I am sure for most of us haven’t tried to read about other religions (because the vast majority are satisfied with Islam).
The purpose of this post is not because I am not satisfied by Islam (NO WAY!). It is to understand how others think and to know how to answer non-muslims by using their own books in conversations or discussions.
This something I learned from the 4 great Imams (Al Shafee, Malik, Abu Hanifa, Ibn Hanbal), Ibn Hazm Al Andalusi and many other Islamic scholars .
They all used to read about other ideologies and religions to know how to answer back.
Well, I tried reading about another religion and I found some very interesting facts.
I choose to read the Torah (Tanakh) which is the Jews’ holy book as a starter.
Topics In This Post:
Note: This is a long post, so if you are interested in only one of th below listed topics...please just scroll down to that specific topic.
- Arabs and Muslims relation with Jews
- How Jews Were Treated Under Islam
- Jews in Egypt
- Similarities between Islam and Judaism
- Who was the Pharaoh In Moses’ Story?
- Palestine (Canaan)
- Verses and Commandments From Torah (Per Book)
- General Points
Jews to us (us Muslims) are one of the “People of the book” whom we respect and believe in their prophet Moses. Not only that, we also love Moses and hold him at the highest value possible.
We are ordered in a verse in Quran not to differentiate between any of God’s prophets, Moses of course is one of them.
A quick look in the Quran and you surely will notice the huge amount of verses that tell his story and speak with great respect about him (among other Prophets of course).
Moses is talked about in Quran more than any other prophet. Actually, his name is mentioned more times than the name Mohammad (PBUH) (note: a lot of the Quran is talking directly to our Prophet and us).
Not to forget, that we (Muslims) can name our children Moses and Jesus (Essa) or even any other Porphet sent by God per Quran.
Brushing through the Torah and the information written about it all over the place was very enlightening to me.
I found some common rules and ideologies between Islam and Judaism (quite a few actually).
I also found some, things that are totally different than Islam.
I know that from the Muslims’ perspective, the book that the Jews have between there hands is not the correct version that was sent to Moses (has been altered). Reading through the Torah, I think I know why Muslims say that.
Note: to Jews, Christians and Muslims are not religions to follow (don’t believe in Jesus or Mohammed). Yet, they have something called righteous Gentiles (non-Jews or aliens as their scholars call them)… although again, they do not consider Muslims or Christians part of that group either ( as you’ll read below).
These are some things I found out from reading the Torah or information about it…
Torah (Tanakh or “Old Testament” as Christians call it):
Consists of five books. The five books contain both a complete and ordered system of laws, particularly the 613 mitzvot (613 distinct "commandments", individually called a mitzvah),
- Genesis (בראשית, Bereshit: "In the beginning...")
- Exodus (שמות, Shemot: "Names")
- Leviticus (ויקרא, Vayyiqra: "And he called...")
- Numbers (במדבר, Bammidbar: "In the desert...")
- Deuteronomy (דברים, Devarim: "Words", or "Discourses")
The oldest extant Masoretic (i.e. Hebrew) manuscripts of Genesis are the Aleppo Codex dated to ca. 920 AD, and the Westminster Leningrad Codex dated to 1008 AD, many years after Moses.
Many Jewish laws are not directly mentioned in the Torah, but are derived from textual hints, which were expanded orally, and eventually written down in the Talmud and the Mishnah. The Rabbinic interpretation of the Oral Laws are called Gemara.
According to classical rabbinic texts this parallel set of material was originally transmitted to Moses at Sinai, and then from Moses to Israel. At that time it was forbidden to write and publish the oral law, as any writing would be incomplete and subject to misinterpretation and abuse. However, after persecution and exile, this restriction was lifted when it became apparent that in writing was the only way to ensure that the Oral Law could be preserved.
The Talmud says that God dictated four books of the Torah, but that Moses wrote Deuteronomy in his own words (Talmud Bavli, Meg. 31b). All classical beliefs, nonetheless, hold that the Torah was entirely or almost entirely Mosaic and of divine origin.
There is another point of view called documentary hypothesis. This postulates that Genesis, together with the other four books, is a composite work assembled from various sources.
Later Jewish biblical exegetes, notably Abraham ibn Ezra (c.1093 - 1167) also noted the distinctly different meditative style and language of Deuteronomy and stated that a number of verses must have been written by a later author.
