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6 tips on how to relate to people of the Jewish faith
by Sound Vision Staff Writer
The forced expulsion of Palestinians, their oppression and the attacks
on Masjid al-Aqsa: these are things Muslims cannot bear to see or tolerate.
In their anger and disgust, some Muslims mention individual Jews, people
as a whole or their faith in a way that is not in line with Islamic teachings.
How can we relate to Jews on a personal level, without compromising our
rights and sense of justice and fair play? Here are some ideas:
1. Be just
Remember that justice is a fundamental part of Islam. On a daily level,
a person of the Jewish faith who is not harming you or attacking you must
not become a target of attack, physical or otherwise.
Islam is a religion of peace and justice and we must demand justice for our
brothers and sisters in Palestine, as well as our right to Jerusalem and the
right of return for Palestinians.
We must also be just in our treatment of Jews. There are examples from the
life of the Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as well
as from the lives of his Companions, especially Umar, who conquered Jerusalem
as the second Khalifah that show us how they dealt with Jews in a just
2. Remember your history
Keep in mind that Muslims have, overall, had a much longer history of cooperation
and peaceful coexistence with Jews than probably any other group of people.
While Jews were reviled and executed in Europe at different points in time,
Muslims have no equivalent of this kind of hatred.
Remind not just Muslims, but also Jews of this history in the next discussion
you have with them whether it's in class, at work or elsewhere.
3. Properly understand verses of the Quran and Hadiths
It is important to get a correct understanding of a number of verses of the
Quran as well as sayings of the Prophet on Jews.
Some Muslims take one verse or a few, without looking at when they were revealed
or why, as well as the historical circumstances relating to them, as an excuse
to mistreat Jews. This is not correct.
Allah does criticize Jews in the Quran. He also criticizes Christians,
polytheists, and Muslims. Our Creator has the perspective and the perfect
knowledge which none of us can claim.
The purpose of the God's criticism is to invite people to reaffirm their
faith in the original teachings brought by the all Prophets and to correct
the group's behavior or respond to a question they raised.
Criticism of a people by their Creator though, is not a license to stereotype
them, and certainly not an excuse to mistreat
them individually or collectively with bad attitudes or behavior.
4. On Palestine
When discussing Palestine know the Muslims' position and state it clearly,
confidently and respectfully. Don't compromise on the truth, but don't
be rude, verbally abusive or insulting. There is no place for that kind
of behavior in Islam, even when discussing an issue as important to Muslims
and Jews as Palestine and Jerusalem.
5. Invite them to teaching brought by all of the Prophets
The Quran refers to the Jews as Ahl al-Kitab (People of the Book). There status
is exactly the same as of Christians. Allah also gives Muslims this instruction
Say: 'O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you:
that we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him;
that we erect not, from among ourselves, lords and patrons other than
God.' If then they turn back, say ye: 'Bear witness that we (at least)
are bowing to God's Will.' (3: 64)
6. Don't forget to use Islamic communication skills
To be able to effectively put into practice the previous tip, we have to have
the necessary Islamic communication skills. We must speak and deal with all
in the nicest possible manner.
We can remember the example of Prophets Moses and Aaron, who are respected
by Muslims and Jews alike, and how they approached Pharaoh with Allah's
message. Allah's peace and blessings be upon them.
Allah instructed these prophets to address this tyrant and oppressor
in the nicest possible manner despite the fact that he had rebelled against
the Creator. Moses and Aaron were to help him with their nice talk to
rethink his position, become fearful of God and change his ways. (see
This is a basic principle of Islamic communication and cannot be forgotten,
whether the recipients are atheists, Muslims or Jews.
tomorrow's Muslims today!
