Is the Quran anti-Semitic?
Some Jews claim that the Quran contains verses which incite hatred against the Jews. They demand that these verses should be removed from the Quran to make it ‘Jewish friendly’.
What will happen if Counter Terrorism or PREVENT will call for the same thing?
Muslims believe that the Quran which was revealed over 23 year period, is a Divine Revelation from God and no one has any authority to temper with its contents. However, Muslim scholars must make an effort to explain the meanings of these verses and the historic background for its revelation.
On 19th February 2015, a Jewish academic sent a letter to the Editor of the Guardian accusing the Quran of being behind the increase of Antisemitism in the West.
I give below his words and my response. When he received my answer he said: “I’m not prepared to go into dialogue with you as the Quran is full of discrepancies.”
Honestly, I felt sorry for his students who have a teacher who can’t even listen to anther opinion or accept critical thinking.
His Letter to the Editor:
“Antisemitism is on the rise but above all it is an Islamic issue. While it is politically correct to be concerned about caricatures of Muhammad, the fact that the Qur’an calls Jews cursed, traitors, the greediest of men, liars, corrupters and apes (to name but a few of the more nasty epithets) is never mentioned. It is not just the Israel-Palestine issue that can turn Muslims to Antisemitism. It comes straight out of the book held to be the direct word of God – even if it also contains calls to peace.”
Professor Emanuel de Kadt
Utrecht University and Brighton
A) Does the Quran describe the Jews, who blasphemed and rejected faith, as apes & pigs?
The answer is yes, not only in the Quran, but also in their own books and by the tongue of their own Prophets as explained below.
The Quran shows that God is critical of those who reject faith, blaspheme, practice evil and violate His Commandments. These evildoers are condemned by God irrespective of their race or origin, unless they repent, believe and work righteous deeds. God will change the evil of such persons into good as God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. No one is favoured by God except on the score of righteousness.
The Quran, (7:163-166), tells the story of a Jewish fishing community in a seaside village, they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath, for on the day of their Sabbath their fish did come to them, openly (holding up their heads).
But on the day they had no Sabbath, they did not come.
This was a great temptation to the law-breakers, which they could not resist.
Another group (presumably) the righteous ones, denied by their hearts what the law-breakers did. But a third group, the righteous-reformers spoke out to the sinners and admonished them. So the righteous said to the righteous-reformers: “Why do you preach to a people whom God will destroy or visit with a terrible punishment?”
The preachers replied: “To discharge our duty to your Lord and perchance they may fear Him.”
When the sinners disregarded the warnings that had been given to them, God rescued those who forbade evil; but He visited the wrong-doers with grievous punishment, because they were given to transgression. When in their insolence they transgressed (all prohibitions), God said to them: “Be you apes, despised and rejected.”
The punishment for breach of the Sabbath under the Mosaic Law was death.
“Everyone that defileth it (the Sabbath) shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people”: (Exod. xxxi.14).
Who were the people who incurred the curse of God?
See Deut. xi. 28, and xxviii. 15-68, and numerous passages like Hosea viii. 14, and ix. 1.
Who provoked God’s wrath?
See numerous passages like Deut. i. 34: Matt. iii.7.
Who forsook God, and worshipped evil?
See Jeremiah, xvi. 11-13
For men possessed by devils, and the devils being sent into swine, see Matt. viii. 28-32.
The Quran, 5:78-79, says: “Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary: because they disobeyed and persisted in Excesses (transgressed all limits).
Nor did they forbid one another the iniquities which they committed: evil indeed were the deeds which they did.”
See Matt. xxviii, 33 (“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell?); also Matt. xii. 34.
So the law-breakers among the Children of Israel are condemned by God in their own Books and by the tongue of their own Prophets like David and Jesus.
They are also condemned by God in the Quran as a warning to any law-breakers among the Muslims. There are many verses in the Quran where God condemns the hypocrites among the Muslims and promises them a great punishment in this life and the Hereafter. Also those among the Muslims who wage war against God and His Messenger (Mohammed), are severely punished in this life (5:33-34) and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter, unless they repent and adjust their conduct.
THE SLAIN OF THE MEN OF BANU QURAYZAH BY THE PROPHET
Did the Prophet commit holocaust against the Jews?
The slaughter of the men of Banu Qurayzah was shocking to many people who are not familiar with their treason.
If it was not mentioned in 33:26-27 of the Holy Quran, we as Muslims would have rejected the
story as it contradicts with the nature of the Prophet and his teachings.
