“Both Judaism and Islam proceeded from the same fundamental premise, influenced by the same tribal culture and practically followed the same orthodox pattern“
Dr. Ashraf Ezzat
“Police arrest two after residents chase officers, hurl rocks, and burn trashcans to protest the removal of a sign that calls for the separation of men and women on a main street.”
… The first guess most people will conjure up on listening to this piece of news is that the report was probably talking about some Muslim extremists in Afghanistan or may be Somalia, not so far-fetched a guess, but to everybody’s astonishment the “Haaretz” report was talking about Jewish extremists and specifically in Tel Aviv, the very heart of the state of Israel.
Anyway, those who thought of Muslims as more fitting into this story of flagrant discrimination against women ought not feel totally disappointed for it actually doesn’t make much difference whether we were talking about Jews or Muslims as long as extremism is concerned. For both Judaism and Islam proceeded from the same fundamental premise, influenced by the same tribal culture and practically followed the same orthodox pattern.
So much, indeed, was Muhammad indebted to the Jews for a great portion of his teaching on this and other subjects that the Qur’an has been described as a compendium of Talmudic Judaism. (Blair, The Sources of Islam, p. 55).
A lot of westerners are not to be reproached for associating Muslims with violence, racism, intolerance and discrimination, after all, this kind of anti-Muslim propaganda is what they have been fed over the last decade and specifically following 9/11, and ironically by a Jewish-controlled mainstream media.
And if they haven’t been told different, how we expect them to know better .. or even refrain from subscribing to the impending and irreparable Israeli/American folly in Iran?
And since this is no mainstream hypnosis, we might as well hit you with part of the true story about the relation between Judaism and Islam.
In the wake of 9/11, an extremely important milestone in the history of Mossad, and as the mainstream media spotlights began to focus on Islam as the new global enemy, many in the US & Europe were made to think of Muslims as some aliens who landed on planet earth with their weapons of mass destruction, hate-mongering dogma and premeditated plans to annihilate the west.
And as the shrewd prelude of the ‘clash of civilizations’ was being played out, incessant questions about Islam that begged an answer, soon surfaced on almost everybody’s mind “why we never knew enough about Islam; how was it founded? What’s Islam all about and why is there so much extremism in this religion?
According to Islam online, Islam is the religious faith of Muslims, based on the words and religious system founded by the prophet Muhammad and taught by the Qur’an, the basic principle of which is absolute submission to a unique and personal god, Allah– notice the etymological correlation with Elohim– the designated word for the god of the Hebrews.
Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed at many times and places before, including through Abraham, Moses and Jesus, whom they consider prophets. They maintain that previous messages and revelations have been partially changed or tampered with over time, but consider the Qur’an to be both the unaltered and the final revelation of God. In other words, with the revelation of the Islamic verses “the pens have been lifted and the pages dried out”
Arabian variation on a Hebrew theme
Should anyone decide to study those reportedly unaltered and final words of god in Qur’an, he will be astounded by how much the holy book of Muslims is crammed with old stories from the Bible and specifically the Hebrew scriptures.
Now, don’t you get misled into assuming that I’m substantiating Judaism as the ultimate and genuine revelation from god that is truly worthy of following, a claim that could easily be challenged by tracing the Hebrew stories of genesis with the whole epic sequence of Adam & Eve to the Sumerian mythology and by tracing the monotheistic theme in Judaism to Akhenaten’s worship of Aten , or even by watching the Israelites’ backbone story of Exodus denied any entry to the ancient Egyptian texts , rather I’m only trying to underline and pin-point this ‘copy-and-paste’ relation between Judaism and early Islam- so much for the new religion “ Kopimism”
Within the confines of the Qur’an you will meet Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon and the rest of the Hebrew mythological patriarchs. Their stories are retold again but with variations that allowed the new prophet’s –unaltered- religion to somehow fit into the Abrahamic tales one way or another.
