Monday, April 1, 2019

Prof. states Al-Azhar (Egypt) Muslim University teaches Islam is Noahidism and Noahidism is Islam


Dr. Omer Salem is the author of "The Missing Peace: The Role of Religion in the Arab Israeli Conflict" and was educated in Islamic theology at the prestigious Sunni Al-Azhar University in Egypt.  Prof. Salem claims that his professors at Al-Azhar agree with this research that Noahide Law is compatible with Islam and that indeed the two are synonymous.  According to Salem the Quran specifically states that not all Jews are the enemies of Islam or have hidden the truth.  According to the professor's theory the Jews whom Muhammad accused of persecuting Muslims in Arabia were not Rabbinic Jews but Sadducee Jews, meaning they did not accept the authority of the Talmud and so did not accept the Noahide code, they believed you could only be a Jew or a non-Jew and there was eternal enmity between the two.  However, those Jews whom Muhammad did not accuse of hiding the truth or persecuting Muslims were Rabbinic Jews, meaning they did accept the authority of Talmudic doctrine and accepted Islam as a legitimate form of Noahidism in which the Muslims should not be persecuted. Learn more about the conflict between Sadducee Jews and Rabbinic Jews see (here).  Dr. Omer Salem also states that any reference in the Islamic literature stating Jews and Muslims are enemies only applied to "atheist Jews". According to the ideology being disseminated at Al-Azhar University, Muhammad came forth to establish the Noahidism of the Talmud which is considered a legitimate commandment from Muhammad. There is no conflict between Islam and acknowledging the legitimacy of the Jewish people and Zionism, Jews may follow their own scriptures without breaking Islamic Sharia. Muslim law is therefore not an aberration of  Judaism but an acceptable version of the Noahide commandments and can be utilized to bring forth the universal "submission" of the earth to the Noahide code. The obvious interpretation here would be that Islamism could work in tandem with Israel to set up Noahide courts and behead non-Jews who practice idolatry, blaspheme or commit "sexual immorality" (here). The site which is run by the United Noahide Council states that according to most interpretations of Jewish Law, that unlike Christianity, Islam is not "idolatry" and Muslims may even be proclaimed "Ger Toshav", meaning they may live within the land of Israel. The only conflict here would seem to be that Professor Salem states that Christians may follow their own books, while the Talmud calls Christianity "idolatry" and labels Jesus a "blasphemer", a ruling which would call for Christians to be decapitated (here). Muslim emissaries have appeared before the unofficial Sanhedrin in Israel to pledge allegiance to its ethnic priests and take upon themselves to spread the Noahide code to the Islamic world. (here)

Israel National News
Real Islam calls for peace with the Jewish people
Dr. Omer Salem, 25/01/16

The author writes: "The interpretations I put forth are shared by classical Islamic scholars and also shared by my professors at Al-Azhar (Egypt) University today."

Arutz Sheva has been hosting a debate between Muslims who believe that the Qu'ran wants Jews and Muslims to live in peace and those who consider this interpretation of Islam a fantasy. The following article, linked below to the previous ones on the topic, is part of this debate.

On January 13th 2016, Arutz Sheva posted an op-ed by Dr. Stephen M. Kirby entitled: “Jewish-Muslim coexistence through the Koran? Wishful thinking.” His article was a rebuttal to Rebecca Abrahamson’s op-ed entitled: “Dr. Omer Salem, A Bridge for Peace?” On January 24th, Arutz Sheva posted another article by Dr. Kirby, "Fantasy Islam," this in response to Adnan Oktar's article "A call for sanity: How the Qu'ran-abiding Muslims view the Jews," which itself was an answer to Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld's analysis and critique of the UK deciding to teach Islam in its schools.

Dr. Salem's new article:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Kirby for the time and research he conducted to come up with his rebuttal. Herein, I reply to each point made by Dr. Kirby. The Qur’anic verses cited here are based on the most widely accepted English translation: The meaning of the Qur’an.[1] But, before I start would like to remind my audience of seven premises:

Most of the time, it is not possible to convey the exact meaning of the original text. This is especially true in works of sacred texts and literature. For example, the Tanakh was translated to four ancient languages and became the Greek Septuagint, the Aramaic Targum, the Syriac Peshitta, and the Latin Vulgata, each book with its nuances and adherents, which do not necessarily agree with each other.

The Arabic Qur’an, like the Hebrew Bible, can be interpreted to justify war or to sue for peace. One could read the Qur’an or the Bible, and be guided to acceptance and respect of “the other” which leads to peace; one could read the Qur’an or the Bible, and be led to rejection and animosity of “the other” and war. See Isaiah (9:16) and Qur’an 2:26. In the Muslim Ummah (nation), there are more than forty acceptable books of tafseer (exegesis). In my rebuttal I would like to limit my sources to four major books of tafseer: Tabari (d. 936 AD), Razi (d. 1209), al-Suyūṭī (d. 1505) and Ibn Ashur (d. 1973)

According to the Qur’an, People of the Book are not all the same, among them are the believer and the disbeliever. This highlighted in Q3:113: " Not all of Ahlul Kitab are alike:” According to the Qur’an, the believer among the people of the book will have their reward in the hereafter and the disbeliever of the people of the book will have their punishment in the hereafter. (2:69) The believer among the people of the book is defined in this verse in the Qur’an (2:69) “…any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness (צֶדֶק), shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

The Qur’an praises Ahlul Qur’an (Muslims) and Ahlul Kitab (Jews) in many verses. Also, the Qur’an condemns actions by Ahlul Qur’an (Muslims) and Ahlul Kitab (Jews) in many verses. In that respect, the Qur’an is not much different from the book of Deuteronomy or the book of Isaiah praising and condemning the Israelites.
Dr. Kirby cited Q2:109 as an example of “the People of the Book having enmity and hatred toward Muslims.” The verse says: “Quite a number of the People of the Book wish they could Turn you (people) back to infidelity after ye have believed, from selfish envy, after the Truth hath become Manifest unto them: But forgive and overlook, Till Allah accomplish His purpose; for Allah Hath power over all things.”

In the above verse Allah states that “Quite a number of the People of the Book” and does not say “all of the People of the Book,” also notice that Allah commanded the Muslim people by saying: “But forgive and overlook, Till Allah accomplish His purpose,” According to the eleventh century Muslim scholar Fakhrul Din Al-Razi (d. 1208) “Till Allah accomplish His purpose” in this context means “Till the day of judgement.”[2] This means that Muslims should forgive and overlook the enmity directed towards them by some of the People of the Book until the day of Judgement.

Dr. Kirby cited Q3:71 as an example of the People of the Book mixing truth with falsehood and concealing the truth. Here is what the verse says: "Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe Truth with falsehood, and conceal the Truth, while ye have knowledge?”

This verse and the two verses before it and the two verses after it constitute one unit (Q3:69-73) and all five verses talk about only some of Ahlul Kitab. Again, not all Ahlul Kitab behave in the manner described in this verse.

Indeed, looked at historically, the majority of Jews in the Arabian peninsula at the time of Muhammad were keeping a Sadducean form of Judaism, one that Rabbinic Jews reject. Were those Sadduceans not “concealing” the true path of Rabbinic Judaism? Are there not forms of “Judaism” today that some readers here do not hold as authentic?

In fact the Qur’an confirms that People of the Book are: (1) Not all of them are alike Q3:113, (2) happy with the revelations given to prophet Muhammad as delineated in verse (Q13:36) " Those to whom We have given the Book rejoice at what hath been revealed unto thee:" (3) And when the Qur’an is recited to them, they [people of the Book] say: "We believe therein, for it is the Truth from our Lord: indeed we have been Muslims (bowing to God’s Will) from before this Qur’an. (Q28:53) In the last two examples, the proper God fearing Jews are indeed happy that the universal Noachide covenant is being restored, as would most of you today. Indedd the terms “Muslim” can be used to mean “submitter” and God fearer. Look in your targum Onkelos where the first century CE sage translates God fearer to Salamai and Muslamai. So the word “Muslim” was used to mean God Fearer by a Jewish sage centuries before the ministry of Muhammad (pbuh).

Dr. Kirby cited Q3:98-99 as an example that the People of the Book “know that Islam is the true faith but they reject it anyway and hinder those seeking to follow Islam.” This interpretation of the verses is not necessarily accurate in light of Q3:113, Q13:36 and Q28:53. In addition, according to Al-Razi these two verses and the one verse after it constitute one unit (Q3:98-100) and all three-verses talk about a section of Ahlul Kitab. Not all Ahlul Kitab behave in the manner described in those verses. That is why Allah mentioned in Q3:113 : “not all of them are alike,” and in Q13:36 “" Those to whom We have given the Book rejoice at what hath been revealed unto thee.”

