Are Yemeni Jews Arab converts to Judaism

The Jews of the Koran

The Koran never uses the term religion (dῑn) in the plural form (adyān), rather it assumes an unchangeable core of all religions (tawhīd), which can be shaped and practiced differently in different cultures and regions (el-Maturidi, 2002 , P. 172). The focus of the Koran is not on the religious institutions, but on the actions and statements of members of certain religious groups, namely those who lived on the Arabian Peninsula in the seventh century - i.e. Jews (al-yahūd), Christians (al-naṣārā), Sabier (al-ṣābiʼūn), Zoroastrians (al-maǧūs) and polygamists (al-mashrikūn) etc. (see Gürkan, 2016, 7, No. 2, p. 163).

Of these religious groups, in turn, the greatest attention is paid to the Jews - on closer reading of the more than 6000 Āyāt of the Koran, it is noticeable that around 700, i.e. more than ten percent, relate to questions of the Jewish way of life and the related narratives and actions. However, it is not about the Jews per se, but specifically about the members of this religious community who lived in the Ḥiǧāz at that time, and their strategies for action, born from their living conditions, towards certain tribes and clans on the Arabian Peninsula - the Jews were evidently for regards the emerging religion of Islam as a particular challenge.

The fact that the Koran - as in the Bible - attaches such great importance to the Jews makes a closer examination of the subject appear necessary, going beyond the superficial and generalizing presentation.

Jews in the Ḥiǧāz

Jews lived in the various areas of the Ḥiǧāz such as Yathrib (Medina), Chaibar, Tayma, Wadi al-Qura, Makna, Fadak, Taif and Himyar (Yemen) (Dana, 2014, p. 8; Bas, 2012, p. 219 ; Dana, 2014) long before the emergence of Islam, since when exactly, is not clear from the historical sources (Gil, 2004, p. 3; Bas, 2012). Some historians take the view that the Jewish migration to Yathrib goes back to Moses: According to his death, some priestly families (Kohanim, plural of Kohen) emigrated from Damascus to Yathrib (Medina) (Wensinck, 1975, p. 29), and at the Jewish tribes of Banu Nadir and Banu Qurayza are two families of priests from the family of the prophet Harun (Aaron) (Newby, 2014, p. 39). A wife of the Prophet Muhammad named Safiya was a descendant of such a family (Arslantas, 2008).

Other historians, including al-Tabari, attribute the immigration of Jews to the Jiǧāz to the destruction of the First Temple of the Jews in Jerusalem:

"Muhammad al-Tabari (d. 923) and, like him, many Arab historians support the opinion that the Jews of the Ḥiǧāz were the offspring of refugees from the days of the destruction of the First Temple, the First Commonwealth; other historians are of the opinion that these refugees were joined by those of other wars who fled here in consequence of the destruction of the Second Temple (and Commonwealth). Whether one accepts this or that supposition, it can be stated with certainty that at the time of the appearance of Islam in the seventh century, there were already veteran, established Jewish communities present in Arabia. "(Dana, 2014, p. 13)

Whatever the historical situation, it is undisputed that the Jews and their institutions had solid social, religious and economic structures long before the proclamation of Islam in the Ḥiǧāz and were superior to the Arab Bedouins in many ways:

"We learn from the Arab sources about the religious life of Arabian Jews. They maintained religious institutions, such as synagogues (kana’is al-Yahud), study halls (buyut al-midras), etc., for prayer and Torah study. Religious texts were read in Hebrew, while any treatment of them was conducted in Arabic, the general spoken language of Ḥiǧāz. It is possible that Hebrew words passed this way into the Qur'an and the Arabic language, such as tawrah (Torah), mathani (Mishna), hibr ([haver] friend, in the sense of a religious wise man), sakinah ( Shechinah, a term of reference to the divine presence), Jannat 'Adin ([ganeden] Garden of Eden), Sabt ([Shabbat] Sabbath), Jahannam ([Gehinnom] Gehinnom or Hell), and sadaqah ([tseddaka] charity) , among many others. Jews even taught Torah to Muslims. "(Dana, 2014, p. 13)

The Koran speaks with respect of the Jewish scholars as Rabbāniyyūn [1] or Aḥbar [2] and their activities in the various social and religious institutions of Medina. According to Islamic sources, the synagogues and Jewish community houses (Bat Dīn) in Medina were also a meeting place for non-Jewish Arab poets and intellectuals (Arslantas, 2008, p. 15). In addition to these institutions, the educational institutions of the Jews also played an important role in the community life of Medina, which were used not only by Jewish, but also by Arab families who approved the conversion of their children to the Jewish religion and entrusted them to these educational institutions [3] . The Prophet Muhammad himself visited such a school and invited the Jews to Islam (Arslantas, 2008, p. 19).

