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Tomb of Ezra

Site traditionally described as the tomb of Ezra at Al Uzayr near Basra.

Uzair is a figure mentioned in the Quran, in the verse 9:30, this verse claims he is worshipped by Hodites as "the son of God".[1] He is often identified with Ezra (Arabic: 'عزير, 'Uzair, Turkish: 'Üzeyir) a biblical priest. Although not explicitly mentioned in Quran among the prophets, Ezra is considered as one of the prophets by some Muslim scholars, based on Islamic traditions. Ezra lived between the times of King Solomon and the time of Zachariah, father of John the Baptist.[2][3] On the other hand, Muslim scholars such as Mutahhar al-Maqdisi and Djuwayni and notably Ibn Hazm and al-Samaw'al accused Ezra (or one of his disciples) of falsification of the Scriptures.[1] The claim of the Quran, that the Jews believed Ezra was the son of God, has never collaborated with any evidence. In fact, the Book of Ezra, which dates more than thousand years before the Quran explicitly says Ezra is the son of Seraiah. Many scholars believe Muhammad made this assertion so as to claim pure monotheism for the Muslims alone, in his day.[4] According to Kate Zebiri, a senior lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, "No Jewish or extra-Qur'anic sources available to us mention worshipping of Ezra as the “son of God” by Jews."[5] According to Abraham Geiger who was very knowledgeable in Islam and won a prize for his essay "Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen?". The essay earned Geiger a doctorate at the University of Marburg. It demonstrated that large parts of the Koran were taken from, or based on, Rabbinic literature. He also said there was no evidence of Jews ever believing Ezra was the son of God, despite his extensive knowledge in Rabbinic literature as can be seen in his quoting of various Rabbinic texts in the essay.

In the Qur'an

One Qur'anic verse (Qur'an 9:30) claims that a certain Uzayr (Arabic: عزير) is worshipped by Jews as "the son of God". Uzayr is usually identified by Muslim commentators with the biblical Ezra, or sometimes with a man who slept for one hundred years. Some Muslim apologists have also suggested the Biblical Enoch, Azazel and Osiris.[1]

Quranic statements about perceived Jewish exaltation

The Quran claims that Jews exalted Ezra as a son of God.

The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call the Christ a son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! (Qur'an 9:30)
They take their priests (Ahbar) and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One Allah: there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).(Qur'an 9:31)

No Jewish sources available to us mention worshipping of Ezra as the “son of God” by Jews.[5] David Waines sates there is no data supporting this claim.[6] John Kaltner, agrees saying that there is no solid evidence to support the claim that the Jews of Medina viewed Ezra as a son of God.[7]

According to John Kaltner, the Qur'anic verse on Ezra is the only place where the Qur'an accuses Jews of polytheism and that this reference is obscure and remains a mystery.[7] According to the Encyclopedia Judaica entry on Ezra, "Muhammed claims (Sura 9:30) that in the opinion of the Jews, Uzayr (Ezra) is the son of God. These words are enigma because no such opinion is to be found among the Jews, even though Ezra was singled out for special appreciation (see Sanh. 21b; Yev. 86b)." The Encyclopedia Judaica then later states excuses Muslim apologists have came up with because of the statement being unfounded. It later says H. Z. Hirschberg proposed based on what Ibn Hazm said, (Ibn Hazm was a 10th century Muslim Spanish apologist who never lived in Yemen, yet who claimed there was some group of Yemenite Jews who believed that 'Uzayr was indeed the son of Allah'.) that perhaps just the righteous of Yemen believed Ezra was the son of God.[8] However there is no evidence of this group's existence.[5] Furthermore this seems odd when you consider the fact that according to the Encyclopedia Judaica entry on Ezra, the Yemenite Jews do not name their children Ezra, because according to their accounts, Ezra cursed the Yemenite Jews to be poor because they would not move to Israel. It also seems odd when you consider that the Book of Ezra which is accepted by Jews says specifically Ezra is the son of Seraiah. According to Charles Cutler Torrey, Muhammad made this assertion so as to claim pure monotheism for the Muslims alone, in his day.[4]

