Islam and Judaism
By Hajj Amin al-Husseini
Danish translation: Islam og jødedom
Source: The Middle East Forum, Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2015
Published on October 27, 2015

"The following text has been translated from the original pamphlet: Veliki Muftija Jeruzalemski Hadži Emin el-Huseini, Islam I Židovstvo (Zagreb: Hrvatski tiskarski zavod, 1943). I wish to thank the staff of the National and University Library in Zagreb for tracing the booklet. The Qur'anic verses and hadith are translated as they appear in the original text." - Boris Havel, translator and annotator.

The text was originally a part of Boris Havel: "Hajj Amin Husseini's Anti-Semitic Legacy", which also contains an assesment of the pamphlet.

Many books about the Waffen-SS division in Bosnia display photographs of its soldiers reading a booklet titled Islam und Judentum—most certainly the German version of the mufti's Croatian or Bosnian pamphlet Islam i židovstvo (Islam and Judaism). The booklet, which is translated in the following, offers a stark illustration of the lengths taken by the mufti to demonize Jews and Judaism and clearly was produced for propaganda and incitement purposes.

For us Muslims, it is unworthy to utter the word Islam in the same breath with Judaism since Islam stands high over its perfidious adversary. Therefore, it would be wrong to carry out comparison of those two generally different counterpoints.

Unfortunately, it is insufficiently known that animosity between Islam and Judaism is not of a recent date. It reaches long back in history, all the way to the time of the Prophet Muhammad. This short historical overview will demonstrate the importance and perfidiousness of Jewry and its animosity toward the founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad.

Jews are known in history only as a subjugated people. Their vulgar [1] nature and insufferable stance toward the nations that offered them hospitality, and toward their neighboring nations, are the reason that those same nations had to resort to [certain] measures in order to suppress a Jew's efforts to obtain his [2] desire by force.

The history of antiquity shows us that the pharaohs were already forced to use all means against Jewish usury and Jewish immorality. Ancient Egyptians finally expelled the Jews from their land. Led by Moses, the Jews then arrived in the Sinai desert.

Arab theologian Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari [839-923 C.E.] narrates that the Jews even wanted to kill their leader and savior Moses when he came back from Mount Sinai. Because of that, God punished them, and they had to meander in the wilderness for forty years. It should have brought them to their senses, and the new generation should have been cleansed from the low esteem of their fathers.

Following that, the Jews spread like locust all over the Arab peninsula. They came to Mecca, to Medina, to Iraq, and to Palestine, which is the land of milk and honey. The group of the Jews that came to Syria and Palestine was now under Roman rule. The Romans, however, soon discerned the peril that threatened the land from the Jews, and so they introduced harsh measures against them. Besides that, a serious, contagious illness of plague erupted, which was by common opinion brought into the land by Jews. When even medical doctors stated that the Jews were indeed the source of the infection—and their opinion was obviously correct—there arose among the people such upheaval against the Jews that many Jews were killed. In addition, that event is the reason why the Jews have been called "microbes" in Arabia to this very day.

The Arabs have a particular understanding for introducing forceful measures against Jews in Germany and for their expulsion from the country. After the [First] World War, England and America enabled the Jews to settle in Palestine and to establish a Jewish state there. Jewish excrement from all countries assembled there, rascally striving to seize the land from Arabs. And indeed, they succeeded in buying land from the poorest of the poor and from unscrupulous landlords. By doing so, they took poor widows' bread and stole food from children to fatten themselves. [3] When the Arabs opposed the Jewish settlement, the Jews did not shun bloody murders. So they robbed many families of their livelihood and threw the families into misery and troubles. (God will punish them for those disgraceful deeds).

The Jewish struggle against Arabs is nothing new for us, except that as time passed, the location of the battlefield changed. Jews hate Muhammad and Islam, and they hate any man who wishes to advance the prosperity of his people and to fight against Jewish lust for possessions and Jewish corruption.