In summary, in agreement with Islamic and Jewish historians, it can be said that after their emigration to Medina, the Muslims encountered a highly developed culture that had little in common with the comparatively primitive religious and cultural conditions in Mecca.

Muhammad in Medina

When the Prophet Muhammad came to Medina, neither the Arab tribes such as the Banū Ḫazraǧ and the Banū Quraiẓa, nor the Jewish tribes formed a unit, rather they were in competition with each other (Bouman, 1990, p. 57). While the Arabs, who had invited the Prophet to Medina, who had been denied recognition in his hometown of Mecca, were open and interested in him, the local Jewish population, who were estimated to be a little over 10,000 in number, wanted [4] there is no real joy in the face of the loss of their cultural and religious authority threatened by the teaching of Islam.

Muhammad realized very quickly that the Jews, with their abilities, would be of great benefit to the young religion, which relied on the support of educated people. And so he tried to integrate them into the community with various recognition measures and to win them over to Islam. A substantial part of these efforts was a constitution - a unique phenomenon of its kind at that time - in which the Jews occupied an important place:

"Pact with the Jews of Medina, aims to include a whole set of new Jewish groups into the community constitution under the protection of God, and it coheres around the constitutional regulation of religion. Its institution of religious pluralism and sanctuary can explain why 'faithful covenanters' (mu̕minīn) is inconspicuous and occurs incidentally and only at the very beginning (lines 27–28), mainly to link the two constitutional acts by affirming Jews as members of the unified umma (whose confederate structure had already been constituted by the first act). ”(Arjomand, 2009, p. 561)

In addition to constitutional recognition, the Jewish population also met with concessions from a religious point of view - namely in the form that Jewish traditions were integrated into the Muslim way of life. (Bouman, 1990, pp. 60-63)

"Many scholars consider some of the special rituals practiced early on by the Muslims as attempts to attract the Medinan Jews to Islam or at least make them more comfortable with it. At first, Islamic prayer seems to have faced the direction of Jerusalem, and before the enactment of the Ramadan fast, the early Muslims engaged in a 24-hour fast on the 10th day of the 7th month called `Ashūra, which corresponds to the full -day fast on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishre, Yom Kippur. " (Firestone, 2008, p. 35)

And certain purification regulations of the Jews were personally praised by the Prophet and recommended to the Muslims for imitation (Arslantas, 2008, p. 67). [5]

Despite these measures, the desired conversion of the Jews to Islam - with a few exceptions - did not materialize. The reasons for this may have been varied, but what is relevant to our contribution is how the Koran reacts to this attitude of the Jews.

The Koran's answer to the Jewish attitude

The Revelation [6] - wahy - The Koran was received by the Prophet Muhammad over the course of 22 years, i.e. in a relatively short time - and it took place in stages: Part of the Koranic Āyāt was revealed in Mecca, another in Medina, hence its name in Islamic theology as "Mekki-Āyāt" or "Medani-Āyāt".

The entire revelation can only be understood in the context of the respective social, political and economic conditions, a fact that an exegesis that wants to derive well-founded knowledge from the Koran has to take into account. As for the Jews, for example, these are predominantly thematized in the Medani-Āyāt. On the other hand, there is hardly any historical information about the Jews who lived in Mecca during the period of Revelation. We only know that some Jewish farm workers, scholars, and artists lived inconspicuous lives, but were valued by the Meccans for their special skills [7]. This can be taken from the Mekki-Āyāt, which express this special recognition of the Jewish scholars.

