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Monday, April 2, 2012

The Qur’an about Jews (3,4)


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Antisemitism in the Qur’an, Part 3



Koran, 9th century AD

Antisemitism in the Qur’an: Motifs and Historical Manifestations

Part 3


by Andrew G. Bostom

The Mongol conquest of Baghdad in 1258 under Hulagu Khan (d. 1265) destroyed Muslim suzerainty and the domination of Islam as a state religion, rendering it “…a religion among all others”. [120] Mongol rule thus eliminated the system of dhimmitude, and in contrast to Islamic chauvinism, writes Walter Fischel, [121]

…the principle of tolerance for all faiths, maintained by the Il Khans [Mongol rulers], (depriving) the [Islamic] concept of the “Protected People”, the ahl adh-Dhimma [dhimmi system]…of its former importance; with it fell the extremely varied professional restrictions into which it had expanded, …primarily those regarding the admission of Jews and Christians to government posts.

The 13th century Christian chronicler Bar Hebraeus recorded this telling observation: [122]

With the Mongols there is neither slave nor free man, neither believer nor pagan, neither Christian nor Jew; but they regard all men as belonging to one and the same stock.

And the Iraqi Ghazi b. al-Wasiti (fl. 1292), author of a contemporary Muslim treatise on the dhimmis, noted: [123]

A firman of the Il Khan [Hulagu] had appeared to the effect that everyone should have the right to profane his faith openly and his religious connection; and that the members of one religious body should not oppose those of another

Fischel concludes: [124]

For Christians and Jews, the two groups chiefly affected by the ahl adh-Dhimma policy, current until then, this change in constitutional and religious principles implied a considerable amelioration of their position; whereas for the Muslims it meant they had sunk to a depth hitherto unknown in their history.

The brief rise and calamitous fall of Sa‘d ad-Daula — which mirrored the experience of his Jewish co-religionists — took place during this Mongol epoch. Sa‘d ad-Daula was a Jewish physician, who successfully reformed the Mongol revenue and taxation system for Iraq. In recognition of these services, he was appointed by the Mongol emperor Arghun (who reigned from 1284-1291) to the position of administrative Vizier (in 1289) over Arghun’s Empire. According to Bar Hebraeus, [125]

The king of kings [Arghun] ordered that Sa’d ad-Daula, the Jew, hitherto the Governor of Baghdad, should be appointed Chief of the administrative officials throughout all provinces of the Empire.

Despite being a successful and responsible administrator (which even the Muslim sources confirm [126]), the appointment of a Jew as the Vizier of a heathen ruler over a predominantly Muslim region, aroused the wrath, predictably, of the Muslim masses. This reaction was expressed through and exacerbated by “…all kinds of [Muslim] diatribes, satirical poems, and libels”. [127] Ibn al-Fuwati (d. 1323), a contemporary Muslim historian from Baghdad, recorded this particularly revealing example which emphasized traditional anti-Jewish motifs from the Qur’an: [128]

In the year 689/1291 a document was prepared which contained libels against Sa’d ad-Daula, together with verses from the Qur’an and the history of the prophets, that stated the Jews to be a people whom Allah hath debased…

Another contemporary Muslim source, the chronicler and poet Wassaf, [129] according to Fischel, “…empties the vials of hatred on the Jew Sa‘d ad-Daula and brings the most implausible accusations against him”. [130] These accusations included the claims that Sa‘d had advised Arghun to cut down trees in Baghdad (dating from the days of the conquered Muslim Abbasid dynasty), and build a fleet to attack Mecca and convert the cuboidal Ka‘ba (i.e., the holiest place and structure in Islam) to a heathen temple. [131] Wassaf’s account also quotes satirical verses to demonstrate the extent of public dissatisfaction with what he terms “Jewish Domination”, adding to the existing line, “Turn Jews, for heaven itself hath turned a Jew”, his own, [132]

Yet wait and ye shall hear their torments cry And see them fall and perish presently

When Arghun took ill, influential Mongol dukes inimical to Sa‘d ad-Daula for purely political reasons, shifted the “blame” for Arghun’s terminal illness to the Jewish physician-Vizier. Sa‘d and his supporters were arrested and a large number of them executed (1291). [133] Sa‘d ad-Daula’s murder precipitated a broad attack on Jewry throughout the Il-Khan Empire, beginning in the Baghdad Jewish ghetto, where according to the Bar Hebraeus and Wassaf, despite Jewish resistance,

…when the report of the murder of the Jew was heard, the Arabs armed themselves and went to the quarter of the Jews, because the Jews were all living together in quarter [134]…in Baghdad more than a hundred of the noble and wealthy Jews were slain, and their property plundered [135]

Wassaf and Ibn al-Fuwati further reveal that such attacks spread well beyond Baghdad: [136]

Throughout the lands of Islam, the Jewish people were oppressed and their goods plundered…there was no town left in Iraq in which the Jews were not served with that which had happened to them in Baghdad, until a part of them embraced Islam, although they later turned back again.

Bar Hebraeus was moved to depict the calamity for the Jews in these poignant words: [137]

The trials and wrath which were stirred up against the Jews at this time neither tongue can utter nor the pen write down.

Walter Fischel concludes [138] that “a tremendous wave of suffering and persecution must have overwhelmed the entire Jewry of Iraq and Persia”, while noting “The Muslims, however, gave expression to their joy at the end of Jewish domination in many verses filled with enmity against the Jews”. One such celebratory verse by the poet Zaynu’d-Din Ali b. Sa’id reiterated antisemitic Qur’anic motifs of the Jews as “wretched dupes of error and despair”, “foulest race”, “hatefulest”, dispatched to “hell” in “molten torments”, doomed “without reprieve”, and leaving behind “How many did they leave!” — gardens and fountains (Qur’an 44:25): [139]

Throughout the lands they’re shamed and desolate. God hath dispersed their dominant accord, And they are melted by the burnished sword.

Grim captains made them drink Death’s cup of ill,
Until their skulls the blood-bathed streets did fill,
And from their dwellings seized the wealth they’d gained,
And their well-guarded women’s rooms profaned.
O wretched dupes of error and despair,
At length the trap hath caught you in its snare!

O foulest race who e’er on earth did thrive
And hatefulest of those who still survive

God sped the soul of him who was their chief
To hell, whose mirk [murk] is despair and grief.
In molten torments they were prisoned,
In trailing chains they to their doom were led.
Take warning from this doom without reprieve;
Recite the verse [44:25] [140]: “How many did they leave!”

The Jewish vizier in Fez, Morocco from 1464-1465, Haroun ben Battas, and his co-religionist community, became victims of the same stereotyped anti-dhimmi and anti-Jewish Muslim prejudices [141] displayed earlier in Granada (1066) and Baghdad (1290/91). A contemporary travelogue by the Egyptian author and merchant, ‘Abd el-Basit, who was studying in Tlemcen at the time, gives the following account of the rationale for Haroun’s appointment to vizier by Sultan ‘Abd el-Haq ben Abu Said: [142]

‘Abd el-Haq kept him [the Jew, Haroun] very close to him, and made him his confidant, until the whole kingdom was given into his hand. He trusted him because he thought it impossible that the Jew (as a non-Muslim) would exceed his authority, as ‘Abd el-Haq understood it.

