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Islam’s Jew-Hating Hadith in Context

The infamous hadith about the Jew hiding behind a tree is not some apocrophyl canon held in esteem by an unimportant few, but runs parallel to anti-Jewish motifs throughout the Koran.
Muhammad Al-Arifi

Muhammad Al-Arifi

Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-Arifi made the following “observations” which aired on Palestinian Arab Al-Aqsa TV, September 12, 2008:

Studies conducted in Tel Aviv and in the Palestinian lands occupied by the Jews showed that they plant trees around their homes, because the Prophet Muhammad said that when the Muslims fight the Jews, each and every stone and tree will say: “Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” The only exception is the gharqad tree, which is one of the trees of the Jews, and if they hide behind it, it will not reveal their presence. According to reports of people who went there and saw it with their own eyes, man Jews plant gharqad trees around their homes, so that when the fighting begins, they can hide behind them. They are not man enough to stand and fight you.

Muslim Waffen SS soldiers reading a pamphlet by the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj-Amin el-Husseini.

Muslim Waffen SS soldiers reading a pamphlet by the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj-Amin el-Husseini. From Jennie Lebel’s 2007 biography of the Mufti.

These Jew-hating motifs were reiterated by Egyptian Minister of Religious Endowments Talat Afifi, during an interview shown on Sada Al-Balad TV, March 14, 2013. In response to an interviewer’s query about visiting Israel with “only with a Palestinian visa,” Afifi replied,

This is premature. Let’s wait until it happens. However, we hope that the words of the Prophet Muhammad will be fulfilled: “Judgment Day will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews will hide behind the rocks and the trees, but the rocks and the trees will say: Oh Muslim , oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him – except for the gharqad tree, which is one of the trees of the Jews.” We fully believe that the future of this land lies with Islam and the Muslims.

While such hatemongering statements appear utterly bizarre to Jews devoid of any understanding of Islam’s foundational texts, and notwithstanding Sinem Tezyapar’s attempt to negate this reality in The Jewish Press, Egyptian cleric Ali Afifi, and earlier, Saudi cleric Al-Arifi’s inflammatory references to Jews, have sacralized origins immediately apparent to Muslim audiences. The crux of their remarks, in fact, merely reiterate verbatim, a canonical hadith, specifically Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985, which is also featured prominently in the Hamas Covenant, article 7.

Briefly (see 1, 2, 3, 4 for an in depth 4-part discussion), what are the hadith, and which specific antisemitic motifs do they contain? 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 term for the “science” of such “traditions”). As a result of a lengthy process which continued for centuries after Muhammad’s death (in 632), the hadith emerged for Muslims as second in authority to the Koran 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, a seminal early 20th century scholar of Islam, highlighted the importance of the Sunna (and, by extension, the hadith):

As early as the first century A.H. [the 7th century] the following aphorism was pronounced: “The Sunna can dispense with the Koran but not the Koran with the Sunna.” Proceeding to still further lengths, some Muslims assert that “in controversial matters, the Sunna overrules the authority of the Koran, but not vice versa”…all admit the Sunna completes and explains it [the Koran].

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 titles Sahih (“sound”) or Jami, indicating their comprehensiveness, signify the high esteem in which they are held. Their comprehensive content includes information regarding religious duties, law and everyday practice (down to the most mundane, or intimate details), in addition to a considerable amount of biographical and other material. Four other compilations, called Sunan works, which indicates that they are limited to matters of religious and social practice, and law, also became authoritative. Abu Dawud (d. 888), al-Tirmidhi (d. 892), Ibn Maja (d. 896), and al-Nasi (d. 915) compiled these works. By the beginning of the 12th century, Ibn Maja’s collection became the last of these compilations of hadith to be recognized as “canonical.”

About the Author: Andrew G. Bostom, M.D., is the author of the highly acclaimed The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History, and, Sharia Versus Freedom—The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism. Dr. Bostom has published numerous articles and commentaries on Islam in the New York Post, Washington Times, The New York Daily News, National Review Online, The American Thinker, Pajamas Media, FrontPage Magazine.com, and other print and online publications. More on Andrew Bostom’s work can be found at his blog: www.andrewbostom.org.


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4 Responses to “Islam’s Jew-Hating Hadith in Context”

  1. David Weitz says:

    A "Must Read" for everyone interested in the Middle East dispute. Now you will understand why the Arab-Israeli dispute will NEVER be settled until Muslims exorcise the hateful, antisemiticl Hadiths and passages from the Koran from their belief system.

  2. Yechiel Baum says:

    Notice the yamulke being hidden underneath the Kafiya.
    They are jealous of Judaism that we are GODS chosen people while they are born from an Egyptian maid servant and concubine which is low class. making them bastards in the eyes of the Lord.

  3. The author conflicts himself; in the beginning he dismisses my article and writes: "… and notwithstanding Sinem Tezyapar's attempt to negate this reality in The Jewish Press…"
    Then, in the end he demands: "As a pre-condition to real dialogue… Jews… must demand… acknowledgment and wrenching reform of the sacralized Islamic Jew hatred…"
    But when I write against radicals who preach hatred, he is not willing to accept it as an honest call for change! Does he really want dialogue and reconciliation, or is he so deeply invested in his research of the conflict that he rejects any sign of a positive change?
    I am a devout Muslim and my positive approach and interpretation is purely based on Quran, Islam's foundation. And I responded to these question in my previous articles:
    Why It Is a False Statement to Say Jews Are Cursed or Apes According to Islam?
    Why It Is a False Statement to Say Jews Are the Army of Dajjal (Anti-Messiah) According to Islam?
    http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/much-of-what-you-think-you-know-about-islam-is-wrong/2013/01/17/

  4. Donny Kligman says:

    Finally a article with sense! Sinem wants Israel to be part of the "Turkish Islamic Union." We say NO THANKS!

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The infamous hadith about the Jew hiding behind a tree is not some apocrophyl canon held in esteem by an unimportant few, but runs parallel to anti-Jewish motifs throughout the Koran.

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