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Why Did Allah Favor the Children of Israel?

Answered by Shyakh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Asslamu Alaykum

I would like to know why Allah has favoured the Children of Israel over of all other nations. Wouldn’t it be unjust if He only provided the Book to one nation and favoured them? On the contrary, Islam is for all humanity, therefore, the question does not arise. Also, how do we know that the Jews have changed the Torah and are not on the right path?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

Thank you for your question.

The question itself is a very good one, and it highlights the need to understand the Qurʾān in Arabic as the Arabs understood it, and to seek clarification when in doubt.

Allah can do what He wants.

Allah Most High is the absolute Master of all that exists, and therefore He can select and favour anyone He wishes with whatever He wishes. He is dealing with His own property. Yet we must remember that He is wise. Never does He give or withhold without there being some great wisdom behind the matter. Our job is to have this understanding to contextualise everything,

Were the Bani Isrāʾīl preferred over everyone else?

Allah addressed the Jews who were contemporaries of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) with the words ‘O Children of Israel, recall my blessings upon you and that I [once] favoured you above all other beings.’ (al-Baqara, 47) What the masters of Qurʾānic exegesis, such as Abū al-Suʿūd, Maḥmūd al-Alūsī, Burhan al-Dīn al-Biqāʿī and others said regarding this verse is that although Allah was speaking to the contemporaries of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) here, and the people who actually received these blessings were their ancestors. Consequently the people who were preferred over all others were those who lived in time of the prophet Moses (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

Why would Allah do such a thing? Allah was inviting them to believe in the revelation which he sent to the Prophet Muhammad, which was the natural conclusion to what all the other messengers brought. The Jews were people who had a strong sense of racial identity, so reminding them of what Allah had bestowed upon their forefathers was-in their eyes-a reminder of what they themselves had received through their lineage. They were proud of their ancestors, so a reminder of the blessings given to their ancestors should have been sufficient to want to believe in order to show thanks for that blessing.

According the early master of Arabic and authoritative exegete al-Zajjāj, the proof of this is in the very next verse when Allah said to them, ‘And [recall] when we spectacularly rescued you from the forces of Pharaoh…’ (al-Baqara, 48). Those who were rescued were the followers of the prophet Moses, not the people being addressed by the verse.

This brings us to the question ‘who was preferred over all others?’ What was deduced from the above proof was that it was the followers of the prophet Moses who had been given this rank – but it only extended to everyone before their time until them. At the time they were the Muslims who believed in Allah and His Messengers; they had been blessed with two tremendous prophets; and they were given the great Torah, which – as Allah put it – contained tremendous guidance and great light. However, they lost this rank when time after time they rebelled against Allah, and the messengers who were sent to them.

We know from sura Āl ʿImrān that our umma – from the companions and after – is the best umma because we not only believe, but we also perform the functions of the previous prophets: ‘You have always been the best nation who were produced for the service of mankind: [because] you command that good be done, prohibit the bad and believe in Allah.’ (Āl ʿImrān, 110).

This means that Allah knew that-when compared with other nations-the nation of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) was always superior in Allah’s sight; however, up until their point in history, the followers of the Prophet Moses were the best.

Discrepancies in the Old Testament.

This is a matter which has been addressed by non-Muslims academics as well as by Muslims. You should refer to some of the works of Bart Ehrman for specific details. What we can say in brief is that we know that there were many descriptions of the Messenger of Allah in the Torah so that the Jews could recognise him when he did finally come, and we cannot find them in the modern Old Testament (Torah).

There are also historical inaccuracies, such as the ruler at the time of the prophet Joseph being referred to as ‘Pharaoh’ in the Old Testament, whereas historically it has been established that the ruling elite of the Hyksos people referred to their ruler as king – which is in accordance with the Qurʾānic narrative – and it was only the native Egyptians who referred to their ruler as Pharaoh.

Ultimately, the misguidance of the Jews contemporary to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) stemmed from their inability to submit to Allah choosing one of the Arabs as the bearer of His final message, and not a Jew. Safiyya b. Huyayy, the Jewish convert who became the wife of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) narrated that once the Prophet arrived in Madina and her father and uncle – the leading rabbis of her tribe returned home dejected, her uncle asked, ‘Is he a prophet?’ Her father replied in the affirmative, and they they would fight him as long as they lived simply because he was an Arab. In short, they preferred to reject all the great favours Allah had granted them, and to suffer a terrible torment in the afterlife rather than believe in a messenger who was not of their race.

