Friday, 23 January 2009
Rebuttal: 'Israel belongs to Jews according to Quran'
I have been asked this again and again and some people have written to me saying that, "Allah has said in the Koran that Israel belongs to Jews". They quote me the following verses to prove their claim:
Surah Al-Maida (Chapter 5), 20-21: Remember Moses said to his people: "O my people! Call in remembrance the favour of Allah unto you, when He produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the peoples. "O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin."
It is true that Allah mentions in many places in the Quran that he chose the 'children of Israel' (note that Allah does not mention Jews or Judaism) above all others but because of the fact that these 'children of Israel' were rebellious against God and his messengers, Allah took this favour away from them.
Lets go back to the start and read the Books of the Old Testament which is considered holy by both the Jews and the Christians. We find the prophets (and through them God) making very scathing attacks on the people who deviated from the teachings of the earlier prophets.
For example, we find these verses rebuking the transgressions of the Children of Israel in the Book of Jeremiah (3: 8 – 10):
“And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery, I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord.”
And again, Jeremiah (5: 7 - 8):
“How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses. They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbor's wife”
And now listen to Jesus rebuking the Israelites of his day in Matthew (23: 25-- 33):
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous and say: “If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.” Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”
Also worth mention is the Book of Deuteronomy (28:16-68) where Moses warns the Jews that God ‘will send upon you curses, confusion, and frustration, in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly, on account of the evil of your doings, because you have forsaken me’ (28:20).”
Now lets see what Qur'an says.
Al Baqrah (Surah 2), verse 40: O Children of Israel! call to mind the [special] favor which I bestowed upon you, and fulfill your covenant with Me as I shall fulfill My covenant with you, and fear none but Me.
Surah 2, verse 47: O Children of Israel! call to mind the [special] favor which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to all others [for My message].
Surah 2, verse 83: And remember We took a covenant from the Children of Israel [to this effect]: Worship none but Allah; treat with kindness your parents and kindred, and orphans and those in need; speak fair to the people; be steadfast in prayer; and give Zakat. Then did ye turn back, except a few among you, and ye backslide [even now].
Surah 2, verse 246: Hast thou not turned thy vision to the Chiefs of the Children of Israel after [the time of] Moses? they said to a prophet [that was] among them: "Appoint for us a king, that we may fight in the cause of Allah." He said: "Is it not possible, if ye were commanded to fight, that ye will not fight?" They said: "How could we refuse to fight in the cause of Allah, seeing that we were turned out of our homes and our families?" but when they were commanded to fight, they turned back, except a small band among them. But Allah has full knowledge of those who do wrong.
Surah 5, verse 70: We took the covenant of the Children of Israel and sent them messengers, every time, there came to them a messenger with what they themselves desired not - some [of these] they called impostors, and some they [go so far as to] slay.
Now we have to remember the following points:
1. The Qur'an addresses the children of Israel as the people who were descendant of Jacob, son of Isaac, and the grand son of Ibrahim. Israel is another name of Jacob. Jacob was a Muslim, the Qur'an says: "…and so did Jacob, 'Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen the Faith for you; then die not except in the Faith of Islam.' Were ye witnesses when death appeared before Jacob? Behold, he said to his sons: 'What will ye worship after me?' They said: 'We shall worship Thy god and the god of thy fathers, of Abraham, Isma'il and Isaac, the one (True) God: To Him we bow (in Islam).'" (Al-Baqarah: 132-33)
2. Allah has never chosen any people because of any racial or ethnical entity but he chose certain people because of Islam.
3. Children of Israel, when they followed Islam, they were the best nation; they were Muslims but others were Mushriks or Kafirs.
4. The Holy Land is blessed because of being the place of Allah's Messengers and His Message. Descendants of Jacob, among whom are Moses, David, Solomon and `Isa (Jesus) who are holy prophets, so they can fit the Holy Land.
5. The Qur'an addressed earlier the followers of Moses to liberate the Holy Land, they were afraid to get into the Holy Land and they made an excuse for not restoring that land because they believed that the Canaanites are too strong to defeat. They mocked Moses and rebelled his request, the story is detailed in surat al-Ma'idah, 21-26.
6. The Holy Land is always the land assigned for the servants of Allah who surrender everything to him.
7. The occupation of the Holy Land is due to Muslims’ lapsing in weakness and deviating from Allah’s teachings. The occupation of the Jews to the Holy Land is something casual. The Holy Land is waiting for the time when there will be holy people who strictly abide by Allah's teachings to deserve it.
Now, lets quickly recap some historical facts:
During certain eras, ignorance and atheism dominated most societies save for a few number of believers who followed the Messengers as happened during the time of Prophet Noah, Muhammad, Abraham, Jesus (peace and blessings be upon them all). In one of those eras, the Jews were the only believers on earth, as they followed Moses, who was sent to them and in whose company they were saved from Pharaoh and his soldiers.
Allah Almighty says: “And (remember) when We did deliver you from Pharaoh's folk, who were afflicting you with dreadful torment, slaying your sons and sparing your women: That was a tremendous trial from your Lord.” (Al-Baqarah: 49) Then Allah made them subject to various tests which they couldn’t stand, due to their impatience. Furthermore, they did not abide by the true religion of Allah. They demanded lots of evidence and signs from Moses and, even after these signs were shown to them, they proved reluctant. Moses asked them to enter the sacred land of Palestine which Almighty Allah had promised them as a reward for their faith in Him; Moses said: “O my people! Go into the holy land which Allah hath ordained for you. Turn not in flight, for surely ye turn back as losers.” ?(Al-Ma’idah: 21) Their response to this Divine command was nothing but refusal which reflected their trait of showing reluctance and disobedience to Allah’s teachings. Depicting this, the Qur’an said: “They said: O Moses! We will never enter (the land) while they are in it. So go thou and thy Lord and fight! We will sit here.?” (Al-Ma'idah: 24)
The believing Jews then lived in Palestine where they were governed by Prophets till the time of the Prophet David and his son the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon them both).
Eventually, Jews became corrupt and started to defy the teachings of Allah. Thus, Allah made them easy target to other peoples who conquered them and drove them out of the land where they were living. Allah Almighty says: “And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the scripture: Ye verily will work corruption in the earth twice, and ye will become great tyrants.? So when the time for the first of the two came, We roused against you slaves of Ours of great might who ravaged (your) country, and it was a threat performed.” (Al-Isra’: 4-5)
Later, Allah returned them to Palestine after the Babylonian capture as they showed genuine repentance and obeyed their Prophets during their stay in Babel. However, they soon lapsed into their old bad ways and became so cruel and too haughty to worship Allah. Consequently, Allah punished them and allowed the Romans to humiliate them. After some years of living under the yoke of the occupier, Almighty Allah gave them another chance to repent when He, Glory is due to Him, sent them another Messenger to warn them and give glad tidings with Paradise to the believers. That Messenger was Jesus who was born in the respectable family of `Imran and his miraculous birth by Virgin Mary was a sign for all those who have faith in Allah, the Creator.
Jesus Christ was supported by tangible proof and Divine miracles, for he could speak while he was still in the cradle, he could quicken the dead and heal people with serious fatal diseases. However, the Jews never believed in him and again they were punished by Allah. Their punishment was that they were thrown out of Palestine and severely tortured by the polytheist Romans.
The holy land of Palestine remained under the reign of the Romans till the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Prophet Muhammad sent a message to the Caesar of Rome, Hercules, calling him to embrace Islam but he haughtily rejected and all the Romans followed his example. Consequently, Allah punished them by depriving them of Palestine and gave Muslims the authority over it for years after the Prophet’s demise. Moreover, the people of Jerusalem insisted that the Jews should not be allowed to enter the holy city. Palestine remained under the control of Muslims who worked for the dissemination of the message of Islam among all peoples of the world. The Muslims remained powerful and united till conflicts erupted among them, and they deviated from the true path. As a result, Allah punished them by the Crusaders who massacred 70 thousand in Jerusalem alone and millions of Muslims in other cities. They succeeded in seizing nearly the whole of the Levant.
However, after Muslims returned back to the right track and adhered to the principles of their religion, the heroes of Islam like `Imadud-Deen Zinki, Saladin and Nurud-Deen Mahmud unified the Muslim Ummah under the banner of Islam and succeeded in restoring the holy city of Jerusalem. After that, the Crusade emirates fell in the Muslim hands one after the other in spite of the huge support that the West had given to these emirates to be kept from falling down.
Throughout the Ayubid , Mamluk and Ottoman regimes Jerusalem remained in the hands of Muslims. Again, when Muslims showed loyalty to the enemies of Islam and were dominated by material allurements of the world, they lost control over it in 1917 when the Ottoman Empire was trying in vain to stand united in face of the external conspiracies and the internal conflicts that ravaged the whole tapestry of the Empire. As a result of the conspiracies of the traitors and the enemies of Islam, Jerusalem fell in the hands of British occupation in 1917, the British army entered the holy city under the command of Alenby, who is known of his famous saying: “Now the Crusades are over."
