In the Name of God: The Infinitely Merciful and Compassionate Beloved Lord
The war in Gaza has been horrific, and I decry the loss of innocent life, whatever the religion or ethnic background. I pray that, as the blessed month of Ramadan comes to close, so does the violence that has terrorized too many innocent people. And as the war rages on, there will be people who will use this conflict to justify their hatred of Muslims or Jews.
In fact, a good friend of mine came up to me this morning and told me about his experience with a member at his mosque who - angered by the war in Gaza - started telling him how "the Qur'an condemns Jews," etc, etc. In fact, I gave a sermon several years ago during which I said that, even though there was a particular conflict between the Prophet and a Jewish tribe, I am not condemning all Jews. Afterwards, someone came up to me and criticized me for this statement, saying: "Jews are cursed in the Qur'an."
This is flat-out wrong.
Indeed, there are some who claim that Islam commands the hatred of Jews. But nothing can be further from the truth. Here is just a smattering of what the Qur'an has to say about the Torah, the Jewish scripture:
It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong). (3:3)
It was We who revealed the law (to Moses): therein was guidance and light…And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear God (5:44,46)
And here is some of what the Qur'an says about the Jewish Prophets:
Say ye: “We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them, and to Him have we submitted ourselves. (2:136)
Behold, we have inspired thee [O Prophet] just as we inspired Noah and all the prophets after him – as We inspired Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants, including Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon; and as We vouchsafed unto David a book of divine wisdom (4:163)
And We bestowed upon him [Abraham] Isaac and Jacob, and We guided each of them as We had guided Noah aforetime. And out of his offspring, [We bestowed prophethood upon] David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron: for thus do We reward the doers of good. And upon Zachariah, John, Jesus, and Elijah: ever one of them was of the righteous; and [upon] Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah, and Lot: every one of them did We favor above other people (6:84-86).
There is no hatred here.
Yes, there are seemingly tough verses about the children of Israel in the Qur'an, but I have explained them in more detail in this article here, and it is clear that there is nothing in the Qur'an that calls for the hatred of all Jews. Nothing at all.
The point is: the conflict in the Middle East is tragic and horrible, and I pray for peace to finally shower the Holy Land so that no more innocent blood can poison its sacred soil. And I echo the words of fellow ChicagoNow Muslim blogger Essam:
We are not at war. The Jewish and Muslim communities that live side by side as neighbors and friends are not at war. Protest and raise awareness for the massive loss of life in Gaza. Speak up against Hamas and their rocket fire, but for heaven's sake stop turning on each other.
But I go even further: if you have a hatred for Jews (or Muslims or any other religion or creed), it is a problem that you must face and fix, for hatred consumes and destroys the soul as fire consumes and destroys wood. But for God's sake, do not use the Word of God to justify that hatred. Do not put your filthy words in God's Holy Mouth.