Are Jews Entitled by God to Have Israel?

11 October, 2016
Q As salamu Alaikum, A Christian stated to me that according to the Bible, Jews are entitled by God to have Israel, because it was given to them from God exclusively. He said if we (Muslims) believe the bible holds truths, why do we fight this? He wants to know if and how the Bible and Quran differ in regard to Jews being promised Israel.I know the treatment of Palestinians is immortal and unjust but how would one answer him from the Islamic perspective with the support of the Quran and Hadith? I told him I would have to give him an answer later.

Answer

Salam Dear Questioner,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

In fact, the Bible and the Quran agree very much on this question you ask.

First of all, from the Christian perspective, it is the view of the mainstream Christian Churches that the Covenant made with the people of Israel was, in Christ, broadened to include all the baptized. In other words, the promise once made exclusively to the Jews was extended and opened out to include the inheritors of the Covenant.

This idea is to be found in many places in the New Testament, of which we quote but a few. Dealing with this very issue, we read in Romans 3:29:

[Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too.]

In the Acts of the Apostles, St Luke is keen to stress that the “followers of the Way” (that is, the newly formed early Christian community) have replaced the Jews as the inheritors of the Covenant:

[He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:19) and earlier on “Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.’] (Acts 10:34)

On this matter the Quran is in agreement with the New Testament, that the Covenant was once made with the Children of Israel, but because of their unfaithfulness to the Covenant He made with them, God took back His promise and gave it to others.

God does not change His mind. He is always faithful. In promising the followers of Abraham and Moses that they would inherit the land, He is true to His promise, for after Abraham and Moses come Jesus and Muhammad as inheritors of the Promise.

In other words, by being unfaithful to their part of the bargain, the Jews lost their right to inherit the land and their right was passed on to others more faithful to what God had promised. In fact, Muslims would be even more plain about this.

The original covenant was not made with the Children of Israel because they were Jews. It was made with the people who did God’s Will. In such a case, the promise never changes. The promise to inherit the land is given to those who continue to do God’s Will.

Christians and Muslims both agree that the Jews forfeited their right to the land because of their unfaithfulness to God’s Covenant. Muslims would assert that the true inheritors of the promise are now those who remain faithful.

In the Quran we read:

{My Covenant includeth not wrongdoers.} (Al- Baqarah, 2:124)

The verse in the Holy Quran that reads “Go into the holy land which Allah hath ordained for you,” (6:21) means that the promise made to the Jews remains for only as long as the people given this promise abide by Allah’s teaching as revealed to them by His Prophets. Once they show disobedience, the promise no longer exists. The promise can no more claim to be valid with those people, for Allah says:

“We have written in the Scripture, after the reminder: my righteous slaves will inherit the earth.” 21:105

The Promise made to the Jews of old, as the ones obedient to Allah’s commands, was taken from them and given to those who continue to be faithful to His commands today.

I hope this helps answer your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

About Idris Tawfiq
Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant.

He became a Muslim around 15 years ago.

For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom.

Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest.

He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness.

May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.