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History: How Did Muhammad’s Enmity Against the Jews Begin?

Summary:

Following the migration to Medina, Muhammad initially sought to win favor with the Jews by altering the Qibla from Mecca to Bait al-Muqadass and incorporating many Jewish rulings into Islamic Sharia. However, this effort at appeasement quickly turned into deep-seated enmity and animosity.

The turning point came when:

  • The Jews challenged Muhammad to perform the “Miracle of Fire,” a test commonly associated with prophethood claims in the Bible.
  • Muhammad and his Allah failed to produce such a miracle, leading to widespread disbelief among the Jewish community in Medina.

As a result, their exposure of Muhammad as a false prophet marked the end of Jewish appeasement and the onset of intense anger and hostility towards them.

The TEST of “Miracle of Fire”:

The Bible contains several passages that highlight the phenomenon of divine acceptance of a person’s sacrificial offering through the appearance of a mysterious fire that consumes the offering. These instances can be found in verses such as Judges 6:20-21, 13:19-20, and 2 Chronicles 7:1-2.

Actually, Muhammad had already made a mistake, and he had also previously confirmed this method of the miracle of fire in the Quran 5:27, in the story of Adam and his sons, where a fire appeared and consumed the offering of one son who sacrificed a sheep.

Quran 5:27: Recite to them the truth of the story of the two sons of Adam. Behold! they each presented a sacrifice (to Allah): It was accepted from one, but not from the other.

Tafsir Tabari, under verse 5:27 (link):

It was narrated from as-Suddi, in his narration from Abu Maalik and from Abu Saalih from Ibn ‘Abbaas, and from Murrah from Ibn Mas‘ood, and from some of the companions of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him): … Habeel (Abel) offered a fat lamb as his offering, while Qabeel (Cain) presented a sheaf of corn but secretly took out and consumed a large portion of the corn. Subsequently, fire descended from the heavens and consumed Habeel’s offering, while Qabeel’s offering remained untouched and unaccepted. In response, Qabeel became enraged and threatened to kill Habeel, vowing that he would not allow him to marry his sister. Grade: Sahih (Albani)

Consequently, when Muhammad asserted his prophethood, the Jews asked him to provide proof through the manifestation of a miracle, specifically the fire consuming his offering.

Muhammad found himself unable to dismiss this demand outright, as he already acknowledged it in the story of Adam in the Quran.

However, Muhammad resorted to a different approach, offering a new excuse. He accepted the validity of the miracle involving the fire accepting the offering, but he refused to showcase this miracle. He justified his inability to show this miracle by accusing the Jews of Medina that their forefathers sinned by killing previous prophets

Quran 3:183: They (the Jews) said: “Allah took our promise not to believe in any messenger unless He showed us a sacrifice consumed by Fire (From heaven).” Say: “There came to you messengers before me, with clear Signs and even with what ye ask for: why then did ye slay them, if ye speak the truth?”

However, this excuse by the writer of the Quran does not hold up under scrutiny as it is unjust to punish individuals for the sins of their ancestors. In this case, the writer of the Quran is essentially claiming to hold the Jews of his time accountable for the actions of their forefathers. This contradicts the concept of divine justice, which does not attribute guilt based on lineage.

Sahih Bukhari, 3941: Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Had only ten Jews believe me, all the Jews would definitely have believed me.”

But the Jews of Medina still refused to accept him as a true prophet, and that was the point where Muhammad’s enmity and hatred started against the Jews:

  • First of all, Muhammad changed the Qibla once again from Bait-ul-Muqqadas to Ka’ba in Mecca.
  • Then he started openly threatening the Jews to accept Islam, otherwise, they would be expelled from Medina, and he would snatch away all of their lands by force.

Sahih Bukhari, 3167:

Narrated Abu Huraira: While we were in the Mosque, the Prophet (ﷺ) came out and said, “Let us go to the Jews” We went out till we reached Bait-ul-Midras. He said to them, “If you embrace Islam, you will be safe. You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle (only), and I want to expel you from this land. So, if anyone amongst you owns some property, he is permitted to sell it, otherwise you should know that the Earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle.”

Later Muhammad’s anger and hatred against the Jews went so high that he was no more satisfied by expelling them from Medina, but he wanted to expel them from the whole Arab peninsula. It was due to the reason that it was a shame for him that he was claiming himself to be the promised prophet of the Jews, but the Jews were telling people that he was not that promised prophet. Muhammad didn’t want the Jews to tell this to others, thus he wanted to expel them from the whole Arabian peninsula.

Sahih Muslim, 1767(a):

It has been narrated by ‘Umar b. al-Khattib that he heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.

And this hatred against Jews goes till the last hour, where Muhammad asked his followers to kill all Jews:

Sahih Muslim, 2922:

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.

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