‘Abd el-Basit’s narrative maintains that Haroun used his position to enhance the fortunes of the Jewish elites (“In his days the Jews of Fez and its districts became great; they were influential and important…”), and in additional clear violations of the dhimma, rode a mount (“In the presence of his master, he rode horses marked with the vizerial seal”), and carried a sword with a Qur’anic inscription (“And that Jew wore a sword on an iron belt engraved with the verse al-kursi [2:255]”) [143]

Haroun’s tragic fate, and that of the Jewish community of Fez, were sealed by the following course of events. The preacher of Fez’s main mosque (the Kairouanian mosque), Sayyidi Abu ‘Abdallah Muhammad, was already well-known for his anti-Jewish diatribes. Upon learning of Haroun’s comportment, and the alleged insult of a Sharif [tribal protector] [144] by one of Haroun’s deputies, he incited the local Muslim population with cries of “Jihad” [Holy War], as described by ‘Abd el-Basit: [145]

He and the Muslims were greatly vexed because of the Jews, their influence and their control over the Muslims. In his sermon on Friday at the Great Jami of Fez, named Jamic al-Qarawiyyin, he always preached about the Jews and also dared to incite the people: perhaps they would rise up because of this for Allah’s sake and revolt. And the matter became known, and he became famous because of this. And when the insult to the sharifa occurred, he dedicated his soul to Allah, left his house and loudly proclaimed in the streets and alleys of Fez: He who will not go forth for the sake of Allah has no muruwwa [Bedouin chivalry] and no religion! And he went on to shout: Jihad, Jihad! He also ordered others to issue this call in the streets of Fez, and the people heard it, and presently revolted with him. They were joined by the great multitude from “all the low places” [Qur’an 22: 27] in Fez…

The aroused Muslim throng sought religious sanction from one of Fez’s most esteemed Sharifs. However, he refused to support their rebellion without receiving a (consensus) fatwa from the ‘Ulema (clerical authorities), since the Sultan was directly implicated. In their appeal to the esteemed chief mufti of Fez, Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad al-Qauri, the Muslims, led by Sayyidi Abu ‘Abdallah Muhammad, argued that the Jews had violated the dhimma. The chief mufti claimed he could not support their revolt because he was fearful of the Sultan and his coterie. But the inflamed crowd ultimately compelled the chief mufti to countenance their actions after threatening the mufti’s reputation, and his very life. Under duress, the chief mufti issued a fatwa making it licit to attack the Jews, and revolt against the Sultan. Thereupon, the Muslim rabble attacked the Jewish quarter in Fez, slaughtering its inhabitants. ‘Abd el-Basit’s account describes these events approvingly: [146]

…they [the Muslim rabble] took him [Sayyidi Abu ‘Abdallah Muhammad] and began to stream to the house of the sheriff Muhmammad ibn ‘Imran, who was mazwar (in charge) of the shurafa in Fez…But he, in spite of his status, personal authority and great energy, when the preacher [Sayyidi Abu ‘Abdallah Muhammad] came in to him and tried to stir him up (against the Jews), did not respond, contending that it was improper for him to revolt while there were theologians in Fez who had not yet been asked for an opinion in the matter. They (the crowd) hastened to the theologians and assembled them, including the greatest of them at that time, the scholar and mufti…Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad al-Qauri. He and the other assembled persons were brought to the house of the sayyid the sherif. The preacher [Sayyidi Abu ‘Abdallah Muhammad] hastened to say to them: “Go forth with us to the Jihad; fight for the renewal of Islam!” The crowd repeated his words and said: “If you will not fight together with us, you will be the first whom we shall fight; for you, shurafa and theologians, are content to be ruled by Jews.” Then they shouted again: “Jihad, Jihad!”, meaning to incite them nearby. They demanded of al-Qauri that he give a theological opinion, but he refused to do so, claiming that he was afraid of the authorities. They continued to prod him, after preparing a written question on the incident and on what that Jew [Haroun] and the Jews had done, saying that it constituted a violation of the Covenant [dhimma], and even more than that. They drew their swords and called out to al-Qauri: “We, too, have authority and power. We have risen up for Allah’s sake and pledged our lives. This is the question which we ask you to answer according to the law of Allah, blessed be he. If you will not do so, we shall let the world do without you, for you are a theologian who does not act in conformity with his theology”. They added other things in the same vein. And they gave him no rest until he wrote with his own hand a permit to kill the Jews, and another permit to revolt…even against the sultan. When he had finished writing, they hastened to the hara (the Jewish quarter) and wielded their swords against the Jews, killing as many of them as Allah wanted them to kill; they did not omit even one until they killed the last, so as to clear the quarter of them. This was a glorious day in Fez and a great slaughter. A numerous Jewish community was killed on that day. Afterwards they [the Muslim rabble] turned to the palace of the government, devastated it and killed the Jew who was in it, namely the deputy of the vizier.

Shortly afterwards, the same fate was suffered by Haroun and the Sultan. And in turn, the Jews of smaller communities outside Fez were also massacred, as noted again with satisfaction, by ‘Abd el-Basit: [147]

Thereafter the people of the cities distant from Fez learnt of these events. They rose up against the Jews of the cities and did to them what the people of Fez had done to their Jews. The Jews were thus befallen by a calamity the like of which had never occurred before [148]; as many of them as Allah — blessed be he — decreed were killed.

The Hebrew chronicles Kisseh ha-Melakhim [149] and Yahas Fes (“Only twenty heads of family and a small number of women and children escaped death.” [150]) confirm that few Jews survived this Muslim jihad in Fez. Jane Gerber’s discussion of the 1465 Fez pogrom concludes with an understated assessment: [151]

…the rise to prominence of a Jewish vizir or emissary should not [emphasis in original] be construed as evidence of Jewish security or acceptance in a given historical period. As Haroun’s demise so dramatically illustrates, the rise of a Jew to an important governmental post was symptomatic of the complete alienation of the Marinids [ruling Moroccan Muslim dynasty] from their subjects rather than of Jewish acceptance on the basis of equality.

Within a quarter century (~ 1490), anti-Jewish agitation by one of the most prominent Sheikhs of the era, al-Maghili (d. 1504/5), precipitated the wholesale slaughter of Jews in the southern Moroccan oasis of Touat. [152] Al-Maghili’s determination of the Jews’ status was summarized concisely by his 16th century biographer, Ibn ‘Askar (d. 1578): [153]

He held the view that the Jews — may God curse them — had no bond [of protection (dhimma)], since they had broken it by their association with men of authority among the Muslims, [an action] which went contrary to the humiliation and abasement (al-dhull wa’l-saghar) stipulated in the payment of jizya, and that the breaking of this pact by some of them redounded upon all of them. He declared it licit to spill their blood, and plunder their property and announced that dealing with them was more important than dealing with any other [category] of unbelievers. [154]

Al-Maghili’s own writings emphasized that the Jews of Touat made their tribute payments irregularly, and in varying amounts. He argued that such payments were tantamount to bribery and not valid jizya remitted annually during a deliberately humiliating public ceremony. [155] Al-Maghili further insisted that the Jews had no right to maintain their synagogue in (neighboring) Tamantit (i.e., where the Jews of Touat’s synagogue was located). He claimed the synagogue was constructed illegally on Muslim land, and its continued existence violated the Qur’anic principle of the Jews’ deserving abasement and humiliation. [156]

Hunwick has provided a succinct elucidation of al-Maghili’s legal arguments. He also acknowledges that al-Maghili’s treatise on the dhimmis (i.e., Jews) read like an “inflammatory sermon”. And when al-Maghili preached these views to the Muslims masses, he fomented violence against the Jews: [157]

Any Muslim who befriended a Jew or came to his defense, or opposed the destruction of the synagogue was to be considered an unbeliever. Dhimmis must be kept in a permanent state of abasement (saghar). This why jizya must be paid in a public ceremony in which the dhimmi at the moment of payment is given a tap on the neck and pushed forward to show him he has thus escaped the sword. This abasement is more important than the sum paid. No religious edifice may be erected by a dhimmi in the land of Islam and if any governor gave permission for one, this permission must be revoked and the building torn down. This is because the manifestation of the dhimmi’s religion in the form of a building is a contradiction of the concept of abasement. The same argument applies to the association of dhimmis with sultans, viziers, judges and other persons in authority. This is a “flouting of the laws of Islam”, since it is a negation of the abasement which is stipulated for the continued dwelling of a dhimmi in the lands of Islam. The situation he is condemning here is not only that which he would claim was current in Touat, but also by implication that which obtained in Fez, Tlemcen, and other North African cities.

The bulk of the populace, poor and ignorant, could be aroused to violence against the Jewish community by making these “outsiders” the scapegoat for all their ills. It only needed a preacher who could appeal to the masses by an appeal for the defense of “religion” to spark off a wave of looting and killing. Al-Maghili, by his preaching, his polemical prose and his verse diatribes was just such a catalyst.

