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The Debate between the Might and the Truth within a Quranist Vision (15):
The Reason behind this Quranic Emphasis on the Israelites

The Debate between the Might and the Truth within a Quranist Vision (15):

The Reason behind this Quranic Emphasis on the Israelites

Published in January 4, 2018

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

Introduction:

1- The Almighty Lord God mentions in the Quran the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, David and Solomon; the story of the Israelites with Moses and Aaron occupies many Quranic verses, apart from other Quranic verses that directly address the Israelites in Arabia during Muhammad's lifetime. Some of the verses of the Quranic discourse about the Israelites mention the term ''Israelites'' to indicate the fact that they are the descendants of Jacob/Israel, and some other verses refer to the Israelites as the People of the Book.    

2- This Quranic emphasis on the Israelites contains the aspect of warning and preaching, within verses that include direct preaching and those verses of Quranic stories about the Israelites that include implied or indirect preaching. Thus, this aspect of warning and preaching is not addressing only the Israelites; it is addressing the Quran-believing people as well.      

3- This is a miraculous Quranic prediction about the long duration of the relations between the Quran-believing people and the Israelites in all eras following the era when the Quran was revealed; besides, this is an implied indication that the Muhammadans are following the footsteps of the disobedient sinners among the Israelites, and thus, the Quran is the criterion to judge both groups. We provide some details about this topic within the points below. 

Firstly:

1- Within the Yathreb city-state, Muhammad dealt with and had relations with the Israelites of Arabia; some of these Israelites were good, believing people, and some of them were disobedient disbelievers who committed acts of aggression against the Yathreb city-state. Those aggressors among the Israelites of Arabia are named in the Quranic text as "the Jews". Quranic verses that warn and preach the Israelites of Arabia descended, or were revealed, in Yathreb; i.e., these verses are among the Yathrebian revelation of the Quran, as opposed to the Meccan revelation (i.e., verses descended, or were revealed, in Mecca). There are Quranic verses that warn and preach the disobedient sinners and aggressors among the Israelites and other verses that praise the good, believing ones among the Israelites. Another Quranic term for the Israelites is (the People of the Book); some of them in Yathreb demanded from Muhammad a tangible miracle for them to see, and the same demand was made earlier by the disbelievers of the Qorayish tribe in Mecca. God has refuted their demand by reminding them of how their ancestors in Sinai demanded from Moses to be able to see God and that He punished them, and later on, they worshipped the golden calf and broke the covenant made with the Lord God when He caused Mount Al-Tur to suspend over their heads. God mentions that some of their ancestors murdered some prophets, slandered Mary while claiming that they killed Jesus, practiced usury/moneylending at interest, consumed ill-gotten money, prohibited permissible food items, and repelled people away from God's Path. "The People of the Book challenge you to bring down to them a book from the sky. They had asked Moses for something even greater. They said, "Show us God plainly." The thunderbolt struck them for their wickedness. Then they took the calf for worship, even after the clear proofs had come to them. Yet We pardoned that, and We gave Moses a clear authority. And We raised the Mount above them in accordance with their covenant, and We said to them, "Enter the gate humbly", and We said to them, "Do not violate the Sabbath", and We received from them a solemn pledge. But for their violation of their covenant, and their denial of God's Verses, and their killing of the prophets unjustly, and their saying, "Our hearts are closed." In fact, God has sealed them for their disbelief, so they do not believe, except for a few. And for their disbelief, and their saying against Mary a monstrous slander. And for their saying, "We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of God." In fact, they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them as if they did. Indeed, those who differ about him are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it, except the following of surmises. Certainly, they did not kill him. Rather, God raised him up to Himself. God is Mighty and Wise. Among the People of the Book those who believed to him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will bear witness about them. Due to the injustices committed by the Jews, We forbade them good things that used to be lawful for them; and for deterring many from God's Path. And for their taking usury, although they were forbidden to take it; and for their consuming people's wealth dishonestly. We have prepared for the disbelievers among them a painful torment." (4:153-161). After enumerating all these sins, God says the following: "But those among them firmly rooted in knowledge, and the believers, believe in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed before you; and the observers of prayers, and the givers of charity, and the believers in God and the Last Day - upon these We will bestow an immense reward." (4:162). We notice here that the phrase (And for their taking usury, although they were forbidden to take it) applies to some of Muhammad's companions/contemporaries in Yathreb who practiced usury through it has been forbidden earlier by the Lord God, within a verse in a Meccan Quranic Chapter about prohibiting to lend money at interest to the impoverished ones who deserve to receive charity donations or zakat: "The usury you practice, seeking thereby to multiply people's wealth, will not multiply with God. But what you give in charity, desiring God's approval-these are the multipliers." (30:39). Some companions in Yathreb continued to practice usury as they lent money to the poor ones at interest, and God has told them the following: "Those who swallow usury will not rise, except as someone touched by Satan's whispers. That is because they say, "Commerce is like usury." But God has permitted commerce, and has forbidden usury. Whoever, on receiving preaching from his Lord, refrains, may keep his past earnings, and his case rests with God. But whoever resumes - these are the dwellers of the Fire, wherein they will abide forever. God condemns usury, and He blesses charities. God does not love any sinful disbeliever. Those who believe, and do good deeds, and pray regularly, and give charity - they will have their reward with their Lord; they will have no fear, nor shall they grieve. O you who believe! Fear God in piety, and forgo what remains of usury, if you are believers. If you do not, then take notice of a war by God and His messenger. But if you repent, you may keep your capital, neither wronging, nor being wronged. But if he is in hardship, then deferment until a time of ease. But to remit it as charity is better for you, if you only knew. And fear in piety a Day when you will be returned to God; then each soul will be rewarded fully for what it has earned, and they will not be wronged." (2:275-281). The phrase (and for their consuming people's wealth dishonestly) in 4:153-161 compellingly reminds us of the sins committed by the Muhammadans; we are reminded by their sins further when we read the following verses about the sinners among the People of the Book who consumed ill-gotten money: "You see many of them competing with one another in sin and aggression, and their consuming of what is illicit. What they have been doing is truly evil.Why do the rabbis and the priests not prevent them from speaking sinfully and from consuming forbidden wealth? Evil is what they have been doing." (5:62-63). The same sins in the following verses about some of the People of the Book are committed by the Muhammadans (i.e., the Sunnites, the Shiites, and the Sufis) and their imams/clergymen: "O you who believe! Many of the rabbis and priests consume people's wealth illicitly, and hinder from God's Path. Those who hoard gold and silver, and do not spend them in God's cause, inform them of a painful torment. On the Day when they will be heated in the Fire of Hell, then their foreheads, and their sides, and their backs will be branded with them: "This is what you hoarded for yourselves; so taste what you used to hoard."" (9:34-35).       

