The Divergence of Judaism and Islam. Interdependence, Modernity, and Political Turmoil

(Joyce) #1

234 · Rachel Maissy-Noy

the degree that one could no longer point out the link between them and
the groups that left Egypt about four hundred years later. In this context
it is important to mention the theory that the biblical phrase that indicates
the change of Abraham’s grandson’s name from Jacob to Israel is an ex-
ample of the forgery of the holy scriptures. The researcher Sa ̔d Salman
̔Abdalla, for example, maintains that Jacob and Israel are two separate
figures, and each one appears independently in the Quran. His conclu-
sion is: “The story that Jacob is Israel is nothing more than perverse pro-
paganda of the authors of the Torah who wanted to relate themselves
to Abraham and his grandson in order to find for themselves a social
The third group is the Musawiyun (the people of Moses). This group is
presented as a heterogeneous union between the Hyksos and the slaves
who had joined Moses, who was Egyptian himself, when he escaped
from Egypt after the breach of confidence between him and Pharaoh.
The researcher Fu ̓ad ̔Ali Ḥasanen, who devoted special attention to this
stage in Jewish history, claims that the Musawiyun were mostly of Egyp-
tian origin, their language was Egyptian, and they even received the Ten
Commandments in hieroglyphs.^12
The fourth group is the Jews connected to Judah, Jacob’s fourth son.
According to Ṣaber ̔Abd al-Rahman Ṭu ̔ayma, Zubayda Muḥammad
̔Aṭa, Kamal Aḥmad ̔Awn, and others, this group dispersed in the Di-
aspora after the defeat of the Bar Kochba revolt and assimilated among
the Gentiles. During the pre-Islamic period, the survivors of this group
were joined by Arab tribes from the Arabian Peninsula and Berber tribes
from North Africa. All those were joined by inhabitants of the above-
mentioned kingdoms of Ḥimyar, Ḥidyab, and Khazaria, who had con-
verted to Judaism. Moreover, it is emphasized that they had accepted
Judaism as a religion, without identifying with it as a nation. This claim
is reinforced by the fact that none of those tribes had any aspirations
to unite with the Jews in the land of Israel. Time and time again, most
researchers cite racial mingling as an antithesis to the claim of purity
of the Jewish race. But alongside the efforts to disconnect the Hebrews
from the Jews, we may note a dilemma resulting from the approach of
Zubayda ̔Aṭa and Ḥasan Khalifa regarding the origin of the Hebrews.
Those two researchers include Hebrews within the Canaanite nation both
as to their geographical origin and their cultural affinity. Zubayda ̔Aṭa,

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