بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Al-Kitab mentions several groups of people with certain names or labels, such as Muslims, Jews, Christians, etc. When Al-Kitab introduces these labels it also gives behaviors and character traits of these people. An important point to understand is that when Al-Kitab mentions for example ‘Jews’ it means those people who act according to traits given in Al-Kitab for Jews, and not by what the world calls them or not by what label they put on themselves.
And when Al-Kitab mentions ‘Muslims’, then those people who match the character traits of ‘Muslims’ in Al-Kitab are meant. The labels that people put on themselves don’t matter. If some people call and label themselves as ‘Muslims’, however, their actions actually match the traits of ‘Jews’ given in the Book, then they are actually ‘Jews’ in the eyes of the Lord. Vice Versa, if some people call and label themselves as ‘Jews’, however they do not match the characteristics of ‘Jews’ in the Book, they are not ‘Jews’ in the eyes of the Lord.
With this point in mind, lets review some of the character traits given in Al-Kitab for groups and see if we can recognize some of these behaviors:
Example of Behaviors in Quran:
People exhibiting the traits of ‘Jews’, believe they are Allah’s favorites excluding all other people. As per their belief, others are not Allah’s favorites
62:6 قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ هَادُوا إِن زَعَمْتُمْ أَنَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ لِلَّهِ مِن دُونِ النَّاسِ فَتَمَنَّوُا الْمَوْتَ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
Say. “O ye the people who are Jews! If ye think that ye are Aulia/supporters of Allah, to the exclusion of others, then desire for death, if ye are truthful!”
They listen to lies attributed to the Messenger. They listen from people who actually never reached the Messenger. They change the subject of Kalam (saying). They make criteria’s for acceptance or rejection of their fabrications.
5:41 يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ لَا يَحْزُنكَ الَّذِينَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْكُفْرِ مِنَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَلَمْ تُؤْمِن قُلُوبُهُمْ ۛ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ هَادُوا ۛ سَمَّاعُونَ لِلْكَذِبِ سَمَّاعُونَ لِقَوْمٍ آخَرِينَ لَمْ يَأْتُوكَ ۖ يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ مِن بَعْدِ مَوَاضِعِهِ ۖ يَقُولُونَ إِنْ أُوتِيتُمْ هَٰذَا فَخُذُوهُ وَإِن لَّمْ تُؤْتَوْهُ فَاحْذَرُوا ۚ وَمَن يُرِدِ اللَّهُ فِتْنَتَهُ فَلَن تَمْلِكَ لَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَن يُطَهِّرَ قُلُوبَهُمْ ۚ لَهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا خِزْيٌ ۖ وَلَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
O Mesenger! let not those grieve you, who race into dis-belief. Among those people who say “We believe” with their lips but whose hearts have no faith; and among the Jews,- people who are listeners to lies,- they listen from other party who has never come to you. They change the words from their places. they say, “If you are given this, take it, but if not, avoid!” If Allah intends to indulge any in fitna/temptation, you have no authority in the least for him against Allah. For such – it is not Allah’s will to purify their hearts. For them there is disgrace in this world, and in the Hereafter a heavy punishment.
One of the tool to change the subject and actual intention of Allah’s Kalam/Ayas is to restrict the scope of Ayats with the concept of explaining it with some supposed event in the past. While Allah declares that only rejecters call Ayas of Al-Quran as ‘tales of the past’ (83:13). They also taunt other people’s Din/Judgment and are rude to them in discussions.
4:46 مِّنَ الَّذِينَ هَادُوا يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ عَن مَّوَاضِعِهِ وَيَقُولُونَ سَمِعْنَا وَعَصَيْنَا وَاسْمَعْ غَيْرَ مُسْمَعٍ وَرَاعِنَا لَيًّا بِأَلْسِنَتِهِمْ وَطَعْنًا فِي الدِّينِ ۚ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَاسْمَعْ وَانظُرْنَا لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُمْ وَأَقْوَمَ وَلَٰكِن لَّعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
Of the people who are Jews there are those who change the sayings from their subject/ places, and say. “We hear and we disobey”; and ‘You listen’ what is not worth listening; and “Ra’ina”(bear with us); with a twist of their tongues and as a mean of taunting the judgment. If only they had said. “We listened and we obey”; and “You listen”; and “Do look at us”; it would have been better for them, and more proper; but Allah has cursed them for their rejection; and they would not belive except for a very few.
Many of the lawful good things were made unlawful for them. In fact Allah does this in a subtle way. They themselves impose many lawful things as unlawful for them, in their over-zealousness. They obstruct in the way of Allah (by introducing additional orders or actually following other books than Book of Allah)
4:160 فَبِظُلْمٍ مِّنَ الَّذِينَ هَادُوا حَرَّمْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ طَيِّبَاتٍ أُحِلَّتْ لَهُمْ وَبِصَدِّهِمْ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ كَثِيرًا
Because of the injustice of the people from Jews We made unlawful for them the good things which had been lawful for them;- and because of the fact that they hindered a lot from Allah’s Way;-
An important Yahood/Jew trait is given in below Ayat. They eat Riba/The Increase (If you don’t give the prescribed portion in your savings as Zakat, and increase your wealth with that money, this is Al-Riba/The increase. The prescribed portion of Zakat in the light of Quran, is explained in previous post of Zakat/Charity). Interesting point here is that Riba is forbidden on believers (2:278) and the people who eat people’s money with false hood are exposed to be religious scholars in 9:34.
4:161 وَأَخْذِهِمُ الرِّبَا وَقَدْ نُهُوا عَنْهُ وَأَكْلِهِمْ أَمْوَالَ النَّاسِ بِالْبَاطِلِ ۚ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ مِنْهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا
And they took AR-RIBA / The Increase and without doubt they were prohibited about it. And they ate the wealth of the people with falsehood and We have prepared for the rejecters among them a painful punishment.
The revelations from Allah increases them in their war mongering activities on Earth. As they have been changing the subject and intentions of Ayas per their interpretation. They are always trying to cause war and mischief on Earth and Allah extinguishes whenever they try to ignite fires of war. They are not fond of giving charities. They say that Allah’s hand is tied which also implies that now we have to take action.
5:64 وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ يَدُ اللَّهِ مَغْلُولَةٌ ۚ غُلَّتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَلُعِنُوا بِمَا قَالُوا ۘ بَلْ يَدَاهُ مَبْسُوطَتَانِ يُنفِقُ كَيْفَ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَلَيَزِيدَنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنْهُم مَّا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ طُغْيَانًا وَكُفْرًا ۚ وَأَلْقَيْنَا بَيْنَهُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ كُلَّمَا أَوْقَدُوا نَارًا لِّلْحَرْبِ أَطْفَأَهَا اللَّهُ ۚ وَيَسْعَوْنَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَسَادًا ۚ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ
And the yahood / jews say “that hand of Allah is cuffed / tied up”. Their hands are cuffed / tied up and they are cursed with what they have said. But both His hands are outspread He spends how He wills. And what is revealed to you from your Lord definitely increases the majority amongst them in tyranny (i.e. unjustly harsh, cruel) and rejection. And We have put enmity and hatred amongst them towards the day of resurrection. Whenever they ignite the fire for war Allah extinguishes it and they make an effort in the earth to cause corruption. And Allah does not love those who are mufsedeen / corrupt.
If invited to join any group, tell them that you follow the Religion of True Ibraheem.
2:135 وَقَالُوا كُونُوا هُودًا أَوْ نَصَارَىٰ تَهْتَدُوا ۗ قُلْ بَلْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا ۖ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
And they say : Become Hood(Jews) or Nasara(Christians/Helpers) you would be guided , Say : Instead the Millat(religion) of true IBRAHEEM(Abraham) and he was not from the Polytheists
They think that no one can enter Jannat/Gardens except those who are in their group:
2:111 وَقَالُوا لَن يَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ إِلَّا مَن كَانَ هُودًا أَوْ نَصَارَىٰ ۗ تِلْكَ أَمَانِيُّهُمْ ۗ قُلْ هَاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِين
And they say. “None shall enter the Gardens unless he be a Jew or a Christian.” Those are their (vain) desires. Say. “Produce your proof if you are truthful.”.
Can you recognize those people who say that people of our group even if they go to Hell, they will only go for a limited period of time for their sins and after that limited time, they will be admitted to eternal gardens. Al-Kitab exposes these people with the below Ayat:
3:23-24 أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا نَصِيبًا مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ يُدْعَوْنَ إِلَىٰ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ يَتَوَلَّىٰ فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمْ وَهُم مُّعْرِضُونَ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا لَن تَمَسَّنَا النَّارُ إِلَّا أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ ۖ وَغَرَّهُمْ فِي دِينِهِم مَّا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ
Have you not seen those who have been given a portion of the Book? They are invited to the Book of Allah, so that it orders among them, then a party of them turns back and keep away from it. This is because they say. “The fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days” and their forgeries deceive/deviate them from their Din/judgement.
Those people who exhibit the behaviors close to those we saw in above Ayas to the characteristics of Jews, they will be more in enmity with those who will accept the faith as per Book of Allah.