2- Some of the People of the Book of Arabia were aggressors who launched military attacks against the Yathreb city-state, and this part of the history of Muhammad is mentioned in the Quranic Chapters 5 and 9. The early believers at the time have been addressed by Quranic preaching about being the best community/Umma if they would be true believers who enjoin goodness and advise against evil. This comes in the context of reminding the early believers that the vast majority of the People of the Book of Arabia were sinners and some of them were believers; the sinners among  them would not be able to harm the early believers beyond verbal abuse and the aggressors would be defeated as long as early believers would be truly faithful ones, as the aggressive sinners among the People of the Book of Arabia were punished by the Lord God because of their sins, aggression, disbelief in God's Verses, disobedience, and murdering of some prophets: "You are the best community that ever emerged for humanity: you advocate what is moral, and forbid what is immoral, and believe in God. Had the People of the Book believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are the believers, but most of them are sinners. They will do you no harm, beyond insulting you. And if they fight you, they will turn around and flee, then they will not be helped. They shall be humiliated wherever they are encountered, except through a rope from God, and a rope from the people; and they incurred wrath from God, and were stricken with misery. That is because they rejected God's Verses, and killed the prophets unjustly. That is because they disobeyed and committed aggression." (3:110-112). The next verses assert the fact that the People of the Book of Arabia include those pious ones who never committed acts of aggression: "They are not alike. Among the People of the Book is a community that is upright; they recite God's Verses throughout the night, and they prostrate themselves. They believe in God and the Last Day, and advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and are quick to do good deeds. These are among the righteous. Whatever good they do, they will not be denied it. God knows the righteous ones." (3:113-115). Strangely, the Muhammadans, past and present, have followed the footsteps of the disobedient aggressors and sinners among the People of the Book; the Muhammadans are the worst community/Umma that ever emerged for humanity and they have incurred God's wrath as He inflicts on them misery and humiliation because of their disobedience, sins, aggression, and their disbelief in God's Verses. 

