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Judaism's view of Muhammad

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Part of a series of articles on

Muhammad callig
Prophet of Islam
Muhammad


Life
Family tree · In Mecca · In Medina · Conquest of Mecca · The Farewell Sermon · Succession


Career
Diplomacy · Family · Wives · Military leadership


Succession
Farewell Pilgrimage · Ghadir Khumm · Pen and paper · Saqifah · General bay'ah


Interactions with
Slaves · Jews · Christians


Perspectives
Muslim (Poetic and Mawlid) · Medieval Christian · Historicity · Criticism · Depictions

Judaism has no special or particular view of Muhammad, with very few texts in Judaism directly referring to or taking note of Muhammad, and no canonical Jewish scripture making reference to him, contrary to Muslim arguments of prophecies allegedly foretelling Muhammad's advent therein. Most streams of the traditional Judaism take a strong stand against Muhammad's self-proclamation of receiving divine revelations from God, labelling him instead as a false prophet. One of the most important Jewish principles of faith is the belief that Moses was superior to all preceding and succeeding prophets, and that the Torah transmitted to Moses at Sinai remains uncorrupted due to Judaism's strict scribal laws.

Background

In the Tanakh, a prophet was seen as a person who was selected by, and spoke as a formal representative of God; the intention of the message being for the purpose of effecting a social change as conforming to God's desired standards initially specified in the Torah as dictated to Moses who is held to be the greatest prophet of all until the Messiah.

A prophet with a message had to confirm his status as a prophet by giving signs in the form of predictions of near events, which upon their occurrence would verify his status as a prophet, and without their occurrence would mandate his execution as a false prophet.

Thus, the belief in Muhammad as a prophet was contested to be incompatible with Judaism according to the majority of the Jews of his time and today. However, a prominent Yemenite Jewish theologian of the 12th century, Rabbi Nethanel ibn al-Fayyumi, wrote in his philosophical treatise Bustan al-Uqul ("Garden of Wisdom") that God sends prophets to establish religions for other nations, which don't have to conform to the precepts of the Jewish Torah. Thus, Rabbi Nethanel explicitly considered Muhammad a true prophet, who was sent from Heaven with a particular message that applies to the Arabs, but not to the Jews.

Rabbi Nethanel ibn al-Fayyumi's view of religion can be compared to the pluralistic approach of the contemporary Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and has gained some popularity in Liberal Modern Orthodox Jewish circles.

Quite a few medieval Rabbis in Islamic lands quote the Qur'an as a valuable source of theological, ethical or philosophical knowledge. However, it does not necessary mean that those Rabbis accepted Muhammad as a prophet, because they also refer from time to time to the works of Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus and other philosophers, whom they considered wise men, but clearly not prophets. Some prominent medieval Rabbis also embraced some elements of the Sufi mysticism of even Sufism as a whole. However, they believed that Sufi practices originated from the Biblical prophets, and not from Islam.

Judaism's worldview and Muhammad

Judaism's view of Prophets and Prophecy

Prophets were seen as having attained the highest degree of holiness, scholarship and closeness to God and set the standards for human perfection. The Talmud reports that there were more than a million prophets, but most of the prophets conveyed messages that were intended solely for their own generation and were not reported in Scripture.

A prophet is not necessarily a Jew with a prophetic message for Jews: the Talmud reports that there were prophets among the gentiles (most notably Balaam, whose story is told in Numbers 22, and Job, who is considered a non-Jew by most rabbinical opinions). The prophet Jonah was sent on a mission to speak to the gentiles of the city of Nineveh.

Relations between the Torah and the Qur'an

Muhammad's life

Muhammad and the Jews

Authoritative texts of Judaism that mention Muhammad

Maimonides' Mishneh Torah

See also

References

Some or all of this article is forked from Wikipedia. The original article was at Judaism's view of Muhammad. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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