Understanding Hamas’ Mainstream, Genocidal, Islamic Jew-Hatred
Salah al-Khalidi (fl. late 20th century) makes plain how these motifs of Koranic Jew-hatred are interpreted by Hamas in a manner that is entirely consistent with classical exegeses. Extracts (translated from the original Arabic by Dr. Michael Schub in my The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism) are provided below from Khalidi’s major work Haqa'iq Koraniyya al Qadiyya al-Filastinniya [“Koranic Facts Regarding the Palestinian Issue”] which was first published in 1991 by the Hamas Publishing House Manshūrāt Filastin al-Muslima, and translated into Urdu, Hindi, Turkish, Russian, and English (formerly available online at www.assabeel.com) due to its international popularity.
Humiliation is attached to the Jews for their entire lifetime: they were humiliated in Egypt, and when they arrived in [sic] Palestine, and when they were exiled from Palestine, and when they dispersed into the valleys of the earth. What concerns us here-in our discussion of the Jewish character-is to indicate that this humiliation is to be considered as an inveterate Jewish character trait, and a destructive Jewish perversion. Humiliation is one of their historical attributes, a fixed fact of their existence, and a qaa`ida, basis of their life... (Koran 2:61) The Jews are humiliated because they disbelieved in God, killed His prophets, disobeyed His emissaries, transgressed His prohibitions-all of this is humiliation. They are humiliated-and this is why they search out lustful indulgences, and have become their slaves. All of this is humiliation.
It is impossible that the Jews could not be cursed. How could they not be accursed when they are attributed with such degenerate inveterate character traits, twenty of which we have demonstrated above. (Note: Khalidi earlier states, ‘We have extracted from Koran twenty Jewish traits. The Jews are: liars, perverters (of the Text), envious, tricky, fickle, mercurial, sardonic, treacherous, in error, causing others to be in error, merchants, fools, humiliated, dastards, misers, avid for (this) life, disloyal to their firm contracts, rush into sinful aggression, concealers of true evidence, corrupters in the earth, and obstructors in God's path.' For specific Koranic citations confirming his litany see here). They are worthy of eternal curse because of the villainous traits they display and the corrupt evils they have perpetrated.
The Jews are in a condition of mal`ana, i.e. everyone pours out curses on them; God has cursed them, the angels have cursed them, their prophets have cursed them, the good people among them have cursed them, and everyone has cursed them. They are deserving of this eternal and continual damnation until the day of resurrection when they will encounter God's wrath, fury, and punishment. They were accordingly exiled from God's mercy, and kept afar from His goodness.
Many Koranic verses were revealed emphasizing...the judgment upon them of cursed damnation, and exile from His mercy, e.g. Koran 5:13: “For breaking their covenant, We curse them, and have made their hearts hard." And Koran 5:60...And Koran 5:64...And Koran 5:78...”
The annihilationist sentiments regarding Jews, as expressed by Hamas cleric al-Zarad, are also rooted in Islamic eschatology [end of times theology], and incorporated permanently into the foundational 1988 Hamas Covenant. As characterized in the hadith (the words, deeds, and even unspoken gestures of Muhammad as ostensibly recorded by his earliest pious Muslim companions), Muslim eschatology highlights the Jews’ supreme hostility to Islam. Jews are described as adherents of the Dajjâl—the Muslim equivalent of the Anti-Christ—or according to another tradition, the Dajjâl is himself Jewish. At his appearance, other traditions maintain that the Dajjâl will be accompanied by 70,000 Jews from Isfahan wrapped in their robes, and armed with polished sabers, their heads covered with a sort of veil. When the Dajjâl is defeated, his Jewish companions will be slaughtered- everything will deliver them up except for the so-called gharkad tree, as per the canonical hadith (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985) included in the 1988 Hamas Covenant (in article 7). This hadith is cited in the Covenant as a sacralized, obligatory call for a Muslim genocide of the Jews:
...the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The Prophet, Allah's prayer and peace be upon him, says: "The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,' except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews." (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985)
Littman cites an April 12, 2002, Friday sermon delivered by the Palestinian Authority's Sheikh Ibrahim Madhi at the Sheikh Ijlin Mosque in Gaza City, broadcast live on Palestinian Authority television demonstrating how the destruction of Israel's Jews heralds further Islamic conquests.
Madhi quoted from this hadith—including the curious reference to the “Jewish” Gharqad tree—and then stated: “We believe in this hadith. We are convinced also that this hadith heralds the spread of Islam and its rule over all the lands... ‘from the ocean to the ocean...’”
This Judeo-centric Sunni eschatology resonates broadly, with an authoritative imprimatur, across Islamdom, in the modern era, and even within the Muslim diaspora. For example, Hajj Amin El-Husseini—“Godfather” of the modern Palestinian Muslim jihadist movement—concluded his compendious 1937 discourse on Islam’s canonical Jew-hatred by reproducing the hadith (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177; Sahih Muslim, Book 041, Number 6985) about how the destruction of the Jews is requisite for ushering in the messianic times. The current Palestinian Authority Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Hussein repeated this canonical tradition during a January 9, 2012 sermon. Subsequently, during a May 10, 2013 sermon at Sunni Islam’s Vatican equivalent, Al-Azhar University, and its mosque, Muhammad Al-Mahdi, a senior scholar and head of the Sharia association at Al-Azhar also proclaimed the same end of times Jew-annihilating hadith. Finally, apropos to their longstanding Islamic relevance, Ibn Kathir’s 14th century commentary on Koran 4:155-159, which discusses Isa’s (the Muslim Jesus’) role in defeating the Dajjal (the Muslim “anti-Christ”), and his Jewish minions, invokes these same apocalyptic canonical hadith of Jew annihilation.
Returning to the Hamas covenant, Article 28, which is free of any eschatological references, clearly “widens the circle of hate” towards Jews, as Littman observed, targeting all contemporary Jews: “Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Muslim people: ‘May the cowards never sleep.'”
Articles 22 and 32 invoke modern conspiratorial themes reminiscent of European (secular) antisemitic motifs, especially the latter (article 32), which makes explicit mention of the Czarist Russian forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But even these articles are peppered with Koranic citations, including references in both 22 and 32 to Koran 5:64, a sort of ancient antecedent of The Protocols. (Arberry translation, Koran 5:64: "The Jews have said, 'God's hand is fettered.' Fettered are their hands, and they are cursed for what they have said. Nay, but His hands are outspread; He expends how He will. And what has been sent down to thee from thy Lord will surely increase many of them in insolence and unbelief; and We have cast between them enmity and hatred, till the Day of Resurrection. As often as they light a fire for war, God will extinguish it. They hasten about the earth, to do corruption there; and God loves not the workers of corruption.")
Jihad is the other pillar of Hamas’ foundational Jew-annihilationist ideology featured in the 1988 Covenant. Once again, this is already suggested in the opening statement before the preamble which includes the following quote by Hasan al-Banna, founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood: “Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it, as it abolished that which was before it.” Hamas, it should be noted, claims to be a wing of the International Muslim Brotherhood. Article 2 of the Hamas Charter, for example, states: “The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a universal organisation which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times.”
But the body of the Hamas Covenant includes unequivocal statements of Hamas' irredentist commitment to the annihilation of Israel via jihad. Jihad martyrdom is lauded in article 8 “the Hamas slogan,” (in fact borrowed from the 1928 Charter of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood), which states, “Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its Constitution; Jihad is its path, and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.” Article 13 makes plain that Hamas' jihadism is completely incompatible with any meaningful Middle East peace settlement:
Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that...There is no solution to the Palestinian question except by Jihad. All initiatives, proposals, and International Conferences are a waste of time and vain endeavors.
And article 15 (subtitled, “Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine is a Personal Duty”) elucidates classical jihadist theory, as well as its practical modern application to the destruction of Israel by jihad:
The day the enemies conquer some part of the Muslim land, jihad becomes a personal duty of every Muslim. In the face of the Jewish occupation of Palestine, it is necessary to raise the banner of jihad. This requires the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses, locally [in Palestine], in the Arab world and in the Islamic world. It is necessary to instill the spirit of jihad in the nation, engage the enemies and join the ranks of the jihad fighters. The indoctrination campaign must involve ulama, educators, teachers and information and media experts, as well as all intellectuals, especially the young people and the sheikhs of Islamic movements...
It is necessary to establish in the minds of all the Muslim generations that the Palestinian issue is a religious issue, and that it must be dealt with as such, for [Palestine] contains Islamic holy places, [namely] the Al-Aqsa mosque, which is inseparably connected, for as long as heaven and earth shall endure, to the holy mosque of Mecca through the Prophet's nocturnal journey [from the mosque of Mecca to the Al-Aqsa mosque] and through his ascension to heaven thence. "Being stationed on the frontier for the sake of Allah for one day is better than this [entire] world and everything in it; and the place taken up in paradise by the [horseman's] whip of any one of you [jihad fighters] is better than this [entire] world and everything in it. Every evening [operation] and morning [operation] performed by Muslims for the sake of Allah is better than this [entire] world and everything in it." (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and Ibn Maja). "By the name of Him who holds Muhammad's soul in His hand, I wish to launch an attack for the sake of Allah and be killed and attack again and be killed and attack again and be killed." (Recorded in the Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim)
Unfortunately, Hamas' views on the jihad against Israel, and Islamic Jew-hatred, are entirely concordant with those of the most authoritative religious educational institution within Sunni Islam-Al Azhar University, in Cairo, Egypt. Consider two complementary fatwas, one written January 5, 1956, by then grand mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Hasan Ma’moun, and another January 9, 1956, signed by the leading members of the Fatwa Committee of Al Azhar University—Sunni Islam’s Vatican—and the major representatives of all four Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence. These rulings elaborated the following key initial point: that all of historical Palestine—modern Jordan, Israel, and the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, as well as Gaza—having been conquered by jihad, was a permanent possession of the global Muslim umma (community), “fay territory”—booty or spoils—to be governed eternally by Islamic law.
Muslims cannot conclude peace with those Jews who have usurped the territory of Palestine and attacked its people and their property in any manner which allows the Jews to continue as a state in that sacred Muslim territory. [As] Jews have taken a part of Palestine and there established their non-Islamic government and have also evacuated from that part most of its Muslim inhabitants. . . . Jihad . . . to restore the country to its people . . . is the duty of all Muslims, not just those who can undertake it. And since all Islamic countries constitute the abode of every Muslim, the Jihad is imperative for both the Muslims inhabiting the territory attacked, and Muslims everywhere else because even though some sections have not been attacked directly, the attack nevertheless took place on a part of the Muslim territory which is a legitimate residence for any Muslim… Everyone knows that from the early days of Islam to the present day the Jews have been plotting against Islam and Muslims and the Islamic homeland. They do not propose to be content with the attack they made on Palestine and Al Aqsa Mosque, but they plan for the possession of all Islamic territories from the Nile to the Euphrates.
Although free of eschatological references, the January 1956 Al Azhar fatwas’ language and arguments—pronounced from Sunni Islam’s most esteemed religious teaching institution—are otherwise indistinguishable from those employed just over three decades later by Hamas (in its 1988 covenant), revealing the same conjoined motivations of jihad, and conspiratorial Islamic Jew-hatred. Furthermore, espousing these ugly Islamic religious teachings at Al-Azhar has continued unabated over the intervening six nearly decades, till now. Al-Azhar’s two most recent spiritual leaders, Grand Imam Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi (who held that position from 1996-2010), and his successor, current Grand Imam, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, have reinforced this ignoble tradition of promoting jihadism and Islamic Jew-hatred directed at Israel, and Jews, generally.