Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Why do Muslims Hate the Jews?

By Dallas M. Roark, Ph.D.

There is a long and complicated history to the Muslim hatred of Jews.  Some people seek to trace the issue back to Abraham’s two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, or Isaac’s two sons, Jacob and Esau.  Whatever enmity existed between the two offspring, there was not a command of God to kill the Jews.  The immense hatred of the Jews began in the time of Mohammed, by Mohammed, and it is alleged that Allah gave the command.  The Qur’an, the hadiths, and the events in Mohammed’s life will explain the hatred that began with Mohammed and continued in his followers to this day.

1.  The Qur’anic data

Q. 5:60   Say (O Muhammad to the people of the Scripture): "Shall I inform you of something worse than that, regarding the recompense from Allah: those (Jews) who incurred the Curse of Allah and His Wrath, those of whom (some) He transformed into monkeys and swines, those who worshipped Taghut (false deities); such are worse in rank (on the Day of Resurrection in the Hellfire), and far more astray from the Right Path."

This quote is in contradiction to the verses quoted below from the Bible about the Jews as God’s chosen people.   Did not Allah “remember” what he told Abraham and others?  There seems to be a lot of self-serving comments in the Qur’an that reveal Mohammed’s hatred of the Jews in his area rather than the words of Yahweh.

One must understand that the Jewish rejection of the prophethood of Mohammed deeply affected him.  Mohammed wanted to be accepted as a prophet and his pride could not stand the rejection.

Q. 2:61   “And when ye said: O Moses! We are weary of one kind of food; so call upon thy Lord for us that He bring forth for us of that which the earth groweth - of its herbs and its cucumbers and its corn and its lentils and its onions. He said: Would ye exchange that which is higher for that which is lower? Go down to settled country, thus ye shall get that which ye demand. And humiliation and wretchedness were stamped upon them and they were visited with wrath from Allah. That was because they disbelieved in Allah's revelations and slew the prophets wrongfully. That was for their disobedience and transgression.”

This story involves Moses and the Exodus from Egypt and the grumbling of the people for food. This happened about 2000 years before the time of Mohammed.  Judgment did take place on the unbelievers who were not allowed into the Promised Land and who died in the wandering in the wilderness.  Why should this story be resurrected and used to accuse the Jews in Mohammed’s time?  That is irrational.  The Jews in Medina did not believe Mohammed because he did not fit the demands of a prophet.  For them to accept a false prophet would have been to reject their own revelation from Yahweh who did perform great miracles in rescuing the people from slavery in Egypt. Remember Mohammed did no miracles!

Q. 2:65-66   “And ye know of those of you who broke the Sabbath, how We said unto them: Be ye apes, despised and hated!  And We made it an example to their own and to succeeding generations, and an admonition to the God-fearing.”

How can this be accepted by anyone?  Yahweh did not make apes out of Jews.  If you read the Old Testament you will discover that Yahweh did punish disobedient people in various ways but he never defiled the image of God that he created in humans (cf. Genesis 1:26-27).

Q. 2:96   And thou wilt find them greediest of mankind for life and (greedier) than the idolaters. (Each) one of them would like to be allowed to live a thousand years. And to live (a thousand years) would be no means remove him from the doom. Allah is Seer of what they do.

This is a strange verse since it reflects on Mohammed as a greedy person.  He did not work but had his followers raid caravans, plunder villages for gain, and he was to receive 20 percent of the booty. In contrast, many of the Jews were hard working farmers and orchard people who earned a living by the sweat of their brow.

Q. 5:12-13   “Allah made a covenant of old with the Children of Israel… And because of their breaking their covenant, We have cursed them and made hard their hearts. They change words from their context and forget a part of that whereof they were admonished. Thou wilt not cease to discover treachery from all save a few of them.”

Q. 5:7   “We made a covenant of old with the Children of Israel and We sent unto them messengers. As often as a messenger came unto them with that which their souls desired not (they became rebellious). Some (of them) they denied and some they slew.”

There are lots of Jews who were disobedient in the history of Israel.  Yahweh judged them.   Yet, nowhere is there a command for individual non-Jews to hate the Jews.  In reality what the Qur’an says about the Jews is seen more widespread in the Muslims’ reactions to Christians.  Hundreds of millions of Christians have died because of the brutality of Muslims through the centuries (*).

2.  This hatred is underscored in the hadiths:

"Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: 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; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews." -- Sahih Muslim 6985

Sahih Bukhari 4.52.177: "Allah's Apostle said, The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say: 'O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him'."

The intolerance of Mohammed and the Muslim movement toward the Jews and the Christians is seen in the hadith, Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4366, narrated by ‘Umar b. al-Khattib: He heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say, “I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and  will not leave any but Muslim.”    Other issues may be seen at this site.

3. The Events in Mohammed’s time and his treatment of the Jews.

Mohammed was incensed that the Jew did not accept him as a prophet.  There were different tribes of Jews in the area.  Mohammed had a truce with the Banu Qaynuqa tribe.  He resolved to deal with them for their rejection of him as a prophet.  The Muslims laid siege to them and would have killed them had it not been for the intervention of Abdullah bin Ubayy who was a Muslim. They were allowed to leave with their lives but had to turn over all their property to Mohammed.   Can you imagine the gain that the Muslims got from this? And Mohammed accused the Jews of being greedy!