Thirty years later, the Jewish state was established in Palestine and named after Prophet Israel (Jacob, peace be upon him). Such a state implemented all Jewish principles, tried to revive Hebrew language, which was not, up to that time, even spoken by the Jews themselves. Moreover, they have used all means of oppression and humiliation in treating the Palestinian people.
Coming back to the argument that Jews claim Palestine is their promised land, we would like to cite for you the following fatwa issued by the prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former Head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee:
“Twenty centuries before the birth of the Christ, there lived on the shores of the Euphrates a tribe from the descendants of Ibrahim (Abraham) searching for rich places to graze their flocks; they went westwards till they crossed Galilee. They were given the name of the Hebrews, now known as the Jews. They moved aimlessly without having a certain destination until they arrived Egypt where they lived in peace and security for five centuries.
The rulers of Egypt, known as the Pharaohs, kept a tight fist on the Jews and humiliated them. The rescue of the Jews was attained when Moses (peace and blessings be upon him) was sent to them. He led them through Sinai to a new land and a fresh dwelling. For some time, they stayed in Sinai till commands were given to them to enter the Holy Land of Palestine. In Palestine, there was a tribe called Canaanite who built some cities part of which is Jerusalem. Days went on till the Jews revolted against the teachings of Allah and deviated from His religion. Almighty Allah sent to them the governor of Babel, Buchtnasser who humiliated them and enslaved many of them.
Many years later, they returned back to Palestine and some of them went to dwell in the Arabian Peninsula. The Jews in the Arabian Peninsula showed enmity to Islam and fought the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) till they were driven out from the peninsula by Muslims.
Though, seizing the chance of Muslims’ lapsing in weakness and deviating from Allah’s teachings, the Jews have occupied Palestine, they will never remain there forever, for the evil within themselves is beyond description. They will suffer another defeat and sever blow; we hope this will be at the hands of Muslims once they return back to their Lord and be unified again. Allah says in this regard: “And when your Lord announced that He would certainly send against them to the day of resurrection those who would subject them to severe torment; most surely your Lord is quick to requite (evil) and most surely He is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Al-A`raf: 167)
As for claiming that the Jews have a right to take Palestine as their promised land, we will say that the verse that reads: “Go into the holy land which Allah hath ordained for you.” (Al-Ma`idah: 21) means that the promise stands so long as the people given this promise abide by Allah’s teachings. Once they show disobedience, the promise no longer exists. In addition, this promise is not an absolute one; rather, it is confined to a certain period of time. Now, the promise is no more valid, for Almighty Allah says: “We have written in the Scripture, after the Reminder: My righteous slaves will inherit the earth.” (Al-Anbiya': 105)"
So who are the people preferred in sight of Allah? Lets look at the Quran and Sunnah (Hadiths):
Surah 49, verse 13: O people, We have created you from a male and a female and made you into races and tribes so that you may know each other. Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of God are those who are the most pious among you. And Allah knows every thing and is aware of every thing.
During the last pilgrimage of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), he said: "O People! Your God is one; your father is one; no preference of an Arab neither over non-Arab nor of a non-Arab over an Arab or red over black or black over red except for the most righteous. Verily the most honored of you is the most righteous."
Prophet Muhammed's (pbuh) close companions included a black slave called Bilal (raa) and a Persian called Salman (raa) which is a clear prrof of the above verse and hadith.
It is noteworthy that Jews were among the earliest converts to Islam - in Madinah - and, throughout the Middle Ages Jews also found sanctuary to practice their own religion, under Islamic rule. Dr Muzammil Siddiqi mentions: “it is truly disappointing and naive to ignore more than 1400 years of history and learned discourse on the Qur'an and to argue that the current political situation in the Middle East has its roots in passages from the Qur'an!!”
The Qur'an was not just revealed for Muslims, but for all people, including Jews and Christians. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was in the line of previous prophets of God, including Prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus. And, in fact, the Qur'an is the culmination of all the previous scriptures revealed by God. The Qur'an does not condemn the Semitic race and, in fact, accords Jews a special status, given their shared prophetic traditions with Islam.
In conclusion I would like to state that Jews (or rather the 'Children of Israel') were once preferred by Allah above others but because of their arrogance and rebellious nature they lost this favour from Allah. When Islam came, it had a simple message that everyone is equal in the sight of Allah and the only way one can come closer in the sight of Allah is by his righteous virtues and piousness.