Prophet Ilyas [Elijah] (Peace be upon him)
"Peace and salutation to such as Ilyas (Elijah)!"
Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
For He was one of Our believing Servants. (as-Saffat, 130-132)
CHILDREN OF ISRAEL BEFORE THE PROPHET ILYAS (ELIJAH)
We mentioned that Children of Israel were divided into two states as Yahuda and Israel after the death of Hz. Sulayman (Solomon).
The state of Yahuda kept its stability for a long time because it included Quds (Jerusalem) and the holy relics, the scholars guided the people and the Torah was read in Masjid al-Aqsa.
Since the state of Israel was deprived of strong points like those, it started to move away from the shari'ah of Hz. Musa (Moses); the belief of idolatry started to spread among Children of Israel.1
The name of the idol that the people of the state of Israel worshipped was Ba’l. It was an idol made of gold; it was 20 ells (13,6 meters) tall and had four faces. The place where this idol was located was called Ba'lbek with the addition of "bek" to the word "Ba'l". Today, the town of Baalbek in Damascus still has this name.2
THE PERSONALITY OF HZ. ILYAS
Hz. Ilyas was born in Baalbek when Children of Israel started to move away from the shari'ah of Hz. Sulayman gradually.3 He was born about 9 centuries before the death of Hz. Isa (Jesus).
Ilyas is also called “Ilyasin” in the Quran.4 The word “Ilyasin” is also pronounced as “Aal-i Yasin” in some dialects; therefore, it is written in a way that can be pronounced in both ways. Yasin is also one of the names of the Messenger of Allah 5; so, some scholars say what is meant by Aal-i Yasin is the ummah of Muhammad; thus, double entendre is used here; that is, both meanings of a word is used.6
It is also narrated that the pedigree of Hz. Ilyas goes back to Hz. Harun (Aaron).7
Jews and Christians call Ilyas Elijah.8
THE PROPHETHOOD OF HZ ILYAS
After starting to worship the idol called Ba’l, Children of Israel abandoned the shari'ah of Musa and the true path completely.
Allah Almighty sent Hz Ilyas as a prophet to them.9
Hz. Ilyas declared his prophethood and started his activities in order to call his nation to the true path. He criticized them because they worshipped the idol of Baal, which was too weak to do anything and which consisted of a mass of metal. He accused them of not fearing Allah. He told them that they would be hit by a disaster and asked them to return to the true religion and to follow him by believing in him. However, they did not obey Hz. Ilyas. They even denied him.10
THE REGRET OF CHILDREN OF ISRAEL
Not only did Children of Israel deny Hz. Ilyas, they also deported him from Baalbek. Thereupon, Allah Almighty removed abundance from them. They did not have any rain. Animals started to die. They had to eat the animals that died. They were hit by various misfortunes. They realized that the reason why those misfortunes hit them was deporting Hz. Ilyas from Baalbek and not obeying him. They looked for Hz. Ilyas and found him. They apologized to him and promised that they would obey him. After obeying Hz. Ilyas for a while, Children of Israel started to deny him again and to commit sins by showing ingratitude. They stopped obeying him. When Hz. Ilyas believed that they would not follow the right path, he asked Allah Almighty to separate him from them. Allah Almighty accepted his prayer and allowed him to leave them and go somewhere else.11
Some scholars hold the view that Hz. Ilyas is alive like Hz. Isa and Hz. Khidr. Abu Hayyan writes the following in his tafsir: “Hz. Ilyas and Hz. Isa are mentioned to be close to each other. They are not dead.”12
KHIDR - ILYAS: KHIDRALLAZ
The sixth of May is celebrated as the feast of Khidrallaz by people. There are many superstitions and wrong beliefs about that day. Some people do not harness oxen, others do not enter a lake, river, etc; some people say if you jump over a fire, you will have a house of your own, etc.
These customs and beliefs have nothing to do with the reality. The reality about Khidrallaz, about which various customs and beliefs were made up by the people, is as follows:
As Allah’s grace, the arid and barren places where Khidr sat and stepped on became green and full of flowers. In fact, the word khidr means green in Arabic.
According to a narration, Hz. Khidr and Hz. Ilyas met on the sixth of May one year on barren land and talked. This place became green with grass and plants though it was in the middle of barren land since Khidr stepped on it.
After this incident, people adopted the sixth of May, when Hz Khidr and Hz. Ilyas met, as Khidr-Ilyas day; they told everybody about it and the name was gradually changed to Khidrallaz since it was easier to pronounce. It means the day when Khidr and Ilyas met.
The truth beyond the day of Khidrallaz, which has been celebrated for centuries, is explained above.
What we can truly say about Khidrallaz is as follows:
— All of the illogical and unreasonable customs about the day of Khidrallaz, that is the day when Khidr and Ilyas are said to meet, are wrong and they are customs made up by various people. There are no definite activities based on religion on that day. They are not the orders of the religion of Islam. They are people's own activities.”13
1 A.C. Paşa, Kısas-ı Enbiya, I/35
2 A.C. Paşa, ibid, I/35; M.Vehbi, Hülasatü’l-Beyan, XIII/4743; Muhammed Hamdi Yazır, Hak Dini-Kur’an Dili, V/4068; H. B. Çantay, Kur’an-ı Hakim ve Meal-i Kerim, II/803, note:83
3 Tajrid Trnsl., IX/88-89
4 as-Saffat, 130
5 It is reported by Said bin Jubayr. (Muhammed Hamdi Yazır, ibid, V/4006)
6 see Muhammed Hamdi Yazır, ibid, V/4068
7 Ö.N. Bilmen, ibid, II/916; Muhammed Hamdi Yazır, ibid, III/1972
8 Muhammed Hamdi Yazır, ibid, III/1973
9 as-Saffat, 123; al-Maida, 85.
10 as-Saffat, 124-127
11 A.C. Paşa, Kısas-ı Enbiya, I/35-36, Ö. N. Bilmen, ibid, VI/3001-3002
12 Muhammed Hamdi Yazır, ibid, III/1972.
13 Ahmed Çebi, Nokta, 115-117