26 May 2008

Muslim Judeophobia: A Disease

I've always planned to address this issue, which is propagated by some Muslim speakers, namely that Jews are our enemies. This is wrong. Jews are not our enemies. There are numerous Jews who stand in solidarity with Muslims on Palestine. It is true that there are Jews who are Zionists and puritans. But it is also true that there are Muslims who are Mawdudists and puritans who support the oppression meted out to insiders and outsiders of their respective nation states, out of a disjointed sense of loyalty, blinded by tribal partisanship to right and wrong. Progressive or liberal Muslims will not find in me a friend either because I identify a similar ideological pattern in their blindness toward neoliberalism and wars waged by their countries, usually Britain and America. Both these groups respresent extreme factions within the Muslim body. While Mawdudists decry "Western evil", the proggies correct that through their own selective ideology. They are two faces of the same coin. Islam has always proposed a middle path. This path is enshrined in the Qur'an, an intelligent, discoursive reading of which reveals that Jews and Chrisitans are the People of the Book. They are to be respected. And not just them, we have an obligation as Muslims to respect the rest of humanity. And this can be achieved by an emphasis on those traditions that bind us together as a people. Love knows no context. It is true that there has been antipathy and even wars between Muslims and Jews. But there is no theological basis for an iota of contempt. The Qur'an offers theological critiques of both Christianity and Judaism to warn of making the same mistakes, and the New Testament and the Torah both do the same of those gone before them, and the Qur'an forbids oppression and discrimination. It is and always has been political. Indeed, Muslims are one body, but humanity is one family.

Once the Prophet was seated at some place in Madinah, along with his Companions. During this time a funeral procession passed by. On seeing this, the Prophet stood up. One of his Companion remarked that the funeral was that of a Jew. The Prophet replied, “Was he not a human being?”

We find that even during the Prophet Muhammad's time, Judeophobia was rife in Arab Muslim society. Like in today's world, it originated from politics. We also find that the Prophet's other wives ridiculed Safiyya bint Huyayy who was formerly Jewish. This thoroughly displeased the Prophet. Therefore, any amount of irrational fear or loathing of Jews should displease each one of us who calls himself a Muslim. On another occasion when Lady A'isha made some remark about Lady Safiyya's short stature, the Prophet replied: "You have said a thing that if it were left in the sea, it would mix with it (and make its water dirty)." And when we Muslims express prejudice, ignorance and downright hatred toward Jews on the basis of mad politics (on which we aren't heroes either - look at the despotic Arab countries which fly the flag of hatred and nationalism, and their overweight rulers), it is like we have said and done things that would make the sea the colour of our loudly professed albeit tainted humanity.


1 comment:

irving said...

A most excellent essay :) I agree completely. Let us follow the example of the Prophet (pbuh) and show love and respect for all of Allah's creation.

Ya Haqq!