Jewish Muslim Relations

From our regular contributor, Dr Hamid Hussain. He is doing a series on Jewish-Muslim relations and sent these two pieces about prayer and pilgrimage in the two related religions.

Jewish Muslim Relations – Shared Rituals – Prayer

 “Prayer is God’s backstage pass into a personal audience with Him”.    Tony Evans

 Judaism and Islam has a complex relationship over the centuries. On the one hand, there is mutual acceptance of basic tenet of monotheism and soundness of divinely inspired ethical standards to guide a believer’s life by both religions. On the other hand, Judaism’s critique of Islam as not an authentic divine message and Islam’s assertion that original message of Judaism was authentic but was later distorted or corrupted by the Rabbis therefore it is superseded by Islam. 

Prayer is a vehicle for glorification of divine, corporal, and spiritual purification, discipline and a source for strength and patience. Every religion has some form of prayer that involves symbolic cleansing of the body, supplication to divine and a formal set of body movements. Both Judaism and Islam emphasize the importance of prayer as a means of worship and spiritual connection.

 There are many similarities as well as differences in Jewish and Muslim prayer rituals. However, compared to other religions, Judaism and Islam have remarkable similar prayer rituals. Religions evolve over time where local customs and sociological change influence religious practices. The sources used to explain rituals consist of revealed text and its explanation by sages and oral traditions.  Jews consider the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and Muslims the Quran as revelation from God. Both books were later preserved in written form and canonized.  Jews also consider oral traditions of the Talmud passed over several generations and later preserved in written form also legally binding. Similar exercise was done by Muslims to preserve the vast corpus of traditions attributed to the Prophet Muhamad (PBUH) in the form of Hadith (sayings or actions of prophet). Later, difference of opinion among Rabbis and imams gave rise to various denominations of Judaism and Islam.

 In the temple period, the main form of Jewish prayer was sacrifice at the temple.  After the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, ritual prayer substituted for sacrifice. In early stages of the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH), there is general agreement among commentators that prophet performed some form of prayer regularly. 

 Both scriptures have commandments for prayers. There are several verses in the Tanakh and the Quran about prayers using different terms including worship, prayer, supplication, praising God and service to God.  The Hebrew Bible examples are in Exodus 23:25, “You shall serve your God who will bless your bread and your water”, Exodus 20:8, “Always remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy through prayer and benediction” and Genesis 32:4, “He therefore made a threefold preparation: prayer to the Almighty, appeasement, and battle”.

 There are over sixty verses in the Quran commanding adherence to prayers.  (Quran 2:153, 7:170, 8:3, 20:14, 22:25, 22:41, 24:56,  27:3, 30:31, 31:4, 33:33 35:18). There are repeated instructions in the Quran about ‘establishment’ of prayer and there is consensus among commentators that it means congregational prayer and some examples include “who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and donate from what We have provided for them” (Baqara 2:3), “establish prayer, pay alms-tax, and bow down with those who bow down” (Baqara 2:43),  “establish prayer, and pay alms-tax”. (Baqara 2:110) and “establish prayer and be mindful of Him” (Ana’am 6:72).   

 The essence of prayer is the intention of getting closer to divine grace and asking for forgiveness of sins.  Scriptures and commentaries stress the essence of prayer. In Isaiah 1:15, “and when you lift up your hands, I will turn My eyes away from you; Though you pray at length, I will not listen. Your hands are stained with crime”. Great biblical commentator Moses Maimonides considers intention as necessary pre-requisite of prayer,  “any prayer that is not [recited] with proper intention is not prayer”.  (Mishneh Torah, Prayer and the Priestly Blessing 4:15).  The Quran gives a comprehensive definition of righteousness that is not limited to ritual prayer by stating that “righteousness is not in turning your faces towards the east or the west. Rather, the righteous are those who believe in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Books, and the prophets; who give charity out of their cherished wealth to relatives, orphans, the poor, ˹needy˺ travelers, beggars, and for freeing captives; who establish prayer, pay alms-tax, and keep the pledges they make; and who are patient in times of suffering, adversity, and in ˹the heat of˺ battle”. (Baqara 2:177)

  Religious rituals evolve over time and numbers, timing and specific gestures in prayer can vary even in the same religion due to different interpretations. The Tanakh and the Quran do not give exact details about the timing or the method of prayers. Rabbis and imams deduced it from verses scattered in the revealed text and oral traditions compiled later.