The thought is that rather than originate with zealous religious leaders (the prophets), it may have been written by the king and high priest, both of whom were political leaders
Arabs and Muslims relation with Jews:
Ancient Hebrew and Arab people are generally classified as Semitic peoples, a concept derived from Biblical accounts of the origins of the cultures known to the ancient Hebrews. Those closest to them in culture and language were generally deemed to be descended from their forefather Shem.
The firstborn son of Abraham, Ishmael, Muslims consider Father of the Arabs (Prophet Mohammad was one of his offspring). Abraham's second son Isaac is called Father of the Hebrews.
How Jews Were Treated Under Islam:
Mainly, it was a bright history (note: most of the recent history problems came up after the occupation of land in Palestine by the Israelis)…
The Ottoman Empire had served as a refuge for Jews who had been expelled from Western Europe, especially after the fall of Muslim Spain in 1492.
This was also the case for the Maghreb in North Africa, where a Jewish quarter (Mellah), was installed in most large Arabian cities. At the time Jews were driven out of Western Europe fleeing the Christian Inquisition, most notably the Alhambra decree.
There was general improvement in the conditions of Jews as Islamic law commands that Jews should be judged by Jewish laws, and that synagogues are to be protected.
In Spain (Andalus), this era is sometimes referred to as the Golden age of Jewish culture in the Iberian Peninsula.
Iran contains the most number of Jews among Muslim countries and Uzbekistan and Turkey.
Jews in Egypt:
1948 Jewish population: 75,000
2004: Less than 100
In 1956, the Egyptian government used the Sinai Campaign as a pretext for expelling almost 25,000 Egyptian Jews and confiscating their property. Also, they were linked to bomb attacks and espionage against Egypt.
Mohammed Hassanein Hekal (very famous Egyptian journalist and a very close person to Jammal Abdel Nasser) once said that he tried to change Jamal Abdel Nasser’s mind on doing that. Abdel Nasser said that the dangers around us are too many. After the bombs (in Egypt carried out by Jews), espionage (more than one Egyptian jewish network was caught working for Israels) and the attack that happened from Israel in 1956, it is obvious that the Jewish community in Egypt believe in Israel’s right to take land in Palestine and are helping them, hence we can not risk having them between us.
Nowadays, the few remaining Jews are free to practice Judaism without any restrictions or harassment. Shaar Hashamayim is the only functioning synagogue in Cairo. Of the many synagogues in Alexandria only the Eliahu Hanabi is open for worship.
Similarities between Islam and Judaism:
Judaism is similar to Islam in its fundamental religious outlook, structure, jurisprudence and practice .
- Share the idea of a revealed Scripture
- The Hebrew Torah and the Muslim Qur'an share a lot of narrative as well as injunctions (prophet stories, God…etc).
- Muslims commonly refer to Jews (and Christians) as fellow "People of the Book": people who follow the same general teachings in relation to the worship of the one God worshipped by Abraham.
- In Islam the laws are called Sharia, In Judaism they are known as Halakha.
- Both Judaism and Islam consider the study of religious law to be a form of worship and an end in itself.
- The absolute unity of God which Muslims observe in their five times daily prayers (Salah), and Jews state at least twice (Shema Yisrael).
- Strict dietary laws, with lawful food being called Kosher in Judaism and Halal in Islam (sounds familiar Mr.K??!).
- Both Judaism and Islam have a generally negative stance on homosexuality and on human sexuality outside of marriage (Sodom, whose people "were wicked, great sinners against the LORD”,per the Torah, GENISIS).
- Both prescribe circumcision for males as a symbol of dedication to the religion (and Tahara).
- The story of Moses is very similar in both religions (and Prophets).
- Both don’t have pork.
- Forbidding selling of items that can be idolized which is basically any item that the idolater is likely to offer in an idolatrous service (from Tulmud, Mishna,)
Who was the Pharaoh In Moses’ Story?
