Is Islam Antisemitic? A brief study in Quran and Hadith

Asif M Basit, Ahmadiyya Archive & Research Centre
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Katalin Salles | Unsplash

The term antisemitism has evolved in its meaning over many decades and is now only understood to be any statement, word or even a gesture, for that matter, that potentially incites hatred against the Jewish community.

Other conceptual terms, like Islamophobia, have also seen their genesis and evolution over the past couple of decades but have not gained the momentum (as well as popularity and general acceptance) that the term antisemitism has gained. While other terms of similar nature remain under the umbrella of discrimination, racism or sexism, antisemitism stands out and calls for detailed analysis.

In the current atmosphere, where Hamas and Israeli forces have locked horns once again and a lot of violence and destruction is being witnessed on both sides, the oft-asked question has come to the surface again: Is Islam intrinsically antisemitic?

Understanding the question

The question here is whether the Holy Quran and the Hadith literature incite hate against the Jews. Or, to put it simply, do Allah and the Holy Prophetsa hate Jews?

The one-word answer to this question is: No! Allah the Almighty refers to them as ahl al-Kitab – people of the Book – and mentions their virtues too, as well as the wrongdoings that some of them had committed by the time the final message and messenger of Allah were sent to them, alongside the rest of the human race.

To understand Islam’s stance towards the Jews, it is essential that we understand how the Holy Quran classifies them and then look into how these classes are addressed or mentioned.

The Jews in the Holy Quran

The Holy Quran refers to Jews by a variety of terms: Children of Israel (banu Israel), the Jews (al-Yahud), and the people of the Book (ahl al-Kitab) – the last shared title with Christians.

Most of the references to them as banu Israel remain focused on Allah’s favours and bounties towards them – those that elevated their status above all other peoples of the world. Such references provide a narrative on the history of the Jews, drawing parallels with Biblical accounts while offering the Quran’s own unique perspective and interpretation.

References to them as ahl al-Kitab revolve mostly around the message that they initially received from their prophets and scriptures and its continuity in the message given to them by the Prophetsa of Islam. Such references also point to common grounds between Islam and their faiths (Judaism and Christianity), and yet their rejection of the promised message when it reached them.

Such references to them, speaking of their deviation from their own teachings and their aversion to the latest message from God, highlight certain penalties that will be incurred upon them by Allah. For instance, Surah al-Bayyinah opens by mentioning their disbelief (kafaru), even when clear proofs had come to them (hata ta-tiya hum al-bayyina). The last part of this verse is to be particularly noted, as we will return to it later. The last verse of this pericope highlights them as being ahl al-Kitab and yet refusing to accept the continuity of the same message that they believed in. This brackets them with the idolaters (mushrikun), and are destined to hell, which will be their abode (khalidin-a fi-ha). Hence, those among the ahl al-kitab, who disbelieve, are classed as the “worst of the creatures” (sharr al-bariyya).

What readers need to remember here is that in matters of belief – or disbelief for that matter – Allah takes it upon Himself to reprimand the Jews, or adherents of any other religion, and no penalty is to be incurred upon them by any human agency. 

Some other verses, for instance, 69-70 of Surah al-Ma’idah also instruct the Prophetsa not to grieve for those who rebel (tughyanun) and disbelieve from among the ahl al-Kitab, despite having received the latest message of God. The reasons for not grieving on their condition of rebellion and disbelief can be understood from the next verse, which states: 

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَالَّذِیۡنَ ہَادُوۡا وَالصّٰبِـُٔوۡنَ وَالنَّصٰرٰی مَنۡ اٰمَنَ بِاللّٰہِ وَالۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَیۡہِمۡ وَلَا ہُمۡ یَحۡزَنُوۡنَ

“Surely, those who have believed, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians; whoso believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds, on them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Surah al-Ma’idah, Ch.5: V.70)

Once again, Allah takes responsibility for reprimanding their disbelief while assuring the Holy Prophetsa that the righteous ones from among the ahl al-Kitab will be saved from the grief and fear of the Hereafter, as long as they believe in Allah, the Last day and perform good deeds.

A very similar verse points to the possibility of salvation for the ahl al-kitab in Surah al-Baqarah where Allah the Almighty states:

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَالَّذِیۡنَ ہَادُوۡا وَالنَّصٰرٰی وَالصّٰبِئِیۡنَ مَنۡ اٰمَنَ بِاللّٰہِ وَالۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَہُمۡ اَجۡرُہُمۡ عِنۡدَ رَبِّہِمۡ ۪ۚ وَلَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَیۡہِمۡ وَلَا ہُمۡ یَحۡزَنُوۡنَ

“Surely, the Believers, and the Jews, and the Christians and the Sabians — whichever party [from among these truly] believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds — shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear [shall come] upon them, nor shall they grieve. (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.63)

Mufassirun (commentators of the Holy Quran) have understood both these verses regarding the possibility of salvation in various ways, although almost unanimously agreeing to no possibility at all unless they believe in the Holy Prophetsa. Some, like al-Tabarsi, on the authority of Ibn Abbasra, have seen 2:63 as abrogated by the following verse:

وَمَنۡ یَّبۡتَغِ غَیۡرَ الۡاِسۡلَامِ دِیۡنًا فَلَنۡ یُّقۡبَلَ مِنۡہُ ۚ وَہُوَ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ مِنَ الۡخٰسِرِیۡنَ

“And whoso seeks a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter shall be among the losers”. (Surah Aal-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.86)

Since the verse from al-Baqarah was revealed in the earlier part of the Holy Prophet’ssa prophetic mission, and the verse from al-Maida in the latter part, the abrogation theory can be left aside.

In the remaining groups of commentators, we find two major schools: one that holds this verse to apply to the ahl al-Kitab who lived before Islam, the others who uphold the universality of the verse to apply to all times to come, but taking it to mean that belief in Allah necessitates belief in Prophet Muhammadsa – hence limiting salvation for only those who embrace(d) Islam. 

But it seems that the element of this verse’s universality is only partially applied, as we shall see below.

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Masjid MABA | Unsplash

Ahmadiyya concept of salvation in Islam

The Ahmadiyya view of the Holy Quran is that no verse is, or can ever be, abrogated for the simple fact that Allah cannot be expected to alter His own injunctions – a belief that would leave serious questions on Allah’s Omniscience.

Another Ahmadiyya belief is that the Holy Quran was revealed as a final scripture for mankind and will remain applicable and relevant until eternity. For the latter, the verse in question is understood to apply to all ahl al-Kitab who have ever lived, or will ever live on earth.

Accordingly, this verse in the Ahmadiyya Muslim theology is seen to encompass any ahl al-Kitab to be the subject of the verse. However, the understanding of this verse is as comprehensive as it is unique.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, lays out a rule to understand, what he calls “synoptic” verses:

“Divine practice in the Holy Quran is that at places there are details and at places, it employs synopsis. And it is necessary for the reader to interpret synoptic verses in such a way that they do not become opposed to the detailed verses. For instance, God Almighty has clearly declared that shirk [association of partners with God] shall not be forgiven. But the Quranic verse  ان اللہ یغفرالذنوب جمیعاً [Surely, Allah forgives all sins (Surah az-Zumar, Ch:39: V.54)] appears to contradict the verse that says shirk shall not be forgiven. Therefore, it would be heresy to interpret this verse in a sense which is contrary to categorical and decisive verses.” (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Haqiqatul-Wahi, pp. 209)

In light of the above, Hazrat Ahmadas states that the verse in question “does not mean that salvation can be achieved without believing in the Prophet. Rather, what is meant is that salvation cannot be achieved without believing in Allah… and in the Last Day. And complete belief in Allah is possible only when one believes in His Prophets…” (Ibid, pp. 208, 209)

Hazrat Ahmadas calls to attention the two types of verses of the Holy Quran: The muhkamat (categorical) and mutashabehat (allegorical), where the former are clearly defined in their meaning, the latter allude to the details mentioned in the former. He classes the verse in question among the mutashabehat and derives its complete meaning from a verse that is clearly from the muhkamat:

“Surely, those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers and desire to make a distinction between Allah and His Messengers, and say, ‘We believe in some and disbelieve in others’, and desire to take a way in between;

“These indeed are veritable disbelievers, and We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment.” (Surah an-Nisa’, Ch.4: V.151-152)

As we pair these two verses, in light of Hazrat Ahmad’sas commentary, we urge readers to note again that Allah reserves, yet again, the right to punish such people Himself (wa a’tadna).

