Arab Muslims and Jews
We are living in a time in which the world is in need of peace. The conflicts that so defined in the twentieth century continue in this new century, and innocent people all around the world suffer from them. Despite the urgent need for solidarity and cooperation, certain circles are inciting conflict. This issue needs to be illustrated to strengthen the dialogue and cooperation between civilizations. Considering the current situation and the nature of the world's problems, some issues needs to be illustrated.
in Jerusalem 1099, The first crusade knights and soldiers where battering and ramming the doors of the holy city “Jerusalem”. They stood behind the barricaded wall of the ancient city two men, a Jew and a Muslim, supporting each others and encouraging each others and all the men, women and children behind them to get ready for an incoming catapult thrown flaming rock. They proned together and stood up again after the flaming rock past above the walls of the city and smashed couples of houses and set fire on many others.
The old city gates didn’t hold up for a long time before it was shattered by the battering rams and in a slice of a moment thousands of crusade soldiers poured in from the gates with their glowing swords and raising shout.
The friends didn’t move a bit they stood like a solid huge rocky cliff in the face of momentous and massive waves of armed men and armoured horses, the friends fought and watched each others back in their effort to inflict heavy losses to the first attacking wave, but their efforts were futile and incomparable to the efforts of a well organized, well armed and armoured crusader forces.
They died saving each other; they died defending their own city….the beloved Jerusalem.
Many Jews including rabbis has stated that the Muslim rule over Jerusalem has been the golden era for the Jewish community and they haven’t seen so much tolerance and prosperity since then.
In September 1941on North Africa, The Nazi army sweeped through North Africa’s desert, destroying villages and spreading terror.
They were hunting Jews, either to kill or to be a forced labour in some concentration camps. Jews in North Africa have lived there for a long time and they have been more than friends to the surrounding Muslim inhabitants, they have built deep relations with them.
When Nazis hunted down Jews; Arab Muslims fought the Nazis to save their fellow Jewish friends, their neighbours and fellow citizens, they even used to hide Jews in the basements of their houses, mix up Jewish girls with Muslim girls, dress up Jewish men the Arab clothing and customs, although they know how deadly are the consequences of this act.
Some died saving Jews from the Nazi terror; as they felt they are saving their own selves, and they felt that this is what Islam is about, to save lives.
Due to the horrific events of the September 11th 2001, a very known and famous journalist named Robert Sattlof; has seen and felt the beauty of Islam as he searched for the truth of Muslims and Arabs and how they accepted the other whoever he was. He stumbled on these documented stories and liked it so much that he has written it in his magnificent book “Among the righteous” in which he has connected between these incidents and the Qur’anic verse that say:
“For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than man slaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if be had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had: saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs of Allah's sovereignty , but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth.” (5:23)
He goes on in describing how he felt when he read it and he linked it up to those incidents that occurred in the middle east when the world was suffering the blinding heat of the second world war and when the world was terrorized by the swift German advance and their terror techniques to every subdued country or people especially Jews.
It really shook him and made him realize how great is Islam, and how Islam is really a religion of peace. Robert Sattlof is a Jew and the book is a bestseller.
A verse in the Holy Qur’an says:
“They are not all the same. There is a community among the People of the Book who are upright. They recite God's Signs throughout the night, and they prostrate. They believe in God and the Last Day, enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and compete in doing good. They are among the righteous. You will not be denied the reward for any good thing you do. God knows those who guard against evil.” (Qur'an, 3:113-115)
“Among the People of the Book are some who believe in God and in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down to them, and who are humble before God. They do not sell God's Signs for a paltry price. Such people will have their reward with their Lord. And God is swift at reckoning.” (Qur'an, 3:199)
This verse says that not all People of the Book are bad; some of them do good deeds and do right, and who does wrong; only Allah will account them for whatever they do. It also means that Muslims shall not judge other people. Therefore, a Muslim's attitude toward the People of the Book reflects the probable existence of genuinely faithful people among them. Only God knows the hearts of people, and He reveals that some Jews and Christians have earned His good pleasure.
Allah says in Qur’an:
“And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and afterward convey him to his place of safety. That is because they are a folk who know not.” (9:6)
By Abdelghany El Sharkawy
Arab Historians of the Crusades, trans. F. Gabrieli, trans. E. J. Costello. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984.