“And those of the people of the Book who aided the (enemies), God took them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts, (so that) some you slew, and some you made captives. And He (God) made you heirs of their lands, their houses, and their goods, and of a land which you had not frequented (before). And God has power over all things.” 33:26-27.
“The Jewish tribe of the Banu Quraizah were counted among the citizens of Madinah and were bound by solemn engagements to help in the defence of the City. But on the occasion of the Confederate siege by the Quraish and their allies they intrigued with the enemies and treacherously aided them. Immediately after the siege was raised and the Confederates had fled in hot haste, the Prophet turned his attention to these treacherous ‘friends’ who had betrayed his City in the hour of danger. They were filled with terror and dismay when Madinah was free from the Quraish danger. They shut themselves up in their castles and sustained a siege of 25 days, after which they surrendered, stipulating that they would abide by the decision of their fate at the hands of Sa’d Ibn Mu’az, chief of the Aus tribe, with which they had been in alliance.” FN3701-3702 of the translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali.
It is a known fact that the Jews, at the time of the Prophet, only accepted their own Law.
It was the Jews who suggested the appointment of Sa’d Ibn Mu’az as an arbiter.
The Prophet accepted their choice. Sa’d applied the Jewish Law of the Old Testament, when he judged in the matter.
Footnotes 3703 and 3704, chapter 33, of the translation of the Quran by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, read:
” Saad applied to them the Jewish Law of the Old Testament, not as strictly as the case warranted.
In Deut. 20:10-18, the treatment of a city ‘which is very far off from thee’ is prescribed to be comparatively
more lenient than the treatment of a city ‘of the people, which the Lord thy God does give thee for an inheritance’,
i.e. , which is near enough to corrupt the religion of the Jewish people.
The punishment for these is total annihilation: ‘thou shall save alive nothing that breatheth’ (Deut. 20:16).
The more lenient treatment for far-off cities is described in the next note. According to the Jewish standard, then, the Banu Qurayzah
deserved total extermination-of men, women and children. They were in the territory of Madinah itself,
and further they had broken their engagements and helped the enemy.
Saad adjudged them the mildest treatment of the ‘far-off’ cities which is thus described in the Jewish Law:
‘Thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:
but the women and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto
thyself, and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee’ (Deut. 20:13-14).
The men of the Banu Qurayzah were slain: the women were sold as captives of war: and their lands and properties
were divided among the Muhajireen.”
So the Prophet cannot be accused of committing “holocaust” against the Jews.
B) Does the Quran commend the righteous Jews?
The answer is yes. There are numerous verses where God praises the righteous Jews for their good conduct, for example:
“O Children of Israel, call to mind My special favour which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to all others.” 2:47
“Among the People of the Book are some who, if entrusted with hoard of gold, will (readily) pay it back; others, who, if entrusted with a single silver coin, will not repay it unless you constantly stood demanding,” 3:75
“Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (for the right); they rehearse the Revelation of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten in all good works. They are in the ranks of the righteous. Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them, for God knows well those that they do right.” 3:113:115
“And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book, those who believe in God, in the Revelation to you, and in the Revelation to them, bowing in humility to God.
They will not sell the Revelation of God for a miserable gain. For them is a reward with their Lord, and God is swift in account.” 3:199
“Of the people of Moses there is a section who guide and do justice in the light of truth.” 7:159
“We broke them up into sections on this earth. There are among them some that are the righteous, and some that are the opposite. We have tried them with both prosperity and adversity, in order that they may turn to Us.” 7:168
Please remember that Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, married a Jewish woman who is given by God the title of “The mother of the believers”.
His swords were made by a Jew in Medina and when he died his shield was mortgaged with a Jew, to show us that among the Jews there are those who abide by God’s Commandments and do not take usury.
A Muslim man is permitted to marry a Jewish or a Christian woman. She does not have to embrace Islam and will have the same rights like a Muslim wife, 5:5.
The food of the People of the Book is lawful to Muslims and the food of the Muslims is lawful to the people of the Book, 5:5.
It was the Muslims who protected the Jews during their persecutions in Europe and provided safe haven for them.
Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and justice. It condemns the killing of innocent people anywhere in the world irrespective of their religion or race even if Islam is insulted or ridiculed. Don’t blame the Quran, blame those who don’t understand it among the Muslims and non-Muslims.
Dr. Mohammed Fahim
Ph.D, M.Sc, B.Eng, MBCS, CITP, FCMI, C.ENG