The Bible's punishment for people's wickedness(?)

Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, Friday khutbah, 2023-11-10

Source: Usuli Institute Virtual Khutbah (November 10, 2023)

biblical, bloodline, chosen status, colonizers, conquer and vanquish, despair, extermination, genocidal, humanity, influence, inhabited, narrative of the West, Quran, reference to God, resilience, subjugation, [not linked ]

Khutbah - The Usuli Institute

Although Suleiman Solomon is a prophet, he is also described as a king, and you need to read narratives about the rise and fall of nations. With one very critical element that you do not find in the Bible. But it is clearly present and in fact center stage in the Quran.


And that is these prophets do not represent a particular tribe, a particular ethnicity, or a particular bloodline, the prophets stand for humanity at large. And what guides their relationship to their maker can be summed up in the word humility. Pious humility. The humility that is necessary for justice. The humility that tempers all causes pursued in life with the realization that God is just, God is fair, God does not play favorites, and that God will hold people accountable for their misdeeds and acts of injustice. If you go through just the supplications, the prayers of the prophets in the Quran, and they speak to the Lord, and they beg Lord for forgiveness, and they beg the Lord for mercy, and they beg the Lord for guidance, and you compare the words of this narrative persistently throughout the Quran. Because I just gave some few examples at the very beginning. What is clear is that these prophets embody a human idea, an idea about the very nature of humanity, and what it means for humanity to be virtuous, to be godly. Mercy, forgiveness, humility, fair treatment, equity, justice is always there. These same prophets are practically unrecognizable in the biblical narrative. In the biblical narratives, these prophets stand for and represent bloodlines, and God is with these bloodlines, whether for worse or better or worse. God orders his kings/ prophets to punish people for their wickedness.

But in the Bible, the punishment for people's wickedness is indeed very wicked. The punishment for people's wickedness, time and again throughout the Bible, is slaughter, prison, mass, death. In near tribal sense of egoism and arrogance, I am from the chosen bloodline. And because I am from the chosen bloodline, whether I am confronting the Philistines or confronting the Canaanites or Canaanites in Arabic, or whether I confront the Jezebites, the people who even according to the Bible at one point received and protected the Prophet Ibrahim, Alissat wa Salaam, from persecution. But in the Bible, even the Jezebites, these people who gave safe haven to the Prophet Ibrahim, they are ordered exterminated to the last man and woman and child according to the biblical narrative. Suleiman doesn't represent humanity in the Bible. David doesn't represent humanity in the Bible. Joshua doesn't represent humanity in the Bible. And as we mentioned in the last Khutbah, Isaiah doesn't represent humanity. It is not about humanity. And it is not about humility and virtue.

Now the irony that time and again you encounter in the biblical discourse is that all through God tells his soldiers to exterminate and to lay waste to the enemy, to make the enemy vanish from the face of the earth. God's chosen people, time and time again in the Bible, are themselves pretty wicked. According to the biblical narrative, they constantly offend God, they constantly oppress other people, they constantly worship the wrong deities, they constantly commit obscene infractions, not just fornicating or committing adultery but sleeping with their sisters or sleeping with the wives of their generals. But remarkably, while God has only extermination for the other, so according to the biblical narrative, God has only one choice for the Philistines or one choice for the Canaanites, or one choice for the Jezebites, the people who reportedly built the city of Jerusalem long before Jews settled this land, the land of Canaan. Indeed many hundreds of years before Jews ever entered this land, the Jezebites were the founders of the city of Jerusalem or what was known as Beit Salim or Shalim, meaning the land of peace as it was known in ancient languages.

But while God, for those who for whatever reason are marked out of God's grace, in other words, they're not part of God's grace, there is no forgiving them, there is no dynamic of its chosen people who consistently offend against God and God consistently gives them another chance, and another chance, and another chance, and another chance, they keep disappointing and according to the Bible, again, they keep disappointing God and offending God time and again but God keeps forgiving and offering them another and another chance and they never lose their chosen status. But for the other, other than the bloodline that apparently God likes and favors, for the other there's no mercy, there's no quarter, there's no second chances, there is absolutely nothing. Muslims and indeed not just Muslims, but I can even say so many in the global south often puzzled, even utterly confused and lost.

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How could a people fail to see the duplicity in their standards? How could a people fail to see time and again and again the fact that while they speak of lofty principles, principles of self-determination, self-representation, choice, freedom, the right to own and the right to be, while consistently in history they claim these lofty principles for the self, but at the same time they are capable of horrendous injustices against the other. Whether these others are the indigenous populations of South America that were exterminated, the language destroyed, the customs eradicated, whatever survives, survives simply because the persecutors, the colonizers did not have, did not see it or did not encounter it, but because most of what they've meant, they've obliterated.

How could the same people that speak of such lofty principles demolish and destroy the populations, the indigenous cultures of America, the people who had been living in what we call the United States for thousands of years and had built customs and cultures that were nuanced and sophisticated?

How could they claim to discover lands that are older than themselves in Africa, nations that have existed for hundreds of years before Europe had a population that could be entered in the annals of history?

Time and time again, when you study the history, our modern history, you find in the narratives of subjugated people and the irony of it is most of the testimonials that express the sense of shock, the sense of deep disappointment that reaches the point of truly an existential crisis because it is usually preserved and memorialized by a particular class of people within the subjugated cultures, within the indigenous populations and the class of people that preserve the testimonials of disappointment are a people who at one point became co-opted into the ways of the subjugator and the colonizer, a class of people that becomes educated, meaning literate, and they embrace the culture of the colonizer with some level of excitement and nearly what turns out to be in retrospect a naive sense of conviction that it is possible, it is possible to impress the colonizer by embracing the very civilized principles that the colonizer preaches - only to discover time and time again this duality, this contradiction in the psyche and the consciousness of the colonizer while the colonizer sees themselves even in the most secular of ages as the hand of God, as blessed by God, and as entitled to nearly endless possibilities and endless opportunities for forgiveness and emancipation and salvation, the colonizer doesn't seem to be capable of noticing that he never extend the same logic to the colonized and the subjugated.


When the colonizer becomes convinced as we see repeatedly, not just in real life but also in the biblical narrative, when the subjugated are declared to be a wicked people, test it for yourself, pick up the Bible and read through it, and I defy you if he doesn't blow right into your face, no one notices it because those who read the Bible always assume that they are among the bunch that God likes and among those that God gives endless opportunities for salvation and for repentance, but that is never extended to the other side which is always the object of extermination. It's still a world apart, a world of difference.

In the Quran, whether explicitly or implicitly, that extermination, that solution zero type option is never either explicitly or implicitly endorsed, but the contradictions that played the narrative of the colonizer doesn't just stop there.

Like we saw when Netanyahu cites Isaiah's promise in justification or at the beginning of the campaign against Gaza, at the beginning of the genocide, against Gaza, at the beginning of the unrestrained slaughter against Gaza, Netanyahu does something that we see, something that is done time and again in the past 300 years. Reference to God and God's promises is consistently cited to even when everything about the society that cites this promise says God is not part of our equation and God is not part of our life.


So not only is secularist like Netanyahu will cite Isaiah's promise, but even just before the Shudwa yesterday on Israeli TV, again Israeli intellectuals go on yapping about whether the Palestinians are descendants of the Jezebites and whether they are descendants of the Canaanites and Israeli intellectuals who have a long record as avid secularists and even atheists, they don't believe in God.

I nearly fell off my chair as I listen to them say, well the Jezebites are a wicked people because God said, the Bible said, they're a wicked people and the Canaanites are a wicked people because the Bible said there are a wicked people and so if the Palestinians want to claim that they are the descendants of these two groups of people, then in fact they are conceding that they are a wicked people because they descended from a wicked people.

But the only basis for calling them a wicked people, not just wicked but deserving of extermination is the biblical narrative. And if you are a secularist who doesn't care about God's law or an atheist who doesn't even believe in the sacredness of the biblical narrative, archaeologically, anthropologically, historically, there is nothing that supports your argument about whether they were a wicked people and in fact from the perspective of pure history, it is the Israelites who are a wicked people because they fought wars of extermination against the inhabitants of this land. The original inhabitants of this land inhabit this land some 3,500 years before Christ. 3,500 years before Christ.

The Prophet Ibrahim (Alayhi Salaam) who descends from the line of Sam, son of Nuh, son of the prophet Nuh al-Isat al-Salaam. Ibrahim, the patriarch who exists before Judaism has ever existed and who exists before the Israelites have ever existed is a descendant from Sam. And Ibrahim eventually settles a part of the land of Canan parts because the followers of Ibrahim were not numerous enough to have complete dominance over the land of Canan today's Palestine. But Ibrahim some 1,800 years before Christ comes onto this land and is met by the very king of the Jezebites, the quote unquote wicked people, and is helped to settle.

Now the Bible shocks us by coming in and saying that the God of Ibrahim doesn't advise Ibrahim to be grateful for the hospitality and the cooperation shown to him by the king of the Jezebites. No, quite the contrary. According to the biblical narrative, God tells Ibrahim although he doesn't have followers to fill up his city in Palestine, leave alone the land of Palestine, although his followers would fill nothing more than a little village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, which at this point belongs to Jezebites. But the Bible comes and tells us that what God tells Ibrahim is: Ibrahim from the river to the river, from the Nile to the Euphrates is your land. I quoted this last khutba from the Bible. Very odd, very shocking. It deserves serious pause.

What type of God comes to Ibrahim and he says listen, from the river to the river is yours and you have the power, you have the right to conquer and vanquish. God is authorizing you to conquer and vanquish clean, cleanse all the people from the river to the river. Well, Ibrahim doesn't establish a state in Palestine but we do know that from the progeny of Ibrahim you have Ismail who goes and settles in Arabia and intermarries with the Arab tribes in Arabia and then you have Ishaq who settles in Palestine and the Bible makes a very, very big deal about the calamity what the Bible consistently describes as the absolute disaster and calamity of the descendants of Ishaq and later on the descendants of David intermarrying and mixing with indigenous cultures. The Bible is insistent on their ethnic purity, the purity of their bloodline. Don't contaminate your bloodline with the blood of indigenous people. It is not about intermarrying from people who don't believe in God.

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It is about even if these people believe in God, keeping your blood pure. We know of course after Ishaq we have Ya'aqob Jacob also known as Israel. Israel means Abdullah. Isra -el is God [the el means God]. Israel is the son of or the slave of S. So the word Israel, Israel just means Abdullah, the slave of God and that is what becomes the title of Ya'aqob Jacob. We know the story of the sons of Ya'aqob, the sons of Jacob.

Who are the sons of Jacob? Yusuf, (with salam, peace of God), Joseph and his brothers. And we know that because of a famine the sons of Ya'aqob, Jacob immigrated from Palestine to Egypt where the joint Yusuf, (with salam, peace of God), mind you by this time we're still talking about 1500 before Christ BC. By this time there's no political state called Israel. Palestine is still inhabited by the Canani and the Jezebites and many other ethnic groups and just one of these ethnic groups are the descendants of Ibrahim, (with salam, peace of God) and Ya'aqob and his sons.

And as it's clear from the biblical narrative and clear from the Quranic narrative the real population increase is not in the mass of people at the time of Jacob and his sons that come as I said from Palestine go to Egypt. It is after the Israelites, the sons of Jacob settled Egypt for about 450 years.

After 450 years relations between the descendants of Jacob, the descendants of Israel, the descendants of the brothers of Joseph, Yusuf, the relations between them and the Egyptians sour during the course of 450 years.

