Muslims and Jews belong to the same religion
Muslims believe Muhammad and the Jewish prophets belonged to the same religion (deen), and although they were given different laws (shariahs). Muslims call it Islam (Submission) and Jews call it Universalism (Noahidism). Both agree that this religion began with Adam and was then confirmed with later prophets.
He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus – to establish the religion and not be divided therein.
Muslims and Jews worship the same God
Most of us associate Allah with Islam, but Allah is also one of the 72 names of God mentioned in the Torah (in Hebrew it is pronounced Ellah1). Jewish tradition records that God shared his most sacred name, YHVH, exclusively with Banu Yisrael who consider it too sacred to pronouce. The hadith say 99 of God’s names were revealed to the Muslims, but some of His names were hidden2 – explaining why the Quran never uses YHVH.
And do not dispute with the people of the Book [Jews and Christians], except in the fairest [manner], except for the ones of them who have done injustice; and say, “We believe in that which was revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is One, and to Him we submit”
Moses received the Torah and the Oral Law
According to the Quran Allah gave Moses the Scripture (Torah) on Mount (Sinai) along with the Oral Law, which it called the Criterion. This differntiates Islam from false religions like Karaitism and Catholicism which reject the divinity of the Oral Law.
And [recall] when We gave Moses the Scripture [Torah] and criterion [Oral Law] that perhaps you would be guided.
Rabbis are the guardians of truth
By stating that the Rabbis are the guardians of scripture the Quran is recognizing the Talmud as the Oral Law that God gave to Moses. We know this because it was rabbinic Judaism that preserved the Oral Law in the Talmud, heretical sects like the Sadducees did not have rabbis.
Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light. The prophets who submitted [to Allah] judged by it for the Jews, as did the rabbis and scholars by that with which they were entrusted of the Scripture of Allah, and they were witnesses thereto.
The Quran doesn’t replace the Torah
The Quran teaches that the word of God can never be altered, verifying the Jewish belief that the laws of the Torah stand for all time.
And the word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can alter His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing
The Quran never presented itself as a replacement to the Torah as the Jewish people were commanded to keep its laws forever. The Quran was sent as a guidance for mankind to live by and it was delivered to people capable of spreading the deen of Allah to the four corners of the earth.
And before it was the scripture of Moses to lead and as a mercy. And this is a confirming Book in an Arabic tongue to warn those who have wronged and as good tidings to the doers of good.
Some Jews misinterpret the Torah
There are several instances of the Quran accusing some Jews of misinterpreting the Torah. Today this has lead many Muslims to mistakenly believe that the text of the Torah is corrupt – despite the Quran never making such a claim.
Among the Jews are those who misinterpret [tahrif] words from their [proper] usages and say, “We hear and disobey” and “Hear but be not heard” and “Ra’ina,” twisting their tongues and defaming the religion.
Instead, we know Muhammad believed that the Torah Jews read today is the word of Allah because there are ahadith recording him proclaiming his belief in its contents, which he would never have stated if the text were corrupt. This position is confirmed by the statements of many of the Early Muslims. The Torah of the time of Muhammad is undoubtedly the same Torah read by Jews today as it has been preserved by communities around the world, all of whom pre-date Islam.
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar: A group of Jews came and invited Muhammad to Quff. So he visited them in their school. They said: ‘Abul Qasim, one of our men has committed fornication with a woman; so pronounce judgment upon them’. They placed a cushion for Muhammad and he sat on it and said: ‘Bring the Torah’. It was then brought. He then withdrew the cushion from beneath him and placed the Torah on it saying: ‘I believed in thee and in Him Who revealed thee’.
Ibn Abbas reported: Muhammad and Rafi b. Haritha, and Salam b. Mishkam and Malik b. al-Sayf and Rafi b. Huraymila and they [the Jews] said to them: O Muhammad, do you not allege that you follow the way of Abraham and his religion, and believe in what we have from the Torah and testify that it is the truth from Allah? The Prophet replied: Certainly, however you have innovated and broken the covenant contained therein and concealed what you were ordered to make clear to people, and I dissociate myself from your innovations.
Righteousness is believing in the Torah
If one rejects the divinity of Judaism and the choseness of its adherents, he is rebelling against Allah. For the Quran is explicit in stating that one cannot reject the Torah without rejecting the message of Muhammad.
Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book [Torah], and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are righteous.
Jews have a place in Jannah (Heaven)
Islam states that Jews who believe in God and Yawm al-Din (Yom ha-Din in Hebrew) will be rewarded with a place in Heaven. The Quran records that there were prophets before Muhammad and because the followers of these earlier prophets (like Moses) are submitting to Allah, it makes them righteous in the eyes of Islam.
Verily! Those who believe [Muslims] and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
The Land of Israel was given to the Jews
The Quran categorically states that Allah gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people, but that their dwelling in the land was dependent upon following His commandments. The conflict which rages in Israel today is waged without the guidance of Scripture, and is motivated by the desire of both sides to establish modern democratic states with non-biblical borders.
O my people [Banu Yisrael], enter the Holy Land which Allah has assigned to you and do not turn back [from fighting in Allah ‘s cause] and [thus] become losers.”
Because the Jewish people are still in exile for not adhering to Allah’s commandments neither Islam nor Judaism is clear on whether they are permitted sovereignty over the land before the messianic era (al-Mahdi). However, both religions clearly state that the descendants of Jacob were promised the land by Allah and one day they shall return.
And We said after Pharaoh to the Children of Israel, “Dwell in the land, and when there comes the promise of the Hereafter, We will bring you forth in [one] gathering.”
1. Elah-avahati, God of my fathers, (Daniel 2:23)
2. Taymiyya, Ibn. The Goodly Word: al-Kalim al-Ṭayyib. Islamic Texts Society. p. 72. ISBN 1-903682-15-0.