 In the Tanakh in Daniel 6:11 three prayers are mentioned, “when Daniel learned that it had been put in writing, he went to his house, in whose upper chamber he had windows made facing Jerusalem, and three times a day he knelt down, prayed, and made confession to his God, as he had always done”. Three prayers are also mentioned in Psalm 55:18  “evening, morning, and noon, I complain and moan, and He hears my voice”. However, in I Chronicles 23: 30, only two prayers are mentioned, “and to be present every morning to praise and extol the Lord, and at evening too” while in Psalm 119-164 seven prayers are mentioned, “I praise You seven times each day for Your just rules” and in Psalm 119-62, a midnight prayer is also mentioned, “I arise at midnight to praise You for Your just rules”.

In Judaism, there are three daily prayers in morning (shacharit), afternoon (mincha) and evening (ma’ariv). On Sabbath and holy days, a fourth prayer mussaf (addition) is performed and on Yom Kippur there are five prayers when a fifth prayer nei’la (closing) is performed.  Muslims pray five times a day as per the tradition of the prophet in the morning (fajr), afternoon (zuhr), late afternoon (asr), evening (maghreb) and at night (isha). Shia pray three times a day by combining afternoon and late afternoon and evening and night prayers. In Sunni Hadith traditions, this combination of prayers is also mentioned although it is not in general practice. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 10, Number 518 & 537. Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Number 1515-1516)

 Different verses of the Quran mention different timings of prayer. In Ghafir 40:55, there is mention of two prayers “seek forgiveness for your shortcomings. And glorify the praises of your Lord morning and evening” and in Qaf 50:39 also two “and glorify the praises of your Lord before sunrise and before sunset. Two prayers are mentioned in Isra 17:78-79   “observe the prayer from the decline of the sun until the darkness of the night and the dawn prayer, for certainly the dawn prayer is witnessed ˹by angels˺”. In Hu’ud 11:114, three prayers are mentioned, “establish prayer at both ends of the day and in the early part of the night”  while in Rum 30:17-18, four prayers are mentioned “so glorify Allah in the evening and in the morning – all praise is for Him in the heavens and the earth – as well as in the afternoon, and at noon”. In Taha 20:130 six prayers are mentioned “and glorify the praises of your Lord before sunrise and before sunset and glorify Him in the hours of the night and at both ends of the day, so that you may be pleased ˹with the reward˺. And rise at ˹the last˺ part of the night, offering additional prayers, so your Lord may raise you to a station of praise”. The Quran was revealed over twenty-four years and this discrepancy suggests the evolutionary nature of the prayer ritual that transformed from recommended to mandatory. 

 Obligatory prayers in Islam are linked with the tradition of a miraculous journey. The night journey of Prophet (PBUH) from Mecca to Jerusalem is called isra’a (night journey) and then to heavens to meet the divine is called me’eraj (ascension). In the Quran, the two events are described separately. In Isra 17:1 “Glory be to the One Who took His servant ˹Muhammad˺ by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque and in Najam 53-7-18, “while on the highest point above the horizon, then he approached ˹the Prophet˺, coming so close, that he was only two arms-lengths away or even less”.

 According to Hadith literature, compulsory five daily prayers were mandated during this night journey. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 8, Number 345. Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 328 & 329). According to this narration, initially fifty daily prayers were ordered but on insistence of Moses, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made several trips to the divine to finally bring down the numbers to five. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 227. Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 321).

 Every prayer ritual is usually preceded by cleansing of the body and Judaism and Islam are no exception. In the Tanakh, Exodus 30:19  “and let Aaron and his sons wash their hands and feet [in water drawn] from it.” This was the practice of priests in the temple and currently only washing of hands is performed. In the Quran in Maida 5:6, a detailed explanation of cleansing before the prayer is provided, “O believers! when you rise for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, wipe your heads, and wash your feet to the ankles”.