Struggle between Jews and Islam began when Muhammad fled Mecca to Medina where he created the base for the development of Islam. At that time, Jews were merchants, already permeated with guile, and they understood that Muhammad's influence, in both the spiritual and business spheres, could turn into a danger for them. Thus they were possessed by a deep hatred toward Islam; hatred that intensified as Islam was growing more solid and powerful. The Jews breached the agreement they had concluded with Muhammad in Khaibar, of which we shall speak later. Moreover, their rage grew immensely when the Qur'an revealed the deepest inclinations of their soul, their heartlessness, and unscrupulousness by which their ancestors had been commonly known. At that time, the Jewish methods were already the same as they are today. Their weapon has been, as always, slander and quarrel, and so they attempted to humiliate Muhammad in the eyes of his followers. They claimed that he was a deceiver, an enchanter, and a liar. When they did not succeed in this, they attempted to undermine Muhammad's honor by spreading a rumor that his wife Aisha committed adultery. The purpose of spreading such a rumor was to sow doubt in the hearts of Muhammad's followers.

When that failed, they tried to show Muhammad's teaching in a bad light. With that purpose, several Jews converted to Islam; only a few days later, they returned to the Jewish faith. When asked why they changed their mind so suddenly, they replied that they were very willing to settle in Islam but found that all of it is nothing but a lie. The following Qur'anic verse alludes to that:

Many of those knowledgeable in the Scriptures attempt to somehow render you infidels again by converting to our religion. It was, though, nothing but their souls' envy, when they comprehended truth. [4]

When the Jews understood that they would not reach their goal by the means used until then, they started to ask Muhammad various meaningless and unsolvable questions. Thus, they wanted to convince others that Muhammad was poor in knowledge and wisdom. However, that method achieved no success. As they were thus persuaded that Islam was deeply rooted in the hearts of the Muslims, they commenced with the attempts to destroy the Muslims. Pursuant to that goal, they paid some non-Muslim tribes to fight against Muhammad. The almighty God, however, wanted it differently. With iron fist, Muhammad defeated the rebellious tribes and conquered their city. The Jews could not bear such a defeat, and so they decided to destroy Muhammad in every way. They hired men to murder him.

The Medina Jews lived in the city district of Banu Nadir. When Muhammad came to Medina, he concluded a contract with them. One day he set out to that city district, accompanied by only ten companions, to talk to the Jews and to try to convert them to Islam. Muhammad explained the principles of Islam to the Jews, and they seemed very interested and open-minded. Yet as Muhammad was talking in a friendly way with some of the Jews, another group prepared an attempt on his life. They persuaded a man to throw a piece of rock on Muhammad's head. Surely Muhammad would have been killed were it not for God, who warned him. An inner voice advised him to leave that place, and so the treacherous Jews could not carry out their design. Consequently Muhammad sent a companion to deliver his message to the Jews to leave the city within ten days. They had breached the contract they concluded with him by trying to take his life. Any Jew found in the city after those ten days would be punished by death.

However, some of the Jews, who outwardly accepted Islam but in their innermost remained Jewish, persuaded other Jews not to leave the city. When the ten days passed, Muhammad was forced to expel the Jews from the city by armed force. Part of the Jews fled to Khaibar and part to Syria.

The Jews who fled to Khaibar, however, would not concede defeat and decided to avenge themselves on Muhammad. For that purpose, they turned to other Khaibar Jews and to the Jews of Taima and of Wadi Qura. Together they plotted a conspiracy: With large sums of money, they agitated non-Muslim Arab tribes to attack Medina. When Muhammad discovered their plan he quickly armed his men and set out toward the plotters' base in Khaibar. Muhammad's companions captured Khaibar and expelled most Jews from the site. With the remaining Jews, Muhammad concluded a contract by which peace was guaranteed.

Only after that devastating defeat [of the Jews] could an Islamic Empire peacefully develop. But when one takes into account the Jewish significance, it was not to be wondered that Jews, in spite of the agreements made, did not abandon their plans and continued to try to destroy Muhammad by all available means. They invited him to a feast, and he accepted the invitation suspecting no evil. In front of him was placed a roasted lamb prepared by the Jewess Zainab, wife of Sallam ibn Mishkam. [5] The [topic of] conversation around the table was the contract and a peaceful life in mutual agreement in which they now lived. Muhammad had not the slightest suspicion about treason. The Prophet and his faithful companion Bashr ibn Bara each took a piece of lamb meat. Muhammad, however, did not swallow his bit because its taste made him suspicious.

"The bone tells me that the lamb was poisoned," he said and called the Jewess Zainab to ask whether the meat had been poisoned. She answered, "You know I am highly esteemed by the Jews, and I acknowledge that I have poisoned the lamb. In so doing, I thought that if you were a king, I would only kill a king, but if you were indeed a prophet, you would know that the meat had been poisoned."

