Since its founding in 973 C.E., Al Azhar University (and its mosque) have represented a pinnacle of Islamic religious education, which evolved into the de facto Vatican of Sunni Islam. Unfortunately, during that same millennium, through the present era, Al Azhar and its leading clerics have represented and espoused the unreformed, unrepentant jihad bellicosity and infidel hatred at the core of mainstream, institutional Islam.
Al Azhar’s contemporary espousal of sacralized Islamic animosity has been directed, unsurprisingly, against Jews and Israel,dating back to the 20th century origins, and ultimate creation, of the modern Jewish State. Despite nearly universal willful blindness by media, academic, and policymaking elites, this critical issue of sacralized incitement of Muslim Jew-hatred by Islam’s Sunni Muslim Vatican, remains center stage.
Ahmad Al-Tayeb, as current Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, is the Sunni Muslim Papal equivalent. During an interview with Al-Tayeb, which recently aired on Channel 1, Egyptian TV, October 25, 2013, the Al-Azhar Grand Imam gave a brief explanation of the ongoing relevance of the Koranic verse 5:82 (sura, or chapter 5, verse 82) has been invoked—“successfully”—to inspire Muslim hatred of Jews since the advent of Islam:
A verse in the Koran explains the Muslims’ relations with the Jews and the polytheists. The second part of the verse describes the Muslims’ relations with the Christians, and the third part of the verse explains why the Christians are the closest and most friendly to the Muslims. This is an historical perspective, which has not changed to this day. See how we suffer today from global Zionism and Judaism, whereas our peaceful coexistence with the Christians has withstood the test of history. Since the inception of Islam 1,400 years ago, we have been suffering from Jewish and Zionist interference in Muslim affairs. This is a cause of great distress for the Muslims. The Koran said it and history has proven it: “You shall find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers to be the Jews and the polytheists.” This is the first part. The second part is: “You shall find the closest in love to the believers to be those who say: ‘We are Christians’.” The third part explains why the Christians are “the closest in love to the believers,” while the Jews and the polytheists are the exact opposite.
Grand Imam Al-Tayaeb’s assessment is upheld by a continuum of authoritative Koranic exegeses that span over a thousand years, till now. The classical Koranic commentaries on Koran 5:82 by al-Tabari (d. 923), Zamakashari (d. 1143), Baydawi (d. 1316), and Ibn Kathir demonstrate a uniformity of opinion regarding the animus of the Jews toward the Muslims, which is repeatedly linked to the curse of Koran 2:61 (i.e., for killing prophets, and transgressing against the will of Allah, repeated at verses including 2:90-91, 3:112, 3:181, and 4:155):
[Tabari]: In my (Tabari’s) opinion, (the Christians) are not like the Jews who always scheme in order to murder the emissaries and the prophets, and who oppose Allah in his positive and negative commandments, and who corrupt His scripture which He revealed in His books.
[Zamakshari]: Here Allah portrays the Jews as being unyielding and as acknowledging the truth only grudgingly. . . . On account of their vehement enmity against the believers, Allah places the Jews together with the idolaters; indeed, going even further, he shows them to be at the head, since they are mentioned before the idolaters. Allah does the same in his words: “And thou shalt find them (the Jews) the eagerest of men for life—even more so than the idolaters. Each of them wishes he could be given a life of a thousand years; but the grant of life would not save him from chastisement—for God sees well all that they do!” (sura 2:96/90). The Jews are surely like this, and even worse! From the Prophet (the following is related): “If a Muslim is alone with two Jews, they will try to kill him.”. . . The Jews focused their hostility to the Muslims in the most overt and intense manner . . .
[Baydawi]: [B]ecause of [the Jews’] intense obstinacy, multifaceted disbelief, and their addiction to following their whims, their adherence to the blind following of their tradition, their distancing themselves from the truth, and their unrelenting denial of, and hostility toward, the prophets . . . [the Christians] . . . easiness to deal with, the softness of their hearts, their dismissal of gain in this world, and their serious concern with learning and good deeds . . .their acceptance of the truth as soon as they understand it; or, because of their humility as opposed to the arrogance of the Jews.
[Ibn Kathir]: Allah said, “Verily you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers the Jews and those who commit Shirk [i.e., the polytheists, or idolaters].” This describes the Jews, since their disbelief is that of rebellion, defiance, opposing the truth, belittling other people, and degrading the scholars. This is why the Jews—may Allah’s continued curses descend on them until the Day of Resurrection—killed many of their Prophets and tried to kill the Messenger of Allah several times, as well as performing magic spells against him and poisoning him. They also incited their likes among the polytheists against the Prophet.
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