The Reconstruction of Jerusalem
In the Era of Jeremiah

Ibn Kathir

Or like the one who passed by a town and it had tumbled over its roofs. He said: "Oh! How will Allah ever bring it to life after its death?" So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him up again. He said: "How long did you remain dead?" He (the man) said: "Perhaps, I remained dead a day or part of a day." He said: "Nay, you have remained dead for a hundred years, look at your food and your drink, they show no change; and look at your donkey! Thus We have made of you a sign for the people. Look at the bones, how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh." When this was clearly shown to him, he said: "I know now that Allah is Able to do all things." (Ch 2:259 Quran).

Hashim Ibn Al-Kalbi reported that Allah the Exalted revealed to Jeremiah (pbuh): "I am going to reconstruct Jerusalem, so go there." He went and found it devastated. He said to himself: "Exalted be Allah! Allah told me to come to this city and that He was reconstructing it. When will Allah rebuild it? And when will He bring it back to life?" Then he slept, and his donkey with him for seventy years until Nabuchadnezzar and the king over him - Laharasab, who had ruled one hundred twenty years had perished. Laharasab was succeeded by his son Bashtaasib. News of the death of Nabuchadnezzar had reached Bashtaasib through Sham (Syria), which was in utter ruin. The wild beasts had multiplied in Palestine, for it had become empty of men. Bashtaasib therefore called to the children of Israel in B: "Whoever wants to return to Sham (Syria/Palestine) may do so." It was ruled by one from the House of David, who was ordered by Bashtaasib to rebuild Jerusalem and its temple, so they returned and rebuilt it. Then Jeremiah opened his eyes, blinked from the seventy year sleep, and saw how the city was being reconstructed. He remained in that sleep of his until he had completed one hundred years. When Allah awoke him, he thought that he had slept not more than an hour. He had known the city as a devastated land; when he saw it rebuilt and peopled, he said: "I know now that Allah is able to do all things." (Ch 2:259 Quran).

Ibn Al-Kalbi said that the Israelites settled it, and Allah rebuilt their glory. It remained so until Rome vanquished them in the era of the tribal kings; then they lost their community and their authority after the appearance of Christianity.

This is how Ibn Jarir tells their story in his History of Jerusalem. He said that Laharasab was a just king and diplomatic. The people, chiefs, and kings obeyed him, and he was gifted in the construction of cities, canals and institutions. When he grew too weak to rule, after more than one hundred, his son Bashtaasib ascended to the throne. During his reign the religion of Zoroastrianism (al-Majusia) appeared. A man named Zoroaster (Zordahst) had been a companion of Jeremiah (pbuh) and had angered him, so Jeremiah (pbuh) cursed him. Zoroaster became a leper. He went to the land of Azerabaigan, joined Bashtaasib and converted him to Zoroastrianism, which he chose for himself of his own free will. Bashtaasib forced people to embrace it and killed many people who disobeyed him.

After Bashtaasib, his son Barman ruled. They were among the famous and heroic kings of Persia, and Nabuchadnezzar had been deputy to all three of them. He lived a long time, may Allah torment him! The essence of what has been written by Ibn Jarir is that the person or wayfarer passing through this village was Jeremiah. Others say that it was Hosea (Ozir), and this is the consensus of the ancients and those after them, but Allah knows best.


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