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|The Message of the Quran to Bani Israel|
|03/30/04 at 06:13:01|
I put this article up in the Ummah, but I think it may be beneficial to put it here as well.
The Message of the Quran to the Children of Israel
The Quran, which muslims believe is the divine word of God as revealed to Mohammed (Peace be Upon Him), contains several verses addressed specifically to the descendants of the Children of Israel. In this article we will look at several such verses. We have tried to avoid putting too much of our own commentary in this article, but have tried to let The Quran speak for itself.
The Quran attests to the truthfulness of the religion of the Children of Israel, and to the scriptures revealed to all their Prophets (Peace be Upon Them).
Say: "We believe in God, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the Prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Him do we submit." (Chapter 3, v 84).
The Quran confirms that God favored the Children of Israel :
We granted the Children of Israel the Book, the Power of Command, and Prophethood; We gave them, for Sustenance, things good and pure; and We favored them above the nations. (Chapter 45, v 16)
The story of Moses (Peace be Upon Him), his bringing out the Children of Israel from Egypt, and his struggle with Pharoah, is told in many different places in the Quran. In fact, Moses (Peace be Upon Him) is the most often mentioned human name in the Quran, more so than even Mohammed (Peace be Upon Him). One instance of the story is as follows :
Has the story of Moses reached you? Behold, he saw a fire: So he said to his family, "Wait; I perceive a fire; perhaps I can bring you some burning brand therefrom, or find some guidance at the fire."
But when he came to the fire, he was called:
"O Moses! Verily I am your Lord! Therefore put off your shoes: you art in the sacred valley of Tuwá. I have chosen you: listen, then, to the inspiration (given to you). Verily, I am God. There is no god but I: So serve you Me (only), and establish regular prayer for My remembrance. Verily the Hour is coming - I have almost kept it hidden - for every soul to receive its reward by the measure of its Endeavor. Therefore let not such as believe not therein but follow their own lusts, divert you therefrom, lest you perish! And what is that in your right hand, O Moses?”
He said, "It is my rod: on it I lean; with it I beat down fodder for my flocks; and in it I find other uses."
(God) said, "Throw it, O Moses!"
He threw it, and behold! It was a snake, active in motion.
(God) said, "Seize it, and fear not: We shall return it at once to its former condition. Now draw your hand close to your side: It shall come forth white (and shining), without harm (or stain),- as another Sign,- In order that We may show you (two) of Our Greater Signs. Go to Pharaoh, for he has indeed transgressed all bounds."
(Moses) said: "O my Lord! expand me my breast; Ease my task for me; And remove the impediment from my speech, So they may understand what I say: And give me a Minister from my family, Aaron, my brother; Add to my strength through him, And make him share my task: That we may celebrate your praise without stint, And remember you without stint: For you art over seeing us.”
(God) said: "Granted is your prayer, O Moses! And indeed We conferred a favor on you another time (before). Behold! We sent to your mother, by inspiration, the message: 'Throw (the child) into the chest, and throw (the chest) into the river: the river will cast him up on the bank, and he will be taken up by one who is an enemy to Me and an enemy to him': But I endued you with love from Me: and (this) in order that you may be reared under Mine eye. Behold! your sister goes forth and says, 'Shall I show you one who will nurse and rear the (child)?' So We brought you back to your mother, that her eye might be cooled and she should not grieve. Then you slew a man, but We saved you from trouble, and We tried you in various ways. Then you tarried a number of years with the people of Midian. Then did you come hither as ordained, O Moses! And I have prepared you for Myself (for service). Go, you and your brother, with My Signs, and slacken not, either of you, in keeping Me in remembrance. Go, both of you, to Pharaoh, for he has indeed transgressed all bounds; But speak to him mildly; perchance he may take warning or fear (God)."
They (Moses and Aaron) said: "Our Lord! We fear lest he hasten with insolence against us, or lest he transgress all bounds."
He said: "Fear not: for I am with you: I hear and see (everything). So go you both to him, and say, 'Verily we are messengers sent by your Lord: Send forth, therefore, the Children of Israel with us, and afflict them not: with a Sign, indeed, have we come from your Lord! and peace to all who follow guidance! Verily it has been revealed to us that the Chastisement (awaits) those who reject and turn away.'"
(When this message was delivered), (Pharaoh) said: "Who, then, O Moses, is the Lord of you two?"
He said: "Our Lord is He Who gave to each (created) thing its form, then gave (it) guidance."
(Pharaoh) said: "What then is the condition of previous generations?"
He replied: "The knowledge of that is with my Lord, duly recorded: my Lord never errs, nor forgets - He Who has, made for you the earth like a carpet spread out; has enabled you to go about therein by roads (and channels); and has sent down water from the sky."
With it have We produced diverse pairs of plants each separate from the others. Eat (for yourselves) and pasture your cattle: verily, in this are Signs for men endued with understanding. From the (earth) did We create you, and into it shall We return you, and from it shall We bring you out once again.
And We showed Pharaoh all Our Signs, but he rejected and refused. He said: "Have you come to drive us out of our land with your magic, O Moses? But we can surely produce magic to match yours! So set up a time between us and you, which we shall not fail to keep - neither we nor you - in a place where both shall have even chances."
