The Story of Daniel (Daniyal)
Imam Ibn Kathir Ad-Dimashqi
eBook: Stories of the Prophets
Ibn Abi Al-Dunya narrated the following, based on a chain of citations. Nabuchadnezzar captured the two lions and threw them into a pit. He then brought Daniel and threw him at them; yet they did not pounce at him; rather, he remained as Allah wished. When then he desired food and drink, Allah revealed to Jeremiah, who was in Sham (Palestine/Syria): "Prepare food and drink for Daniel." He said: "O Lord I am in Jerusalem while Daniel is in Babylon (Iraq)."
Allah revealed to him: "Do what I have commanded you to do, and I shall send you one who will carry you and what you have prepared." Jeremiah did so and Allah sent him something that would carry him until he arrived at the brink of the pit. Then Daniel asked: "Who is this?" He answered: "I am Jeremiah." He asked: "What brought you?" He answered: "Your Lord sent me to you." He said: "And so my Lord has remembered me?" He said: "Yes." Daniel said: "Praise be to Allah Who never forgets those who appeal to Him! And Praise be to Him Who compensates good with good, rewards patience with safety, dispels harm after distress, assures us when we are overwhelmed, and is our hope when skill fails us."
Yunus Ibn Bakeer reported that Muhammad Ibn Ishaaq reported that Abu Khalid Ibn Dinar reported that Abul Aa'lia said: "When Tastar was invaded, we found, in the treasure house of Al-Harmazan, a bed on which lay a dead man, with a holy script at his bedside. We took the scripture to Umar Ibn Al Khattab. He called Ka-b and he translated it into Arabic, and I was the first Arab to read it. I read it as I read the Qur'an." Here, I (Khalid Ibn Dinar) said to Abul Aa'lia: "What was in it?" He said: "Life history, annals, songs, speech, and what is to come." I asked: "And what did you do with the man?" He said: "We dug in the river bank thirteen separate graves. At nightfall we buried him and leveled all the graves in order to mislead people for they would tamper with him." I asked: "And what did they want from him?" He said: "When the sky was cloudless for them, they went out with his bed, and it rained." I asked: "Who did you think the man was?" He said; "A man called Daniel." I asked: "And for how long had he been dead when you found him?" He said: "Three hundred years." I asked: "Did not anything change on him?" He said: "No, except for the hairs of his face (beard, and mustache); the skin of the prophets is not harmed by the earth, nor devoured by hyenas."
The chain of citation from Abul Aa'lia is good, but if the date of the dead man's death was really three hundred years, then he was not a prophet but a saintly an, because there was no prophet between Isa (Jesus)(pbuh), and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), according to the hadith in Bukhari. The span between them (the dead man and Muhammad (pbuh)) was variously reported as four hundred, six hundred, and six hundred twenty years. It could be that he had died eight hundred years earlier, which would be near to Daniel's time, if his being Daniel is correct. However, he could still have been somebody else, either a prophet or a saint. Yet the truth is more likely he was Daniel, because he had been taken by the King of Persia and remained imprisoned as already mentioned.
It was narrated with a correct citation that his nose as one span (nine inches) long. Anas Ibn Malik, with a good citation, said that his nose was an arm's stretch long (two feet), on which basis he is thought to be an ancient prophet from before this period. Almighty Allah knows best.
Abu Bakr Ibn Abu Dunya related without citation that when Abu Musa was told that he was Daniel, he stayed with him, embraced him, and kissed him. Then he wrote to Umar that he found with him nearly ten thousand Dhirhams. It used to be that people came to borrow from it, and if they did not return it, they became sick. Umar ordered his burial in a grave to be kept secret and the money to be sent to the treasury, with the b ox and the ring a gift to him (Abu Musa).
It is related of Abu Musa that he told four of the captives to dam the river and dig a grave in the middle, where he buried him. Then he beheaded the four captives in order for the secret to be kept from all except himself.
Ibn Abu Dunya also reported, by a chain of citations, that a ring was seen on the hand of Ibn Abu Barda Ibn Abu Musa. The gem was carved with two lions with a man between them, whom they were licking. Abu Barda said: "This is the ring of that man whom the people of this town say is Daniel. Abu Musa took it the day he was buried. The learned people of the town told Abu Musa that soothsayers and astrologers told the king in Daniel's time that a boy would be born who would destroy him and his kingdom. So the king swore to kill all the baby boys, except that they threw Daniel in the lions' den, and the lion and lioness began to lick him and did not harm him. His mother came and took him. Abu Musa said: 'And so Daniel carved his image and the image of the two lions into the gem of his ring, for him not to forget Allah's blessing upon him in this.'" This has a good citation.