The Story of Saba'(Sheba) (Part-2)

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Many scholars mentioned that the Dam of Ma'rab was built to keep water behind two great mountains, and when the water raised, the people began to implant orchards and fruitful trees and many kinds of vegetables. It is said that the originator of the darn was Saba' Ibn Ya` rub who changed the course of seventy valleys forcing them to pour out water therein. In addition, he forced the water to get out from thirty springs or holes, but he died before completing it. So, the tribe of Himyar perfected it and it was of the space of one square league. Thereupon, they were living in happiness and abundance. Qatada and others said: the woman (from among them) would go putting a basket on her head, and it would be filled with fresh, ripe fruits, and they said that the air they breathed was so clean and pure that neither flies, nor harmful germs were found in their land. Allah the Almighty says: {Indeed there was for Saba' (Sheba) a sign in their dwelling -place- two gardens on the right hand and on the left; (and it was said to them:) Eat of the provision of your Lord, and be grateful to Him. A fair land and an Oft-Forgiving Lord!} (Saba', 15) and, { And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings); but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily My punishment is indeed severe}. (Ibrahim, 7) But, when they adorned other than Allah the Almighty and arrogantly dealt with His Grace -the stages (of journey) between them were easy in which they used to travel safely both by night and day -and asked Him to make the stages between their journeys longer and severer. Thus, they asked to turn the good into what is bad like the Children of Israel who asked Allah the Almighty to turn Manna and quails into herbs, cucumbers, Fum (wheat or garlic), lentils and onions. Thereupon, they were deprived that great blessing and comprehensive grace; their land was destroyed and they themselves were scattered allover the globe. Allah the Almighty says: {But they turned away (from the obedience of Allah), so We sent against them Sail Al-`Arim (flood released from the dam)}. Many scholars said: Allah the Almighty sent mice or rats on the bases of the darn, and when they discovered this they brought cats to eat them up, but all was in vain. The bases became very weak and finally the darn collapsed and the water drowned everything. Their good fruitful trees turned into -as explained by Allah the Almighty -bad ones: {And We converted their two gardens into gardens producing bitter bad fruit, and tamarisks}. And {and some few lote-trees} for they produce Nabk which is very few among the countless thorns they have. Allah the Almighty says: { Like this We requited them because they were ungrateful disbelievers. And never do We requite in such a way except those who are ungrateful (disbelievers)} i.e. We only punish -with this severe punishment those who disbelieved in Us, belied Our Messengers, disobeyed Our Orders, and violated Our Boundaries.

Allah the Almighty says: {So We made them as tales (in the land), and We dispersed them all totally} i.e. after the destruction of their gardens, properties and land, they needed to travel and move away. Thus, they scattered in different parts of the land as some of them moved to the Hejaz, and Khuza' ah moved to Mecca. Some of them also moved to Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, they were the first to inhabit it. Then, they were followed by three tribes from the Jews: the Banu Qainuqa', Banu Quraizah, and Banu An-Nadir. The Jews made coalitions with the Aus and Khazraj and lived there (till the time of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)). Some of them, moved to Sham (Syria) and afterwards they converted to Christianity: Ghassan, Amilah, Bahra', Lukham, Judham, Tanukh, Taghlub, and others.

Muhammad Ibn Ishaq, in his The Prophet's Biography [Kitab As-Sirah], said that the first to quit the Yemen before the Sail Al-'Arim (the flood released from the dam) was' Amr Ibn 'Amir Al-Lukhami. Lukham was the son of 'Adyi Ibn Al-Harith Ibn Murrah Ibn Azd Ibn Zaid Ibn Muha' Ibn 'Amr Ibn 'Uraib Ibn Yashjub Ibn Zaid Ibn Kahlan Ibn Saba'. It is said also by Ibn Hisham: Lukham Ibn 'Adyi Ibn 'Amr Ibn Gharib Ibn Saba'. Ibn Ishaq said: the reason behind his moving from Yemen as I was told by Abu Zaid Al-Ansari that he saw a mouse or rat digging beneath the dam of Ma'rab which was used to keep the water behind, so he realized that the dam would not stand so long, so he intended to move from the Yemen. However, he tricked his people by ordering his youngest son to slap him on the face before the people. The son did what he was ordered to and 'Amr said: I would never live in a place where my youngest son slapped me on the face. And he offered his property to be sold. The noblemen of the Yemen said: seize the opportunity of 'Amr's rage and buy all his property. Hence, he moved along with his children and their offspring. The Azd said: we never leave 'Amr Ibn 'Amir, so they sold their properties and accompanied him in his fleeing (without knowing his real intentions). They arrived at the land of `Ak who fought against them and their war had its ups and downs.

Finally, they departed from the land of 'Ak and dispersed in the lands. Ibn Jafnah Ibn 'Amr Ibn 'Amir went to Sham (Syria), Al-Aus and Al-Khazraj went to Yathrib (Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah), Khuza'ah went to Marran, Azd As-Sarah went to As-Sarah, and Azd 'Amman went to 'Amman, then Allah the Almighty sent the flood against the dam and it was totally collapsed. The Glorious Qur'an bears witness to this incident.

As-Sadi narrated the like and Muhammad Ibn Ishaq said that 'Amr Ibn `Amir was a priest. Others said that his wife was Tarifah Bint Al-Khair Al-Himyariyah and that she was a priestess. She foretold the destruction of their country as if they saw an indication in that rat or mouse, so they did what they did, and Allah knows best! His whole story was mentioned in the Exegesis on the authority of `Ikriamh after Ibn Abu Hatim.

However, not all the people of Saba' moved from the Yemen after the collapsing of the dam, but the majority thereof stayed there. Only the people of the Dam (Ma'rab) went away and dispersed in the land. This is expressed in the Hadith mentioned earlier that was narrated by `Abdullah Ibn `Abbas, that the majority of the Yemenites did not movem from the Yemen. Only four tribes quitted and six tribes stayed. They continued to live there and the ruling was kept by them and the Tababi`ah till they were deprived of their own self-ruling for about seventy years -by the army sent by the Negus under the command of Abraha and Aryat. Then, it was regained by Saif Ibn Dhi Yazan AI-Himyari shortly before Prophet Muhammad's birth. Then, Allah's Prophet (Peace be upon him) sent to the Yemen `Ali Ibn Abu Talib and Khalid Ibn Al-Walid, then Abu Musa AlAsh`ari and Mu`adh Ibn Jabal to invite the people to embrace Islam. Then, AlAswad Al-`Ansi seized the Yemen and drove out the deputies of Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him). During the era of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, Al-Aswad Al-`Ansi was killed and the Muslims had the upper hand in the Yemen.

To read the first part of this story,click here.

By: Ibn Katheer Translated by Ali As-Sayed Al-Halawani

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