A second tribe, Banu Nadir, was expelled when one of their members planned to kill Mohammed but the Muslims learned of the plot and they marched against the tribe and laid siege to it.  After a couple of weeks of the siege they agreed to go into exile.  They took what they were able to carry themselves, but the rest became Mohammed’s property.

A third tribe, Banu Qurayza, a Jewish tribe was massacred after the battle of the Trench.  The Jews did not fight for Mohammed and after the Meccans withdrew the Jewish tribe was laid siege. After 25 days they surrendered and the men were beheaded and the women and children were taken by the Muslims and sold into slavery. Reports on the number of men beheaded range from 600 to 900.

Shortly after this Mohammed attacked Khaybar which was north of Medina in an area where Jews lived. Many of the men were killed and women taken as wives.  One person was tortured by building a fire on his chest to force the Jew to tell where a big treasure was hidden.  Following the conquest the fruit of the land was to be shared with Mohammed and his wives; i.e., some of the Jews were allowed to stay and farm the land on shares with Mohammed getting 50 percent of the crop; but later the Jews were banished to Syria.  (Cf. Sahih Muslim: Book 010, Number 3759)

4.  This hatred has continued from the time of Mohammed to the present.  A recent story about a Saudi textbook affirms the tradition.

A twelfth-grade Saudi textbook is teaching hatred of Jews and jihad to liberate Palestine, according to MEMRI. The report illustrates that hatred and violence continue to be themes in Saudi educational materials, putting a black mark on the conservative Islamic kingdom's desire to become a "knowledge society."

"Whoever studies the nature of the conflict between the Muslims and the Jews understands an important fact, [namely that] this is a religious conflict, not a dispute about politics or nationality, or a conflict between races or tribes, or a fight over land or country, as some describe it," states Saudi textbook Studies from the Muslim World.

The book says that the conflict will not end unless one side vanquishes the other, because "throughout Islamic history, the Jews have striven to destroy the [Islamic] religion and spread fitna [chaos] among the Muslims. The book also repeats classic anti-Semitic lies that Jews have taken control of Western media and culture, exploited their home societies, and aligned themselves with Christians to destroy Islam.” (Saudi High School Textbook Preaches Hate, Dec. 8, 2011)

There is a good bit of paranoia in these statements.  When did the Jews seek to destroy Islam?  The Muslims have persecuted the Jews from the time of Mohammed.  They have outnumbered the Jews for centuries.   Jews have been forced to depart Muslim countries so that very few are left in those countries.

5.  This year a survey was taken of 1010 Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza on the question who agreed with the hadith in the Hamas Charter “about the need to kill Jews hiding behind stones, trees.  Seventy-three (73) percent of the 1010 Palestinians agreed with the hadith (*).

6.   Following are excerpts from statements made at a rally of the Palestinian Al-Ahrar movement in Gaza, a pro-Hamas group that split from Fatah, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on November 3, 2011  (*):

“Praise be to you, our Lord. You have made our killing of the Jews an act of worship, through which we come closer to you.”

From the time of Mohammed to the present there is hatred for the Jews especially and for non-Muslims generally.   How does this come about?   This amounts to brain-washing on a massive scale.  When a young child can appear on a TV show in the Muslim world and professes hate for the Jews this is quite unnatural. Children do not have hate to begin with in their young lives.   The only way hate could occur is if the innocent child has been brainwashed.  This child probably never saw a Jew or even knew what one was.

While Mohammed taught hate of the Jews, claiming Allah as the source, Muslims need to look at another source, the Bible and the words of Jesus.

The LORD said to Abram: Leave your country, your family, and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.  I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation. You will become famous and be a blessing to others.  I will bless anyone who blesses you, but I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you. Everyone on earth will be blessed because of you. (Genesis 12:1-3)

This is the beginning of the story of the Jews.  This is a promise that has not been abrogated. Muslims could do well to consider the implications of these verses.  There is blessing and there is cursing.  This is the beginning of the “chosen people” through whom the Messiah would come.  To curse the Jews is to place oneself under a curse of Yahweh.

The idea of killing all the Jews is more than genocide.  It is to attempt to abrogate the promise of Yahweh. Trying to wipe the Jews from the face of the earth seems like a strategy that the Devil would try in nullifying the words of Yahweh.  The question is:  who is God?  Yahweh or Allah?  We know a lot about Yahweh but we don’t know much about Allah except what is written in the Qur’an and we are not given much except his will for people.   Yahweh has declared the Jews to be his chosen people. The word of Allah in the Qur’an rejects the role of the Jews.   The character of Allah in the Qur’an contradicts the character of Yahweh in the Scriptures.

Consider the following passages of Yahweh’s revelation scattered through the centuries:

I am the LORD, the holy God. You have been chosen to be my people, and so you must be holy too. (Leviticus 20:26)

Israel, you are the chosen people of the LORD your God. There are many nations on this earth, but he chose only Israel to be his very own. (Deuteronomy 7:6)

But the LORD has chosen you to be his own people. He will always take care of you so that everyone will know how great he is. (1 Samuel 12:22)

My people, you are my witnesses and my chosen servant. I want you to know me, to trust me, and understand that I alone am God. I have always been God; there can be no others. (Isaiah 43:10)

I have chosen the people of Israel and Judah, and I will bless them with many descendants. They will settle here in this land of mountains, and it will be theirs. (Isaiah 65:9)

The people of Israel are treated as God's enemies, so that the good news can come to you Gentiles. But they are still the chosen ones, and God loves them because of their famous ancestors. (Romans 11:28)

We need to turn to the issues of anger and hatred.   Anger is the beginning of hatred. Here are the words of Jesus.

You must obey God's commands better than the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law obey them. If you don't, I promise you that you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.  You know that our ancestors were told, "Do not murder" and "A murderer must be brought to trial."  But I promise you that if you are angry with someone, you will have to stand trial. If you call someone a fool, you will be taken to court. And if you say that someone is worthless, you will be in danger of the fires of hell.  (Matthew 5:20-22)

Anger is a cancer of the soul.  It becomes the driving force for murdering someone.  Other acts of anger can lead to revenge, to mutilation, to wounding, slandering other’s reputation, honor killings and other horrible  deeds.  Anger uncontrolled will lead one to bring about the destruction of one’s soul by terrible deeds.  Even slander in the words of Jesus brings to the danger of the fires of hell.  The anger of the Muslims toward the Jews is a dangerous state of the soul.  Consider the claim of Muslims that doing jihad is a guarantee of paradise.  But the words of Jesus indicate that jihad is a guarantee of hell.   It is imperative for a Muslim to question who is correct and right!!

Anger leads to hatred.  Hatred is a serious problem in Yahweh’s revelation.
Here are the words of Jesus:

You have heard people say, "Love your neighbors and hate your enemies."   But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.   Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong.   If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends.   If you greet only your friends, what's so great about that? Don't even unbelievers do that?  But you must always act like your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:43-48)

Muslims do not only ignore the command of Jesus to pray for one’s enemies, but the concept of jihad brings them to killing their enemies. Jesus said that loving your enemy  will be acting like your Father in heaven.  If this is the case, the command of Allah to kill the Jews and others, then Allah is certainly not the same as Yahweh.

You can love people without liking them.  Loving people is to regard them as made in the image of God.  They are sacred and worthy of respect.  Even enemies are human beings.  Praying for them is one of the most loving things one can do, praying that they may be truly human, humane, and humble before God. The words of Jesus are difficult for Muslims to comprehend.  The command is “love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.” This is in contrast to the Qur’an’s command to kill non-Muslims.   It also condemns the practices of Shia killing and bombing the Sunnis as well as the Sunnis killing and bombing the Shia.  It also requires both groups refrain from killing the  Jews, the Christians, and the pagans.  There is no command from Jesus to go to war against anyone.

The letter of the Apostle John declares, “If we claim to be in the light and hate someone, we are still in the dark. (1 John 2:9)  The thought is continued in verse 2:11, ‘If we hate others, we are living and walking in the dark.  We don’t know where we are going, because we can’t see in the dark.”  Even stronger and more serious are these words:  “If you hate each other, you are murderers, and we know that murderers do not have eternal life.”  (3:15)

If a Muslim is reasonable and honest, the question must be raised concerning Islam.  The Qur’an says that doing jihad and killing “non-believers” is the way to Paradise but  the words of Jesus and the rest of the Bible is that killers do not have eternal life.   Which is right?  Does it not seem stupid to engage in activities that destroy your chance for eternal life in the presence of Yahweh?

If the Jews are God’s chosen people why would one dare to murder them?  Why would one want to oppose that which Yahweh has chosen as His own? If Yahweh declares that he will bless the world through the Jewish people why would anyone want to promote the murder of the Jews?  If hatred is wrong as Jesus declared, why would one build an educational system based on hatred for the Jews?

There are Muslims who have asserted that non-Muslim love life while Muslims love death.  If the process of killing other people brings you to hell that is self-defeating.   Jesus declared:   “A thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy. I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.” (John 10:10)  One might substitute the first words: a jihadist comes only to rob, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.

What does a Muslim really want?  Not only life here and now, but life after death.  How do you get that?

Consider the words of Jesus:

"I am the way, the truth, and the life!" Jesus answered. "Without me, no one can go to the Father.”  (John 14:6)

“God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.   God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them!    No one who has faith in God's Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn't have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God's only Son.”  (John 3:16-18)

“The Father loves the Son and has given him everything.   Everyone who has faith in the Son has eternal life. But no one who rejects him will ever share in that life, and God will be angry with them forever.” (John 3:35-36)

Can you conceive of the idea that Mohammed only cared about his power and control.  He is dead and cannot care about you or know you.  Jesus is alive.  He came into the world to rescue you from sin and its judgment.  Mohammed guarantees you nothing but hell.  Jesus welcomes you to everlasting life right now. You have before you the choice of life or death.

Choose Life!