2008: The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: Anti-Semitism in the Hadith / Andrew G Bostom, Ed

See the complete book The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History on Amazon.com at this link.

See Andrew Bostom’s website and blog at this link.

Thanks much,
Steve St.Clair
The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History
Andrew G. Bostom, Editor
Chapter 1 – A Survey of Its Theological-Juridical Origins and Historical Manifestations

Anti-Semitism in the Hadith

Hadith, which means “story” (“narrative”), refers to any report of what the Muslim Prophet Muhammad said or did, or his tacit assent to something said or done in his presence. (Hadith is also used as the technical terni for the “science” of such “Traditions.”) As a result of a lengthy process that continued for centuries after Muhammad’s death (in 632), the hadith emerged for Muslims as second in authority to the Qur’an itself. Sunna, which means “path,” refers to a normative custom of Muhammad or of the early Islamic commu­nity. The hadith “justify and confirm” the Sunna. Henri Lammens highlights Me importance of the Sunna (and, by extension, the hadith):

As early as the first century A.H. [the seventh cen­tury] the following aphorism was pronounced: “The Sunna can dispense with the Qur’an, but not the Qur’an with the Sunna.” Proceeding to still fur­ther lengths, some Muslims assert that “in contro­versial matters, the Sunna overrules the authority of the Qur’an, but not vice versa” … all admit die Sunna completes and explains it [the Quran].

The hadith compiled by al-Bukhari (d. 870) and Muslim b. al-Hajjaj (d. 875) are considered, respectively, to be the most important authoritative collections. The tilles Sahib (“sound”) and Jami, indicating their comprehensiveness, signify the high esteem in which they are held. James Robson summarizes their comprehensive content:

In addition to giving information about religions duties, law and everyday
practice, they contain a considerable amount of biographical and other material. Nothing is too unimportant to form a valid topic for tradition. Guidance is given even on the most intimate matters of personal life. The com­pilers of Tradition seem to have had a keen desire to leave nothing to chance, so guidance is to be found on almost every conceivable subject.

Four other compilations, called Sunan works, indicating that they are limited to matters of religions and social practice and law, also became authoritative. Abu Dawud (d. 888), al-Tirmidhi (d. 892), Ibn Maja (d. 896), and al­Nasi (d. 915) compiled these works. By the beginning of the twelfth century, Ibn Maja’s collection became the last of these compilations of hadith to be recognized as “canonical.”

Despite appearances of rigor in the methods employed to assemble the various canonical hadith collections. the meticulous studies of Ignaz Goldziher and Joseph Schacht (and others) demonstrate that while the hadith reflect theological-juridical “tendencies” during Islam’s formative early centuries, they are useless as a source of objective historical information. Schacht argued for abandoning the “one-sided traditional sham-castle” based upon:

…The gratuitous assumptions that there existed origi­nally an authentic core of information going back to the time of the Prophet, that spurious and tenden­tious additions were made to every succeeding gen­eration, that many of these were eliminated by the criticism of isnads [“chains” of pious Muslim trans­mitters] as practiced by the Muhammadan scholars, that other spurious traditions escaped rejection, but that the genuine core was not completely overlaid by later accretions.

Alternatively, Schacht, a legal scholar, urged that these deconstructed “materials” be re-evaluated in their real context, i.e., the evolution of Islamic law, especially during the time of al-Shafi’i (d. 820; after whom the Shafi’ite school of Islamic jurisprudence was named). Sixty years earlier Goldziher had suggested more broadly that, although ahistorical, the hadith reflected important aspects of social and religions development during the first two centuries after the advent of Islam.

In the absence of authentic evidence it would indeed be rash to attempt to express the most tentative opinion as to which parts of the hadith are the oldest original material, or even as to which of them date back to the generations immediately following the Prophet’s death. Closer acquaintance with the vast stock of hadiths induces skeptical caution rather Chan optimistic trust regarding the materiai brought together in the carefully compiled collections.

