Let’s start to speak about Jews.
I have a bit difficult position how to define Jew? It is impossible! Religion? Ethnics? Zionism? Atheism? Shadow power of finance? I give it up… let our Jewish brothers define their own motivation what makes them say they are Jews! I think their opinions will also differ
So, how Quran state anything about Jews? What do I say as Islamic interpreter who the Jews are according to Quran? Should we mean always Jew when we face words like yehud or bani Israel? Or should we mind something else like a particular phenomenon or fact linked to a historical event?
Issues what are mentioned in the Bible regarding Moses exist in the Quran as well. Jacob or the House of Israel, the story of Joseph and his family in Egypt, the conflict between Moses and Pharaoh, crossing the Red see are subjects like the revelations in the Mount of Sinai, the disobedience of Sons of Israel, the forty year long wandering in the desert etc. I don’t want to explain here the kingdom of David and Solomon who submitted their authority to the One God therefore their reign has to be considered as the first Islamic Kingdom!
Earlier I wrote a summary about the presence of Jews in Arabia before the advent of Mohammed (peace be upon him). https://www.facebook.com/mihalffy.balazs/posts/10158630597028496
There were numerous Jewish tribes in the Arabic peninsula. Yathreb was the home of three tribes: Banu Nadir, Banu Quraiza and Banu Qaniyqa. They lived out of trade, forging weapons, were goldsmiths and provided credits to the Arabs what made them rich. Leave now the religious affaires and come to the point of interests. These tribes wanted to live in a balanced situation with Arabs. Balanced means that they had to keep their trade with them no matter if those Arabic tribes one day were waging wars between themselves and on the other day they were allies. The lasting peace was also bad for them. In case enemy was missing, they often became victims as created enemies due to their wealth. Therefore, they did their best when they balanced their Arabic environment in order to continue their trade with them while avoiding to become their prey.
Situation was the following:
Three Jewish tribes in Medina were in a symbiotic coexistence as vassals of two Arabic tribes, Khazraj and Awas. The Arab were overlords and Jews were their clients. We are just in the time when the leader of Khazraj, Abdallah ben Obey expected to become king. At this very moment appeared Mohammed (peace be upon him) and his Muslims. It is true that they came based on the invitation of some chiefs of Khazraj and Awas who sympathized Islam however Abdallah ben Obey didn’t belong to them.
The arrival of Mohammed to Medina vanished the dreams of Abdallah bin Obey. He couldn’t become king! He could see the masses converting Islam, so he did so, too, but his heart was full of anger. He embodied in the Quran the hypocrisy. He did the utmost to make the mission of Mohammed failed while he declared his Islam at the surface.
Among the fist activities of Mohammed (peace be upon him) was in Medina the “oath of brotherhood”. It meant that he established an oath where all citizens of Medina became brothers no matter, they were Arabs. Muslims or Jews. His intention was that people regard his mission as common issue and word of Allah come true in the city regardless of religion or ethnical affiliation. So, Medina should become a common issue! And troubles started from that issue. Even if Abdallah ben Obey and Jews were objects of oath of brotherhood, their internal will was different. Based on their calculations and interests they thought that this stranger from Mecca is considered as enemy by his own tribe. He is followed by masses of good-for-nothing homeless people. What chance they have to survive? Sure, they shook hands with this fellow but inside themselves they were not so optimistic about his future. Mecca is rich and Quraish will eat them all for breakfast. For Jews their trade relations with Quraish were more important then their link to these newcomers. On the other hand, Abdallah ben Obey undermined every Islamic consolidation as he didn’t give up his dreams: wanted to become king! Surah 33. Clans tells us the issue:
And behold! The Hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease (even) say: "(Allah) and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusion!" (Quran 33:12)
Before this year's mass attack on Madinah the Muslims had successfully reached the Syrian border on the north, and there were hopes of reaching Yemen in the south. The holy Prophet had seen signs of expansion and victory for the Muslims. Now that they were shut in within the Trench on the defensive, the Hypocrites taunted them with having indulged in delusive hopes. But the event showed that the hopes were not delusive
This was the political surrounding when the three Jewish tribes betrayed Mohammed (peace be upon him) for Quraish in three battles. First was Badr, then Uhud, then Trench (Khunduk), when in the most sensitive situations Jewish tribes gave up one by one supporting Mohammed and defected.
I don’t want to enter in the battles in detail. The strength of revenge increased after every betrayal. It reached to top after the third one, the battle of Trench when Jewish men were executed, and rebel groups were transported and settled in Khaiber, where another incident took place later. The retaliation was achieved not according to Islamic law! This is important as well. The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) envoy asked Jews what law should be followed for their punishment? They chose Torah. Therefore, they placed Deuteronomium, chapter XX. 10-20 in force:
And those of the People of the Book who aided them - Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts. (So that) some ye slew, and some ye made prisoners. (Quran 33:26)
The reference is to the Jewish tribe of the Banu Qurayzah. They 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. Sa'd 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 those 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 22 is total annihilation: "thou shalt 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 Quraiza 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.
Based on the above Mosaic law men of Banu Quraizah were executed and their wealth was confiscated.
Just now we reached the top! We’ve discussed so far, the altogether 6 years long Muslim-Jew hostility between A.C. 623-629 which effects the different communications till today. If there is any political interest this six years of enmity is reminded by radical Islamic organizations and these six years are not forgotten by Jews, too. However, both parties ignore some very important issues:
- Jews were sanctioned for betrayal and not because they were Jews! Even other Jewish tribes inhabited in this area who were untouched. So, traitors were the subjects of revenge and not Jews!
- During the 1400 years long Jew-Muslim coexistence we were mostly allies on one side! It was like that in period of crusade, in Iberia, under Ottoman rule, etc. After 1948 when Israel state was declared voices on both sides quote Quranic ayas which are influenced by politics. The related interpretations of ayas dealing with our 6 years hostility give ammunition for both sides to attack the other party. At the mean time there are plenty of quotations where we all are People of Book and we believe in all books prophets and angels whaat have been revealed for People of Book!
- Concerning faith Jews are part of Islam so they cannot be enemies. They are following Islam based on the doctrines of Abraham and their Sharia is Judaism. I used now uniquely Islamic terminologies so please excuse me if it sounds strange for you.
- Regarding the falsification or overwriting of Torah made my Jews, we Muslims have no right to say anything. It is true our Quran is genuine because Allah takes care of it! However, put your hands to your hearts! Do we not interpret verses according to political interests? Parallelly, don’t we not ignore verses which are disadvantageous for us? Don’t we use the fact that Quran is in Arabic and most of followers don’t understand Arabic? They understand their own sheikhs or imams who explain them anything what they wish! So, hush!
This was history so far! But damn it! We are brothers! There are much more issues link us to each other then the ones which divide us.