 In every religion, the prayer ritual includes facing a specific direction or deity for concentration.  In Aramaic, the word qabel (facing) and Arabic word qibla (prayer direction) is used for the same purpose. In Judaism since the temple period, Jews face Jerusalem during the prayer.  Several verses of the Tanakh and words of sages in the Talmud are clear in this regard. In I Kings 8:35 “they pray toward this place” and in 8:44 “they pray to GOD in the direction of the city that You have chosen, and of the House that I have built to Your name” and II Chronicles 6:34  “they pray to You in the direction of the city which You have chosen and the House which I have built to Your name”. Maimonides explains that “All, however, turned during prayer to the Sanctuary, in whichever direction that might be. This was the uniform practice from the times of Moses to those of Ezra”. (Mishneh Torah in Prayer and Priestly Blessing 1:3).

In early period of almost ten years of prophethood and for about sixteen months after daily prayers became obligatory, Muslims used to face towards Jerusalem before the order came to face a new qiblah (direction of prayer) towards the Ka’aba in Mecca. (Sahih Muslim. Book 4, Chapter 46, Numbers 1071-1075). At that time, there was no sanctuary in Jerusalem but only ruins of the second temple built by Solomon. The Quran does not specifically mention Jerusalem, but in Isra 17-1, the Quran is very specific about the sanctity of the temple and use the same word of mosque for Ka’aba and the site of the temple stating that  “Glory be to the One Who took His servant ˹Muhammad˺ by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose surroundings We have blessed, so that We may show him some of Our signs”. All Muslim commentators identify earlier qibla as the site of Solomon temple in Jerusalem that is still called ‘qibla-e-awwal’ (first direction of prayer). In 636, when caliph Umar bin Khattab visited Jerusalem, he ordered building a mosque at the far end of the ruins of the temple. Umayyad caliph Abdul Malik bin Marwan built a sanctuary over the ruins of the temple in 691 AD called qub’bat al sakhra (Dome of the Rock).

 In the Quran in Baqara 2:142-150 several verses deal with change of direction of prayer that suggest that Jews may have criticized Muslims for changing of their prayer direction from Jerusalem to Mecca and change was on the wish of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Interestingly, Quran concludes the discussion by alluding to the higher purpose of prayer than mere facing a particular direction by stating that “Even if you were to bring every proof to the People of the Book, they would not accept your direction ˹of prayer˺, nor would you accept theirs; nor would any of them accept the direction ˹of prayer˺ of another”. (Baqara 2:145) and “everyone turns to their own direction ˹of prayer˺. So, compete with one another in doing good”. (Baqara 2:148)

 In the Tanakh, different verses allude to body movements during prayer including raising hands, prostration and touching face to the ground.  In Numbers 10:35   “When the Ark was about to set forward, the cloud rolled over it, until Moses raised his hands in prayer”, in Deuteronomy 9:18, “I prostrated myself in prayer before the Eternal the same amount of time as before, forty days and forty nights” and in Numbers 16:22, “They fell upon their faces in prayer and said: O Almighty, You who have the power to discern the thoughts of all mortals”. Some rituals were observed only by priests in the temple and now prostration is not practiced in Jewish prayer. The rituals of Muslim prayers are described in detail in books of Hadith (Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 8, Numbers 345-470. Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Numbers 735-1092).

 Practical problems necessitate modification of the ritual and in both Judaism and Islam, prayer is shortened if facing a danger.  In Mishna Berakhot 4:4, “Rabbi Yehoshua says: One who cannot recite a complete prayer because he is walking in a place of danger, recites a brief prayer”  and in the Quran Baqara 2:101, “when you travel through the land, it is permissible for you to shorten the prayer, especially if you fear an attack by the disbelievers”.

 Syriac term for prayer is selota that is used in Jewish liturgy and probably brought to Arabia by Syriac Christians that gave rise to Arabic term for prayer salat.  Unity of God is the central pillar of faith in both religions. In Judaism the prayer is preceded by profession of faith in divine unity, the Shema Israel. The liturgical core of Muslim prayer is the verses of first chapter fatiha (opening) that is recited in every prayer. In rabbinical writings, the opening prologue before the main text is called petihah. Both prayers use supplications and praises to God.  Alhamdu li’lillah in Arabic and barukh attah means praise to the God, rabb ul alamin in Arabic and melekh ha’olam in Hebrew means king of the universe and mercy and compassion of God is Rahman and Rahim in Arabic and rachamim in Hebrew. On completion of prayer the closing act is similar in Judaism and Islam. In the Talmud “when one recites: Peace, he first bows to the right and then to the left, (Yoma 53b). Muslim prayer ends by saying peace and blessing by turning face to the right and then left. Judaism and Islam encourage congregational prayers to foster solidarity and weekly special congregational prayer on Friday by Muslims and on Saturday by Jews is equated with special blessings.

 Both Judaism and Islam emphasize the importance of prayer as a means of worship, connection with the Divine, and spiritual growth. These prayers play central roles in the daily lives of adherents, serving as reminders of their faith and commitments. Prayers serve many purposes and are subject to individual interpretation and experience. Some may view prayer as a direct channel for divine intervention, while others see it as a means of self-reflection and empowerment. For many believers, prayer serves as a means of establishing and nurturing a direct connection with the divine. Prayer can offer solace and comfort during times of distress, grief, or uncertainty and communal prayer fosters a sense of identity and unity that strengthens social bonds.  

 “Prayer is an act of love; words are not needed”.   Saint Teresa of Avila

Notes:

 Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora (Editors). A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations – From the Origins to the Present Day (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013)

  • Reuven Firestone.  Rituals: Similarities, Influences, and Processes of Differentiation in Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora (Editors). A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations – From the Origins to the Present Day (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), p 701-711)
  • Mohamed Hawary.  Prayer in Judaism and Islam in Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora (Editors). A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations – From the Origins to the Present Day (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), p. 713-719)

 

  • Sefaria.  This is the most comprehensive site of Jewish texts. Translations used in this article are from this site.

https://www.sefaria.org/texts

 

  • The Noble Quran.  An easy-to-use site with Arabic text and English translation. Translations used in this article are from this site.

https://quran.com/en

 

  • Sahih Bukhari in Hadith Collection. A user-friendly site about books of Hadith.  Translations used in this article are from this site.

https://hadithcollection.com/sahihbukhari

 

  • Sahih Muslim in Hadith Collection. A user-friendly site about books of Hadith.  Translations used in this article are from this site.

https://hadithcollection.com/sahihmuslim

 Hamid Hussain

coeusconsultant@optonline.net

20 April 2024

Jewish – Muslim Relations – Pilgrimage

 From time immemorial, humans all over the world have designated rocks, rivers, trees, and mountains as sacred. Pilgrimage sites and rites are shaped by stories and legends passed down through generations. People embark on journey to a sacred place or shrine for fulfillment of their religious beliefs. It holds profound meaning for the believer as well as solidification of the communal identity. 

 Hebrew bible recommends pilgrimage to the temple (Beit Ha Mikdash) in Jerusalem.  Exodus 23:14 specifies that “three times you are to hold pilgrimage for me, every year” and in Deuteronomy 16:13, “ the pilgrimage festival of Sukkot, you are to observe for yourself, for seven days”. The major pilgrimage to the temple on Sukkot festival, was called Ḥag ha-Asif (Festival of Gathering). 

 In Judaism, pilgrimage revolved around three major festivals known as the Sheloshet Haregalim (three pilgrimage festivals): Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Feast of Weeks), and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). Passover commemorates the exodus from Egypt and the Israelites’ journey to freedom. Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai and Sukkot involves building temporary shelters (sukkahs) to remember the Israelites journey through the desert after the exodus. These festivals originally required Jews to make a pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem called re’iyah (appearance) and offer sacrifices called Qorban in Hebrew. After the destruction of the temple and dispersion of Jews, pilgrimage was discontinued and replaced with religious observances. During sukkot, members of the congregation join a procession that circles the inside of the sanctuary of the synagogue called hak’kafah (circling). 

