YUSUFALI: The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!
PICKTHAL: And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!
SHAKIR: And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!
The Quran claims that Jews called Ezra (Uzair) "the son of Allah." BTW, you'll notice Yusuf Ali trying to soft-pedal the point by using "a son" instead of "the son." Clearly, this is an attempt to obfuscate the matter because here's the original Arabic:
Waqalati alyahoodu AAuzayrun ibnu AllahiNotice that the phrase referring to the Jews (al yahoodu) and the phrase referring to the Christians (al nnasara) look exactly the same.
waqalati alnnasara almaseehu ibnu Allahi
It is common knowledge that Jews do not have a specific person who they believe in "the son of God." This is a key contentious point between Jews and Christians, and a blasphemous comment for a Jew to make. The closest you can get in the Bible are references to one of three things (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Son_of_God):
- Angels are sometimes referred to as sons - "Benei Elohim"
- The real king of Israel -( II Samuel 7: 14, with reference to King David and those of his descendants who carried on his dynasty; comp. Psalm 89:27, 28)
- Israel as a people (comp. Exodus 4: 22 and Hosea 11:1)
Do not have any other gods before Me. Do not represent [such] gods by any carved statue or picture of anything in the heaven above, on the earth below, or in the water below the land. Do not bow down to [such gods] or worship them. I am God your Lord, a God who demands exclusive worshipIt's blasphemous to refer to any other gods but YHWH. That's it.
Even the coming of Messiah is referred to as God or "king. " Let's even consider the blasphemous thought that maybe, possibly, the Messiah could be referred to as the "son" of God...still, there is no mention of Ezra as either the Messiah or "The Son of God" in modern or ancient Judaism. None. Thus, a clear mistake.
I think Edward Henry Palmer said it best
The Moslem tradition is that Ezra, after being dead 100 years, was raised to life, and dictated from memory the whole of the Jewish Scriptures which had been lost during the captivity, and that the Jews said he could not have done this unless he had been the son of God. There is no Jewish tradition whatever in support of this accusation of Mohammed's, which probably was entirely due to his own invention or to misinformation.
What do the Muslim apologists have to say? Has anybody found a single Jew in history that said Ezra was the son of God? Funny enough, I can only find one response on the Net: http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Contrad/External/ezra.html
Unfortunately for Muslims, not even this response is able to quote a single Jew referring to Ezra as the son of God. Basically, the best part of this response is just a quote of another Muslim apologist, this one from the 300 years after Mohammad. Apologists quoting apologists do not quite solve a critical mistake made in a supposedly "perfect" book by a supposed infallible God.
Let me take this response apart in more detail:
It opens with a discussion of Ezra's life, and a quote discussing where he might be buried. The point here is that Ezra was a key figure in reforming Jewish law.
G. D. Newby
Next, it continues with a quote from Newby where an attempt is made to place a connection between Ezra, the human, and Enoch, the angel:
It is easy, then, to imagine that among the Jews of the Hijaz who were apparently involved in mystical speculations associated with the merkabah, Ezra, because of the traditions of his translation, because of his piety, and particularly because he was equated with Enoch as the Scribe of God, could be termed one of the Bene Elohim. And, of course, he would fit the description of religious leader (one of the ahbar of the Qur'an 9:31) whom the Jews had exaltedSo Newby is trying to explain the verse by equating Ezra to Enoch, and angel. Now, "Benei Elohim" literally means "sons of God," and refer to angels, as described above. Nowhere is he saying that Jews referred to Ezra as "the Son of God." Also, as the reader can easily see, Newby is engaging in a rather convoluted train of thought to help him understand the verse not to assert that "the Jews" believe Ezra is "the Son of God."
Next, we get another quote that appears to be the most damaging at first light:
"H. Z. Hirschberg proposed another assumption, based on the words of Ibn Hazm, namely, that the 'righteous who live in Yemen believed that 'Uzayr was indeed the son of Allah.' According to other Muslim sources, there were some Yemenite Jews who had converted to Islam who believed that Ezra was the messiah. For Muhammad, Ezra, the apostle (!) of messiah, can be seen in the same light as the Christian saw Jesus, the messiah, the son of Allah."Let's look at the Quran again:
"The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah."It doesn't say some Jews, it says "The" Jews.
Now, let's look at the quote. The quote speaks of Muslim converts not "The Jews"!
OK, even then, the text says "proposed another assumption" - so it is not a well-known conclusion among Jews, but an assumption. Second, it says, "based on the words of Ibn Hazm" - Ibn Hazm was a Muslim philosopher who was born in Spain 300 years after Mohammad. Using the words of a Muslim apologist to prove Islam without a fact basis is called circular reasoning.
George Sale (or Al-Baidawi)
OK, now the last major quote from George Sale, and 18th century orientalist. This quote, funny enough, actually looks to disprove the Quran by saying that it was not "The Jews," but "some ancient heterdox Jews, or else of some Jews of Medina" that declared Ezra were the Son of God. And it gets worse because it is not George Sale declaring this fact, rather he is repeating "the commentators" that "endeavour to support" the charge against the Jews. Who are the commentators? Let's go to the original source to find out who is claiming the Jews declared Ezra the Son of God. In the original source, you will find that George Sale footnotes Al Beidawi (Baidawi) making the claims. Who is Al Baidawi? A 13th century Muslim scholar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baidawi). This 13th century scholar claims to know "this verse was read to the Jews and they did not contradict it." That's the best he has to offer. So, we are back to circular reasoning again because we see just hearsay by Muslim apologists and no new facts.
The conclusion: an error
So what are we left with? A bunch of smoke and mirrors from Muslim apologists. There is no proof from a single Jew in history that "The Jews" refer to Ezra as "the Son of God." Moreover, there is proof that ancient and modern Jews do not refer to Ezra as the Son of God. Thus, we can only conclude that the Quran is in error again.
Finally, if Allah was all-knowing, he would have created a perfect book. A perfect book would be timeless and always perfect. Thus, even if the Muslim apologists were correct, the Quran should've said, "some Jews at the time of Mohammad believed that Ezra could have been a son of God." The Quran is not perfect for two reasons, 1. It incorrectly asserts that "the Jews" believe Ezra to be "the son of God." 2. It is not timeless in its assertions. The Quran is just a book.