“Say: Think about it! If the Koran comes from God and you deny it, and if one of the children of Israel testifies that something similar came from God, he will believe in it, while you arrogantly deny it; then aren't you utterly unfair? God does not guide the unrighteous in the right way. "(Koran 46:10)

“The unbelievers say: 'You are not a messenger of God!' Say: 'It is enough for me that God is my witness and that He judges between you and me, just like those who have knowledge of the book.'” (Koran 13: 43)

According to several well-known Muslim exegetes, these two Āyāt speak of Abdullah ibn Salām, a Jewish resident who recognized the similarities between the Koran and the other holy scriptures and who was particularly valued by Muslims even after the Prophet's death (Cetinians, 2013, p. 796). Negative characteristics of the Jewish inhabitants of Mecca are not mentioned in other Mekki-Āyāt either. However, there are no Jewish names such as al-yahūd or hūd, rather the Jews are referred to to the Muslims either together with the Christians as ahl al-kitāb (Koran 6: 119), ahl al-Zikir (Koran 16:43), ūtuʼl ʼlm ( Koran 17: 107), alaḏīna ūtū l-kitāb or as banū Isrāʼīl (“Sons of Israel” occurs 41 times in the Koran) in their biblical stories so that they can draw their lessons from them. In the numerous biblical stories - without reference being made to the Meccan Jews - a certain behavior of the banū Isrāʼīl is presented merely as a warning or a promise (Kilincli, 2012, p. 256). According to Ḫalafallāh, every biblical narrative has the purpose of moral or religious instruction or of prevention. The historical truth is irrelevant, the focus of such a narrative is not historical personalities, religions or events, but didactic topics to be illustrated, from which Muslims in particular should draw lessons (Halefullah, 2012, p. 55).

The Meccan verses are not directed at or against Jews in general, not at Jews as a community / ethnic group as such. Her focus is on the concrete actions and positions of certain actors and groups in Jewish history.

The Medinan suras and the Jewish challenge

Given the conditions prevailing when the Prophet arrived in Medina - a Jewish population ten times that of Muslims and far superior to them in social, economic and intellectual terms - the establishment of Islam would prove to be an extremely arduous process. Although the Jews of Medina knew about Muhammad, an intensive study of the Koran could not have taken place, as it was far from available in book form, as a complete collection of texts as it is today. The theological debates were rather about the prophecy of Muhammad, about whether he really was who the Jews had expected as the Messiah (Firestone, 2008, p. 35; Abd al-Malik b.Hisām b. Ayyūb al-Ḥimyarī, 1858, p. 492, B. I).

The Āyāt of Medina convey a clear idea of ​​the efforts of the Koran to induce the Jews, through appeals to the intellectual and religious consciousness, to accept Islam as a religion and to submit to the prophecy of Muhammad.

The Jews should learn from their own history

In the Medinan Āyāt, the Jews are first reminded of their history and referred to as their responsibility.

“You children of Israel! Remember my grace that I have shown you! And fulfill your obligation to me! Then I will (also) fulfill my obligation towards you. And you should be afraid of me (alone). And believe in what I (now) have sent down (as a new revelation) to confirm what is already available to you (early revelations)! And don't be the first (of all people) to not believe in it! And don't sell my marks! And you shall fear me (alone). And do not mix up truth with lies and deception, and do not hide them while you (but about them) know! And perform the prayer (salaat), give the alms tax (zakaat) and take part in the bowing (at worship)! (43) (Or) do you want to command (other) people to be pious and (in doing so) forget yourself when you are reading the scriptures? Don't you have any sense? And seek help in patience and in prayer (salaat)! It is difficult (what is asked of you), but not for the humble who expect to meet their Lord (on Judgment Day) and to return to him. You children of Israel! Remember my grace, which I have shown you and remember that I have distinguished you in front of the people of all over the world (al-`aalamuun)! And get ready to experience (one day) a day when no one can take over anything instead of another, and (when) no intercession (which he would have to show for himself) or ransom (for himself) will be accepted, (-a day) on which they will not find any help! "(Quran 2: 40-48)

Similarly, in other Āyāt, the Jews are asked to take their own religion seriously and, above all, to live according to it (cf. Koran 2:65, 75–80). Such exhortations are linked with the hope that the practice of true Jewish teaching would ultimately lead to the recognition of Muhammad's prophecy.

Muhammad is the prophet promised in the scriptures

In its attempt to establish the prophecy of Muhammad and to convince the Jews in Medina of it, the Koran shows great respect for the Jewish scripture (Torah).

“You who have received the scriptures! Believe in what we (now) have sent down (as a new revelation) to confirm what is already available to you (in earlier revelations)! (Hurry up to obey this admonition ...) ”(Quran 4:47)

In these Āyāt it becomes even clearer that the salvation of the Jews can only lie in the recognition of the prophecy of Muhammad. To reject his message would be tantamount to rejecting his own writing.

