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MUSLIM ALLY

According to Islam, Muslims Should Not Be at War With Jews

Sinem Tezyapar says, "Let us adopt a language of peace, a language of love. This is easy! And there is no other way."

Turkish political and religious commentator Sinem Tezyapar.

Turkish political and religious commentator Sinem Tezyapar.

As a Muslim, I have to clarify regarding some false ideas that have been taken for granted as “Islamic.” What goes between Israel and Palestine is an artificial conflict and, what’s more, it is against Islam from several points:

Relations with Jews: Muslims are not at war with Jews. According to the Qur’an, Jews have a special status as “People of the Book” and Muslims can establish good relations with them through marriage and the sharing of food. Kosher food is also lawful for Muslims to eat and permission has been given for Muslim men to marry Jewish women. So from an Islamic perspective, this shows that there can be no obstacle to living together and in harmony, and this is clear evidence that enable the formation of warm human relationships and tranquil togetherness between Jews and Muslims.

War only for self-defense: From an Islamic point of view, there can be only defensive war and war is only an unwanted obligation when one’s life, security and honor is under attack. Muslims do not attack, they can only defend themselves. War has to be inevitable at the point that one has to defend oneself. Even if it is considered obligatory for self-defense, it has to be carried out with strict observance of humane and moral values. To put it in another way, God granted permission for war only for defensive purposes, and Muslims are warned against the use of unnecessary violence. “Fight in the Way of God against those who fight you, but do not go beyond the limits. God does not love those who go beyond the limits.” (Qur’an, 2:190)

In another verse, God commands justice and warns Muslims against feeling rage toward enemies, so that their judgments are not impaired: “You who believe! 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. That is closer to heedfulness…” (Qur’an, 5:8) I don’t accept any kind of hatred between people, but even at those times when they are not strong enough to overcome their anger, they still are responsible to be just.

Protecting peace: When there is a peace treaty, both sides should adhere to the peace agreement meticulously, and commit not to attack to each other. Especially for Muslims, after making a peace agreement, according to the Qur’an one has to watch out to protect it and abide by it. This the way according to the Qu’ran. God says: “If they incline to peace, you too incline to it…” (Qur’an, 8:61) In the case of the Palestine-Israel conflict, when one side fires rockets at the other side, the other side is fully entitled (and obligated) to protect its citizens. If there is a peace agreement, in times of peace launching rockets from Gaza is a violation of the Qur’an. When Hamas fires rockets, it’s not firing rockets only at Israel, but at its own people as well; Israel retaliates and it becomes inevitable that civilians, including innocent children, are severely effected by this. The same goes for Israel.

Protection of civilians: There is no justification in the Qur’an for killing innocent people. God says that this is like killing all mankind (Qur’an, 5:32). It is a sin to target civilians or be reckless of their security during an attack. When Hamas launches rockets over Israel, there is no aim, no precise target, and thus these rockets fall sometimes on empty land but sometimes onto the homes of innocent Israeli civilians. It is a sin to take an innocent life, and it is also a sin to cause disorder, to cause people to panic. Another important matter is that Islam absolutely forbids suicide attacks. God says: “Do not kill yourselves.” (Qur’an, 4:29) Consequently, killing oneself and killing other people are both prohibited in Islam.

The right to live in the Holy Land: It is against any conscience and above all against the Qur’an to tell Jews to go somewhere else. Jews have been expelled from Spain, they have been slaughtered in Europe and there has been enormous intimidation against them in many places all over the world. So where do they have to go? These lands are places where their forefathers lived. The graves of their grandfathers are on these lands. And it is confirmed by the Qur’an that Bnei Israel will be living in the Holy Land till the end of the world. God says: “And thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land.’” (Qur’an, 17:104) and the Prophet Moses (pbuh) says “O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously…” (Qur’an 5: 21) Thus, it is against the Qur’an to tell Jews to leave these lands; any Muslim who does so is in contradiction of the very Word of God Himself.

Let us not forget the sons of Ishmael and the sons of Jacob, the descendants of the prophets, are fighting one another. Both sides are Abraham’s children and surely the land is spacious enough for all. There is no real reason that we can’t coexist together. Let’s live together as brothers; dine together, have conversations together; let us pray side by side, Jews in synagogues, and Muslims in mosques. Let us adopt a language of peace, a language of love. This is easy! And there is no other way.

About the Author: Sinem Tezyapar is an executive producer on Turkish Television. She is a political and religious commentator and a peace activist. She can be reached on Facebook, and Twitter.


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