The hadith will not serve as a document for the history of the infancy of Islam, but rather as a reflection of the tendencies which appeared in the community during the maturer stages of its devel­opment . .. the greater part of it ‘the hadith, reflecting] the religious … and social development of Islam during the first two centuries.

The conception of Goldziher provides a useful frame­work for an examination of the anti-Jewish motifs in the hadith.

Georges Vajda’s 1937 essay “Juifs et Musulmans selon Le Hadit” (Jews and Muslims according to the Hadith) –a magisterial seventy-page analysis – remains the definitive study of Jews and their relations with Muhammad and Muslims, as depicted in the hadith. Vajda, in light of the scholarship of Goldziher (especially) on the inadequacy of the canonical hadith as “his­tory,” chose not to limit himself to these six collections:

As soon as one renounces using the hadiths as absolutely sure and trustworthy documentation, it is evidently vain to try to take account of the value judgments that Muslim criticism emits regarding any isolated tradition, any collection, or the mdi-vidual credibility of any traditionalist. Therefore I have been very wide-ranging in making use of doc­uments and the “six books,” as well as of the Musnad by Ahmed ibn Hanbal and the Muwatta by Mâlik, not forgetting the commentaries to which I was able to have access, Kastalâni on Buhâri, Nawawi on Muslim, and Zurkani on the Muwatta. Ibn Sa’d’s Tabakàt and Tabari’s Tafsir have also been consulted. It would no doubt have been pos­sible and even desirable to prolong this promenade through the vast fields of the hadith.

The remainder of this discussion of antisemitism in the hadith relies upon the themes developed by Vajda, amplified with excerpts from the canonical hadith, and other Traditions, themselves.

Both anti-dhimmi and specific anti-Jewish motifs figure prominently in Vajda’s detailed assessment. He begins by emphasizing Goldziher’s prior “discovery” of the animating principle prescribed for Muslims with regard to the customs of non-Muslims: khalifuhum, which means “do not do like them.” Vajda illustrates this attitude with regard to basic grooming and dress:

Leaving his apartments, the prophet found old men Ansar whose beards were white. He told them: “Assembly of Ansar, dye yourselves red or yellow and do the cimtrary of the people of the Book.” We told him: “Apostle of Allah, the people of the Book wear the sirwal (pantaloons) and do not wear the izar.” The prophet says “Wear the sirwal and wear the izar, and do the contrary of the people of the Book.” We told him “The people of the Book wear ankle-boots (huff) and do not wear sandals (na’l).” He says: “Wear ankle-boots and wear sandals, and do the contrary of the people of the Book.” We told him: “The people of the Book trim their beards and grow their mustaches.” He says: “Trim the mustache and grow the beard, and do the contrary of the people of the Book. … grow your beard, remove your mustaches, alter your white hair and do not resemble Jews or Christians.

The prophet also forbids as a Jewish custom the qaza (partial removal of the hair).

Also branded was the use of false hair/hairpieces/ wigs. According to a tradition reported in several compilations (Sa’id b. al-Musayyab and Humayd b. Abdalrahmàn), during the last khuTba that he pro­nounced in Medina, the caliph Mu’ awiya I showed the faithful a toupée of false hair, saying “I never saw that done except among the Jews, the prophet had called it `falseness’ (zur)”; or in another ver­sion: “people of Medina, where are your wise men? I heard the prophet, who prohibited doing the like and said: ‘the children of Israel perished when their women took [false ????

Almost always it is recommended to dye the hair in contrast to the Jews (or to Jews and Christians.)

Even sanctioned Muslim practices of onanism/ masturbation and bestiality (as Vajda notes, “on which the hadiths cited by Tabari [d. 923] give such exact, if repellant details”), in particular with slaves whom the Muslims wished to avoid impregnating, became a source of friction vis-à-vis the Jews.

The Jews protested against this procedure [coitus interruptus with slaves]. Here is what a tradition of Abù Sa’id al-Hudri relates: someone comes to find the prophet and tells him: “I have a slave with whom I interrupt coitus, for I do not want her to conceive, but I want what men want. But the Jews daim that coitus interruptus is an attenuated case of the exposure of newborn girls.” The prophet replied: “The Jews have lied. If Allah wants to create it, you are not capable of preventing [the child from being conceived].”

The same Companion found himself implicated in an analogous incident after the expedition of al’Muraysi in year 5 [after the Hijra, i.e., 622]. The partial restraint of the Muslims, permitting them the satisfaction of their concupiscence without compro­mising the hope for ransoming the captives, was approved by the prophet, with the same motive as in the preceding hadith. But when Abù Sa’id wanted to sell a young girl from the booty, a Jew observed at the market that she was certainly preg­nant by him; the Muslim assured him that he had practiced ‘art, to which the Jew replied that it was an attenuated form of coitus. Informed of this dis­cussion, the prophet could only denounce the lies of the Jews.

The frankly reproving attitude of the Jews toward the sexual dissipation of the Arabs may be illus­trated by many Talmudic texts. They found con­jugal relations during the day repugnant, at least unless they were invisible. The indecencies com­mitted in the course of the act implied physical infirmities for any child: muteness, deafness, blind­ness, paralysis. Onanism was severely reproved.

The customs to be observed at funerals, the matters of burial plots and tombs and, more decidedly, Muhammad’s view of the fate of buried Jews, also illus­trate anti-Jewish animus:

Another tradition (Sada b. al’Sàmit) recounts that in following funerals, the prophet had the habit of standing until the dead perron was put in his tomb. One day a haber [rabbi] passed and told him that the Jews did likewise, at which Mohammed invited those attending to sit down so as not to do as the Jews.

Still, in another opinion, “one should not go with slow steps with the coffin like the Jews do.” ‘Imràn b. al-Husayn (died 52) ordered when dying:

When after my death you take me outside, go quickly and do not walk slowly like the Jews and the Christians.

A hadith that was widespread relates that during his agony the prophet cursed the Jews and Chris­tians who had taken the tombs of their prophets as sites of worship.

When the prophet was taken by an attack, he threw a hamïsa (a sort of robe) over his face; when he came around, we lifted him while he said: ‘May God curse the Jews and the Christians, they have taken the tombs of their prophets for sites of wor­ship’ (Aysha adds: `he put them on guard [Mus­lims] against similar practices’). Elsewhere, one finds this curse without the tale that frames it, Ab `Bayda relates it as the prophet’s last recommenda­tion, at the same time as the order to expel the Jews from the Arabian peninsula.

Aisha (the wife of the Prophet) Once Allah’s Apostle passed by (the grave of) a Jewess whose relatives were weeping over her. He said, `They are weeping over and she is being tortured in her grave.

‘Amra daughter of ‘Abd al Rahman narrated that she heard (from) ‘A’ isha and made a mention to her about ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar as saying: ‘The dead is punished because of the lamentation of the living.’ Upon this ‘A’ isha said: ‘May Allah have mercy upon the father of ‘Abd al-Rahman (Ibn `Umar). He did not tell a lie, but he forgot or made a mistake. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) happened to pass by a (dead) Jewess who was being lamented. Upon this he said: `They weep over her and she is being punished in the grave.’

Moreover, public lamentation over the dead became for­bidden to the Jews (and Christians).

The hadith further condemn certain physical gestures for being specific to Jews:

A hadith disapproves of Muslims who salute each other by making a sign with their fingers like the Jews, or with the hand like the Christians. Aisha did not like her protégé Masruq to put his hands on his hips for, she said, only the Jews do that.

Raising the hands in prayer is a Jewish gesture. One should not sway (nawadân) while praying, as the Jews do.

The hadith also portray the Jews’ hatred and jealousy of Muhammad. Vajda observes that according to the hadith,

The Jews knew very well that it was Mohammed who should accomplish the prediction of their books. If, then, they did not follow him, this was not out of ignorance but out of jealousy and national particularism.

He then provides two examples of this recurring motif:

The apostle of Allah entered the Bayt al-Midràs and said: “Send me the wisest person among you.” They said: “It is Abdallàh b. Sriyà.” The apostle of Allah remained atone with him and adjured him by his religion, by the blessings that God had showered [on the Jews] by nourishing them with manna and [salwaa] quail and protecting them by clouds [to answer him]: “Do you know that I am the apostle of Allah?” He answered: “By God, yes, and of course these people [the Jews] know what I know and that your description is clearly found in the Torah,
but they are envious of you.” [The prophet:] “What pre­vents you yourself?”

He answered: “I feel repug­nant at doing otherwise than my people, but
per­haps they will follow you and couvert to Islam, and then I will convert

A Jew said to his comrade: “Let us go find the prophet to ask him about this verse (Koran 17:101):’We brought Moses nine signs.'” His comrade says: “Do not say prophet in speak of him, for if he heard this, he would have four eyes.” They ask him and he tells them: “You would not associate any­thing with God, you would not commit larceny, you would not fornicate, you would not kill the soul that God has forbidden, except through justice, you would not practice magic, you would not lend at usury, you would not deliver the innocent to the men invested with authority to be put to death, you would not slander an honest women [var. you would not desert the army on campaign] and on you, Jews, it is especially imposed to not violate the Sabbath.” He embraced his hands and his feet, saying: “We confess that you are a prophet.” He said: “And what prevents you from following me?” They replied: “David prayed that [prophecy] never quit his descendants and so we fear that the Jews would kill us if we converted to Islam.

Despite being convinced of the authenticity of Muhammad’s divine mission, as Vajda notes, the hadith accusation that the Jews did not become votaries of Islam due to pride in their birth and appetite for domina­tion became a recurrent theme in later Muslim polemics.

Striking evidence of Jewish perfidy in the hadith is illustrated by their continual, surreptitious cursing of the Muslims while ostensibly offering proper greetings:

A Jew greeted the apostle of Allah by saying al-sàm ‘alayka (May poison be on you, for may peace be upon you). [The prophet said:] ‘Bring him to me.’ He told him: `Did you say al-sam ‘alayka?’ ‘Yes.’ The apostle of Allah said: ‘When the people of the Book greet use, say wa’alayka.’

A slightly more developed version:

When the prophet was sitting amid his companions, here comes a Jew who greets them. The prophet had him come back and asked him: ‘What did you say?’ ‘I said al-sàm ‘alayka.’ The prophet conciuded: `When an individual of people of the Book greets you, say and to you, meaning what you have said.’

A slightly dramatized tale:

A Jew passed by the prophet and his companions, greeted them, and the prophet’s companions returned the greeting. The prophet declared: ‘He said al-sàm ‘alaykum.’ They apprehended the Jew, brought him back, and he admitted it. The prophet said: ‘Render back to them what they said.’

Another version features Omar with his habitual violence:

An individual of the people of the Book arrived and greeted the prophet by saying al-sàm ‘alaykumi. Then ‘Omar said: ‘Apostle of Allah, should I cut off his head?’ He answered: `No. When they greet you, say wa ‘alaykum.’

Elsewhere, the scene is embellished by Aysha’s intervention:

The Jews came to find the prophet and told him al-sâm ‘alayka. The prophet replied [to them]: ‘alaykum.’ Then Aysha cried: ‘Al-sam ‘alaykum, brothers of monkeys and pigs and the curse of Allah and his anger!’ The prophet said: `Gently.’ She replied: ‘Apostle of Allah, did you not hear what they said?’ The prophet: `Did you not hear what I replied to them? [Know] Aysha [that] gentleness ornaments everything, but every­thing is spoiled if one suppresses it.’

Vajda offers these explanations for why the hadith are so richly endowed with (and “pleased to use”) examples attesting to Jewish perfidy:

It is impossible for a real incident to be the basic of this group of anecdotes, which are mutually irrec­oncilable. But it is also probable that they were born of the desire to legitimate a governing arrange­ment whose practical application must have suf­fered some difficulties in conquered countries, where even the most elementary relations were daily making the new masters confront a significant non-Muslim population.