Edward Henry Palmer states that “there is no Jewish tradition whatever in support of this accusation of Mohammed's, which probably was entirely due to his own invention or to misinformation.”[9] According to the Encyclopedia of the Quran, “Muhammad could have heard about Jewish or Judeo-Christian sects that venerated Ezra in the way other sects venerated Melchizedek.”[10] The problem with this conjecture is that the Hadith, in Sahih Muslim Template:Muslim-usc, Sahih Bukhari 6:60:105, Sahih Bukhari 9:93:532s associates belief that Ezra is the son of God with all of Jews and compares it with belief by Christians that Jesus is the son of the God, and says that both Jews and Christians are condemned to hell for belief that God has a partner. Furthermore in the context of the Quran and this Hadith it implies the prevalency of Jews believing Ezra is the son of God, is as prevalent as belief of Christians that Jesus is the son of God, which is nearly universal amongst Christians. Furthermore Sahih Bukhari 7:63:209, tells Muslims to not marry Jewish women, because Jews associate partners with God. Also in surah 3:67 it says, "Abraham was neither Jewish, nor Christian; he was a monotheist submitter. He never was an idol worshiper." and in surah 2:135 it reads "And they say, 'Be Jews or Christians and you shall be guided.' Say thou: 'Nay, rather the creed of Abraham, a man of pure faith; he was no idolater.'" clearly implying the author(s) of the Quran believed that Jews in general associate either a partner or partners with God. Furthermore many believe claiming that the verse refers to a some group of Jews, Muslims are limiting Allah, so as to say the Quran, is the word of Allah.

Heribert Busse writes "The only explanation is the presumption that Muhammad, in the heat of debate, wanted to accuse the Jews of heretical doctrine on a par with the heresy of the Christian doctrine that teaches the divine nature of Jesus. In doing so, he could take advantage of the high esteem granted Ezra in Judaism."[11]

According to Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi, the relevant qur'anic text should in any case be understood in the context of the Muslim-Jewish relations that was replete with theological arguments between the nascent Muslim community and the well-established Jewish community in Medina. Ibrahim states that for the Qur'an, even a minute association of a creature with God is not acceptable and that this verse aims to distinguish the Muslim community from the existing Christian and the Jewish community. Even so, Rabi says, this would not explain why Ezra should be considered the son of God; Is Uzayr really Ezra, Ibrahim questions.[10] Some Muslim apologists have suggested that Uzayr might actually refer to the Biblical Enoch, Azazel or Osiris.[1] This still makes no sense since it is forbidden in Judaism to believe someone is the son of God.

According to Hava Lazarus-Yafeh, later Muslim authors who heard from their contemporary Jews and Christians that the accusation of sonship had no basis mentioned three types of excuses: al-Tabari said that only one Jew (Finhas) viewed Uzra as the son of God, Ibn Hazm said that only a small group of Jews worshipped ʿUzayr as a son of God in some past period. And others like Qurtubi said that the verse refers to the extreme admiration of Jews for their doctors of law.[1] The problem with saying that the verse refers to a small group of Jews is the Arabic used in the verse is spelled in such a manner as the part where it says The Christians say the messiah is the son of God, it spelled the same way as the part where it says The Jews say Ezra is the son of God, except the word alnnasara (The Christians) is replaced with the word alyahoodu (The Jews) and the word almaseehu (The messiah) is replaced with the word aauzayrun (Ezra).

The part of the verse that says "The Jews call 'Uzair the son of Allah, and the Christians call the Messiah the son of

Allah." in transliterated Arabic is

"Waqalati alyahoodu aauzayrun ibnu Allahi

Waqalati alnnasara almaseehu ibnu Allahi"[12]