5:82 لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا ۖ وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُم مَّوَدَّةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَىٰ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ مِنْهُمْ قِسِّيسِينَ وَرُهْبَانًا وَأَنَّهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ
Definitely you will find among mankind. stronger in enmity for the believers who are Yahood / jews and those who associate (with Allah) And definitely you will find amongst them nearer in love for the believers, those who say surely we are Nasara / Helpers / Christians. That is because surely amongst them are Qissiseena / clergymen and Rohbaan / the terrorists and they do not seek greatness (i.e. arrogance and pride).
The below Ayat is instructing those believers who accept faith in the light of Ayas of Al-Kitab, not to take as protectors those who exhibit the behaviors of Jews and Christians as per Al-Kitab. This instruction is not for labeled Believers and labeled Jews and Christians.
5:51 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ أَوْلِيَاءَ ۘ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُم مِّنكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ
O you people who believe! Let not the Jews and the Christians be your gaurdians. They are guardians to each other. Any one amongst you who turns to them for guardianship is one of them. Verily Allah doesnot guide a nation of Zalmin/unjust people.
Those groups who think that they must be God’s beloved nation as if His children, must ponder deeply why their group is the punished and miserable one in the world.
5:18 وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ نَحْنُ أَبْنَاءُ اللَّهِ وَأَحِبَّاؤُهُ ۚ قُلْ فَلِمَ يُعَذِّبُكُم بِذُنُوبِكُم ۖ بَلْ أَنتُم بَشَرٌ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقَ ۚ يَغْفِرُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَلِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ
And the Jews and the Christians say: We are the sons of Allah and His beloved ones. Say: Why does He then punishes you for your sins? Nay, you are mortals from among those whom He has created, He forgives whom He pleases and punishes whom He pleases; and for Allah’s is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, and to Him is the return.
2:113 وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ لَيْسَتِ النَّصَارَىٰ عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَىٰ لَيْسَتِ الْيَهُودُ عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ وَهُمْ يَتْلُونَ الْكِتَابَ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ قَالَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ مِثْلَ قَوْلِهِمْ ۚ فَاللَّهُ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فِيمَا كَانُوا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ
And the Yahood/Jews say, That Nasara/Christians are not on anything. And the Nasara/Christians say that the Yahood/Jews are not on anything. And both of them are reciting AL-KITAB/THE BOOK. Those people who don’t have knowledge say things similar to their sayings (of Yahood and Nasara); but Allah will judge between them in their differences on the Day of Judgment.
Please note that both Yahood and Nasara recite the Book (Al-Kitab) however they say that the other group or school of thought is not on the right path.
2:120 وَلَن تَرْضَىٰ عَنكَ الْيَهُودُ وَلَا النَّصَارَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَهُمْ ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّهِ هُوَ الْهُدَىٰ ۗ وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَاءَهُم بَعْدَ الَّذِي جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ ۙ مَا لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ
And never will the Yahood(Jews) or the Nasara(Christians) be pleased with you unless you follow their Millat (religion) say : Surely, the guidance is of ALLAH, that is the guidance. And if you are to follow their desires after the knowledge has reached you then you would find neither protector not helper from Allah.
As per Al-Kitab the religion of muslims/submitters is Religion of Ibrahim. The people exhibiting characteristics of Yahood and Nasara will never be pleased with you with this religion. However, after knowledge of Al-Kitab has come to you, you are not to follow their desires in matter of faith.
9:30 وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللَّهِ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَى الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّهِ ۖ ذَٰلِكَ قَوْلُهُم بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ ۖ يُضَاهِئُونَ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِن قَبْلُ ۚ قَاتَلَهُمُ اللَّهُ ۚ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ
The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them. how they fabricate lies!
The Christians say that Jesus is the son of God. Please note that present day labeled Jews in Israel don’t say ‘Uzair’ to be the son of God. This could be a prophesy for future when some group will start calling him that. However present day labeled Jews in Israel don’t fulfill this characteristic trait.
5:14 وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّا نَصَارَىٰ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَهُمْ فَنَسُوا حَظًّا مِّمَّا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ فَأَغْرَيْنَا بَيْنَهُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ وَسَوْفَ يُنَبِّئُهُمُ اللَّهُ بِمَا كَانُوا يَصْنَعُونَ
From those who said “We are Christians/Helpers”, We did take a covenant, but they forgot a part of the message with which they were made to remember. thus we put enmity and hatred among them till the day of Establishment and soon will Allah inform them what they used to do/make.