Reading the Qur’an will practically feel like recounting familiar stories from the Midrash and Talmud but with a Mohamedanian/Arabic flavor.
For example, the story of binding of Isaac, as awfully sadistic and inhuman as it is, is retold in the Qur’an in the same melodramatic scenario where Abraham bound his son, Isaac, before placing him on the altar, all set to sacrifice him as commanded by Yahweh, but in the Muslim version Isaac is conveniently replaced with Ishmael and Yahweh/Elohim with Allah.
Throughout the whole Qur’anic narrative we will encounter other countless examples of stories, Noah’s flood, slavery of the Jews in Egypt, the Exodus, the wandering in the wilderness, etc., copied from the Torah, with exactly the same historical anachronism and exaggeration, and pasted into the Qur’an.
But alongside the biblical stories we will also encounter, as we wade through the chapters of Qur’an, a tribal narrative very similar to that of the oral discourse of the Jewish rabbis and their formulation of god and the world around us as exactly found in the Talmud.
Historically speaking, Mohammed- who was illiterate and had worked as some sheep herder for many years of his teens- had the privilege of mingling with the elite of the Arabian society- a turning point in his life- only after he had been married to Khadija bint Khuwaylid – a business woman of intellect, culture and vast wealth and influence and who practically asked to marry him. And this is actually when the story of Islam commenced.
After his marriage, a new window into the multiculturalism in the Arab peninsula had suddenly been opened for the newly married shepherd, and of all the new experiences, contacts and new ideas he was introduced to, Mohammed was most intrigued by the Jews’ fascinating stories and their pride in relating to a long line of prophets that goes back to Abraham and his special pact with god.
Mohammed decided that the Jewish story had to be continued with new characters, locations and even with a whole new divinity. But as Muhammed was carving up the body of his new religion, little did he know that he was standing in the precarious shadow of Judaism.
There are abundant examples of the Qur’anic records which are reliant on Jewish sources that can be traced either to the Bible or to Talmudic records such as the Midrash, Mishnah, etc.
There were a host of Jewish communities settled in Medinah and other parts of the Hijaz- major cities in the Arab peninsula- from which Mohammed almost certainly obtained his knowledge through direct conversation and from listening to rabbis educated in Talmudic laws. And this is where and how Islam acquired its radical edge- next of course to being the product of a tribal culture.
In the Jewish Talmud- a word repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’anic verses- the rabbis put attitude before everything else, so they made sure that jews were superior to the gentiles in intellect, in morality and as a race. And likewise did Mohammed in the Qur’an and managed to keep this prejudice but with a new attitude as he featured the Arabs as god’s best of the nations ever – a new variation on the “chosen people” theme.
For it is important to know that Mohammed was acquainted with Jewish teachings not by reading the Bible, Talmud and Midrash, but through serious conversations with the Jews. (Rosenthal, Judaism and Islam, p. 8).
Now, with history, copying ancient tales and theology aside, I ask you to take a look at the so called extremists in both Saudi Arabia – the hub of ultra-conservative Muslims- and Israel- the world’s political asylum for ultra-conservative Jews, and see if you could tell the difference between the Haredim community and the wahhabis’.
Once again, you will be surprised by how similar ultra-conservative Jews and Muslims are in regard to their looks (the untrimmed beard, the 19th century outfit), their cuisine (Kosher and Halaal) and their interpretation of the ever-changing world around them through the rigid scriptures they recite and hold as the only and indisputable truth … and yes, and most of all, you will be bewildered by how similarly they both perceive and treat the woman pretty degradingly.
According to tribal culture and values- the shared roots of Judaism and Islam -women’s ‘misbehavior’ is not only a shame on the family but on the community, the village, the tribe, the neighborhood and the neighbors.
When it comes to women’s rights, both Haredim and Wahhabis or Salafis kind of speak the same language. It’s a racist and hate language actually. For them the woman is a constant reminder of the mythological first sin and how Eve (the woman) seduced Adam (the man) and therefore got him kicked out of God’s heavenly kingdom.
And again leaving the rituals, with all the wailing at the wall and the rotation around the Kabaa aside, both hard-line Muslims and Jews view the woman, according to their tribal and religious culture, as a man’s possession and a reflection of his honor and who should never be equated with him.
Both the wahhabis/salafis and the haredi believe that the woman should be segregated from men in public domain, should cover up and should confine to her home and to only go out in case of absolute necessity.
Bearing that deeply entrenched misogynistic concept in mind, we won’t find it peculiar to read about women, covered up from head to toes and banned from driving cars in Saudi Arabia, for it is a practice that could propagate prostitution and lead every unmarried woman to eventually lose her virginity and turn into some whore…
Nor would it be strange to hear of “Mehadrin” buses – those Israeli buses which are separated by gender and require women to sit at the back … or to even hear of the shocking story of Na’ama Margolis, an eight-year-old girl student at the Orot LeBanot School in Tel Aviv who has been subjected to harassment by Haredi men, in beit shemesh, who believed she dressed immodestly and therefore spat on her face and hurled stones and insults at her like “prutza” (whore) and “shiksa” (the Yiddish term for a non-Jewish woman).
What’s painfully ludicrous is that hard-line Muslims and Jews recognize each other as bitter enemies unaware, through their blatant ignorance of history, of the fact that they both claim authority from practically the same dogma.
“Absolutely, I would not hesitate to spit on any woman who is not dressed in a modest way as the Torah commands, yes, even if she was a 7-year-old girl. After all, I’m a sane man” commented one of the Beit Shemesh haredim community interviewed by Israel’s TV Channel 2’s Shai Gal- watch the whole shocking video with English subtitles here.
“We are trying to determine what kind of society we are – is this a democracy where the majority decides, or is there a minority that pushes everyone in one direction?” asked city councilor Rachel Azaria, who has led the fight against haredi extremism in Jerusalem for years.
Mrs. Azaria’s question didn’t pass unanswered, and while the wahhabis and the salafis are reaping the fruits of the Arab spring and gaining more strongholds in the region, that haredi from Beit Shemesh assured his interviewer form Israel channel 2 with a defiant tone that “whether you like it or not, all of Israel will be ultra-Orthodox. And nothing anyone can do about it.”
But I tend to disagree with that fanatic ultra-orthodox Jew or any of his Muslim counterparts for that matter. Indeed, there is something which all of us can do that will help us take the first exit out of this speedy and crazy way to Armageddon , we can draw the line, that thin and often overlooked one, between history and myth.
History, history! We fools, what do we know or care.
For more articles by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat visit his website
Ashraf Ezzat is an Egyptian born in Cairo and based in Alexandria. He graduated from the faculty of Medicine at Alexandria University.
Keen not to be entirely consumed by the medical profession, Dr. Ezzat invests a lot of his time in research and writing. History of the ancient Near East and of Ancient Egypt has long been an area of special interest to him.
In his writings, he approaches ancient history not as some tales from the remote times but as a causative factor in our existing life; and to him, it’s as relevant and vibrant as the current moment.
In his research and writings, Dr. Ezzat is always on a quest trying to find out why the ancient wisdom had been obstructed and ancient spirituality diminished whereas the Judeo-Christian teachings and faith took hold and prospered.
Dr. Ezzat has written extensively in Arabic tackling many issues and topics in the field of Egyptology and comparative religion. He is the author of Egypt knew no Pharaohs nor Israelites.
He writes regularly at many well-known online websites such as Dissident Voice and What Really Happened.
Dr. Ezzat is also an independent filmmaker. His debut film was back in 2011 The Annals of Egypt Revolution and in 2012 he made Tale of Osiris a short animation for children.
In 2013 his short The Pyramids: story of creation was screened at many international film festivals in Europe. And he is working now on his first documentary “Egypt knew no Pharaohs nor Israelites”.
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