The way that the Arabic uses the same formula, and doesn't differentiate when it says the Jews implies belief Ezra is the son of God, is as mainstream as belief that Jesus is the son of God amongst Christians. Furthermore to say The Jews say Ezra is the son of God, also has grammatical errors, it is like saying, The Muslims eat pork, it is true some Muslims eat pork, but it is not true Muslims in general eat pork. Ibn Kathir, in his Qur'anic commentary, narrates a tradition on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Abbas saying that the Jews exalted Ezra because he could write down the Torah out of his memory; Moses could receive the Torah in the form of a book while Uzair got it without a book.[3] According to Islamic apologist Al Baidawi, when Jews returned from Babylonish captivity, no one remembered the Tawrat and it was lost, hence God raised Ezra from the dead. Upon seeing him being raised from the dead, Jews exalted him to be the Son of God.[13] Edward Palmer said, "The Moslem tradition is that Ezra, after being dead 100 years, was raised to life, and dictated from memory the whole of the Jewish Scriptures which had been lost during the captivity, and that the Jews said he could not have done this unless he had been the son of God. There is no Jewish tradition whatever in support of this accusation of Mohammed's, which probably was entirely due to his own invention or to misinformation". Moreover, the Quran further claims that Jews were "commanded to worship but One Allah" through scriptures, yet they exalted their clergy as Lords.[14] This also lacks evidence, it in fact raises several problems, because in fact Judaism is more strict on its interpretation of monotheism than Islam. For example, the vast majority of Muslim theologians, believe two things are uncreated the Quran and God, while Jewish theology teaches that only one thing is uncreated, God. Another example being in how a good number of predominantly Muslim areas one can find the veneration of saints, for example in Morocco, seven saints are venerated, in Judaism on the other hand one cannot find any venetration of saints.

Jewish tradition and literature

A fundamental tenet of Judaism is that God is not bound by any limitations of time, matter, or space, and that the idea of any person being God, a part of God, or a mediator to God, is heresy.[15] The Book of Ezra, which Judaism accepts as a chronicle of the life of Ezra and which predates Muhammad and the Qur'an by around 1000 years, gives Ezra's human lineage as being the son of Seraiah and a direct descendant of Aaron (Ezra 7:1Ezra 7:5). Tractate Ta'anit of the Jerusalem Talmud, which predates Muhammad by two to three hundred years, states explicitly that “if a man claims to be God, he is a liar.”[16] Furthermore Exodus Rabba 29 says, "'I am the first and I am the last, and beside Me there is no God' I am the first, I have no father; I am the last, I have no brother. Beside Me there is no God; I have no son."[17] However the term 'sons of gods' occurs in Genesis.[18]. There are differing interpretations of what this means.[19]

The Qur'anic verse on Ezra appears in one of Maimonides's discussions about the relationship between Judaism and Islam where he says “…they [Muslims] lie about us [Jews], and falsely attribute to us the statement that God has a son.”[20]

Abraham Geiger remarked the following concerning the claim that Jews believed Ezra to be the son of God: “According to the assertion of Muhammad the Jews held Ezra to be the Son of God. This is certainly a mere misunderstanding which arose from the great esteem in which Ezra was undoubtedly held. This esteem is expressed in the following passage ‘Ezra would have been worthy to have made known the law if Moses had not come before him.’ Truly Muhammad sought to cast suspicion on the Jews’ faith in the unity of God, and thought he had here found a good opportunity of so doing.”[21]

In Karaite Judaism, mourners use the word "meharef" to represent a whole range of Muslim anti-Jewish polemic including the notion that Jews considered Ezra to be the son of God. Salmon b. Yeruhim said: “A meharef is one who reviles [us] for sins we have committed and others which we have not. The former includes our worshipping the calves, killing the prophets and the like. The latter, our assertion that 'Uzayr [Ezra] was the son [of God]…”[22]

In Islamic tradition

It recorded in Sahih Muslim that:

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported: Some people during the lifetime of the Messenger of God said: "Messenger of God! shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?" The Messenger of God said: "Yes", and added: "Do you feel any trouble in seeing the sun at noon with no cloud over it, and do you feel trouble in seeing the moon (open) in the full moonlit night with no cloud over it?" They said: "No, Messenger of God!" He (the Prophet) said: "You will not feel any trouble in seeing God on the Day of Resurrection any more than you do in seeing any one of them. When the Day of Resurrection comes a Mu'adhdhin (a proclaimer) would proclaim: Let every people follow what they used to worship. Then all who worshipped idols and stones besides God would fall into the Fire, till only the righteous and the vicious and some of the people of the Book who worshipped God are left. Then the Jews would be summoned, and it would be said to them: What did you worship? They will say: "We worshipped uzair, son of God." It would be said to them: "You tell a lie; God had never had a spouse or a son. What do you want now?" They would say: "We feel thirsty, O our Lord! Quench our thirst." They would be directed (to a certain direction) and asked: "Why don't you go there to drink water?" Then they would be pushed towards the Fire (and they would find to their great dismay that) it was but a mirage (and the raging flames of fire) would be consuming one another, and they would fall into the Fire. Then the Christians would be summoned and it would be said to them: "What did you worship?" They would say: "We worshipped Jesus, son of God". It would be said to them: "You tell a lie; God did not take for Himself either a spouse or a son." Then it would be said to them: "What do you want?" They would say: "Thirsty we are, O our Lord! Quench our thirst." They would be directed (to a certain direction) and asked: "Why don't you go there to get water?" But they would be pushed and gathered together towards the Hell, which was like a mirage to them, and the flames would consume one another. They would fall Into the Fire, till no one is left except he who worshipped God, be he pious or sinful. The Lord of the Universe, Glorified and Exalted, would come to them in a form recognisable to them and say; "What are you looking for? Every people follow that which they worshipped." They would say: "Our Lord, we kept ourselves separate from the people in the world, though we felt great need of them; we, however, did not associate ourselves with them." He would say: "I am your Lord." They would say: "We take refuge with God from thee and do not associate anything with God." They would repeat it twice or thrice, till some of them would be about to return. It would be said: "Is there any sign between you and Him by which you will recognise Him?" They would say: "Yes." and the things would be laid bare. Those who used to prostrate themselves before God of their own accord would be permitted by God to prostrate themselves. But there would remain none who used to prostrate out of fear (of people) and ostentation but God would make his back as one piece, and whenever he would attempt to prostrate he would fall on his back. Then they would raise their heads and He would assume the Form in which they had seen Him the first time and would say: "I am your Lord. They would say: "Thou art our Lord." Then the bridge would be set up over the Hell and intercession would be allowed and they will say: "O God, keep safe, keep safe."" It was asked: "Messenger of God, what is this bridge?" He said: T"he void in which one Is likely to slip. There would be hooks, tongs, spits like the thorn that is found in Najd and is known as Sa'dan. The believers would then pass over within the twinkling of an eye, like lightning, like wind, like a bird, like the finest horses and camels. Some will escape and be safe, some will be lacerated and let go, and some will be pushed into the fire of Hell till the believers will find rescue from the Fire. By One in Whose hand is my life, there will be none among you more eager to claim a right than the believers on the Day of Resurrection for (saying their) brethren in the Fire who would say: "O our Lord, they were fasting along with us, and praying and performing pilgrimage." It will be said to them: "Take out those whom you recognise." Then their persons would be forbidden to the Fire; and they would take out a large number of people who had been overtaken by Fire up to the middle of the shank or up to the knees. They would then say: "O our Lord not one of those about whom Thou didst give us command remains in it. He will then say: "Go back and bring out those in whose hearts you find good of the weight of a dinar." Then they will take out a large number of people. Then they would say: "O our Lord! we have not left anyone about whom You commanded us." He will then say: "Go back and bring out those in whose hearts you find as much as half a dinar of good." Then they will take out a large number of people, and would say: "O our Lord! not one of those about whom Thou commanded us we have left in it." Then He would say: "Go back and in whose heart you find good to the weight of a particle bring him out." They would bring out a large number of people, and would then say: "O our Lord, now we have not left anyone in it (Hell) having any good in him." Abu Sa'id Khudri said: If you don't testify me in this hadith, then recite if you like:" Surely Allah wrongs not the weight of an atom; and if it is a good deed. He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward" (al-Qur'an, iv. 40). Then God, Exalted and Great, would say: The angels have interceded, the prophets have interceded and the believers have interceded, and no one remains (to grant pardon) but the Most Merciful of the mercifuls. He will then take a handful from Fire and bring out from it people who never did any good and who had been turned into charcoal, and will cast them into a river called the river of life, on the outskirts of Paradise. They will come out as a seed comes cut from the silt carried by flood. You see it near the stone or near the tree. That which is exposed to the sun is yellowish or greenish and which is under the shade is white" They said: "Messenger of God! it seems as if you had been tending a flock in the jungle." He (the Holy Prophet) said: "They will come forth like pearls with seals on their necks. The inhabitants of Paradise would recognise them (and say): "Those are who have been set free by the Compassionate One(God). Who has admitted them into Paradise without any (good) deed that they did or any good that they sent in advance." Then He would say: "Enter the Paradise; whatever you see in it is yours. They would say: "O Lord, Thou hast bestowed upon us (favours) which Thou didst not bestow upon anyone else in the world." He would say: "There is with Me (a favour) for you better than this." They would say: "O our Lord! which thing is better than this?" He would say: "It is My pleasure. I will never be angry with you after this."[23]

It recorded in Sahih Bukhari that:

"…Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: During the lifetime of the Prophet some people said, : O Messenger of God(Prophet Muhammed)! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?" The Prophet said, "Yes; do you have any difficulty in seeing the sun at midday when it is bright and there is no cloud in the sky?" They replied, "No." He said, "Do you have any difficulty in seeing the moon on a full moon night when it is bright and there is no cloud in the sky?" They replied, "No." The Prophet said, "(Similarly) you will have no difficulty in seeing God on the Day of Resurrection as you have no difficulty in seeing either of them. On the Day of Resurrection, a call-maker will announce, "Let every nation follow that which they used to worship." Then none of those who used to worship anything other than God like idols and other deities but will fall in Hell (Fire), till there will remain none but those who used to worship God, both those who were obedient (i.e. good) and those who were disobedient (i.e. bad) and the remaining party of the people of the Scripture. Then the Jews will be called upon and it will be said to them, 'Who do you use to worship?' They will say, 'We used to worship ezra, the son of God.' It will be said to them, 'You are liars, for God has never taken anyone as a wife or a son. What do you want now?' They will say, 'O our Lord! We are thirsty, so give us something to drink.' They will be directed and addressed thus, 'Will you drink,' whereupon they will be gathered unto Hell (Fire) which will look like a mirage whose different sides will be destroying each other. Then they will fall into the Fire. Afterwards the Christians will be called upon and it will be said to them, 'Who do you use to worship?' They will say, 'We used to worship Jesus, the son of God.' It will be said to them, 'You are liars, for God has never taken anyone as a wife or a son,' Then it will be said to them, 'What do you want?' They will say what the former people have said. Then, when there remain (in the gathering) none but those who used to worship God (Alone, the real Lord of the Worlds) whether they were obedient or disobedient. Then (God) the Lord of the worlds will come to them in a shape nearest to the picture they had in their minds about Him. It will be said, 'What are you waiting for?' Every nation have followed what they used to worship.' They will reply, 'We left the people in the world when we were in great need of them and we did not take them as friends. Now we are waiting for our Lord Whom we used to worship.' God will say, 'I am your Lord.' They will say twice or thrice, 'We do not worship any besides God.' " "[24]

It recorded in Sahih Bukhari that:

"Narrated Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri: We said, "O Messenfer of God(Prophet Muhammed)! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?" He said, "Do you have any difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon when the sky is clear?" We said, "No." He said, "So you will have no difficulty in seeing your Lord on that Day as you have no difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon (in a clear sky)." The Prophet then said, "Somebody will then announce, 'Let every nation follow what they used to worship.' So the companions of the cross will go with their cross, and the idolators (will go) with their idols, and the companions of every god (false deities) (will go) with their god, till there remain those who used to worship God, both the obedient ones and the mischievous ones, and some of the people of the Scripture. Then Hell will be presented to them as if it were a mirage. Then it will be said to the Jews, "What did you use to worship?' They will reply, 'We used to worship ezra, the son of God.' It will be said to them, 'You are liars, for God has neither a wife nor a son. What do you want (now)?' They will reply, 'We want You to provide us with water.' Then it will be said to them 'Drink,' and they will fall down in Hell (instead). Then it will be said to the Christians, 'What did you use to worship?' They will reply, 'We used to worship Messiah, the son of God.' It will be said, 'You are liars, for God has neither a wife nor a son. What: do you want (now)?' They will say, 'We want You to provide us with water.' It will be said to them, 'Drink,' and they will fall down in Hell (instead). When there remain only those who used to worship God (Alone), both the obedient ones and the mischievous ones, it will be said to them, 'What keeps you here when all the people have gone?' They will say, 'We parted with them (in the world) when we were in greater need of them than we are today, we heard the call of one proclaiming, 'Let every nation follow what they used to worship,' and now we are waiting for our Lord.' Then the Almighty will come to them in a shape other than the one which they saw the first time, and He will say, 'I am your Lord,' and they will say, 'You are not our Lord.' And none will speak: to Him then but the Prophets, and then it will be said to them, 'Do you know any sign by which you can recognize Him?' They will say. 'The Shin,' and so God will then uncover His Shin whereupon every believer will prostrate before Him and there will remain those who used to prostrate before Him just for showing off and for gaining good reputation. These people will try to prostrate but their backs will be rigid like one piece of a wood (and they will not be able to prostrate). Then the bridge will be laid across Hell." We, the companions of the Prophet said, "O God's Messenger! What is the bridge?' He said, "It is a slippery (bridge) on which there are clamps and (Hooks like) a thorny seed that is wide at one side and narrow at the other and has thorns with bent ends. Such a thorny seed is found in Najd and is called As-Sa'dan. Some of the believers will cross the bridge as quickly as the wink of an eye, some others as quick as lightning, a strong wind, fast horses or she-camels. So some will be safe without any harm; some will be safe after receiving some scratches, and some will fall down into Hell (Fire). The last person will cross by being dragged (over the bridge)." The Prophet said, "You (Muslims) cannot be more pressing in claiming from me a right that has been clearly proved to be yours than the believers in interceding with Almighty for their (Muslim) brothers on that Day, when they see themselves safe. They will say, 'O God! (Save) our brothers (for they) used to pray with us, fast with us and also do good deeds with us.' Allah will say, 'Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of one (gold) Dinar.' God will forbid the Fire to burn the faces of those sinners. They will go to them and find some of them in Hell (Fire) up to their feet, and some up to the middle of their legs. So they will take out those whom they will recognize and then they will return, and God will say (to them), 'Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of one half Dinar.' They will take out whomever they will recognize and return, and then God will say, 'Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant), and so they will take out all those whom they will recognize." Abu Sa'id said: If you do not believe me then read the Holy Verse:-- 'Surely! God wrongs not even of the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant) but if there is any good (done) He doubles it.' (The Quran, 4.40) The Prophet added, "Then the prophets and Angels and the believers will intercede, and (last of all) the Almighty (God) will say, 'Now remains My Intercession. He will then hold a handful of the Fire from which He will take out some people whose bodies have been burnt, and they will be thrown into a river at the entrance of Paradise, called the water of life. They will grow on its banks, as a seed carried by the torrent grows. You have noticed how it grows beside a rock or beside a tree, and how the side facing the sun is usually green while the side facing the shade is white. Those people will come out (of the River of Life) like pearls, and they will have (golden) necklaces, and then they will enter Paradise whereupon the people of Paradise will say, 'These are the people emancipated by the Beneficent. He has admitted them into Paradise without them having done any good deeds and without sending forth any good (for themselves).' Then it will be said to them, 'For you is what you have seen and its equivalent as well.'""[25]

Ibn Kathir's commentary on surah 9:30, the verse in the Quran that mentions Uzair

