‘Endeavour Peace’ Through Dialogue, Even if Agree to Disagree
Summary from an essay entitled
Peace is Possible between Children of Israel and Ishmael According to The Tanakah and The Koran
A friendly Interfaith Dialogue
Views by Dr. Asher Eder, a Jewish Scholar and comments by Abujak [AftabKhan]
The views of Dr. Asher Eder are in normal font while comments by Abujak is in bold letters.
The ruling wing of Islam has severed its original ties with the “Book” (the Tanakh, Hebrew Bible) and the “People of the Book”, Israel. It plays out the idea of Jihad, and the quest of Jerusalem.
The doctrine of Jihad is not in itself reason of tension between ‘People of the Book’ (particularly Jews) and Muslims. In fact Jihad is the logical response to the expulsion of Muslims [spiritual and physical decedents of Abraham, through his first born son Ishmael] form their land, Jerusalem happens to be the part of the same. It is sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians. Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him), the son of Prophet David (peace be upon him), is also traditionally regarded as the greatest king of Israel, renowned for his wisdom, and builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem (Al-Aqsa Mosque, highly revered by Muslims as the 2nd holiest site after Ka’ba at Makka). The construction of the FirstTemple was started during the reign of Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him), and completed in 957 BC. After building the House of Worship of God, as fulfillment of desire of his father David, Solomon said: “..I have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel”(1Kings;8:20), “Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven;” (1Kings;8:22), he prayed: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of thy servant and to his supplication, O LORD my God, hearkening to the cry and to the prayer which thy servant prays before thee this day; that thy eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which thou hast said, `My name shall be there,’ that thou mayest hearken to the prayer which thy servant offers toward this place. And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant and of thy people Israel, when they pray toward this place; yea, hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place; and when thou hearest, forgive.”(1Kings;8:27-30). Solomon‘s Temple which was to assume an importance far beyond what its dimensions might suggest, for its site became the only central shrine for Judaism, early Christianity and sacred to Islam being the first Qibla (prayer direction) and starting point for the mystic night journey (maira’j) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to heavens.
A controversy has raged between the followers of the Bible and the adherents of Islam as to which of the sons of Abraham, Ishmael or Isaac was offered as a sacrifice and the place. It is important to note that, a peculiar sanctity was attached to the first-born both of man and of cattle among people right since the time of Adam, it was especially of great importance among the Israelites. God claimed that the first-born males of man and of animals should be consecrated to him, the one as a priest (Exodus;19:22,24), representing the family to which he belonged, and the other to be offered up in sacrifice (Geneis;4:4). The laws concerning this redemption of the first-born of man are recorded in Exodus;13:12-15; 22:29; 34:20; Numbers;3:45; 8:17; 18:16 and Leviticus;12:2,4. Even the first-fruits of the ground were offered unto God just as the first-born of man and animals. Ishmael, without any doubt was first born son of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). The Bible is quite clear in designating the offering: “He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mori’ah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”(Genesis;22:2). If at anytime, an offspring of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) can be described as “thine only son: it could only be Ishmael, because for more than thirteen years, he was the only son and seed of Abraham. God Almighty acknowledges Ishmael as the “son and seed” of Abraham in no less than twelve places in the Book of Genesis alone. At no time was Isaac the only son and seed of Abraham. The false pen of the scribe was in the hand of the Hebrews who edited the Books of Moses, as the prophet Jeremiah lament: “How do ye say, We are wise, and the law (the Torah) of the Lord is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribe is in vain.”(Jeremiah;8:8). When the Hebrews are found to convert an Israelite into an Ishmaelite when no motives are involved, then how much easier for them to change the word “you only son Ishmael” to : your only son Isaac!”
The biblical narrative about Ishmael mentions: “And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was eighty-six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.”(Genesis;16:15-16), “And the angel of the LORD said unto her (Hager), I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.”(Genesis;16:10-11). “And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.”(Genesis;13:18), “And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis;17:20), “And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”(Genesis;16:12).
It is pertinent to mention that Leah and Rachel were the wives of Prophet Jacob (peace be upon him, Leah’s maidservant, Zilpah, bore him Gad and Asher, and Rachel’s maidservant, Bilhah, bore him Dan and Naphtali. The children born through maidservants of wives of Prophet Jacob (peace be upon him) are not dealt with contempt in line with the Hebrew tradition and customs, where as in case of Ishmael, born from Hager (married to Abraham), the prejudice and dichotomy of is too palpable. [“And Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her handmaid, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to Abram her husband to be his wife.”(Genesis:16:3)].
The whole land of Arabia appears (Genesis;10:1-32) to have been inhabited by a variety of tribes of different lineage, Ishmaelites, Arabians, Idumeans, Horites, and Edomites; but at length becoming amalgamated, they came to be known by the general designation of Arabs. The modern nation of Arabs is predominantly Ishmaelite (decedents of Ishmael or Isma’il), their language Arabic, is the most developed and the richest of all the Semitic languages, and is of great value to the student of Hebrew. Isma’il was also a messenger of God (Qur’an;19:54). He willingly offered himself to be sacrificed in obedience to the command of Allah to his father Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), who was asked to offer the sacrifice of his ‘only son’ as mentioned at Genesis;22:2. Isaac was 13 years younger to Ishmael, hence he can not be called as only son of Abraham. Allah accepted the gesture of Abraham and substituted ram instead (Qur’an;37:102-107). Ishmael helped his father Abraham in building the Ka’ba (Qur’an;2:127). He called the people around (Arabia) to prayer and charity. Isma’il became the ancestor of Arabs. Allah says: “We blessed him (Abraham) and Isaac: but of their progeny are (some) that do right, and (some) that obviously do wrong, to their own souls.”(Qur’an;37:1130). Once the progeny of Abraham through his second son Isaac deviated from the faith of Abraham, after two and half millennium, God shifted the honor of “Leadership of Mankind” to the decedents of Ishmael by appointing Muhammad (peace be upon him) as His last messenger (610 C.E).