Dr. Kirby cited 4:47 as an example of “Allah commanding the People of the Book to believe in Islam and Prophet Muhammad, or He will efface faces and turn them hindwards.” Again, this verse is taken out of context and according to Al-Razi it is combined with the verse before it and the verse after it as one unit (Q4:46-48). Yes, the Jewish people are commanded to believe that Qur’an is a message from God revealed to Prophet Muhammad who is a messenger from God. (You also believe that Noah was a prophet and revealed the seven laws to all humanity.)

But, Jews are commanded to follow their own scripture—the Torah; or, if they were not Jewish according to the standards of Rabbinic Judaism, or if their own scripture is too cumbersome for them, then they are welcome to follow the scripture that is much less cumbersome—the Qur’an. The Qur’an confirms this meaning in Q7:157 “He [Muhammad] releases them [the Jews] from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them.” He released the non-Jews who were part of the Jewish community, and also welcomes Jews who wish to embrace Islam, while still accepting Jews who adhere to Torah.

It is important to know that the Holy Qur’an in multiple verses commands the Jewish people to obey the revelations given to them through Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), here are four examples: (1) But why do they [the Jews] come to thee [Muhammad] for decision, when they have their own Torah before them?- in the Torah is the plain command of Allah. Q5:43; (2) we commanded them [in the Torah]: "Transgress not in the matter of the Sabbath." And we took from them [the Jewish people] a solemn covenant. Q4:156; (3) And Allah said [to the Jewish people]: "I am with you: if ye (but) establish regular prayers, practice regular charity, believe in my messengers, honor and assist them, and loan to Allah a beautiful loan, verily I will wipe out from you your evils, and admit you to gardens with rivers flowing beneath; (Q5:12); (4) To each among you [Muslims and Jews] have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. “(Q5:48)

Dr. Kirby cited 9:29 as an example of Muslims “commanded to fight the People of the Book until those People pay the jizyah, with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.” This is a portion of one of the most misunderstood verses of the Qur’an. Here is the complete verse: “Fight those who believe neither in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

In this verse is a commandment to fight people who do not believe in God. To the best of my knowledge, God-fearing Jews believe in God. Please note that the verse talks about fighting people who do not believe in God even if they are people of the book, because, it is assumed that people of the book are supposed to believe in God. As to the part of the verse that deals with “the religion of Truth:” according to Razi, the religion of Truth is submission to the will of God, and God-fearing Jews do submit to God. Therefore the Jizya is directed not towards all Jews but towards atheist Jews. This verse proves my thesis that “Jews cleaving to the laws of Moses will be respected by Muslims” they will not have to pay Jizyah in a Muslim State.

Dr. Kirby cited 98:6 saying that: “if the People of the Book don’t believe in Islam, then they are among the worst of creatures and they will abide in the Fires of Hell.” Again this is part of a verse that should be considered in context, it should be read with the verse before it and the verse after it as one unit to get to the intended meaning. Here is what the verse says: “Those who reject Truth, among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein. They are the worst of creatures.” Please note the conjunction “among.” It is clear that the verse does not say that “all People of the Book will be in hell fire,” it says that “Those who reject Truth, among the People of the Book… will be in Hell-Fire.” That is why God said about people of the book “Not all of them are alike” Q3:113. Also, that people of the book rejoice at what hath been revealed unto thee [O’Muhammad]. (Q13:36). The noun “Truth” in this context is referring to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Dr. Kirby said: “If Muslims truly believe that the Koran consists of the Words of Allah, then there is no support in the Koran for claiming that Jews will earn respect in the Muslim world by being viewed as People of the Book.” To answer such claim I would like to remind Dr. Kirby that there is support, in the Qur’an, for claiming that God-fearing Jews are considered people of the Book and will earn respect in the Muslim world by being viewed as People of the Book. Such support is clearly stated in many verses in the Qur’an including following verses: (1) Not all of them are alike. Q3:113. (2) People of the book rejoice at what hath been revealed unto thee [O’Muhammad]. (Q13:36). (3) Of the people of Moses there is a section that guide and do justice in the light of truth. (Q7:159). (4) And those to whom knowledge has come (people of the book) see that the Revelation sent down to thee from thy Lord - that is the Truth, and that it guides to the Path of the Exalted (in might), Worthy of all praise. (Q34:6)

Dr. Kerby cited 5:82 as an example of “the Jews are among the worst enemies of the Muslims.” Here is what the verse says: “Certainly you will find the most violent of people in enmity for those who believe to be the Jews and those who are polytheists.” Yes, the verse is clear about the enmity of atheist Jews directed towards the newly formed Muslim nation. Sure there was enmity from the Sadducean Jews – Muhammed (pbuh) was disrupting their power base by declaring that some members of the Sadducean Jewish community are not really God-fearing Jews, not bound by Torah, and should leave that group and join Noachidism or the sharia of Muhammed (pbuh). Again, most readers here would welcome that.

In addition, just as Allah stated regarding all forms of enmity, Allah gave the Muslim people the cure for such enmity. The remedy of such enmity is found in chapter 41 verse 34 of the Holy Qur’an: “Nor can goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!” Incidentally, this verse has its equivalent in the Tanakh, book of Proverbs (16:7) “When man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, even his enemies become his friends.”

Dr. Kirby cited 3:28, 5:51, 5:57, 9:30 and 60:13 as an example of “Muslims are forbidden from being friends with Jews.” The Qur’an makes a distinction between atheist Jews and God-fearing Jews. For Muslims, atheist Jews are to be avoided and G-d fearing Jews to be befriended.

Yes, Muslims are forbidden from being friends with atheist Jews. However, Muslims are not forbidden from being friends with God-fearing Jews.

The proof of that statement can be found in many verses including 3:113, 13:36 and 7:157. Also, the common operative word in all those verses is the Arabic word Walī (Arabic ولي , plural Awliyā أولياء), its lexical meaning being “supporter”, “guardian” or “protector”. The Muslim cannot take an atheist Jew as a friend, but a Muslim could take a God-fearing Jew as a friend.[3]

Dr. Kirby cited 49:13 and 5:48 to indicate that “Muslims and Jews are “coreligionists.” Well, Muslims and atheist Jews are not coreligionists. However, Muslims and God-fearing Jews are coreligionists. As to the verse 49:13 : “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” Allah has bestowed the quality and attribute of piety (Taqwa تقوى) equally on God-fearing Muslims and God-fearing Jews. This can be found in 3:115, 4:131 and 21:48.

A God-fearing Jew who believes in the oneness of God, honors his/her parents, upholds the laws of Moses will have the mercy of Allah as indicated in 3:69, 5:69.

Dr. Kirby cited 5:48 to show that “Salem appears to be selecting only portions of verses and is engaging in his own personal interpretation of the Koran.” Here is the entire verse: “To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute;”

Here is the commentary on this verse by Tabari,[4] and Razi.[5] The Holy Qur’an acts as a witness and guardian (not nullifier) of the Torah and Gospel. Then Allah instructs: O’ Muhammad, judge between People of the Book by what Allah hath revealed in their books, for example, the Jews should be judged based on their book,[6] and the Christians should be judged based on their own book.[7]

Dr. Kirby makes a claim that “Salem …interpretation is at odds with those of authoritative Koran commentators over the centuries.” In fact the interpretation I am presenting is supported by Tabari, al-Razi, al-Suyūṭī and Ibn Ashur, and is not poisoned by power politics.

Dr. Kirby cites the verse 3:85 to show that “Salem is ignoring the clear message of the Koran.” Here is the verse: “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).” “Islam” in this context bears the broader meaning of submission to God. A God-fearing Jew in this sense is one who submits to God, and can easily be counted among the people of the Book. The people of the Book are Muslims in the sense of submitters, as indicated in the Holy Qur’an Q28:52-53: “Those to whom We sent the Book before this [the Jewish people],- they do believe in this (revelation) * And when it is recited to them, they say: "We believe therein, for it is the Truth from our Lord: indeed we have been Muslims (bowing to Allah's Will) from before this.”

Dr. Kirby cited my statements on Jihadul Nafs and Jihadul Sayeef as having “no basis in Islamic doctrine.” In fact those two types of Jihad have basis in Islamic doctrine starting with the Holy Qur’an itself which delineate the concept of Jihadul Nafs in Q25:52 “Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness, with the (Qur'an).” It is clear from this Meccan verse that Allah is instructing the newly found Ummah to strive in the path of Allah, not by the sword, but by the Qur’an—that is Jihadul Nafs.[8]

Dr. Kirby cited Hadith No. 2926 in Sahih Al-Bukhari. He cited the Hadith to indicate that Muslims and Jews could not prosper “side by side.” This Hadith of the Stone and the Tree is authenticated by Imam Bukhari (d. 870 AD) and is directed towards atheist Jews. In sharp contrast, God-fearing Jews, followers of the Sharia of Moses, peace be upon him, are considered Ahlul Kitab and they will not be subject to that Hadith.

