Ezra the Prophet

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Ezra was a Jewish priestly scribe who led about 5,000 Israelite exiles living in Babylon to their home city of Jerusalem in 459 BCE. Ezra reconstituted the dispersed Jewish community on the basis of the Torah and with an emphasis on the law. Ezra is highly respected in the Jewish tradition. His knowledge of the Torah is considered to have been equal with Moses. he is referred as "Ezra the scribe" in the Jewish tradition. Ezra lived between the times of King Solomon and the time of Zechariah, father of John the Baptist (a period of about eight centuries). ####Although not explicitly mentioned in the Qur'an among the Islamic prophets, he is considered as one of the prophets by some Muslim scholars, based on Islamic traditions.
According to the genealogy in Ezra, Ezra was the son or descendant of Seraiah, the high priest taken captive by Babylonians, a lineal descendant of Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron. In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes I Longimanus, Ezra obtained leave to go to Jerusalem and to take with him a company of Israelites. Artaxerxes showed great interest in Ezra's undertaking, granting him his requests, and giving him gifts for the house of God. Ezra assembled a band of approximately 5,000 exiles to go to Jerusalem. They rested on the banks of the Ahava for three days and organized their four-month march across the desert. After observing a day of public fasting and prayer, they left the banks of the river Ahava for Jerusalem.
After his arrival in Jerusalem, Ezra notices that contrary to the Jewish law, even the Jews of high standing and priests, had intermarried with pagan non-Hebrew women. Ezra took strenuous measures against such marriages and insisted upon the dismissal of such wives. Ezra then brought the "book of the law of Moses" for the assembly. On the first day of the seventh month (Tishrei), Ezra and his assistants read the Torah aloud to the whole population from the morning until midday. According to the text, a great religious awakening occurred. Ezra read the entire scroll of the Torah to the people, and he, along with other scholars and Levites, explained the meaning of what was being read, so that the people could understand them. These festivities culminated in an enthusiastic and joyous seven-day celebration of the Festival of Sukkot, concluding on the eighth day with the holiday of Shemini Atzeret. On the 24th day, immediately following the holidays, they held a solemn assembly, fasting and confessing their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. Afterwards, they renewed their national covenant to follow the Torah and to observe and fulfill all of the Lord's commandments, laws and decrees. Ezra is usually identified by Muslim commentators with the name Uzair It is believed by some Shia Muslims that Ezra was buried at Al-ʻUzair on the banks of the Tigris near Basra.




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