The majority of the commentators of the Holy Quran have a unanimous opinion that this event belongs to Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr Bin Sharkhiya علیہ السلام , who is a Prophet of the Bani Israel.
The details of this event are that when the wrongdoings of the Bani Israel became excessive, Allah’s torment struck them in such a way that a pagan king named Bakht Nasr Baabli attacked Bayt-ulMuqaddas with a huge army and killed one hundred thousand inhabitants of the city and exiled one hundred thousand of them into the land of Syria, scattering them here and there. The pagan king also captured the same number of people, making all of them his slaves. Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام was also amongst these prisoners. Then the pagan king went on to destroy the whole city of Bayt-ulMuqaddas, leaving it deserted.
Who was Bakht Nasr?
An infant of the people of ‘Amaliqah was found unattended next to their idol ‘Nasr’. As the name of the father of the child was unknown, that’s why people started calling him with the name of ‘Bakht Nasr’ (son of Nasr). The same child was appointed as governor by a Babylonian king and eventually he became a majestic king later.
(Tafseer Jamal, vol. 1, pp. 321; part 3, Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 259)
After a few days, when Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام was somehow set free from the imprisonment of Bakht Nasr, he علیہ السلام rode on a donkey and entered into his city of Bayt-ul-Muqaddas. Upon seeing his city destroyed and desolated, his heart became full of sorrow. He علیہ السلام began to weep. He علیہ السلام went to all the four sides of the city but could not find any human being. He علیہ السلام saw that the trees were full of fruits and were ready to be consumed but there was no one around to pluck the fruits.
Upon seeing this, the following words released from his blessed tongue out of sadness: اَنّٰی یُحْیٖ ھٰذِہِ اللہُ بَعْدَ مَوْتِھَاi.e. how would Allah ( ) bring back life in this city after such destruction and desolation? He علیہ السلام plucked some fruits and ate them. He علیہ السلام drank the juice of grapes by squeezing them, put the leftover fruit in his bag and put the leftover juice in his leather bottle. Then he علیہ السلام tied his donkey with a firm rope and went to sleep under a tree. During the state of sleep, he علیہ السلام passed away. And Allah kept him away from the eyes of birds, animals, beasts, jinn, humans and nobody could see him. Seventy years later, a king from Persia entered the ruins of this city. He brought so many people here and began to rebuild the city with them along with the few of the remaining Bani Israel, who were living scattered across the land. Those people made the city more beautiful and a joyous place than before by constructing new buildings and planting different kinds of gardens.
A hundred years later after the passing of Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام , Allah brought him back to life. He علیہ السلام saw his donkey has died, and its bones are scattered around. However, there was no rotting in any of the fruit in his bag or the juice in his leather bottle. There was not even a change in the colour or smell of the fruits or juice. Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام also noticed the hair of his blessed beard and head that were still black and he was still forty years old!
He علیہ السلام was thinking and pondering out of amazement. Meanwhile a Divine revelation was revealed upon him. Allah asked Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr, ‘O ‘Uzayr, how many days did you stay here?’ He علیہ السلام replied after thinking for a little while that I went to sleep in the morning and it is the time for ‘Asr now or replied that perhaps I slept for a day or a little less. Allah said,
‘O ‘Uzayr! No. You stayed here for one hundred years. Now to see My Absolute Power, look at your donkey to how his bones have rotten and scattered away and look at the food you have. It has not been spoiled at all.’ Allah then said, ‘O ‘Uzayr! Now see how I revive this donkey from its bones and then place flesh upon it.’
Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام then saw that instantly the bones started to move to form joints, the joints connected together to form the skeleton of the donkey. Within a fraction of moment, flesh appeared over the bones; the donkey became alive and started to speak in his language. After seeing this wonder, Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام proclaimed:
I know well that Allah is Capable to do all things.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 3, Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 259)
After this, Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام returned to the place where he علیہ السلام had lived a hundred years ago. Nobody could recognize him and he علیہ السلام could not recognize anyone either. But he علیہ السلام saw an old and crippled woman sitting near the home who had seen Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام in her childhood. He علیہ السلام asked this old woman, ‘Is this the home of ‘Uzayr?’ The old woman replied ‘yes’ but also asked him why he was enquiring about ‘Uzayr. It has been a hundred years since he was last seen. After saying this, she began to cry. Then Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام revealed his identity to her. She replied by saying, ‘ سبحان اللہ, how can you be ‘Uzayr?’ He علیہ السلام said, ‘O old lady! Allah ( ) kept me dead for 100 years, and then revived me. Now I have returned home.’ The old woman said, ‘Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr (علیہ السلام ) was such a blessed person that all of his supplications would be granted. If you are Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr (علیہ السلام ), then supplicate for restoration of my eyesight and for healing of my paralysis.’ Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام supplicated for her, and she recovered. When she looked at him, she recognized his blessed face and proclaimed, ‘I bear witness that you are Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr (علیہ السلام ).’ Then she took him to a street of the Bani Israel with her. Coincidently, the Bani Israel were in a gathering including the son of Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام who was 118 years of age at that time. Some of his grandchildren were also there and they too had grown into the old age. The old lady announced witness in the gathering, ‘O people! No doubt, he is Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr (علیہ السلام )’, but nobody accepted this statement.
Meanwhile, the son of Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr (علیہ السلام ) said that my father had a black mole in the middle of his shoulders that looked like the moon. Therefore, Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام removed his shirt and showed the mole! Then people said, ‘Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr (علیہ السلام ) had memorized the Tawrah. If you are Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr (علیہ السلام ), then recite Tawrah.’ Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام recited the whole Tawrah without any hesitation.
Bakht Nasr killed 40,000 religious scholars of Tawrah whilst destroying Bayt-ul-Muqaddas and left no written script of the Tawrah in the world. Now another question arose that whether the recited script was the original Tawrah or not? One person said that I heard from my father that the day they were arrested by Bakht Nasr, they buried a script of the Tawrah in the roots of a grape-tree. If you can find that grape-tree, then I can take out the script of Tawrah. Then we will come to know whether the recited script of Tawrah by Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr (علیہ السلام ) is original or not. After a struggle, they found the tree and after digging it, they found the buried Tawrah. Amazingly, there was a word to word resemblance between Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr’s recitation and the script!
Witnessing this amazing and marvellous event, everyone was astonished and said he is ‘Uzayr (علیہ السلام ), the son of Allah معاذاللہ.
Therefore, it is since then that this corrupt belief spread among Jews that Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام is the son of Allah معاذاللہ. Even till date, Jews around the world are maintaining this corrupt and false belief about Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام .
(Tafseer Jamal ‘alal Jalalayn, vol. 1, pp. 322; part 3, Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 259)
Allah has described this event in the Holy Quran, in Surah Al-Baqarah in the following words:
Or like him who passed by a village and it had fallen flat on its roofs; he said, ‘How will Allah bring it to life, after its death?’ So Allah kept him dead for a hundred years, then brought him back to life; He said, ‘How long have you stayed here?’ He replied, ‘I may have stayed for a day or little less’. He said, ‘In fact, you have spent a hundred years – so look at your food and drink which do not smell stale till now; and look at your donkey (whose bones even are not intact ) – in order that We may make you a sign for mankind – and look at these bones how We assemble them and then cover them with flesh’; so when the matter became clear to him, he said, ‘I know well that Allah is Capable to do all things.’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 3, Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 259)
- From these verses of the Holy Quran, it can clearly be seen that at the same place and in the same environment, the donkey of Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr (علیہ السلام ) had died and his bones had decayed, but there was no change in the fruits, the grapes juice and to the blessed body of Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام . Even his blessed hair had not turned white in hundred years. It is proven from this that the corpses of dead people decay in the graveyard but the bodies of chosen people of Allah remain blessed with peace and protection in the same environment and even their shrouds are not soiled. This has happened a number of times in history and this event of Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام is a clear proof. (واللہ تعالٰی اعلم)
- After seeing the destruction of Bayt-ul-Muqaddas, Sayyiduna ‘Uzayr علیہ السلام was saddened and said out of sadness that how Allah will rebuild this city after such destruction and desolation. This proves that loving and having affection towards ones city and country is an attribute of the chosen people of Allah . (واللہ تعالٰی اعلم)