Dr. Kirby cited Hadith No. 2644 in Sunan Ibn Majah, He cited the Hadith to indicate that “the blood money for the Jews and Christians is half of the blood money for the Muslims.” This Hadith is authenticated by Ibn Majeh (d. 887 AD) and is directed towards atheist Jews and atheist Christians. In sharp contrast, God-fearing Jews, followers of the Shari’a of Moses, peace be upon him; and God-fearing Christians, following of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, are considered Ahlul Kitab and they are not subject to that Hadith.

Dr. Kirby cited Hadith No. 2167, 2767 and 1767 by Sahih Muslim. All three Hadith mentioned contain negative language to rebuke atheist Jews and do not refer to God-fearing Jews. God-fearing Jews are actually considered Ahlul Kitab who respect the laws of Moses. The negative language in those three Hadith amounts to rebuke for the Israelites similar to what prophet Moses said in Deuteronomy (31:24): “For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the Lord while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die!”

The language in those Hadith is not much worse that the language used by Prophet Isaiah to rebuke the Israelites (1:4) “Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.”

Finally, I would like to briefly outline the relationship between the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Bible as reveled to Prophet Muhammad:

Concerning the purpose of the Qur’an for Jews, there are two main purposes. First, to facilitate reconciliation between Jews and Christians: “(O Muhammad) we have only revealed to you the Holy Qur’an so that you may clarify to them (Jews and Christians), those things in which they differ and as guidance and a mercy for those who believe.”[9] With viewing the Holy Qur’an, not aa a book of nullification of previous scripture, but, as a book of reconciliation between Jews and Christians, Ahlul Qur’an and Ahlul Kitab will enjoy much better relations and avoid much conflict, especially over the Holy Land.

The second purpose relating to Jews and Christians concerns the unity of basic universal religion. This is revealed in surah 42:15 “ . . . and say (O’ Muhammad): I believe in what Allah has revealed of the Book (Torah and - Gospel), and I am commanded to make amends between you; Allah is our Lord and your Lord; we shall have our deeds and you shall have your deeds; There is no contention (dispute) between us and you: Allah will gather us together, and to Allah is the return.”

Allah is instructing that there is no contention or dispute “between us Muslims and you Jews” because all revelations come from the same source—Allah. Some might say, but the Qur’an says that the Prophet Muhammad was sent to all mankind, to Arabs and non-Arabs, Jews and Christians, and all must follow him.[10] To that the Qur’an tells us that every prophet came with a general message and a specific message. The general message is meant for all mankind, this is the Deen (universal law) of Islam. Deen is comparable to the universal Noahide laws. In this regard there is no distinction between the prophets.

The specific message refers to the Shari’a (covenant) that was assigned to each Ummah (nation). The first religion was given to Adam (pbuh). Jews call this the Noachide covenant since an extra commandment regarding eating meat was added with Noah. Muslims call this first universal covenant Islam (submission).[11]Jews can thus view Judaism as a form of Islam when the term “Islam” is used in its universal sense. Jews and Christians have their own specific Shari’a—their own scriptures and prophets, patriarchs and saints, yet their basic belief systems are consistent with Islam. Thus the Qur’an states that Jews and Christians have a special status within the Ummah (nation) of Islam.

The Qur’an is clear about the role of Jews and Christians within the restored religion of the Prophet Ibrahim as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. As long as Jews and Christians follow the morals and ethics revealed in their own books, they should be left to worship God according to their own conscience, and their assessment will be left to Allah on the Day of Judgment. (5:48)

Just as Allah warns Ahlul Kitab who do not follow the morals and ethics revealed in their scriptures, Allah also has a strong admonition for Ahlul Qur’an who do not follow the morals and ethics revealed in the Holy Qur’an. (72:23)

The Qur’an was not revealed so that Jews would abandon their faith, their prophet Moses and abrogate their book, the Torah, in order to follow the Prophet Muhammad. The Qur’an was not revealed so that Christians would abandon their faith, their prophet Jesus Christ and abrogate their books—the Greek Septuagint for Protestants or the Latin Vulgate for Catholics—in order to follow the Prophet Muhammad. The Qur’an was revealed for two reasons: Dignitism and d’awa (invitation).[12] “Dignitism” means to invite Jews to uphold the best morals and ethics that their own tradition has to offer as delineated in the Hebrew Torah, and to invite Christians to follow and uphold the best morals and ethics their own tradition has to offer as delineated in the Christian Bible.[13]

D’awa means “invitation” or “outreach”. It is offered to those Ahlul Kitab who do not follow their faith, or to people who do not have any religion. In one sense, the Prophet Muhammad was sent to invite them all to the restored religion of the Prophet Abraham - Islam, in this sense meaning the sharia of Muhammad (pbuh). This would mean that members of the Jewish community who are not following Torah, Christians who are not following Injil (Gospel), Noachides and those without any religion are invited to embrace Islam in the sense of embracing the sharia of Muhammad (pbuh).

There is ample room in Islam to accept Jews, Christians, and Noahides fully as they are, encouraging them to cleave to their faiths and prophets. This holds the view that the Shari’a (covenant) of Torah was incorrectly being required of the non-Jewish Edomites, Ammonites and Nabateans of Arabia. At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, Jewish leaders who were keeping a Sadducean-based form of Judaism were competing for power in the Arabian Peninsula and were trying to expand their influence by encouraging converts who were not converted according to the Rabbinic tradition and were not accepted by Rabbinic Jews. Rabbinic Judaism, the continuation of the Pharisaic movement, was at odds with Sadducean Judaism, and it was Sadducean Judaism that was more prevalent in Arabia at the time of Muhammad.[14]

The Prophet Muhammad came to release these non-Jews from the Shari’a of the Torah, which in the view of Rabbinic Judaism never applied to them, and restore them to the monotheism of the Shari’a of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh), otherwise known as Noachidism.[15]

Thus, the prophet Muhammed was in that sense in agreement with Rabbinic Judaism vis-avis “authentic and inauthentic”, and this can serve as a base for conciliation even today. The Qur’an says that the Prophet Muhammad was sent to offer compassion, grace and mercy to creation and not to coerce, curse or condemn creation.[16]

Imagine a non-Jewish prophet rising up today and declaring, say, that so called converts to Judaism who did not convert according to acceptable Rabbinic standards are not actually Jewish, and are invited to keep Noachidism? Most readers here would welcome such a courageous stand.

Muhammad (pbuh) was telling false converts to Sadducean Judaism that they are released from their false identity, are not bound by Torah, and can be Noachides or Muhammedi Muslims, plain and simple. And most of you would welcome that.

This parallels Jesus Christ’s(pbuh) ministry to the “lost sheep of Israel.” At Jesus’ time too, in the Holy Land, Herod had previously expanded the definition of “who is a Jew” in order to make the Jewish empire mightier. Why did Jesus say “the lost sheep of Israel” and not just “Israel”? Because he was not talking to all Jews, just those who were part of the Jewish community who according to Rabbinic standards were not really Jewish and thus not bound by the sharia of Torah. Again, most readers here would welcome that.

Islam does welcome even God fearing Jews and Christians to follow the shari’a of Muhammed, but I say again, supports those who cleave to their shari’a – that of Torah or Injil (Gospel). If Jews or Christians choose voluntarily to follow the message revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, they are welcome to do so, and they will have their reward doubled, once for following what was revealed to them, and once for following the new message revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, as indicated in the Holy Qur’an.[17]

Jews and Christians should not be taunted, insulted, or ridiculed because they follow a Shari’a other than the Prophet Muhammad’s Shari’a or a book other than the Holy Qur’an. They should be treated with Ihsan—kindness, respect, and integrity. They should be inspired and encouraged to follow the best guidance they have in their own Holy Scriptures.[18]

Allah prohibited the believers against reviling, cursing, abusing, or insulting non-Muslim or their deities.[19] Therefore, as Muslims, one should treat others with respect, kindness, and integrity. One should implement the recommendations made in the recent document released from Al Azhar University, Egypt, which promotes “full respect of divine religions . . . . [and to] protect and fully respect [all] places of worship.”[20]

It is important for Jews and Muslims to be reminded that God is Merciful and Graceful,[21] the Prophet Muhammad is a messenger of Mercy and Grace,[22] and the Holy Qur’an is the message of Mercy and Grace.[23]

We should all be reminded that there is a difference between religion and power politics. Religion is the belief in and worship of a supernatural power called Allah or God. Religion is about relationship with God and kindness to neighbor. Power politics on the other hand is about action by a person or state to increase power or influence over people or states. Power politics is not concerned with God or with kindness to other human beings. Power politics is about administering resources to maximize state power. Therefore, when a state or a religious leader issues a damaging decree they are in effect practicing power politics, not religion.