Leaving aside the controversy that which son of Abraham was offered for the sacrifice to fulfill the Will of God (Isaac or Ishmael) and at which was the place (Makka or Moriah) it is agreed that Prophet Solomon built the House of Worship of God in Jerusalem and he mentioned that God is not confined or devolves in a place(1Kings;8:27-30). The point is that this was the house of worship of on One Supreme God, the God of Abraham, Jacob Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). The Muslims restored the original purpose, built the place of worship (Al-Aqsa-Mosque), they did not destroy the Jewish temple, the place was cleansed of trash. The sentimental and spiritual attachment of Hebrews with this place is understandable. To achieve the durable peace some mutually acceptable solution is to be found, other wise the city of peace will remain under turmoil. Crusader recaptured it form Muslims but only to be returned back to Muslims. Now Zionists desire to fulfill their dream, the fact is that this sacred place is also sacred to the Muslims, it can not be denied to Muslims, the Zionists Jews are not the sole claimant now, any unilateral solution will not last long the blood shed will continue.
“Who is more unjust than he who prevents people from the House of Worship of Allah , forbids the mention of His name therein, and strives to ruin them ? It is not proper for such people to enter in them except with His fear. For them there is disgrace in this world and grievous punishment in the Hereafter”.( Qur’an;2:114); “those who have been unjustly expelled from their homes only because they said, “Our Lord is Allah.” Had not Allah repelled some people by the might of others, the monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which Allah’s praise is daily celebrated, would have been utterly demolished. Allah will certainly help those who help His cause; most surely Allah is Mighty, Powerful.”(Qur’an;22:40).
In Islamic view, a Jihad can end only with a complete victory – or else with an unreserved admittance that waging it was wrong from the start.
Jihad is the struggle, armed, peaceful or combination of both, the ultimate result is with Allah, He may grant the results quickly or later depending upon His Will and Plan. Muslims have to make sincere effort (Jihad). The temporary set backs at times are due to human weaknesses, lack of sincerity, weakness in the faith, lack of preparations or by neglecting the commandments of Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him). The example is in the Battle of Uhad (625 C.E) in which some Muslims violated the instructions of Prophet (peace be upon him) so they suffered, even Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was injured: “Obey Allah and His Messenger and do not argue with one another, lest you lose courage and weaken your strength. Show patience, surely Allah is on the side of the patient”.(Qur’an;8:46). The battle of Hunain (630 C.E) in which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was himself present, the Muslims were large in numbers but some had weak faith and aims, the results were obvious. The real reward of Jihad is in the Hereafter. Allah says: “Indeed Allah has purchased from the believers their persons and their wealth and in return has promised them paradise; they fight in the cause of Allah and slay and are slain. This is a true promise which is binding on Him mentioned in Taurat (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel) and the Qur’an; and who is more true in fulfilling his promise than Allah? Rejoice, therefore, in the bargain which you have made, and that is a mighty achievement.”(Qur’an;9:111)
The Koran itself suggests such a change of attitude which can help paving the way to mutual understanding, trustworthy peace, and co-operation:
1. It stresses the continued validity of the “Book” – Jonah 38; Table 52; Cow 172; Believers 56; Bee 45-47; and others;
Many Qur’anic verses have been quoted out of context with different interpretations. If a single verse is taken out, form the main theme/text, then meanings can be manipulated. One has to see Qur’an in totality, in the light of the complete concepts and doctrines. Details of relationship with Jews have been highlighted in my article “Islam and Judaism” available through: https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=dgxfvv3_77c5cxzwdc&hl=en
It is found that some references mentioned by the honorable writer are not correct, may be due to typing error, because they are not related with the subject under discussion. The comments are given below:
Jonah 38 :
This verse is not related with the subject: “Or do they say “He forged it”? Say: “Bring then a Surah like unto it and call (to your aid) anyone you can besides Allah if it be ye speak the truth!”(Qur’an; Jonah,10 :38)
“O believers! Take neither Jews nor Christians as your allies: they are only allies of one another. Whoever of you allies with them will become one of them. Surely Allah does not guide the wrongdoers.”(Qur’an; Maidah, Table Spread, 5:51). That is, look not to them for help and comfort or moral alliance. They are more likely to combine against you than to help you. And this happened more than once in the lifetime of the Prophet, and in after-ages again and again. He who associates with them and shares their counsels must be counted as of them. As regards the meaning of the “alliance” referred to here, at verse 3:28, and more particularly 4: 139, explains the reference to a believer’s loss of his moral identity if he imitates the way of life of, or-in Qur’anic terminology-“allies himself” with, non-Muslims. However, as has been made abundantly clear in 60:7-9 (and implied in verse 5:57), this prohibition of a “moral alliance” with non-Muslims does not constitute an injunction against normal, friendly relations with such of them as are well-disposed towards Muslims. It should be borne in mind that the term ‘wali’ has several shades of meaning: “ally”, “friend”, “helper”, “protector”, etc. The choice of the particular term – and sometimes a -combination of two terms-is always dependent on the context.