It Is not for sure who it was, they are all allegations. Here are the alleged ones…
- Ramses II or Merneptah of the 19th Dynasty, around 1290 BCE, favoured by the large majority of both religious and secular scholars, although this contradicts several key aspects of the biblical account, and neglects several recent archaeological discoveries in Tel el-Dab'a and Jericho
- Thutmose III or Amenhotep II of the 18th Dynasty, around 1444 BCE, favoured by a large minority of mostly religious scholars, it should be noted that Egypt still dominated the Canaan at that period in history, making such a date less plausible. The carbon-dating tests at Jericho are also disputed in age.
- Akhenaton of the 18th Dynasty, around 1340 BC. The link to Akhenaton is that, like Moses, this pharaoh was struggling to convert the people to monotheism. The brother of Akhenaton was named Tuth-Moses, and while it is often assumed that this Tuth-Moses died young Professor Cyril Aldred shows that he was the commander of the king's chariot forces. The Jewish historian Josephus Flavius similarly records that Moses was an Egyptian prince and army commander (Antiquities 2:232, 2:241). 
Canaanites are mentioned in the Bible, Mesopotamian and Ancient Egyptian texts, and have always normally been considered an ethnic group radiating out of Lebanon; though some recent sources, without specifying any evidence, have asserted an origin on the Arabian Peninsula.
Comment: Whether from Arabia or Lebanon that proves our right to the place before the Israelis, or what?!!!!
Canaan is mentioned in a document from the 18th century BC found in the ruins of Mari, a former Sumerian outpost in Syria. Apparently Canaan at this time existed as a distinct political entity.
During the 2nd millennium BC, Ancient Egyptian texts use the term Canaan to refer to an Egyptian province, whose boundaries generally corroborate the definition of Canaan found in the Hebrew Bible, bounded to the west by the Mediterranean Sea, to the north in the vicinity of Hamath in Syria, to the east by the Jordan Valley.
In the centuries preceding the appearance of the Biblical Hebrews, Canaan and Syria became tributary to the Egyptian Pharaohs.
Many earlier Egyptian sources also make mention of numerous campaigns conducted in Ka-na-na before Israelites were there.
Comment: Again, Egyptians were there before Biblical Hebrews, maybe we should be the ones to claim Palestine?? Yeah right!!
During the Canaanite Period of the Archaeology of Israel, the cities of Canaan were ruled by vassals of the Egyptian Empire.
The Canaanites are said to have been one of seven regional ethnic divisions or "nations" driven out before the Israelites
Israelis refer to their history like this..
1.1 Canaanite period
1.2 Israelite period (Iron age)
1.3 Persian period
1.4 Hellenistic period
1.5 Roman period
1.6 Byzantine period
Comment: Canaanites were there first. Cannaites were from Lebanon or Arabia. Egyptians were there before Biblical Hebrews… what else can I say???!!!
Verses and Commandments From Torah (Per Book):
Note: These are the points i had a question mark about or are interesting to know.
- "So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation.
- the woman he punishes with pain in childbirth, and with subordination to man: "your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you;".
- Noah plants a vineyard, drinks wine, and falls into a drunken sleep. Ham, son of Noah, sees his father naked; when Noah awakes he places a curse on Ham's son Canaan, saying that he and all his descendants shall henceforth be slaves to Ham's brothers Shem and Japheth.
- God appears to Abram and says, "To your descendants I will give this land.
Comment: This means we Arabs and Muslims have the same right. Muslims for one are the decendents of Ishmael the son of Abraham...so we have the same right!
- God makes a covenant with Abram, promising that Abram's descendants they shall inherit the land "from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates."
Comment: if Israelis believe in this as I presume they will, then will never happen, Egyptians, Jordanians, Iraqis…stay on your toes!
- Lot's (sayedna Loot) daughters, fearing that they will not find husbands and that their line (Lot's line) will die out, make their father drunk and lie with him; their children become the ancestors of the Moabites and Ammonites.
Comment: In Islam, Prophets are respected and never could be viewed as having incest sexual intercourse nor getting drunk.
- Ishmael is near dying, an angel speaks to Hagar and promises that God will not forget them, but will make of Ishmael a great nation; "Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, ... And God was with the lad, and he grew up
Comment: Means that Arabs\Muslims are the great ones mentioned, since they are the descendants of Ishmael. And Mohammed (the Prophet of Islam) was a descendant of Ishmael.
Another thing is that this story in Torah happened in Beer-Sheba in Palestine contradicting Islam’s Makkah version.