I am thankful that my desire for peace between Jews and Muslims is appreciated by Dr. Kirby. Furthermore, by encouraging both Jews and Muslims to deepen their attachment to their own scriptures, peace can be attained. In order to have peace between Muslims and Jews, it is important for Muslims to view Islam as calling for peace with Jews and for Jews to view Judaism as calling for peace with Muslims.

I also wish to point out that I am telling Muslims to cleave to scripture as well, and I am a tireless advocate for the Jewish people’s need to live freely in the Holy Land, as well as their need for security. Please see just two such examples in attached video and paper below. [24][25] This has been my mission and my readings of both the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Tanakh, and as stated above, the interpretations I put forth are shared by classical Islamic scholars and also shared by my professors at Al-Azhar University today. I am not alone. You can see a list of these scholars in my book, "The Missing Peace: The Role of Religion in the Arab Israeli Conflict.".

Dr. Omer Salem is the author of "The Missing Peace: The Role of Religion in the Arab Israeli Conflict."

[1] Abdullah Yûsuf Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an,(Maryland: Amana Publications, 2009)

[2] Tafseer al Fakhr al-Razi, (Cairo: Darul Fikr, 2005) volume 3, page 241.

[3] See Hawi li-l Fatawi (2:241ff), and for more information on hadiths about the Abdal see ‘Ajluni’s Kashf (#35) and Sakhawi’s Maqasid (#8).

[4] Tafseer Tabari, Editor: Abdullah al-Turkey (Riyadh: Dar Aalam el Kutub, 2005) volume 8, pages 485-500.

[5] Tafseer al-Razi, Editor: M. Saleh Zarkan (Lebanon: Darul Fikr, 2005) volume 12, pages 10-13.

[6] Q5:43 “But why do they [the Jews] come to thee for decision, when they have their own law before them?- therein is the plain command of Allah;

[7] Q5:47 “Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein.”

[8] Tafseer Tabari, Editor: Abdullah al-Turkey (Riyadh: Dar Aalam el Kutub, 2005) volume 17, pages 470. Tafseer al-Razi, Editor: M. Saleh Zarkan (Lebanon: Darul Fikr, 2005) volume 24, pages 90.

[9] Q16:64.

[10] Q34:28

[11] Q42:13

[12] “Dignitism” is a word coined by the author of this book to indicate that people who believe differently from each other still deserve acceptance and respect because we are all created in the image of God. Dignitism implies that there is more than one way to worship God and to be a good human being.

[13] Ibid. Q5:66: “And if they [the Jews] had kept up [the moral and ethical teachings of] the Torah and [the Christians had kept up the moral and ethical teachings of] the Gospel and that which was revealed to them from their Lord, they would certainly have eaten from above them and from beneath their feet (which means to have comfortable and fulfilling lives)”

[14] The Sadducees (Hebrew: צְדוּקִים Sĕdûqîm) were a sect of Jews that was active in Judea during the Second Temple period, starting from the second century BCE through the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. The sect was identified by Josephus (d. 100 AD) with the upper social and economic echelon of Judean society. As a whole, the sect fulfilled various political, social, and

religious roles, including maintaining the Temple. The Sadducees are often compared to other contemporaneous sects, including the Pharisees and the Essenes.

The Pharisees (/’færə,si:z/) were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought in the Holy Land during the time of Second Temple Judaism. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Pharisaic beliefs became the foundational, liturgical and ritualistic basis for Rabbinic Judaism (the term ‘Judaism’ today almost always refers to Rabbinic Judaism).

[15] Teshuvot ha-Rambam 2, no. 293

[16] Q21:107: “We have only sent thee (O Muhammad) as a Mercy for all humanity.”

[17] “They [Jews and Christians] shall be granted their reward twice, because they are steadfast and they repel evil with good and spend out of what We have given them.” Ibid. Q28:53

[18] Q39:23: “Allah has revealed (from time to time) the most beautiful Message in the form of Books, consistent with itself, (yet) repeating (its teaching in various aspects).”

[19] Q6:108: “And insult not those whom they [non-Muslims] worship besides Allah, lest they insult Allah wrongfully without knowledge. Thus we have made alluring to each people their own doings; then to their Lord is their return and [their lord] shall then inform them of all that they used to do.”

[20] Associated Press, “Al-Azhar sheik proposes bill of rights, aiming to balance out Islamists in Egypt constitution”, The Washington Post Foreign Policy, January 10, 2012

[21] Qur’an 6:54 “your Lord has ordained mercy on Himself,”

[22] Qur’an 21:107 “We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.”

[23] Qur’an 64:16 “a guide and a mercy to those who believe.”

[24] Paper delivered in Egypt

[25] My talk in Egypt, June 2015, see notes in English attached

Wiki Noah
Islam and Noahide Law
United Noahide Council

There has been much less halachic literature written about Islam compared to Christianity. It has been suggested that this is due, in part, to the fact there has not been in the way of substantial polemics directed at Islam.[1] Almost all halachic authorities follow Maimonides and rule that Islam is not idolatry. Many halachic authorities disagree with Maimonides and rule that Muslims enjoy, at least in part, the status of a Ger Toshav. Although concerning both these points there are major halachic authorities with dissenting opinions. The most serious issues with Islam from a Noahide point of view is the non-acceptance of Jewish scriptures and the "replacement theology" of the Prophethood of Muhammed. The Brisker Rav said that for Muslims to be considered Noahides, they must accept the 7 mitzvos because Hashem commanded it at Sinai. Additionally, they must honor the prohibition of "shfichas domim".

Islam and the halachah

According to Jewish Law, both Jews and non-Jews are forbidden to worship idols, a category which also includes certain forms of polytheism. This prohibition is required as part of the Seven Laws of Noah. Once the doctrine of the Trinity became known to the rabbonim, it was generally regarded as polytheism, although with some exceptions. In the last few hundred years with the Christian reformation, the emergance of non-trinitarian movements, and appearance for the first time of "Noahides" a great deal of responsa has been written in this matter. Partly this is to a closer examination of theological issues, and partly this had to do with dealing with the diversity of thought that had sprung up within Christian and former Christian groups. Early authorities characterized Islam as idolatrous, based on early rulings concerning Christianity and whatever information was available concerning of the emerging faith.

There was a widespread perception that an idol was to be found in the Ka'aba. For example Midrash Lekah Tov regarded Mecca as the name of an Islamic idol[2] Based on this this R. Menahem Meiri, R. Abraham Sofer (son of the Hatam Sofer) and Sefer ha-Eshkol rule that it was forbidden to drink or even obtain benefit from wine handled by a Muslim. According to them, there was no difference in the halachic status of wine handled by a Muslim or an idolater.[3] Simhah Assaf[4] rules that wine handled by a Muslim is forbidden for use as if it was touched by a Christian. However, from the reason given in this responsum, one cannot conclude that a Muslim was viewed as an idolater. Nahmanides made a distinction between Muslim wine and Jewish wine which was touched by a Muslim. Also based on this, some achronim like the Birkei Yosef[5] and the Tashbez[6] ruled that the practice was not to receive any benefit from wine handled by a Muslim.

Most of the geonim held that Islam was not idolatry, however they did bring another factor into play. The Talmud gives another reason to prohibit the drinking of wine, the need to prevent socialization with non-Jews, apparently even non-idolatrous ones.[7] Based on this R. Zemah Gaon ruled that even though one could benefit from Muslim wine, it was still unfit to be drunk by a Jew.[8] Similar rulings were also made by Geonim Kohen Zedek,[9] Sar Shalom,[10] Nahshon,[11] and other important rabbonim.[12]However, R' Yizhak Rafael in his Sefer ha-Manhig, ruled that such wine was permissible for drinking.[13] He says that "perhaps it is permissible" to drink Muslim wine in a setting not conducive to socializing.

See the sources in Mayim Hayyim[14] where it is explained why certain authorities disregard the Geonic view that permits one only to obtain benefit from this wine but does not allow one to drink it. "There is no unity [of G-d] like the unity found in Islam; therefore, one who forbids [drinking] wine which they have handled turns holy into profane by regarding worshippers of G-d as worshippers of idols, G-d forbid."[15] On the other hand, kabbalists like R. Joseph Hayyim, tried to show that Islamic monotheism was far removed from the monotheism of Judaism[16]

The basis for these rulings was the concensus of halachic opinion by the Gaonim that Islam as a religion was not to be regarded as idolaty. However, since all of these Geonim were concerned with a specific halachic issue, they did not rule on any of the larger questions which deal with the relation of Judaism to Islam. The Geonic responsa in general show great regard for Islamic shaaria law[17]

Maimonides strongly put forth the view that Muslims were not idolaters. Although, to be sure, Islam was heresy,[18] this did not stop Maimonides from expressing a positive view about Islam - or even about Christianity, which he considered to be idolatry.[19] He ruled that although Islam and Christianity are both in error, they still have some value in that they prepare the world eventually to accept the sovereignty of G-d[20]

In Maimonides' system there was one point on which Christianity, although idolatrous, actually stood above Islam. The Talmud states that it is forbidden to teach Torah to non-Jews, and this interdiction is clasified as halacha by Maimonides. However, he makes an exception for Christians, because they believe in the same text of the Bible as the Jews and it is thus possible that, after having studied, they will recognize the error of their ways. For Muslims, however, because they do not accept that the five books of Moses are Divine, such a possibility is not to be considered. It is, therefore, forbidden to teach them Torah.[21]

However from this ruling, one can conclude nothing about the basic worth of Christianity vis-a-vis Islam. The prohibition to teach Torah to Muslims was due to the specific reason cited, and did not speak to any of the broader issues involved in evaluating their religion. In appears that it is Islam that was more favorable in Maimonides' eyes. As we have seen, according to him, both Christianity and Islam have a positive role to play in the world. However, with regard to Islam, despite certain critical comments regarding Muhammed,[22] the fact that Islam is not idolatry creates a crucial distinction between it and Christianity and leads to numerous consequences, both in law and theology. David Novak argues that this explains Malmonides' belief that Muslims, as sons of Ishmael, are required to circumcize their sons.[23] Maimonides rules that although a Jew may not obtain benefit from wine handled by a Christian, that is not the case with regard to a Muslim. However, Maimonides does agree with the view of the Geonim that it is still not permissible to drink this wine. According to Maimonides, this ruling was supported by "all the Geonim"[24] According to R. Asher of Montanzon[25]Maimonides saw the works of "all the Geonim." The Radbaz was of the same opinion [26] However, it is not clear that this really means "all" as there were Geonim who do not agree with this position[27], Nahmanides says that "some Geonim" agree with the law as codified by Maimonides.[28] and, as we have already noted, this stringency had nothing to do with Islam as a religion but was to prevent socialization with non-Jews generally.
Ovadiyah the Proselyte

Maimonides further explains his view regarding Islam in a letter that he wrote to a certain Ovadiyah the Proselyte, who, having previously been a Muslim, certainly knew the particulars of the religion, and had declared that it was not idolatry. Because of his opinion, he was repremanded by his teacher, who claimed that the Islamic religious service at Mecca was idolatrous in that it involved the ritual of throwing stones which constituted worship of Merkulius. The identification of Islamic worship at Mecca with an idolatrous cult of Merkulius was very common in the Middle Ages, see R. Asher ben Yehiel.[29] Regarding this responsum, see Isaac Herzog, Pesakim u-Khetavim[30]. Historians have claimed, but offered no evidence, for the contention that some Jewish scholars were influenced by Christian notions that also identified the idolatrous worship of Merkulius with the Islamic worship at Mecca.[31]

However Maimonides' supported Ovadiyah over his teacher.The Ishmaelites are not at all idolaters; [idolatry] has long been severed from their mouths and hearts; and they attribute to G-d a proper unity, a unity concerning which there is no doubt. And because they lie about us, and falsely attribute to us the statement that G-d has a son, is no reason for us to lie about them and say that they are idolaters . . . And should anyone say that the house that they honor [the Kaaba] is a house of idolatry and an idol is hidden within it, which their ancestors used to worship, then what of it? The hearts of those who bow down toward it today are [directed] only toward Heaven . . . [Regarding] the Ishmaelites today - idolatry has been severed from the mouths of all of them [including] women and children. Their error and foolishness is in other things which cannot be put into writing because of the renegades and wicked among Israel [i.e., apostates]. But as regards the unity of G-d they have no error at all.

R. Hayyim Benveniste,[32] points out that Maimonides' view of Islam explains why he was able to act as a physician in Egypt. Had Islam been idolatrous, he would not have been permitted to do so, since he codifies that "it is forbidden to give medical aid to an idolater even for hire"[33]
Islamic practice no longer idolatrous

Maimonides then discusses the practice of throwing stones and rules that, despite its origin, it was no longer idolatrous. He concludes: "The long and short of it is that even though at their root these things were established for idolatry, not a man in the world throws these stones or bows down to that place or does any of the rites for the sake of idolatry - neither verbally nor mentally; their heart is rather surrendered to Heaven."[34]

Maimonides' son, R. Abraham, who took his father's view to its logical conclusion when he argued that, although Islamic religious practices should not be imitated, strictly speaking they do not fall under the Biblical prohibition of following the ways of the Gentiles. This is so simply because "Muslims are monotheists who abhor idolatry."[35]
Forced Conversion to Islam

Also important for understanding Maimonides' view of Islam is a well known letter than he wrote around the year 1165, when he was still a resident of Fez, having not yet travelled to Erez Yisrael and Egypt. It was addressed to the inhabitants of Morocco, who had been threatened by the Almohads with conversion, exile, or death. It so happened that an anonymous scholar who had been living outside of the Almohads' reach had issued a ruling that Islam was idolatry and that, therefore, one must give up his life rather than convert to Islam. If one did not, he was to be treated as no different than a true apostate. This ruling created somewhat of a storm among the crypto-Jews of Morocco, and it was in response to this confusion that Maimonides wrote his letter, which was a marvelous defense of a Jewish community that was forced to hide its religion because of persecution.[36]

Rabbi Haym Soloveitchik's discussed at length the issues involved.[37] However, one thing which appears to be sure, is that it was the Maimonidean acceptance of Islam's monotheistic character that enabled him to come to the defense of the crypto-Jews, even if he does not argue this point explicitly. Either he felt that this notion was so obvious, he did not feel the need to defend it. Alternatively, one could say that his refusal to argue the case that Islam is not idolatry was because he regarded the crypto-Jews as never having truly accepted the religion in the first place and, therefore, his argument was able to proceed along a different line, one which argues that, even assuming that Islam is idolatry, the Jews still have not violated the idolatry prohibition.[38] However, had the Jews truly accepted Islam, one could probably have expected Maimonides to argue that, whereas the Jews may have been heretics, they were not idolaters. By assuming that the Jews never adopted Islam, Maimonides can argue the way that he does.

However, Rabbi Soloveitchik argues that, since Maimonides identifies the denial of prophecy with idolatry, "why should the Shahadah, with its assertion of the primacy of Mohammed's prophecy, not be on a similar footing? The contemporary nature of Judaism changes little whether one asserts that there never was a revelation or whether one claims that it occurred but is now outmoded. Both statements would seem to be equally treasonable" (pp. 285-286). The Magen Avraham, [39], who argues that, at least in one respect, Maimonides equates conversion to Islam with idolatry.

Some authorities, after Maimonides, who, while clearly aware of the monotheistic nature of Islam, still disagreed with Maimonides' position, and asserted that Jews must give up their lives rather than be forced to convert to Islam. Their rationale was based on the fact that if one gives his agreement to Muhammed's prophetic mission, this is the equivalent of denying the validity of Torah. According to this opinion it is a capital offence to deny the Torah,[40] and they thus viewed idolatry as merely a manifestation of this denial. R. David ibn Zimra quotes the renowned R. Yom Tov Ishbili (c. 1250-1330) as holding to this view and expresses agreement with him.[41]
Muslim as Ger Toshav

If Muslims are not idolators, then why are they not Ger Toshav? Maimonides was of the opinion that a Muslim cannot be a Ger Toshav,[42] because it is forbidden for a non-Jews to create a religion. He rules according to the view that any non-Jewish religious system is illicit and the only alternatives for non-Jews are conversion or observance of the Seven Laws of Noah. This ruling by Maimonides is understood by many commentators to exclude any other religious system by definition.[43]

Although almost all achronim agree with Maimonides that Islam is not idolatry, most disagree that any non-Jewish religious system is illicit by definition. Rather than being seen as a religion in itself, most authorities hold that the Seven Laws are foundation of a proper religion.
Rabbi Nissim Gerondi

In a medieval commentary attributed to the famous sage, Rabbi Nissim Gerondi (c. 1310-1375), but possibly written by another scholar, one finds R. Nissim's discussion of Christians bowing to holy objects and Muslims bowing to Muhammed. Although the comment is not entirely clear, it appears to be saying that even though the Muslims do not turn Muhammed into a G-d, one must regard their actions of bowing down to him as idolatry, thus putting them in the category of idolaters.[44] This is a complete reversal Maimonides' view and it is unusual that there would be no reference to Maimonides' position. In any event, we have reason to believe that R. Nissim did not hold to this view, and we are in possession of a responsum of his in which he declares unambiguously that Islam is not a form of idolatry.[45] Although some scholars have attempted to reconcile these two views, for example R. Eliezer Waldenberg.[46]

Halachic Rulings

Benefiting From or Drinking Wine handled by Muslims

This question has been dealt with above.

The Hajj, Facing Mecca and Shechitah

As late as the fifteenth century, we find that R. Simeon ben Zemah Duran (Tashbez) ruled that Islam itself was not idolatrous.[47] but he also ruled that a shohet to was not permitted to slaughter animals while facing Mecca.[48] because he regarded the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca as being of an idolatrous nature.[49] Of course, there is a difference between the view of the Tashbez and R. Nissim quoted above. Where the Tashbez was concerned with the remnants of the pre-Islamic period, R. Nissim's objection appears to be directed at what he considered to be pure Islam, not including any pre-Islamic pagan remnants.

R. Solomon ben Adret (c. 1235-c. 1310), ruled however, that although he regarded the practice as distasteful, would not prohibit.[50] This view was supported by R. David ibn Zimra (Radbaz),[51] and it was ruled as final halachah in the Shulhan Aruch.[52] However, none of these authorities quote a responsum by Maimonides, which agreed with the Tashbez' position.[53]

Rabbi Yisrael MeShklov, one of the leading disciples of the Vilna Gaon, in his addendum to the Shulchan Aruch called Mappat HaShulchan considered a situation that went one step further, in that the Muslims insisted that the Jewish shohet acknowledge Allah by proclaiming "Allahu akbar" when he slaughtered. R. Abraham Isaac Kook, not able to point to any explicit prohibition in this matter, also ruled that it is permissible to repeat the formula.[54]

A Jew entering a Mosque

What about a Jew entering a mosque? According to the halachah, a Jew is forbidden to enter a house of idolatry and, therefore, almost all halachic authorities forbid one from entering a church. Since Islam is not idolatrous, there should be no problem for a Jew to enter a mosque and, although no early halachists seem to discuss this question, the prevailing opinion of recent halachic authorities is to be lenient.[55] Similarly, one nineteenth century Ashkenazic authority permitted the conversion of a mosque to a synagogue without the "nullification" of idolatry that is required when converting a church into a synagogue,[56] while another authority even permitted a Jew to assist in the building of a mosque.[57] Nevertheless, a leading contemporary authority, basing himself on the previously cited view attributed to "R. Nissim," forbids visiting a mosque,[58] and this view is followed in a recent halachic work intended for a popular audience.[59] Earlier in this century, one rabbi, using the previously cited views of R. Yom Tov Ishbili and R. David ibn Zimra, even went so far as to declare that, according to the halachah, all mosques in the Land of Israel had to be destroyed![60]
Selling land to a Muslim

According to a Mishnaic halachah, one is not permitted to sell land in Israel to a Gentile.[61] What is not clear is whether this prohibition applies to all Gentiles or only to idolaters. A number of authorities state that Muslims are definitely excluded from this prohibition since they enjoy, at least in part, the status of a Ger Toshav to whom it is permitted to sell land. For the same reason, it is permitted to give a Muslim a present (without expecting something in return), something which is forbidden to be done with an idolater.[62] This view is the basis for the Israeli Chief Rabbinate's decision to "sell" the land of Israeli farmers in the Sabbatical year in order to circumvent the prohibition against cultivating the land during this year. As long as it is sold to a Muslim there is no problem.[63]

However, a number of prominent rabbinic authorities dispute this view, and assert that Muslims do not have the status of a Ger Toshav thus making it forbidden to sell them land or even give them a present.[64] In addition, even according to those who accept the basic view that Muslims in Israel are Gerei Toshav it is possible that this notion may no longer apply. One of the characteristics of a Ger Toshav is that they accept Jewish sovereignty,[65] a characteristic clearly absent when one is dealing with a population that refuses to accept Israeli rule. The late Rabbi Meir Kahane often made this point with regard to Arabs in Israel,[66] and it has begun to find larger acceptance among other halachists.[67] As the intifada continues it is only to be expected that more and more halachic authorities will discount Israeli Muslims from the rank of Ger Toshav. This might be a step towards some halachic views that non-Jews who refuse to accept Israeli rule are not permitted to remain in the Land.[68] R. Ben Zion Krieger[69] asserts that Israel is obligated to expel the Arab population. However, this opinion has been met with complete rejection by all important halachic authorities. There is an enormous literature by contemporary scholars concerning the halachic status of Arabs in Israel[70]

Remnants of a Jewish-Islamic relationship

There are some indications that the early Jewish-Islamic relationship was based in some part of a Noahide relationship. It appears that the early Muslims looked to the Jews for approval and authority, "to settle doubts and disputes":

Yunus 10:94

فَإِن كُنتَ فِي شَكٍّ مِّمَّا أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ فَاسْأَلِ الَّذِينَ يَقْرَؤُونَ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكَ لَقَدْ جَاءكَ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ فَلاَ تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُمْتَرِينَBut if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to you, ask those [the Jews] who read the Scriptures before you [the Muslims]. Certainly the truth has come to you from your Lord, therefore you should not be of the disputers.

Al-Baqara 2:136

قُولُواْ آمَنَّا بِاللّهِ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالأسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَى وَعِيسَى وَمَا أُوتِيَ النَّبِيُّونَ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ لاَ نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَSay, We believe in God, and in that which has been sent down unto us, and and in that which was sent down unto Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob, and the Tribes; and in that which was delivered unto Moses and Jesus, and in that which was delivered to the Prophets from the Lord. We make no distinction between any of them; and to Him we are resigned.

Al-Ankaboot 29:46

وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ وَقُولُوا آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَهُنَا وَإِلَهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَDispute not with the People of the Book, but in the mildest way, excepting such as behave injuriously; and say, We believe in that which has been revealed unto us, and in that which has been revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and to Him we are resigned.

Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38 (Kitab al Hudud, ie. Prescribed Punishments), Number 4434:Narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar: A group of Jews came and invited the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) to Quff. So he visited them in their school. They said: Abu Qasim, one of our men has committed fornication with a woman; so pronounce judgment upon them. They placed a cushion for the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) who sat on it and said: Bring the Torah. It was then brought. He then withdrew the cushion from beneath him and placed the Torah on it saying: I believed in thee and in Him Who revealed thee. He then said: Bring me one who is learned among you. Then a young rabbi[71] was brought..."

Islam as a Noahide Faith?

Prophet Noah (pbuh) is clearly seen as a lawgiver in the Qur'an. It is taught that what the Almighty Lord reveals to the Prophet Noah (pbuh) He also revealed to the other Prophets and the Prophet of Islam (pbuh):

Surat Ash-Shura 42.13, "He has laid down the same religion for you as He enjoined on Noah: that which We have revealed to you and which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus: 'Establish the religion and do not make divisions in it.' What you call the associators to follow is very hard for them. Allah chooses for Himself anyone He wills and guides to Himself those who turn to Him."
Surat Nooh 71:1, "We sent Noah to his People: 'Do thou warn thy People before there comes to them a grievous Penalty.'"

Some have suggested that the seven Mesani refer to the Seven Laws of Noah:
Surat Al-Hijr 15.87 "And We have bestowed upon thee the Seven Oft-repeated (verses) and the Grand Qur'an."

Surat Az-Zumar 39.23 "Allah has revealed the most beautiful Message in the form of a Book, consistent with the Oft-repeated (verses)."

Surat Al-Isra'

17:22 Take not with Allah another object of worship; or thou (O man!) wilt sit in disgrace and destitution. 

— Prohibition of Idolatry #1
17:23 Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour. 

— Prohibition of Blasphemy #2
17:32 Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils). 

— Prohibition of Sexual Immorality #4
17:33 Nor take life - which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law). 

— Prohibition of Homicide #3
17:34 Come not nigh to the orphan's property except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength; and fulfil (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning). 

— Prohibition of Theft #5
17:35 Give full measure when ye measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight: that is the most fitting and the most advantageous in the final determination. 

— Imperative of Legal System #7
17:36 And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning). 

— Prohibition of Limb of a Living Creature #6 (see Surat al-Ma’ida 3, Surat al-Baqara 173 for direct prohibition. The prohibition of blood mentioned in 2:173; 5:3)

Concerning the term "Muslim" which means "submission", it should be noted that in the Torah, everywhere the word "Kenite" used, it is translated to Aramaic as Salamai or Muslamai. Some suggest this refers to the great numbers of non-Jewish believers who came to sacrifice the Qurban Shlamim in Jerusalem together with the Jews. Salamai, Musalamai, Muslims. This could be a clear indication in our literature that Islam is an ancient religion, dating back to second temple times, at least. And if Islam's roots are the same as what we call Bnei Noah, then it is much older, it is the religion of Noah, and Adam himself.

Sheich Palazzi's Speech at the Conference on Noahide Council

Earlier in the day, several speakers addressed issues surrounding the B'nai Noah movement as part of a conference on the establishment of the B'nai Noah Council.

Sheich Abdul Hadi Palazzi, a leader of the Italian Muslim Assembly, addressed the assembly, speaking about B'nai Noah in Islam: "Islamic law holds within it the seven laws of Noah and can be taught correctly to the Muslims of the world... I remember reading that a new Sanhedrin was created in Jerusalem [and] my impression was very positive - I thought maybe something new had been created to allow the Jewish people to project moral and legal clarity to counterbalance the lack of it in our world."

Palazzi added that the project of creating a council of Noahide teachers would hopefully counter the negative educational effect of the Gaza withdrawal, "which taught the opposite to my people - it convinced many that only terrorism works."


Abraham Geiger (1810–1874), "Was hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume aufgenommen?" (1833).
Reinhart Dozy (1820–1883) "Die Israeliten zu Mecca" (1864)
Rabbi Abraham I. Katsh's "Judaism and the Koran" (1962)
Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought, 6/22/1993, Author: Shapiro, Marc B.
Moshe Perlmann, "The Medieval Polemics Between Islam and Judaism," in S.D. Goitein, ed., Religion in a Religious Age (Cambridge, Mass., 1974), pp. 121-122, 126. and
M. Steinschneider, Polemische und apologetische Literatur in arabischer Sprache, zwischen Muslimen, Christen und Juden (Leipzig, 1877).
Ronald Kiener, "The Image of Islam in the Zohar," Mehkerei Yerushalayim be-Mahshevet Yisrael 9 (1989): 43-65 (English section)
Abraham Schreiber, "Yahas Hachmei Yisrael le-Istam," in Itamar Warhaftig, ed., Minhah le-Ish (Jerusalem, 1991), pp. 276-292.
Regarding Karaite Jewish attitudes, see Haggai Ben-shammai, "The Attitude of Some Early Karaites Towards Islam," in Isadore Twersky, ed., Studies in Medieval Jewish History and Literature (Cambridge, Mass., 1984), Vol. 2, pp. 1-40.
Regarding Islamic influence on Jewish practice, Naphtali Wieder, Hashpa'ot Islamiyyot al ha-Pulhan ha-Yehudi (Oxford, 1947).
See Also