Cow 172; :
The reference is not related with the topic under discussion: “O believers! Eat the clean things which We have provided you and give thanks to Allah, if you worship only Him”(Cow, 2:172)
“And Verily This brotherhood of yours is a single brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: Therefore fear me (and no other). But people have cut off their affair (of unity), between them, into sects: Each party rejoices In that which is with itself. But leave them In their confused ignorance for a time.. Do They think that because we have granted them abundance of wealth and sons, We would hasten them on In every good? Nay, They do not understand. Verily those who live In awe for fear of their Lord; Those who believe In the Signs of their Lord;. Those who join not (in worship) partners with their Lord; And those who dispense their charity with their hearts full of fear, because They will return to their Lord;- It is these who hasten In every good work, and these who are foremost In them. On no soul do we place a burden greater than it can bear: before us is a record which clearly shows the truth: They will never be wronged. But their hearts are In confused ignorance of this; and there are, besides that, deeds of theirs, which They will (continue) to do,- Until, when we seize In punishment those of them who received the good things of This world, Behold, They will groan In supplication!”(Qur’an;Beleivers:23:52-64)
“And before Thee also the apostles we sent were but men, to whom we granted inspiration: if ye realise This not, ask of those who possess the Message. (We sent them) with Clear Signs and Books of dark prophecies; and we have sent down unto Thee (also) the Message; that you may explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that They may give thought.”(Qur’an, Bee;16:43-44). These verses are addressed for the Pagan Arabs, who were ignorant of religious and other history, wondered how a man from among themselves could receive inspiration and bring a Message from Allah, let them ask the Jews, who had also received Allah’s Message earlier through Moses, whether Moses was a man, or an angel, or a god. They would learn that Moses was a man like themselves, but inspired by Allah. “Those who possess the Message” may also mean any men of Wisdom, who were qualified to have an opinion in such matters. As the People of the Book had received “Clear Signs” and inspired Books before, so also Allah’s Message came to the Prophet Muhammad through the Qur’an, which superseded the earlier revelations, already corrupted in the hands of their followers.
2. it recognizes the teachings of the Prophets, even of the rabbis – Table 48, (notwithstanding Repentance 30-35);
The verse Table;48, is not about Rabbis but the Qur’an:
“O you, (Muhammad), We have revealed this Book with the truth. It confirms whatever has remained intact in the scriptures which came before it and also to safeguard it. Therefore, judge between people according to Allah’s revelations and do not yield to their vain desires diverging from the truth which has come to you. We have ordained a law and a Way of life for each of you. If Allah wanted He could have made all of you a single nation. But He willed otherwise in order to test you in what He has given you; therefore try to excel one another in good deeds. Ultimately you all shall return to Allah; then He will show you the truth of those matters in which you dispute. (Qur’an,Table, Maidah, 5:48).
However (Qur’an, Al-Maidah, 5) Table verse# 44 is about Rabbis:
“It was We who revealed the law (to Moses); therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews by the Prophet who bowed (as in Islam) to Allah’s will by the Rabbis and the doctors of Law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s Book and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men but fear Me and sell not My Signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed they are (no better than) unbelievers.”(Qur’an;5:44).
The Rabbis were living witnesses to the truth of Scripture, and could testify that they had made it known to the people: Two charges are made, against the Jews: (1) that even the books which they had, they twisted in meaning, to suit their own purposes, because they feared men rather than Allah: (2) that what they had was but fragments of the original Law given to Moses, mixed up with a lot of semi-historical and legendary matter, and some fine poetry. The Torah mentioned in the Qur’an is not the Old Testament as we have it: nor is it even the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament, containing the Law embedded in a great deal of semi-historical and legendary narrative).
“O believers! Indeed most of the (Jewish) rabbis and (Christian) priests misappropriate the wealth of people and hinder them from the way of Allah. To those who hoard gold and silver and do not spend it in the way of Allah, proclaim a painful punishment.”(Qur’an;9:34).
“Those who follow the apostle, the unlettered Prophet, (Muhammad) whom They find mentioned In their own (scriptures),- In the law and the Gospel;- for He commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; He allows them As lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. so it is those who believe In him, honour him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him,- it is They who will prosper.”(Qur’an;7:157)
“The Jews (of Arabia used to) call ‘Uzair (Azra)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! They take their priests and their anchorites to be their Lords In derogation of Allah, and (They take As their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet They were commanded to worship but one Allah. there is no god but He. Praise and glory to him: (far is He) from having the partners They associate (with Him). Fain would They extinguish Allah.s light with their mouths, but Allah will not allow but that His light should be perfected, Even though the unbelievers may detest (it).It is He who hath sent His Messenger with guidance and the Religion of truth, to proclaim it over all religion, Even though the Pagans may detest (it). O ye who believe! there are indeed many among the priests and anchorites, who In falsehood devour the substance of men and hinder (them) from the way of Allah. and there are those who bury gold and silver and spend it not In the way of Allah. announce unto them a Most grievous penalty. On the Day when heat will be produced out of that (wealth) In the Fire of Hell, and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs – “This is the (treasure) which ye buried for yourselves: taste ye, then, the (treasures) ye buried!” -“(Qur’an9:30-35)
3. It recognizes the peculiarity of Israel and the unparalleled gifts to its people (incl. the Land) – Hobbling 15; Cow 44, 116; Smoke 30;
“O Children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favour which I bestowed upon you, and fulfil your Covenant with me As I fulfil My Covenant with you, and fear none but Me. And believe In what I reveal (Qur’an), confirming the Revelation which is with you, and be not the first to reject Faith therein, nor sell My Signs for a small price; and fear me, and me alone. And cover not truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth when ye know (what it is). And be steadfast In prayer; practice regular charity; and bow down your heads with those who bow down (in worship).. Do ye enjoin right conduct on the people, and forget (to practice it) yourselves, and yet ye study the Scripture? will ye not understand?”(Qur’an, Cow; 2:40-44)
“They say: “(Allah) hath begotten a son” :Glory be to Him.-Nay, to Him belongs all that is In the heavens and on earth: everything renders worship to Him.”( Qur’an, Cow;2:116)
“Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with Thee unless Thou follow their form of religion. say: “The guidance of Allah,-that is the (only) Guidance.” Wert Thou to follow their desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee, then wouldst Thou find neither Protector nor helper against Allah. Those to whom we have sent the Book study it As it should be studied: They are the ones that believe therein: those who reject Faith therein,- the loss is their own. O Children of Israel! call to mind the special favour which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to all others (for My Message). Then guard yourselves against a-Day when one soul shall not avail another, nor shall compensation be accepted from Her nor shall intercession profit Her nor shall anyone be helped (from outside). And remember that Abraham was tried by His Lord with certain commands, which He fulfilled: He said: “I will make Thee an Imam to the Nations.” He pleaded: “And also (Imams) from My offspring!” He answered: “But My promise is not within the reach of evil-doers.”(Qur’an, Cow;2:120-124)
“We did deliver aforetime the Children of Israel from humiliating Punishment”(Qur’an, Smoke,44:30). This verse is about the time when the Israelites were held in bondage prior to the Exodus. Their hard taskmaster placed every indignity on them, and by Pharaoh’s decree their male children were to be killed, and their females were to be kept alive for the Egyptians.
