|Was `Uzayr (Ezra) Called The Son Of God?|
|Written by mquran.org|
|Monday, 20 November 2006|
`Uzayr, who was exalted by a community of Jews, is identified as Ezra by Muslim commentators. The Qur'an says:
Before we take care of the origin of the issue of exalting Ezra to son of God by some Jews, let us first discuss the life of the man himself.
Ezra (5th-4th century BC, Babylon and Jerusalem) was a religious leader of the Jews who returned from exile in Babylon, and a reformer who reconstituted the Jewish community on the basis of the Torah (Law, or the regulations of the first five books of the Old Testament). This monumental work of Ezra helped to make Judaism a religion in which law was central, that enabled the Jews to survive as a community when they were dispersed all over the world. Ezra has with some justice been called the father of Judaism since his efforts did much to give Jewish religion the form that was to characterize it for centuries after the specific form the Jewish religion took after the Babylonian Exile. So important was he in the eyes of his people that later tradition regarded him as no less than a second Moses(P). Regarding the tomb of Ezra Encyclopaedia Judaica says:
It is to be kept in mind that the knowledge about Ezra is derived from the Biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, supplemented by the Apocryphal (not included in the Jewish and Protestant canons of the Old Testament but present in Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churchs' canon) book of I Esdras (Latin Vulgate form of the name Ezra), which preserves the Greek text of Ezra and a part of Nehemiah.
It is interesting to note that the Jews in Arabia, during the advent of Islam, were involved in mystical speculation as well as anthromorphizing and worshipping an angel that functions as the substitute creator of the universe. That angel is usually identified as Metatron. Newby notes that:
The Islamic exegetes have mentioned that there existed a community of Jews in Yemen who considered Ezra as son of God. Hirschberg says in Encyclopaedia Judaica:
George Sale makes an interesting comment concerning the Muslim as well as Judeo-Christian opinion on this issue.
Last but not the least, a Christian writer also proposed that Muhammad(P) got the information of Jews exalting Ezra to son of God from the Samaritans who said the Ezra had acted presumptuously and had changed the old divine alphabetical character of the holy Books of the Law - a character still used and revered to this day by rapidly dwindling Samaritan community. This author concludes in a rather unchristian way that:
And Allah knows best!
 Encyclopaedia Judaica, Volume 6, Encylopedia Judaica Jerusalem, p. 1108.
 G. D. Newby, A History Of The Jews Of Arabia, 1988, University Of South Carolina Press, p. 59.
 Ibid, p. 61.
 Encyclopaedia Judaica, Ibid., p. 1108.
 George Sale, The Koran, IX Edition of 1923, London, p. 152.
 J. Walker, "Who Is 'Uzair?", The Moslem World, Volume XIX, No. 3, 1939, pp. 305-306.
 Ibid, p. 306.
M S M Saifullah & Mustafa Ahmed
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