By: Ibn Kathir


Translator's Note
Publisher's Note
BIOGRAPHY OF IBN KATHEER
The Story of Habil and Qabil (Able and Cain)
Harut and Marut
Dwellers of the Town
Story of the Heifer
Moses and AI-Khadir
The Story of Qarun(Korah)
Bilqis(Queen of Sheba)
The Story of Saba'(Sheba)
` Uzair(Ezra)
Dhul Qarnain
Gog and Magog
People of the Cave
The Believer & The Disbeliever
People of the Garden
The Sabbath-Breakers
Story of Luqman
People of the Ditch
Barsisa the Worshipper (The Renegade)
Owners of the Elephant

Islambasics Library: Stories Of The Quran

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

(9)

` Uzair(Ezra)

 

Allah the Almighty says:

{Or like the one who passed by a town and it had tumbled over its roofs. He said: "Oh! How will Allah ever bring it to life after its death?" So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him up (again). He said: "How long did you remain (dead)?" He (the man) said: "(Perhaps) I remained (dead) a day or part of a day". He said: "Nay, you have remained (dead) for a hundred years, look at your food and your drink, they show no change and look at your donkey! And thus We have made of you a sign for the people. Look at the bones, how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh ". When this was clearly shown to him, he said, I know (now) that Allah is Able to do all things"}. (Al-Baqarah, 259)

And, {And the Jews say: 'Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths, resembling the saying of those who disbelieved aforetime. Allah's Curse be on them how they are deluded away from the truth!}. (At-­Taubah, 30)

Al-Hafiz Abu Al-Qasim Ibn 'Asakir said: He is 'Uzair Ibn Jarwah, or Ibn Suraiq Ibn 'Adiya Ibn Ayyub Ibn Darzna Ibn 'Ura Ibn Taqyi Ibn Usbu' Ibn Finhas Ibn EI-'Azir Ibn Hamn Ibn 'Imran. Also, he is said to be 'Uzair Ibn Smkha. Some narrations state that his grave is located in Damascus. Then, Al-HafizIbn 'Asakir  narrated on  the authority of Abu Al-Qasim AI-Baghawi after Dawud Ibn `Amr after Hibban Ibn `Ali after Muhammad Ibn Kuraib after his father after `Abdullah Ibn `Abbas as saying: I do not know whether Tubba` was a cursed one or not? And, I do not know whether `Uzair was a Prophet or not? Then, he narrated the like from the Hadith of Mu'amil Ibn Al-Hasan on the authority of Muhammad Ibn Ishaq As-Sajizi after `Abder Razzaq after Mu`amir after Ibn Abu Dhu'aib after Sa`id Al- Maqbaari on the authority of Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him).

Then, he narrated from Ishaq Ibn Bishr -whom is rejected -after Jubair and Muqatil after Ad­ Dahha, on the authority of `Abdullah Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) as saying: `Uzair was -while a young boy -among those captivated by Bikhtinassar. When he was forty, Allah the Almighty granted him wisdom. And, none was more knowledgeable than he, pertaining to the Torah, and he was mentioned with the train of Messengers and Prophets till his name was erased by Allah the Almighty when he asked about the Divine Decree. (This Hadith is Weak and Rejected) and Allah knows best!

Ishaq Ibn Bishr narrated after Sa`id after Abu `Urubah after Qatadah after Al-Hasan after `Abdullah Ibn Salam that `Uzair was the man whom Allah caused to die for a hundred years, then raised him up again.