Comments About Us
Smit, H -
wrote on 9/17/2010 8:23:02 PM
Comment: Interesting...you say in this article that while Jews have been reviled and executed across Europe there is no record of such treatment by Muslim towards Jews in their entire history of existence? I suppose that when the muslims "conquered" Jerusalem, no Jews were harmed or killed in the conquering of the holy land? Since when is conquest ever "just"?
bebi mahamed, buffalo ny -
wrote on 10/15/2005 11:00:53 PM
Comment: it was a great inspiration for me to come in contact with you all and it makes me very happy that there are really people in the ummah who are greatly concerned about the generations ahead of us
Daliah, Norway -
wrote on 4/8/2005 6:28:20 PM
Comment: I do believe that this is a wonderful article! It refers to tolerance between faiths and thats one of the most important issues that we need to talk about..but, I can"t imagine the tolerance from one side, it has to be mutual and if the muslims tolerate with jews,the jews won"t tolerate and thats a fact! They are extremly fanatics to their own viewpoints and that makes it impossible.
jund, usa -
wrote on 10/5/2004 7:39:11 AM
Comment: living in a non muslim country
it has just become an everyday routine to be slandered at by the ignorant.
my humble request for thes ignorant people (e.g david) to get educated.
oh and also remove the two dictating idiots: arafat and sharon. they've been on the line for too long. all they do is continuosly fuel hate amongst the jews and the muslims.
zainab, usa -
wrote on 9/1/2004 3:54:54 PM
Comment: great article.as for david we don't need people like you.you are fuul of hatreds
Mahmoud Moustafa, USA -
wrote on 4/2/2004 1:08:25 PM
Comment: As a Muslim, we should be and seek only the Justices with all peoples regardless their beliefs. I like this article, and I like to see more of these types.
Aisha, Ontario, Canada -
wrote on 3/29/2004 1:10:04 AM
Comment: As a student of York University, watching the accelerating tensions of Israeli/Palestinian and Jewish/Muslim relations is an everyday ordeal. Recently, the brashes of hate-crimes in the city of Toronto against both synogoges and mosques, can be compared to the majority of the events that have similarily occurred at my university. It is the same back and forth disputes that have seemed to gotten worse, mostly because there has yet to be a peaceful address where groups and clubs of both sides have agreed upon. Personally, I don't think there can even be peace if there can't even be an agreement on rational and justified grounds to just agree to co-hosting an event that will sound not only all the drama, the events and the history, but also advocate what should be done and especially, what SHOULD'nt be done not only on grounds of being Canadian but more on the grounds of obeying religion.
Some of the hate-crimes, through my perception, that have occurred by groups of Israeli advocates and Jewish believers include the wearing and distributing of a t-shirt stating "If I were a suicide bomber...(continued on the back)...you'd be dead by now" and spray-painting posters promoting an Islamic event (of addressing post-trauma that Muslims in Canada had to deal with) with quotes such as "Terrorism Lives at York". The reason I am presenting these events is because the Israeli/Jewish groups and clubs have admitted to them.
An incident still under speculation, which I assume was probably acted by Muslims/Palestinians was tearing down and breaking apart a statue signifying a certain Jewish holiday/celebration not only once, but twice after it had been erected again because it had first been torn down.
After examining these events, one can conclude that these forms of stupid and sometimes dangerous disputes will continue forever, unless simple ground rules are achieved to just discuss, not debate, the issues that are surrounding us.
One step towards this has been taken by the formation of a group called Shalom-Salaam, which was recently formed to advocate peacefulness b/w students and relieve some of the tensions.
This article has given me a lot of insight on how continuing to publish and promote peaceful discussions will lead Jews/Muslims and Israeli/Palestinians to living, working, and studying together again.
Sajjad, Pakistan -
wrote on 3/28/2004 10:48:36 PM
Comment: May Allah reward you with these kind of efforts to bring peace to a war torn nation. For further writings I would suggest if particular references could be made, explaining the chapter and verse number from the Holy Quran, it will be great help for us to spread the message of peace to the world. We will be able to pin point the verses and be very precise.
Razi, Hertfordshire, UK -
wrote on 3/28/2004 12:40:02 PM
Comment: I am a muslim, living in the UK, I read this article today and last night I went to watch the depiction of Issa's (jesus) last hours, in the 'Passion of the Christ'.
After reading this article and the comments posted by other people and watching the film, I realized one very important issue, which has always and continues even today to provide the barrier between relations of many nations and many faiths.
This issue is of Leaders, political and religious. The jewish leaders of christs time were to blame for the crucifiction, as the jewish leaders of today are responsible for the situation in the middle east, like wise leaders with their own secret agendas are the root cause of hatred amongst all people. Even within muslim sects the Shia's and Sunni's the hostility which most recently claimed numerous lives in Karbala in the month of Muharram, is all fueld by religous leaders.
People in the middle east, both jewish and muslim starve and thirst for peace, but unfortunately peace seems to be priceless at this point and hence unattainable.
Moulana Habeeb, Guyana -
wrote on 11/26/2003 9:10:09 PM
Comment: The Jews, people of the book according to Quranic address, who were wronged and expelled from Spain were accepted and looked after by Sultan Bayazid II of Turkey and have always enjoyed cordial relationships with the Muslims, even today. Anyone disturbing this is condemned. The Quran says in 13:25 Those who make mischief on earth: theirs is the curse. The three divine religions lived together in an atmosphere of peace and tolerance in the Muslim world, in Palestine especially but reading is what lacks when blanket statements replace serious academic research. For example, the Ottoman administration established a centuries-long environment of peace and tranquillity in Palestine, which has been in a state of conflict and chaos since the early 20th century. In Jerusalem under Ottoman hegemony Jews worshipped in their synagogues, Christians in their churches and Muslims in their mosques. The British historian and Middle East expert Karen Armstrong describes the capture of Jerusalem by Omar in the early period of Islam in these terms in her book Holy War:
The Caliph Omar entered Jerusalem mounted on a white camel, escorted by the magistrate of the city, the Greek Patriarch Sophronius. The Caliph asked to be taken immediately to the Temple Mount and there he knelt in prayer on the spot where his friend Mohammed had made his Night Journey. The Patriarch watched in horror: this, he thought, must be the Abomination of Desolation that the Prophet Daniel had foretold would enter the Temple; this must be Antichrist who would herald the Last Days. Next Omar asked to see the Christian shrines and, while he was in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the time for Muslim prayer came round. Courteously the Patriarch invited him to pray where he was, but Omar as courteously refused. If he knelt to pray in the church, he explained, the Muslims would want to commemorate the event by erecting a mosque there, and that would mean that they would have to demolish the Holy Sepulchre. Instead Omar went to pray at a little distance from the church, and, sure enough, directly opposite the Holy Sepulchre there is still a small mosque dedicated to the Caliph Omar. Karen Armstrong also describes the second Islamic capture of Jerusalem: On 2 October 1187 Saladin and his army entered Jerusalem as conquerors and for the next 800 years Jerusalem would remain a Muslim city... Saladin kept his word, and conquered the city according to the highest Islamic ideals. He did not take revenge for the 1099 massacre, as the Koran advised (16:127), and now that hostilities had ceased he ended the killing (2:193-194). Not a single Christian was killed and there was no plunder. The ransoms were deliberately very low.
Professor Edward Said in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz recommended the 'Ottoman nation system' if a permanent peace is to be built in the Middle East. What he said was: A Jewish minority can survive the way other minorities in the Arab world survived. …it worked rather well under the Ottoman Empire, with its millet system. What they had then seems a lot more humane than what we have now.
Quran is what inspired these historical Leaders of Islam.For example they were submissive to "when you judge between people, to judge with justice" 4:58, "Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for God alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives" 4:135, "God does not forbid you from being good to those who have not fought you in the religion or driven you from your homes, or from being just towards them" 60:8.
How could Muhammad kill Jews when one of his wives was one-she later converted? He granted amnesty to the Jews of Khaiber on the agreement that they will pay taxes-and barley grains to that! As for the political treachery of Banu Quraiza, when they were found guilty, they themselves chose Sad as the arbitrator and he was the one that pointed to his throat. Muhammad never took the life of anyone in battle-this is well documented researched fact very much unlike what non Guyanese, media reporters churn out in a daily diet of media hype. Recall Amanpour's statement on this, if you like. Mahatma Gandhi wrote: "Muslims have never indulged themselves in bigotry even in times of greatest grandeur and victory.I have arrived at the conclusion that Islam's spreading rapidly was not by the sword. On the contrary, it was primarily owing to its simplicity, logicality, its Prophet's great modesty, his trueness to his promises and his unlimited faithfulness towards every Muslim that many people willingly accepted Islam."