4. The Holy Land prescribed for Israel – Table 23;
“(but) among (their) Allah fearing men were two on whom Allah had bestowed His grace: They said: “Assault them at the (proper) Gate: when once ye are in, victory will be yours; but on Allah put your trust if ye have faith.”(Qur’an, Table, 5:23). Yes it was promised and given to Children of Israel after Moses, but after their persistent violation of covenant, rejection and humiliation of Jesus the prophet of Allah, the leadership role granted to the Children of Abraham was shifted to children of Ishmael by Allah.
5. Israel admonished to stand firmly on the Torah – Table 73, et al;
In this verse the Christian concept of Trinity is refuted:
“They thought there would be no trial (or punishment); so They became blind and deaf; yet Allah (in mercy) turned to them; yet again many of them became blind and deaf. but Allah sees well all that They do. They do blaspheme who say: “(Allah) is Christ the son of Mary.” but said Christ: “O Children of Israel! worship Allah, My Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid Him the garden, and the Fire will be His abode. there will for the wrong-doers be no one to help. They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three In a Trinity: for there is no god except one Allah. if They desist not from their word (of blasphemy), Verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them. Why turn They not to Allah, and seek His forgiveness? for Allah is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful.”(Qur’an, Table, Maidah, 5:71-74).
6. It was Allah who settled the Children of Israel there – Jonah 93;
“We settled the Children of Israel In a beautiful dwelling-place, and provided for them sustenance of the best: it was after knowledge had been granted to them, that They fell into schisms. Verily Allah will judge between them As to the schisms amongst them, on the Day of Judgment. If Thou Wert In doubt As to what we have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee: the truth (Qur’an) hath indeed come to Thee from Thy Lord: so be In no wise of those In doubt and do not join those who deny the revelations of Allah; otherwise you will become one of the losers.” (Qur’an, Younus, Jonah;10:93-95). Aforetime Allah settled the children of Israel in the land but after their rejection of Jesus and revelation of Qur’an, they have to obey it and follow Muhammad (peace be upon him) lest they are losers (condemned for divine punishment).
7. Israel rebuked for not fighting for her land – Cow 60, 247;
“Remember the time when Moses prayed for water for his people; We said: “Strike the rock with your staff.” Thereupon We caused twelve springs to come out of that rock. Each tribe was assigned its own drinking-place. Then they were commanded: “Eat and drink of what Allah has provided and do not create mischief in the land.”(Qur’an, Cow,2:60)
Verse 247 is about charity,
“Remember when We said: “Enter this town and eat whatever you wish to your hearts’ content; make your way through the gates, with humility saying; ‘we repent,’ We shall forgive you your sins and We shall increase the provisions for the righteous among you.”(Qur’an;2:58)
“And remember we took your Covenant and we raised above you (the towering height) of Mount (Sinai) : (Saying): “Hold firmly to what we have given you and bring (ever) to remembrance what is therein: Perchance ye may fear Allah.” But ye turned back thereafter: had it not been for the Grace and Mercy of Allah to you, ye had surely been among the lost.”(Qur’an;2:63-64)
8. David’s kingdom (Zion), and Psalms, confirmed, and he being acknowledged as a a Divine viceroy and judge on earth – Zad 19, 25; Cow 252;
Yes the David was granted this honour; Muslims revere him as a Prophet and King, but this is not for ever. According to the Islamic traditions David was a prophet (Qur’an;6:84,17:55) and a king, who was given scripture: “..unto David We gave the Psalms.”(Qur’an;17:55). God made him a vicegerent in the earth: “We said: “O’ Dawud! We have made you a vicegerent in the earth, so rule among the people with justice and do not follow your own desires lest they mislead you from the Way of Allah. As for those who go astray from the Way of Allah, they shall surely have a severe punishment because of forgetting the Day of Reckoning.”(Qur’an;38:26); “We strengthened his kingdom and gave him wisdom and sound judgment in speech and decision.”(Qur’an;38:20); Allah says: “And We verily gave knowledge unto David and Solomon, and they said: Praise be to Allah, Who hath preferred us above many of His believing slaves!”(Qur’an;27:15). Prophet David (peace be upon him), was a worthy and successful king, who, against great odds, founded the Judean dynasty and carved out an empire from the border of Egypt to the Euphrates River. He was the shepherd, warrior, king, wise man, prophet and poet.
9. the Psalms and the Prophets speak of Israel’s return to the land and to Jerusalem, and so does the Koran – Bani Israel 8, 105;
Bani Israel 8,
“It may be that your Lord may (yet) show Mercy unto you; but if ye revert (to your sins) We shall revert (to Our punishments): and We have made Hell a prison for those who reject (all Faith). Verily this Qur’an doth guide to that which is most right (or stable) and giveth the glad tidings to the Believers who work deeds of righteousness that they shall have a magnificent reward; (Qur’an;17:8-9). Now we come to the time of holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In spite of all the past, the Jews could still have obtained Allah’s forgiveness if they had not obstinately rejected the greatest of the Prophets also. If they were to continue in their sins, Allah’s punishment would also continue to visit them. There is such a thing as disgrace in this life, but the final disgrace is in the Hereafter, and that will be irretrievable. The instability and evasiveness of the Jewish soul having been mentioned, the healing balm which should have cured it is now pointed out. The Message of the Qur’an is for all. Those who have Faith and show that Faith in their conduct must reap their spiritual reward. But those who reject Faith cannot escape punishment. Apart from what is past, apart from questions of national or racial history, there is a Hope,-and a Danger- for every soul.
Bani Israel 105;
It is not verse 105 but verse 104 about the children of Israel:
“And after that We said unto the children of Israel: “Dwell now securely on earth – but [remember that] when the promise of the Last Day shall come to pass, We will bring you forth as [parts of] a motley crowd!”‘”(Qur’an,Bani Israel;17:104).The expression denotes a human crowd composed of innumerable heterogeneous elements, good and bad, strong and weak, fortunate and unfortunate: in short, it characterizes mankind in all its aspects. It is obviously used here to refute, once again, the idea that the children of Israel are a “chosen people” by virtue of their Abrahamic descent and, therefore, a priori and invariably destined for God’s grace. The Qur’an rejects this claim by stating that on Resurrection Day all mankind will be judged, and none will have a privileged position. It is not correct to link it with assembly of Jews in Palestine before the Day of Judgement as perceived by some commentators.
10. Israel often harshly rebuked in the Koran, but there is no cancellation of the Covenant or of the Promises;
The violation of Covenant by Children of Israel and also refusing to believe in His prophets [Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon them] and the last scripture (Qur’an) they have transgressed, clear from following verses from Qur’an:
“As for those who break their covenant with Allah after confirming it and cut asunder what Allah has commanded to be joined and create mischief in the land, they are the ones on whom there shall be a curse and they are the ones who will have a terrible home.”(Qur’an;13:28); “those who break Allah’s Covenant after accepting it, and who cut aside what Allah has ordered to be united and cause mischief on earth. It is they who are the losers.”(Qur’an;2:27). Covenant and violations also at 2:93, 2:100, 5:13, 2:63, 2:122, 2:47.
“The example of those who were charged with the Torah, but failed to carry out their obligations, is that of a donkey who is carrying books and does not know what is in those books. Bad is the example of those who deny the revelations of Allah. Allah does not guide the wrongdoers.”( Qur’an;62:5) 9:34,
“O children of Israel! Remember My favors to you; fulfil your covenant (firm Commitment) with Me and I will fulfil My covenant with you, that you should fear none but Me.” Believe in My revelations (Qur’an), which are confirming your scriptures; do not be the first one to deny My revelations, and do not sell them for a petty price, fear Me and Me alone. Do not mix the Truth with falsehood, or knowingly conceal the truth.”(Qur’an;2:40-42)
“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 practice regular charity. Then did ye turn back except a few among you and ye backslide (even now).”(Qur’an;2:83) So far from the Covenant being of the kind the real Covenant is about the moral law. This moral law is universal and if you break it, no privileges will lighten your punishment or help you in any way
“Behold! Allah took the Covenant of the prophets, saying: “I give you a Book and Wisdom; then comes to you an apostle, confirming what is with you; do ye believe In Him and render Him help.” Allah said: “Do ye agree, and take This My Covenant As binding on you?” They said: “We agree.” He said: “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.” If any turn back after this, They are perverted transgressors. Do They seek for other than the Religion of Allah.-while all creatures In the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His will (Accepted Islam), and to Him shall They all be brought back. Say: “We believe In Allah, and In what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and In (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, from their Lord: we make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow Our will (in Islam).” If anyone desires a Religion other than Islam (submission to Allah., never will it be accepted of him; and In the Hereafter He will be In the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).(Qur’an; Amram, Ale-Imran;3:81-85).
“Also remind them when your Lord declared that He would raise against them others who would afflict them with severe torment till the Day of Resurrection. Swift is the retribution of your Lord, yet He is also the Forgiving, Merciful. We broke their unity as a nation and dispersed them into different communities all over the earth – some of them are righteous and others are the opposite – We tested them with both blessings and misfortunes so that they might turn to the Right Way.”(Qur’an;7:167-168)
11. On the contrary, the words of the Prophets shall surely be established – Greeks 5; Hobbling 31; Believers 76;
Greeks 5; Hobbling 31; Not found
“So be patient, O Prophet, Allah’s promise is true”(Qur’an;Al-Mominoon, Believers;40:77)
12. Abraham is called a true believer, i.e. Moslem – Imram;60; Pilgrimage 77; Cattle 162; and so are the Prophets – Table 48, notwithstanding their keeping Shabbat and their direction of prayer toward Jerusalem;
Yes, Abraham was the true monotheist who only worshiped and obeyed Allah.
