Discussion with Khidr Amari: Who Are Bani Israil?

Khidr: Now Farouk said that these calls are to humanity but this is incorrect to say these calls are to humanity as to say all of humanity at large. The call is to Bani Israel which narrows down to a particular tribe / nation within humanity. The call itself is not to humanity in general who seek a higher level of existence and emancipation from an oppressive system.

Who are Bani Israel?

Allah says that the Children of Israel were brought across the sea:

“And We brought the Children of Israel across the sea, and they came upon a people devoted to some of their idols. They said: “O Musa (Moses)! Make for us an ilah (a god) as they have alihah (gods).” He said: “Verily, you are a people who know not.” Sura 7/138

“And We took the Children of Israel across the sea, and Fir’aun (Pharaoh) with his hosts followed them in oppression and enmity, till when drowning overtook him, he said: “I believe that none has the right to be worshipped but He (Allah) in Whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am one of the Muslims.” Sura 10/90

Allah says the Children of Israel were delivered from their enemies and made a covenant on the right side of the Mount along with being provided Manna and Quails:

“O Children of Israel! We delivered you from your enemy, and We made a covenant with you on the right side of the Mount, and We sent down to you Al-Manna and quails” Sura 20/80

Farouk: This all depends on how one approaches Quran itself. Is the Quran explaining some sacred history of an ancient tribe? The scope of Quran does not seem to tell us this. Rather Quran calls itself ‘guidance to mankind’ (2/185 which is the first time word ‘Quran’ is mentioned). The experiences of bani israil in Quran were recorded for us to experience ourselves as human beings

Quran contains no superfluous information. All information must be practically applicable to produce the best of deeds (‘ahsanu ‘amal – in 67/2). It is these deeds which matter and not an atom of them be forgotten (99/7-8). Quran tells us that it guides towards the most establishable (hiya aqwam – 17/). Therefore the story of bani israil must be eternally and universally applicable.

However, if we assume Khidr’s historical lens, a few problems will arise:

1. The listeners of the calls to bani israil (2/40, 2/47, 2/122, 20/80) are not the people who experienced the situations recorded in Quran. For example, it was not they who enslaved by and later emancipated from firaun. From Khidr’s point of view, it is their descendants who would be the audience of those calls. Why would Allah discriminate between the racialised Bani Israil and other members of the human race? Other tribes and races have also been enslaved. Should they not receive guidance on how to emancipate themselves?

2. There are a few claimants to this title. Each of them say they are the legitimate tribes of the historical Israel. Who are we to believe? Furthermore, when we have identified this race, what would we expect them to do that non-Bani Israil members cannot?

3. Since we are going by history, we must also admit that that history can only be detailed through the literature of Traditional Islam. This being the case, why does the literature of Traditional Islam not record this discrimination? Muhammad is never recorded to deny the lessons to Bani Israil to the to his companions.

(last updated 1/5/14)

About Farouk A. Peru

I am a human being in the world, blogging my existence. My thought systems may be found in my website: www.farouk.name
This entry was posted in Biblical Quranism, Dialogues and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Discussion with Khidr Amari: Who Are Bani Israil?

  1. Khadija says:

    As Salaamu Alaikum,
    Even IF you take the account in the Quran to refer to the historical Jews who were enslaved in Egypt and then led to freedom by Moses, alayhi salaam, this still begs the question. Why is Allah telling US this story? As you write, Farouk, these people are not present at any recitation of the Quran that we have with us today. At most, one could say that some of their descendants might be present. So, clearly, these people are NOT being addressed here. These stories are being mentioned for the purpose of the spiritual purification of the immediate audience of the Quran, whether that was the companions of the Prophet, saw, or you and I reading it today. It is always important to realize that these issues mentioned in this context of ingratitude, arrogance, and reluctance to sacrifice in the way of Allah are issues that come up time and time again. These are moral lessons for us now, today, right at this very moment. Their design is for us to look into our own hearts and actions to see if we have any of these failings so we can correct them and therefore attain greater nearness to Allah. If we read and listen to these stories and think, THOSE people did THOSE things, and weren’t THEY bad to do that, tut, tut, well, then we have entirely missed the point, haven’t we? The point is our own spiritual growth, the opportunity to look at these stories and apply them to our own lives. These stories are give to us to serve as examples for US. They speak to YOU and ME now, today, at this very moment. Whether the people in these stories are the historical Jewish people who were led from slavery by Moses, alayhi salaam, begs the point. It is a side issue. Whether it is true or not is of little consequence in our task of internalizing and actualizing these ayaat in our own lives.

  2. Pingback: Rebutall to Farouk’s ‘Discussion with Khidr Amari: Who Are Bani Israil?’ Part 1 | Khidr Amari research

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