Hazrat Ahmadas does, however, elaborate on the understanding of the verse with exceptional circumstances where the message of the Prophet Muhammadsa has not been conveyed to someone sufficiently and appropriately. If it has, one’s denial would amount to kufr (disbelief) and leave him devoid of the right to salvation. However, “the knowledge of whether sufficient evidence has been furnished lies with God Almighty alone.” (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Haqiqatul-Wahi, pp. 222)

While most commentators lay the responsibility of Prophet Muhammad’ssa message being conveyed appropriately and sufficiently on the conveyer, Hazrat Ahmadas gives a unique angle by bringing into the equation the mental capability of the person that the message is being conveyed to: 

“… [R]eason demands that, since people are endowed with different capabilities and understanding, the furnishing of ‘sufficient evidence’, too, shall not take place in only one way. 

“Therefore, if those who, on account of their intellectual capacity, can understand and recognise quite easily the divine arguments and signs and the merits of a faith, but reject the Messenger of God, they will belong to the foremost degree of kufr [disbelief]. 

“Those who do not occupy the same level of understanding and knowledge, but if, in the estimation of God, sufficient evidence has been furnished to them, in keeping with the level of their understanding, they too will be accountable for their disbelief in the Prophet, albeit to a lesser degree than the disbelievers of the first kind.” (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Haqiqatul-Wahi, p. 223)

Hazrat Ahmadas ends this debate by taking the human element out of the matter of salvation:

“Anyway, it is not for me to determine the disbelief of each and every individual or whether sufficient evidence was furnished. Rather, it is the prerogative of the One who is All-Knowing.” (Ibid.)

As Hazrat Ahmadas has used the Holy Quran as the only source in this debate, he states that while one who has not been furnished the message adequately and appropriately, or one whose cognitive capabilities hinder them from understanding and accepting it, will remain kafir (disbeliever) in the strictest sense of the term, however:

“He will not be deemed culpable in the estimation of God in the context of the verse لَا یُکَلِّفُ اللّٰہُ نَفۡسًا اِلَّا وُسۡعَہَا” (Ibid.) (Allah burdens not any soul beyond its capacity, Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.287) 

Hazrat Ahmad’sas Caliphs on salvation

Since the caliphate of Hazrat Ahmadas is there to uphold his understanding of the Holy Quran and to disseminate it, his caliphs have done so in the case of this verse too; they have however expounded the meaning for a better understanding in changing times. 

Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, the second Khalifa of Hazrat Ahmadas, having emphasised the condition of accepting Prophet Muhammad’ssa message for salvation, has further elaborated on the exceptional element:

“We believe that hell is for those who deliberately and mischievously deny the truth… If one denies the prophets and their books, and his rejection is based on honesty for absence of proof (itmam al-hujjah); such a person, in our opinion, is deserving of Allah’s mercy.

“Allah the Almighty categorically states in the Holy Quran that رحمتی وسعت کل شیء, that my mercy envelopes everything; also that وما خلقت الجن و الانس الا لیعبدون, that I have created every human to be my reflection, as my servant; also that فادخلی فی عبٰدی۔ ودخلی جنتی, that whosoever is my servant, enters paradise.

“Muslims comprise one-third or one-fourth of world religions. And according to Maududi, one in a thousand of these Muslims misunderstand Islam and are indulged in innovations of disbelief (rasumat-e kufr).

“This would mean that only around forty-thousand persons in the world understand Islam; yet it is unclear how many of those are truly Muslim, and how many are merely Muslim by name; meaning that in the whole world, there are only one in a thousand or so. 

“If all others are hell-bound, then what becomes of رحمتی وَسِعَت کُلَّ شیء, what meaning would be left of وما خلقت جن والانس الا لیعبدون. This would mean God’s defeat at the hands of Satan…

“…We have never used the word kufr in the way of Maulvi Saheb [Abu al-A’la Maududi]. We believe God to be Merciful and Benevolent; who is man to hinder salvation that comes from God?” (Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmadra, Masla Wahi o Nabuwat ke mutaliq Islami Nazria, Anwar-ul-Uloom, Vol. 23, pp. 351-352)

On another occasion, the second Caliph explained this issue as follows:

“Paradise is not attained only through verbal acceptance of faith; it is rather acquired through fulfilling a number of duties. Similarly, hell is not a result of verbal denial [kufr], but is also conditional with a number of conditions. 

“No person can go to hell unless proof has been fully furnished to them [itmam al-hujjah], even if they deny the greatest of truths…” (Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmadra, Ahmadiyyat ka pegham, Anwar-ul-Uloom, Vol. 20, pp. 569)

Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadra, the fourth Caliph of Hazrat Ahmadas, explained the universality of the verse in question. In his work “Islam’s response to contemporary issues”, he titles the debate:

“Salvation cannot be monopolised by any single religion”, and condemns the claim of adherents of every religion that theirs is the only way to salvation:

“When such a rigid, narrow-minded and non-tolerant view is expressed in provocative language as generally is by religious zealots, it is known to have produced violent riots […]

“But let me assure my audience that the attribution of this bigoted and narrow view to Islam has no justification. The Holy Quran has a completely different story to tell us in this regard. According to the Holy Quran, salvation cannot be monopolised by any single religion of the world. Even if new truths are revealed and new eras of light have dawned, those who live a life of ignorance through no fault of their own and those who generally try to lead a life of truth even if they inherited false ideologies, will not be denied salvation by God. The following verses from the Holy Quran elaborate this point further: 

لِکُلِّ اُمَّۃٍ جَعَلۡنَا مَنۡسَکًا ہُمۡ نَاسِکُوۡہُ فَلَا یُنَازِعُنَّکَ فِی الۡاَمۡرِ وَادۡعُ اِلٰی رَبِّکَ ۔ اِنَّکَ لَعَلٰی ہُدًی مُّسۡتَقِیۡمٍ 

(For every people, We have appointed ways of worship which they observe; so let them not dispute with thee in the matter of the Islamic way of worship; and call thou the people to thy Lord, for, surely, thou are the right guidance.)” (Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh, Islam’s Response to Contemporary Issues, pp. 21 [Verse 22:68])

He goes on to quote the verse in question here to support his argument, before bringing in another verse of the Holy Quran about the ahl al-Kitab:

یۡسُوۡا سَوَآءً ۔ مِنۡ اَہۡلِ الۡکِتٰبِ اُمَّۃٌ قَآئِمَۃٌ یَّتۡلُوۡنَ اٰیٰتِ اللّٰہِ اٰنَآءَ الَّیۡلِ وَہُمۡ یَسۡجُدُوۡنَ ۔یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِاللّٰہِ وَالۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ وَیَاۡمُرُوۡنَ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ وَیَنۡہَوۡنَ عَنِ الۡمُنۡکَرِ وَیُسَارِعُوۡنَ فِی الۡخَیۡرٰتِ ۔ وَاُولٰٓئِکَ مِنَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ ۔وَمَا یَفۡعَلُوۡا مِنۡ خَیۡرٍ فَلَنۡ یُّکۡفَرُوۡہُ ۔ وَاللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمٌۢ بِالۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ ۔

(They are not all alike. Among the people of the Book are those who are very pious and God-fearing, and who stand by their covenant; they recite the Word of Allah in the hours of the night and prostrate themselves before Him. They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and enjoin good and forbid evil, and hasten to vie with one another in good works. These are among the righteous. Whatever good they do, they shall not be denied its due reward, and Allah well knows those who guard against evil.)” (Ibid.)