- God puts Abraham to the test by demanding the sacrifice of Isaac.
- Jacob's daughter Dinah goes out, and "Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humbled her". Shechem asks Jacob for Dinah's hand in marriage, but the sons of Jacob deceive the men of Shechem and slaughter them and take captive their wives and children and loot the city
- On his return to Egypt, God tries to kill Moses, but Zipporah, at the inn, circumcises Moses' son, fulfilling the Abrahamic covenant and saving Moses' life. (1-4)
- Moses slayed those who worshiped the golden calf (Exod 32:27) to rid himself of the doubters and dissenters.
- Aaron was the one who created the golden calf (Note: Aaron is Haroun Moses’ brother).
- The case law lesson of a blasphemer being stoned to death.
- Death to a child insulting its parents (Leviticus 20), and a special case for prostitution (burning them alive) (Leviticus 21)
- Separation when a woman is menstruating and seven subsequent days until she immerses in a ritual bath (Comment: they even don’t touch their wives).
- The Midian War documented in the Hebrew Bible, Numbers 31, is the final military action that Moses personally led. The Bible says that the people of Midian had already led the people of Israel to sin against God. Moses called forth one thousand males from each of the twelve tribes of Israel and commanded them to destroy the cities and the warriors of Midian
Moses decreed that every male child be killed and that every woman who was not a virgin be killed as well. The virgins were to be passed out as slaves.
- The death penalty is prescribed for following other gods, and for teaching the Israelites to do the same.
- The death penalty is also prescribed for males who disobey their parents.
- That slavery of an individual lasts no more than 6 years, but only if the individual purchased is "thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman." .
- Peace terms before battle - the terms being that they enter slavery .
Comment: In Islam we don't take people as slaves as a condition of peace.
- Prohibition against wives making a groin attack on their husband's adversary.
Explains and elaorates on Torah. Here are some things mentioned in it...
- Burning, chokcing, beheading, stoning (Sanhedrin)
- Lashing (although no history of it) (Makkot)
- Avodah Zarah (part of Talmud):
Christians saw the polemic of the tractate as being directed at them, and as painting them as idolaters and immoral people. This Gemara (completion, contains rabbinical commentaries and analysis of its predecessor) on Avodah Zarah was the main target of controversy and criticism. Of all the texts in Rabbinic Judaism, this is probably the one in which it is most difficult to obtain an "authentic" version as almost all the pages have had censorship imposed.
Are a list of seven moral imperatives which, according to the Talmud, were given by God to Noah as a binding set of laws for all mankind. According to Judaism any non-Jew who lives according to these laws is regarded as a Righteous Gentile and furthermore only a non-Jew who carefully abides by these laws is assured of a place in the world to come,
- Prohibition of Idolatry: - You shall not make for yourself an idol.
- Prohibition Murder: - You shall not murder.
- Prohibition of Theft: - You shall not steal.
- Prohibition of Sexual Promiscuity: - You shall not commit adultery.
Prohibition of Blasphemy: - You shall not blaspheme.
- Prohibition of Cruelty to Animals: - Do not eat the flesh of a living animal.
- Requirement to have just Laws: - You shall set up an effective government to police the preceding six laws.
- No Interracial marriage, The Torah does not permit or even recognize marriages between Jews and Gentiles, if performed despite the prohibition. The punishment for Jews for such marriages is being cut off from the Jewish people and any part in the World to Come ((Deuteronomy 7,3-4),). Children of intermarriage are rarely raised Jewish; they are normally raised in the faith of the non-Jewish partner or non-religious. Some Orthodox Jews go so far as to state that intermarriage is accomplishing what Hitler could not: the destruction of the Jewish people.
- In general, Jews do not try to convert non-Jews to Judaism. In fact, according to halakhah (Jewish Law), rabbis are supposed to make three vigorous attempts to dissuade a person who wants to convert to Judaism
- Salvery: Jewish law required that a jew slave could go free in the seventh year of service (Exodus 21:2), although his family would not be freed; it is not clear what happens to war slaves.
- Racism seems to be a problem:
The late Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan asserted that the quality of American military forces had deteriorated because they were composed of Blacks "who have low intelligence and low education." He urged America to ensure that "fresh blood and better brains go to their forces." He is a hero in Israel.
