Let me tell you my own experience … While I read Qur’an (the last divine book), I find children of Israel are the most familiar people in Qur’an. So I start to wonder what did they really do to be mentioned in Qur’an a lot? A lot of questions came into my mind Who is Israel? Who are the famous prophets sent to them? Why are they mentioned a lot in Muslim’s book (Qur’an)? What did they do to be mentioned in Qur’an? What can we get from their stories? I found all answers in God’s words (Qur’an) and prophet Mohammed saying (Sunnah).
Who is Israel?
“Israel” is the messenger of God Jacob the son of Isaac. God called them by this names He means “Oh children of Jacob, be pious and obedient like your father.”
Who are the famous messengers sent to them?
There were a lot of messengers were sent to Children Of Israel including: Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Aaron, David, Solomon, Jonah, Zechariah… etc.
Why are they mentioned a lot in Qur’an?
Every story mentioned in Qur’an has a purpose and reason behind it. Therefore, the stories of the children of Israel should teach us a lot of lessons and values. Look at other’s mistakes and faults to learn in order not to make the same mistakes.
Let me give you some example of their situations in Qur’an
And [recall] when Moses said to his people, “Indeed, Allah commands you to slaughter a cow.” They said, “Do you take us in ridicule?” He said, “I seek refuge in Allah from being among the ignorant.” [Quran.com/2/67].
One day, some people of Israel found a man killed by unknown person. They wanted to know the murder, so they went to prophet Moses and asked him what to do to know the murder. Moses told them that God commanded them to slaughter a cow. They were astonished to hear that and said to Moses:
– “Do you take us in ridicule?” Moses said that it is God’s order. But the children of Israel didn’t obey God’s order immediately, as they started to argue and ask persistent questions.
– They said: “Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is”.
– Moses said: “[Allah] says, ‘It is a cow which is neither old nor virgin, but median between that,’ so do what you are commanded”.
– They didn’t stop asking and said: “Call upon your Lord to show us what is her color”.
– Moses said that God said: ‘It is a yellow cow, bright in color-pleasing to the observers”.
– They didn’t stop asking more questions and said: “Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is. Indeed, [all] cows look alike to us. And indeed we, if Allah wills, will be guided.” [Quran.com/2/70]
– Moses said to them: “It is a cow neither trained to plow the earth nor to irrigate the field, one free from fault with no spot upon her.”
– They said: “Now you have come with the truth.” So they slaughtered her, but they could hardly do it.” [Quran.com/2/71].
Indeed, at the end they found the cow and they were forced to pay a huge amount of money to its owner. Moses told them that God’s order is to “Strike the slain man with part of it.” Thus does God bring the dead to life, and He shows you His signs that you might reason.
The lesson you can get from this story
If the children of Israel from the beginning stopped arguing their prophet Moses and slaughtered any cow, they wouldn’t have to pay a huge sum of money to have this special cow. If they stopped their persistent questions, God wouldn’t impose this burden on them. Do you know that over asking is not recommended, as Prophet Muhammad said:
“God has forbidden you And Allah dislikes idle talk, to ask too many questions (for things which will be of no benefit to one”.
Prophet Muhammad also said: “Do not ask me unnecessarily about the details of the things which I do not mention to you. Verily, the people before you were doomed because they were used to putting many questions to their Prophets” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
God also said in Qur’an:
O you who have believed, do not ask about things which, if they are shown to you, will distress you. But if you ask about them while the Qur’an is being revealed, they will be shown to you. Allah has pardoned that which is past; and Allah is Forgiving and Forbearing.” [Quran.com/5/101].
The lesson here is don’t ask too many question that will not benefit you at all. Don’t be like children of Israel who are known for their silly argument.
The story of people of Saturday
At the time of prophet David, there was a town in which a group of children of lsrael lived there. It was forbidden in their legislation to work or fishing on saturday. It was God’s order to test them whether they obey or disobey. The amount of the fish increased especially on saturday. At the beginning, they were patient and obeyed God’s order, but the devil played trick on them and tempted them to disobey God.
They made a trick to gain the biggest amount of fish as possible as they can. They put their fishing nets in the sea on friday and lift them till sunday by this way the could get the big amount of fish. They played the trick and thought that they never disobeyed God. God said in Qur’an:
“And ask them about the town that was by the sea -when they transgressed in [the matter of] the sabbath- when their fish came to them openly on their sabbath day, and the day they had no sabbath they did not come to them. Thus did We give them trial because they were defiantly disobedient .” [Quran.com/7/163].
Do you think that all people of the town did this wrong deed? Of course not.. There was a group of righteous people advised wrongdoers to stop doing this deed, and there was also a group of frustrated people who advised righteous people to stop advising the wrongdoers, as Qur’an showed the dialogue among them:
And when a community among them said, “Why do you advise [or warn] a people whom Allah is [about] to destroy or to punish with a severe punishment?” they [the advisors] said, “To be absolved before your Lord and perhaps they may fear Him” [Quran.com/7/164].
The disobedient people didn’t listen to the advice and never stopped disobeying God. The righteous people decided to keep away from the disobedient people and not to engage with them in such wrong deed. One day, the town was empty and quiet. Suddenly, a huge number of monkeys appeared! What happened? God punished the wrongdoers who insisted on disobeying by tuning them to monkeys. As God said “So when they exceed the limits of what they were prohibited, We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected.” [Quran.com/7/166].
The lessons behind this story
- Don’t play trick on God, because He knows well your intentions. As God said “God knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that breasts conceal.” [Quran.com/40/19].
- Don’t insist on doing wrong deeds ,like what children of Israel did. If children of Israel turned in repentance to God, God wouldn’t punish them.
- If people insist on disobey God even after your advice, keep away from them and don’t engage.
- The advisors are the only people who survived from God’s punishments, as God said:
And when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We saved those who had forbidden evil and seized those who wronged, with a wretched punishment, because they were defiantly disobeying“. [Quran.com/7/165].
Be the advisor.
To sum up, the stories in Qur’an are not mentioned haphazardly, every story has values. As prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said:
Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of Bani Israel (which have been taught to you), for it is not sinful to do so” [Sahih al-Bukhari].
So we mentioned the story of Bani Israel to know their faults and avoid them.