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Op-Ed: Gharqad Tree Myth Still Continues to Stir Enmity against Jews in the Muslim World

Turkish writer Adnan Oktar explains utilizing Islamic arguments why it is against the Quran to slaughter Jews and so-called hadiths which contradict the Quran on this matter have no Islamic validity.
Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

As the majority of the Muslims around the world continue to follow traditions and superstitions presented as Islam, instead of the authentic Islam described in the Qur'an, groundless anti-Jewish sentiment grows and further complicates the already volatile landscape of the Middle East. Not only does this manufactured culture of hostility make peace in the region difficult; it also takes a heavy psychological toll on the Muslim population by making them predisposed to hate a certain group of people solely based on their ethnicity or beliefs.

The underlying problem is once again the fabricated accounts that have filtered into Islamic teachings and poisoned the Muslim societies with the hatred of Jews. Adopting these false sayings, some Muslims have lived in contradiction with the Qur'an. Some clerics and the politicians in the Middle East have been misusing these fabricated concepts to manipulate the masses.

The notorious hadith about the ‘gharqad tree’ is one example of how a fabricated hadith is used as incitement for groundless hostility. As one of the archetypes of an anti-Jewish narrative, this particular hadith is strangely popular amongst traditional, orthodox Muslims. Also featured in the 7th Article of the Hamas Charter[i], this hadith –claimed to be a saying of Prophet Mohammed - has become one of the references of the anti-Israel rhetoric in the region:

“... The Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: ‘Muslim, or the servant of God, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him;’ but the Gharqad tree would not say for it is the tree of the Jews.”[ii]

If someone were to kill the nearest Jewish person -God forbid- because he claims to have heard voices from a tree or a rock telling him to do so, we would consider him mentally disturbed. However, this disturbed mentality -though it is against the Qur'an- is endorsed widespread throughout the Arab-Muslim geography and used to fuel Jew hatred as a sign of false piety.

First of all, for a Qur'an-abiding Muslim, this hadith can carry no weight whatsoever as such an action would be not only be completely against the Qur'an; it would also be a schizoid act of murder. The Qur'an is the ultimate and indisputable reference and guide for Muslims and God explains that Muslims will be questioned only from the Qur'an.[iii] Therefore, if the hadiths, which claim to reflect the words and life of the Prophet Mohammed, contradict with the teachings of the Qur'an, it would mean they are not accurate and are not to be taken into account by the Muslims (Qur'an 69:44-47).

In this case, it is clear that the hadith in question clearly contradicts the Qur'an. According to the Qur'an, killing an innocent person is tantamount to killing all of humanity (Qur'an 5:32). But this hadith calls for killing of not only one innocent person, but the killing of an entire people, including women, children and the elderly. This is such a dangerous and twisted thought that an ignorant person might think that he now has a license to go on a killing spree with impunity.

The Qur'an clearly condemns such devious thoughts and actions (Qur'an, 37:154-157). According to the Qur'an, if a Muslim actually takes this hadith literally and kills an innocent Jew, that Jew may go to Heaven while the killer will be punished with eternal Hell unless he repents and is forgiven by God.

It goes without saying that every community might have criminals or people with unacceptable actions, including the Jewish community. However, this can never justify executing innocent people. It is the job of the courts to maintain justice in a society. Even if a person who committed a crime is a Jew, a Muslim has no right to treat him distinctively. Furthermore, he most certainly doesn’t have the right to kill, let alone to act as the prosecutor, the court and the executioner. What should be done is to bring the offender to justice and let the courts take care of the situation.

Deeming death for Jews is insanity, and unlawful and unjust in every way. According to the Qur'an, Muslims are ordered to be just and keep to the limits specified by God, at all times (Qur'an, 2:190). Muslims should always be fair and moderate even towards those who might have wronged them in the past (Qur'an, 5:2).

God also commands people to act justly even when one is under the influence of a grudge:

You who have belief! Show integrity for the sake of God, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just... (Qur'an, 5:8)

How can indiscriminately killing Jews be considered just or in line with the Qur'an? How can anyone claim that the Prophet Mohammed ordered such an action that is in clear violation of the Qur'an? God informs in the Qur'an that if the Prophet Mohammed had said anything that was against what was revealed to him, he would have been severely punished.[iv]

Another point that needs to be taken into account regarding this hadith is the fact that God commands love, respect and compassion towards the Jews and the Christians in the Qur'an.[v] The perceived hostility of some Muslims towards the People of the Book, in other words Christians and Jews, mainly arises from a wide array of sources that were produced long after the Qur'an was revealed. Most of these sources blatantly contradict the Qur'an and feed anti-Jewish rhetoric, and often misguide Muslims to interpret the Qur'an in a loveless way, devoid of reason.

The truth is that God encourages Muslims to have close relations with Jews, even through marriage, which is certainly the most intimate form of friendship (Qur'an, 5:5). Muslims can dine together with Jews, be one another's guests, and that is why kosher food is halal (lawful) for Muslims: This is a clear description of friendship.

This is one of the many verses that are often overlooked or dismissed based on the teachings in fabricated hadiths and false accounts. Throughout the Qur'an, God praises the People of the Book for their good deeds:

Those who have faith and those who are Jews and the Sabaeans and the Christians, all who have faith in God and the Last Day and act rightly will feel no fear and will know no sorrow. (Qur'an, 5:69)[vi]

It is high time that Muslims abandon non-Qur'anic sources and return to the real source of Islam, which aims to bring love, peace and brotherhood for all.

[i] http://archive.adl.org/main_israel/hamas_charter.html#.Vth2LZN97wc

[ii] Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Hadith 6985

[iii] Qur'an, 43:44, 25:30, 12:111, 2:2, 29:51, 5:87, 69:40-47, 6:57, 18:26

[iv] Qur'an, 69:44, 45, 46, 47

[v] Qur'an, 5:5, 7:159, 3:113-115, 3:199, 28: 52-53, 4:162, 2:62, 5:69, 5:82-85, 5:12, 29:46, 3:64

[vi] Qur'an, 5:5, 7:159, 3:113-115, 3:199, 28: 52-53, 4:162, 2:62, 5:69, 5:82-85, 5:12, 29:46, 3:64

 

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