"God the Exalted encourages the believers to fight the polytheists, disbelieving Jews and Christians, who uttered this terrible statement and utter lies against God, the Exalted. As for the Jews, they claimed that `Uzayr was the son of God, Allah is free of what they attribute to Him. As for the misguidance of Christians over `Isa, it is obvious. This is why God declared both groups to be liars,(That is their saying with their mouths), but they have no proof that supports their claim, other than lies and fabrications,(resembling), imitating,(the saying of those who disbelieved aforetime.) They imitate the previous nations who fell into misguidance just as Jews and Christians did, (may Allah fight them), Ibn `Abbas said, "May God curse them.(how they are deluded away from the truth!) how they deviate from truth, when it is apparent, exchanging it for misguidance."
[26]

Also, according to Ibn 'Abbas and Al-Hassan Al-Basri, the prophet mentioned in the following tradition is Uzair:[2]

Abu Haraira said that he heard Muhammad say, "An ant bit a prophet amongst the prophets, and that he ordered that the place of the ants be burnt. So, God inspired to him, 'Is it because one ant bit you that you burnt a nations amongst the nations that glorify God?

In some Islamic narrations, Ezra is the person mentioned in the following Qur'anic verse:[3]

Or (take) the similitude of one who passed by a hamlet, all in ruins to its roofs. He said: "Oh! how shall God bring it (ever) to life, after (this) its death?" but God caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him up (again). He said: "How long didst thou tarry (thus)?" He said: (Perhaps) a day or part of a day." He said: "Nay, thou hast tarried thus a hundred years; but look at thy food and thy drink; they show no signs of age; and look at thy donkey: And that We may make of thee a sign unto the people, Look further at the bones, how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh." When this was shown clearly to him, he said: "I know that God hath power over all things." (Qur'an 2:259)

According to Islamic scholar, Ibn Kathir, after questioning how the resurrection will take place on the Day of judgement, God had him brought back to life many years after he died. He rode on his revived donkey and entered his native place. But the people did not recognize him, nor did his household, except the maid, who was now an old blind woman. He prayed to God to cure her blindness and she could see again. He meets his son who recognized him by a mole between his shoulders and was older than him. Ezra then led the people to locate the only surviving copy of Torah as the remaining were burnt by Nebuchadnezzar. It was rotting and crumpled, so Ezra had a new copy of the Torah made which he had previously memorised. He thus renovated the Torah to the Children of Israel. Ibn Kathir mentions that the sign in the phrase "And that We may make of thee a sign unto the people" was that he was younger than his children. After this miracle, Ibn Kathir writes that Jews began to claim that Ezra was the 'son of God'.[27]

Accusations of falsification

Ibn Hazm, an Andalusian Muslim scholar, explicitly accused Ezra of being a liar and a heretic who falsified and added interpolations into the Biblical text. Ibn Hazm provided a polemical list of what he considered "chronological and geographical inaccuracies and contradictions; theological impossibilities (anthropomorphic expressions, stories of fornication and whoredom, and the attributing of sins to prophets), as well as lack of reliable transmission (tawatur) of the text", Hava Lazarus-Yafeh states.[1][28] In response to attacks on the personality of Ezra, the Byzantine Emperor Leo III defended Ezra as a pious, reliable person.[28] The Jewish convert to Islam al-Samaw'al (d. 1175) accused Ezra of interpolating stories such as Gen. 19:30-8 in the Bible in order to sully David’s origins and to prevent the rule of the Davidic dynasty during the second Temple.[1] The writings of Ibn Hazm and al-Samaw'al was adopted and updated only slightly by later Muslim authors up to contemporary times.[1][28]