“Say: “O people of the Book! come to common terms As between us and you: that we worship none but Allah. that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah.” if then They turn back, say ye: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah.s Will).Ye people of the Book! why dispute ye about Abraham, when the law and the Gospel were not revealed till after Him? have ye no understanding? Ah! ye are those who fell to disputing (Even) In matters of which ye had some knowledge! but why dispute ye In matters of which ye have no knowledge? it is Allah who knows, and ye who know not!. Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but He was true In Faith, and bowed His will to Allah.s (which is Islam), and He joined not gods with Allah. Without doubt, among men, the nearest of kin to Abraham, are those who follow him, As are also This Messenger and those who believe: and Allah is the Protector of those who have Faith. It is the wish of a section of the people of the Book to lead you astray. but They shall lead astray (Not you), but themselves, and They do not perceive! Ye people of the Book! why reject ye the Signs of Allah, of which ye are (Yourselves) witnesses? Ye people of the Book! why do ye clothe truth with falsehood, and conceal the truth, while ye have knowledge? (Qur’an, Imram, 3:64-71).
“Tell them: “O people of the Book! What makes you against us other than that we believe in Allah and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed before? The fact is that most of you are rebellious transgressors.”(Qur’an,5:59)
“Allah chooses His messengers from among the angels and from among the human beings, for surely Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.”( Qur’an;22:75)
“O ye who believe! bow down, prostrate yourselves, and Adore your Lord; and do good; that ye may prosper.And strive In His cause (Jihad)As ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you In religion; it is the faith of your father Abraham. it is He who has named you Muslims, both before and In This (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! so establish regular prayer, give regular charity, and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protector – the best to protect and the best to help!”(Qur’an, The Pilgrimage, Hajj;22:77-78)
13. Abraham established
a) Mount Moriah in Jerusalem for Israel – Gen. 22:2; 2.Chron.3:1;
b) the Kaaba in Mecca for Ishmael – Cow 119, 123;
“Remember when We made the House (the Ka’bah) a center and sanctuary for mankind saying, “Take the station of Abraham as a place of prayer;” We entrusted Abraham and Ishmael to cleanse Our House for those who walk around it, who meditate in it, and who kneel and prostrate in prayers.”(Qur’an, Hajj, 2:125)
14. Quiblah (direction of prayer) for Muslims to Mecca, and for Jews to Jerusalem (Cow 140,143) – yet see also Cow 171, and 1.Kings 8:41-53!
“Or do ye say that Abraham, Isma’il Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes were Jews or Christians? say: do ye know better than Allah. Ah! who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony They have from Allah. but Allah is not unmindful of what ye do!. That was a people that hath passed away. They shall reap the fruit of what They did, and ye of what ye do! of their merits there is no question In your case: The fools among the people will say: “What hath turned them from the Qibla to which They were used?” say: to Allah belong both east and West: He guides whom He will to a way that is straight. Thus, have we made of you an Ummat justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves; and we appointed the Qibla to which Thou was used, only to test those who followed the Messenger from those who would turn on their heels (from the Faith) indeed it was (A change) momentous, except to those guided by Allah. and never would Allah make your Faith of no effect. for Allah is to all people Most surely full of kindness, Most Merciful.”(Qur’an;2:140-143)
“When it is said to them: “Follow what Allah hath revealed” they say: “Nay! we shall follow the ways of our fathers.” What! even though their fathers were void of wisdom and guidance?”(Qur’an;2:170)
15. Koran admits different religious rites, and urges us to emulate in good works – Cow 143; Table 53; Pilgrimage 66:
“To every People have we appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow let them not then dispute with thee on the matter but do thou invite (them) to thy Lord: for thou art assuredly on the Right Way.”(Qur’an;22:67) Rites and ceremonies may appear to be an unimportant matter compared with “weightier matters of the Law” and with the higher needs of man’s spiritual nature. But they are necessary for social and religious organization, and their effect on the individual himself is not to be despised. In any case, as they are visible external symbols, they give rise to the most heated controversies. Such controversies are to be deprecated. That does not mean that our rites and ceremonies are to be made light of. Those in Islam rest on the highest social and religious needs of man, and if we are convinced that we are on the Right Way, we should invite all to join us, without entering into controversies about such matters.
16. the God of Israel and the God of Ishmael is ONE GOD – The Spider 45; Counsel 14; and He will bring all of us together – The Cow 143;
“And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender.”(Qur’an;29:46)
17. Allah wants to be honored by forgiveness and love – Table 15-17; Woman Tested 7; Counsel 14. He will all of us bring together, Cow 143;
“Even if Thou Wert to bring to the people of the Book all the Signs (together), They would not follow Thy Qibla; nor art Thou going to follow their Qibla; nor indeed will They follow Each other’s Qibla. if Thou after the knowledge hath reached thee, Wert to follow their (vain) desires,-then Wert Thou indeed (clearly) In the wrong. The people of the Book know This As They know their own sons; but some of them conceal the truth which They themselves know. The truth is from Thy Lord; so be not at all In doubt. To Each is a goal to which Allah turns him; then strive together (as In a race) towards all that is good. Where so ever ye are, Allah will bring you Together. for Allah hath power over all things.”(2:143-148)
18. Rassul Mohammed, as the “Seal of the Prophets” (Confed.40), confirms them!
“Muhammad is not the father of any of your men (he is not going to leave any male heirs). He is the Rasool (messenger) of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets. Allah has the knowledge of all things.”(Qur’an;33:40)
Some more Verses:
Allah says: “We blessed him (Abraham) and Isaac: but of their progeny are (some) that do right, and (some) that obviously do wrong, to their own souls.”(Qur’an;37:1130).