This important series of hadiths illustrates so vividly the insolence and crudeness of Jews that later, when the jurists (fukaha; especially Western ones) decreed pitiless sanctions against whoever insulted or mocked the prophet, it was wondered why Mohammed had not dealt severely with the Jews who saluted him with al-sam ‘alaykum. The cadi/judge `Iyad replied: “especially [he used] diplomacy so as not to scare minds away at the start of Islam by rigorous measures; in addition, the incriminating words of the Jews had not been pro­nounced distinctly enough to constitute a public outrage.”

Another commonplace charge in the hadith is that Jews altered their sacred texts, deleting Muhammad’s name and precise description. Vajda includes these two vivid examples:

This was transmitted in the name of ‘Abdallah b. Mas’ud: “Allah sent his prophet to have sometime entered into paradise. He entered into the syna­gogue [al-kanisa] [where] a Jew was just in the course of reading [them] the Torah.

When they [the Jews] arrived at the description of the prophet, they stopped. But in a corner of the synagogue was a sick person. The prophet said: ‘Why did you stop?’ The sick person replied: `They arrived at the description of the prophet, which is why they stopped.’ Then the sick person dragged himself up to the book of the Torah, grabbed it and read until he came to the description of the prophet and of his community and he said: ‘Here is your description and the description of your community. I confess that there is no other God but Allah and that you are the apostle of Allah.’ Then he rendered up his soul.”

Another version of the same story is found in Ibn Sa’d. The prophet accompanied by Abu Bakr and `Omar passed beside a Jew who was reading in a book of the Torah for one of his sick parents. The prophet adjured the Jew to tell him if his description was found in the Torah. When he shook his head no, the sick person contradicted him, pronounced pro­fession of Muslim faith, and expired. The prophet himself recited the prayer at his burial and wrapped him in his winding sheet.

However, the prime example of the Jews’ illegitimate alteration of the Torah cited in the hadith “with most self-satisfaction” concerns the prescribed punishment for adultery. As per the hadith, a controversy arose between the Jews and Muslims over legislation con­cerning adultery. The narrative emphasizes the Jews per­fidy and overt disrespect for their own revealed scrip­tures. Vajda examines several of these hadith:

The Jews brought to the prophet an adulterous couple and claimed that their book prescribed punishing them by blackening their faces so as to cover them with shame. Mohammed told them: “You are lying, [the punishment ordered] for this crime is lapidation; so bring the Torah and recite it if you are telling the truth” (Cf. Koran 3:93, which in context relates to the alimentary prohibitions of the Jews). The one-eyed reader of the Jews named Ibn Sûriya started to read; arriving at a certain passage, he cov­ered it with his hand. Mohammed invited him to lift it; when he lifted it, it shone. So, the Jews admitted that lapidation was indeed prescribed in the Torah, but then kept this law hidden. The prophet had the guilty ones stoned.

[Sahih] Muslim gives this story with several isnad [chains of transmission]. In the first hadith, the pun­ishment indicated by the Jews is a little more exactly described: “We blacken their faces, we piace them on a mounting, their faces turned toward each other, and we make them Lake a tour of the town.” The reader is anonymous [Some fellow] (fard); it is ‘Abdallah b. Salam who engages the prophet in ordering the reader to raise his mind, under which is found the verse about lapidation. One of the versions gathered by Abu Dâwûd situ­ates the scene in the Bayt al-Midras (house of study); another specifies that the guilty ones received a hundred lashes with a tarred cord.

