How did Zakariyya (Zachariah) and Yahya (John), may Allaah exalt their mention, die?
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Ibn Katheer mentioned that scholars held different views about attributing the reports that Zakariyya died naturally or was killed to Wahb ibn Munabbih At-Tabari said that the first corruption of the children of Israel was their killing of Zakariyya and their second corruption was their killing of Yahya . However, there is no authentic text saying that they were killed. The Quran reiterates the fact that the Children of Israel would murder their prophets. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):
Scholars of Tafseer (Quranic exegesis) often draw Zakariyya and Yahya, may Allaah exalt their mention, as examples of prophets murdered by the Children of Israel. Ibn Katheer mentioned that Zakariyya and Yahya, may Allaah exalt their mention, were among the prophets who were killed before Nebuchadnezzar's control over the Children of Israel. He also reported a Hadeeth mentioning the story of their murder, but he classified it as Dha‘eef (weak) and Munkar (rejected). At-Tabari and Ibn Katheer mentioned some traditions reported from the Companions and their successors on the story of their murder, but it seems that they are taken from the People of the Book. The most authentic of these traditions include these:
* It was narrated on the authority of ‘Urwah ibn Az-Zubayr that he said, "Yahya ibn Zakariyya was killed for the sake of a prostitute who said to her master, 'I will never be pleased with you until you cut off Yahya's head and bring it to me.' He therefore did so and brought his head in a washtub for her." [Ibn Abu Shaybah in Al-Musannaf]
* ‘Urwah ibn Az-Zubayr also said, "Yahya ibn Zakariyya was killed for the sake of a prostitute who was an ex-slave girl." [Al-Haakim: Mawqoof (disconnected chain) and Saheeh (authentic) (Ath-Thahabi agreed on this)]
Ibn Katheer mentioned the detail of this report, saying, “One of the kings of Damascus at that time wanted to marry one of his Mahram women (i.e., a sister or someone else whom it is prohibited to marry due to blood-relations or marriage) or a woman whom he was forbidden from marrying (for other reasons). Yahya prohibited him from doing so. She thus kept having ill-feelings towards him, but then the love between them increased and she asked him to allow her to kill Yahya which he did. She thus sent someone to kill Yahya .”
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