For those people who put label of ‘Christians’ on themselves, they forgot a part of the message that was given to them. In Ayat 61:14, with Prophet Essa A.S, they promised to be Helpers of Allah. So, this Ayat is stating that they forgot one part of this covenant, i.e they forgot Allah’s part and are now only helpers of the world. They keep on helping people in the world (Nasara literally means helpers) however Allah and His Book is forgotten by them.
9:107 وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مَسْجِدًا ضِرَارًا وَكُفْرًا وَتَفْرِيقًا بَيْنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَإِرْصَادًا لِّمَنْ حَارَبَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ مِن قَبْلُ ۚ وَلَيَحْلِفُنَّ إِنْ أَرَدْنَا إِلَّا الْحُسْنَىٰ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ
And these (hypocrites) who have taken that mosque as an ambush (i.e. hidden place for sudden attack), for those (yahood / jews) who have been waging war against Allah and His messenger from before, to harm and to reject (i.e. Islam / Peace) and to make divisions between the believers and definitely they swear that our intention is nothing except goodness. And Allah testifies that surely they are definite liars.
One trait of hypocrites is stated in this Ayat, that they have grasped a Mosque, for the purpose of causing differences among believers, and waging gorilla warfare. These people are those who have been waging war with Allah and Messenger since before (see Ayas 2-278-279, those believers who eat Riba/Increase i.e from the prescribed share of Allah in their savings). They themselves don’t have a reckoning of what they are doing 2:8-9, and they can swear that their intention is all but good.
2:136 قُولُوا آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَمَا أُوتِيَ النَّبِيُّونَ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ
Say you: “We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Ibraheem ( Abraham), Isma’il, Ishaq (Isaac), Yaqoob (Jacob), and the Tribes, and that given to Moosa (Moses) and Essa (Jesus), and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: we make no difference between any one of it: And we are Muslims/Submitters.
The above Ayat, states an important characteristics of ‘Muslim’ that they say that they don’t differentiate between any of the Messengers, i.e they don’t say that some are superior to others. The Ayat 2:253 which mentions some as having degrees over others is for Allah and not for Muslims to consider some as superiors to others.
25:73 وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِّرُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ لَمْ يَخِرُّوا عَلَيْهَا صُمًّا وَعُمْيَانًا
And when they are reminded with the ayats / signs of their Lord they do not fall down over them, deaf and blind.
The Muttaqin (the people who take guard), don’t fall over Allah’s Ayas deaf and blind. The do deep pondering over them.
God has created all people. He is the Lord and sustainer of all people in the World. Then why would God punish people who He Himself created in a certain place or community unless they exhibit the behaviors he has warned them not to do.
It may not be that a particular group exhibits characteristics of a trait all the time. It would seem more likely that in every community weather as a whole this community be labeled as Muslim, Jew or Christian, there would be some people within each community behaving like Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hypocrites and Momin/Believers etc. It appears from above review of Ayas, that those people who exhibit fundamentally orthodox frozen minded strict religious behaviors are the ones termed as ‘Jews’ in a community. The people who place humanity and helping others above anything else are termed as ‘Nasara’ of a community. Those who have a love of violence in their heart as a disease, they don’t pay prescribed amount of Zakat, don’t realize that they are the hypocrites in their community. Those who take a balanced approach, don’t fall over Allah’s Ayats blindly without pondering, don’t differentiate between Allah’s revelations and messengers, are the submitters and believers.
2:278-279 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَذَرُوا مَا بَقِيَ مِنَ الرِّبَا إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ فَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلُوا فَأْذَنُوا بِحَرْبٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۖ وَإِن تُبْتُمْ فَلَكُمْ رُءُوسُ أَمْوَالِكُمْ لَا تَظْلِمُونَ وَلَا تُظْلَمُونَ
O’ you who believe take guard of Allah and leave off, what remains from AR-RIBA / THE INCREASE , if you are believers. Then if you do not, (leave off, what remains from AR-RIBA / THE INCREASE),so take a notice of war from Allah and His messenger. And if you turn back, so for you are the heads of your wealth. You do not oppress and you will not be oppressed.
Link to lecture about What Quran says about Yahood and Nasara:
Most people who call themselves Muslims today when they hear the Arabic words “Yahood” & “Nasara” only understand them to refer to the label Jews and Christians. This lecture points out how Allah in the Quran defines the Yahood & Nasara by their character traits and behavior, and also the words itself hold a descriptive meaning which most of us are unaware of and hence are unable to identify these categories of people completely. The exposition through the Ayats of Allah in this lecture details who are the Yahood and Nasara which encompasses more than just those who call themselves Jews & Christians to include anyone who follows their (Jews and Christian) practices (found in their books) and the character traits defined in the Quran regardless of what label they put on themselves