“Tell them (O Muhammad): “Should we tell you the worst kind of losers relating to their deeds? Those whose all efforts in this worldly life had gone astray from the Right Way, but all along they were under the delusion that they were doing good deeds; they are the ones who are disregarding the revelations of their Lord and the fact that they will meet Him for accountability of their deeds in the Hereafter, so their deeds will become null and will not carry any weight on the Day of Judgment.”(Qur’an;18:105)
“And those who have rejected Faith, denied Our revelations and the meeting of the hereafter shall be presented for punishment.”(Qur’an;30:16)
“Call people to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and best advice, and reason with them, if you have to, in the most courteous manner: for your Lord knows best who strays from His Way and He knows best who is rightly guided.”(Qur’an;16:125)
“And dispute ye not with the People of the Book except with means better (than mere disputation) unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say “We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).”(Qur’an;29:46). Mere disputations are futile. In order to achieve our purpose as true standard bearers for Allah, we shall have to find true common grounds of belief, as stated in the latter part of this verse, and also to show by our urbanity, kindness, sincerity, truth, and genuine anxiety, for the good of others, that we are not cranks or merely seeking selfish or questionable aims.
It is the words of the Prophets which provide the base for true peace
(Democracy being merely a form of government but not its soul, should be guided by them)
A B R A H A M ’ S P R A Y E R
When told by the Lord that in spite of his high age he would get a son also from Sarah, Abraham prayed (Gen. 17:18):
“O that Ishmael might live before thee”.
Abraham loved both his sons, Ishmael and Isaac, therefore he had to be told:
“Take now thy son, thine only one whom you have loved, even Isaac(Gen. 22:2).
The specification “even Isaac”, was to tell him which one of the two beloved sons he should bring to Mt. Moriah.
Abraham did not merely pray “that Ishmael might live”. He was not concerned that Ishmael would be threatened by Isaac, and would need a special prayer for protection from the latter.
Abraham was concerned that Ishmael, born from Hagar and biologically the firstborn, might try to bring the whole heritage unto himself, and deprive Isaac of God’s promise1).
Abraham’s prayer that Ishmael might live before the Lord, should encourage and guide him to let the spiritual -Abrahamic- inheritance get the upper hand so that he would be alive in the Divine spirit, and consequently recognize also Isaac’s call.
The two brothers and their descendants should not fight over the inheritance rather “compete in good works” as the Koran, Ishmael’s guide book, says so aptly2). And the Prophet asks us:
“Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us”? (Mal. 2:10)
Hence, in the spirit of our Father Abraham, let us pray:
O h t h a t b o t h o f u s
I s h m a e l a n d I s r a e l
m i g h t l i v e b e f o r e T h e e “
Islam and Judaism are the nearest to each other as both are linked to their Father Abraham (peace be upon him), the true monotheist, who had totally surrendered his will to the Will of God. He even did not hesitate to sacrifice his only beloved son as fulfilment of the Will of God. Apart from some initial set backs historically they have been with ease with each other, rather the Jews enjoyed a privileged status under Muslim rule in Spain and Jerusalem. The Zionist passion to rebuild the temple, and expansion of Israel at the cost of Palestinian Muslims (Children of Ishmael not pagans of the old times) and their lands has created an ever widening conflict. The solutions proposed at various forums have been torpedoed by the ambitious politicians to gain votes and power.
Almost for 2000 years Solomon’s Temple is not there, which is sacred to the Jews and Muslims. 13 centuries back, the house of worship of the Yahweh, Allah (God) was restored by the children of Ishmael. In my humble personal opinion which may not be shared by many Muslims & Zionists; ‘the worship of the same God by the Jews and Muslims, for the time being, could be done at the same neighborhood in their own way without any contempt to others (no one is idol worshipper, or pagan). It would provide cooling effect and more time to reach the amicable settlement at a later time. Let’s not be in a hurry.
Peace is possible among the children of Abraham [from Ishmael and Israel], by agreeing to the commonalties: “Say: O People of the Scripture. Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partners unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him).”(Qur’an;3:64).
1) Ishmael, Abraham’s son from Hagar, is the ancestor of the Arab (Muslim) nations; Isaac is one of the three Patriarchs of Israel.
2) Sura “The Table” 53; also “The Cow” 143; “Pilgrimage” 66.
Dr. Asher Eder, Jewish Co-Chairman, Islam-Israel Fellowship,
Root and Branch Assoc. Ltd, Yerushalayim/Israel
The essay which carries a supportive foreword by Prof Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, is available by request from: firstname.lastname@example.org ; or: www.rb.org.il ; or: email@example.com
Response & Comments By:
QUR’AN: TRANSLATION & REFERENCES
Qur’an is the word of God, directly revealed to the last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) during 23 years of his Apostolic mission about fourteen centuries ago. It was instantly preserved by putting in to writing and memorization by his companions. God says: “Surely this is a Glorious Qur’an, inscribed on an Imperishable Tablet.”(Qur’an;85:21-22). God has taken responsibility to guard it against corruption: “Surely We have revealed the reminder (Qur’an) and We will most certainly guard it (from corruption).”(Qur’an;15:9).During all ages, millions of Muslim of all age groups memorize Qur’an comprising over 6000 verses; a unique distinction which makes Qur’an, the only book in human history to have been continuously preserved through this method along with the written form. No other scripture or book can rival this claim. Hence, since its revelation the Qur’an is being transferred in its original revealed form, continuously (twatar) from generation to generation.