Al-Maghili recounted stridently antisemitic “vignettes” portraying Jewish malevolence such as these anecdotes about Jewesses preparing bread for Muslim consumption: [158]

A person told me that he saw a Jewess mixing bread flour for a Muslim. He observed that she was picking her nose with her hand and continuing to mix the flour without washing her hand. A second person also told me that he saw another Jewess mixing bread flour for a Muslim. He saw her picking lice from her head and killing them with her nails and continuing mixing the flour without washing her hands. There are many stories of this nature. None can suspect the credibility of [stories such as] these and worse than these, except one who is blind to reality. Do you not see what Allah the Most High has said?

But al-Maghili’s anti-Jewish views are perhaps best encapsulated in a verse diatribe he composed: [158a]

Love of the Prophet requires hatred of the Jews. Regret what has passed and do not do it again. The one who is intimate with the enemies of the Prophet [i.e., the Jews], when he goes to the grave and on the day of Resurrection will be directed to the burning fire. Who will there be to rescue him when the Fire approaches the face with which he pleased the Jews?

He added, [158b]

They [the Jews] are indeed the most hostile people against us and against our beloved Prophet… they criticize our religion, mock our prayers and insult our master and savior Muhammad

Gwarzo observes: [159]

He [al-Maghili] was not so much concerned about the Jews, who although numerous, were still a minority. They would be at his mercy as long as he had the support of the public.

He succeeded in showing the masses that the issue was of either loving the Prophet or loving the Jews; Muslims must choose one of the two — they should choose between going to Paradise or going to Hell. The choice of the masses was obvious — they must certainly love the Prophet rather than the Jews; they would certainly prefer Paradise to Hell. His following became great and he succeeded in creating ferment in the territories.

Mobilizing this popular support, al-Maghili led a pogrom during which the Jews of Touat were massacred, and their synagogue in neighboring Tamantit destroyed. It was indeed, “…a short step from considering the Jews ‘enemies of the Prophet’ to considering them enemies of the umma [Muslim community] at large…” [159a]

The 20th century flowering of the Zionist movement and subsequent creation of Israel — a sovereign state administered by Jews liberated from the system of dhimmitude, adjacent to the very cradle of Arab Islam — has been accompanied, not surprisingly, by an outpouring of traditional Islamic antisemitism. Raphael Israeli observes that this “unbearable challenge” to the sacralized Islamic order has created a “vicious circle” of Islamic antisemitism and anti-Zionism. [160]

The ingathering of the Jews into modern Israel constitutes from this traditional Muslim viewpoint, which is still upheld by Muslim scholars of the Holy Law, and probably by many of their Muslim constituencies, an unbearable challenge to the authority of the Muslim faith

Jews were debased and humiliated in the first place; Zionism is marked by the derogatory traits that are characteristic of Jews; and in turn Zionism and Israel further debase the Jews by their inherent inhuman attitudes. Israeli politics, society and culture are all imbued with the evils that the Jews have transmitted from one generation to another…so the vicious cycle is complete

Even the pejorative image of “violent” Jews as the “new Mongols” — coined in the early 1980s by a burgeoning Islamic fundamentalist movement [161] — evokes an ironic historical association uncomfortable for Muslims: the fact that the Mongol Emperor Hulagu (as noted earlier [162]) also overturned the system of dhimmitude after his armies captured Baghdad in 1258, destroying the Abbasid Caliphate.

The past five decades — including a period before “The 1967 Shock” and Israel’s “demeaning of the abode of Islam” (Dar al Islam) [163] — have witnessed ceaseless calls by Islamic religious, political, and intellectual leaders — for a forcible return to the permanent state of “wretchedness and humiliation” enjoined for the Jews in Qur’an 2:61, and 3:112. Writing in 1962, Ahmad Yusuf Ahmad warned that despite assistance from Western powers, [164]

…they will not on any account be able to exempt them [the Jews] from the divine injunction and decree that they shall have no rest or permanency or tranquility, they will be chastised with degradation and poverty and be visited by the wrath of God.

Two years later, Abdullah al-Tall further dismissed the Jews’ attempts at self-reliance in the face of Allah’s unavoidable decree. [165]

Despite all their efforts to appear as possessors of power and the capacity to resist, the word of God is supreme and the Qur’an records the views of heaven, the will of the heaven and its verdict.

The Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research convened in Cairo in the fall of 1968 to discuss the theological significance of the Middle East conflict. Sheikh Hassan Ma’moun, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, in his inaugural address to the Conference, acknowledged the “bitterness” of the 1967 Arab defeat by Israel, [166]

…was further intensified by the fact that the unexpected event occurred before a roguish Zionism whose adherents had been destined to dispersion by the Deity. [Quoting Qur’an 2:61] “And humiliation and wretchedness were stamped upon them and they were visited with wrath from God”

The lengthiest single Conference paper (all of which were compiled in a 935 page tome [167]), a 158 page analysis by Muhammad El-Sayyed Husein al-Dahabi entitled “Israelite Narratives in Exegesis and Tradition”, invoked a Qur’anic commentary by Tabari, to sanction the Jews permanent abasement: [168]

Then he [Tabari] added, They killed their Prophet. Thereupon, God smote them with humiliation took away kingship from them. Thus, they became the most lowly and degraded amongst nations, having to pay tribute and yielding to the authority of foreign kings. In such a plight will they ever remain

And four years later (April 25, 1972) in a speech celebrating the birthday of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat warned that “…they [the Jews] shall return and be as the Qur’an said of them ‘condemned to humiliation and misery’ ” [169] — a year before Egypt’s surprise attack during Yom Kippur started the 1973 war with Israel.

The “return” being invoked in all these pronouncements is a return to the Islamic Shari’a-based system of dhimmitude for Jews, and a dissolution of the sovereign state of Israel. Although written in the pseudo-secular [170] language of Arab nationalism, the 1968 Palestinian Liberation Organization Charter’s call for Jews to live “…under the aegis of an Arab state in the framework of Arab society” [171], has been termed aptly, “The Palestinian Dhimma”. [172] Indeed, the theological-juridical antecedent of this Palestinian Dhimma dates back to 1920: a formal request by Musa Kazem el-Husseini (then President of the Arab Palestinian Congress) to the British High Commissioner, Herbert Samuels to restore the Shari’a, [173] which had only been fully abrogated two years earlier when Britain ended four centuries of Ottoman Muslim rule of Palestine. Moreover, in recent years, this goal has been reaffirmed openly by official Palestinian Authority clerics. For example, Sheik Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Madhi during a Friday sermon broadcasted live on June 6, 2001 on Palestinian Authority Television from the Sheik ‘Ijlin Mosque in Gaza, stated: [174]

We welcome, as we did in the past, any Jew who wants to live in this land as a Dhimmi, just as the Jews have lived in our countries, as Dhimmis, and have earned appreciation, and some of them have even reached the positions of counselor or minister here and there. We welcome the Jews to live as Dhimmis, but the rule in this land and in all the Muslim countries must be the rule of Allah.

Subsequently, during an interview by Wall Street Journal reporter Karby Legget (published in the December 23, 2005 edition of The Wall Street Journal, p. A1), Hassam El-Masalmeh, who then headed the Hamas contingent at the municipal council of Bethlehem, confirmed his organization’s plan to re-institute the jizya. El-Masalmeh stated:

We in Hamas intend to implement this tax (i.e., the jizya) someday. We say it openly — we welcome everyone to Palestine but only if they agree to live under our rules.

To be continued…

Notes:

120. Walter Fischel. Jews in the Economic and Political Life of Medieval Islam, London, 1937, p.91.
 
121. Ibid., p. 91
 
122. Bar Hebraeus. The Chronography of Bar Hebraeus. Translated by E.A.W. Budge, London, 1932, p. 490.
 
123. Ghazi b. al-Wasiti. “An Answer to the Dhimmis”, English translation by Richard Gottheil. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1921, Vol. 41, p. 449
 
124. Fischel. Jews in the Economic and Political Life of Medieval Islam pp.91-92.
 
125. Bar Hebraeus, The Chronography, p. 484
 
126. Fischel, Jews in the Economic and Political Life of Medieval Islam, p.108
 
127. Ibid., p. 110
 
128. Cited in Ibid., p. 110
 
129. P. Jackson. “Wassaf — The court panegyrist”. Encyclopedia of Islam. Edited by P. Bearman, Th. Biaqnquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, and W.P. Heinrichs, Brill, 2006, Brill Online.
 
