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Ezra (peace be upon him)

Following is a brief summary about Ezra (`Uzayr, peace be upon him), interpreted from the Qur'ān (and the commentary of chapter 2 verse 259).

Ezra went out one day and came to a deserted, ruined city.  He stood contemplating about what had happened to that city, after a great civilization used to inhabit it.  Due to the utter destruction he saw and the implausibility of its returning to what it used to be, he wondered:  'How will God bring this to life after its death?'

Thereafter, God caused Ezra to die for a hundred years (and then raised him up again).  The city was rebuilt seventy years after he died, its inhabitants increased and the Children of Israel moved back to it.  God sent an angel to resurrect Ezra in order for him see how God revives the dead and to make him a sign for all the people.  

When Ezra's resurrection was complete, the angel asked: "How long did you remain (dead)?''  He replied: "Perhaps a day or part of a day."  The angel said: "You remained (dead) for one hundred years.  Look at your food and your drink; it has not changed with time."  He ate and drank the food which he had prepared before he was overtaken by that long 'sleep'.  

Then God revived Ezra’s donkey while he was watching.  He observed the bones of his donkey, which were scattered all around him to his right and left.  God sent a wind that collected the bones from all over the area and brought every bone to its place, until they formed a full donkey made of fleshless bones.  God then caused these bones to be covered with flesh, nerves, veins and skin.  The angel blew life in the donkey's nostrils, and the donkey started to bray by God's permission.  Having witnessed all this, Ezra proclaimed: "I know that God has power over all things."  Meaning, ‘I know this and I did witness it with my own eyes.  Therefore, I am the most knowledgeable in this matter among the people of my time.’