The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic, the language of Prophet, peace be upon him (and his clan Quraish of Makka). The translation (Tarjama) of the Qur’an means the expression of the meaning of its text in a language different from the language of the Qur’an, for understanding by those not familiar with Qur’anic Arabic. It is customary to quote the original Arabic Qur’anic text (ayah, verses) along with the translation, however this require special handling due to reverence of the sacred text, hence in this book for the convenience of handling by all categories of the readers, only the translation is given, which should also be handled with due respect. It is more appropriate for the reader to also consult the original Arabic Qur’an. Here mostly the translation of verses from Qur’an by Abdullah Yousaf Ali, M.Pickthall, Muhammad Asad and F.Malik have been given at various places. There is agreement among Muslim scholars that it is humanly impossible to transfer the meanings of original Qur’an word by word in an identical mode into another language. This is due to several reasons: firstly the Qur’an itself is a miracle and cannot be imitated by man. As a consequence of this, the translation of Qur’an is not considered as Qur’an. The translations of the Qur’an; e.g. into English, French, German and Urdu, etc, in principle are regarded as paraphrases. These translations can not be used in place of original Arabic Qur’an for ritual purposes. Secondly the words of different languages do not express all the shades of meanings of their original Arabic word, though they may express specific concepts. Hence narrowing down the meaning of the Qur’an to specific concepts in a foreign language would mean missing out other important dimensions. While reading the translations of Qur’an these aspects must always be kept in view. The example of verse: “wa- huwa ‘alladhe khalaqa as- samaawaat wa- al- ‘ard. fe sittah ayyaam..” (Qur’an;11:7) is considered here. The word ayyaam in Arabic means; days or ‘long periods’ or ‘eons’ or ‘epoch’. The four translations being given here differ in their understanding: “And it is He who has created the heavens and the earth in six eons” (M.Asad); “He is the One Who created the heavens and the earth in six periods” (F.Malik); “And He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days” (Pickthall); “He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days” (Yousaf Ali). The translation of ayyaam as ‘eons’ appears more scientific and accurate. Hence if some contradictions appear, it is due to the limitations of translation, not of Qur’an.
The Qur’an comprises 114 chapters, called Surahs, of very unequal length and each Surah comprises number of verses. In this book the translation of references from Qur’an are mostly given within brackets “xyz” followed by reference of Surah and Ayah in bracket i.e. : “Praise be to Allah the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds.”(Qura’n;1:2). It implies that the translation is from Surah (chapter) Number 1 and verse number 2 of the same Surah. The name of Chapter (Surahs) can be found from the Appendix II . In this case the name of Surah Number 1 as given in Surah Index is Al-Fatiha meaning ‘The Opening’. The names of Chapters (Surahs) in Qur’an, in most of the cases have no special relation to the subject of the Surah but has been used merely as a symbol to distinguish it from other Surahs. The name comprise of a word used some where in the Surah. Taking example of 2nd Surah AL-BAQARAH (the Cow), which has been so named from the story of the Cow occurring in this Surah (verse number 67-73). Although this Surah is an invitation to the Divine Guidance and all the stories, incidents etc. revolve round this central theme. As this Surah has particularly been addressed to the Jews, many historical events have been cited from their own traditions to admonish and advise them that their own good lies in accepting the Guidance revealed to the Holy Prophet. It has not, however, been used as a title to indicate the subject of the Surah. It will, therefore, be as wrong to translate the name Al-Baqarah into “The Cow” or “The Heifer” as to translate any English name, say Baker, Rice, Wolf etc., into their equivalents in other languages or vice versa, because this would imply that the Surah dealt with the subject of “The Cow”. Many more chapters (Surahs) of the Qur’an have been named in the same way because no comprehensive words exist in Arabic (in spite of its richness) to denote the wide scope of the subject discussed in them. As a matter of fact all human languages suffer from the same limitation. However in some cases the name of Chapters (Surahs) indicate the subject matter i.e. the first Surah Al-Fatihah, which means ‘that which opens a subject or a book or any other thing’ or in other words, Al-Fatihah is a sort of ‘Preface’. Similarly Surah ‘Al Yousaf’ (Joseph) Surah number 12, is related with the story of Prophet Joseph (PBHH).
Appendix IX: QURAN-SURAH (CHAPTER) INDEX
QUR’AN – SURAH (CHAPTERS) INDEX
|Surah /Chapter Name
||Surah /Chapter Name
||Ornaments of Gold
||The Family of Imram
||The Sand Dunes
||The Spoils of War
||Letter –‘ Q’
||The Rocky Tract
||Children of Israel/Ascension
||She that Disputes
||To be Examined
||Luqman, The Wise
||Rising of the Dead
||Who Set Ranks
||Ones, Drag Forth
|Surah /Chapter Name
||Surah /Chapter Name
||Mansions of Stars
||The Morning Star
||The Most High
||The Declining Day
||The Tribe Quraish
||The Clear Proof
BIBLE: SIXTY SIX BOOKS
|OLD TESTAMENT –39 BooksTORAH
||Song of Solomon
|NEW TESTAMENT – 27 Books
Gospels According to:1 Corinthians2Thessalonians1 Peter Matthew2 Corinthians1 Timothy2 Peter MarkGalatians2 Timothy1 John LukeEphesiansTitus2 John JohnPhilippiansPhilemon3 John The ActsColossians 1HebrewsJude Romans1ThessaloniansJamesRevelation
Abujak / AftabKhan
Abujak / Aftabb Khan
Children of Israel, Ishmael & Peace: http://wp.me/PCgrB-4m