The Myth of An Antisemitic Genocide In Muslim Scripture
Published: March 28, 2017 • Updated: January 12, 2022
Author: Justin Parrott
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
How an apocalyptic tradition played into the hands of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim hatemongers1
Explanation of the misquoted hadith
A story about a supernatural apocalyptic battle between good and evil
All sincere followers of the Prophets are good guys in the Muslim apocalypse
The question of Anti-Semitism and the Armageddon
Islam denounces all forms of anti-Semitism and racism
1 This paper was originally written for The Huffington Post, contextualizing this topic for the broader non-Muslim community; by necessity it simplifies some concepts in Islamic theological discourse for the general audience.
2 Consequently, this paper conducts a broad survey of the relevant transmitted narrations which have been cited and relied upon in Islamic eschatological literature in order to arrive at a more complete picture of the narrative in question, forgoing questions about the epistemic value of da’if (weak) narrations in eschatology and promotion of virtue.
3 Fath al-Bari by Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani, Sharh Sahih Muslim by al-Nawawi, Umdatul-Qari by Badr al-Deen al-’Ayni
4 This narration states that he will emerge from the deviant group known as the Khawarij (Sunan Ibn Majah 179), and according to commentaries on Ibn Majah, he will emerge at the head of a great army (“jaysh ‘adheem”) of Khawarij (Shuruh Sunan Ibn Majah, edited by Raed Sabri Ibn Abi Ulfah). The other narration (Sahih Bukhari 1881) states that he will be joined by the inhabitants of Makkah and Madinah who are munafiqeen—those who outwardly claim to be Muslim but whose insincerity in faith will be evident once they join forces with the Dajjal.
5 Fayd al-Bari explains, “This is only about the Jews whom Jesus is fighting against, namely those in the armies of Dajjal, not all Jews around the world.” In fact, if Dajjal is followed by a cult of seventy thousand wearing green shawls and crowns—as the hadith states—this number amounts to less than 0.5% of the global population, a tiny fraction. There is no scriptural evidence to suggest that the number is larger than this. As an aside, though not a hadith nor theologically reliable narration of any sort, there is an interesting comment recorded in Kitab al-Fitan by Nu’aym ibn Hammad (d.228H), the teacher of Imam al-Bukhari (d. 256H), which states that after al-Mahdi (another Islamic eschatological figure) recovers the Ark of the Covenant, most Jews will join the Muslims except for a few. And in the Rabbinical literature, the staff of Aaron—one of the items in the Ark of the Covenant—will be recovered by the Messiah, as a token of his authority (Midrash Yelamdenu).
6 Rejection of truth (kufr) can happen by both statements or actions, viz. in this case following or obeying the Dajjal.
7 This is a famous work of Islamic eschatology by the Hanbali scholar al-Saffarini (d.1188H), cited here to instantiate the classical eschatological tradition’s reliance on such narrations to elaborate the prophecies concerning Dajjal. Moreover, these prophecies were never discussed in jurisprudential works pertaining to Muslim’s normative conduct with members of other faith communities.
8 “Appendix II – Mashiach in Jewish Law by Rabbi Dr. J. Immanuel Schochet, from his book Mashiach— the Messianic Era in Jewish Law on Chabad.org. Dr. Schochet writes, “Interestingly enough, according to Pirkei deR. Eliezer ch. 28 (in non-censored versions), the Ishmaelites (Arabs) will be the final kingdom to be defeated by Mashiach.” http://www.chabad.org/library/moshiach/article_cdo/aid/101747/jewish/Appendix-II.htm#footnote6a101747
11 Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah, and Silsilah al-Saheehah vol 6, p. 628. Arabic: (تصدقوا على أهل الأديان كلها)
12 Kitab al-Amwal, Abu Ubayd al-Qasim ibn Sallam d224H, pp. 727-728, Dar alShuruq 1989. Arabic: (عن سعيد بن المسيب أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم تصدق على أهل بيت من اليهود بصدقة ، فهي تجري عليهم ).
13 Several works of exegesis record that verses 4:105-115 were revealed in reference to an incident were a munafiq named Tu’mah ibn Ubayriq stole some wealth and blamed it on a Jewish man named Zayd ibn Sameen. Tu’mah’s clan attempted to defend him and demand the Prophet punish the innocent Jewish man, whereupon these verses were revealed in condemnation of their actions and in defense of the innocence of Zayd ibn Sameen. This is related by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.310H) in his Tafsir, and al-Suyuti (d.911H) also notes it was related in the tafsir of Abd ibn Humayd (d.219H) and Abu Bakr ibn al-Mundhir (d. 319H). See al-Tabari, Abu Ja’far, Jami’ al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur’an ed. Abdullah al-Turki, (Cairo: Dar Hajar 2001) vol. 7, p.462-3.
14 The verb tuqsitu ilayhim is often translated as “be fair (or justly) to them.” That is a possible linguistic meaning. However, it more likely means in this context, as Al-Qurtubi said, “give them a payment (qistan) from your wealth for the purpose of good relations.” He further explains, “It does not mean ‘justice’ here, because justice is required for those who fight and those who do not fight, as said by Ibn al-’Arabi” (Jāmiʻ li-Aḥkām al-Qur'an, 18:59 verse 60:8).