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Jews in the Quran Jews in the Quran
by Joseph Gatt
2019-03-16 09:15:53
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Today very few countries use Sharia law, and even when they do, they tend to use Sharia law flexibly. Today's Islam in the Muslim world is one that co-exists with Civil Law, with a Civil code that is often inspired from Islam but also has Western influences. In most Islamic nations, the Civil law contains a vague clause saying that one should not offend “Islamic morality and Islamic values” which has been interpreted differently according to different circumstances.

But there are no Jews in Islamic states either. Iran had the Islamic world's largest Jewish community with 6,000 members, followed by Morocco with 2,000 Jews and Tunisia with 1,500 Jews. Most other Arab states and Muslim states have at most 500 Jews living at any given time. And the law that applies to those Jews is mostly Civil law, that is Jews are subject to the same laws as other Muslim or non-Muslim members of the community.

kora0001_400Islam was revolutionary in that Islamic civilization became one of the first civilizations to follow a book of laws, namely the Quran. The Christian Bible is not a book of laws; the Jewish Bible was applied among Jewish communities where laws were reformed in what is known as Rabbinic Judaism. But Islamic states or caliphates were the world's first systematic group or countries that used a legal code, the same legal code spread out through its vast territory.

Jews lived mainly in Christian and Muslim countries and territories until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. While the Christian Bible does not contain clear laws as to what should be done with Jews or religious minorities, the Quran had the advantage of having very clear laws regarding what should be done with religious minorities. Religious minorities should be protected, in exchange for a tax.

The clear laws surrounding Judaism in the Quran meant that until the creation of the State of Israel, there were no major pogroms or incidents in Islamic territories among the Jews. There were notable executions, the persecution of individual Jews, in some cases tensions resulting from a Jew being accused of desecrating a Mosque or other tensions between Jews and Muslims, but no major war or pogrom.

Now was it all rosy? Did the Jews and Muslims live in peace? The Quran does contain passages urging Muslims to be skeptical and suspicious of the Jews. The Quran says that Jews are “secretive” and “liars” and forbids friendship between a Jew and a Muslim. That is many Muslims believed and still believe that the Jewish religion is a secret religion, one where the Jews do not want to share the secrets. So if the Jews say they worship God and hold festivals, the truth behind closed doors might be that they secretly worship Satan and engage in witchcraft. This belief is prevalent among Muslims to this day.

The Quran also warns that by being too close with the Jews or other religions, you could be tempted to leave Islam. So the Quran advises that Muslims take distances from non-Muslims. Thus, throughout the history of Judaism in Islamic lands, the Jews tended to live more or less secluded from the Islamic tribes. Jews had their own laws and tribunals, and were considered guests in Islamic states.

Islam in the Quran is described as the only correct path and Muslims are encouraged to show the correct path to the rest of the world. Islamic law was for centuries believed to be supreme and universal, and Muslims were encouraged to spread Islamic law to the rest of the world. One way to spread Islamic law was by conquering land, the other was by fighting people who conquer Islamic territories.

The creation of the state of Israel was perceived as a humiliation in the Islamic world, because the conquest had been made in the heart of the Islamic world. However, I cast my doubts on the holy nature of the city of Jerusalem in Islam. Historically Mecca is the main holy city in Islam, few Muslims would cite Medina as a holy city, even fewer Muslims would claim that Jerusalem is a holy city.

Historically Cairo, Baghdad and Damascus were the meeting points for Muslims en route to the Hajj pilgrimage or otherwise for conferences or meetings. Jerusalem was not a meeting point. Jerusalem is not discussed in the Quran and there are no specific pilgrimages to Jerusalem. Jerusalem's status as a holy city only became widely known in 1948, with the creation of the State of Israel.

Today no country fully applies Sharia law. The only country to apply Sharia law to a full extent was Afghanistan between 1996 and 2000. Even Iran does not apply Sharia law to a full extent. As for the Jews in the Quran they were kind of like today's real estate agents: protect them, but don't be too close with them and don't believe anything they tell you.

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