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The Children of Israel - Who are they?
« on: February 06, 2012, 01:39:54 AM »
Salam brother,

* My inherited concept about Bani Israel is that they are descendants of Yaqoob A.S, but i didnt find the proof 4m quran to approve or disapprove , also absurd fable is attributed in bible as Yaqoob A.S fighting Allah. (nauzbillah)

*i think as per my search that Israel was a man who forbidden some food for himself before torah was given to Musa A.S. Bani Israel are descendants of Israel as clear from the name itself. (3:93) At the time of Musa AS they were enslaved under firaun in Egypt (7:105) They were also present at the time of Dawood A.S & Isa A.S (5:78)

*IIPCTV Mohammad skeikh advocates on the basis of 17:3 that they are descendants of people carried on Noah's Ark. I find it difficult to swallow because quran mentions them separately in (19:58).

Plz shed light on this.

May Allah guide us all...

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: The Children of Israel - Who are they?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2012, 01:47:30 AM »
Salamun Alaikum

Your have referred to Genesis 32:24-32

Genesis 32:22-32
 
Jacob Wrestles with God
 
"That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome." Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon"   [1]


From a Quran's perspective, this would indeed be an incredulous narrative. Such a concept of God who would need to wrestle with a mortal for whatever reason would be incomprehensible from a Quran's perspective. It would be beyond His majesty who is understood as Almighty, All-Majestic, All powerful and Self Sufficient (5:17, 14-8).

However, even if this incident never took place, this does not conclude that Prophet Jacob was not also known as 'Israel' at some time in his life. This may be the case and the somewhat fantastic Biblical narrative has simply provided traditional explanations of how he got his name.

So the above narrative is inconclusive in terms of providing ample evidence to refute the synonymy between Prophet Jacob and Israel.


ROOTS OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL

017.002-3
"And We gave Moses the Scripture, and We appointed it a guidance for the Children of Israel, saying: Choose no guardian beside Me, offsprings (of one) who We carried (in the Ark) along with Noah. Indeed! he was a grateful slave"

The above verse confirms that the Children of Israel originated from the offspring of those carried with Prophet Noah. However, this reference does not in any way exclude Prophet Noah's direct offspring that would also be included in this address. Furthermore, this verse does not inform the reader whether the "Children of Israel' as an address, is a reference to an immediate offspring or an offspring later in the descendancy tree.

Therefore, the Children of Israel may still originate from Prophet Jacob who was also a descendant of those carried on Prophet Noah's ark, as was Prophet Abraham.


SEPARATE MENTION OF PROPHET ABRAHAM AND ISRAEL

019.058
"Those were some of the prophets on whom God did bestow His Grace, of the offspring of Adam, and of those who We carried (in the Ark) with Noah, and of the offspring of Abraham and Israel and of (those) whom We guided and chose. Whenever the verses of the Most Gracious were rehearsed / recited to them, they would fall down prostrating and weeping"
 

Of course, no one would argue from the above verse 19:58, that simply because Prophet Abraham and Israel are mentioned separately, that this concludes that they are not from the posterity of Adam.

After all, the posterity of Adam has been mentioned earlier in the verse and the posterity of Prophet Abraham and Israel has been mentioned separately.

Similarly, the mention of the posterity of those carried with Prophet Noah does not rule out that both Abraham and Israel were from the descendants of those that were carried with Noah.  This may very well be the case. Furthermore, just because the Quran mentions the "dhuriyyati' (offspring) of Prophet Abraham separately from that of Israel (19:58), does not mean that Prophet Abraham and Israel are not related. 

In conclusion, both Prophet Abraham and Israel could well be from the progeny of those that were carried on Noah's ark in the same way they have been mentioned as being part of the progeny of Adam. So this would not stand in conflict with verses 17:2-3 or 6:84.


SO WHO ARE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL (BANI ISRAEL)?


The "Bani Israel' are a specific set of people that the Quran recognises and addresses at the time of Prophet Muhammad. They are distinguished from the generic address 'Bani Adam' when the Quran deems it appropriate to address all mankind together. The 'Bani Israel' certainly existed before the time of Prophet Moses and had at times made prohibitions on themselves before the Torah was revealed to them (3:93).

In verse 2:60, Prophet Moses is noted to strike out 12 springs so that each tribe knew its watering place. Therefore, it is clear that there were 12 tribes / groups (implied by 'alima kullu unasin mashrabahum - all the people knew their drinking places) which lends some support to the idea that these 12 tribes originated from the 12 sons of a previous patriarch such as Prophet Jacob.  Also, the fact that Prophet Jacob had 12 sons is further implied by Surah Yusuf (Chapter 12 - the number of stars (11) prostrating representing Joseph's brothers 12:4, 12:100).

The Children of Israel were clearly present at the time of the Prophet, but they most likely represented a tribe from within the original tribes of the Children of Israel. The fact that they are often referred to as 'yahud' (9:30) seems to strengthen this argument.

Therefore, "Yehudi' would be a specific address to a particular people of a tribe and the 'Bani Israel', a reminder of the progeny from which they originated.

From the above verses and analysis, Prophet Jacob may still be a reference to Israel.


I hope this helps, InshAllah.

Your brother in faith,
Joseph.


REFERENCES
 
[1] The Bible - New International Version (NIV)
Highlights in black bold are my own insertions. They have no bearing on the original text other than they emphasise relevance to the topic at hand. These are merely illustrations and have solely been utilised for educational and explanatory purposes.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

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Re: The Children of Israel - Who are they?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2012, 05:26:50 AM »
Wassalam wa Rahmatullah Brother,

Jazakallah for ur beneficial inputs.

As per what i understand so far is that bani Israel are the generations of which were carried on noahs ark and were the direct addressee of Musa AS and Isa AS and also Isa AS gave glad tidings of Muhammad (Ahmad) AS to them....

Although one thing still disturbing me is that Allah already called descendants of yaqoob AS as 'Aal e Yaqoob ' in 12:6, so i still feel tough to conclude Yaqoob A.S as Israel. Also bro in 3:93 it is mentioned that a particular man named Israel(not bani Israel ) forbidden for himself some food before torah was given to musa A.S. This ayah attributes negative aspect to Israel, therefore i try to abstain counting Israel and Yaqoob A.S as same.

Well in the end it doesn't bring any conflict in understanding of other verses of Quran so far...

May Allah guides us to the truest...

Take care brother

Best Regards

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: The Children of Israel - Who are they?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2012, 05:29:12 AM »
Salamun Alaikum.

Thank you for your response. You will have noted from my humble perspective that I only used 'may' to suggest that the two individuals may be the same.

"Therefore, the Children of Israel may still originate..."

"...which lends some support to the idea that these 12 tribes originated from the 12 sons of a previous patriarch such as Prophet Jacob." 

"From the above verses and analysis, Prophet Jacob may still be a reference to Israel"


Both you and I can only remain as consistent with the Quran as we can and take from it the best meaning (39:18) Insha'Allah. We need to be very careful not to commit to something which the Quran gives us no warrant to.  Hence, I was very particular not to conclude and left the matter open. I think the verses are inconclusive to be perfectly candid.

With regards 3:93, you are absolutely correct that a single person is suggested. 'Israel' has been used as a proper noun and it would indicate a single person also given the usage of the 3rd person singular pronoun 'hi' in 'nafisHI'. If we run with the Prophet Jacob = Israel interpretation then this would imply Prophet Jacob.

I personally wouldn't necessarily ascribe too much 'negativity' with regards what Israel made unlawful. After all, it is a condition that is captured by the Quran. No elaboration or the reasons as to why are advanced. There may be very good reasons for it.

However, once again this remains inconclusive. It can still be argued that 'Israel' is separate from Prophet Jacob. Hence my reluctance to commit. I am sure you will appreciate my non-committal given the verses Insha'Allah.

Regards,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell