Sheikh Bassma Obeid,
Dr. Riad Ibrahim Obeid,
Dr. Masood N. Khan,
Taimur Tareen,
Dr. Yasin Raja,
Shaban Abusamak

Here are the excerpts of an interactive and frank discussion that took place on the Round Table. with Bassam Obeid, a baccalaureate in Islamic law from Islamic University of Medinah, Saudi Arabia and the other participants. The group was privileged to have in this session, Riad Ibrahim Obeid PhD, who is a poet, educationist and a linguist of Arabic language. He had just received his doctorate from Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana for his thesis titled Prophet Musa in Qur’an al Kareem.

1. The mischief of Israeliath:

It has been the observation of many of us, as we have watched innumerable video-clips on YouTube, that Muslim world and especially the subcontinent is infested with Muslim cleric speakers who use minutely detailed stories, mostly unauthentic and made up, about the events and personalities of the past. They present them in a melodramatic narrations to vulnerable, ignorant and emotionally immature audiences in swelled up crowds of thousands, who they lead to misguided conclusions, causing divisions among them and often inciting them to violence. The technical word for such narrations is “Israeliath”. Often, about 80% of the content of their speeches has nothing to do with the essence of the divine message but rather a reinforcement of preconceived wrong and misguided conclusions. There was unanimous opinion on the round table that this was an unfortunate situation and is one of the major causes of the pitiable conditions, Muslims are in. It was realized that it is the responsibility of educated Muslims to discourage references to such stories and condemn them in social gatherings, much less spread them around with conviction that they are important part of Deen.

2. The difference between Bani-Israel as mentioned in Quran and Yahud ( Jews ):

In the discussion later, the question came up as to why Muslims should not be called Bani Israel for their Prophet being the descendent of Prophet Ismael of the same lineage as of those connected with Prophets Ishaq and Yaqub.?

Even though this was not an important issue bearing any significance on the character of present day Muslims, Sheikh Bassam clarified that “Bani Israel” refers to a race with direct and traceable connection exclusively.with Prophet Ishaq and his son Prophet Yaqub. This fact, he clarified further is not a matter of subjective historical inferences but is based upon the revealed knowledge in Qur’an. He referred to verses in Surath-ul A’raaf (S6: V: 155-156), wherein it is mentioned that Prophet Musa selected 70 men, the best of Bani Israel and took them to Tur by Allah’s command to reflect upon the corruption and disorder caused by those who bagan worshipping an idol of cow when Musa was receiving commandments from Allah. The verse further mentions how these men were saved by Allah from an earthquake that struck them while they were there. This experience caused them to be humble and repentant. They sought Allah’s forgiveness and reverted back to His commands and guidance. They said “Hudna” meaning ‘we returned to guidance’. From this word came the word “Yahudi” which later became the title of the whole ummah of Musa So all Bani Israel are Jews but not all Jews are Bani Israel.

3. The meanings of the words “Salla” and “Ghafara” other than commonly understood.

Discussion deviated towards right understanding of some of the most commonly used words in Arabic.

1. For example numerous times in a day Muslims recite in which the word “Salla” is used which is commonly understood to mean ‘bless’. With this meaning if we translate the verse: it will be “Allah and angels send blessings on the Prophet, o’ those who believe send blessings on him and peace”. But we don’t know if at the time of Prophet this word meant “to bless”, since language, in its vocabulary and meaning does change over period of time. Taimur mentioned there is another meaning of the word other than “to bless “ and that is “to support”. If we substitute this meaning, the verse would mean Allah and the angels support the Prophet and you believers should support your Prophet too. It is quite likely that this is how it was understood by the companions of the Prophet and if so does make superior sense.

2. The other word discussed was which is commonly translated as forgiveness. Arising from this word has another meaning and that is “to protect”. in Arabic means ‘the helmet’. When we use this word in our dua, it makes sense that we are seeking Allah’s help in our constant struggle to protect ourselves against our own weaknesses and deficiencies of inner strength that could lead us to a wrongful conduct. With the same token a person who has led his/her life in this world and died is subject to the consequences of his deeds according to Allah’s plan and therefore passed the stage of protection. So the dua for is futile for the deceased. It should be most applicable for the one living in this world and who is susceptible to bad deeds. However Sheikh Bassam said the word “maghfirah” has also been used sometimes for forgiveness though rarely.

4: An Interesting observation:

At the end of the discussion Taimur asked an intriguing question as to the Hadeeth in Bukhari that describes in great detail the blessed jurney of Maeraj, is it also present in Muslim? to give it the status of a hadeeth (horizontally consistent)? The answer by Sheikh Bassam was that it is not included in Muslim.