Moses said: "Your time is the Day of the Festival, and let the people be assembled when the sun is well up."
So Pharaoh withdrew. He concerted his plan, and then came (back).
Moses said to them: "Woe to you! Do not forge against God, lest He destroy you (at once) utterly by chastisement: the forger must suffer failure!"
So they disputed, one with another, over their affair, but they kept their talk secret. They said:
"These two are certainly (expert) magicians: their object is to drive you out from your land with their magic, and to do away with your most cherished way. Therefore concert your plan, and then assemble in (serried) ranks. He wins (all along) today who gains the upper hand."
They said: "O Moses! Will you throw (first) or shall we be the first to throw?"
He said, "No, throw you first!"
Then behold their ropes and their rods-so it seemed to him on account of their magic - began to be in lively motion! So Moses conceived in his mind a (sort of) fear. We said:
"Fear not! for indeed you have the upper hand: Throw that which is in your right hand. Quickly it will swallow up that which they have faked: what they have faked is nothing but a magician's trick: and the magician does not succeeds, (no matter) where he goes."
So the magicians fell down in prostration: they said, "We believe in the Lord of Aaron and Moses".
(Pharaoh) said: "Do you believe in Him before I give you permission? Surely this must be your leader, who has taught you magic! Be sure I will cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and I will have you crucified on trunks of palm-trees: so you will know for certain, which of us can give the more severe and the more lasting punishment!"
They said: "Never will we prefer you to what has come to us of the Clear Signs, from Him Who created us! So order whatever you want to order: for you can only order the life of this world. For us, we have believed in our Lord: may He forgive us our faults, and the magic to which you did compel us: for God is Best and Most Abiding."
Verily he who comes to his Lord as a sinner (at Judgment),- for him is Hell: there he will neither die nor live. But such as come to Him as Believers who have worked righteous deeds,- for them are exalted ranks,- Gardens of Eternity, beneath which rivers flow: they will dwell therein for ever: such is the reward of those who purify themselves (from evil).
We sent an inspiration to Moses: "Travel by night with My servants, and strike a dry path for them through the sea, without fear of being overtaken (by Pharaoh) and without (any other) fear."
Then Pharaoh pursued them with his forces, but the waters completely overwhelmed them and covered them up. Pharaoh led his people astray instead of leading them aright.
O Children of Israel! We delivered you from your enemy, and We made a Covenant with you on the right side of Mount (Sinai), and We sent down to you Manna and quails: (Saying):
"Eat of the good things We have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess in that, lest My anger should come down on you: and indeed, those on whom My anger come down perish! But, without doubt, I am (also) He that forgives again and again, to those who repent, believe, and do right, who,- in fine, are on true guidance." (Chapter 20, vv 9-82)
The Quran mentions that some of the Children of Israel, who were living in Arabia at the time of Mohammed (Peace be Upon Him), believed in the message sent to him, even while his own people, the pagan arabs, refused to believe.
Verily this is a Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds: With it came down the spirit of Faith and Truth- To your heart and mind, that you may warn in plain Arabic speech. And most surely the same is in the scriptures of the ancients. Is it not a Sign to them that the Learned of the Children of Israel know it? (Chapter 26, vv 192-197)
Say: "Do you see? If (this teaching) be from God, and you reject it, and a witness from among the Children of Israel testifies to its similarity (with earlier scripture), and has believed, while you are arrogant, truly, God guides not a people unjust." (Chapter 46, v 10)
And thus (it is) that We have sent down the Book to you. So the People of the Book believe therein, as also do some of these (pagan Arabs): and none but Unbelievers reject our signs. (Chapter 29, v 47)
The term People of the Book is a term used throughout the Quran to refer to the Jews and Christians.
The Quran praises those People of the Book who act in a good manner :
Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (in prayer during the night): They recite the Signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten in good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous. Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for God knows well those that do right. (Chapter 3, vv 114-115)
And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book, those who believe in God, in the revelation to you, and in the revelation to them, bowing in humility to God: They will not sell the Signs of God for a miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord, and God is swift in account. (Chapter 3, v 199)
But the most important message of trhe Quran to the Children of Israel is that it invites them to believe in the message sent to Mohammed (Peace be Upon Him), the message of Islam, which is a confirmation and clarification of the religion of the Children of Israel.
O Children of Israel! call to mind the favor which I bestowed upon you, and fulfill your covenant with Me as I fulfill My Covenant with you, and fear none but Me.
And believe in what I reveal (this Quran), confirming the revelation which is with you, and be not the first to reject Faith therein, nor sell My Signs for a small price; and fear Me, and Me alone. And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when you know it. And be steadfast in prayer; practise regular charity; and bow down your heads with those who bow down (in worship). (Chapter 2, vv 40-43).
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 : "Bear witness that we have surrended (to God's Will).” (Chapter 3, v 64)
Verily this Quran explains to the Children of Israel most of the matters in which they disagree. (Chapter 27, v 76)
The message of the Quran to the Children of Israel can thus be summed up as follows :
You are cordially invited to enter the religion of Islam, as revealed from God to Mohammed (Peace be Upon Him), a religion which is a confirmation, clarification and perfected version of your own religion as revealed from God to your Prophets (Peace Be Upon Them).
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