 The shrine of Ka’aba in Mecca is linked with early Islamic traditions and prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) family was the custodian of the shrine in pre-Islamic era.  In the first few years of Islam, Muslims prayed towards the ruins of destroyed Jewish temple in Jerusalem, but Ka’aba’s place was affirmed in daily Muslim life when direction of prayer was changed from Jerusalem to Ka’aba.

 The Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca called Hajj is one of the main pillar of Islam and every able-bodied person is mandated to perform Hajj on specific days once in lifetime if he or she can afford. The minor pilgrimage called umra’h can be performed any time of the year. In Quran verses about pilgrimage include al Hajj 22:27 & 29, “call ˹all˺ people to the pilgrimage” and “circle the ancient house” and in al Baqarah 2:196,  “complete the pilgrimage (Hajj) and minor pilgrimage (umra’h) for Allah”.

 The Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca consists of wearing simple two pieces of white cloth (ihram), the sevenfold circumambulation of the Ka’ba (tawaf),  running between the hills of Safa and Marwa (sa’i), going to the plains of Mount Arafat, spending a night on the plains of Muzdalifa, staying in a tent in Mina, symbolic stoning of the devil, sacrificing an animal and celebrating the three- day festival Eid ul Adha

 In pre-Islamic Arabia, Mecca was one of the center of pagan pilgrimage and sacrifice rites.  The Ḥajj rituals performed by Muslims outside of Mecca, in Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina with animal sacrifice are like ‘ritualized hunt-like competitions reported to have been a part the pre-Islamic pilgrimage gathering at the Dhū al-Majāz fair’. Tribal competitions, ritualized hunts, and the sacrifice of animals at mountaintop were part of this festival.

 Islam continued the tradition but linked it with monotheism by incorporating ancient prophets, especially Ibrahim. Several verses of the Quran link Ibrahim with the shrine of Ka’aba.  In Quran al Baqarah 2:127, “Abraham raised the foundation of the House with Ishmael” and in Quran al Hajj 22:26-27, “we assigned to Abraham the site of the House, ˹saying,˺ “do not associate anything with Me ˹in worship˺ and purify My House for those who circle ˹the Ka’aba” and “call ˹all˺ people to the pilgrimage”.

 In addition to main pilgrimages, Jews and Muslims visit shrines of prophets, sages, and holy men to get some form of divine blessing. Puritans of both religions do not approve of such visits and view it as encroachment on strict monotheism so stressed in Judaism and Islam. It is hard even for monotheism to completely eradicate these venerations where saints replace the pagan deities. In some areas, both communities claim exclusive rights to the venerated shrine resulting in violent conflict. In Hebron, the burial place of the patriarch of both religions Ibrahim is one such place. Muslims call it sanctuary of Ibrahim (al haram al Ibrahimi) and Jews call it cave of the patriarchs (me’arat Ha’machpelah) and space is divided into a mosque and a synagogue.

 Jewish and Muslim pilgrimages are like traditions in other religions including pagan traditions. Prophets common among both religions are the link with some similarities in rituals although pilgrimage traditions and rituals diverged as each religion had a different historical trajectory.

 Notes:

 Pamela Berger.  Jewish-Muslim Veneration at Pilgrimage Places in the Holy Land. Religion and the Arts 15 (2011), 1-60.

 https://www.themathesontrust.org/papers/judaism/Berger-Jewish-Muslim_Veneration.pdf

 Peter Webb.  The Hajj before Muhammad:  Journeys to Mecca in Muslim Narratives of Pre-Islamic History

 https://www.academia.edu/7027500/The_Hajj_before_Muhammad

 Peter Webb. The History and Significance of the Meccan Hajj – from Pre-Islam to the Rise of the Abbasids

 https://www.academia.edu/109034309/The_History_and_Significance_of_the_Meccan_Hajj_from_Pre_Islam_to_the_Rise_of_the_Abbasids

 Rabbi Allan Maller. Can the Hajj spirit bring Jews and Muslims Closer together.  June 27, 2022

 https://www.eurasiareview.com/27062022-can-the-hajj-spirit-bring-jews-and-muslims-closer-together-oped/#google_vignette

 The Noble Quran.  An easy-to-use site with Arabic text and English translation. Translations used in this article are from this site.

https://quran.com/en

 Hamid Hussain

coeusconsultant@optonline.net

21 June 2024

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Omar Ali

I am a physician interested in obesity and insulin resistance, and in particular in the genetics and epigenetics of obesity As a blogger, I am more interested in history, Islam, India, the ideology of Pakistan, and whatever catches my fancy. My opinions can change.

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S Qureishi
S Qureishi
9 days ago

This article seeks to find common ground and common rituals & practices between Judaism and Islam, which stem more due to a shared origin mythology and culture than anything else. It’s easy to find shared similarities, it can be found with any other religion as well if we are just looking at rituals and practices.

However the writer is from a Muslim background, and Muslims misunderstand the fundamental nature of Judaism just like the Prophet Muhammad did when allying with them in Medina. This difference in the fundamental nature of the two religions is far more pronounced than with most others.

Judaism is not really a universal religion that anyone is allowed to join, it’s an racial religion based on the belief in the absolute racial superiority of the Jews. The god of the Jews is not an all encompassing creator god, it’s the exclusively the god of the Jews and nobody else.

In Islam, ‘humanity’ is considered the noblest of creation (Ashraf-ul-Makhluqat), in Judaism, Jews are the best of creations for which all other creations exist. This too, outlines a fundamental difference in the two religious philosophies. Anybody who is not a Jew in Judaism has the same rights as those of inanimate objects. The Talmud gives great insight into the workings and beliefs of Judaism. The Islamic concept of god is completely opposite. The Islamic god is the god of all mankind, He is concerned with everyone of its creations, not just the tribe of Israel.

Islam is much closer to Christianity than it is to Judaism. Islam and Christianity have differences with regards to theology – specifically the trinity, but fundamental nature of the two religions are quite similar as they both are a universal franchise. You can find philosophical and theological similarities with Zoroastrianism as well.

brown
brown
8 days ago
Reply to  S Qureishi

….The Islamic god is the god of all mankind, He is concerned with everyone of its creations, not just the tribe of Israel……

kindly elaborate. if this is true, why this is not told often. if yes, what happens to concepts like kufr, dar al harb, etc ???

S Qureishi
S Qureishi
8 days ago
Reply to  brown

“Kaafir” is simply a name given to one who does not believe in Islam. ‘Kufr’ is the act of unbelief.

The ‘Dar ul Harb’ concept was developed in the 9th century, this is not found in early Islam but was developed two centuries later to reconcile with Muslims who are living in non-Muslim ruled lands. It’s a designation given to a land where Islam is not allowed to be practiced openly, where the lives of Muslims are not safe and that the land’s rulers are in open war with Islam & Muslims (Hanafi definition). Muslims are then encouraged to migrate to another place if they are deemed to be living in a Dar ul Harb.

—-

Islam’s fundamental belief system is as such:

1) God created everything, including the universe and everything in it.
2) God created mankind and bestowed free will onto it, so that it will understand and worship God of its own free will.
3) God sent messengers and prophets to mankind to guide them. Every nation was sent a messenger with God’s message, however people kept corrupting the message.
4) Islam is the final message from God and is meant for all mankind, not just one particular nation.
5) Muslims are encouraged to spread this message to everyone and to worship God as outlined in Islam.
6) Anyone, be it Jew, Christian, Hindu or Buddhist, can become Muslim by uttering the creed and get equal status with other Muslims.

The Christian concept of God is very similar to Islam, which is why these two religions are quite similar. Christianity and Islam diverge mainly on the divinity of Jesus Christ. The other differences in practice stem from cultural development of both religions, one in Levant and Mediterranean, and the other in Arabia and Iran. Islamic philosophy flourished under the Abbasid rule in Iraq/Iran, and it was borrowing theological concepts from Greece, Iran and India.

Judaism is fundamentally different. It started off as a local religion of one tribe – the Israelites. It was not a monotheist religion originally, its early concept of god was very similar to any other pagan religion, where gods fought each other just like men, and that men looked to their own gods for help, compared to the gods of their enemies. For the first few centuries and during the ancient kingdom of Israel, Judaism was no more than any other local religion surrounding it, and I would not even classify it as monotheistic since yahweh was the god of Israelites but there was no concept that he was the ultimate God. It was only after the first exile of the Jews to Babylon (Persia) whence the Jews came into contact with actual monotheists (Zoroastrians). It was here on that they started proclaiming that their God was also the god of all creations. This is where ‘Yahweh’ changed into ‘Elohim’. However that philosophy never evolved past it and they continued to remain ‘God’s chosen’ people, with all other humans and creations explicitly existing to serve them. The Jewish race is considered sacrosant and the gentiles are to be subservient to the Jews because that is what god has created them for. The Talmud is explicit in this regard. The Jews therefore have no obligation to spread their message because their god is unconcerned with the gentiles, which is why they are always a minority amongst the gentiles. To compensate for their minority status, they historically joined professions that were shunned by Christianity/Islam due to usury, (i.e. money lending). With the rise of private banking in the 18th and 19th centuries and colonization and then globalization and fiat currencies, the power of money lenders grew and so did the power of the Jews. A small minority started to gain disproportionate share of power that exists today and in order to retain this power, they usually resort to subterfuge. The have succeeded in controlling the main stream western media and also cultural centres of Hollywood, which have succeeded in destroying Western Christianity from within. The Jewish racial mentality (superiority complex of their race) and old tribal loyalties remain, that often shows itself up whenever Israel finds itself in open conflict.

Sumit
Sumit
1 day ago
Reply to  S Qureishi

read somewhere early islam was also less universalist. umayyad calphiates was a concept of ‘mawali’ (converted non-arab muslims) who paid extra jizya like taxes.

also the whole the caliph has to be from the quershi tribe thing

i mostly just remember the word “mawalli” as it is an insult in hindu / urdu

S Qureishi
S Qureishi
21 hours ago
Reply to  Sumit

Islam was universalist from the start, but the Ummayads who seized power early on in its history, were tyrants and Arab supremacists. The Ummayad clan of Qureish was always bitter rivals to early Muslims and only accepted Islam when in the later stages when it was clear to them that they could not fight it. They consolidated their hold on power during the 3rd caliphate, seized power soon after and eliminated most of the bloodline of Prophet Muhammad within 50 years of his death.

There are (unsubstantiated) stories that Muhammad bin Qasim (nephew of an bloodthirsty Ummayad governor) was sent to attack Sindh not because of some pirates or for loot, but because Raja Dahir was sheltering the rebels and the distant family of the Prophet who posed legitimacy threat to the Ummayad rule.

Anyway the Ummayads, were always concerned with profit and finances since they were the premier trading family in pre-islamic Makkah, and with the rise of large groups of people accepting Islam to avoid jizya in the new terrirtories, their finances were threatened and they instituted the policy where non Arabs were required to pay jizya even if they accepted Islam. To religiously justify this policy, they instituted a system where non-Arab tribes can come under the protection of Arab tribes, learn Arabic and adopt Arab culture.. these non-Arab tribes were called ‘Mawali’, the word Mawali (under the protector), comes from the root ‘Wali’ means (protector) or Maula (master). The Mawalis found that even after the adoption of Arabic they were second class citizens in the Ummayad empire, as the Ummayads prefered tribal affiliation over religious affiliation. The Mawali discontent was one of the primary cause of the Abbasid revolt and ended the Ummayad empire, and the Abbasids gradually ended Arab tribal supremacy in favor of a more Persian system.

These words Mawali, Mawla and Wali mean different thing in different contexts and most certainly used by Arabs differently than they are used in South Asia. When Arabs say Mawali they mean non-Arabs, possibly due to the usage in the Ummayad era. The South Asians would use it to denote someone who is a useless pleb. The term would have no doubt come about from the same root Wali.. many Sufi masters based in India were called “wali” and their devotees would logically be called “mawali”. I suspect the term came into common usage from this origin in India, as devotees of these Sufi saints were linked to excessive consumption of opium and cannabis and there the word may have gotten its meaning.

Brown Pundits
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