No blanket description of Jewish believers in Medina

Despite the rejection of Jews throughout, apart from a few converts, the Koran endeavors to take a differentiated view of the Jews. There are numerous Āyāt who suggest such a point of view to the Muslims in order to ultimately guarantee an ethical basis for living together in Medina.

“Verily, the believers and the Jews and the Christians and the Sabaeans - whoever (among them) truly believes in Allah and in the Last Day and does good works - they should receive their reward from their Lord, and there should be no fear they come, nor shall they mourn. ”(Quran 2:63) [8]

"But! Whoever surrenders to Allah (aslama) and is righteous at the same time is entitled to his reward with his Lord.And they need not be afraid (because of the judgment) and they will not be sad (after the Judgment Day) ”(Quran 2: 112)

“Among the people of the scriptures there are some who believe in Allah and what was revealed to you and what was revealed to you (as revelation). In doing so, they are humble to Allah and do not sell the signs of Allah. They are entitled to their wages with their Lord. Allah is quick in accounting. "(Quran 3: 199)

“Those who believe and those who belong to Judaism and the Saabians and the Christians - (all) those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and do what is right need not fear (because of judgment) and they will not be sad (after the Judgment Day) ”(Quran 5:69)

The Ǧizya-Āyāt: Consolidation of the social position of the Jews

"Fight against those of the scripture owners who do not believe in God and Judgment Day and who do not forbid what God and His Messenger forbid and who do not profess the true faith until they voluntarily and obediently pay the jizya tax." Quran 9:29)

The fact that the Ǧizya-Āyāt (from ǧizya - tax for non-Muslims) were revealed shortly before the campaign to Tabūk in 630 against the Byzantine Empire, Tabari suggests that the Koran did not initially refer to the Jews of Medina, but to the Byzantine Empire as a possible tax source (Cetiner, 2013, p. 446; Watt, 1956, p. 105).

Reuven Firestone, a scientist at the Hebrew Union College, sees this diesenyāt not as a religious attack against the Jews or Christians, but as a politico-military arrangement for the position of non-Muslims in Medina.

"Islam found itself in military and political control of vast populations of non-believers within only a generation after its emergence. It was therefore necessary to develop policy regarding them. The details vary, and the process of creating any kind of official policy was a long one. Moreover, the laws or policies that were developed were often ignored by rulers or were enacted only when it suited them. Once established, however, they were ‘on the books’, meaning that they represented an authoritative articulation of expected relations with religious minorities, including the Jews.

It should be stated clearly that the Quran now calls for the destruction of the Jews. The policies of relationship between Muslims and Jews are based upon and authorized by Quran 9: 29. "(Firestone, 2005, p. 440)

Ultimately, other passages of the Koran - such as those that forbid compulsion to religion (Koran 2: 256), or declares the protection of places of worship to be a duty of every Muslim (Koran 22:40) - suggest that this Āyāt is not an appeal is to be interpreted as destroying people of different faiths.

The meaning of the Koranic Āyāt for the relationship between Muslims and Jews in the present

It is in the nature of monotheistic religions that Islam tries to differentiate itself from other religions in its developmental phase by presenting them in a negative light - the polemical devaluation of other religions and ethnic groups actually serves as a definition in the scriptures of the other monotheistic religions identity (see Deuteronomy 7: 1–2; Matthew 23) (Firestone, 2005).

Such representations of the Jews in the Koran have produced ideologies and theological positions that are valid up to the present day, which understand the devaluation of the Jews as a religious task and intentionally or unintentionally promote anti-Semitism among Muslims. In fact, there are a number of movements in Islamic countries and in Europe that justify their hatred of Jews with these Āyāt (Lev & Laskier, 2011, p. 10). Of course, the situation is not much different in Orthodox circles of the Jewish community.

"[...] it is not only among the Islamists who, after all, represent a small minority among Muslims, that such ideas have currency, but alas, among many members of the broader Muslim population as well. [...]. This lamentable hostility has, regrettably, been reciprocated within certain quarters of Jewry as well. Visceral anti-Islamic sentiments can be found among extreme religious-nationalist quarters both in Israel and the Diaspora. "(Lev & Laskier, 2011, p. 11)

When it comes to this image of the Jews that arose in the context of Medina, which arose in response to the behavior of certain people, i.e. cannot be regarded as a theologically justified, universal view of Judaism, it could be helpful to combine the relevant Āyāt with a To provide an appendix in which this context of the Koran is thematized.