Muhammad's companion soon succumbed to the poison's effect, whereas Muhammad, despite spitting the poisonous bite, later suffered various health disorders, and the impact of the poison had always been evident. Some historians even believe that Muhammad's death was a consequence of that poisoning. In this matter, they refer to a hadith by Abu Huraira, whereby the Prophet said shortly before his death, "The effect of Khaibar's feast will manifest in me until I die!" [6]

We, the Muslims, must always bear in mind the Khaibar feast. If the Jews betrayed Muhammad in such a way, why wouldn't they treacherously persecute us today with the purpose of destroying us?!

Now, the Jews were persuaded that Muhammad was immune to their attacks. Therefore, they made a decision to spread discord among the Arab tribes, so as to break the power of Islam. When Muhammad went back to Medina, he succeeded in reconciling the Arab tribes of Kawsha and Karasha, [7] which had been fighting each other ceaselessly for 120 years. In doing so, he significantly strengthened Islam's position. Members of those two [formerly] hostile tribes became brethren in Islam, and peace entered the city. In this regard, the Jews tried to undermine the Islamic empire.

A revengeful old man by the name of Shas ibn Qais one day walked with his friends and came across an assembly of the reconciled tribes held in city square. He could not bear to see how [the members of] those two tribes, formerly at war with each other, now communicated nicely, and so devised a hellish plan. He sent to their assembly a friend of his, knowledgeable in war poems, and persuaded him to recite some of his old poems that were full of hatred. That Jew, an outstanding orator, came indeed to the assembly and started to recite old war poems of both tribes. By doing so, he managed to find in each tribe a man in whom old hatred flared up. Those two men started to fight each other and then urged their fellow-tribesmen to take up arms. An immense tragedy would have ensued were it not for Muhammad, who learned about the fight amongst brethren and hurried up to the battlefield.

"Oh my God, are the old times returning even while I am still amongst you!" he shouted. "When I gave you Islam as religion, the old fratricidal discord was buried, and you became brothers in your hearts. Do you wish to slip into infidelity again?"

Both tribes understood that disturbances among them were sown by the Jews alone. They threw away their weapons and asked God for forgiveness, and then they hugged each other and concluded a new brotherly alliance. Regarding Shas ibn Qais the Jew, it is said in the Qur'an,

Oh, you scribes, [8] why do you prevent the believer from walking on God's path when you are witnesses yourselves? But God is not blind for what you do. [9]

Regarding the tribes of Kawsha and Karasha, the Qur'an said,

Oh, you who believe, would you listen to those who received the Scripture, so that they would turn you into unbelievers again, after you have received faith! How can you be infidels when God's words were read to you, and his apostle is among you? He who holds unto God has already been introduced to a straight path. [10]

Notwithstanding their attempts, the Jews never succeeded in spreading division among Muhammad's followers and in dragging them back into infidelity. However, even after all these events should have taught them the futility of their efforts, they persistently continued to carry out their devilish plans. Once, they tried by deceit to even bring down Muhammad himself.

There was a quarrel between two Jewish tribes, and the side that was wrong held an assembly and sent its leaders to Muhammad. Those Jewish leaders said to Muhammad, "You know that we are influential people. If you support us in our dispute with our opponents, we will apply all our influence to make all Jews convert to Islam." Muhammad, of course, dismissed them. There is a verse in the Qur'an about this event:

Be careful to make decisions according to what God has revealed and not to consider their desires. Keep your guard toward them so that they would not even partially shift you from what God has revealed to you. If they rebel, know that God will surely punish them for a part of their sins. There are, indeed, many men who are evildoers. [11]

Another example of Jewish subversive action was recorded by Ibn Abbas. At the time when Muhammad went from Mecca to Medina, prayers were directed toward Jerusalem. However, it lasted only for seventeen months. Then Muhammad received God's revelation that the direction of prayers should be Mecca, and ever since, prayers are uttered with faces turned to Mecca. The Qur'an says about this:

We see how you turn your face toward heaven, and we would like to give it a direction which you will like: Turn your face toward the holy place of prayer; wherever you find yourselves, turn your face in that direction. Don't you see that even those who had received the Scripture know that it is the truth before their Lord? And God is never heedless of what they do. [12]

When the Jews found out about this Qur'anic verse, they were angered and asked Muhammad to return to the previous direction of prayer, which was Jerusalem. Were he to do so, they promised, all Jews would accept Islam. Muhammad, however, did not allow himself to be led astray by such a proposal and to transgress against God's command. We find the following in the Qur'an about that:

The direction to which you used to turn in prayer until now we have changed only for the purpose of distinguishing those who follow apostles from those who turn on their heel. That was surely difficult but not for those led by God. And God does not want to destroy your faith because God is full of goodness and compassionate to men. [13]

Here is another example how the Jews did not hesitate to stab Muhammad in the back at the time of his utmost distress. When Muhammad won the Battle of Badr, he sent a messenger on his own camel, because that camel was the fastest, to carry the news about his victory to Medina. The Jews, however, tried to bring confusion into the Muslims' ranks by spreading false rumors that Muhammad had been killed in the battle. As evidence, they pointed out that Muhammad's camel returned to the city with another rider.

When even that design failed, the Jews turned to Mecca to incite Muhammad's enemies against him. Moreover, they declared their readiness to support the Meccans in their fight against Muhammad with an army of theirs. When the pagans of Mecca asked the Jews—since the Jews had received the Holy Scripture even before Muhammad—whether or not Muhammad's religion was good, the Jews answered, "You know that we are men of letters. Believe us, therefore, when we tell you that your religion is much better." The following verse is in the Qur'an about this:

Don't you see those who received the Scriptures? They believe in Jibt and Taghut [superstition and idolatry], but they nevertheless say about pagans that their way is better than believers' way. Those are the ones whom God has cursed, and he who was cursed by God cannot be helped. [14]

As we see, that curse came true. Without a homeland, the Jews are scattered throughout the whole world, and nowhere do they find true help and support. Another Qur'anic verse reads:

You will certainly find out that the greatest animosity toward the believers foster the Jews and the pagans. [15]

That idea has been even better expressed by words of Muhammad: "It will never be possible for you to see a Muslim and a Jew together without secret intention in the [heart of the] Jew to destroy the Muslim." [16] Abu Huraira passed to us the following hadith:

Judgment Day will not come before the Muslims completely destroy the Jews, and when every tree with a Jew hidden behind will say to the Muslim, "There is a Jew behind me, kill him!" Only the gharqad tree, which is a small bush with many thorns growing around Jerusalem, will not participate in it because it is a Jewish tree! [Bukhari-Muslim VIII, p. 188].


[1] The word "prostačkoj" can also be translated as: obscene, dirty, or indecent.

[2] This word was written in singular in the original text and introduces the notion that the average Jew was such; by referring to "a Jew," the author refers to the whole people.

[3] The mufti fails to note that prominent members of his own family, including his father, were among the "unscrupulous landlords" selling plots of land to the Jews. See Efraim Karsh, Palestine Betrayed (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), pp. 15-19.

[4] Sura 2:109.-Ed.

[5] Ibn-Ishak, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasul Allah" by A. Guillaume (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2004; repr., 1967), p. 516; Tabari, The History of al-Tabari [Ta'rikh al-Rusul Wa-l-Muluk] (New York: State University of New York Press, 1987-97), vol. VIII, pp. 123-4.- Ed.

[6] Bukhari's Hadith, 4.394.-Ed.

[7] The author probably refers to the Arab tribes of Aws and Kharzaj though the transliteration (Kauša i Karaša) barely resembles those names.

[8] The word "pismenjaci" refers to the "People of the Book" (sljedbenici knjige in Čaušević-Pandža).

[9] Sura 3:99.-Ed.

[10] Sura 3:100-101.-Ed.

[11] Sura 5:41-5.-Ed.

[12] Sura 2:144-9.-Ed.

[13] Sura 2:142-3.-Ed.

[14] Sura 4:51-5.-Ed.

[15] Sura 5:82.-Ed.

[16] There is no Qur'anic verse with this message. The mufti perhaps refers to a non-canonical hadith or obscure tradition.

Boris Havel holds an M.A. in comparative religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ph.D. in international relations and national security from the University of Zagreb. He works at the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and teaches at the Biblical Institute, Zagreb, Croatia. His most recent book is An Overview of the History of Israel: From Abraham to the Modern State (Izdanja Antibarbarus, 2015).