130. Fischel, Jews in the Economic and Political Life of Medieval Islam, p. 111
 
131. Ibid., p. 111
 
132. Cited in Ibid., p. 111
 
133. Ibid., pp. 112, 114
 
134. Bar Hebraeus, The Chronography, p. 491
 
135. Cited in Fischel, Jews in the Economic and Political Life of Medieval Islam, p. 116.
 
136. Cited in Ibid. p. 117
 
137. Bar Hebraeus, The Chronography, p. 491
 
138. Fischel, Jews in the Economic and Political Life of Medieval Islam, p. 117, and note 5, p. 117
 
139. E.G. Browne. A Literary History of Persia [electronic resource], with a new introduction by J.T.P. de Bruijn , Bethesda, 1997, Vol. 3, pp. 35-36
 
140. Qur’an 44:25 — “They left how many gardens and fountains,”
 
141. H.Z. Hirschberg. A History of the Jews of North Africa. Leiden, Netherlands, 1974, Vol. 1, pp. 392-399; Jane S. Gerber. Jewish Society in Fez. 1450-1700. Leiden, Netherlands, 1980, pp. 20-21.
 
142. Hirschberg. A History of the Jews of North Africa, p. 395.
 
143. Ibid., p. 395.
 
144. Sunni Muslims in the Arab world tended to reserve the terms “sharif” for descendants of Hassan (son of Caliph Ali ibn Ali Talibi), and “sayyid” for descendants of Husayn (also a son of Caliph Ali ibn Ali Talibi, and revered as the third imam by most Shi’a Muslims)
 
145. Hirschberg. A History of the Jews of North Africa, pp. 395-396.
 
146. Ibid., pp. 396-397.
 
147. Ibid., p. 398.
 
148. Unfortunately, ‘Abd el-Basit was wrong. Some 6000 (six thousand) Jews were slaughtered in the Jewish quarter of Fez in 1032/33 during the ravages led by a Berber sheikh. (see Edmond Fagnan, “Le Signe Distinctif des Juifs Au Maghreb”, Revue Etudes Juifs, 1894, Vol. 48, p.297; Salo W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, New York, 1957, Vol. 3, p. 108; and Hirschberg. A History of the Jews of North Africa, p. 108)
 
149. Gerber. Jewish Society in Fez, p. 21
 
150. Y.D. Semach. “Une Chronique Juive De Fes: Le “Yahas Fes” De Ribbi Abner Hassarfaty”, Hesperis, 1934, Vol. 19 (1-2), pp. 91-93. English translation by Susan Emanuel.
 
151. Gerber. Jewish Society in Fez, p. 21.
 
152. Hirschberg. A History of the Jews of North Africa, p. 402; Gerber. Jewish Society in Fez, p. 18; John O. Hunwick. “Al-Maghili and the Jews of Tuwat: the Demise of a Community” Studia Islamica, 1985, Vol. 61, pp. 155-183.
 
153. G. Deverdun. “Ibn ‘Askar”. Encyclopedia of Islam. Edited by P. Bearman, Th. Biaqnquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, and W.P. Heinrichs, Brill, 2006, Brill Online.
 
154. Ibn ‘Askar. Dawhat al-nashir li-mahasin man kana bi ‘l-maghrib min mashayikh al-qarn al-‘ashir. Fez, 1891/2, p. 95. English translation in Hunwick, “Al-Maghili and the Jews of Tuwat”, p. 161.
 
155. Vajda. “Un Traite Maghrebin ‘Adversos Judaeos”, p. 811. English translation by Michael J. Miller.
 
156. Hunwick, “Al-Maghili and the Jews of Tuwat”, pp. 173-174 and 162. On pp. 173-74, Hunwick summarizes the opinion of one of at least two major contemporary Moroccan jurists who supported al-Maghili’s views, al Tanasi (d. 1494):

As part of his case al-Tanasi quoted a ruling in Tunis by the jurist ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-‘Abdusi (d. 1434) that there could be neither building nor repair of religious edifices in the land of the Muslims (bilad al-muslimin). Should dhimmis subsequently build a place of worship after being forbidden to do so, this would constitute an abrogation of the pact [dhimma], making it lawful to enslave their women and children and seize their property.
 
157. Ibid., pp. 176-177; 165-166.
 
158. H. I. Gwarzo. “The Life and Teachings of al-Maghili with Particular Reference to the Saharan Jewish Community”, unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of London, 1972 (Microfilm copy, 1985), p. 136.
 
158a. Ibid., p. 134.
 
158b. Ibid., p. 137.
 
159. Ibid., pp. 49-50. Gwarzo further notes (p. 261.) that the Muslim rank and file afforded Al-Maghili, “…respect, reverence, and blind loyalty…”
 
159a. Hunwick, “Al-Maghili and the Jews of Tuwat”, p. 183.
 
160. Raphael Israeli. “Anti-Jewish Attitudes in the Arabic Media, 1975 — 1981”, in Robert Wistrich, Editor, Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism in the Contemporary World. New York, 1990, pp. 103, 112.
 
161. Emmanuel Sivan. “Islamic Fundamentalism, Antisemitism, and Anti-Zionism”, in Robert Wistrich, Editor, Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism in the Contemporary World. New York, 1990, p. 82
 
162. See discussion in text associated with notes 120 and 121, above, from Walter Fischel. Jews in the Economic and Political Life of Medieval Islam, London, 1937, p.91.
 
163. Sivan. “Islamic Fundamentalism, Antisemitism, and Anti-Zionism”, pp. 77-78.
 
164. Ahmad Yusuf Ahmad. Al-Sh’b al-Dalil Isra’il (Israel — the Misled People), Cairo, 1962, p. 78. Cited in Y. Harkabi. Arab Attitudes to Israel. Jerusalem, Israel, 1972, Translated by Misha Louvish, p. 92.
 
165. ‘Abdallah al-Tall. Khatr al-Yahudiyya al-‘Alamiyya ‘Ala al-Islam wa-al-Mashiyya. (The Danger of World Jewry to Islam and Christianity). Cairo, 1964, p. 65. Cited in Y. Harkabi. Arab Attitudes to Israel., p, 92.
 
166. D.F. Green. [“D.F. Green” is a compound pseudonym for David Littman and Y. Harkabi] Arab Theologians on Jews and Israel. Extracts from the Proceedings of the Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research. Geneva, 1976, p. 15.
 
167. The fourth conference of the Academy of Islamic Research, Rajab 1388, September 1968. Cairo, General Organization for Government Printing Offices, 1970, 935 pp.
 
168. D.F. Green. Arab Theologians on Jews and Israel, .p. 70.
 
169. Ibid., p. 91
 
170. Sylvia Haim. “Islam and the Theory of Arab Nationalism” Die Welt Des Islams, 1955, Vol. 2, pp. 124-149. See especially her conclusion on, p. 149:

Another feature of the modern doctrine which fits in with the Muslim past is the emphasis which both of them lay on communal solidarity, discipline and cooperation. The umma in Islam is a solidary entity, and its foremost duty is to answer the call of the jihad. [emphasis added}This brings us to the third feature which both modern and ancient systems have in common, to wit the glorification of one’s own group. The traditional attitude of the Muslims to the outside world is one of superiority, and the distinction between the Dar al-harb, Dar al-Islam, and Dar as-sulh, is an ever present one in the mind of the Muslim jurist. It may therefore be said in conclusion of this modern doctrine of nationalism, that although it introduces into Islam features which may not accord with strict orthodoxy, it is the least incompatible perhaps of modern European doctrines with the political thought and political experience of Sunni Islam. [emphasis added]

Also from Sylvia Haim, Arab Nationalism — An Anthology, Berkeley, California, 1962, pp. 63-64, Haim quotes the founder of the Arab Nationalist Ba’ath Party, Michel Aflaq:

Muhammad was the epitome of all the Arabs, so let all the Arabs today be Muhammad…Islam was an Arab movement and its meaning was the renewal of Arabism and its maturity…[even] Arab Christians will recognize that Islam constitutes for them a national culture in which they must immerse themselves so that they may understand and love it, and so that they may preserve Islam as they would preserve the most precious element in their Arabism.

Haim concludes (p. 164), “ For Aflaq, Islam is [emphasis in original] Arab nationalism…”
 
171. Official English translation in Zuhair Diab, editor, International Documents on Palestine, 1968, Beirut, 1971. Cited in Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi, p. 390.
 
172. Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi, p. 390.
 
173. Musa Kazem el-Husseini, (President Palestinian Arab Congress), to High Commissioner for Palestine, December 10, 1920 (Translated January 2, 1921), Israel State Archives, R.G. 2, Box 10, File 244.
 
174. “A Friday Sermon on PA TV: … We Must Educate our Children on the Love of Jihad…” July 11, 2001, Middle East Media Research Institute, Special Dispatch #240. http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP24001
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Sunday, April 01, 2012

Antisemitism in the Qur’an, Part 4


Antisemitism in the Qur’an: Motifs and Historical Manifestations

Part 4


by Andrew G. Bostom

All of historical Palestine—modern Israel (within the 1949 armistice borders), Gaza, Judea, Samaria, and modern Jordan—whose pre-Islamic inhabitants—Jews, Samaritans, and Christians—were conquered by jihad in the fourth decade of the 7th century [175]—is considered “fay territory” [176], a permanent part of the Dar al Islam, where Islamic Law must forever prevail. Israel, governed by “usurper” infidel Jews on such “fay territory”—no longer an appropriately subjugated dhimmi (Qur’an 9:29) people living, additionally, as per Qur’an 2:61, in “wretchedness and humiliation”—must be destroyed in a collective jihad by the entire Muslim community.

Accordingly, there have been unceasing cries for jihad in historical Palestine during the modern era, in the 1920s and 1930s by Hajj Amin El Husseini [177] and Izz Al-Din al Qassam [178], by the late Yasser Arafat throughout his 40-years as leader of Fatah and the Palestinian Liberation Organization [179], and presently under Hamas. [180]

Hamas’s foundational covenant [181], whose motto states (in Article 8) “Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model to be followed, the Koran its constitution, Jihad its way, and death for the sake of Allah its loftiest desire”, reiterates (in Article 11) that all of historical Palestine is a permanent Islamic religious endowment [waqf] (“In this respect, it is like any other land that the Muslims have conquered by force, because the Muslims consecrated it at the time of the conquest as religious endowment for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection”). The Hamas Covenant also (in Article 13) rejects “so-called peace solutions”, and insists (in Article 15) upon waging an annihilationist jihad to eradicate Israel, even invoking the apocalyptic hadith (in Article 7) from the canonical collections of Bukhari and Muslim, [182]

The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: “Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,” except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews.

Throughout Arafat’s tenure as the major Palestinian Arab leader, and now under the Hamas government, efforts to destroy Israel and replace it with an Arab Muslim Shari’a-based entity were integrated into the larger Islamic umma’s jihad against the Jewish State, as declared repeatedly in official conference pronouncements from various clerical or political organizations of the Muslim (both Arab and non-Arab) nations, and in the individual statements of influential Muslim religious leaders. Concrete examples spanning the years from 1968—2006, are provided below:

From the Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research, Cairo, 1968 presentation by Sheikh Hassan Khalid, Mufti of the Republic of Lebanon—[183]

Your honorable conference has been an Arab, Islamic and patriotic necessity in view of the present circumstances in which the Arabs and Muslims face the most serious difficulties. All Muslims expect you to expound Allah’s decree concerning the Palestine cause, to proclaim that decree, in all clarity, throughout the Arab and Muslim world. We do not think this decree absolves any Muslim or Arab from Jihad (Holy War) which has now become a duty incumbent upon the Arabs and Muslims to liberate the land, preserve honor, retaliate for [lost] dignity, restore the Aqsa Mosque, the church of Resurrection, and to purge the birthplace of prophecy, the seat of revelation, the meeting-place of Prophets, the starting-point of Isra [Muhammad’s “night journey”], and the scenes of the holy spirit, from the hands of Zionism — the enemy of man, of truth, of justice, and the enemy of Allah…The well-balanced judgment frankly expressed with firm conviction is the first stop on the road of victory. The hoped-for judgment is that of Muslim Scholars who draw their conclusions from the Book of Allah, and the Sunna of His prophet. May Allah guard your meeting, and guide your steps! May your decisive word rise to the occasion and enlighten the Arab and Muslim world, so that it may be a battle-cry, urging millions of Muslims and Arabs on to the field of Jihad, which will lead us to the place that once was ours…Muslims who are distant from the battle-field of Palestine, such as the Algerians, the Moroccans, all the Africans, Saudi Arabia people, Yemeni people, the Indians, Iraqi people, the Russians, and the Europeans are indeed sinful if they do not hasten to offer all possible means to achieve success and gain victory in the Islamic battle against their enemies and the enemies of their religion. Particularly, this battle is not a mere combat between two parties but it is a battle between two religions (namely, it is a religious battle). Zionism in fact represents a very perilous cancer, aiming at domineering the Arab countries and the whole Islamic world.

From the Mecca Islamic Summit Conference, 1981—[184]

The undertaking by all Islamic countries of psychological mobilization through their various official, semi-official, and popular mass media, of their people for Jihad to liberate Al-Quds…Ensuring military coordination among the front-line states and the Palestine Liberation Organization, on the one hand, and the Islamic States on the other, to ensure full utilization of the potentialities of the Islamic States in the service of the military effort; and setting up a military office in the Islamic Secretariat to be responsible for such coordination, in agreement with the Committee on Al-Quds…

Resolution No.2/3.P (IS) on the Cause of Palestine and the Middle East: Considering that the Liberation of Al-Quds and its restoration to Arab sovereignty, as well as the liberation of the holy places from Zionist occupation, are a pre-requisite to the Jihad that all Islamic States must wage, each according to its means….

Resolution No.5/3-P (IS)- Declaration of Holy Jihad:

Taking these facts into consideration, the Kinds, Emirs, and Presidents of Islamic States, meeting at this Conference and in this holy land, studied this situation and concluded that it could no longer be tolerated that the forthcoming stage should be devoted to effective action to vindicate right and deter wrong-doing; and have unanimously.

Decided: To declare holy Jihad, as the duty of every Muslim, many or woman, ordained by the Shariah and glorious traditions of Islam; To call upon all Muslims, living inside or outside Islamic countries, to discharge this duty by contributing each according to his capacity in the case of Allah Almighty, Islamic brotherhood, and righteousness; To specify that Islamic states, in declaring Holy Jihad to save Al-Quds al-Sharif, in support of the Palestinian people, and to secure withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, wish to explain to the world that Holy Jihad is an Islamic concept which may not be misinterpreted or misconstrued, and that the practical measures to put into effect would be in accordance with that concept and by incessant consultations among Islamic states.

From the 2003 Putrajaya Islamic Summit speech by former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammad—[185]
To begin with, the governments of all the Muslim countries can close ranks and have a common stand…on Palestine… We need guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships… We may want to recreate the first century of the Hijrah, the way of life in those times, in order to practice what we think to be the true Islamic way of life 1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way. And we can only find a way if we stop to think, to assess our weaknesses and our strength, to plan, to strategize and then to counter-attack. As Muslims, we must seek guidance from the Al-Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet. Surely the 23 years’ struggle of the Prophet can provide us with some guidance as to what we can and should do

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the immensely popular Spiritual Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Head of the European Fatwah Council, during one of his widely viewed Qatar TV sermons, February 25, 2006—[186]

All the school of Islamic jurisprudence—the Sunni, the Shiite…and all the ancient and modern schools of jurisprudence—agree that any invader, who occupies even an inch of land of the Muslims, must face resistance. The Muslims of that country must carry out the resistance, and the rest of the Muslims must help them. If the people of that country are incapable or reluctant, we must fight to defend the land of Islam, even if the local [Muslims] give it up.

They must not allow anyone to take a single piece of land away from Islam. That is what we are fighting the Jews for. We are fighting them… Our religion commands us… We are fighting in the name of religion, in the name of Islam, which makes this Jihad an individual duty, in which the entire nation takes part, and whoever is killed in this [Jihad] is a martyr. This is why I ruled that martyrdom operations are permitted, because he commits martyrdom for the sake of Allah, and sacrifices his soul for the sake of Allah.We do not disassociate Islam from the war. On the contrary, disassociating Islam from the war is the reason for our defeat. We are fighting in the name of Islam.

