The Story of Dhul-Kifl
Imam Ibn Kathir Ad-Dimashqi
eBook: Stories of the Prophets
Among the prophets between David and Zakariah is Isaiah (pbuh), Ibn Amoz (Amisiah). According to Muhammad Ibn Ishaaq, Isaiah (pbuh) appeared before Zakariah (pbuh) and Yahya (John the Baptist) (pbuh). He is among those who prophesied about Isa (Jesus) (pbuh) and Muhammad (pbuh). The king during his time was called Hezekiah (Hazkia). He listened and was obedient to Isaiah in what he advised him to do and prohibit for the good of the state. Affairs took momentum among the Israelites. The king became sick with an infected foot. While he was sick, King Sennacherib (Sinharib) of Babylon advanced towards Jerusalem with sixty thousand men.
The people were greatly terrified. The King asked Isaiah: "What did Allah reveal to you regarding Sennacherib and his army?" He replied: "He has not yet revealed anything to me." Then the revelation came down for King Hezekiah to appoint a successor, as he wished, because his end was at hand. When Isaiah told him this, the king turned to the qibla (the direction faced in prayer); he prayed, glorified Allah, invoked Him, and wept. Weeping and invoking Allah the All-Powerful and majestic with a sincere heart, trust and patience, he said: "O Lord of lords, and God of gods! O, Benevolent and Merciful One Whom neither sleep nor nodding can overpower, remember me for my deeds and my just judgment over the children of Israel; and all that was from You, and You know it better than I do, my open acts and my secrets are with You."
Allah answered his prayers had compassion on him. He revealed to Isaiah to tell him the glad tidings that He had compassion for his weeping and would extend his life for a further fifteen years and save him from the enemy, Sennacherib. When Isaiah told this to Hezekiah, his disease was healed. Evil and sadness departed, and he fell prostrate, saying: "O Lord, it is You Who grants kingship to whomsoever You wish and dethrones whomsoever You wish and elevates whomsoever You wish and degrades whomsoever You wish, Knower of the unseen and the evident. And lo! You are the First and the Last; the Manifest and the Perceived; You grant mercy and answer the prayers of the troubled ones."
When he raised his head, Allah revealed to Isaiah to command the king to extract the water of the fig and apply it to his sore, and he would be whole and cured. He did so and was cured.
Then Allah sent death upon the army of Sennacherib. In the morning they were all corpses, except Sennacherib and five of his companions, among them Nebuchadnezzar (Bukhtanasar). The king of Israel immediately sent for them, put them in shackles and displayed them in the land for seventy days to spite and insult them. Every day each of them was fed a loaf of barley bread; after seventy days he confined them in prison.
Allah then revealed to Isaiah that the king should send them back to their country so that they might warn their people what would happen to them. When they returned, Sennacherib gathered his people and told them what had happened to them. The priests and magicians said to him: "We told you about their Lord and their prophets, but you did not listen to us. It is a nation which, with their God, nobody can overcome." So, Sennacherib was afraid of Allah. He died seven years later.
Ibn Ishaaq also reported that when King Hezekiah of Israel died, the Israelites' condition deteriorated; there was political confusion, and their wickedness increased. Isaiah preached to them what Allah revealed to him, directing them to righteousness and warning them of Allah's severe punishment. His preaching made him their enemy and they decided to kill him, so he escaped from them.
Ibn Ishaaq also reported an Israelite interpolation which said that when Isaiah was passing by a tree, it opened, and he entered therein; but Satan saw him and held onto the loop of his garment so that it stuck out. When they saw it, they brought a saw and sawed the tree, and him with it. Indeed, from Allah we come and to him we return.