Posted by: Dawud Israel | December 8, 2011

Commentary on AHM’s Contentions: Judaism

This section is quite difficult but I have tried my best here. I will most definitely have to review it and add more to this. And for the Jewish people that may come across this, this isn’t anti-semitic or politicized, its merely a discussion on the relationship between Islam and Judaism, hopefully it will be beneficial and lead to greater peace and understanding.


-Abdal Hakim Murad says in one of his papers, ‘What matters about Islam is that it did not produce the modern world. If modernity ends in a technologically-induced holocaust, then survivors will probably hail the religion’s wisdom in not authoring something similar. If, however, it survives, and continues to produce a global monoculture where the past is forgotten, and where international laws and customs are increasingly restrictive of cultural difference, then Islam is likely to remain the world’s great heresy. In that case, Kepnes’ description of Islam’s historic status as the rejected Ishmaelite, ha-ger, may not prove so unhelpful as he suggests. What if Ishmael actually wishes to be rejected, since the one who is doing the rejecting has ended up creating a world without God? Grounded in our stubbornly immobile liturgy and doctrine, we Ishmaelites should serve the invaluable, though deeply resented, function of a culture which would like to be an Other, even if that is no longer quite possible.’

42. Juda-yi Ism: the absolutizing of a people.
Edom: the absolutizing of a person.
Islam: the absolutizing of God.
-Judaism made the Jewish people sacred above all else, and Christianity made Christ sacred above all else but Islam looked past these and made God sacred above all else

71. Judaism: the deferral of decisiveness. (George Steiner)
-AHM may be commenting on how Judaism never really decided definitively on the Prophethood of Jesus and Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wasalam) or he may be referring to the fact that now the Jewish people are decisive about Israel, but never were that decisive in the past

15. Judaism was not displaced by Christianity or Islam so much as it was displaced by Zionism.
-Before Zionism one could argue that Christianity/Islam displaced Judaism but they didn’t alter Judaism internally as much as Zionism has

33. ‘Judaism is dead; but we are going to give it a magnificent funeral’. (Rabbi Zunz, fount of liberal Judaism.) Is Islam the reverse? And if so, what are the grounds for dialogue?
-‘Let’s do the Janaza prayer over the nation of Islam’ Muhammad al-Zahawiri, the shaykh of Al-Azhar grandfather of Ayman al-Zahawiri, response at the inability to elect a caliph in 1924 when the Ottoman Caliphate collapsed
-AHM has translated Imam Ghazali’s “Book of Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife” so this reference probably has significance in relation to that book. Are we like the martyrs who as the Qur’an says are not dead but living, though the Caliphate is dead? Is what goes on now post-Khilafat reminiscent of the life from beyond the grave, a ziyarat, where the life of the awliya or the prophets are still present?
-Is Islam a magnificent death but a forgotten funeral in the form of the occupation of Palestine and the demolition of Prophetic historical sites? Or is Islam alive and always having a magnificent birth?
-AHM is using grounds as a pun in relation to death, and the answer may be clear, that we cannot have a dialogue, except in grieving together with the Jewish community for the death and destruction

34. Judaism and Islam have resisted Christianity through eros and thanatos. Hence the magnitude of their victory.
-Islam and Judaism have preserve their religious tradition for generations through living their religions and dying for their religions, whereas Christianity

67. Only the Caliph can help them keep the Sabbath.
-Islam preserves the dignity of the Jewish and Christian communities in allowing them to preserve their practices, and though it may appear to be thecase in Israel that they should be able to worship freely, but a secular society can make this difficult and put pressure on religious communities.
-Muslim observances are similar to that of Jews and therefore Muslim observance of Islamic tradition would make Jewish observances easier (burqa/frumka, halal/kosher, etc)

97. Halakhah without halaqah is a vulnerable linearity.
-Jewish law with Islamic circles nearby, as in the time of Maimonides was beneficial to the development and strengthening of Judaism

48. The Sephardi and the Mizrahi mean something. But what does the Ashkenazy mean?
-The Ashkenazy is a European Jew, whereas the Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews are those that historically lived under Muslim rule
-What AHM is suggesting is that the attitude of the Sephardi and Mizrahi are more friendly to Muslims and have had their religious tradition preserved since Muslims respected their religious tradition, but the Ashkenazy having undergone a massive history of pogroms and persecution and then playing a leading role in Europe’s intellectual scene in the 19th-20th century its unclear what attitudes they bring: is it fear and paranoia or an atheism?

72. Juda-yi Ism : Ishmael is the rodef . Ishmael: Juda-yi Ism is the radif .
-Rodef: a Hebrew halakha term relating to self-defense or protecting against endangering, though its become controversial in Israel since its been interpreted differently and radif: something that is similar to something else
-Juda-yi Ism is AHM’s name for the Jewish community today, playing off the Farsi phrase juda-yi which means separation, perhaps in reference to how separate they are from the Judaism of the past or from the fact
-So Israel will say that it has a right to defend itself against the Muslim world while the Muslim world will counter back that this Jewish community is simply similar to the Jews of the past, they are not authentically Jews perhaps in relation to the Khazar Jews
-Juan Cole has written that the Palestinians are the descendants of the original Jews that lived in the Holy Land in the past, that they converted to Islam or Christianity and most of the Jews in Israel now are converts


27. Zionism: God’s sword unsheathed against Jerusalem.
-In the way the Jews were punished in ancient times by being conquered and subjugated, the Muslims are facing a similar situation and punishment from God in the occupation of the Holy Land

66. Zion is the abuse of Maimonidean Mu‘tazilism.
-AHM may be referring to the Three Oaths found in the Talmud pertaining to the nation of Israel and the relation of the Jews to the rest of the world, that Zionists and anti-Zionists reinterpret in light of the fact the state of Israel today is seemingly in violation of these ancient Jewish oaths

54. Zionism has the smell of Islamism: it fears non-belonging, and takes its fear out on others.
-Islamists fear Islam will never have a place in society, and rather than living Islam, they lash out

26. If Zionism is not a xenotransplant, why are there so many antibodies?
-Zionism is a foreign manifestation of nationalism which though has some resonance with the Promised Land, is not 100% a Jewish idea but has secular European roots
-When there is a transplant of living cells some of the cells will react adversely and may attack the other cells as an infection

29. Halakhah: Israel is the handmaiden of Judaism. Herzl: Judaism is the handmaiden of Israel.
-The difference between Jewish Law where Israel was helpful and subordinate to the spiritual life Judaism taught, but Herzl made Judaism subservient to Israel

8. The Arabs deceived the Turks. Lawrence deceived the Arabs. The British deceived Lawrence. Herzl deceived the British. God deceived Herzl.
-In a nutshell Israel and the modern Middle East are an example of how people think they are incontrol but ultimately God is in control
-The hadith, ‘War is deception’ has relevance in the interpretation that war is all about God deceiving men, as many battles in the Prophetic history are full of surprises and only God knew the outcomes

79. Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is not Israel.
-A play of the Mosaic commandment to worship of the One true God alone

1. We are against Israel to the extent that she endangers Jewish safety.
-Israel is not as much a threat to Muslims as it is the Jewish people, but what occurs in Israel will try the patience of Muslims and should Israel collapse there will be animosity and hatred for centuries to come though historically Muslims were protectors of Jews
-Israel was founded as a safe homeland for Jews and yet, the life of a Jew in Israel is unsafe and being surrounded by Muslims who it continually provokes and angers is a far worse situation for Judaism than living as a diaspora in Europe

83. Israel will forever be the country of the future.
-Judith Butler among others has talked about Zionism was only about the establishment of Israel, and yet it is alive today still which suggests a hiccup that Israel willremain a dream even when a Jew will live their whole life there, they will wonder what could have been or what God had promised them had their ancestors honoured His covenant
-In a sad way Palestinians will always make the dream of the Jews a nightmare, at worst through violent outbursts of frustration and at best as guilt or something unsettling in their conscience

28 The principal task of the Jewish people today is to befriend Islam.
-When it comes to surviving in the Middle East other faith communities have been sheltered by Muslims and have survived up until this day

53. ‘I never think back. Since I cannot change the past, why should I deal with it?’ (Shimon Perez.)
-Israeli politicians have no accountability, have plenty of ego and pride, but also this quote may be indicative of the breaking off of Israel from its history, even though its foundation in the land of Palestine has to do with this history

11. Schneerson: Israel is a goyische Staat.
-Israel is not a Jewish state

12. Israel is ‘Nebuchadnezzar, My servant’
-Israel is to the Muslim world today, what Nebuchadnezzar was to the disobedient Israelites of old, who destroyed their civilisation and put them into bondage

61. ‘Deus hoc vult.’ (Pope Benedict XV, speaking of Zionism.)
-’God wills it’ which was the rallying cry of the First Crusade

26. The Semitic is both emic and etic.
-Emic refers to the subjective/insider account of a culture, while the etic refers to the objective/outsider account of a culture.
-AHM is playing with words here to refer to the Semite as both etic and emic, whe the Arab Semite is the etic account observed from a distance supposedly objectively by an outsider but rarely from the inside, while the Jewish Semite is the emic account where Jewish experience is narrated to us from the inside only, rarely from that of the outsider who may point out the injustices in Israel/Palestine

76. Only those that reject the life to come can build the False Temple.
-Only the Jews who will no longer wait for the Messiah will attempt to build a temple in Jerusalem

84. God is only just if Ishmael and Isaac are equal.
-AHM says elsewhere, ‘The second sacrifice is one of the fertile enigmas of the book of Genesis . Hagar and Ishmael are guiltless, yet they are punished by an exile. In this they resemble their father more than Isaac does. (Abraham’s zuhd is to sacrifice his sons)’

53. Either Abraham is an adulterer, or he is the father of us all.
-If the Jews claim Hajar was not a legitimate wife it is an accusation on Abraham of sinfulness; or Abraham is the spiritual father of all of us

10. The Great Symmetry: Yad Vashem / Ghazzat Hashem.
-There is symmetry in the fact the Holocaust Museum is in Jerusalem and the tomb of Hashim, the great-grandfather of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) is in Gaza, in that it indicates that the two communities meet even in the death of their spiritual and biological ancestors and not just the relation between Isaac and Ishmael
-It suggests a continuity that this is the last chapter of Jewish history and the beginning of Islamic history

29 ‘Dialogue’ comes easily to us, since Islam is the best of Judaism and the best of Christianity.
-We already know the best of what they have to offer and can appreciate their values and history, so when it comes to religious discussions often Muslims know more than the Christian or Jew they are speaking too

16. ‘If we are not for ourselves, other Jews say to me, who will be for us? And I answer, but if we are for ourselves alone, what are we?’ (Daniel Boyarin)
-If Jews are for themselves this only makes sense, as a community, but if they are for themselves alone then it suggests they are not in fact the Chosen people
-This makes one recall AHM’s other Contention of the Shi’a being either/or while the Sunnis are both/and

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, ameen.


  1. Reblogged this on Islamic Articles.

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