Qur’an And Torah Prophets – OpEd


Muslims believe that all of Allah’s  prophets should be considered equal: “We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob and the (12) tribes, and that (Torah) given to Moses and (the Gospel given to) Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: we make no difference between one and another of them: and we bow (submit) to Allah.”(Qur’an 2:136)

But the Qur’an also says, “Of some messengers we have already told you the story; of others we have not; – and to Moses God spoke direct”(Qur’an 4:164). Prophet Moses, as far as we know, was different and unique because God spoke with him directly and not through an angle. 

Perhaps this was because when Musa (Moses) was sent by Allah he comes not primarily to warn or rebuke the Children of Israel (his own people) but he is sent “to Pharaoh” ( 20:24, 51:38, 73:15 and 79:17), “to Pharaoh and his chiefs” (al-mala) (7:103, 10:75, 11:97, 23:46, and 43:46) and “to Pharaoh and his people” (27:12). 

Musa is sent to Pharaoh to warn him of the destruction that will fall on Egypt if he doesn’t stop setting himself up as a God, and doesn’t let the Children of Israel go free. Musa comes to rebuke Pharaoh and to rescue the Children of Israel. Only when the Hebrews are free from Egyptian bondage do they receive the Torah from God, by the hand of Moses, without any mediation of an angel. 

In addition when God made a covenant with all of Bani Israel at Mount Sinai, He made them and all their future descendants, His ongoing partners. 

As God said to Moses “Speak thus to the house of Jacob, and tell this to the children of Israel… Now if you listen to me and keep my covenant, then you will be my special possession out of all the peoples, for the whole earth is mine. You will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation. These words you shall speak to the people of Israel” (this is the covenantal proposal)

“Moses came and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all these proposals as God had commanded him. All the people answered together, ‘All that God has proposed, we will do.’ (like “I do” at a wedding). Moses brought this answer back to the Lord.” (Exodus 19:5-8).

Why the Jews? Because God loved their ancestor Prophet Abraham: “The Lord cared for your ancestors, loving them and chose their descendants after them from all nations, as you are this day.” (Deuteronomy 10:15) and “I will fulfill my covenant between myself and you (Abraham) and your descendants after you, generation after generation, an (ongoing) everlasting covenant, to be your God, yours and your descendants after you.” (Genesis 17:7)”

Jews are not THE chosen people; they are a chosen people, the first of several monotheistic religions. A parent can have many children but only one is the firstborn. “These are the words of the Lord, Israel is my first-born son.” (Exodus 4:22) The Jewish people was the first community to enter into a sacred relationship with the one God but they are not the only ones to do so. In later centuries other communities were formed that Jews see as our younger siblings.

That process will continue until all nations have a sacred relationship to the one God of Israel. “Each nation will walk in the name of its God, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.” (Micah 4:5) Even in the Messianic Age the other nations will be free to faithfully follow their vision of God.

This first covenant was the only covenant for over a thousand years. Then it was followed by the new (belief central) covenant through Prophet Jesus and the middle way covenant of Prophet Muhammad: “All the (other) families of the earth shall be blessed through you (Jacob) and your descendants.” (Genesis 28:14) and “Are not Israelites like Ethiopians to me? Says the Lord. Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Crete and the Aramaeans from Kir?”  (Prophet Amos 9:7)

So while the Prophets all differ in their own personalities they provide equal opportunities to their believers to do what God wants them to do as the Qur’an clearly states: “Those who believe (Muslims), those who declare (their religions to be) Judaism, Christians and Sabaeans: whoever believes in God and the last day (of Judgment) and does good, righteous deeds, surely their reward is with their Lord, and they shall have no fear, nor will they grieve”. (Qur’an 2:62)

“And it is thus that We appointed [chose] you (Muslims) to be the community of the middle way, so that you might be witnesses to all mankind, and the Messenger might be a witness to you.” (Qur’an 2:143)  

“And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth? And Allah took (Prophet) Abraham as an intimate friend.” (4:125)

The Qur’an refers to Prophet Abraham as a community or a nation: “Abraham was a nation/community [Ummah]; dutiful to God, a monotheist [hanif], not one of the polytheists.” (16:120) If Prophet Abraham is an Ummah then fighting between the descendants of Prophets Ishmael and Isaac is a civil war and should always be avoided.

If all Arabs and Jews can live up to the ideal that ‘the descendants of Abraham’s sons should never make war against each other’ is the will of God; we will help fulfill the 2700 year old vision of Prophet Isaiah: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt, and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel  will join a three-party alliance with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing upon the heart. The LORD of Hosts will bless them saying, “Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance.”…(Isaiah 19:23-5)

Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Allen Maller retired in 2006 after 39 years as Rabbi of Temple Akiba in Culver City, Calif. He is the author of an introduction to Jewish mysticism. God. Sex and Kabbalah and editor of the Tikun series of High Holy Day prayerbooks.

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