The Story of `uzayr in the Holy Qur'an
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم
Praise be to God the Creator of the world, the One Who exists without beginning, without end, without location , without a “how” and Who does not depend on time. Nothing resembles Him in anyway and He hears and sees everything without organs. Whatever you imagine, God is different from that. May the elevation in degree and preservation of his community of what he fears for it, be granted to our master Muhammad Al-‘Amin, the Honest One, who called for following Islam, the religion of truth, the religion of all the Prophets: of the First, Adam, to the last Muḥammad.
`Uzayr, whose story was briefly mentioned in the Qur’ân, was a pious Muslim from the descendents of Prophet Israel i.e. Ya`qub. We bring you his story in detail because of what it shows of God’s great Might.
The descendents of Prophet Israel, the Israelites, had split into several groups. Some stayed as they were: believing Muslims who adhered strongly to the rules of Islam. The others blasphemed and perverted the religion. This caused onto the Muslim nation of the time. Great tribulation, which often led to the killing of some honored prophets on the hands of those Jews.
After their corruption had spread and they had unjustly ruled and ruthlessly killed two honorable prophets, namely our master Zakariyya and his son our master Yahya, Allâh inflicted upon them a blasphemous ruler named Bukhtanassar, who came from Iraq with a great army to Jerusalem, in Palestine. He attacked the Israelites in their own homes, killing many of them, and taking the rest as hostages but a few of them fled. Then, he ordered his soldiers to bring loads of soil and pour it onto the Israelites city, until it looked like a huge mountain. This was done in order to disgrace them and humiliate them even further.
Bukhtanassar took the hostages with him to Babylon. Among them were Muslim scholars who were descendents of Israel. They buried the real Torah before they left Jerusalem in a place only known to them.
Among them was `Uzayr, the son of Sharkhiya, who was later able to return to Jerusalem, but found it still in ruins.
The remaining houses had been destroyed, the tattered corpses, amputated body parts and chopped bones of its habitants scattered around them. Shocked he passed by them pulling his donkey behind him.
Yet, when he arrived to the city’s fields, he was surprised to find them fresh and fruitful, and his amazement grew since the trees were in bloom while the people were dead. He said, touched by what he had seen. ”Praise be to God, who is able to resurrect this city and its people after what they have come to.” He ate some grapes and figs from those trees and filled his basket with them. He also squeezed some grapes in a cup and drank a little. Then he sat down to rest under the shadow of a tree.
A few moments later. He died and was concealed out of the sight of people, beasts and birds.
Seventy years after `Uzayr’s death; Allâh sent an angel to one of Persia’s kings, saying, ”God orders you to recruit your people and taket hem to Jerusalem to restore it and its surrounding land and make it better than ever.” So the king ordered tens of thousands of people to go rebuild the city. Soon the remaining descendents of Israel returned to it, where they prospered and increased in number and wealth.
Many years later, in fact one hundred years after the death of `Uzayr, Allâh with His great Power brought him back to life by His great Might. `Uzayr had died in the morning and God resurrected him just before sunset, after that long period of time, Allâh first revived his heart so he could become aware of his surroundings, then He revived his eyes so he could see for himself how resurrection takes place and thus his faith becomes stronger. Gradually, `Uzayr watched his body come back to life. Then he was visited by an honored angel who asked him, ”For how long do you think that you stayed dead?” ”For a day,” suspected `Uzayr. Then, seeing that the sun had not fully set, he added, ”Maybe less than a day.”
”You died for one hundred years?” explained the angel. ”Yet look at your food!” `Uzayr looked at his fruit basket and the drink in his cup that were still fresh. The the angel said: ”Look at your donkey.” He looked at the tree where he had tied the donkey, and found it dead. Its bones were white with holes in them and its limbs scattered and perished. Then, he heard an angel’s voice from the sky saying, ”O you perished bones, come together by Allâh’s will.”
The bones were joined, and every part bonded with its matching parts; the ribs to the other matching ribs, the arms into their places, the head in its proper position, the nerves and veins were placed, the God grew soft flesh on the donkey’s skeleton and covered it with skin that spread on the flesh and hair sprouted out of the skin.
Then an angel came and blew the soul in the donkey’s nostrils. Instantly, the donkey got up. `Uzayr knelt on the ground in worship to Allâh after he had seen an amazing and stunning sign of Allâh’s power, which is resurrecting the dead. `Uzayr said, ”I believe that God has the power over everything.”
At the time when `Uzayr left his home, a hundred years earlier, he was a strongly built, black haired, forty year old man. He had left his wife pregnant. So after he died his wife had a baby boy, who was one hundred years old at the time of his father’s return to life.
`Uzayr rode to where he used to live on his donkey. Bu the couldn’t recognize anybody from his family and they didn’t recognize him either. Many people had died and many more had been born since his departure.
He went to his house where he found a handicapped, blind old woman who had been his 20 year old maid.
”Is this `Uzayr’s house ?” he asked her.
”Yes,” she replied while crying, `Uzayr left tens of years ago and people have forgotten about him. I haven’t met anyone who has mentioned him in a long time until now.”
”I am `Uzayr!” he declared. ”I died for a hundred years and now Allâh has resurrected me.”
She was surprised by what she heard. After a moment she said ”`Uzayr was a pious man whose prayers were answered. Whenever he asked God to heal a patient or help a troubled person, God answered his prayers. So ask God to give me back my health and to return my sight.”
`Uzayr did and she instantly had sharp vision, a bright young face and a healthy appearance. She even was able to get up on her feet as though she never had a handicap, saying, ”I believe that you are indeed `Uzayr.”
She took him and went off to the Israelites, amongst whom were his children and grandchildren whose hair and beards had become white with age. Some were already fifty and others were almost eighty years old. Some of his friends were still alive , but their bodies were wilted and backs bent.
”God has returned `Uzayr, whom you had lost one hundred years ago, with good health and the stride of perfect young men!” the old woman cried.
`Uzayr looked handsome, strong, having muscles and black hair. Nobody recognized him. Therefore, they wanted to test him.
His son approached him and said, ”My mother used to tell med that my father had a crescent-shaped black mole between his shoulders, so show it to us.”
`Uzayr revealed his back to show them his mole.
Yes, they wanted to be even surer. So, an older man tested his honesty saying, ”Our ancestors told us that when Bukhtanassar attacked Jerusalem he burnt Torah and there were only a remaining few who had memorized it by heart; one of whom was `Uzayr. So if you were `Uzayr, recite what you have memorized.”
`Uzayr got up and led them to the place where he had buried the Torah at the time of Bukhtanassar’s attack and dug it out. The cloth with which it was wrapped had become partly ragged. He handed the book to the Israelites and sat down under a tree reciting it as they followed up on the book itself. He recited the whole Torah not leaving out a single verse, and not changing a single letter.
Upon witnessing that, they believed him, shook his hand, and touched him seeking his blessings. But, later many jews due to their ignorance, instead of becoming more faithful, they disgracefully blasphemed and said, ”`Uzayr is the son of God”. We seek refuge with Allâh from that.