According to Hava Lazarus-Yafeh, the early writers seem to have been influenced with the idea of falsification of the scriptures already present in the pre-Islamic sources and well-known among Christians and Jews, who had written in their refutation.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Encyclopedia of Islam, Uzayr
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ashraf, Shahid (2005). "Prophets ’Uzair, Zakariya and Yahya (PBUT)" (Google Books). Encyclopaedia of Holy Prophet and Companions. Daryaganj, New Delhi: Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd.. pp. 199–200. ISBN 8126119403. http://books.google.com/books?id=2UqxApJT4JAC&pg=PA199&dq=uzair+was+a+prophet&as_brr=3&ei=RJ4qR8eBN5nKiQGl3py1DA&ie=ISO-8859-1&sig=z2JJi_4OVbBJcni08qyCMP5wu2I. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ibn Kathir; Ali As-Sayed Al- Halawani (trans.). "`Uzair(Ezra)". Stories Of The Quran. Islambasics.com. http://www.islambasics.com/view.php?bkID=80&chapter=12. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Torrey, Charles Cutler (1967). "Allah and Islam in Ancient History". The Jewish foundation of Islam. Introd. by Franz Rosenthal. New York: KTAV. pp. 72. LCCN 67-018817. OCLC 921947. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Kate Zebiri, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an, The Qur'an and Polemics
  6. David Waines, An Introduction to Islam, p. 27
  7. 7.0 7.1 Kaltner, John (1999). "Near, but not Equal to, Allah" (Google Books). Ishmael instructs Isaac : an introduction to the Qurʼan for Bible readers. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical press. pp. 273–274. LCCN 98-032326. ISBN 9780814658826. OCLC 40340002. http://books.google.com/books?id=cGqy_OgxNU4C&pg=PA274&dq=Ishmael+Instructs+Isaac:+An+Introduction+to+the+Qur%27an+for+Bible+Readers+Ezra&as_brr=0&ei=UctDR-fsOIia7AK8rfXvBg&sig=bF6dmnGEKB4-cU8zmLXTb1x1O4k#PPA273,M1. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 
  8. Encyclopaedia Judaica, p. 1108.
  9. Palmer, Edward Henry. "Footnote on 177:1". The Qur'ân, part I (Sacred Books of the East volume 6), Palmer edition [1880]. Internet Sacred Text Archive. http://www.sacred-texts.com/isl/sbe06/009.htm#fn_288. Retrieved 2007-11-15. "The Moslem tradition is that Ezra, after being dead 100 years, was raised to life, and dictated from memory the whole of the Jewish Scriptures which had been lost during the captivity, and that the Jews said he could not have done this unless he had been the son of God. There is no Jewish tradition whatever in support of this accusation of Mohammed's, which probably was entirely due to his own invention or to misinformation." 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Abu-Rabiʿ, Ibrahim M. "Ezra ." Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān. General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Georgetown University, Washington DC. Brill, 2007. Brill Online.
  11. Busse, Heribert. Islam, Judaism, and Christianity: theological and historical affiliations, Princeton series on the Middle East, Markus Wiener Publishers, 1998, p. 57.
  12. http://www.searchtruth.com/chapter_display.php?chapter=9&translator=6
  13. A Dictionary of Islam By Patrick Hughes, Thomas Patrick Hughes, pg 114
  14. Quran 9:31
  15. Ta'anit (2:1)
  16. http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/tmm/tmm08.htm
  17. The Bible, Genesis, Ch. 6, v. 2
  18. Son of God, Sons of God
  19. Shapiro, Marc B. (Summer 1993). "Islam and the halakhah". Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life & Thought (New York: American Jewish Congress) 42 (167). http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0411/is_n3_v42/ai_14234286/print. Retrieved 2007-11-15. "The Ishmaelites are not at all idolaters; [idolatry] has long been severed from their mouths and hearts; and they attribute to God a proper unity, a unity concerning which there is no doubt. And because they lie about us , and falsely attribute to us the statement that God has a son…". 
  20. Abraham Geiger's book Judaism and Islam chapter 2 part 4
  21. Scripture Well: Karaite Exegetes and the Origins of the Jewish Bible, By Daniel H. Frank, pg 193
  22. Sahih Muslim(Book #001, Hadith #0352)
  23. Sahih Bukhari(Book #001, Hadith #0352)
  24. Sahih Bukhari(Book #93, Hadith #532s)
  25. http://www.tafsir.com/default.asp?sid=9&tid=20998
  26. Ibn Kathir, Stories of the Prophets, translated by Shaikh muhammed Mustafa Gemeiah, Office of the Grand Imam, Sheikh al-Azhar, El-Nour Publishing, Egypt, 1997, Ch.21, pp.322-4
  27. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Hava Lazarus-Yafeh, Tahrif, Encyclopedia of Islam
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