And when God sends Musa, (alayhi-salam) who again in the biblical narrative only cares about a bloodline is not vested in the idea of tawheed at all [tawheed is Islamic monotheism]. Quite contrary to how Allah tells the story of Musa, (with salam, peace of God). Musa, (with salam, peace of God) liberates the Israelites. According to the Bible, Musa is exclusively interested in the descendants of Jacob and Musa upon saving the Israelites from the land in which they have become persecuted after living there for 450 years. Where is Musa going to take them? Musa tells them let's go back to the land from which you came 450 years ago. In the Bible, again these imperial promises in the same way that God very carelessly and very whimsically tells Ibrahim from the river to the river God has genocidal fantasies when God tells Musa lead the Israelites back to Palestine. Literally genocidal fantasies. Now we know that Musa doesn't successfully lead the Israelites back to the land, not that they dominated, but the land that they lived in after Jacob settled or after Jacob, the descendant of Ishaq, the descendant of Ibrahim who had lived in a part to measure it and proportion to their actual population which was quite tiny. Of course over the 450 years the number of Israelites has considerably increased, but as we know it is not Musa and Aaron, his brother, that lead the Israelites out of the desert of Sina back to the land of Palestine. But it is who is known in the Arabic sources as Ushab and Nun or in the biblical sources as Joshua. Joshua himself again from the bloodline leads the Israelites out of the desert. When is this? This is about a thousand two hundred or twelve centuries before Christ.

In the Bible… again the Bible tells the story of Joshua returning to this land that is already inhabited with plenty of people, the narrative of the Bible is completely oblivious to the fact that there are human beings that are living there, because it tells Joshua to do one thing, conquer and exterminate.

God literally talks about the populations living there as if they're vernim, incense to be rid of and it is after Joshua that Jews finally managed to establish a kingdom for themselves, the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Yehuda, two kingdoms. But both of these kingdoms never managed to cover the entire territory of historical Palestine.

It is but limited amount of territories within the land of Palestine and despite the Bible's genocidal fantasies, the Israelites and the people from the kingdom of Yehuda never managed to ethnically cleanse Palestine of all the ethnicities that are not descendants from either the sons of Sam or the sons of Solomon or whatnot. Two points.


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It is only because we so blindly accept the highly engineered narrative of the West about itself that we are so shocked by the wars of extermination and entitlement and racial superiority.

In fact, that is the rule of thumb when it comes to the West. It is not the exception. The irony is as the secular West claims time and time again throughout the annals of history in every genocidal campaign, whether led by the British, the French, the Dutch, [the Germans], the Italians, and now the Americans and the Israelis, time and time regardless of how secular the claim of secularism is, time and time again what creeps in is the biblical genocidal influence against native and indigenous populations. It is a racist narrative. It is a racial narrative. You are God's chosen blood line. It has nothing to do with your ideas. It has nothing to do with your beliefs. It has nothing to do with your practices. It has everything to do with your blood.

And because you are God's chosen blood line, you have the right to exterminate the other blood lines if you wish or if you believe that God commanded you to do so. And that is precisely what colonialism has done time and time again. So as I'm watching Israeli TV, when I hear time and time again, Israelis cite the example of Native Americans in justification for what they're doing to Palestinians.

I don't think even the people, the people speaking and citing this example, realize how mind-blowing this is. Because indeed, although all the window dressing does not, cannot overcome the fact that the theology of extermination against Native Americans, for instance, was very much in every possible way a biblical theology.

It is again the highly sanitized history that we tell that ignores all the references to the Bible and to how these are a wicked people and these are a damned people and these are a primitive people who do not know the light of God and therefore whatever if we just allow them to exist and breathe, it's already we've given them more than they do.

These Israeli commentators do not realize the extent to which they are condemning themselves condemning their entire civilization, condemning the entire identity and philosophy and logic. But of course they ignore and every Israeli commentator so far that I've heard citing the example of indigenous Americans, look they stopped resisting, look they gave up, look they that, they all ignore the persistent reality. The U.S. had no choice but to give Native Americans even as oppressed as they are, to give them citizenship and to give them at least legally full rights as citizens. In theory, in theory, if the Native Americans start having a lot of babies and become the majority of the population, legally speaking there is nothing that the U.S. can do to stop them from rising to power, from filling the seats of the Senate, whatnot.

This is not what Israel has done with the Palestinians. The comparison is flawed. If you mean that both colonizers are genocidal you're absolutely right. But if you mean that the algebra of subjugation that we witness in the U.S. vis-a-vis Native Americans is the same as the algebra of subjugation that we witness in Israel that is completely wrong.

In Israel there is a formal apartheid system in which subjugated people are kept at arms length. They can never attain representation or anything under the law resembling equal rights. That's very different than the status of Native Americans who at least legally speaking have equal rights under the Constitution, have a right to carry an American passport, to travel an American passport, legally speaking have the right to claim all the privileges and rights of citizenship.

Now if Israel wants to give all Palestinian citizenship in the West Bank and Gaza, that's something else. But that's not what we're talking about. This is not what Israel wants to give. We can't even see the appropriate information.

Nothing is as frustrating for an intellectual to know and to see and to witness. It is as if that intellectual clearly sees the full moon in the sky. And that intellectual is surrounded by people who for some reason just cannot see the moon right in front of their face in the sky. The Israelis know fully well. The entire world knows fully well - that Palestine was already fully inhabited 3,500 years before Christ.

Everyone knows that when the Israelites come to Palestine and establish their first political state, their first kingdom, everyone knows that this is 1,800 years before Christ. So already, and everyone knows that their kingdoms are limited political entities. They're not expanses of - not like the Hixus, for instance, who conquered huge plots of land, or like the Kingdom of Babylon, or the Persian Kingdom that conquered huge vasts of land.

What you have in the biblical narrative are genocidal fantasies that the Bible consistently uphold [like] this. They read like the fantasies of a defeated and conquered people, fantasizing about slaughtering the people who did them wrong, from their mind, people who did them wrong. The problem though is that this is not just interesting trivia.


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The problem is that this paradoxical relationship to humanism is at the heart and soul of the Western civilization.

On the one hand, the Western civilization was able to tap back to the Greek civilization and to claim and build upon humanitarian ideas, humanitarian ideas that led to things like the Geneva Conventions, the Four Geneva Conventions on the Law of War, that clearly says what Israel is doing is criminal. No doubt. There can't be no debate about it. You can't bomb ambulances on hospitals, kill UN personnel, starve the people to death, cut off water, basically put them in a huge death camp, and then say, oh well, because we are fighting terrorists.

That side co-exists with another part of the Western psyche. And the other part is bound to bloodlines, i.e. race, it's very racist. They actually, there's a long history of saying the sons of Sam are okay, and the sons of Ham are cursed. In fact, the very skin color of the sons of Ham, dark skin, is said to be a curse by God.

And the Bible cares about this bloodline and consistently tells this bloodline, you're God's favorite, kill your enemies, don't worry about it, exterminate your enemies.

The Bible constantly declares the enemies of the favorite bloodline, not as just wicked people, but people who because of their wickedness, lose the right to even exist on the face of this earth. Killing the children of these people is not a crime.

And that duality, that tension, that dialectic, that paradox in the Western personality was always there. Speak of lofty ideas, right to life, right to self-determination, right to property, right to liberty, and exterminate people who have different bloodlines than your own, i.e. different races.

If you want to understand why so many countries, although they are witnessing an actual unfolding genocide, a full-fledged fledged with all the legal technicalities of what a genocide is. If you create a definition of genocide, what is going on, what the Israelis is doing, ticks all the boxes for a genocide.

But we forget that this is the same West that allowed an actual genocide to unfold in Iraq. Where millions, even before the invasion of Iraq, millions of Iraqis died. I will never forget when because of the economic sanctions against Iraq, the UN said about half a million Iraqi babies lost their lives. And Madeleine Albright, when she was asked, do you think that the economic sanction, in light of the fact that half a million Iraqi babies died, is justified? And her answer was yes.
Remembering the legacy of Madeleine Albright in Iraq - YouTube ”It was worth it”
This is in a war that killed millions of Iraqis, and at the end of it, it turns out that the very logic, the very reason we've gone to war, supposed weapons of mass destruction, was completely utterly a lie, unfounded.

But what sustained the bloodlust in Iraq, I submit to you, is the same racist logic. They're a wicked people. Why are they wicked? Why are they Hajjis, as they were constantly, all Muslims were referred to, as they're being slaughtered? Why are they just Hajjis? Why are they subhuman? Well, they just are.

What no one is saying is because of the ethic upheld by the biblical narrative about what you do about wicked people and how God relates to human beings.


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Time and time, the prophets of the Quran, Dawud, Jacob, Solomon, all of them, are saying, we are a part of humanity. We are a blessing unto all of humanity. We invite all of humanity to meet its Lord, to recognize its Lord.

And time and time again, nowhere in the Quran will you find an excuse for extermination and genocide. You see the extent to which our intellects are colonized, because everything I said is very obvious and is nearly boringly, tediously obvious.

And yet, intellectually, morally, it is always Muslims who are put on the defensive.

But there is another lesson to learn from all of this. And it's a very difficult lesson. It's a very tough lesson.

The heroic stand of the Palestinian people, the entire world, witnessed the Palestinian people lose everything. And what they consistently hold onto is simply Alhamdulillah. [Praise be to God.] None of the violence and the ugliness and the sheer horror shakes their relationship with Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala.

And so I've seen so many videos of people who are absolutely bewildered by the strength and heroism of the Palestinian people. And even people who started reading the Quran to understand where does this strength come from. How could it be that people who don't even have painkillers or even the most basic elements to save the life of the injured continue saying Alhamdulillah. We are with Allah. We do not doubt Allah.

This points to one of the most difficult lessons of history. Remember, Christians were persecuted for over 300 years in the Roman Empire after the death of Christ. Christians were persecuted for over 300 years until came along Roman Emperor who happened to have a wife, who happened to become Christian and convinced her husband that Christianity would be good for his imperial rule. So suddenly the fortunes of Christianity changes. But during the course of these 300 years plus, what upheld the Christian message was numerous stories of sacrifice and heroism. Not military victories, not conquering and vanquishing, but sheer strength and resilience and faith before adversity with the Israelis, and mind you, nations take hundreds of years to rise. People, subjugated people, take hundreds of years to overthrow the woke of subjugation.

The worst thing, the greatest betrayal any Muslim can commit is just because it's been 70 years is to despair in your Lord. To say, why is God allowing this misery, this travesty to happen?

Maybe when Muslims get to the point where they can truly testify as to the truth of God, like the testimony I just gave, when they can look back to their oppressors right in the eye and say, you have a fundamental contradiction, an axiom, a paradox in your consciousness. We are not the people who are flawed. We are not the people who somehow need fixing.

You need to take a deep look into yourself because of your racism, because of your genocidal ethic against the outsider, not us. Maybe when we get to this point, everything will change. Maybe we will start getting on the ascending line of overthrowing of subjugation and our oppression.

But in the meanwhile, all is lost if you don't pay very careful attention to the real victory of the Palestinians. As far as I'm concerned, the Palestinians have already won this war. They won the war, not because of the number of Israelis they kill. They won the war of morality and ethics through their sheer strength, through their sheer resilience. I am telling you that the power and strength of Palestinians will indeed be the door through which many people will come to Islam.

And if Muslims understand the ethical and moral lesson well, this victory can become truly the downfall in due time of the racist regime and racist ideology in Israel. History is not just the story of the powerful and the conqueror and the conquered. History is often the story of the heroes. Those who break what is the norm and what is anticipated expected of human weakness and display feats of super humanity. The heroism of the Palestinian people is like a true game changer in everything. If Muslims can learn the lesson well and can absorb what God is telling us through the testimony of history and the dynamics of history itself.

Allahumma kulana. Allahumma al-Hazza. Allahumma sabir al-Hazza. Allahumma makkin al-Hazza. Allahumma mansur al-Hazza wa al-Fulistin. Allahumma al-Sulhu. Allahumma kulma al-Mahun. Allahumma al-Maleq zulhu mia'ali yazim.

Amazingly, the du'a I just did for Palestinians in Gaza reflect upon the fact that we live in an age where no imam in all the mosques of Saudi is allowed to utter a du'a like the one I just did for Gaza. They will go behind the sun as they say. No imam is allowed to do a du'a for Palestinians or for residents in the Emirate. You can't raise the Palestinian flag in these countries without going to prison, or disappearing.

Reflect upon that and reflect what lessons cry out to us from that fact. Allahumma…