The Jewish Commemoration of the Temple – Our Heritage, Our Distinction

قالوا يا موسى إنا لن ندخلها أبدا ما داموا فيها فاذهب أنت وربك فقاتلا إنا هاهنا قاعدون
[The children of Israel] said, “O Moses! We shall most certainly not enter [the city] for as long as they are in it. Go you and your Lord and fight while we sit here.” [al-Māʾidah: 24]

The Jews have recently commemorated Tisha B’Av, the date of the destruction of the Temple, twice. In a general sense this is part of our history as well, as those were the rebellious believers of the time and these occurences are mentioned in the Qurʾān in the opening of Sūrah Banī Isrāʿīl also called Sūrah al-ʾIsrāʿ. Even in the name of “Tisha”, the Arabic student should recognise “Tāsiʿ” or ninth. B’Av is however beyond me.

Yet it is in the very commonality that the two religions share, that our distinction is most evident. There may be a common historical legacy, but through the guidance of Muḥammad صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ our outlook and treatment of the very same common event is treated differently.
The Origin of Tisha B’Av

Rabbinical authorities clarify that the original reason catastrophe constantly befalls the Jews on this date was the refusal of the Children of Israel to fight the Canaanites when Allāh’s Messenger, Mūsā (Moses peace be upon him), commanded them to do so.

The spies return on the eighth day of Av and report that the land is unconquerable. That night, the 9th of Av, the people cry. They insist that they’d rather go to Egypt than be slaughtered by the Canaanites. G d is highly displeased by this public demonstration of distrust in His power

The Qurʾān records the above as follows:

(20) And [mention, O Muhammad], when Moses said to his people, “O my people, remember the favour of Allah upon you when He appointed among you prophets and made you kings and gave you that which He had not given anyone among the worlds.
(21) O my people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has written for you and do not turn back [from fighting in Allah ‘s cause] and [thus] become losers.”
(22) They said, “O Moses, indeed within it is a people of tyrannical strength, and indeed, we will never enter it until they leave it; but if they leave it, then we will enter.”
(23) Said two men from those who feared [to disobey] upon whom Allah had bestowed favour, “Enter upon them through the gate, for when you have entered it, you will be victorious. And rely upon Allah, if you truly are believers.”
(24) [The children of Israel] said, “O Moses! We shall most certainly not enter [the city] for as long as they are in it. Go you and your Lord and fight while we sit here.” [al-Māʾidah: 20 – 24]

Third parties would list Joshua (peace be upon him) as a Jewish hero, but again we differ in commonality. Note the respect the Qurʾān accords him as man who fears Allāh. Whilst we agree that he was sent to gather intelligence, Muslims would deem it disrespectful to use the term “spy” on him. Again, note how he and his companion encourage reliance upon Allāh and striving in His Cause. Can there be any doubt as to the esteem we hold him in?

The Jewish Legacy

So we agree on a common even but as Islām is zealous that all mankind achieve guidance, whilst Judaism is primarily focussed on its own flock, and some even obstructing people from entering the fold of Judaism, the legacy is quite different. The Jewish interpretation becomes nation focussed and whilst we would deem the refusal to fight to be plain rebellion against Allāh and His Messenger, the Jewish national explanation is not of punishment, but divine displeasure at not fulfilling one’s potential. The focus is on the nation:

Many tragedies happened on the 9th of Av. The Two Holy Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed. World War One and Two’s commencement was due to an event that happened on the 9th of Av.
Charlie Harary in a Video On explains that G-d is not out to punish people. He wants people to remove their negative attitude of not believing in themselves. Thus, aside for mourning, the destruction of the temples and the tragedies that occured, we should do teshuva / repent and make resolutions to better ourselves through the Torah’s lessons and strengthen our belief in ourselves – in our ability to do good.

– See more at:

Tisha b’Av reminds us of how broken we are, how we have not been living up to our potential, and Hashem mourns over the destruction of the temple within each of us and the distance between us that that destruction has created.

The Muslim Legacy

The tribe of Kindah was Jewish before Islām, although there would have been idolaters amongst them as well. If only the racist Muslims I have to live amongst, could comprehend even the one deed below, of the first of my tribe to embrace Islām. I would ask you to read up on the details of the Battle of Badr on your own, but the pertinent point is that fighting was not yet compulsory on all. Muḥammad صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ was unsure whether all would voluntarily join in this battle, upon which the very existence of Islām would depend. Miqdād bin al-Aswad al-Kindī (may Allāh be pleased with him) referred to the event from our Isrāʾīlī heritage. Yet this offspring of a Jewish tribe, who had become imbued with the spirituality of Muḥammad صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ, no longer had any nationalist interest. To him the incident with Mūsā (peace be upon him) was now a lesson in absolute loyalty, obedience and sacrifice. Allāh and His Messenger come above any excuse in exonerating the nation, the tribe, the people or the self. I conclude in quoting him from Muḥammad Rasūlullāh, by ʾAbul Ḥasan ʿAlī Nadwī:

Then Miqdād got up and said, “O Apostle of God, we will not say as the Children of Israel said to Moses, ‘Go thou and thy Lord and fight, we will sit here.’ We will fight with you on your left and on your right, in your front and in your rear.”

سليمان الكندي
Twitter: @sulayman_Kindi


3 responses

  1. Abdullah Afriki | Reply

    Assalaamu ‘Alaykum

    No post in a long while Shaykh? Hope all is well with the fadhl of Allah.

    Would like your thoughts on the incidents that occurred during the Hajj this year in particular the stampede and what lessons can be learnt therefrom.


    1. wa alaykum salaam

      Forgive my late response, may Allah forgive us all. I am spiritually, mentally and physically not in a state to write.

  2. Abdullah Afriki | Reply

    May Allah grant you ease and strength to continue serving His din and may He accept from you and us. Ameen.

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