Another variant in [Sahib] Muslim and in Ibn Màja highlights the perfidy of the Jews even more, as well as the little respect they have for their revealed book:

They passed by the prophet with a fiagellated Jew with a blackened face. He called them and asked them: ‘Is that the punishment for adultery that you find in your book?”Yes.’ He fetches one of their wise men and adjures him by the God who revealed the Torah to Moses to tell him if this is really the punishment for adultery [ordered] in their book. The latter answered; `No, if you had not adjured me in this fashion I would not have told you.’ We found [that the punishment for adultery is] lapidation, but this sin was widespread among our great and when we seized great personages, we let them off, but to the weak we applied the punish­ment. [Finally] we said to ourselves: “Let us agree on a punishment that we will apply to the great as to the weak.” We then instituted the blackening of the face and flagellation instead of lapidation.’ The apostle of Allah cried: ‘God, I am the first who has revived your order after they killed it off.’ On which came the revelation of Koran 5:41, [‘O Messenger! Let not them grieve thee who vie one with another in the race to disbelief, of such as say with their mouths: “We believe, but their hearts believe not, and of the Jews: listeners for the sake of falsehood, listeners on behalf of other folk who come not unto thee, changing words from their context and saying: If this be given unto you, receive it, but if this be not given unto you, then beware! He whom Allah doometh unto sin, thou (by Urine efforts) wilt avait him naught against Allah. Those are they for whorn the Will of Allah is that He cleanse not their hearts. Theirs in the world will be ignominy, and in the Hereafter an awful doom.’

Bearing in mind that the Qur’an itself prescribes flagel­lation for adultery (i.e., Qur’an 24:2: “The adulterer and the adulteress, scourge ye each one of them [with] a hun­dred stripes”), if confirmed by four eyewitnesses, Vajda summarizes the ironies in alleging Jewish perfidy with regard to the stoning of adulterers:

The prophet reproaches the Jews for having substi­tuted a rule they had
thernselves invented for God’s own law concerning adultery. He applies this law to a Jew, and if one believes the traditions (which are no more or less worthy of credit than any others), he applied it, as did [Caliph ‘Omar, to the Muslims too.

Nevertheless, the “lapidation verse” has not been accepted in the Koran’s canonic text, which repiaces it, in the most recent passages relating to adultery, precisely with the flagellation whose practice by the Jews is regarded as an arbitrary alteration of the prim­itive revelation. Unless one rejects en bloc the tradi­tions relating to the rajm [lapidation = stoning] as:

forged for the sole purpose of shaming the Jews as falsifiers of their revelation and to glorify Mohammed, who saw clearly through their criminal actions, it is necessary to regard the procedure cen­sured by the prophet as having been really used in the ghettos (juiveries) of Hijàz. But in that case, the effec­tive legislation of the Koran concerning the punish­ment of adultery, definitively consecrated by surah 24 [verse 2], derives in a direct line from Jewish practice, consecrated by Mohammed.

Another series of hadith elaborate on Qur’an 3:93 (“All food was lawful unto the Children of Israel, save that which Israel forbade himself, [in days] before the Torah was revealed. Say: Produce the Torah and read it [unto us] if ye are truthful”), and associated Qur’anic exegeses, which accuse the Jews of misrepresenting their alimentary prohibitions, most notably camel’s flesh, as in fact described in the Torah (Leviticus 11:4: “Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you”). Vajda notes, for example, that the classical Qur’anic commentator Tabari:

gathered a great number of interpretations of this verse. According to Sud& Jacob [the biblical patri­arch] suffered in the night from sciatica; he made the vow never to eat any nerve if God would deliver him from this malady. The Jews claim to follow their ancestor but they are lying, for it is God who imposed on them alimentary restrictions, on account of their sins. According to Dahhak the verse means to say that neither before nor after the revelation did God forbid anything to the Jews, except that for the reason that we know, Jacob made the vow to abstain from consuming nerves. Ibn `Abbas explains: any food was permitted to the children of Israel before the revelation of the Torah, but Jacob forswore nerves, and his children imi­tated him, without the interdiction being in the Torah. Tabari lingers over this exegesis, not without modifying it. Before the revelation of the Torah, nothing was forbidden to the children of Israel, but Jacob, suffering from sciatica, forswore nerves, etc. Then, in revealing the Torah, God prohibited cer­tain foods to the Jews.

