Anti-Semitism: Children of Israel in the Quran

There are two kinds of 'Children of Israel' or Israelites) in general. The first kind of them are the Prophets (peace be upon them) and the true followers of the message of God, and those are blessed and successful.

The second kind are those who are from 'the Children of Israel' in terms of lineage or affiliation, but they are practically disbelievers; they rejected the truth, they killed their prophets, they concealed the scripts or altered them, and so forth. Regarding the first type of Israelites:

“Indeed God took the covenant from the Children of Israel, and We appointed twelve leaders among them.  And God said: “I am with you if you establish the prayer and offer the Zakat (compulsory charity) and believe in My Messengers; honor and assist them, and lend to God a good loan.  Verily, I will remit your sins and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise).  But if any of you after this, disbelieved, he has indeed gone astray from the Straight Path.” (Quran 5:12)

The favor of God towards the Israelites was with them as long as they kept to the Covenant which God made with them.  This fact is also stated by Jews themselves: “Because of our acceptance of Torah, Jews have a special status in the eyes of G-d, but we lose that special status when we abandon Torah.[1]

Thus we understand that the favor of God is not a racial aspect, nor is it binding till eternity.  Rather, His favor is upon those that fulfill the commandments.  An Israelite who does not keep to the commandments is not included in this favor.

God mentions in numerous places in the Quran that the Jews broke the covenant God made with them, through various transgressions they committed in their religion.  These transgressions, varied from falling in to error and worshipping others besides God, an act which broke the first of the Ten Commandments,[2] to changing and interpolating the Torah to their befitting[3].  Out of the Mercy of God, He continued to send prophets to them for their rectification.  Instead of following the Prophets which God sent to them, if they brought something which the Rabbis did not like, they would reject the Prophets and even kill them.  This certainly amounted to disbelief in God, and, due to this, the favor which God had for the Jews was lifted.  Thus God says in the Quran, regarding this second type of Israelites:

“Indignity is put over them (the Jews) wherever they may be, except when under a covenant (of protection) from God, and from men; they have drawn on themselves the Wrath of God, and destruction is put over them.  This is because they disbelieved in the Signs of God and killed the Prophets without right.  This is because they disobeyed (God) and used to transgress beyond bounds (in God's disobedience, crimes and sins).” (Quran 3:112)

The Bible too speaks this fact of the Jews killing the prophets of God in 1 Thessalonians 2:15, and repeated in Acts 7:52.  We also read in Romans 11:3 that the Prophet Elijah appealed against the Israelites:

“Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me.”

One of the most serious of these offenses was the rejection of Jesus (peace be upon him), a clear sign and miracle sent to the Jews.  It was through this Prophet that the favor of God towards the Jews as a nation was replaced by His Anger and Wrath.  The only Jews who remained “chosen” were those who followed Jesus (peace be upon him): the [early] Nazarene Christians[4]. However, the fact remains that the Christians do not actually follow the teachings of Jesus (peace be upon him), as He ordered his followers to keep to the commandment of the Jews,[5] the greatest of which is that God alone deserves worship.  It is the Christians’ worship of Jesus and ascribing divinity to him that is one of the reasons why they have strayed from the Covenant of God thus also not earned the favor of God.[6]

When we analyze the verses which reprimand the Jews in the Quran, we see, as mentioned previously, that they revolve around certain commandments which they broke, and certain punishments which were meted out to them.  This criticism is not limited to the Jews, but it is clearly extended in the Quran to all those who disobey the commandments of God throughout history until this day, even the Muslims.  God says about a Muslim who kills another Muslim intentionally:

“And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein, and the Wrath and the Curse of God are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him.” (Quran 4:93)

We see from this that these severe verses found in the Quran are addressed to all those who break the commandments of God, and not to specific races or peoples.  Likewise, the only people who are chosen and favored by God are the pious from every nation, and not a specific race or people.  Jews, Christians, and all others who were true to their [revealed] religion and original teachings will go to Paradise, as God himself says:

Verily!  Those who have believed (the Muslims) and those who were Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever correctly believed in God and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds, they shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Quran 2:62)

Those, however, who did not follow the commandments of their ‘religion’, and/or do not believe in Islam (submission to God) [until their death], are destined to Hell, only if the true Message has reached them with clarity.  This is because submission to God is the only ‘religion’ which is accepted by God.

And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows other than the way of the believers - We will give him what he has taken and drive him into Hell, and evil it is as a destination. (Quran 4:115)

Needless to say, Islam and thus the faithful Muslims are not at all anti-Semitic, and that the verses which do reprimand the Israelites or Jews are specific to certain transgressions they make in regards to their religion and aggression against others - this is no different from the Torah reprimanding the rebellious Israelites, and not in regard to their racial origin. In fact any criticism of the Israelites of that period, is a criticism of the hypocrites and the rebellious who claimed to be with the faithful of that period and a harsh warning for the faithful [i.e. Muslims] of today in adopting similar traits.


And Allah knows best.

See: Israel for the true monotheists


For Younger Readers

God teaches in the Quran, the holy book of Muslims that:

  • In the Quran, ,the faithful children of Israel are considered as Muslims or believers.

  • Quranic criticism of past nations is a lesson for the present day nations and believers - not to fall into similar wrongdoing or sin

  • All forms of racism (including against Jews) is wrong and a sin


[1] (

[2] Exodus 32, Quran 7:148

[3] Quran 2:75

[4] Edward Hare The principal doctrines of Christianity defended. 1837, p318 "The Nazarenes of ecclesiastical history adhered to the law of their fathers ; whereas when Tertullus accused Paul as "a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes," he accused him as one who despised the law, and " had gone about to the temple," Acts xxiv, 5, 6. "

[5] Matthew 5: 17 – 22

[6] Quran 9:30-33

Cited from: Come to Truth