“O you believers! You must not take as confidants those of the writers and the unbelievers who make fun of your religion and talk about it disparagingly. Fear God and keep his rules if you really believe! "

If you call to prayer, they make fun of it because they are people who cannot use the mind.

Say: 'You font owners! Do you resent us because we believe in God, the revelation revealed to us and the revelations previously revealed, and because most of you are wicked? ‘” (Quran 5: 57-59)

One of the most famous Muslim scholars of the Koran, al-Wāhidī, writes the following about the reasons of these Āyāt:

"Said al-Kalbi:" When the caller to prayer, appointed by the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, called to prayer, the Muslims stood up to perform it. Seeing this, the Jews used to comment: 'they stood up, may they never stand up! They prayed, may they never pray! They bowed down, may they never bow down! ' They used to say this to mock the Muslims and make fun of them. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse ”. Said al-Suddi: “This was revealed about a man from the helpers of Medina. Whenever he heard the caller to prayer say, 'I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah', he would say: 'May the liar be burnt!' "(Al-Wāhidī, 2008, p. 69)

There are other sichyāt in the Koran, which testify that the relations between Jews and Muslims in Medina were very polemical due to the conditions prevailing in the city (Koran 5:59, 68.71.82).

Not only personal confrontations but also theological arguments with the Jews of Medina arose out of a specific context. The Koran mentions that the Medinan Jews worshiped Uzair (Ezra ha-Sofer) as the son of God (Koran 9:30), but there is no detailed background information on this. It is also not known whether this theology was represented by all Jewish tribes or only by the two Kohen families, Banu Nadir and Banu Qurayza. It can be said with certainty, however, that the monotheistic thinking of Judaism does not permit such a departure from its principles.

“It is possible that Jews who held such views had to settle far away from mainstream Jewish communities that would have found such thinking unacceptable. Their very special regard for Ezra could easily have been misconstrued by early Muslims (as it apparently was by the established Jewish communities in the Land of Israel and Babylonia) as compromising true monotheism. "(Firestone, 2008, p. 11)

Similar questions also arise with regard to the falsification of the scriptures alleged to be made by the Jews or the position of the Jewish scholars who are critically questioned in the Koran.

“They took their scribes and their monks as gods instead of God” (Qur'an 9:31), or “Woe to those who write books with their own hands and say, 'These are of God', so that they may make little profit. Woe to them for their handwritten books! And woe to them for the profit they make! "- Quran 2:79.

Islamic theologians had heated scientific debates about what the Koran means with the Torah, which is mentioned in eighteen places in the Koran, there are some ambiguities in this regard> (Adam, 2019, p. 363). The Jewish doctrine says that Moses received the Torah from God and that the Jews made a covenant with the Torah, i.e. with God. The Hebrew Bible - Torah (the Five Books of Moses), Ketuvim (Scriptures) and Nevi‘im (books of the prophets) were already completed before the turn of the ages (cf. Güzelmansur, 2014, p. 102). Whether the Koran means the Torah or the Talmudic collections here could not be clearly established in the Islamic tradition of exegesis. In any case, the biography of the Prophet Muhammad shows that he treated the Torah with great respect and inquired about the content of certain laws it contained (Abū Dāwūd, Hudūd 27, Köksal, 1981, p. 215, B. 10). He also insisted that the Torah be returned intact to the Jews after it was stolen in the course of the conquest of the Jewish fortress Haybar (Al-Buḫārī, Manāqib 27).

In the light of all this, the biography of the Prophet Muhammad and the inconclusive references in the Koran regarding the falsification of the writing, it can be assumed that the Koran does not mean the Torah but the Talmud.

“From this basic situation, it becomes understandable if the Koran should mean the Jews and their Talmud and say about it: 'You write it by hand.' The names of the rabbis who represent this or that position and tell certain stories are even mentioned. And yet they say: 'This is from God.' This also applies to the oral Torah and the Talmud and the authority claimed by them in rabbinic Judaism.

If, based on the Koran, all statements that go beyond these Moses books or modify them and are presented with divine claims and are viewed as falsification of the scriptures, the charge would be understandable. "(Güzelmansur, 2014, p. 103)

Dealing with further theological debates about those Āyāt in the Koran that affect the Jews is beyond the scope of this work. It should be noted, however, once again that the verses about the Jews must first be understood in their context. To refuse this insight through partisan or ideological interpretation - as Qutb [9] and similar authors have done - means to promote hostility among the religious groups and to make any objective discussion of the topic impossible.

