Islamic–Jewish relations

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Islamic–Jewish relations started in the 7th century AD with the origin and spread of Islam in the Arabian peninsula. The two religions share similar values, guidelines, and principles. Islam also incorporates Jewish history as a part of its own. Muslims regard the Children of Israel as an important religious concept in Islam. Moses, the most important prophet of Judaism, is also considered a prophet and messenger in Islam. Moses is mentioned in the Quran more than any other individual, and his life is narrated and recounted more than that of any other prophet. There are approximately 43 references to the Israelites in the Quran (excluding individual prophets), and many in the Hadith. Later rabbinic authorities and Jewish scholars such as Maimonides discussed the relationship between Islam and Jewish law. Maimonides himself, it has been argued, was influenced by Islamic legal thought.


  • Surah ii. 116: "O children of Israel! Remember my favor wherewith I have favored you, and that high above all mankind have I raised you."
  • Surah v. 48, 49: "Verily, we have sent down the law (Taurat) wherein are guidance and light. By it did the prophets who professed Islam judge the Jews; and the doctors and the teachers judged by that portion of the Book of God, of which they were the keepers and the witnesses. Therefore, O Jews! Fear not men but fear Me; and barter not away my signs for a mean price! And whoso will not judge by what God hath sent down - such are the Infidels. And therein have we enacted for them, 'Life for life, an eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth for tooth, and for wounds retaliation': - Whoso shall compromise it as alms shall have therein the expiation of his sin; and whoso will not judge by what God hath sent down - such are the transgressors."
  • Surah iii. 60: "Abraham was not a Jew, nor yet a Christian. He was a Hanif Muslim, and not an idolater."
  • Surah ix. 30: "The Jews say, 'Ezra ('Uzair) is the son of God'; and the Christians say, 'The Messiah is a son of God.' Such the saying in their mouths! They resemble the saying of the infidels of old! God do battle with them! How are they misguided!"
  • Surah vi. 147: "To the Jews did we forbid every beast having an entire hoof, and of both bullocks and sheep we forbade them the fat, save what might be on their backs, or their entrails, and the fat attached to the bone. With this have we recompensed them, because of their transgression: and verily, we are indeed equitable."
  • Surah iv. 48, 49: "Among the Jews are those who displace the words of their Scriptures, and say, 'We have heard, and we have not obeyed. Hear thou, but as one that hearth not; and LOOK AT US'; perplexing with their tongues, and wounding the Faith by their reviling. But if they would say, 'We have heard, and we obey; hear thou, and REGARD US'; it were better for them, and more right. But God hath cursed them for their unbelief. Few only of them are believers!"
  • Surah ii 70-78: "Desire ye then that for your sakes the Jews should believe? Yet a part of them heard the word of God, and then, after they had understood it, perverted it, and knew that they did so. And when they fall in with the faithful, they say, 'We believe': but when they are apart one with another, they say, 'Will ye acquaint them with what God hath revealed to you, that they may dispute with you about it in the presence of your Lord?' Understand ye their aim? Know they not that God knoweth what they hide, as well as what they bring to light? But there are illiterates among them who are not acquainted with the Book, but with lies only, and have but vague fancies. Woe to those who with their own hands transcribe the Book, corruptly, and then say, 'This is from God,' that they may sell it for some mean price! Woe then to them for that which their hands have written! And, Woe to them for the gains which they have made!"
  • Surah v. 64-69: "SAY: O people of the Book! Do ye not disavow us only because we believe in God, and in what He hath sent down to us, and in what He hath sent down aforetime, and because most of you are doers of ill? SAY: Can I announce to you any retribution worse that that which awaiteth them with God? They whom God hath cursed and with whom He hath been angry - some of them hath changed into apes and swine; and they who worship Tagut are in evil plight; and have gone far astray from the right path! When they presented themselves to you they said, 'We believe'; but Infidels they came in unto you, and Infidels they went forth! God well knew what they concealed. Many of them shalt thou see hastening together to wickedness and malice, and to eat unlawful things. Shame on them for what they have done! Had not their doctors and teachers forbidden their uttering wickedness, and their eating unlawful food, bad indeed would have been their doings! 'The hand of God,' say the Jews, 'is chained up.' Their own hands shall be chained up - and for that which they have said shall they be cursed. Nay! Outstretched are both His hands! At His own pleasure does He bestow gifts. That which hath been sent down to thee from they Lord will surely increase the rebellion and unbelief of many of them; and we have put enmity and hatred between them that shall last till the day of the Resurrection. Oft as they kindle a beacon fire for war shall God quench it! And their aim will be to abet disorder on the earth; but God loveth not the abettors of disorder."
  • Wretchedness and baseness were stamped upon them (that is, the Jews), and they were visited with wrath from Allah. That was because they disbelieved i n Allah's revelations and slew the prophets wrongfully. That was for their disobedience and transgression. (11.61)
  • Have you not seen those who have received a portion of the Scripture? They purchase error, and they want you to go astray from the path. But Allah knows best who your enemies are, and it is sufficient to have Allah as a friend. It is sufficient to have Allah as a helper. Some of the Jews pervert words from their meanings, and say, "We hear and we disobey," and "Hear without hearing," and "Heed us!" twisting with their tongues and slandering religion. If they had said, "We have heard and obey," or "Hear and observe us" it would have been better for them and more upright. But Allah had cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not, except for a few. (IV.44-46)
  • And for the evildoing of the Jews, We have forbidden them some good things that were previously permitted them, and because of their barring many from Allah's way. And for their taking usury which was prohibited for them, and because of their consuming people's wealth under false pretense. We have prepared for the unbelievers among them a painful punishment. (IV.160-61)
  • Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture [Jews and Christians] as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah has forbidden by His Messenger, and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute [poll tax] readily, and are utterly subdued.The Jews say, "Ezra is the son of Allah," and the Christians say, "The Messiah is the son of Allah." Those are the words of their mouths, conforming to the words of the unbelievers before them. Allah attack them! How perverse they are! They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords besides Allah, and so too the Messiah son of Mary, though they were commanded to serve but one God. There is no God but He. Allah is exalted above that which they deify beside Him. (1X.29-31)
  • O you who believe! Lo! many of the (Jewish) rabbis and the (Christian) monks devour the wealth of mankind wantonly and debar (men) from the way of Allah. They who hoard up gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah, unto them give tidings of a painful doom. (IX.34)
  • Why do not the rabbis and the priests forbid their evil-speaking and devouring of illicit gain? Verily evil is their handiwork. The Jews say, "Allah's hands are fettered." Thei hands are fettered, and they are cursed for what they have said! On the contrary, His hands are spread open. He bestows as He wills. That which has been revealed to you from your Lord will surely increase the arrogance and unbelief of many among them. We have cast enmity and hatred among them until the Day of Resurrection. Every time they light the fire of war, Allah extinguishes it. Thay hasten to spread corruption throughout the earth, but Allah does not love corrupters! (V.63-64)
  • We made a covenant with the Israelites and sent forth apostles among them. But whenever an apostle came to them with a message that did not suit their fancies, some they accused of lying and others they put to death. They thought no harm would follow: they were blind and deaf. God is ever watching their actions. (V.70-71)
  • Indeed, you will surely find that the most vehement of men in enmity to those who believe are the Jews and the polytheists. (V.82)
  • O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who takes them for friends is one of them. (V.51)O you who believe! Choose not for friends such of those who received the Scripture [Jews and Christians] before you, and of the disbelievers, as make jest and sport of your religion. But keep your duty to Allah of you are true believers. (V.57)
  • Say: 0, People of the Scripture [Jews and Christians]! Do you blame us for aught else than that we believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed aforetime, and because most of you are evil- doers? (V.59)
  • Among them [Jews and Christians] there are people who are moderate, but many of them are of evil conduct. (V.66)
  • He brought down from their strongholds those who had supported them from among the People of the Book [Jews of Bani Qurayzae] and cast terror into t h e i r hearts, so that some you killed and others you took captive. (XXXIII.26)
  • Say: "Shall I tell you who will receive a worse reward from God? Those whom? [i.e., Jews] God has cursed and with whom He has been angry, transforming them into apes and swine, and those who serve the devil. Worse is the plight of these, and they have strayed farther from the right path." (V.60)


  • The uncomfortable examination of Islamic doctrines and history is required in order to understand the enduring phenomenon of Muslim Jew hatred, which dates back to the origins of Islam. We can no longer view Muslim Jew hatred as a “borrowed phenomenon,” seen exclusively, or even primarily, through the prism of Nazism and the Holocaust, the tragic legacy of Judeophobic Christian traditions, or “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” from Czarist Russia.
    • Andrew Bostom, Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism
  • Islam stands in a long line of Semitic, prophetic religious traditions that share an uncompromising monotheism, and belief in God's revelation, His prophets, ethical responsibility and accountability, and the Day of Judgement. Indeed, Muslims, like Christians and Jews, are the Children of Abraham, since all trace their communities back to him. Islam's historic religious and political relationship to Christendom and Judaism has remained strong throughout history. This interaction has been the source of mutual benefit.
    • John L. Esposito, Islam, The Straight Path, Oxford University Press, 1988, pp. 3-4.
  • The Israelites were thus being ungrateful and impertinent. Even otherwise, it was so usual with them not only to transgress divine commandments but also to deny them outright. They had also been slaying a number of prophets at different times—they knew they were committing a misdeed, but their hostility to the truth and their stubbornness in disobedience made them blind to the nature of their conduct and its consequences. Through such persistent and willful misdemeanor they drew upon themselves the wrath of Allah. Disgrace and degradation settled upon them for ever. That is to say, they no longer had any respect for themselves. One form of this disgrace is that temporal power had been taken away from them for ever…. [W]hen the Day of Judgment will have come close—the Dajjal [the Muslim Anti-Christ] belonging to the Jewish race, will have an irregular dominion like that of a robber. This cannot be described as having temporal power, in the proper sense of the term. Allah had made it quite clear to the Jews through Moses that if they continued to be disobedient, they would always live under the domination of other nations. Says the Holy Quran: “And when your Lord proclaimed He would send forth against them, unto the Day of Resurrection, those who should visit them with evil chastisement.” (7:167)…. As to how the Companions, their successors and the great commentators have interpreted the disgrace and degradation which has settled on the Jews, let us present a summary in the words of Ibn Kathir [d. 1373, the renowned historian and Koranic commentator]: “No matter how wealthy they grow, they will always be despised by other people; whoever gets hold of them will humiliate them, and attach to them the emblems of servitude.” The commentator Dahhak Ibn Muzahim reports from the blessed Companion Abdullah Ibn Abbas that the Jews will always remain under the domination of others, will be paying taxes and tributes to them—that is to say, they will themselves never have power and authority in the real sense of the term…. Another verse of the Holy Quran also speaks of the disgrace of the Jews, but with some addition: “And disgrace has been stamped over them wherever they are found, unless (saved) through a rope from Allah.” (3:112)….
    • Maulana Muhammad Shafi's commentary on the central anti-Semitic motif in the Koran, sura (chapter) 2, verse 61 (reiterated at Koran 3:112). quoted from Bostom, A. G. (2015). Sharia versus freedom: The legacy of Islamic totalitarianism.
  • Now the “rope” or means from Allah refers to the case of those whom Allah Himself has, through His own commandment, saved from the disgrace—for example, children, women, or those who are totally devoted to prayer and worship and never go to war against the Muslims. The “rope” or means from men refers to a treaty of peace with the Muslims, or a permission to live in a Muslim country on payment of the Jizyah. Since the Holy Quran uses the expression “from men” and not “from Muslims,” a third situation is also possible—the Jews may make political arrangements with other non-Muslims, live under their backing and protection, and thus be in “peace.”…Verse 3:112 helps to elucidate Verse 2:61, and also dispels the doubt which sometimes arises in the minds of the Muslims at the sight of the so-called “Israeli state” imposed on Palestine. For, they find it difficult to reconcile the two things—the Holy Quran seems to indicate that the Jews will never have a sovereign state, while they have actually usurped Palestine and set up a state of their own. But if we go beyond the appearances, we can easily see that “Israel” is not an independent sovereign state, but only a stronghold of the Western powers which they have established in the midst of Muslim countries in order to protect their own interests; without the backing of these super-powers the Jewish “state” cannot survive for a month, and the Western powers themselves look upon the Israelis as their henchmen. The “Israeli state” has been living, as the Holy Quran says, “through a rope from men,” and, even at that, living as a parasite on the Western powers. So, there is no real occasion to have a misgiving about what the Holy Quran has said on the subject. Moreover, the half of Palestine which the Jews have usurped and the parasite state they have set up there is no more than a spot on the map of the world. As against this, we have vast expanses of the globe covered by Christian states, by Muslim states, and even by the states of people who do not believe in Allah at all. Can this tiny blot on the map and that too under the American-British umbrella, negate the disgrace which Allah has made to settle upon the Jews?
    • Maulana Muhammad Shafi's commentary on the central anti-Semitic motif in the Koran, sura (chapter) 2, verse 61 (reiterated at Koran 3:112). quoted from Bostom, A. G. (2015). Sharia versus freedom: The legacy of Islamic totalitarianism.
  • Whenever a Jew is killed, it is for the benefit of Islam.
    • Ahmad Sirhindi, quoted from Bostom, A. G. (2015). Sharia versus freedom: The legacy of Islamic totalitarianism.
  • Your religion, although it has some good points, such as worship of the great Being, and the necessity of being just and charitable, is otherwise nothing but a rehash of Judaism and a tedious collection of fairy tales.
  • Islam is nothing more nor less than Judaism plus the apostle-ship of Mohammad.
    • —S. M. Zwemer, as quoted in Ibn Warraq, Why I am not a Muslim
  • Thus, when Muslims crossed the straits of Gibraltar from North Africa in 711 CE and invaded the Iberian Peninsula, Jews welcomed them as liberators from Christian Persecution.
    • Zion Zohar, Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry: From the Golden Age of Spain to Modern Times, NYU Press, 2005, p. 8
  • Born during this era of Islamic rule, the famous Golden Age of Spanish Jewry (circa 900-1200) produced such luminaries as: statesman and diplomat Hasdai ibn Shaprut, vizier and army commander Shmuel ha-Nagid, poet-philosophers Solomon Ibn Gabriol and Judah Halevi,and at the apex of them all, Moses Ben Maimon, also known among the Spaniards as Maimonides.
    • Zion Zohar, Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry: From the Golden Age of Spain to Modern Times, NYU Press, 2005, p. 9

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