafsir Qurtubi, vol. 8, p. 86

[18] Tarīkh Ibn ʿAsākir, vol. 9, p. 211

[19] Sīrat alabiyya, vol. 3, p. 212

[20] ʿAjāʾib al-Quran, p. 294




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