Jump up↑ Much of this article is based on 'Islam and the halacha in Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought, 6/22/1993, Author: Shapiro, Marc B.
Jump up↑ Midrash Lekah Tov (Jerusalem, 1960), Vol. 2, p. 250
Jump up↑ See R. Menahem Meiri, Bet ha-Behirah: Avodah Zarah, Abraham Sofer, ed. (Jerusalem, 1964), p. 214 (quoting R. Joseph ibn Migash), and Sefer ha-Eshkol, Z.B. Auerbach, ed. (Halberstadt, 1865), section 3, p. 150.
Jump up↑ Simhah Assaf, ed., Teshuvot ha-Geonim (Jerusalem, 1929), no. 266,
Jump up↑ R. Hayyim Joseph David Azulai, Birkei Yosef: Shiyure Berachah (Jerusalem, no date), Yoreh Deah 122: 1.
Jump up↑ R. Simeon ben Zemah Duran, She'elot u-Teshuvot Tashbez (Lemberg, 1891), vol. 2, no. 48
Jump up↑ need source
Jump up↑ Hemdah Genuzah (Jerusalem, 1863), no. 114.
Jump up↑ Joel Muller, ed., Halachot Pesukot min ha- Geonim (Cracow, 1893), no. 25.
Jump up↑ David Casell, ed., Teshuvot Geonim Kadmonim (Bnei Brak, 1986), no. 46.
Jump up↑ Simha Hasida, ed., Shibbolei ha-Leket (Jerusalem, 1988), Vol. 2, p. 20.
Jump up↑ See the sources quoted by Hanoch Albeck in the notes to his edition of Sefer ha-Eshkol (Jerusalem, 1938), pp. 77-78.
Jump up↑ See Yizhak Rafael, ed., Sefer ha-Manhig (Jerusalem, 1978), Vol. 2, p. 660, and Albeck, loc. cit. Rabbenu Nissim, She'elot u-Teshuvot R. Nissim ben Gerondi, ed. Kleon Feldman (Jerusalem, 1984), p. 45
Jump up↑ Mayim Hayyim (Jerusalem, 1985), Vol. 2, Yoreh Deah, no. 66, by the late Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Haifa, R. Joseph Messas
Jump up↑ See p. 159
Jump up↑ See, e.g., R. Joseph Hayyim, Da'at u-Tevunah (Jerusalem, 1965), pp. 25b-26a.
Jump up↑ see H.Z. Hirschberg, "Archaot shel Goyim Biyemei ha-Geonim," in S.J. Zevin and Zerab Warhaftig, eds., Mazkeret (Jerusalem, 1962), pp. 493-506.
Jump up↑ See Hilchot Teshuvah 3:8 (uncensored version).
Jump up↑ Regarding Christianity, see the uncensored versions of his commentary to Mishnah Avodah Zarah 1:3 and Hilchot Akum 9:4.
Jump up↑ Hilchot Melachim 11:4 (uncensored version): All those words of Jesus of Nazareth and of this Ishmaelite [i.e., Muhammed] who arose after him are only to make straight the path for the messianic king and to prepare the whole world to serve the Lord together. As it is said: "For then I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech so that all of them shall call on the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord" (Zephaniah 3:9)
Jump up↑ Teshuvot ha-Rambam, ed., Joshua Blau (Jerusalem, 1989), no. 149.
Jump up↑ A.S. Halkin, ed., Moses Maimonides' Epistle to Yemen (New York, 1952), pp. 14, 36. Maimonides also refers to Muhammad as "the unfit one" (pasul), see Ibid., p. 38. See also Yehuda Shamir, "Allusions to Muhammed in Maimonides' Theory of Prophecy in his Guide," Jewish Quarterly Review 54 (1974): 212-224, and George F. Hourani, "Maimonides and Islam," in William M. Brinner and Stephen D. Ricks, eds., Studies in Islamic and Judaic Traditions (Atlanta, 1986), pp. 153-158; Netanel b. Isaiah, Maor ha-Afelah, ed., Joseph Kafah (Jerusalem, 1957), p. 121; Hayyim Vital as quoted in Saul Cohen, Lehem ha-Bikkurim [reprinted Bnei Brak, 1981], appendix, p. 14.
Jump up↑ Hilchot Melachim 10:8; David Novak, "The Treatment of Islam and Muslims in the Legal Writings of Maimonides," in Brinner and Ricks, Op. cit., pp. 240ff.
Jump up↑ Hilchot Ma'achalot Asurot 11:7; Teshuvot ha- Rambam, no. 269
Jump up↑ R. Asher of Montanzon (14th century), Sefer ha-Pardes (Jerusalem, 1985), p. 6
Jump up↑ R. David ibn Zimra (1479-1573), She'elot u- Teshuvot Radbaz (New York, no date), no. 281, and Azulai, Birkei Yosef, Yoreh Deah 16:3.
Jump up↑ Cf. Tur, Yoreh Deah, 124
Jump up↑ Nahmanides, Hiddushei ha-Ramban to Avodah Zarah, ed., M. Hershler jerusalem, 1970), column 237
Jump up↑ R. Asher ben Yehiel's Teshuvot [Jerusalem, 1981], 5:2
Jump up↑ R. Isaac Herzog, Pesakim u-Khetavim [Jerusalem, 1990], vol. 4, no. 49
Jump up↑ See Jose Faur 's Iyyunim ba-Mishneh Torah le-ha-Rambam (Jerusalem, 1978), p. 236, note 54. This has been analyzed at great length by Bernard Septimus, see bibliography
Jump up↑ Dina de-Hayya (Constantinople, 1742), Vol. 1, pp. 51a- 51b
Jump up↑ (Hilchot Akum 10:2).
Jump up↑ Teshuvot ha-Rambam, no. 448. I have used the translation in Septimus, Op. cit., pp. 522-523, which contains a number of valuable notes.
Jump up↑ See S. Eppenstein, Abraham Maimuni, Sain Leben und Seine Schriften (Berlin, 1914), p. 17, note 1; Gerson D. Cohen, "The Soteriology of R. Abraham Maimuni," Proceedings of the American Academy of Jewish Research 35 (1967), pp. 85-86.
Jump up↑ Regarding the debate as to whether Maimonides himself was a crypto-Jew while be lived in Fez, see the recent discussion by Jay Harris, "Maimonides in 19th Century Historiography," Proceedings of the American Academy of Jewish Research 54 (1987), pp. 133ff.
Jump up↑ Maimonides' Iggeret Ha-Shemad: Law and Rhetoric," in Leo Landman, ed., Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Memorial Volume (New York, 1980), pp. 284ff.
Jump up↑ See Soloveitchik, Op. cit., pp. 286-287.
Jump up↑ Orah Hayyim 128:37
Jump up↑ Cf. Soloveitchik, Op. cit., p. 285.
Jump up↑ She'elot u-Teshuvot Radbaz, nos. 344, 1163. See also R. Jacob Emden, Migdal Oz (Jerusalem, 1969), p. 28b. The halachic status of a convert to Islam with regards to marriage, divorce and yebum, is a complicated issue. For the Geonic opinions on the matter, see B.M. Lewin, Ozar ha-Geonim to Yevamot (Jerusalem, 1984), pp. 34-37.
Jump up↑ Hilchot Melachim 8:11.
Jump up↑ Hilchot Melachim 10:9 (and see the analysis of R. Zvi Hirsch Chajes, Kol Sifrei Maharatz Chajes [Jerusalem, 1958], Vol. 2, p. 1036). This crucial point was overlooked by Novak, Op. cit., pp. 233ff. It is true that Chajes expresses a much more tolerant viewpoint in Op. cit., Vol. 1, pp. 483-491; however, this section was written in response to the 1840 Damascus Affair, and its apologetic nature does not appear to reflect Chajes' true opinion.
Jump up↑ Hiddushei ha-Ran (Jerusalem, 1958), to Sanhedrin 61b. Benveniste, Op. cit., p. 20a, says that R. Nissim's view is "a great novelty." See also P'ri Hadash, Yoreh Deah, 19:6.
Jump up↑ She'elot u-Teshuvot R. Nissim ben Gerondi, p. 45. R. Nissim repeats this view in his commentary to Alfasi, Avodah Zarah, p. 26b in the Alfasi pages.
Jump up↑ R. Eliezer Waldenberg, Ziz Eliezer (Jerusalem, 1990), vol. 18, no. 47
Jump up↑ She'elot u-Teshuvot Tashbez, vol. 2, no. 48.
Jump up↑ Ibid., vol. 3, no. 133.
Jump up↑ Keshet u-Magen (Jerusalem, 1970), p. 19b.
Jump up↑ She'elot u-Teshuvot Rashba (Bnei Brak, 1984), vol. 1, no. 345.
Jump up↑ She'elot u-Teshuvot Radbaz, no. 162. He also adds an economic argument to buttress his case.
Jump up↑ Yoreh Deah 4:7.
Jump up↑ See Azulai, Birkei Yosef, Yoreh Deah 4:3. See also Azulai, Mar'it ha-Ayin (Livorno, 1805), p. 79a, who notes that this responsum appears to be at odds with Maimonides' letter to Ovadiyah. This responsum does not appear in any of the collected responsa of Maimonides, and its authenticity is very questionable. See, however, R. Hayyim Benveniste, Keneset ha- Gedolah (Jerusalem, 1970), Yoreh Deah 4:14, that perhaps one must suffer martyrdom rather than accede to the Muslim demand.
Jump up↑ Da'at Kohen [Jerusalem, 1985], no. 10. Regarding this practice, see also P'ri Hadash, Yoreh Deah, 19:6.
Jump up↑ See, e.g., R. Hayyim David Halevi, Aseh Lecha Rav (Tel Aviv, 1989), vol. 9, no. 13; and R. Israel Pesah Feinhandler, Avnei Yoshpeh (Jerusalem, 1989), no. 153.
Jump up↑ R. Isaac Elhanan Spektor, Ein Yizhak (Vilna, 1889), Orah Hayyim, no. 11.
Jump up↑ R. Eliezer Isaac of Volozhin, Hut ha-Meshulash (New York, 1965), no. 28.
Jump up↑ Waidenberg, Ziz Eliezer (Jerusalem, 1985), vol. 14, no. 91.
Jump up↑ Yishayah Shapiro, Zedah la-Derech (Alon Shvut, [1987?]), p. 274.
Jump up↑ R. Shemariah Menasseh Adler, Emek ha-Bacha (Kedainiai, Lithuania, 1935), Vol. 2, pp. 78-79.
Jump up↑ Avodah Zarah 1:8.
Jump up↑ For these two leniencies, see, e.g., R. Eshtori ha-Parhi, Kaftor va-Ferah (Jerusalem, 1980), p. 28a; R. Meyubas ben Samuel, Mizbah Adamah (Salonika, 1777), p. 12a; R. Elijah Mani, Zichronot Eliyahu (Jerusalem, 1936), Yoreh Deah, ma'arechet gimel, no. 3; R. Abraham Isaac Kook, Mishpat Kohen (Jerusalem, 1985), nos. 60, 63, and 68; and R. Elijah Klatzkin, Imrei Shefer (Warsaw, 1896), no. 92. This view is held by many other leading authorities. Based upon this view, R. Moses ibn Habib, Kol Gadol; (Jerusalem, 1970), vol. 1, no. 60, permits one to entertain Muslims musically during their festivals, provided that the songs are in good taste.
Jump up↑ Of course, there are other considerations that came into play for the halachists who permitted the land to be sold. The most important of these relate to the halachists' attitude toward Zionism. However, it is not within the scope of this paper to go into this, as here we are only concerned with the impact of Islam on the halachah, not with a comprehensive analysis of how halachists arrive at specific decisions. For some recent comments on this question, see my review-essay, entitled "Sociology and Halachah," in Tradition, vol. 27, no. I Fall 1992).
Jump up↑ See, e.g., R. Joseph Karo, Bet Yosef, Hoshen Mishpat 249 (regarding Karo's view, see the comprehensive discussion in R. Hayyim Palache, Nishmat Kol Hai [Jerusalem, 1988]), vol. 1, no. 54); R. Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin, Meshiv Davar (Brooklyn, 1987), Vol. 1, p. 57a; R. Abraham Isaiah Barelitz, Hazon Ish (Bnei Bak, 1959), to Shevi'it 24:3.
Jump up↑ For a complete review of the laws regarding a Ger Toshav, see Encyclopedia Talmudit (Jerusalem, 1954), Vol. 6, s.v. ger toshav.
Jump up↑ See, e.g., his They Must Go (New York, 1981), pp. 267-276, and Al ha-Emunah ve-al ha-Geulah (no place or date), pp. 72-73.
Jump up↑ See, e.g., R. Yosef Pinhasi, Yefat Mar'eh (Jerusalem, 1987), part 2, no.,1, who discusses recent Islamic literature which advocates the destruction of the State of Israel.
Jump up↑ Such a ruling is found in R. Shlomo Aviner, She'elot u-Teshuvot Intifadah (Bet El, 1990), pp. 9, 76-77. The intifada has also begun to make an impact on rabbinic literature in other respects. See, e.g., the periodical Or Torah (Adar, 5750), p. 378, where it is claimed that the Zohar foretells the uprising.
Jump up↑ Krieger's view is found in Krieger and Uri Dasberg, eds., Benei Yisrael u-Benei Noah (Elkanah, 1988), p. 73.
Jump up↑ The interested reader should consult in particular the Israeli journals, Ha-Torah ve-ha-Medinah, Shanah be-Shanah, and Tehumin, where many important articles can be found.
Jump up↑ Islamic tradition says the young rabbi was Abdallah ibn Saba. Modern historiographic research identifies this rabbi as Heman ibn Shallum, the 38th Jewish Exilarch (de jure), who was a youth at the time. Heman ibn Shallum was deposed in 642CE in by Caliph 'Umar in favor of Bostanai.

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