Perhaps the most striking Qur’anic motifs for the Jews debasement are the references to their transformation into apes (Qur’an 2:65 and 7:166), or apes and swine (Qur’an 5:60). Setting aside the casuistry of Muslim exegetic discussions over whether this transformation was physical or metaphorical [187] (i.e., reflecting the Jews moral depravity, even Satan worship [188]), and the alleged “immediate cause”—Sabbath breaking—ultimately these verses are but another manifestation, albeit dramatic, of what Ibn Kathir terms “the eternal humiliation placed upon the Jews” (referring to 7:166/167) [189], including, adds Suyuti (referring to 5:60), damnation to Hellfire. [190]

Just prior to orchestrating the mass execution of the adult males from the besieged Medinan Jewish tribe the Banu Qurayza (and distributing their women, children, and possessions as "booty" for the Muslims) [190a], Muhammad, according to his earliest Muslim biographer, Ibn Ishaq (d. 767-770), addressed these Jews with menacing, hateful derision: “You brothers of monkeys, has God disgraced you and brought His vengeance upon you?” [190b] (Another early Muslim biographer of Muhammad Ibn Sa‘d (d. 845), reports Muhammad stated, “brothers of monkeys and pigs, fear me, fear me!” [190c]). Many subsequent historical examples from diverse Islamic societies during a continuum of over 1100 years—the 9th century through the present—demonstrate that this Qur’anic motif has been employed against Jews as an outward sign of their physical humiliation, and more significantly, in polemical incitement against Jews, or odes celebrating their having been disgraced and slaughtered.

A fatwa written by the 9th century jurist from Kairouan, Ifiqiyya (modern Tunisia) Qadi [Shari’a judge] Ahmed b. Talib (d. 889), [191]

…compelled the dhimmis to wear upon the shoulder a patch of white cloth (riqa’) that bore the image of an ape (for Jews)…and to nail onto their doors a board bearing the sign of a monkey.

He further ordered, [192]

A Jew who dresses like the Muslims and fails to wear the clothing that distinguishes him from them will be incarcerated, beaten, and paraded ignominiously through the places inhabited by the Jews and the Christians as an example.

Abu Ishaq’s verse condemnation of the vizier Joseph b. Samuel Naghrela and the Granadan Jewish community, which helped incite the 1066 Granada pogrom, with its massacre of some 3000—4000 Jews, [193] contains the line, [194]

Many a pious Muslim is in awe of the vilest infidel ape

Moshe Perlmann, in his analysis of the Muslim anti-Jewish polemic of 11th century Granada, notes, [195]

[Abu Ishaq] Elbiri used the epithet “ape” (qird) profusely when referring to Jews. Such indeed was the parlance.

Perlmann then cites the related Qur’anic passages (i.e., 2:65, 5:60, and 7:166) upon which such “nomenclature” was based. [196]

Anti-Jewish riots and massacres by Muslims accompanied the 1291 death of Jewish physician-vizier Sa’d ad-Daula in Baghdad, the plundering and killing of Jews extending throughout Iraq (and possibly into Persia). [197] These events, which marked the collapse of a transient Jewish ascendancy (afforded by the ruling Mongols abrogation of the system of dhimmitude [198]), were celebrated in an ode by the Muslim preacher Zaynu’d-Din ‘Ali b. Said. [199] His verse opens with a debasing reference to the Jews as apes: [200]

His name we praise who rules the firmament. These apish Jews are done away and shent [ruined,destroyed]

The bitter anti-Jewish sentiments of the theologian Al-Mahgili (d. 1504/5) were expressed in both his writing and preaching. [201] Referring to the Jews as “brothers of apes” (consistent with Zamakshari’s [d. 1143] classical Qur’anic commentary on verse 5:60) [202], who incessantly blasphemed the prophet Muhammad, and whose entire conduct demonstrated their hatred of Muslims, Al-Maghili posed the rhetorical question, what should be done about them? [203] He “answered” this question by fomenting a Muslim pogrom (in ~ 1490) against the Jews of Touat (an oasis town in southern Morocco), which plundered and killed them en masse, and destroyed their synagogue in neighboring Tamantit. [204]

Apart from being used to incite or extol mass violence against Jews, the degrading Qur’anic references to Jews as apes and pigs were more commonly employed in daily life to reflect chronic attitudes Muslims felt toward Jews. A mid-19th century eyewitness account from Jerusalem by the missionary Gregory Wortabet, (published in 1856) captures these routine sentiments (which Wortabet also attributes to the canonical hadith about Muhammad’s poisoning): [205]

The Jew is still an object of scorn, and nowhere is the name of “Yahoodi (Jew)”more looked down upon than here in the city of his fathers. One day, as I was passing the Damascus gate, I saw an Arab hurrying on his donkey amid imprecations such as the following: “Emshi ya Ibn-el-Yahoodi (Walk, thou son of a Jew)! Yulaan abuk ya Ibn-el-Yahoodi (Cursed be thy father, thou son of a Jew)!”

I need not give any more illustrations of the manner in which the man went on. The reader will observe, that the man did not curse the donkey, but the Jew, the father of the donkey. Walking up to him, I said, “Why do you curse the Jew? What harm has he done you?”

“El Yahoodi khanzeer (the Jew is a hog)!”, answered the man.

“How do you make that out?”, I said. “Is not the Jew as good as you or I?”

“Ogh!”, ejaculated the man, his eyes twinkling with fierce rage, and his brow knitting.

By this time he was getting out of my hearing. I was pursuing my walk, when he turned round, and said, “El Yahoodi khanzeer! Khanzeer el Yahoodi! (The Jew is a hog! A hog is a Jew!)”

Now I must tell the reader, that, in the Mahomedan vocabulary, there is no word lower than a hog, that animal being in their estimation the most defiled of animals; and good Mahomedans are prohibited by the Koran from eating it. The Jew, in their estimation, is the vilest of the human family, and is the object of their pious hatred, perhaps from the recollection that a Jewess of Khaibar first undermined the health of the prophet by infusing poison into his food. [206] Hence a hog and a Jew are esteemed alike in the eye of a Moslem, both being the lowest of their kind; and now the reader will better understand the meaning of the man’s words, “El Yahoodi khanzeer!”

Tudor Parfitt notes two less overtly degrading variations on these themes which persisted at least through the latter half of the 20th century in Yemen: [207]

…if someone behaves badly while eating—either taking more than they can eat, or throwing food around, the response is likely to be “O Jew!”, or “Pig”. Monkeys are customarily called Said or Salim—both common Jewish names…Salim particularly is viewed by Muslims as being the most typical Jewish name of all. If you do not happen to know a Jew’s name you call him Salim.

At present, the invocation of Qur’an-inspired references to the Jews as apes and pigs—conveyed through, print, audio, video, and internet venues—pervades Arab Muslim religious and political discourse. [208] A small representative sampling from 2001 and 2002 follows:

Sheikh Ibrahim Mahdi, an official Palestinian Authority cleric, from a sermon at the Sheikh ‘Ijlin mosque in Gaza, April 3, 2001 [209] —”There is no choice but to direct all our pressures against the Jews, the infidels, the people cursed by the Qur’an. Allah referred to them as, apes, pigs, worshippers of the [golden] calf and of satan.”

