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Religious Tolerance logo


An essay donated by Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Part 2 of 3:
Links among the main monotheistic faiths

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This topic is a continuation of the previous essay.

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                                                     Dr. Arshad Chaudhry, the eminent publisher of Al-Tanzil, asked me if I could tell him if there are references in the Torah, which inform the followers of the Torah, that earlier generations had similar Guidance. I previously responded to the first three Qur'anic statements. I do for the next three here.

For most of my life I have been studying the Qur’an, Ahadith 1 and other Islamic books, In the last ten years I have come to think of myself as both a Reform Rabbi and a Muslim Jew.

I am a Muslim Jew because I am faithful to my commitment to submit to the One God who liberated the Jewish People from oppression in the land of Egypt, and made a covenant with the People of Israel through Prophet Musa. 2 I am a Reform Jew because I belong to the People of Israel, and I am loyal to the teachings of the Torah, the Jewish community and its traditions as  interpreted by liberal non-orthodox rabbis.

Reform Judaism follows the path of classical  Islam which did not become as strict in ritual practice as Orthodox Judaism, or as strict in theology as Trinitarian Christianity. This is because Islam was meant to be an easy religion, as this Hadith testifies:

Narrated Abu Huraira, The Prophet said: "Religion is very easy, and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way.  So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded.  (Bukhari;Volume 1, Book 2, Number 38).

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4. ALLAH Granted Moses (pbuh), The Book:

[Quran – 2:53] "And remember when We granted Moses (while he was on Mount Sinai for forty nights) the Book and the Criterion to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and the knowledge, and power of judgment to put it into effect, that you might be guided to truth and abide by it."

The Book is the Torah (Taurat), and the Furqan/Criterion are the Jewish equivalents of the Ahadith 1 and the Sunna 3 of Prophet Muhammad; Oral Torah teachings such as rabbinic explanations and traditions.  

"Moses wrote down this Torah (Taurat) and gave it to the sons of Levi priests, who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord [Sakeena-Baqarah 248] and to all the elders of Israel.Then Moses commanded them:

'At the end of every seven years, in the year for canceling debts, during the pilgrimage Festival/Haj of Sukkot, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose [Jerusalem],  you shall read this Torah (Taurat) before them in their hearing. Assemble the people—men, women and children, and foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God, and follow carefully all the words of this Torah (Taurat)'." [Deuteronomy 31:9-12]

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5. Prophet Moses’s Book was Torah (Taurat):

[Quran – 5:44] "Truly, We caused the Torah to descend wherein is guidance and light. The Prophets give judgment with it, those who submitted to God, for those who became Jews and the rabbis and learned Jewish scholars who committed to memory the Book of God and they had been witnesses to it. So dread not humanity, but dread Me. And exchange not My signs for a little price. And whoever gives not judgment by what God caused to descend, those, they are the ones who are ungrateful."

A good example of a prophet using the Torah to warn that part/party of the children of Israel who were not following the Torah's commandments is Prophet Zechariah:

"The word of the LORD came again to Zechariah: "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless; the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other. But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint, and would not listen to this Torah, or to the words the LORD Almighty sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So a great wrath came from the LORD Almighty." [7:8-12]

And Prophet David chants in his Book [the Zabur, Psalms 119:72]

"Better is Torah from Your mouth, than thousands of gold and silver."

and also [Zabur Psalms 37:30-31]

"The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom: the Torah of his God is in his heart."

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6. ALLAH Gifted David (pbuh) with Psalms (Zabur):

[Quran – 17:55] "Your Lord knows best all beings that are in the heavens and on earth: We did bestow on some prophets more (and other) gifts than on others: and We gave to David (the gift of) the Psalms."

While there are more than a hundred references in the Qur'an to people and events in the Hebrew Bible, the only ayah 4 that could be said to be a very close parallel to a Biblical verse is:

'Before this We wrote in the Zabur, after the Message (given to Moses): "My servants the righteous, shall inherit the earth." [Qur'an Al-Anbiya:105]

This is very close to Psalm 37:29 which says:

"The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell on it for ever"

The songs and poems of Prophet David. recorded in his Book [Zabur/Psalms], were used in the Temple in Jerusalem for almost 1,000 years; and are still used in almost every Jewish service in all synagogues throughout the world. One of my favorite Psalms is:

"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for He founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive a blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their rescuer. [Psalm 24:1-5]

I also love these verses of Psalm 19: 8-10 which are chanted whenever we take the Torah scroll out of the ark:

"The Torah of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commandments of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The awe of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from a honeycomb."

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To all the Muslims who read my words, I say in the words in the Zabur of Prophet David:

"Behold how good and how pleasant is sitting together in unity." [Psalm 133:1]

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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Rabbi Allen S. Maller's web site is at: http://www.rabbimaller.com

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Notes:

  1. Ahadith refers to a collection sayings of the prophet Muhammad.
  2. In English: Moses, an important prophet in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam who is discussed extensively in the Hebrew Scriptures, Christian scriptures, and Qur'an.
  3. Sunna refers to accounts of Muhammad's activities.
  4. In the Qur'an, an Ayah is a single verse.


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Original posting: 2016-JAN-24
Latest update : 2016-JAN-24
Author: Rabbi Allen S. Maller

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