In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Al-Baqarah Ayah 259 – The Story of Prophet Uzair
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that ‘Ali bin Abi Talib said that the man in the ayah was ‘Uzair (a prophet of Allah). Ibn Jarir also reported it, and this explanation was also reported by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim from Ibn ‘Abbas, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Sulayman bin Buraydah.
Mujahid bin Jabr said that the ayah refers to a man from the Children of Israel, and the village was Jerusalem after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it and killed its people.
When ‘Uzair ‘alayhi salaam passed by the empty town with its roofs and walls to the ground, he stood there and contemplated what had happened to the great civilization that used to inhabit that town. He said, “How will Allah ever bring it to life after its death?” He said this because of the utter destruction he saw and the implausibility of its returning to what it used to be. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala caused him to die for a hundred years and then brought him back to life.
He was asked for how long did he sleep, he replied, “(Perhaps) I remained (dead) a day or part of a day.” The scholars said that since the man died in the early part of the day and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala resurrected him in the latter part of the day. When he saw that the sun was still apparent, he thought that it was the sun of that same day.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala informed him that he had been sleeping (remained dead) for a hundred years, “…look at your food and your drink, they show no change; and look at your donkey!”
Ibn Katheer writes: ‘Uzair ‘alayhi salaam had grapes, figs, and juice, and he found them as he left them; neither did the juice spoil nor the figs become bitter nor the grapes rots. But the donkey had decayed.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “And thus, We have made of you a sign for the people,” sign here means that the confirmation that Resurrection occurs. He then commanded ‘Uzair ‘alayhi salaam to look at the bones of his donkey and how Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will bring them together and clothe them with flesh.
The word nunshizuha [نُنشِزُهَا] is from the root letters noon-sheen-zay and it means to be high, lifted up or rise up.
The word naksuha [نَكْسُوهَا] is from the root letters kaf-seen-wau and it means clothing.
As-Suddi said: ‘Uzair ‘alayhi salaam observed the bones of his donkey, which were scattered all around him to his right and left, and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sent a wind that collected the bones from all over the area. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then brought every bone to its place, until they formed a full donkey made of fleshless bones. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then covered these bones with flesh, nerves, veins and skin. He then sent an angel who blew life into the donkey’s nostrils, and the donkey started to bray by Allah’s leave.
All this occurred while ‘Uzair ‘alayhi salaam was watching, and this is when he proclaimed, “I know (now) that Allah is Able to do all things.”
In the previous ayah, we learned that Nimrod questioned the existence of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala but Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala did not guide him. But in this ayah, when ‘Uzair ‘alayhi salaam questions Resurrection, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala shows him the truth. Why was Nimrod left to remain in his ignorance and ‘Uzair ‘alayhi salaam was guided? It is because ‘Uzair ‘alayhi salaam was a believer – he did not disbelief in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
In a day, many thoughts enter our minds. Sometimes these are whisperings of Shaytan instilling doubt and fear in our hearts. If a person turns to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, calling upon Him and asking for help (guidance), then Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will guide the heart. He will show us the reality of things.
We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to protect our hearts from deviation and doubts, and to always guide us to the path of the truth, ameen.
DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayah 259