Qur'anic reference to Arabs and Jews
Q557 :May I ask why Allah has sent down four
different religious books and did not choose to send down only one book
right at the beginning. That might have avoided all present conflict.
May I also ask why there is much discussion about the Arabs and the
Jews in the Qur'an, to the exclusion of other nations?
A557 : Let me first of all point out that it is
improper for any person to ask why Allah has chosen a particular method
or line of action when another could have achieved better results. To
put a question in this way gives the impression that we, human beings,
could have given better advice to Allah on how to conduct His business.
Far be it from us to do so. We believe in His wisdom and His ability to
accomplish His purpose any time, in whatever method He chooses. You
speak of avoiding conflict, but conflict in human life is not of
Allah's making. It is the result of what human beings do. Besides,
conflict will remain a characteristic of human life as long as human
beings continue to be greedy and to covet what belongs to others.
Today, there are numerous conflicts in the world and very few of these
have a religious basis or are influenced by religious considerations.
Some of them are between members of the same religion and the same
nation. Even among Muslims, conflicts erupt every now and then.
Therefore, to suggest that had Allah sent down the Qur'an right at the
beginning all conflicts would have been spared is a statement that
cannot be supported by history. Allah has sent Prophets and messengers
to all communities. He has chosen to tell us about some of them, while
He has chosen not to tell us about others. Of those He has mentioned,
some received messages and scriptures, most notably Moses and Jesus.
Allah has told us well that He gave scriptures to Prophet Ibrahim and
He gave the Psalms to Prophet Dawood. But He has sent many other
prophets who had confirmed messages and scriptures revealed earlier.
Each one of these prophets was sent to his own community, speaking to
them in their own language. However, they all preached the message of
the Oneness of Allah. You will not find any difference in the original
concept preached by those prophets. When Allah tells us about them in
the Qur'an, He uses the same words to describe how each one of them
approached his task and explained to his people that there is no deity
save Allah. The differences between these messages were in matters of
detail, and they related mainly to the field of practices. In essence,
all these messages were the same. The Qur'an, on the other hand, is
Allah's message to mankind. It is not limited to any particular
community or group. It embodies a complete way of life for people to
implement. It supersedes all previous messages. Therefore, its later
revelation does not make for conflict, but for peace and brotherhood.
It serves as an ultimate verdict to decide what is acceptable to Allah
and what is not. We can say that Allah chose to send these messages to
people at different stages of their development. When humanity had
reached its maturity, Allah sent down the Qur'an as His final word. He
has guaranteed to preserve the Qur'an as a permanent source of guidance
for all mankind. Yet that does not prevent conflict from erupting. Had
the Qur'an been sent down 20 centuries earlier, how could conflict be
prevented? Its later revelation is not a cause of conflict. Indeed,
much of the conflict is stirred up in order to suppress the Qur'an and
to prevent people from listening to its message and implementing it.
What this means in actual fact is that the conflict in the human world
does not arise from the number of messages Allah revealed to His
prophets, but from the fact that human beings want to turn away from
the divine message in order to follow their own desires. The conflict
is between the forces of the truth, represented by the divine messages,
and the forces of evil which want human beings to pay no heed to what
Allah has revealed. You ask about the frequent reference to Arabs and
the Jews in the Qur'an. The references to the Arabs are not on any
racial or community basis. They happened to be the first community to
be addressed by the message of the Qur'an and the Prophet was one of
them. Therefore, they received the immediate address. However, it is a
well-known fact that what is addressed to the Arabs is indeed addressed
to all mankind. The message of the Qur'an is addressed to every human
being in all ages. Since the message of the Qur'an is meant to be
translated into practical life so that a community of believers is
established, references are made to a previous community which was
established on the basis of a divine message, namely the Jewish
community. Thus, the Children of Israel serve as a model for subsequent
communities who wish to establish the divine message and implement it.
Since the Children of Israel had a long history of being addressed by
prophets, their attitude at different times and stages are quoted so
that people can guard against committing the same mistakes as the
Children of Israel. Every incident quoted serves either as an example
to follow or a lesson to learn or a mistake to avoid. In this way, any
community of believers has much to learn.
Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )