Jews welcomed Muhammad as their Messiah

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The support of the Jews in the
Middle East was vital for the propagation and spread of the word of Muhammad.
Although the material for the early Islamic history is complicated, an unmis-
takable and striking theme can be consistently teased from the literature of this pe-
riod – whether Arabic, Armenian, Syriac, Greek or Hebrew – as well as from the
archaeological evidence: Muhammad and his followers went to great lengths to
assuage the fears of Jews and Christians as Muslim control expanded.
When Muhammad was cornered in Yathrib in southern Arabia in the 620s,
soliciting the help of the Jews had been one of his key strategies. This was a
town – and a region – that was steeped in Judaism and Jewish history. Barely a
century earlier, one fanatical Jewish ruler of Himyar had overseen the systematic
persecution of the Christian minority, which crystallised a broad pattern of al-
liances that still held firm: Persia had come in to support the Himyarites against
the alliance of Rome and Ethiopia. Muhammad was eager to conciliate with the
Jews of southern Arabia – starting with the elders of Yathrib.

Leading Jews in the town, later renamed Medina, pledged their support to Muhammad
in return for guarantees of mutual defence. These were laid out in a formal
document that stated that their own faith and their possessions would be re-
spected now and in the future by Muslims. It also set out a mutual understanding
between Judaism and Islam: followers of both religions pledged to defend each
other in the event that either was attacked by any third party; no harm would come
to Jews, and no help would be given to their enemies. Muslims and Jews would co-
operate with one another, extending ‘sincere advice and counsel’.¹ It helped then
that Muhammad’s revelations seemed not only conciliatory but familiar: there was
much in common with the Old Testament, for example, not least the veneration for
the prophets and for Abraham in particular, and there was obvious common
ground for those who repudiated Jesus’ status as the Messiah. It was not just that
Islam was not a threat to Judaism; there were elements that seemed to go hand in
glove with it.²

Word soon began to spread among Jewish communities that Muhammad and
his followers were allies. An extraordinary text written in North Africa in the late
630s records how news of the Arab advances was being welcomed by Jews in
Palestine because it meant a loosening of the Roman – and Christian – grip on
power in the region. There was heated speculation that what was going on might
be a fulfilment of ancient prophecies: ‘they were saying that the prophet had ap-
peared, coming with the Saracens, and that he was proclaiming the advent of the
anointed one, the Christ that was to come’.³ This, some Jews concluded, was the
coming of the Messiah – perfectly timed to show that Jesus Christ was a fraud and
that the last days of man had arrived. Not all were persuaded, however. As one
learned rabbi put it, Muhammad was a false prophet, ‘for the prophets do not
come armed with a sword’.

The fact that there are other texts that say that the Arabs were welcomed by Jews
as liberators from Roman rule provides important corroborating evidence about
positive local reactions to the rising profile of Islam. One text about this period
written a century later reports how an angel came to Rabbi Shim’on b. Yohai after
he became disturbed by the suffering inflicted in the wake of Heraclius’ recovery of
Jerusalem and the forced baptism and persecution of the Jews that followed. ‘How
do we know [the Muslims] are our salvation,’ he purportedly asked. ‘Do not be
afraid,’ the angel reassured him, for God is ‘bringing about the kingdom of [the
Arabs] only for the purpose of delivering you from that wicked [Rome]. In accor-
dance with His will, He shall raise up over them a prophet. And he will conquer the
land for them, and they shall come and restore it with grandeur.’ Muhammad was
seen as the means of fulfilling Jewish messianic hopes. These were lands that be-
longed to the descendants of Abraham – which meant solidarity between Arab and
Jew.

There were other, tactical reasons to co-operate with the advancing armies. At
Hebron, for instance, Jews offered to cut a deal with the Arab commanders: ‘grant
us security so that we would have a similar status among you’, and allow us ‘the
right to build a synagogue in front of the entrance to the cave of Machpelah’ where
Abraham was buried; in return, Jewish leaders stated, ‘we will show you where to
make a gateway’ in order to get past the city’s formidable defences.
Support from the local population was a crucial factor in the successes of the
Arabs in Palestine and Syria in the early 630s, as we have seen. Recent research on
the Greek, Syriac and Arabic sources has shown that, in the earliest accounts, the
arrival of the attacking armies was welcomed by the Jews. This was not surprising:
if we peel back the colourful later additions and venomous interpretation (such as
claims that the Muslims were guilty of ‘satanic hypocrisy’), we read that the military
commander who led the army to Jerusalem entered the Holy City in the humble
dress of a pilgrim, keen to worship alongside those whose religious views were
apparently seen as being if not compatible, then at least not entirely dissimilar.

Source: The Silk Roads: a New History of the World by Peter Frankopan

Frankopan

7 thoughts on “Jews welcomed Muhammad as their Messiah

  1. Mohammed the pedophile was a mix race subhuman swine and jews satanic rabbis wrote the Quoran, 200 years after Mohammed the jew swine die.

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    1. The same goes for the Bible, dear. Those, or rather to say the descendants of those who wrote the Torah, the Bible and the Quran rule the world today. All (Abrahamic) religion is cancer. Same shit, different scam. And I have serious doubts about what its said in Peter’s book, sorry. Actually not sorry at all.

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  2. This article is a bull$hit. Muhammad fought against Jews and approved mass murder of 800 of them – google banu qurayza.

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