News & Politics

Anti-Zionism Is Koranic Jew-Hatred: Sunni Islam’s Pope Has Proudly Affirmed This

CPAC logo. Website screenshot.

Perusing the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference schedule for this week, I noticed a session entitled, “Why Anti-Zionism is a Form of Anti-Semitism and a Threat to National Security.” Unfortunately, this rather glaring truth remains obfuscated by many as a socially and politically acceptable form of Jew-hatred, hence the panel.

Ironically, purveyor of the most virulent and widespread global Jew-hatred—authoritative, institutional Islam—is quite candid that Zionists/Zionism, are to be equated with Jews/Judaism. None other than the Papal equivalent of Sunni Islam’s Vatican, Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, has made these connections explicit, and moreover, rooted in the Koran’s central verse defining “Muslim-Jewish relations.”

During an interview which aired on Channel 1, Egyptian TV, October 25, 2013, al-Tayeb publicly reiterated Islam’s sacralized, Jew-hating bigotry, with deliberate and equal reference of Zionists/Zionism, and Jews/Judaism, to Koran 5:82. He gave a brief analysis of the ongoing relevance of Koran 5:82, which as the good Grand Imam put it, “explains Muslims’ relations with Jews,” and has been invoked—successfully—to inspire Muslim hatred of Jews since the advent of Islam.

A verse in the Koran explains the Muslims relations with Jews…This is an historical perspective, which has not changed to this day. See how we suffer today from global Zionism and Judaism…Since the inception of Islam 1400 years ago, we have been suffering from Jews and Zionistinterference in Muslim affairs. This is a cause of great distress for the Muslims. The Koran said it, and history has proven it: “You shall find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers {Muslims] to be the Jews…” 

Below, from my books The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, and Iran’s Final Solution For Israel, are the seminal, authoritative Koranic commentaries on Koran 5:82, classical and modern, from the predominant Sunni, but also confirmatory Shiite perspective. These glosses are remarkably consistent—sadly so—in establishing this sacralized hatred, which Al-Azhar’s current Grand Imam is simply re-affirming, and “updating” to make plain Zionists and Zionism=Jews and Judaism, from a Koranic perspective. The “results”—apandemic of global Muslim Jew-hatred—are pellucid. Perhaps now—hope against hope—the recent observations, above, from Sunni Islam’s Pope al-Tayeb will be brought to the attention of CPAC goers who attend the panel, “Why Anti-Zionism is a Form of Anti-Semitism and a Threat to National Security.”

His candid statements couldn’t be more relevant.

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The classical Koranic commentaries of Tabari (d. 923), Zamakashari (d. 1143), Baydawi (d.~1316), and Ibn Kathir (d. 1373) on Koran 5:82 demonstrate a uniformity of opinion on the confirmed animus of the Jews towards the Muslims, which is repeatedly linked to the curse of Koran 2:61[i.e., “covered with humiliation and misery, and they drew on themselves the Wrath of Allah”].

Tabari:

In my [Tabari’s] opinion, [the Christians] are not like the Jews who always scheme in order to murder the emissaries and the prophets, and who oppose God in his positive and negative commandments, and who corrupt His scripture which He revealed in His books.

Zamakshari:

Here God portrays the Jews as being unyielding and as acknowledging the truth only grudgingly…On account of their vehement enmity against the believers, God places the Jews together with the idolators; indeed, going even further, he shows them to be at the head, since they are mentioned before the idolators. God does the same in his words: ‘And thou shalt find them (the Jews) the eagerest of men for life—even more so than the idolators. Each of them wishes he could be given a life of a thousand years; but the grant of life would not save him from chastisement—for God sees well all that they do!” (sura 2:96/90). The Jews are surely like this, and even worse! From the Prophet (the following is related): ‘If a Muslim is alone with two Jews, they will try to kill him.’… the Jews focused their hostility to the Muslims in the most overt and intense manner…

Baydawi:

…because of [the Jews’] intense obstinacy, multifaceted disbelief, and their addiction to following their whims, their adherence to the blind following of their tradition, their distancing themselves from the truth, and their unrelenting denial of, and hostility toward, the prophets…[the Christians] …easiness to deal with, the softness of their hearts, their dismissal of gain in this world, and their serious concern with learning and good deeds…their acceptance of the truth as soon as they understand it; or, because of their humility as opposed to the arrogance of the Jews…

Ibn Kathir:

Allah said, “Verily you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers the Jews and those who commit Shirk [i.e., the polytheists, or idolators]”. This describes the Jews, since their disbelief is that of rebellion, defiance, opposing the truth, belittling other people, and degrading the scholars. This why the Jews—may Allah’s continued curses descend on them until the Day of Resurrection—killed many of their Prophets and tried to kill the Messenger of Allah several times, as well as performing magic spells against him and poisoning him. They also incited their likes among the polytheists against the Prophet.

Once again, [Sayyid] Qutb’s (d. 1966) extensive modern exegesis on Koran 5:82 simply confirms the views of these classical commentators on the inveterate hatred of the Jews for the true, primordial faith of Islam (and its votaries, i.e., the Muslims). Extending the collective judgments of Tabari, Zamakshari, Baydawi, and Ibn Kathir to reflect, logically, on historical events as a continuum, from the time of Muhammad, through the 20th century, Qutb maintains,

What is noteworthy about the phrasing of this statement [Koran 5:82] is the fact that the Jews are mentioned ahead of the idolators in being most hostile to the believers, and their hostility is open and easily recognized by anyone who cares to pay attention… By mentioning the Jews first in this instance, when it would be thought they would be less than the idolators in their hostility to the believers as they have revealed Scriptures of their own, makes the ordering particularly significant. Because of the way it is phrased, the statement directs attention to the fact that the Scriptures have not changed the Jews and that they are just the same as the unbelievers in their ardent hostility towards the believers. This is the least that can be said, although it is possible that the statement means that in their hostility to the believers, the Jews took the lead, their animosity greater than that of the idolators. When we look at the history of Islam ever since its very early days until the present moment, we have no doubt that the hostility of the Jews to the believers has always been more fierce, determined and longer lasting than the hostility of the idolators and unbelievers. From the very first moment the Muslim state was established in Madinah, the Jews adopted a hostile attitude towards it. They schemed against the Muslim community from the outset of its very existence. Koranic references to this hostility and scheming are sufficient to give a good idea of the unabating war the Jews have waged against Islam and its Messenger (peace be upon him), and the Muslim community throughout history. Indeed, this war has not abated for a single moment throughout fourteen centuries. It continues to rage throughout the world even today. The war that the Jews have launched against Islam has been much longer lasting and wider in spectrum than that launched against it by pagans and unbelievers both in old and modern times, although the latter has also been ferocious. The fight with the Arabian idolators in the early days of Islam did not last more than 20 years. Of similar duration was the battle against the Persian Empire. In modern times, we see that the war launched against Islam by paganism in India is and has been manifestly ferocious, but it does not equal the ferocity of the Zionist war against Islam… The only battle against Islam which is comparable to that of the Jews in respect of its duration was that of the Crusades…

Qutb, not surprisingly, concludes:

We remind ourselves of this history in order to appreciate God’s purpose in mentioning the Jews ahead of the idolators in the ranking of those who are hostile to Islam…Theirs is a wicked nature which is full of hatred for Islam, its Prophet and its followers. Hence, God warns His Messenger and the believers against its designs. This wicked and most vile nature could only be defeated in past history by Islam and its followers when they truly followed Islamic principles. Our modern world will not be saved from this wicked nature except by Islam, and only when its people implement Islam completely in their lives.

Finally, the gloss on Koran 5:82 by Allameh Tabatabai, Shiite Islam’s greatest modern Koranic commentator, and arguably the leading Shiite religious intellectual of the 20thcentury, is consistent with all these classical and modern Sunni exegeses:

[T]he Jews, although they had the same alternatives as the Christians, and they could retain their religion with payment of the jizyah [Koranic poll tax, per verse 9:29], yet they continued in their haughtiness, became harder in their bigotry, and turned to double dealing and deception. They broke their covenants, eagerly waited calamities to befall the Muslims and dealt to them the bitterest deal…[T]he enmity of the Jews…toward the divine religion [Islam] and their sustained arrogance and bigotry, have continued exactly in the same manner even after the Prophet… These unchanged characteristics…confirm what the Mighty Book [the Koran] had indicated.