Bani Israel are Jews?!

This always messed up my reading back in the day. I remember thinking, why is there so much information on the ‘Jews’. I used to read a famous Malay tafseer by Ahmad Sonhadji Mohamed which was nothing more than a mouthpiece for classical tafseer. It made me wonder why exactly the Quran, a universal guide for human beings, is to preoccupied with the Jews. Then I got the answer: It isn’t.

A good read for those who wish to see the other side of the story is Dr Kamal Omar’s ‘The Ultimate Truth’. Dr Omar denies the racial (even racist) nature of the Traditional interpretation and says that Bani Israil are those who survived the deluge during the time of Nuh. This is confirmed by the Quran:

Descendants of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah. Indeed, he was a grateful servant (17/3)

Although I disagree that the deluge is universal,  it is clear that Bani Israil were carried with Nuh. This does not show a racial trait but an ideological one. Nuh’s ark acted as a carrier for Israil ( a journey for God).

Also imagine, if Musa was preaching in Egypt and someone not Jewish came up to him and said ‘i want to be muslim’ would Musa tell him ‘sorry mate, this is only for my race’. Does this sound like islam to you? Me neither.

For those who insist that Bani Israil are Jews, sad to say, the Quran doesn’t agree with this. Bani Israil are a living community of anyone who wishes to undertake a journey to and for Allah.


About Farouk A. Peru
I am a human being in the world, blogging my existence. My thought systems may be found in my website:

12 Responses to Bani Israel are Jews?!

  1. Mushu says:

    I remember one of the first cracks which appeared in my faith in sunniism came from this issue. I asked some ‘scholars’ how we know Bani Israel refers to Jews. They responded by saying that Israel is another name for Yacub and his descendants were the Jews. When I asked how they came to know this, they referred me to Ibn Kathir’s tafsir. When I enquired how he came to know this….silence. No one could direct me to a verse that stated that Israel was another name for Yacub. It became clear to me that the scholars had been using the Jewish tradition as a means for understanding this quranic term. Clearly it was an evil Jewish Zionist conspiracy or something…

  2. Nadeem says:

    The renaming of Yacub to Israil is mentioned in the bible.

    • Mushu says:

      But not in quran. Which was my point.

  3. Nadeem says:

    If what you are saying is true.. then please tell us what does bani Israil means.

    • He just did, didn’t he?

      “For those who insist that Bani Israil are Jews, sad to say, the Quran doesn’t agree with this. Bani Israil are a living community of anyone who wishes to undertake a journey to and for Allah.”

      • Nadeem says:

        This is not a linguistic meaning of the text.. But an interpretation/understanding…

      • Well, we’ll leave that for you.

  4. Truthseeker says:

    Reading 17:2 and 17:3 in conjunction, it appears that bani Israel is a reference to all those humans who strive and stay steadfast in following God’s commandments.

    It is interesting to note that bani Israel is mentioned with Moses and then the offspring of bani Israel with Noah. Does this mean that Moses preceded Noah?

    Further I also dont believe that the term Yahood (plural of hadoo) means Jews. Hadoo is someone who thinks he or she is the truly guided one, thus showing off a superiority complex.


    • I’d like to add Maryam, the “daughter” of Imraan. 🙂

  5. Asfora says:

    I just noticed that in 61:14 bani israil were there at the time of Isa and it is mentioned that 1 ṭāifatun faāmanat and 1 ṭāifatun wakafarat

  6. Pingback: Top 10 most popular posts on Quranist Voices « Quranist Voices – Musings on Being Quranist

  7. zfaroo1 says:

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