Among the first occultations is the well-known occultation of Prophet Idrees (a.s.). His occultation was so much prolonged that his followers fell into dire circumstances and the tyrant ruler of that time killed some of them; while some he subjected to poverty and terror. After that Prophet Idrees (a.s.) reappeared and promised the removal of the travails of his Shias through the uprising and Jihad of one of his descendants, that is Prophet Nuh (a.s.). Then Allah, the Mighty and Sublime raised up Idrees (a.s.) towards Himself.
And century after century his followers continued to wait for the advent of Nuh (a.s.), one generation after another. And during that time they continued to bear with patience the humiliating oppression of the tyrant rulers till the prophethood of Nuh (a.s.) became apparent.
Narrated to us my father, and Muhammad bin Hasan bin Ahmad bin Walid; and Muhammad bin Musa bin Mutawakkil – may Allah be pleased with them – they said: Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah: and Abdullah bin Ja’far Himyari; and Muhammad bin Yahya al-Attar who said: Narrated to us Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Isa; and Ibrahim bin Hashim, all of them from Hasan bin Mahboob from Ibrahim bin Abi Bilaad from his father from Abu Ja’far Muhammad bin Ali al-Baqir (a.s.) that he said:
“It was the initial period of the prophethood of Idrees (a.s.) when a tyrant king was in power. Once when he went out for recreation he passed through a land rich in greenery, which belonged to a pious believer who did not follow the religion of the king. The ruler liked that piece of land for himself, so he inquired from his viziers regarding its owner. They told him that it belonged to a certain believer from their kingdom who was among the servants of the king. And that he was a rebel.
The king called the believer and said that he wanted his piece of land. The believer replied that his family needed the plot of land more than the king. The king asked him to sell it to him but the believer was adamant that he would neither surrender that piece of land nor sell it to the ruler. This angered the king and he returned to his kingdom in this condition. He was full of rage and sorrow due to this matter. The king had a blue-eyed wife from the Azariqa tribe whom he considered very intelligent and consulted her frequently. On reaching home he called for her to take advice regarding the owner of the land. When she reached the court she saw the king in an angry mood.
The woman said: What had made you so disconcerted? Tell me about it before you take some drastic step. He narrated the incident of the believer’s land. She replied that only he gets angry who neither has the power to turn the circumstances to his advantage nor take revenge. “If you don’t prefer to eliminate him without any excuse I will do it for you and make that land a part of your property in such a way that your subjects will consider you to be on the right.” “What pretext would that be?” asked the king.
She replied that a group (from her Azriqa tribe) will be sent to arrest him and they would testify that the person has turned away from the king’s religion. “This would justify your executing him and seizing his land.” “Do that,” said the king. (The Imam says) So a group of people from Azriqa, who followed the queen’s religion and who considered lawful the slaughtering of a believer were called. They testified before the king that that man had turned away from the state religion.
On hearing this, the king ordered his execution and confiscated his land. Allah was angry at the believer’s murder and He revealed to Idrees (a.s.) to go and tell the tyrant ruler, “Were you not content with killing the believer that you also usurped his land impoverishing family? I swear by My majesty and power that I will avenge his murder in Qiyamat and in this world I will abolish your rulership. I will change your honor and status into humiliation and disgrace; and dogs will devour the flesh of you wife. Has My tolerance and endurance, which was supposed to test you, made you arrogant?”
Thus Idrees (a.s.) entered his court with the message of his Lord, while the king was surrounded by his courtiers. Then he addressed the king, “O tyrant ruler! I am the messenger of Allah and I have brought His message to you that: ‘Were you not content with killing the believer that you also usurped his land impoverishing family? I swear by My majesty and power that I will avenge his murder in Qiyamat and in this world I will abolish your rulership. I will change your honor and status into humiliation and disgrace; and dogs will devour the flesh of you wife. Has My tolerance and endurance, which was supposed to test you, made you arrogant?’ The king said: “O Idrees (a.s.), leave my court and don’t do anything that may compel me to eliminate you.”
After that he called for his wife and narrated the message of Idrees to her. She said: “The message of the God of Idrees should not make you afraid. I am alone sufficient to take care of this matter of Idrees. I will send some people to eliminate him and they will do it as a consequence of which the message of his god and whatever he brought, would be proved false. The king told her to do it. Among the friends of Idrees (a.s.) there were some who used to attend the royal court. Idrees (a.s.) had informed them of the revelation to him and of his conveying the message to the king. They were fearful that Idrees (a.s.) would be killed.
The queen sent forty Iraqi men to kill Idrees (a.s.). They reached the place where Idrees (a.s.) used to sit with his companions but did not find him there, so they returned. When his friends saw that they had come to kill Idrees (a.s.) they dispersed and then met Idrees (a.s.). They informed him that forty men had come to kill him, so he should leave the town immediately. So Idrees (a.s.) left the locality the very same day and he was also accompanied by some of his followers. At the time of dawn, Idrees (a.s.) prayed to Allah, “O my Sustainer! You sent me to that tyrant to deliver Your message to him.
He threatened me and is after my blood. Rather if they had got power over me they would have eliminated me. Allah revealed to Idrees (a.s.) to keep away from the king. “I swear by My honor that I will enforce My decree on him and prove your word and My messengership to be true.” Idrees (a.s.) said, “O my Nourisher, I have a wish.” Allah said, “Ask me and I shall fulfill it.” Idrees (a.s.) said, “Till such time as I allow, there should be no rains.” Allah said, “The country will be ruined and people will starve to death.” Idrees (a.s.) said, “Whatever may happen, this is my wish.” Allah replied, “All right. I accept it, and till the time you pray I will not send rain. I am the most truthful to My promise.”
Idrees (a.s.) briefed his companions about his discussion with Allah and said, “O my friends leave this country and go to some other place.” There were twenty of them and they spread out to different areas. The people came to know about the prayers of Idrees (a.s.). Idrees (a.s.) himself sought refuge on a hill. Allah appointed an angel who used to bring food to him every evening. Idrees (a.s.) fasted during the day and broke his fast in the evening when the angel brought food to him. Allah destroyed the kingdom of the tyrant king. The king was killed, his kingdom destroyed and the flesh of his wife was eaten by dogs due to their transgression against a believer.
Another unjust tyrant oppressor occupied the throne. Twenty years passed without a drop of rain. The people were in severe hardships and difficulties and their condition deteriorated. They used to bring food supplies from far off countries. When their condition turned from bad to worse they discussed among themselves that this calamity was due to the prayer of Idrees (a.s.) who had asked Allah that till the time he allowed there should be no rains. “We are not aware of his whereabouts because he has concealed himself from us.” They decided that as Allah is more Merciful than Idrees (a.s.) pray to Him and repent so that it rains on their land and in the neighboring areas. So they wore coarse clothes and applied mud on their head and standing on the earth they wailed, cried and repented to Allah.
Allah felt pity on them and revealed upon Idrees (a.s.) that, “Your people are repenting, wailing and weeping and I am God the Beneficent and Merciful and the one who accepts repentance and forgive sins. I have mercy on them and wish to fulfill their desire for rains. I have no obstruction save that you had requested me not to send rains till you pray for it. Therefore, O Idrees you pray to Me that I may send rains for them.” Idrees (a.s.) said, “O my Nourisher, I will not pray for rains.” Allah once again revealed on Idrees (a.s.) to pray for rains. Idrees (a.s.) again refused. So Allah recalled the angel who was appointed to bring food for Idrees. When it was evening and the food did not arrive Idrees (a.s.) became restless but waited patiently.
The second day when again the food did not arrive his restlessness increased. On the third day he lost his patience and appealed to Allah, “O my Nourisher before taking my soul you have discontinued my sustenance?” Allah revealed, “O Idrees! You are complaining in three days but you are not concerned about your nation that has suffered for twenty years? I informed you that they were suffering, and I was merciful on them and I wished that you pray for rain so that I send rain. But you abstained from it, so I wanted you to know what hunger is and you lost your patience and complained. Now come out of the cave and search for your sustenance. I have left you on your own.”
So Idrees (a.s.) came down from the hill to procure food. When he came near the town he saw smoke coming out from a house. An old lady had made two loaves of bread and was roasting them on the fire. He requested her to give him something to eat, as he was very weak and restless due to hunger. She said that due to the curse of Idrees (a.s.), Allah has not given left them anything that they can feed anyone, and swore that except for the two loaves of bread there was nothing in the house. She told him to leave the city and go somewhere else for food. Idrees (a.s.) requested:
At least give me one loaf so that I can save my life and can start walking. She said: “I have only these two loaves, one for me and the other for my son. If I give you my loaf I will die and if I give you my child’s he will die. I don’t have anything else to give you.” Idrees (a.s.) said, “Your son is young, half a loaf will suffice him and half will help me to live.” The woman ate her share and distributed the other between Idrees (a.s.) and her son. When the child saw Idrees (a.s.) eating from his share, he started crying and was so disturbed that he died. The woman screamed, “Stranger! You have killed my child.” Idrees (a.s.) said, “Do not fear, by the order of Allah I will make him alive.”
Saying this he kept his hands on the shoulder of the boy and said, “O soul who has left the body of this child, by the order of Allah, return to his body again. I am Idrees (a.s.) the Messenger of Allah.” The boy was alive once more. The woman saw this and said, “I witness that you are Prophet Idrees (a.s.).” And she ran out shouting, “O people! Congratulations to you and glad tidings that we will be relieved of our troubles and sufferings as Idrees (a.s.) has returned to our city.” Idrees (a.s.) came out and reached the palace of the first tyrant king, which was on a hill.
A group of people came and complained, “O Idrees! In these twenty years you did not have any mercy on us. We were involved in such difficulties and miseries and many of us starved to death. We request you now pray to Allah for rains.” Idrees (a.s.) replied, “I will not pray till the time this tyrant king and the people of your city come to me walking, barefoot and request me.” When the king heard this, he sent forty people to kill Idrees (a.s.). When they reached near Idrees (a.s.), he cursed them and they all died. When the king heard this he sent 500 people to arrest him. They came to Idrees (a.s.) and said, “We have come to take you to the king.” Idrees (a.s.) replied, “Look at these forty men (who had come before you to take me); see how they are lying dead. If you all don’t go back you too will meet the same fate.”
They said, “O Idrees, you have involved us in hunger for twenty years and now you are cursing us. Is there no mercy in your heart?” Idrees (a.s.) replied, “I will not go to that tyrant nor will I pray for the rains till that tyrant and all the people don’t come to me walking barefoot.” Upon this the people returned to the king and repeated the statement of Idrees (a.s.).
So the King together with the people came to Idrees (a.s.) and all stood helplessly before him and requested him to pray for rain. Idrees (a.s.) said: “Now I will pray to Allah, the Mighty and Sublime for rain.” So Idrees (a.s.) prayed to Allah, the Mighty and Sublime for rain on that locality and the surrounding areas. At that moment clouds gathered in the sky, there was thunder and lightning and it started raining so heavily that the people thought they would drown. Finally they all returned to their homes fearing they shall be drowned in the floods.”