What the Qur'an Says About Israel

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This article expresses a pro-Islamic viewpoint.


According to the Bible, the Israelites (sometimes referred to as "The Twelve Tribes") were the descendants of the Biblical patriarch Jacob. They were divided into twelve tribes, each descended from one of twelve sons or grandsons of Jacob.

Islamic theology

God mentions how the Children of Israel rebelled and disobeyed the Command of Allah, and how they became extremely arrogant. They were people of indignity, disobedience and transgression as stated by God in the Holy Book:

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سُوۡرَةُ بنیٓ اسرآئیل / الإسرَاء

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

وَقَضَيۡنَآ إِلَىٰ بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ فِى ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ لَتُفۡسِدُنَّ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مَرَّتَيۡنِ وَلَتَعۡلُنَّ عُلُوًّ۬ا ڪَبِيرً۬ا (٤)

فَإِذَا جَآءَ وَعۡدُ أُولَٮٰهُمَا بَعَثۡنَا عَلَيۡڪُمۡ عِبَادً۬ا لَّنَآ أُوْلِى بَأۡسٍ۬ شَدِيدٍ۬ فَجَاسُواْ خِلَـٰلَ ٱلدِّيَارِ‌ۚ وَكَانَ وَعۡدً۬ا مَّفۡعُولاً۬ (٥)

ثُمَّ رَدَدۡنَا لَكُمُ ٱلۡڪَرَّةَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ وَأَمۡدَدۡنَـٰكُم بِأَمۡوَٲلٍ۬ وَبَنِينَ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ أَڪۡثَرَ نَفِيرًا (٦)

إِنۡ أَحۡسَنتُمۡ أَحۡسَنتُمۡ لِأَنفُسِكُمۡ‌ۖ وَإِنۡ أَسَأۡتُمۡ فَلَهَا‌ۚ فَإِذَا جَآءَ وَعۡدُ ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ لِيَسُـۥۤـُٔواْ وُجُوهَڪُمۡ وَلِيَدۡخُلُواْ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدَ ڪَمَا دَخَلُوهُ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ۬ وَلِيُتَبِّرُواْ مَا عَلَوۡاْ تَتۡبِيرًا (٧)

عَسَىٰ رَبُّكُمۡ أَن يَرۡحَمَكُمۡ‌ۚ وَإِنۡ عُدتُّمۡ عُدۡنَا‌ۘ وَجَعَلۡنَا جَهَنَّمَ لِلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ حَصِيرًا (٨)


In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

(4) And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the Scripture: Ye verily will work corruption in the earth twice, and ye will become great tyrants. (4)

(5) So when the time for the first of the two came, We roused against you slaves of Ours of great might who ravaged (your) country, and it was a threat performed. (5)

(6) Then we gave you once again your turn against them, and We aided you with wealth and children and made you more in soldiery. (6)

((7) Saying): If ye do good, ye do good for your own souls, and if ye do evil, it is for them (in like manner). So, when the time for the second (of the judgments) came (We roused against you others of Our slaves) to ravage you, and to enter the Temple even as they entered it the first time, and to lay waste all that they conquered with an utter wasting. (7)

(8) It may be that your Lord will have mercy on you, but if ye repeat (the crime) We shall repeat (the punishment), and We have appointed hell a dungeon for the disbelievers. (8)


In the Qur'an there are forty-three references to Banū Isrā the Islamic term for the Israelites, which means "Children of Israel".[1] There is a Surah (chapter) in the Qur'an titled Bani Israel (Arabic: بني اسرائيل, "The Children of Israel"), which is also known as Al-Isra (Arabic: سورة الإسراء, "The Night Journey").[2] This Surah was revealed in the year before Hijrah and takes its name from Surah 17:4. Also, starting from verse 40 in Surah Al-Baqara[3] (Arabic: سورة البقرة, "The Cow") is the story of Bani Israel. Finally, there is a Qur'an, verse in which Moses addresses his followers as "Muslims" (Arabic: مُّسۡلِمِينَ Muslimïn)[4] meaning, in English, "those who submit to God".[5]

In Surah Al-Araf Verses 158 and 159, there was also mention of the twelve tribes: (158) "And of Moses' folk there is a community who lead with truth and establish justice therewith." (159) "We divided them into twelve tribes, nations; and We inspired Moses, when his people asked him for water, saying: Smite with thy staff the rock! And there gushed forth therefrom twelve springs, so that each tribe knew their drinking-place. And we caused the white cloud to overshadow them and sent down for them the manna and the quails (saying): Eat of the good things wherewith we have provided you. They wronged Us not, but they were wont to wrong themselves."[6][7]

New Israel

The history of Bani Israel is full of favors from Allah and their constant ungratefulness to Him. Based on passages in the New Testament, some Christians believe that Christians are the "new Israel" that replaced the "Children of Israel" after the Jews rejected Jesus. This view is called Supersessionism. Many European settlers in the New World saw themselves as the heirs of those ancient tribes, hence the reason why they named their children and many towns they settled with names connected to the figures in the Bible.

On the other hand, other Christians believe that the Jews are still the original children of Israel, and that Christians are adopted children of God but are not the new Israel. This view is a part of dispensationalist theology.

Bani Israel

There is an ethnic-religious group in Pakistan and Afghanistan which refers to itself as the Bani Israel, House of Israel, or Beit Israel. In English, the group is called the Pashtuns. Some Pashtuns claim to be the patriarchal historical descendants of the "ten lost tribes" of the northern Kingdom of Israel which were taken into captivity by Assyria. Additionally, certain groups of Jews in other parts of South Asia are sometimes referred to as Benai Israel.

References and notes

  1. Yahud, Encyclopedia of Islam
  2. [1] Qur'an
  3. [2] Qur'an Al-Baqara
  4. [3]
  5. [4] Qur'an
  6. [5]
  7. Quran Explorer - [Sura : 7, Verse : 158 - 206]