(for forty years;) defines,
﴿يَتِيهُونَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ﴾
(in distraction they will wander through the land.) When these years ended, Yuwsha` bin Nun led those who remained among them and the second generation, and laid siege to Jerusalem, conquering it on a Friday afternoon. When the sun was about to set and Yuwsha` feared that the Sabbath would begin, he said (to the sun), "You are commanded and I am commanded, as well. O Allah! Make it stop setting for me.'' Allah made the sun stop setting until Yuwsha` bin Nun conquered Jerusalem. Next, Allah commanded Yuwsha` to order the Children of Israel to enter Jerusalem from its gate while bowing and saying Hittah, meaning, `remove our sins.' Yet, they changed what they were commanded and entered it while dragging themselves on their behinds and saying, `Habbah (a seed) in Sha`rah (a hair).'' We mentioned all of this in the Tafsir of Surat Al-Baqarah. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas commented,
﴿فَإِنَّهَا مُحَرَّمَةٌ عَلَيْهِمْ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً يَتِيهُونَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ﴾
(Therefore it is forbidden to them for forty years; in distraction they will wander through the land.) "They wandered in the land for forty years, during which Musa and Harun died, as well as everyone above forty years of age. When the forty years ended, Yuwsha` son of Nun assumed their leadership and later conquered Jerusalem. When Yuwsha` was reminded that the day was Friday and the sun was about to set, while they were still attacking Jerusalem, he feared that the Sabbath might begin. Therefore, he said to the sun, `I am commanded and you are commanded.' Allah made the sun stop setting and the Jews conquered Jerusalem and found wealth unseen before. They wanted to let the fire consume the booty, but the fire would not do that. Yuwsha` said, `Some of you have committed theft from the booty.' So he summoned the twelve leaders of the twelve tribes and took the pledge from them. Then, the hand of one of them became stuck to the hand of Yuwsha` and Yuwsha` said, `You committed the theft, so bring it forth.' So, that man brought a cow's head made of gold with two eyes made of precious stones and a set of teeth made of pearls. When Yuwsha` added it to the booty, the fire consumed it, as they were prohibited to keep the booty.'' There is evidence supporting all of this in the Sahih.
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