Additional hadith cited by Vajda present matters with a slight variation—Jacob’s prohibition on camel’s flesh and milk is self-imposed:

Abdallah b. Katir (and others): Jacob, suffering from sciatica, renounces by a vow, so as to get better, his preferred food: flesh and milk of the camel. According to Hasan, the Jews falsely pre­tended that the interdiction by Jacob of camel flesh, ordered the entire Jewish population of Yemen—men, women, and children—exiled to the plain of Tihama, known for its salty water and soil, and gener­ally unfavorable climate.

A twentieth-century German tourist described Tihama as follows:

Tihama is a dreadful place because of its terrible heat. Temperatures of fifty degrees centigrade in the shade last for several days. The Bedouins, who are used to a variety of climatic conditions, do not dare to cross the coastal strip between the Red Sea and the mountains of Yemen before sunset … the meager waters of the inner Tihama are salty and not potable, at least as far as Europeans are concerned.

Therefore, for example, the drinking water for the port city Hudayda must be carried on the backs of donkeys from mountains as far as eighty miles away. The climate of Tihama is the most harmful to one’s health in the entire Arabian peninsula. Harsh cases of malaria which gradually destroy the health of its inhabitants are a common occurrence. Even the Italian physicians in Hudayda are not able to do much against it.

In addition to the expulsion, there was destruction of synagogues, desecration of the Torah scrolls, and inducement for conversion to Islam. Only one quarter of those thousands of Jews expelled returned to their homes; the rest perished, dying primarily from expo­sure, due to the intense heat, lack of potable water, and the resultant spread of epidemic disease. Of the major Yemenite Jewish community in San’a, for example, which had numbered about ten thousand, only about one-tenth—one thousand—survived this catastrophic exile.

Brief modern examples, presented below, illustrate the ongoing relevence of two Jewish archetypes from the hadith as sources of Islamic antisemitism.

The Qur’anic curse (verse 2:61, repeated in 3:112) upon the Jews for (primarily) rejecting—even slaying­Allah’s prophets is updated with perfect archetypal logic in the canonical hadith allegation of Muhammad’s poi­soning by a Khaybar Jewess, which culminates in his painful and protracted death. Eliz Sanasarian provides a striking contemporary (1980s) example from Iran that affirmed this hadith account as objective, factual history during the examination of young adult candidates for national teacher training programs. Sanasarian notes:

[T]he subject became one of the questions in the ideological test for the Teachers’ Training College where students were given a multiple-choice ques­tion in order to identify the instigator of the mar­tyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad, the “correct” answer being “a Jewess.”

The 1988 Hamas charter, in section 7, quotes from the apocalyptic canonical hadith:

The hour of judgment shah not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,’ except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews.’

detailing one account of the Jews’ annihilation. And a British television investigation broadcast on Jan­uary 11, 2007, revealed that

this eschatological theme was part of a video sermon during which a sheikh (Fein) could be seen imitating the noise of a pig when refer­ring to Jewish people [consistent with Qur’an 5:60], who he says will be killed (in a mass extermination) on the day of judgment.

A DVD format recording of this sermon was sold at the London Central Mosque, “one of London’s most established mosques,” in Regent’s Park. Such contemporary eschatological antisemitism began to be popularized two decades ago when the Egyptian writer Sayyid Ayyub started publishing works in Arabic maintaining that the Dajjâl was already active on earth, and that he was Jewish.

Ayyub’s view was reiterated more recently by an Indian Muslim writer, Mohamad Yasin Owadally, who is convinced that “the Jews are waiting impatiently for the coming of Dajjal, their beloved king,” because:

Zionists in their bloodthirsty lust for power are not satisfied with Palestine. In their arrogance, they openly admit that they want all Syria … Lebanon … Jordan … Iraq … Iskenderun [former Alexan­dretta, in southwestern Turkey] … the Sinai . the Delta mea of Egypt and the Upper Hejaz and Najd…. They even want the holy Medinah…. Their main aim is to exterminate Islam.


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