The times of Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad’srh caliphate spanned from 1982 to 2003. He had witnessed the ebb and flow of the Middle East crisis and delivered a series of sermons on the dynamics of global geopolitics around the issue. He had closely observed the Israel-Palestine conflict – something very evident from his advice on salvation:

“There is a great misunderstanding today, borne out of the recent political rivalries between the Jews and the Muslims, that according to Islam, all Jews are hell-bound. This is totally false in light of what I have recited before you from the Holy Quran, and in light of the following verse:

وَمِنۡ قَوۡمِ مُوۡسٰۤی اُمَّۃٌ یَّہۡدُوۡنَ بِالۡحَقِّ وَبِہٖ یَعۡدِلُوۡنَ 

(Of the people of Moses, there is a party who guides with truth and does justice therewith.)” (Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh, Islam’s Response to Contemporary Issues, pp. 23)

Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nuruddinra, the first Caliph of Hazrat Ahmadas, commented on the above-quoted verse (3:116) where certain Jews are distinguished as those who perform good deeds and are God-fearing:

“Since Allah alone has knowledge of who is God-fearing [muttaqin], their matter is in God’s hands and we have no right to conjecture”. (Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nuruddinra, Haqaiq-ul-Furqan, Vol. 1, pp. 523)

He does, however, note that true fear of God, in ideal circumstances, results in one’s acceptance of the true faith by way of Islam.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, the fifth Caliph of Hazrat Ahmadas, also clarifies the issue of salvation along the same line as that of Hazrat Ahmadas:

“Although Allah the Almighty has sent the Holy Prophetsa for all mankind, and made it incumbent upon all to accept his call, and it is only through this acceptance that salvation is possible. However, if someone has not been furnished with proof, then, he would not be held accountable; because Allah does not burden any soul beyond its capacity.” (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, Friday Sermon, 29 May 2009)

The whole debate above clearly shows that the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, while deeming it essential for one to embrace the message of Prophet Muhammadsa, does acknowledge the fact that exceptions will always be there; just as they are with any rule and law in the world. The Ahmadiyya Islam does not, however, monopolise salvation, as discussed in detail above.

We now return to the early part of this article, where we discuss how Jews are categorised by the Holy Quran.

The political scenario of early Islam

From the days of early Islam to the modern-day world, we see that contention between Jews and Muslims has revolved around political issues. Where the Holy Quran mentions their transgression in matters of faith, Allah takes chastisement into His own hands. However, in matters to do with this world – in the context of the contemporaneous polity of Medina and the rest of Arabia – Prophet Muhammadsa is advised to take action.

Readers ought to remember that Prophet Muhammadsa was, in the latter part of his prophetic career, a prophet-statesman, ruling and running the affairs of the State of Medina. Certain steps that he took must be understood in their political sense and not necessarily generalised as his prophetic teachings or tenets of faith.

We know from historical sources that the Holy Prophetsa had friendly ties with the Jews, especially on the eve of migration (hijrah) to Medina. Conflicting tribes of Aws and Khazraj – the guardians of various Jewish tribes – had invited him to migrate and settle in Medina as an arbitrator in their longstanding feuds.

Upon arrival in Medina, the Holy Prophetsa took immediate steps to establish what can be called a security-community, where no tribe was to fight mutually but to settle any disputes through peaceful means. This attempt culminated in the Sahifah – more commonly known as the Charter of Medina (mithaq al-Medina). The Sahifah was signed by the migrating Muslims and the local Jewish tribes, as well as all other tribes residing in Medina. (“The Constitution of Medina by RB Serjeant”, in The Islamic Quarterly, VIII [Jan-Jun 1964], pp. 3; Muhammad at Medina by M Watt, pp. 225)

Traditions have it that the Quraysh of Mecca had taken the migration and peaceful settlement of Muslims with a pinch of salt, and would conspire as to how this peace could be reversed. Their defeat in the Battle of Badr left their egos even more wounded, and the Quraysh sought ways of igniting a civil war in the society of Medina where the nascent Muslim community now coexisted with Jews and polytheists in peace and harmony. 