Ibn Ishaq Ibn Bishr said: I was told by Sa`id Ibn Bashir after Wahb Ibn Munabih: `Uzair was a wise, pious worshipper. One day, he went out to look after some of his properties, when he finished he passed by a ruined place where he was scorched by the blazing sun. So, he entered that ruined place riding on his donkey. He got off the donkey holding two baskets, one full of figs and the other full of grapes. He sat down and brought out a bowl in which he squeezed the grapes and soaked the dried bread he had therein. He ate thereof and then slept on his back, relying his two legs against a wall and started to gaze at the ceiling of the house. He saw some decomposed bones and said: {Oh! How will Allah ever bring it to life after its death?} He did not doubt Allah's Omnipotence to do this, but he said it in exclamation. Upon this, Allah the Almighty sent the Angel of Death who seized his soul, and thus Allah caused him to die for a hundred years. And, after one hundred years, Allah the Almighty sent to him an Angel who first created his heart to make him heedful, then, he created his two eyes to enable him to see and realize how Allah the Almighty revive the death. Then, the Angel continued to complete his creation once more while he was looking. The, he clothed his bones with flesh, skin and hair. Then, he breathed the soul into him. All this while he is looking and perfectly heedful. The Angel asked him saying: {How long did you remain (dead)? He (the man) said: (Perhaps) I remained (dead) a day or part of a day} that he was caused to die in the afternoon and then was given life again by the end of day while the sun was still in the sky; that's why he said: {or part of a day} i.e. not even a whole day. The Angel said: {Nay, you have remained (dead) for a hundred years, look at your food and your drink} i.e. the dried bread and the squeezed grapes that did not alter or turn bad, {they show no change} , and the grapes and the figs did not change as well. As if he began to deny the matter by his heart, the Angel said: do you deny what I have said? {and look at your donkey!} he looked at his donkey and found his bones to be decomposed and became totally ruined. The Angel called upon the donkey's bones and they answered his call and gathered together from all directions till he was made one whole again –while 'Uzair was looking ­and he clothed them with flesh, skin and hair. Then, the Angel breathed life into it and it roused erecting his ears and head towards the sky thinking the Last Hour had come. That was stated in His Saying: {and look at your donkey! And thus We have made of you a sign for the people. Look at the bones, how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh}. And {When this was clearly shown to him, he said, I know (now) that Allah is Able to do all things} .Then, he rode on his donkey back to his village where he seemed unfamiliar to the people and the people looked unfamiliar to him. Even, he did not find his own house easily. When he reached the house, he found a crippled blind old woman at the age of one hundred twenty years old. She was a maid owned by him in the past and he left her while she was only twenty years old. He asked her saying: is this the house of 'Uzair? She said: Yes, it is. She wept and said: Today, no one ever remembers `Uzair. He told her that he was 'Uzair and Allah the Almighty caused me to die for one hundred years then He gave me life again. She said: Glory is to be to Allah! We lost 'Uzair one hundred years ago and never heard anything about him. He said: Verily, I am 'Uzair. She said: 'Uzair was a man whose supplications were acceptable by Allah the Almighty, so invoke Allah to return my sight to me to look at you, so if you were 'Uzair, I would certainly know you. Consequently, he invoked Allah the Almighty, then, he wiped over her eyes and they were recovered and took her by the hand and said: Stand up by the Leave of Allah! She stood up by the Leave of Allah. She looked at him and said: I bear witness that you are 'Uzair. Then, she set out for the Children of Israel in their meetings and gatherings and 'Uzair's son who was about one hundred and eighteen years old and his grandsons, and she called them saying: This is 'Uzair who came back to you. They belied her, but she said: I am so and so, your maid. He invoked Allah for me and He recovered my eyesight and legs. She added: he claims that Allah caused him to die for one hundred years and then He gave him life again. The people rose up and went to look at him. His son said: my father had a black mole between his shoulders. He disclosed his shoulders and they realized that he was 'Uzair. The Children of Israel said: 'Uzair was the only one who committed the whole Torah to his heart and Bikhtinassar burnt it and nothing is left thereof but. what the men can remember, so (if you are the true 'Uzair) write it down for us. His father, Surukha buried the Torah during that era of Bikhrinassar in a place known to nobody but 'Uzair. Thus, he took them to that place and brought it out, but unfortunately, the papers were rotten and ruined. Consequently, he sat under the shade of a tree circulated by the Children of Israel and he renovated the Torah for them. At that time, two stars descended from the sky and entered into his mouth whereby he remembered the whole text of the Torah and thus renovated it to the Children of Israel. Thus, {The Jews say: 'Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah}. (At-Taubah, 30) for the matter of the two stars, renovating the Torah and charging the affairs of the Children of Israel. He renovated the Torah for them in the land of As-Sawad. The town in which he died is said to be called "Sairabadh."

'Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) said: Thus he was as said by Allah the Almighty: {And thus We have made of you a sign for the people} i.e. for the Children of Israel. That he was with his sons a young man among old people for he died when he was only forty and was revived on the same age and status. 'Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas said: he was resurrected after the time of Bikhtinassar. The same was related by Al-Hasan.

 

Was He a Prophet?

It is well known that 'Uzair was one of the Prophets sent to the Children of Israel; he came during the interval between Dawud and Sulaiman, and Zakariya and Yahya. At his time, none from among the Children of Israel happened to memorize the Torah, Allah the Almighty inspired him to commit it to his heart and then he recited it to the Children of Israel. Wahb Ibn Munabih said: Allah the Almighty ordered an Angel to descend with light to throw on 'Uzair .In doing this, he copied the Torah letter by letter till he was finished.

Ibn 'Asakir narrated on the authority of 'Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) that he asked' Abdullah Ibn Salam about Allah's Statement: {The Jews say: 'Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah}. (At-Taubah, 30) why did they say so? Ibn Salam mentioned his ('Uzair's) writing down of the Torah out of his memory, and the saying of the Jews that Musa (Moses) could not get them the Torah but in a book, and that 'Uzair got it without a book. Thereupon, some of them said: 'Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah. For this reason, many scholars say: there was a discontinuation pertaining to the transmission of the Torah at the time of 'Uzair. This is very likely if 'Uzair was not a Prophet which is adopted by 'Ata 'Ibn Abu Rabah and Al-Hasan Al-Basri, and that was narrated by Ishaq Ibn Bishr after Muqatil Ibn Sulaiman after 'Ata 'Ibn Abu Rabah as saying: that period witnessed nine things: Bikhtinassar, Sanaa garden, Saba' garden, Owners of the Ditch, Gasura, Owners of the Cave, Owners of the Elephant, Antioch, and Tubba'.

Ishaq Ibn Bishr said: I was told by Sa'id after Qatadah after Al-Hasan as saying: That period witnessed the issues of 'Uzair and Bikhtinassar. Moreover, it is transmitted in the Sahih Muslim that Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) said: "l am most akin to the son of Mary among the whole of mankind and the Prophets are of different mothers, but of one religion, and no Prophet was raised between me and him (Jesus Christ). "

Wahb Ibn Munabih said: He was raised between Sulaiman and 'Isa (Jesus) (Peace be upon them). Ibn 'Asakir narrated after Anas Ibn Malik and' Ata 'Ibn As-Sa'ib as saying: 'Uzair was raised during the time of Musa Ibn 'Imran, and that he asked for permission to meet with Musa (Peace be upon him), but he refused because of his asking about the Divine Decree. He left while saying: to die a hundred times, is easier than tasting the humiliation for an hour.

As for what was narrated by Ibn 'Asakir and others on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas, Nuf AI­Bakali, Sufyan Ath-Thawri and others that he asked about the Divine Decree and consequently his name was erased from among the names of the Prophets. It is a rejected and unauthentic Hadith that it is likely to be copied from the tales and stories that were invented by the Israelites.

      Narrated 'Abdul Razzaq and Qutaibah Ibn Sa' id after Ja'far Ibn Sulaiman after Abu 'Imran Al-Juni after Nuf Al-Bakali as saying: 'Uzair said to his Lord: 0 Lord! You fashioned the creation, and You mislead whom You will and guide whom You will. It was thus said to him: Turn away from this! But, he returned back. It was again said to him: Turn away from this or your name as a Prophet would be wiped out; I am not to be questioned about My Doing, while they (all creatures) are brought into account pertaining to what they do.

The Group, all but At-Tirmidhi, narrated from the Hadith of Yunus Ibn Yazid after Az-Zuhri after Sa'id and Abu Salamah after Abu Hurairah; also it was narrated by Shu' aib after Abu Az- Zinad after Al-A'raj after Abu Hurairah as saying: Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) said: "An ant had bitten a Prophet (one amongst the earlier Prophets) and he ordered that the colony of the ants should be burnt. And Allah revealed to him: Because of an ant's bite you have burnt a community from amongst the communities which sings My glory ". This Prophet was narrated to be 'Uzair by Ishaq Ibn Bishr after Ibn Juraij afterMuhammad Ibn 'Abdel Wahhab Ibn Mujahid after his father; also this was narrated on the authority of 'Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) and Al-Hasan AI­Basri. Allah knows best!

 

 


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