3- God emphasizes and asserts within the end of the Quranic Chapter 3 that Quran-believing people, in all eras, will be tested by ordeals and will be verbally abused by polytheists and by sinners among the People of the Book; those Quran-believing people who endure this with steadfastness and patience within piety and the fear of the Lord God will be among the winners on the Last Day. In the same context, God mentions that sinners among the People of the Book broke the pledges they made during the event of God's covenant as they rejected the Truth (i.e., God's Book) and used it to consume ill-gotten money, and they love to be praised by people undeservedly, and their inescapable fate is eternal torment in Hell: "You will be tested through your possessions and your souls; and you will hear from those who received the Book before you, and from polytheists, much abuse. But if you persevere and lead a righteous life - that indeed is a mark of great determination. God received a pledge from those who were given the Book: "You shall proclaim it to the people, and not conceal it." But they disregarded it behind their backs, and exchanged it for a small price. What a miserable exchange they made. Do not think that those who rejoice in what they have done, and love to be praised for what they have not done - do not think they can evade the torment. They will have a painful torment." (3:186-188). This Quranic discourse is also addressed to those who believe in the Quran to heed this warning and preaching; the verses 3:187-188 apply to the Muhammadans, past and present. By the end of the Quranic Chapter 3, God says the following about the pious believers among the People of the Book: "As for those who feared their Lord: for them will be gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever - hospitality from God. What God possesses is best for the just. Among the People of the Book are those who believe in God, and in what was revealed to you, and in what was revealed to them. They are humble before God, and they do not sell God's Verses for a cheap price. These will have their reward with their Lord. God is swift in judgment." (3:198-199). God says the following to Quran-believing people: "O you who believe! Be patient, and advocate patience, and be steadfast, and revere God in piety, so that you may thrive." (3:200). 

4- God has addressed the following warning and preaching to the Israelites: "Say, "O People of the Book! Do not exaggerate in your religion beyond the Truth; and do not follow the opinions of people who went astray before, and misled many, and themselves strayed off the True Way."" (5:77). The Muhammadans should have taken heed, and they must take heed, of this warning and preaching, especially that the very next verses, about cursing the disbelieving sinners among the Israelites because of their disobedience and acts of aggression, apply to the Muhammadans of today: "Cursed were those who disbelieved from among the Israelites by the tongue of David and Jesus son of Mary. That is because they disobeyed and used to transgress." (5:78-81). The disbelieving, disobeying sinners among the Israelites are named as "the Jews" in the Quranic text; this has nothing to do with the sense/meaning of this term today, of course. The Quranic terms "polytheists" and "disbelievers" refer to those who non-peaceful ones who commit acts of aggression and transgression within their behavior of violence (i.e., they are disbelievers/polytheists in terms of behavior). God says the following about sinning, aggressive Jews who hated the peaceful early believers in Yathreb: "You surely find that the people most hostile towards the believers are the Jews and the polytheists..." (5:82), and He says the following about those peaceful ones among the People of the Book who loved the peaceful early believers in Yathreb: "...And you surely find that the nearest in affection towards the believers are those who say, "We are Christians."..." (5:82). God provides the reason for their love: "...That is because among them are priests and monks, and they are not arrogant." (5:82). God says that those peaceful Christians among the People of the Book in Arabia readily believed in the Quran after they heard the Quran recited to them: "And when they hear what was revealed to the messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears, as they recognize the Truth in it. They say, "Our Lord, we have believed, so count us among the witnesses." "And why should we not believe in God, and in the Truth that has come to us, and hope that our Lord will include us among the righteous people?"" (5:83-84), and He tells us about their reward: "God will reward them for what they say - Gardens beneath which rivers flow, where they will stay forever. Such is the reward of the righteous." (5:85). The use of the present simple tense in the verse 8:82 indicates that they apply to the past, present, and the future; i.e., in all eras.        

Lastly:

1- The Muhammadans of today never draw any benefits or lessons, regarding the so-called Arab-Israeli conflict, from the Quranic discourse about the Israelites; moreover, the Muhammadans intentionally disregard Quranic verses that tackle the story of Israelites because they hate the modern state of Israel. If it had not been for the fact that the Dominant Lord God protects the Quranic text Himself against any distortions or omissions, the Muhammadans would have readily deleted or omitted these Quranic verses that tackle the story of the Israelites. The Quranists, who truly believe in the fact that the Quran is the Only Discourse in Islam, must ponder Quranic verses while seeking guidance and deliverance as well as seeking to find solutions for problems, troubles, and crises of life, and even for the political ones.      

2- God has made His Book, the Quran, as Light and guidance to the People of the Book as well: "O People of the Book! Our Messenger has come to you, clarifying for you much of what you kept hidden of the Book, and overlooking much. A Light from God has come to you, and a Clear Book. " (5:15). The term "Messenger" here refers only to the Quran: the Clear Book that clarifies what is hidden in God's previous Scriptures. In this verse, God asserts that the Quran is the Criterion to settle the disputes of the People of the Book (especially the Israelites): "This Quran relates to the Israelites most of what they differ about." (27:76). We are not to blame the People of the Book of today (especially the Israelites) if they disregard the Quran and disbelieve in it, because the Muhammadans of today disregard and disbelieve in it more than anyone else on earth. 


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