Egyptian Sheikh Atiyyah Saqr, former chairman of the Religious Rulings Commission at the al-Azhar University in Egypt issued a fatwa, which was made public in Germany on April 15, 2002, entitled, Reincarnation of the souls of the children of Israel in the bodies of apes and pigs. The crux of his “modern” interpretation of Qur’an 5:60 is that the Jews punishment was, [210]—“…Allah incarnated their souls in the bodies of apes and pigs, and turned them into humiliated ones, or in other words — outcasts, wretched and despised ones”

From an article published by the columnist Dr. Muhammad bin Sa’ad al-Shwey’ir in the Saudi daily al-Jazirah, 7 June 2002—[211] “Allah decreed that the Jews be humiliated, He cursed them and turned them into apes and pigs. Whenever they ignite the fire of war, Allah extinguishes it. They disseminate corruption over the face of the world, they fight the believers [i.e. the Muslims] only from within fortified villages or from behind walls…”

Saudi Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayyis, imam and preacher at the Al-Haram mosque, which includes the cuboidal Ka’ba, the most important shrine in Islam, from an April, 2002, sermon—[212] “Read history and you will understand that the Jews of yesterday are the evil fathers of the Jews of today, who are evil offspring, infidels, distorters of [God's] words, calf-worshippers, prophet-murderers, prophecy-deniers… the scum of the human race whom Allah cursed and turned into apes and pigs… These are the Jews, an ongoing continuum of deceit, obstinacy, licentiousness, evil, and corruption…”

Even young children are inculcated with these beliefs and coached to repeat them for additional public consumption. [213] A May 2002, broadcast on Iqraa, the Saudi satellite television station, which claims at its website, “to highlight aspects of Arab Islamic culture that inspire admiration … to highlight the true, tolerant image of Islam and refute the accusations directed against it,” featured an interview of a three-and-a-half-year-old “real Muslim girl” about Jews, on The Muslim Women's Magazine program. When the little girl was asked whether she liked Jews; she replied, “No.” Asked why not, she replied that Jews were “apes and pigs.” The moderator then asked. “Who said this?” And the child answered, “Our God.” “Where did He say this?”, asked the moderator. “In the Qur'an.” this three-and-a-half-year-old girl replied. At the close of the interview, the moderator stated approvingly: “No [parents] could wish for Allah to give them a more believing girl than she… May Allah bless her and both her father and mother.”

Given the murderous historical legacy of Muslim societies that invoked these Qur’anic motifs (i.e., in Granada, Baghdad, and Touat, Morocco), as described earlier, Menachem Milson’s contemporary warning is not overstated: [214]

This insult should not be dismissed as mere vulgar invective, nor should the belief that Jews were transmogrified into apes, pigs or other creatures be seen merely as a sign of primitive magical thinking. Repeated reference to Jews as despised beasts dehumanizes them and provides justification for their destruction.

Apropos of Milson’s concern, Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir repeated these dehumanizing Qur’anic motifs when he issued a vitriolic call for jihad against Israel during a speech delivered at the headquarters of the ruling Islamic party in Khartoum, broadcast live by Radio Monte Carlo on April 5, 2002: [215]

Let us prepare ourselves for the decisive battle against the Jews, those apes, pigs, and worshippers of calves. This should be a decisive battle… There will be no peace with the Jews… This battle is the battle, and this jihad is the jihad…

Following the murderous acts of jihad terrorism committed on September 11, 2001, Ibn Warraq highlighted the tragic irony of many apologists quoting selectively from Qur’an 5:32, “whoso slays a soul …shall be as if he had slain mankind altogether; and whoso gives life to a soul, shall be as if he has given life to mankind altogether”, attempting to demonstrate that the Qur’ran disapproved of violence and killing. Here is the entire verse (5:32), quoted in full context, with the intimately related verse, Qur’an 5:33:

(5:32) Therefore We prescribed for the Children of Israel that whoso slays a soul not to retaliate for a soul slain, nor for corruption done in the land, shall be as if he had slain mankind altogether; and whoso gives life to a soul, shall be as if he has given life to mankind altogether. Our Messengers have already come to them with the clear signs; then many of them thereafter commit excesses in the earth. (5:33) This is the recompense of those who fight against God and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth, to do corruption there: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off; or they shall be banished from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement.

[For direct comparison see, Mishna, Sanhedrin, IV, 5, “Thus was created a single man, to teach us that every person who loses a single soul, it shall be written about him as if he has lost the entire world, and every person who sustains a single soul, it shall be written, about him as if he has sustained the entire world”]

As Warraq noted, with regard to Qur’an 5:32/33, [216]

The supposedly noble sentiments are in fact a warning to Jews. [217] “Behave, or else” is the message. Far from abjuring violence, these verses aggressively point out that anyone opposing the Prophet will be killed, crucified, mutilated, and banished.

After reiterating the Qur’an’s major accusations against the “inveterate” Jews, and their eternal punishments—Jews falsifying their scriptures, and holding false doctrines (such as Ezra being the son of God [Qur’an 9:30], which in fact Jews never proclaimed [218]), so they must be compelled to return to the true religion, Islam; Jews harboring an intense hatred of all genuine Muslims, and being punished for their sins (especially the curse of Qur’an 2:61), or even by transformation into apes and swine (Qur’an 2:65, 5:60, and 7:166)— Warraq concluded with this measured observation: [219]

The attitude enjoined upon the Muslims toward Jews can only be described as antisemitic, and it certainly was not conducive to better understanding, tolerance, or coexistence.



Notes:

175. Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad, pp. 43-51.
 
176. The expression “fay” is found in Qur’an 59: 6—10, which describes Muhammad’s attack upon the Jewish tribe, Banu Nadir. In the traditional Muslim interpretation of these verses the theocratic conception of property rights is confirmed, as voiced by the Prophet—Allah returns to the Believers the possessions of His foes, what is properly His. See Leone Caetani. Annali dell’ Islam, Milan, 1905-1926, Vol. 5, p. 332.
 
177. Joseph B. Schechtman, The Mufti and The Fuehrer, New York, 1965, pp. 114-15, 151; Jennie Lebel, Hajj Amin ve Berlin (Hajj Amin and Berlin), Tel Aviv, 1996, pp. 140-142; Yossef Bodansky, Islamic Antisemitism as a Political Instrument, Houston, 1999, p. 29.
 
178. Shai Lachman. “Arab Rebellion and Terrorism in Palestine 1929-39: The Case of Sheikh Izz al-Din al-Qassam and His Movement”, in Zionism and Arabism in Palestine and Israel, edited by Elie Kedourie and Sylvia G. Haim, Frank Cass, London, 1982, pp. 52-99.
 
179. Bat Ye’or, “Aspects of the Arab-Israeli Conflict”, Wiener Library Bulletin, Vol. 32, 1979, p. 68.; Efraim Karsh, Arafat’s War, New York, 2003, p. 117.
 
180. David Littman. “The Genocidal Hamas Charter”, National Review Online, September, 26, 2002.
 
181. “The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement—Hamas”, Middle East Media Research Institute, Special Dispatch Series, No. 1092, February 14, 2006.
 
182. Sahih Muslim Book 041, Number 6985; Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 176/177
 
183. Excerpts from, Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi, pp.391-94.
 
184. Excerpts from, Bat Ye’or, Eurabia- The Euro-Arab Axis, Cranbury, New Jersey, 2005, pp. 284-295.
 
185. Excerpts from, Bat Ye’or, Eurabia, pp. 312-19.
 
186. “Sheik Yousef Al-Qaradhawi: Our War with the Jews is in the Name of Islam”, Middle East Media Research Institute, TV Monitor Project, Clip No. 1052, February 25, 2006.
 
187. Tabari. Jami` al-Bayan fii Tafsiir al-Qur’aan, Vol. IX, p. 122. Regarding Qur’an 7:166—“…God made them into apes and pigs, howling, with wagging tails, whereas previously they had been men and women.…the youths became apes; the mature people became pigs.” In contrast, regarding Qur’an 5:60, from Al-Muntakhab fii Tafsiir al-Qur’aan al-Kariim. [Al-Azhar paraphrase of, and commentary on the Qur’an, in Modern Standard Arabic]. 11th ed. Cairo 1406/1985., p. 158, “He is angry with you for your unbelieving disobedience, He has obliterated your minds, so become like [emphasis added] apes and pigs…”
 
188. Suyuti, Jalal al-Din. Tafsiir al-Jalaalayn. Beirut 1404/1984, p. 149, regarding 5:60: “[The Jews] ‘[are] the one[s] whom God has cursed’ exiled him from His mercy ‘and on whom God’s wrath has fallen’…‘ [they] who worship the Taaghuut’ .obey Satan. He made them into apes and monkeys ‘by transformation’ ”; Mawdudi. Towards Understanding the Qur’an. Vol. 2 , p. 175, regarding 5:60: “This alludes to the Jews, whose history shows that they were subjected, over and over again, to the wrath and scourge of God. When they desecrated the law of the Sabbath, the faces of many of them were distorted, and subsequently their generation reached such a low point, they took to worshipping Satan quite openly.”; The Al-Azhar paraphrase of, and commentary on the Qur’an in Modern Standard Arabic, 1985, [see note 187, above] p. 158, also states that the Jews were punished because they “worship Satan, and follow error”
 
189. Ibn Kathir. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Riyadh, Vol. 4, 2000, p. 193. Elaborating on the Jews punishment, i.e., the apes transformation of 7:166, and the related statement of 7:167 [“And when Thy Lord proclaimed He would send forth against them, unto the Day of Resurrection, those who should visit them with evil chastisement.”], Ibn Kathir comments that afflictions will continue to sent against the Jews, “…on account of their disobedience, defying Allah’s orders and Law and using tricks to transgress the prohibitions…When Islam came and Muhammad was sent, they came under his power and had to pay the Jizyah as well. Therefore, the humiliating torment [chastisement] mentioned here includes disgrace and paying the Jizyah…In the future, the Jews will support the Dajjal [False Messiah]; and the Muslims, along with Isa [the Muslim Jesus], will kill the Jews…”
 
190. Suyuti, Jalal al-Din. Tafsiir al-Jalaalayn, p. 149, “their fate is the Fire”
 
190a. M.J. Kister, “The massacre of the Banu Qurayza: a re-examination of a tradition” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, Vol. 8, 1986, pp. 61-96; W.H. T. Gairdner, “Muhammad Without Camouflage”, The Moslem World, Vol. 9, 1919, p. 36.
 
190b. The Life of Muhammad. A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah. Translated by A. Guillaume, Oxford, England, 2001, p. 461.
 
190c. Ibn Sa‘d. Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir. English translation by S. Moinul Haq and H.K. Ghazanfar. New Delhi, India, 1993, p. 95. (The translators wrote: “Brothren [sic] of monkeys and boars fear me, fear me!”)
 
191. H. R. Idris. “Contributions a histoire de l’Ifriqiya” (Riyad an Nufus d’Al-Maliki), Revue des Etudes Islamiques, 1935. English translation in Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi, p. 186.
 
192. H. R. Idris, “Tributaries in the Medieval Muslim West, according to the Mi’yar of al-Wansharisi”. English translation by Michael J. Miller of “Les tributaries en Occident Musulman medieval d’apres ‘miyar d’al Wansarisi’ ” (Vol. VI, p. 51 and pp. 286-303), in, Melanges d’islamologie: Volume dediae a la memoire de Armand Abel par ses colleagues, ses aeleves, et ses amis, 1974, pp. 172-196, selected extracts.
 
193. Dozy. Spanish Islam: A History of the Muslims in Spain, p. 653; Perlmann, “Eleventh Century Andalusian Authors on the Jews of Granada,”, p. 284.
 
194. Perlmann, “Eleventh Century Andalusian Authors on the Jews of Granada,”, p. 286.
 
195. Ibid., pp. 287-288.
 
196. Ibid., p. 288 note 56a.
 
197. Bar Hebraeus, The Chronography, p. 491; Fischel, Jews in the Economic and Political Life of Medieval Islam, pp. 116, 117, and note 5, p. 117.
 
198. Bar Hebraeus, The Chronography, p. 490; Ghazi b. al-Wasiti. “An Answer to the Dhimmis”, p. 449; Fischel, Jews in the Economic and Political Life of Medieval Islam, p. 91
 
199. E.G. Browne. A Literary History of Persia, Vol. 3, pp. 35-36
 
200. Ibid., p. 35.
 
201. See Vajda. “Un Traite Maghrebin ‘Adversos Judaeos”; Hunwick. “Al-Maghili and the Jews of Tuwat: the Demise of a Community”.
 
202. Zamakhshary. Al-Kashshaaf `an Haqaa’iq GhawaamiD al-Tanziil wa-`Uyuun al-Aqaawiil fii Wujuuh alTa’wiil. Ed. M. H. Ahmad. Cairo 1365/1946. p. 684, referring to Qur’an 5:60/61:

Some say that when this occurred, the Muslims taunted them, saying, ‘O brothers of apes and pigs,’ and the Jews would bow their heads. “These” the cursed transformed ones “are the lowest in stature” they were put in the evil place they deserved. The emphasis here is intended as ‘lowest and most erring’ for it became a by-name for them beyond mere metaphor. The reason for this revelation is that a group of Jews approached Muhammad with the worst intentions, being hypocritical in feigning belief, and God revealed to Muhammad that they would leave in the same state in which they entered, and would heed nothing he would say in unbelief and pretending.

See also notes 190b and 190c, above, and Muhammad’s references to the Banu Qurayza Jews as “monkeys”, or “monkeys and pigs”
 
203. Ibid., p.809. Vajda. “Un Traite Maghrebin ‘Adversos Judaeos”, p. 809.
 
204. See Hirschberg. A History of the Jews of North Africa, p. 402; Gerber. Jewish Society in Fez, p. 18; and Hunwick. “Al-Maghili and the Jews of Tuwat: the Demise of a Community”.
 
205. Gregory Wortabet. Syria and the Syrians. Vol. II, London, 1856, pp. 263-264
 
206. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 786; Sahih Muslim Book 026, Number 5430.
 
207. Parfitt, The Road to Redemption, p. 89
 
208. Aluma Solnick. “Based on Koranic Verses, Interpretations, and Traditions, Muslim Clerics State: The Jews Are the Descendants of Apes, Pigs, And Other Animals”, November 1, 2002 Middle East Media Research Institute Special Report # 11
 
209. “Islamic Antisemitism: The Jews Depicted as Apes and Pigs”. Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies, Bulletin # 5, Chapter 3, October 2002, www.intelligence.org.il/eng/default.htm
 
210. Ibid.
 
211. Ibid.
 
212. Solnick, “Muslim Clerics State: The Jews Are the Descendants of Apes, Pigs, And Other Animals”
 
213. Menachem Milson. “What is Arab Antisemitism?”, Middle East Media Research Institute, February 27, 2004, Special Report #26.
 
214. Ibid.
 
215. “Islamic Antisemitism: The Jews Depicted as Apes and Pigs”. Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
 
216. Ibn Warraq. Leaving Islam. Apostates Speak Out. Amherst, New York, 2003, p. 401.
 
217. The classical Qur’anic commentary of Ibn Kathir, and the 20th century commentary of Mawdudi confirm and validate the anti-Jewish attitudes expressed in Qur’an 5:32/33. From Ibn Kathir (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Riyadh, Vol. 3, 2000, p.160), entitled, “Warning Those Who Commit Mischief ”:

This Ayah chastises and criticizes those who commit the prohibitions, after knowing that they are prohibited from indulging in them. [Like] [T]he Jews of Al-Madinah, such as Banu Qurayza, An-Nadir, and Qaynuqa.[Jewish tribes ultimately attacked, expropriated, expelled, and even massacred by Muhammad]

From Mawdudi (Towards Understanding the Qur’an. Vol. 2, pp. 155-56), who includes a contextual reference to Qur’an 5:30/31 as well:

God honored some of the illiterate people of Arabia and disregarded the ancient People of the Book because the former were pious while the latter were not. But rather than reflect upon the causes of their rejection by God, and do something to overcome the failings which led to that rejection, the Israelites were seized by the same fit of arrogance and folly which had once seized the criminal son of Adam [verses 5:30/31], and resolved to kill those whose good deeds had been accepted by God. It was obvious that such acts would contribute nothing towards their acceptance by God. They would rather earn them an even greater degree of God’s disapproval. Since the same qualities which had been displayed by the wrongdoing son of Adam were manifest in the Children of Israel, God strongly urged them not to kill human beings and couched his command in forceful terms.

The “land” (in verse 5:33) signifies either the country or territory wherein the responsibility of establishing law and order has been undertaken by an Islamic state. The expression “to wage war [fight] against Allah and His Messenger” denotes war against the righteous order established by the Islamic state.
 
218. For example, Ibn Kammuna (d. 1284), the 13th century Jewish physician-philosopher of Iraqi origin, wrote (1280) simply (see Moshe Perlmann, translator, Ibn Kammuna’s Examination of the Three Faiths, Berkeley, 1971, pp. 131-133):

There is no tradition by the authority of any Jew that 'Uzayr (Ezra) was the son of God…If any of them said that, he would be considered among them an unbeliever and outside of their community.
 
219. Ibn Warraq. Why I Am Not a Muslim. Amherst, New York, 1995, pp. 215-216.

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