Since the victory in Badr had given the Holy Prophetsa and his community of Muslims a superior position, some Jewish circles in Medina, putting aside their contracts of peace with Muslims, challenged them to fight; the purpose being to prove their superiority and regain control over Medina. (Sunan abi-Dawud, Kitab al-Khiraj, Bab Kaifa kana ikhraju l-yahud [How the Jews were expelled]; Ibn Hisham)

This, alongside similar factors, led to unrest with the Banu Qainqua and the subsequent war with them, making them the first Jewish tribe to breach the peace treaty signed with the Muslims. (Ibn Sa’d)

We must remind readers here that all tribes of Medina, including Jewish ones, had agreed to the position of the Holy Prophetsa as their arbitrator and a de facto ruler of the State of Medina. The uprising of Banu Qainqua, and those of other Jewish tribes later on, were treated as treason against the state and not a result of religious or theological disagreement with the Jews. The same applies to individuals like Asma bint Marwan and Ka’b ibn Ashraf, who were penalised not for their belief but for instigating rebellion against the State. (Details: Bukhari in qatl Ka’b bin Ashraf and Abu Daud, kitab al-khiraj)

Due to the propaganda of certain radical Islamic circles, the killing of the aforementioned members is boldly presented as a precedent for killing anyone who commits blasphemy against the Holy Prophetsa. Anti-Islam propagandists have taken advantage of this misinterpreted and misrepresented stance of Muslims to use it against Islam. However, the fact of the matter lies in the involvement of both individuals committing treason and instigating rebellion against the state and not in blasphemy; nor does it suggest Islam as having antisemitic tendencies.

The events leading up to the war with Banu Nadhir (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Nadhir) and Banu Quraydha reveal how the Quraysh of Mecca had invited them to form an alliance against the State of Medina and both had fallen prey. Both battles were fought with the Jewish tribes in the face of a rebellion against the state and for breaches of peace treaties by both, respectively. 

While one could choose to argue, as many orientalists have, whether the treatment forwarded to the Jewish tribes was justified or how it was executed for that matter, the fact remains unanimously agreed amongst historians, Muslim or otherwise, that the aforementioned Jewish tribes were penalised by the Holy Prophetsa for breaching contracts with the state and for instigating rebellion against it. 

We conclude this section by emphasising, yet again, that the Holy Quran clearly assigns and reserves chastisement for matters of religious belief, or disbelief, for Allah in the Hereafter. However, in matters of state affairs, the Holy Prophetsa was instructed to reprimand those who conspired against the state – just as any state or its judicial system, even in the modern-day world, rightfully would.

This distinction is important to understand that Islam does not preach hate or violence against any religion or faith for their belief or even disbelief – Jews being no exception.

Jews in Islamic eschatology

Once this fact is established that the matter of anyone’s belief is with Allah and he alone reserves the right to punish or forgive in such matters, it becomes easier to dismantle the antisemitism associated with Islam in light of some ahadith of eschatological nature. 

To avoid making the issue more complex instead of simplifying it, we take only two examples of such ahadith:

  1. The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him. (Sahih Muslim, 2922, Book 54, Hadith 6985 [ accessed on 26/10/2023])
  2. The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him. (Sahih al-Bukhari, 2926, Book 56, Hadith 139 [ accessed on 26/10/2023])

The reason I chose to give both ahadith of the same meaning separately is to highlight the allegorical nature of ahadith that deal with eschatological issues. Although the subject matter remains to be Muslims fighting Jews, the former has the tree tipping off the Jew hiding behind it in human language; the latter, a stone.

This tree/stone revealing a secret cannot be through inanimate objects communicating through human linguistic modes and can be seen as a reference to sophisticated weapons or surveillance technology.

The Jew hiding from Muslim attackers is better understood as a symbol of nations or individuals who betrayed the Holy Prophetsa in the early days of Islam. These could be any people from any belief system, or, as the modern-world decorum suggests, could be people with no religious faith at all and standing in the way of the establishment of Allah’s kingdom on earth. 

However, no one can say how the interpretation would transpire in the times to come, and only Allah knows best. But we know, as discussed above in detail, that there could be any basis for the conflict, but not any form of antisemitism based on the Holy Quran, as the Holy Quran does not incite violence against any religion merely on matters of faith and belief.

To conclude, we emphasise that just as the conflicts with Jews in early Islam were of a purely political nature, the same remains today in various geopolitical settings. There are examples of Muslims and Jews coexisting in many societies. What we witness today in the case of the Palestine-Israel conflict,  is not necessarily a Muslim-Jew conflict, but rather an Arab-Zionist combat where the former would be a clash on religious beliefs, the latter on geopolitical struggle.

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