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Who Are God’s Chosen People?

29 December, 2016
Q What did the Jews do to earn Allah Almighty's anger and damnation? Are they still the "chosen people of God?" Can Muslims or Arabs be classified as His chosen people due to Arabia being the birthplace of the true religion and Allah's final prophet? Thanks.


Asalamu Alaikum Muslimah,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

It is very important because of the current situation in the Middle East where Arabs and Israelis fight each other.

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Indeed, many people believe that Muslims and Jews cannot get along together at all, which is untrue. Muslims read in the noble Quran:

{Allah did aforetime take a Covenant from the Children of Israel, and appointed twelve Chieftains among them. And Allah said: “I am with you: if you (but) establish regular prayers, pay zakah [alms], believe in My Messengers, honor and assist them, and loan to Allah a beautiful loan, verily I will wipe out from you your evils, and admit you to Gardens with rivers flowing beneath; but if any of you, after this, resists faith, he has truly wandered from the path of righteousness.} (Al-Ma’idah 5:12)

In other words, Muslims believe that Allah Almighty sent messengers to His people throughout time, calling them to worship One God.

Indeed, these people who submitted to Allah’s Will can be considered the ones who followed the message which would later be revealed in its fullest to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him-PBUH).

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At a time when most people were consumed in the worship of idols, the Children of Israel were faithful to His message. Remember that the central tenet of Judaism is summed up in the Shema:

[Hear, O Israel! The LORD your God, the LORD is One! You shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.] (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

Allah promised them that if they abided by His words they would be delivered into the Promised Land and would live there in peace. So, it was that Prophet Moses (PBUH) led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, out of the hands of Pharaoh, and into the desert where they wandered for many years:

{And (remember) when We did deliver you from Pharaoh’s folk, who were afflicting you with dreadful torment, slaying your sons and sparing your women: That was a tremendous trial from your Lord.} (Al-Baqarah 2:49)

As soon as they left Egypt, they began to complain and wish they were back. It was not easy doing what Allah wanted. They said to Moses:

{They said: O Moses! We will never enter (the land) while they are in it. So, go thou and thy Lord and fight! We will sit here.} (Al-Ma’idah 5:24)

When they had entered Palestine, many of the Jews were faithful to what Allah wanted. They listened to the word of His prophets and lived as His people there.

What is most important to remember, though, is that the land was a gift to them. It was not theirs by right, but had been given to them by Allah as long as they obeyed Him. For explaining this to a non-Muslim, the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible could be used.

Adam and Eve were promised to live in the Garden of Eden as long as they kept just one condition: they must not eat of the fruit of a certain tree. When they did eat this fruit, they were expelled from the Garden. The land that had been given to them was taken away from them.

In the same way, Allah does not go back on His word. It is precisely because He is true to His word that the Jews were expelled from the land. Because of their disobedience, they were, first of all, taken into captivity by the Babylonians.

Later, it was the Romans who were used by Allah to realize His plan. The Jews, who were expelled by the Romans, were never to return to the land of Palestine.

For a time in history, then, the Children of Israel were Allah’s chosen people. They were not chosen, though, because of race or ethnic origin. They were chosen for their faithfulness to Islam. In the Quran, we read:

{O Mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and We made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is the greatest of you in piety. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.} (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

It is too easy to point fingers at others. It is easy to say that the Jews lost Allah’s favor and lost their right to the land, whereas Muslims gained it. Muslims deserve Allah’s favor as long as they, too, remain faithful to Islam. We should never forget this. As Allah says:

{My covenant includes not wrongdoers.} (Al-Baqarah 2:124)

We do not read anywhere that Arabs are Allah’s favored people. Let us never forget that Islam is far beyond the Arab world, which only makes up 18% of all the global Muslim community. Islam is for all people. It is a mercy to all humanity, not just to Arabs.

The message of Islam is open to everyone if only they turn and submit to His Will. The birth place of prophets has nothing to do with it. In fact, most of our prophets came from what we now know as Palestine. Only a few of them came from the Arabian Peninsula.

And Muslims must honor Jews and Christians as People of the Book. They received God’s message. But, unfortunately, over time the message they received became distorted and was lost. We read:

{So, woe to those who wrote the Book with their own hands, and then say: “This is from Allah,” that they may sell it for a little price […]} (Al-Baqarah 2:79)

The situation of the Children of Israel in the Promised Land shows us that Allah is faithful to His promises. It shows us that His mercy is for all people. And it tells us to follow His will carefully, lest we too should become of the losers in the sight of Allah.

For this reason, Muslims must never become complacent. They should act as an example for everyone else and they should strive every day to earn the blessings which Allah has showered upon them.

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

Walaikum Asalam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

What Is The Destiny of non-Muslims?

Scriptures of People of the Book

Jews, Christians, & Muslims: Cousins in Religions?

Was the Prophet Unjust to the Jews?- Part 1

Was the Prophet Unjust to the Jews?- Part 2