Dear Brother / Sister,
Or (take) the similitude of one who passed by a hamlet, all in ruins to its roofs. He said: "Oh! how shall Allah bring it (ever) to life, after (this) its death?" But Allah 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 Allah hath power over all things." (al-Baqara 259)
Hazrat Ali, Ibn Abbas, Iqrima, Abu'l-Aliya, Said b. Jubayr, Qatada, Rabi, Dahhak, Suddi, Muqatil, Sulayman b. Burayda, Najiya b. Ka'b, Salim al-Khawas said: "The person mentioned in the verse is Hazrat Uzayr (Ezra)." However, Wahb, Muhahid, Abdullah b. Ubayd b. Umayr, Bakr b. Muzar: said "He is Hazrat Armiya." Ibn Ishaq said Armiya was Khidr. Apart from those, it was even said that he was the slave of Hazrat Lot or Shaya. It was said that he was an unbeliever but that he became a believer after being resurrected.
As for the word “QARYA” mentioned in the verse, Wahb, Qatada, Dahhak, Iqrima and Rabi said it was "Ilya" that is, "Baytu'l-Maqdis", Dahhak reports that it is "Qaryatu'l-Inab" or "Ard Muqaddas" (Holy Land), two leagues away from "Baytu'l-Maqdis"; in some sources, it is Mu'tafika; Ibn Zayd says it is "the city of thousands” escaping from death”; according to Ibn Abbas it is "Dayr Hiraql" near the river Tigris; according to Kalbi, it is "Shabur-abad" and according to Suddi it is Salamad. The most famous of them is that that person is Hazrat Uzayr b. Sharhiya, and the place "Qarya" is the city of Quds (Jerusalem) where the Sons of Israel settled and established a state; it was invaded as a result of the war of Buhtunnassar and was destroyed completely; the Sons of Israel were divided into three parts: some of them were killed completely; some of them were sent to Damascus and they settled there; some of them were taken prisoners. Uzayr was among those prisoners; he escaped and went to Quds on his donkey and saw Quds in that state. It was reported from Ibn Abbas in detail that it was the reason of the revelation of the verse.
However, as it was explained above, there are narrations of killing and resurrecting about other people and the story may be true in its general sense for each one of them or all of them; although the topic of the story seems to be on the darkness of hopelessness and since hopelessness is a kind of denial, some interpreters interpreted that event as an example of reaching the light of belief out of the darkness of denial and reaching success and hope out of hopelessness, it is more probable that it is a wonder of prophethood based on the well-known meaning of the verse. The topic of the story does not cover the hopelessness of unbelief but the outcomes of the sorrow and grief and an extraordinary style of emergence.
That is, when that person - his name is not important – saw the tragic situation of that village, he said “how will Allah bring it to life after its death?”; that sentence can express the following meanings depending on the situation of that man:
1- Allah will bring that country back to life but why? How will He bring it back to life and when?
2- I wish it a fast life but I am weak; I do not know my way; I wonder whether Allah will do it. If He does it, probably it will be late and I will not be able to see it. Oh, it is a disaster!..
3- He can do it but probably he will not do it.
Thus, although the sentence, “how will Allah bring that country to life after its death?” is an expression of a mood of disappointment that asks for help, the fact that it is not far away from causing an atmosphere of some hopelessness will be a small mistake and both the divine help will start and an inactivity of a century will occur in order to reach the thing that is desired as a lesson for that small mistake.
Therefore, Allah gave that person a continuous death lasting a century. He did not give him any pleasures of the life during that period. According to the narration, that person fell asleep and died in his sleep. He was very young. Then, Allah made that person wake up. He resurrected him as living, clever and thoughtful as before and with a spirit that is ready to make conclusions logically.
According to some narrations, in the seventieth year of that one hundred years, Ard Muqaddas was conquered by the Persian King “Yushak” and his soldiers; Buhtunnassar was destroyed; the remaining Sons of Israel were settled near and around Baytulmaqdis (the Mosque of Quds) and Quds was rebuilt in thirty years; thus, Allah resurrected Hazrat Uzayr, who said, “how will Allah bring that country to life after its death?”, just like that village after death.
When Allah resurrected him, he asked him, "How long did you tarry?" He said, “a day or part of a day." as if he was waking up from a sleep.
After that pious confession, Allah told him the truth and said: Nao, you have tarried a hundred years; now look at your food and your drink; observe the power of Allah that they show no signs of age; they have not decayed; they are as fresh as they were; and look at your donkey, you will see it as it was. We killed you and resurrected you not because it was the end of your lifespan but because we wanted to make you a sign unto the people and show the power of your Lord; we showed those miracles. We showed the resurrection in all of the spiritual and bodily lives so that you would clearly see the science and knowledge and become a witness of your Lord. Then, do not find it enough to hear the news; Look at the bones again, that is, your own bones or your donkey’s bones, in order to comprehend the divine power clearly; watch with your eyes and your insight how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh. (See Elmalılı Interpretation)
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