The Jews of the Koran and Religious Education Responsibility

The Muslim side vehemently rejects the accusation of anti-Semitism and asserts that the critical attitude towards the Jews is solely due to the problem of Palestine. However, not only in political debates, but also in scientific circles - for example in many current articles - there are numerous indications that there is indeed a theologically based anti-Judaism, discrimination against Jews and hatred of Jews in Islamic countries (Agirakca, 2018). This way of thinking also shapes the attitudes of Muslim students in Europe, who are not only influenced by the media in Islamic countries, but above all are appropriated by Muslim organizations active in Europe (Jikeli, 2013, pp. 185–227).

From a didactic point of view, this gives rise to a special didactic task for Islamic religious education, which requires a clear theological basis in order to be able to counter the theologically justified hatred of Jews.

Although Judaism is mentioned as a recognized religion in the school books of the IGGÖ, the festivals and traditions of this religion are discussed, but neither anti-Semitism nor hatred of Jews are discussed as a challenge (Shakir, 2016).

The term anti-Semitism appears three times in the curricula [10], but neither in the curricula nor in the school books does a discussion of theologically based anti-Semitism take place. The constitution of the curricula and textbooks of the IRU in Austria would actually give rise to a serious rethinking of the design of this topic in religious education.

As a first step, a religious education debate would be necessary about the basic theological knowledge that shapes the attitude of Muslim religion teachers towards Judaism. Even if a public debate about it for the Islamic religious community were out of the question under the current political and social conditions, it should be possible for the IGGÖ to allow research in this direction in cooperation with certain scientific institutions. This would make it much easier to deal with the theological background to the position of Jews in the thinking of students and religion teachers.

Another task for religious education is to revise the negative, anti-Jewish prejudice favoring image of Jews in the Koran and Sunna on the basis of new theological findings. The new portrayal of the Jews in Islamic school books should aim to ensure that the pupils do not perceive the Jews as "murderers of the prophet" [11] or as "cursed people" [12] because such passages in the Koran and Sunna are often unreflected for promotion be abused by hatred of Jews.

It deserves recognition that the curricula of the IGGÖ are clearly trying to present a factual representation of Judaism - in fact, it is not enough to simply avoid or suppress critical discussions with the Islamic sources. Such measures can enable the students to understand the genesis of anti-Jewish prejudices in order to better understand the background of the current political debates and to counter anti-Jewish, theological arguments.


Muslims use an image of the Jew that was shaped a long time ago in a very specific context very selectively for their current political, economic and theological interests. A factual examination of the history of the Jews, especially in Medina, would show that Jews and Muslims have learned a lot from each other in their history and have repeatedly encouraged and enriched each other.

To make a final judgment on Jewish-Islamic relations based on the current political debates alone would not do justice to the changeful course of Islamic history. Otherwise the Jews - unlike other peoples and groups - would not have lived and worked with the Muslims under historically positive circumstances.

This fact holds the opportunity for Islamic religious education to subject the established Islamic theology to a revision with a view to child life, to revise the statements of the Koran and the Prophet, which promote anti-Semitism among Muslims, so that the main sources of Islam make a contribution for the peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Jews. This would create a solid basis for discussing Jewish-Islamic relations beyond the Palestinian conflict and focusing attention on various peace concepts.


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Ednan Aslan
is professor for Islamic Education at the University of Vienna. Prof. Aslan is chairperson of various working groups on the development of curricula in Germany, Austria, and Southeast Europe and has published extensively on Islamic religious education in Europe. His research focuses on Islamic identity, the future of Islamic theology, and imam training in Europe. His recent publications are Religion and Violence (Springer, 2017), Islam, Religions, and Pluralism in Europe (Springer, 2016), Islam and Citizenship Education (Springer, 2015).


  1. Venerable persons from the tribe of the prophet Harun (Aaron).

  2. Jewish scribes.

  3. The basis or justification of this practice is the prohibition of compulsion to believe: “There is no compulsion to believe. (The path of) prudence is now clearly distinguished from (that of) error. So whoever denies false gods, but believes in Allah, holds on to the firmest handle, with which there is no tearing. And Allah is All-Hearing and All-Knowing. ”(Koran 2: 256) Regarding this Ayat's reason for despair, Tabāri says:“ Ibn 'Abbas who said regarding the saying of Allah, exalted is He, (There is no compulsion in religion…): “The woman of the Helpers whose boys never survived used to vow that if a boy of hers survived, she would raise him as a Jew. When the Banu'l-Nadir were driven out of Medina they had among them children of the Helpers. The Helpers said: 'O Messenger of Allah! Our Children! ' Allah, exalted is He, therefore revealed (There is no compulsion in religion ...) ”. Sa'id ibn Jubayr said: “Those who wished to leave with the Jews did leave, and those who wished to embrace Islam embraced Islam” (Cetiner, 2013, pp. 111–112; al-Wāhidī, 2008, p. 25) .

  4. P. L. Rose estimates the number of Jews living in Medina - without naming a source between 36-42,000 (see Rose, 2011, p. 10).

  5. “The Prophet saw that the Jews fasted on the day of āšūrā’. He asked them: 'Why are you fasting?' 'This is a blessed day on which God delivered the Jews from their enemies. Moses fasted that day too, ‘he is supposed to have received in reply. The Prophet is said to have replied: 'I am closer to Moses than you' and began to fast on that day and ordered the Muslims to fast on that day "(Al-Buḫārī, Sawm 69, Muslim, Siyam 127).

  6. In the Koran, every revelation usually has a reason for revelation. The ethical principles mentioned in the Koran are applied to particular situations - Asbāb an-nuzūl, i.e. occasions of revelation - and therefore answer the questions of the people of that time. This is where people's questions meet with God's answer. So people's questions are just as important as God's answers. Revelation thus has a human background.

  7. Before the revelation, the Prophet himself reports that he worked for the Jews and used the wages received for it to satisfy his hunger (Abū Dāwūd, Kiyamah 35).

  8. In “Laṭāʾif al-Ishārāt”, his commentary on this Āyāt, the well-known Koran exegete Abū l-Qāsim ʿAbd al-Karīm al-Qushayrī emphasizes the divine diversity of religions as an important basis of Islamic belief: “The diversity of [religious] paths in Spite of the unity of the source does not prevent a goodly acceptance [for all]. For anyone who affirms the Real in His signs and believes in what He has said concerning His truth and attributes, the dissimilarity of [religious] laws and diversity that occurs in [the] name [s] [of religion] is not a problem in terms of who merits [God's] good pleasure. Because of that He said, 'Surely those who believe and those of the Jews.' Then He said, 'whoever believes,' meaning if they fear [God] in [their] different ways of knowing [Him], all of them will have a beautiful place of return and an ample reward. The believer (muʾmin) is anyone in the protection (amān) of the Real. For anyone who is in His protection, it is fitting that no fear shall befall them, neither shall they grieve ”(al-Qushayrī, 2019).

  9. Qutb, who is still considered the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in the world, writes in his book "Our Struggle with Jews" about the way of life of the Jews and here justifies the Muslim anger with Hitler's view of the Jews and praises Hitler's behavior as a punishment Of God for the Jews (cf. Pfahl-Traughber, 2019; Firestone, 2005, p. 444).

  10. “Rejection of all racism and all discrimination: 'Islam forbids racism. Anti-Semitism and xenophobia are rejected on theological grounds. The situation in Austria should be discussed on the assumption that there is also a religious awareness of injustice when it comes to cases of discrimination. Special emphasis should be placed on the protection that religious freedom enjoys. ‘” (5th grade), “A no to violence, a no to racism, anti-Semitism and nationalism, for example. The pupils should further differentiate between positive and negative physical strength and learn that energy, which is often present in large quantities at this age, should be bundled and used in meaningful actions. "(7th grade)

  11. Compare Quran 2:87, 5:70.

  12. Compare Koran 4:47, 5:13, 64, 78. Regarding other negative characteristics of the Jews that appear in the Koran: Koran 106: 2, 107: 3, 108: 4, 109: 5, 110: 6, 111: 7, 113: 9, 114: 10, 115: 11, 119: 15, 2: 88-91, 3:98, 112: 4, 2:51, 7: 138-9, 9: 30-31, 2: 87, 3:24, 4:48, 5:70, 62: 5, 2: 87-89, 3: 181, 5:18, 40:56, 2:61, 3:21, 4: 155. The list of Koran passages that form the theological basis for anti-Jewish statements could be expanded.