More at: http://www.blacksandjews.com/Jews_and_Slavery.html
- Human Slaves Trafficking was another issue reased:
In the tenth century," notes Jewish (and Zionist) author Julius Brutzkus, "the Jews possessed salt mines near Nuremberg. They also traded in arms, and exploited the treasuries of the churches. But their great specialty ... was their trade in slaves." [LEON, p. 124] "The first Jews that Poles encountered," states the Encyclopedia Judaica, "must certainly have been traders, probably slave traders, of the type called in the 12th-century Jewish sources holekhei rusyah (travelers to Russia). [EN JUD, v. 13, p. 710] "In the tenth century," notes Israel Abrahams, "the Spanish Jews often owed their wealth to their trade in slaves." [ABRAHAMS, p. 98]
- The female slave was a sex tool beneath the level of moral
considerations. She was an economic good, useful, in addition to her menial labor, for breeding more slaves. To attain that purpose, the master mated her promiscuously according to his breeding plans. The master himself and his sons and other members of his household took turns with her for the increase of the family wealth, as well as for satisfaction of their extra-marital sex desires. Guests and neighbors too were invited to that luxury. [LOUIS EPSTEIN, Sex Laws and Customs in Judaism, in SEC.LIFE, p. 196]
Answers to that: (http://en.allexperts.com/q/Orthodox-Judaism-952/Slavery-Ten-Commandments.htm )
- Wearing wool and linen together in the same garment. (Wearing one piece of clothing that is linen and another that is wool at the same time is permitted.) This prohibition against Shatnez is found in Deuteronomy 22:11 and Leviticus 19:19
- Jews view of Christians: While the Christians do generally accept the Hebrew Bible as truly from God, many of them (those who accept the so-called divinity of Jesus) are idolaters according to the Torah, punishable by death, and certainly will not enjoy the World to Come.
- Jews view of Muslims: While it is recognized that Moslems worship the same God that we do (though calling him Allah, He is the same God of Israel), even those who follow the tenets of their religion cannot be considered righteous in the eyes of God, because they do not accept that the Written Torah in the hands of the Jews today is the original Torah handed down by God and they do not accept the Seven Laws of Noah as binding on them. These commandments may seem fairly simple and straightforward, and most of them are recognized by most of the world as sound moral principles. But according to the Torah only those Gentiles who observe these laws because God commanded them in His Torah will enjoy life in the World to Come
- The Talmud specifies both the quantity and quality of sex that a man must give his wife. It specifies the frequency of sexual obligation based on the husband's occupation, although this obligation can be modified in the ketubah (marriage contract).
- Various rabbis at various times describe women as lazy, jealous, vain and gluttonous, prone to gossip and particularly prone to the occult and witchcraft.
- Women are discouraged from pursuing higher education or religious pursuits, but this seems to be primarily because women who engage in such pursuits might neglect their primary duties as wives and mothers.
- In addition, because women are not obligated to perform as many commandments as men are, women are regarded as less privileged. It is in this light that one must understand the man's blessing thanking God for "not making me a woman". The prayer does not indicate that it is bad to be a woman, but only that men feel fortunate to be privileged to have more obligations.
- Another thing that must be understood is the separation of men and women during prayer. According to Jewish Law, men and women must be separated during prayer, usually by a wall or curtain called a mechitzah or by placing women in a second floor balcony. There are two reasons for this: first, your mind is supposed to be on prayer, not on the pretty girl praying near you. Second, many pagan religious ceremonies at the time the Torah was given on Sinai involved sexual activity and orgies, and the separation prevents or at least discourages even thinking about such things.
- Under Jewish law, a man can divorce a woman for any reason or no reason. The Talmud specifically says that a man can divorce a woman because she spoiled his dinner or simply because he finds another woman more attractive.
- The position of husband and wife with regard to divorce is not an equal one. According to the Torah, only the husband can initiate a divorce, and the wife cannot prevent him from divorcing her.
- Jews know that Jesus could not possibly have been the mashiach. Assuming that he existed, and assuming that the Christian scriptures are accurate in describing him (both of which are debatable), he simply did not fulfill the mission of the mashiach as Jews have always understood it.
Al 7amdo lelAh 3ala ne3met al Islam !
Mood: Chillin' :)