In the words of Imam al-Ṭahāwī, ‘O Allah – ally of Islam and its people – keep us firm on Islam until we meet you with it.’

Allah knows best.

May Allah bless us all with clear understanding and certainty.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

How Can Allah Be All-Forgiving and All-Just at the Same Time?

Answered by Shaykh Mohammed Tayssir Safi

Question: Assalamu alaykum

How can Allah be All-Forgiving and All-Just at the same time?

An example will be of a Man who rapes a women and later becomes truly religious. And does not repeat any of his sins.

Answer: Assalamu alaykum

Allah, Exalted is He, is indeed الغفور, the Forgiving, and العدل, the Just. As Allah says in His Generous and Exquisite Book, “The Most Excellent Names belong to God: use them to call on Him,” [Koran 7:180]. The answer to your question lies in understanding certain elements pertaining to Allah’s names and attributes as well as understanding what Allah has told us concerning how we will be judged and held accountable in the next life.

As for Allah being, the Forgiving, that does not mean He forgives all things completely without condition. This is clear and evident in revelation. For example, Allah tells us about the fate of Abu Lahab and his wife, “he will burn in the Flaming Fire–– and so will his wife, the firewood-carrier,” [Koran 111:3-4]. Had Allah intended for us to understand from revelation that He will in actuality forgive everything without condition then these verses would contradict that meaning. But there is no contradiction for Allah’s forgiveness is based upon His Will. He forgives whomever He Wills. He forgives things we are aware of and things we are not. He is indeed the Forgiving.

As for judgement and being held accountable, Allah has informed us through reports from our beloved and noble Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that His forgiveness for those who repent does not remove the obligation to right the wrongs committed against others. In other words, while Allah does indeed forgive those who repent He has informed us that those who harm others must first right the wrong they have committed until the one harmed has forgiven them before they can be forgiven for that sin before God. This is what Allah has informed us about His Forgiveness and His Justice.

Given all the above if in the theoretical scenario you posed the woman has not forgiven the man in this life then he will not be forgiven for his crime in this life. However, in the next life, should Allah Will to do so, He will give the woman compensation for the crime committed against her until she is pleased and accepts to forgive the man in question. The man will not be forgiven for the crime until the woman is compensated and agrees to what Allah has given her in compensation and is pleased with the outcome.Of course we do not know what will occur and the reality of such things is left up to Allah. We are merely attempting to answer the question based upon revelation and how the ulema have understood revelation in our tradition.

Finally, the case of our master the Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) is different. The killing of the man was a mistake and not intentional. The noble Prophet was trying to stop the aggression and in the process accidentally killed the man in question. In the Sacred Law one is not held accountable for such mistakes.

And Allah knows best,

Wassalam,

[Shaykh] Mohammed Tayssir Safi

Impermissibility of Marrying one's Sibling and Divine Forgiveness

Answered by Ustadh Torab Torabi
Question: “Peace, Mercy and Blessings of God be upon You” السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
1. If we are Adam and Eve kids then we are brothers and sisters, How can we marry each other?
2. Allah can forgive anyone He wills, If He forgives a murderer, is it justice to the victim and his family?
How does the justice system work?
Answer: Walaikum Asalaam Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh.
Bismillah.
Impermissibility of Marrying one’s Sibling
Allah says in the Qur’an: “Forbidden to you are your mothers and your daughters and your sisters and your paternal aunts and your maternal aunts and brothers’ daughters and sisters’ daughters…” (Surah Nisa’, verse 23)
From this verse it is firmly established that it is impermissible for someone to marry his sibling. I believe that your confusion stems from your definition of “brothers and sisters.” The verse is referring to two people who share, one or both, parents. Adam and Eve (peace be upon them both) are not our direct parents, they are our ancestors, thus the ruling would not apply.
Divine Forgiveness
Imam al Nawawi mentions that there are four conditions for repentance from a sin in which a person transgresses against the rights of another person:
1. To desist in the sin itself
2. To feel deep contrition for the sin
3. To resolve to never return to the sin
4. To ask the wronged person for forgiveness
However, it is possible for Allah to forgive without any conditions, as He is the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth. Allah is the Most Powerful and the Most Wise and if He forgives a murderer, it does not mean that the murdered and his family will not be recompensed on the Day of Judgment. Rather, it is absolutely conceivable that Allah can both: A) Forgive the murderer for his action and B) Give full blessings and mercy to the wronged peoples.
Allah’s Forgiveness is not a sum-zero game. Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.
“Is Allah not the most just of judges?” (Sura Tin, verse 8)
And Allah knows best.
Torab Torabi
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani