In the Hebrew Scriptures, Covenant is an agreement or treaty among peoples or nations, but most memorably the promises that God extended to humankind (e.g., the promise to Noah never again to destroy the earth by flood or the promise to Abraham that his descendants would multiply and inherit the land). God’s revelation of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai created a pact between God and Israel known as the Sinai Covenant. According to Christian traditions Jesus Christ established a new covenant with God. Islam holds that the Last & Final Covenant was between God and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for all the humanity till eternity.
Hence for proper understanding of this doctrine of ‘Covenant’, it should be studied in the light of Bible, Qur’an and the history. Without going in to the historic details of the issue, well known to the readers, here the scriptural aspects are being covered. There is general agreement that Prophet and Patriarch Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all) believed and worshiped same God. In Arabic this supreme God is called Allah, while Hebrews have been calling Him; El ‘Elyon, Yahweh (Jehovah), elohiym,(el-o-heem) or Adonai. God is the supreme creator and Sustainer of all the worlds. He is the God of all the creatures and people, He is not the God of any one group only, though He loves and prefers those who obey Him and dislike those who are disobedient, transgressors, and disbelievers. He is Kind and Merciful to those who repent and perform deeds pleasing to Him. He is not unjust; God established His Covenant with the humanity, individually as well as collectively through prophets.
According to ‘Miriam Webster Collegiate’ dictionary, ‘covenant’ is a formal, solemn, and binding agreement; a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action or the common-law action to recover damages for breach of such a contract. ‘Covenant’ is a contract or agreement between two parties. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word tyrb berith is always thus translated as covenant. Berith is derived from a root which means “to cut,” and hence a covenant is a “cutting,” with reference to the cutting or dividing of animals into two parts, and the contracting parties passing between them, in making a covenant (Gensis:15:1-21; Jeremiah;34:18-19). The corresponding word in the New Testament Greek is, diaqhkh [diatheke dee-ath-ay’-kay] which is, however, rendered “testament” generally in the Authorized Version. It ought to be rendered, just as the word berith of the Old Testament, “covenant.” In Qur’an, Arabic word ‘aahad’ & ‘methaq’ is translated as ‘covenant’.
WORD ‘covenant’ is used in variety of meanings in Bible & Qur’an:
1) In Qur’an ‘covenant’ of God with Abraham and his obedient decedents has been mentioned as aahd (covenant, pledge) (Qur’an;2:124) and with the Children of Israel (Qur’an;2:83). However: “Those who break Allah’s Covenant after it is ratified, and who sunder what God has ordered to be joined, and do mischief on earth: these cause loss (only) to themselves.”(Qur’an; 2:27).
2) The covenant with the people of scripture (Jews & Christians) is also mentioned: “And remember God took a Covenant (methaq) from the people of the Book, to make it known and Clear to mankind, and not to hide it; but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And vile was the bargain they made!”(Qur’an;3:187).
3) The word ‘aqad’ is used for marriage contract (Qur’an;2:235, 237), oath (Qur’an;5:89). ‘Ahad’ is also used for ‘treaty’(Qur’an;8:56),promise (Qur’an;17:34),
4) A covenant or compact between man and man (Genesis;21:32), or between tribes or nations (1Samuel;11:1; Joshua;9:6,15). In entering into a covenant, Jehovah was solemnly called on to witness the transaction (Genisis;31:50), and hence it was called a “covenant of the Lord” (1Samuel;20:8). The marriage compact is called “the covenant of God” (Proversbs;2:17), because the marriage was made in God’s name. Wicked men are spoken of as acting as if they had made a “covenant with death” not to destroy them, or with hell not to devour them (Isaiah;28:15,18).
5) The word is used with reference to God’s revelation of Himself in the way of promise or of favour to men. Thus God’s promise to Noah after the Flood is called a covenant (Genisis;9:1-29; Jermiah;33:20, “my covenant”). We have an account of God’s covenant with Abraham (Genisis;17:1-27, comp. Leveticus;26:42), of the covenant of the priesthood (Numbers;25:12-13; Deutrenomy;33:9; Nehemiah; 13:29), and of the covenant of Sinai (Exodus; 34:27-28; Leviticus; 26:15), which was afterwards renewed at different times in the history of Israel (Deutronomy;29:1-29; Joshua;1:18; 2Chororonicals; 15:1-19; 23:1-21; 29:1-36; 34:1-33; Ezra;10:1-44; Nehemiah;9:1-38). In conformity with human custom, God’s covenant is said to be confirmed with an oath (Deuteronomy;4:31; Psalms;89:3), and to be accompanied by a sign (Genesis;9:1-29; 17:1-27). Hence the covenant is called God’s “counsel,” “oath,” “promise” (Psalms;89:3-4; 105:8-11; Hebrews;6:13-20; Lu 1:68-75). God’s covenant consists wholly in the bestowal of blessing (Isaiah;59:21; Jeremiah;31:33-34).
6) The term covenant is also used to designate the regular succession of day and night (Jermeiah;33:20), the Sabbath (Exodus;31:16), circumcision (Genesis;17:9-10), and in general any ordinance of God (Jeremiah;34:13-14).
7) A “covenant of salt” signifies an everlasting covenant, in the sealing or ratifying of which salt, as an emblem of perpetuity, is used (Numbers;18:19; Leviticus; 2:13; 2Chronicles;13:5).
8) Covenant of Works, the constitution under which Adam was placed at his creation. In this covenant, (1.) The contracting parties were (a) God the moral Governor, and (b) Adam, a free moral agent, and representative of all his natural posterity (Romans;5:12-19). (2.) The promise was “life” (Mathew;19:16-17; Galatians;3:12). (3.) The condition was perfect obedience to the law, the test in this case being abstaining from eating the fruit of the “tree of knowledge,” etc. (4.) The penalty was death (Genesis;2:16-17). This covenant is also called a covenant of nature, as made with man in his natural or unfallen state; a covenant of life, because “life” was the promise attached to obedience; and a legal covenant, because it demanded perfect obedience to the law. The “tree of life” was the outward sign and seal of that life which was promised in the covenant, and hence it is usually called the seal of that covenant. [According to Qur’an, Adam and Eve repented and were pardoned by God, (Qur’an;2:37, 7:23 ), however they were sent to this world, those who follow His guidance, have nothing to fear but those reject or defy it, will fall in to hell].
According to common Christian belief (not shared by Jews, Muslims and many early and even some present Christians): ‘This covenant is abrogated under the gospel, inasmuch as Christ has fulfilled all its conditions in behalf of his people, and now offers salvation on the condition of faith. It is still in force, however, as it rests on the immutable justice of God, and is binding on all who have not fled to Christ and accepted his righteousness’.
God is linked with humanity through different covenants: Firstly; Covenant with each member of humanity; secondly Covenant with people through His prophets, this includes specifically the covenant of God with Abraham (as a reward of being obedient servant of God, who succeeded in the test of his obedience to God) and his descendents through their prophets culminating to the final covenant with humanity through His last prophet.
1) Much earlier than the creation of humanity, God first created all the spirits of humanity, which testified Him to be their Lord; this was the ‘First Covenant’, which is binding accordingly on each individual. God says:
“O Prophet, remind mankind about incident when your Lord brought into existence the offspring from the loins of Adam and his descendants (virtually each single individual of mankind) and made them testify about themselves. God asked them: “Am I not your Lord?” They all replied: “Yes! We bear witness that You are.” This We did, lest you mankind should say on the Day of Resurrection: “We were not aware of this fact that You are our Lord and that there will be a Day of Judgment.”(Qur’an;7:172).
He brings the humankind into this world in succession, each one at appointed time, spirit is breathed in to him. This spiritual heritage, the individual covenant with God, is part of his nature of every human being as human consciousness.
2) The Covenant is fulfilled by human to acknowledge that Allah is the Creator, Cherisher, and Sustainer; therefore they should acknowledge their duty to Him. When people so testify concerning themselves, the obligation is as it were assumed by them; for it follows from their very nature when it is pure and uncorrupted. Knowledge of right and wrong is ingrained in human nature, God says:
“by the soul and Him Who perfected it and inspired it with knowledge of what is wrong for it and what is right for it: indeed successful will be the one who keeps it pure, and indeed failure will be the one who corrupts it!”(Qur’an;91:7-10).
Some remain conscious of it while others tend to suppress this awareness.
3) In addition to giving form and nature, God has also given guidance to all the creations (Qur’an;20:50). The humanity is expected to be steadfast in the belief of natural faith, part of human conscious. God says: “Therefore, stand firm in your devotion to the upright faith – the nature made by God, (hanefa fitr’ah) the one on which mankind is created – and the laws of Nature ordained by God cannot be changed. That is the ‘Standard True Religion’, but most among mankind do not know.”(Qur’an;30:30). The ‘True Nature’ (hanefa fitr’ah), “true” is used in the sense in which it is said, “the magnetic needle is true to the north”, the ‘First Covenant’ is part of human nature. Those who have been privileged to receive the ‘Truth’ should never hesitate or swerve but remain constant, like the men of knowledge. As turned out from the creative act of God, man is innocent, pure, true, free, inclined to right and virtue, and endowed with true understanding about his own position in the Universe and about Allah’s goodness, wisdom, and power. That is his true nature, just as the nature of a lamb is to be gentle and of a horse is to be swift. But man is caught in the webs of customs, superstitions, selfish desires, and false teachings. This may make him pugnacious, unclean, false, slavish and hankering after what is wrong or forbidden, thus getting deflected from the love of his fellow-men and the pure worship of the One True God. The problem before the messengers and prophets had been to cure this crookedness, and to restore, (hanefa fitr’ah) human nature to what it should be under the Will of God; the uncorrupted pure nature. The “standard True Religion or the ‘Straight Way’ is thus contrasted with the various human systems that conflict with each other and call themselves separate “religions” or “sects”. Allah’s standard Religion is the one, based upon total surrender to the Will of God. The man has been endowed with the intellect so that he could used this faculty to differentiate between right and wrong; truth and falsehood.
4) The human intellectual power of rational thinking and reason is further facilitated by the teachings of the great Messengers or teachers sent to every nation. God says:”…And there never was a people, without a Warner having lived among them (in the past).”(Qur’an;35:24). Where such teachers do not come into direct contact with an individual or a generation, their revealed scripture is available to them which is conveyed by the preachers (dai). Even if some one does not receive the message through direct means then the true faith can be revived through means of the ‘Intellect and Reason’, His ‘signs’ spread all around and true nature (hanefa fitr’ah) part of human conscious (the 1st Covenant). This is the reason that even some of African tribes cut off from the civilized world worship One God without images. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been reported to have mentioned that every human child is born in true nature (Al-Fitra ) which is obedience to God (Islam) and then his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Magian. The scholars stipulate that, if the message of ‘true faith’ (complete obedience, surrender to God – Islam) does not reach to some one, then in hereafter he will be judged by the (hanefa fitr’ah), the human nature conscious of One God (monotheism- Tawhid). God says:
“We charge no soul with more than it can bear; We have a Book of record which shall clearly tell the truth, and they shall not be treated unjustly.”(Qur’an;23:62).
From Noah to Jesus & Muhammad (peace be upon them all):
There is an implied covenant on all created things to follow the Law of God, which is the law of their being; But there is a special implied covenant with all Prophets, strict and solemn, that they shall carry out their mission, proclaim Allah’s Truth without fear or favour, and be ever ready in His service in all circumstances. That gives them their position, dignity, and their tremendous responsibility in respect of the people whom they come to instruct and lead to the right Path. God says:
“And remember We took from the Prophets their Covenant as (We did) from thee (Muhammad): from Noah Abraham Moses and Jesus the son of Mary: We took from them a solemn Covenant”(Qur’an;33:7).
The narrative of Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) is similar to the Bible, with some differences narrated in Qur’an more prominently at Chapter;7, 11, 23, 26, 71 and elsewhere.
The covenant of God with Noah and all creatures according to Bible: “And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.” (Genesis;9:16). According to traditional Judaism, God gave Noah and his family seven commandments to observe when he saved them from the flood. These commandments, referred to as the ‘Noahic or Noahide Commandments’, are inferred from Genesis, Chapter. 9, & Jermiah:33:20, summarized as follows:
1) To establish courts of justice.
2) Not to commit blasphemy.
3) Not to commit idolatry.
4) Not to commit incest and adultery.
5) Not to commit bloodshed.
6) Not to commit robbery.
7) Not to eat flesh cut from a living animal.
According to Jewish belief the Noahic commandments are binding on all people, because all people are descended from Noah and his family. These commandments are fairly simple and most of them are recognized by most of the world as sound moral principles. any non-Jew who follows these laws has a place in the world to come. The 613 mitzvot of the Torah, on the other hand, are only binding on the descendants of those who accepted the commandments at Sinai and upon those who take on the yoke of the commandments voluntarily (by conversion). In addition, the Jews opine that the Noahic commandments are applied more leniently to non-Jews than the corresponding commandments are to Jews, because non-Jews do not have the benefit of Oral Torah to guide them in interpreting the laws. Hence non Jews automatically get relegated to a lower position to the Jews.
Though Muslims believe in all the Hebrew prophets and scriptures, but the Last reveled Scripture Qur’an, preserved in its original revealed shape forms, the criteria (Furqan) of tracing and confirming the true revelations of God in the texts of old scriptures, mixed up with commentaries and errors during loss, translation, retranslation, rewriting spread over centuries. Some errors may be deliberate and some unintentional distortions by the scribes. Some verses form Qur’an about the Covenant of God with Abraham, his decedents & the status of Promised Land are mentioned here. Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) has been highly appreciated in Qur’an:
“Abraham was indeed a model, devoutly obedient to God, true In Faith, and He joined not gods with God. He showed His gratitude for the favours of God, who him, and guided Him to a straight way. And we gave Him good In This world, and He will be, In Hereafter, In the ranks of the Righteous. So we have taught Thee the inspired (Message), the ways of Abraham the true In Faith, and He joined not gods with”(Qur’an;16:120-123)
The contents covenant of God with Abraham & his decedents can be traced in the following verses of Qur’an:
“But we delivered Him (Abraham) and (his nephew) Lot (and directed them) to the land which We have blessed for all the people of the world. And we bestowed on Him Isaac and, as an additional gift, (A grandson), Jacob, and we made righteous men of every one (of them). And we made them leaders, guiding (men) by Our command, and we sent them inspiration to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers, and to practice regular charity; and They constantly served us (and us only). ”(Qur’an;21:71-73).
This verse signifies that the Blessed Land is not for any specific group [Hebrews or Jews alone] but for all the people of the world [including Muslims and Christians].
“And call to mind through this divine writ, Ishmael, Behold he was always true to his promise, and He was an apostle (of God), a prophet.”(Qur’an’19:54.)
“We gave him (Abraham) the good news of Isaac – a prophet – one of the righteous. We blessed him and Isaac both. Among their progeny there are some who are righteous and some who are clearly wrong doing to their own souls. ”(Qur’an;37:112-113)
“And commemorate Our servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, possessors of power and Vision. Verily we did choose them for a special (purpose)- proclaiming the Message of the Hereafter. They Were, In Our sight, truly, of the company of the Elect and the good. And commemorate Isma’il, Elisha, and Zul-Kifl: Each of them was of the company of the good. ”(Qur’an;38:45-48)
“And we gave (Abraham) Isaac and Jacob, and ordained among His progeny Prophethood and revelation, and we granted Him His reward In This life; and He was In the Hereafter (of the company) of the Righteous.”(Qur’an;29:27)
“Remember that when Abraham was tested by his Lord with certain commands, he fulfilled them. God said: “Surely, I will make you the leader of mankind.” “What about my offspring?” Asked Abraham. “My Covenant,” said God, “will NOT apply to the evil doers.”(Qur’an;2:124).
Here the claim of the children of Israel as “Chosen People of God” by only virtue of their decent from Abraham, who was made “a leader of mankind”, has been negated. It is conditional to the obedience of God by not doing evil acts. The is also understandable through common sense. Bible also affirms:
“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee (Abraham) and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee”.(Genesis;17:7).
“Now therefore, If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:”(Exodus;19:5).
They were chosen to be the vehicle of the message of God, the highest honour which any nation can receive.
“And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyed before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.”(Deuteronomy;8:19-20).
The covenant with Abraham is narrated in Bible:
“And I will make of you (Abraham) a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.”(Genesis;12:2-3).
In Bible, deliberate effort appears to have been made (to change the words, Qur’an:5:13 ) to exclude Ishmael, but he is still found to be addressed by God as seed of Abraham: “And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed” (Genesis:21:12-13).
A controversy has raged between the followers of the Bible and the adherents of Islam as to which of the sons of Abraham, Ishmael or Isaac was offered as a sacrifice. It is important to note that, a peculiar sanctity was attached to the first-born both of man and of cattle among people right since the time of Adam, it was especially of great importance among the Israelites. God claimed that the first-born males of man and of animals should be consecrated to him, the one as a priest (Exodus;19:22,24), representing the family to which he belonged, and the other to be offered up in sacrifice (Geneis;4:4). The laws concerning this redemption of the first-born of man are recorded in Exodus;13:12-15; 22:29; 34:20; Numbers;3:45; 8:17; 18:16 and Leviticus;12:2,4. Even the first-fruits of the ground were offered unto God just as the first-born of man and animals. Ishmael, without any doubt was first born son of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). The Bible is quite clear in designating the offering: “He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mori’ah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”(Genesis;22:2). If at anytime, an offspring of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) can be described as “thine only son: it could only be Ishmael, because for more than thirteen years, he was the only son and seed of Abraham. God Almighty acknowledges Ishmael as the “son and seed” of Abraham in the Book of Genesis. At no time was Isaac the only son and seed of Abraham. The false pen of the scribe was in the hand of the Hebrews who edited the Books of Moses, as the prophet Jeremiah lament: “How do ye say, We are wise, and the law (the Torah) of the Lord is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribe is in vain.”(Jeremiah;8:8). When the Hebrews are found to convert an Israelite into an Ishmaelite when no motives are involved, then how much easier for them to change the word “you only son Ishmael” to : your only son Isaac!” Hence the claim in Islamic traditions that the son offered for the sacrifice was Ishmael not Isaac stands validated. This incidence took place at Makkah where Muslims celebrate this event every year during annual pilgrimage (Hajj).
Jacob’s wife Leah’s maidservant, Zilpah, bore him Gad and Asher, and Rachel’s maidservant, Bilhah, bore him Dan and Naphtali. The children born through maidservants of wives of Jacob are not dealt with contempt in line with the prevalent custom, where as in case of Ishmael, born from Hager, the prejudice and dichotomy of Israelites is too palpable. Hagar was the wife of Abraham (Genesis;16:3).
“And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”(Genesis;22:18)
Qur’an mentions the grant of revelations to the house of Abraham, including Ishmael:
“Do they, perchance, envy other people for what God has granted them out of His bounty? But then, We did grant revelation and wisdom unto the House of Abraham (aal Ibraahem– Descendants), and We did bestow on them a mighty dominion:”(Qur’an;4:54).
“Also mention In the Book (the story of) Ishmael: He was (strictly) true to what He promised, and He was an apostle (and) a prophet.”(Qur’an;19:54)
The descendants obviously include the progeny of Ishmael and Isaac (peace be upon them). Jacob and his descendents have been specially mentioned in addition to Abraham’s at Genisis;17:1-27 & Leviticus;26:42, while excluding Ishmael from the covenant, though was first born son of Abraham, his seed and a Prophet, he remains part of House of Abraham.
“Behold! His Lord said to him: “Bow (thy will to Me):” He said: “I bow (my will) to the Lord and Cherisher of the Universe.” And This was the legacy that Abraham left to His sons, and so did Jacob; “Oh My sons! God hath chosen the Faith for you; then die not save as men who have surrendered (unto Him). “Were ye witnesses when death appeared before Jacob? Behold, He said to His sons: “What will ye worship after me?” They said: “We shall worship Thy God and the God of Thy fathers, of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac One God, and unto Him we have surrendered.”(Qur’an;2:131-133).
“They say: “Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (to salvation).” say thou: “Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and He joined not gods with God.”(Qur’an; 2:135)
It is described in Bible:
“Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD has spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready by the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And you shall set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that you go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever touches the mount shall be surely put to death: There shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet sounds long, they shall come up to the mount. And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready by the third day: come not near your wives. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightning, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceedingly loud; so that all the people that were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the lower part of the mount. And mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke of it ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.” (Exodus 19:5-18).
“O Children of Israel! Remember the special favor which I bestowed upon you; that I exalted you above all other nations.”(Qur’an;2:122). Abraham & Ishmael, while building Ka’ba prayed “O Lord, make us both submissive to You (Muslims); and make our descendants a nation that will be submissive to You (Muslims). Teach us our rites of worship and forbear our shortcomings; surely, You are the Acceptor of repentance, the Merciful.”(Qur’an;2:128).
“And if you shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhors my judgments, so that you will not do all my commandments, but that you break my covenant:” (Leviticus;26:15)
The Mountain of Sinai (Tur-u-Sinin) a prominent mountain in the Arabian desert, in the peninsula between the two arms of the Red Sea. Here the Ten Commandments and the Law were given to Moses. Hence it is now called the Mountain of Moses (Jabal Musa). The Israelites encamped at the foot of it for nearly a year. The Covenant was taken from them under many portents (Exodus:19:5,8,16,18), which are described in Jewish tradition in great detail. God says in Qur’an:
“Remember that when We took a Covenant from you and We lifted the Mount of Tur over your heads saying: “Take what We have given you firmly and listen to Our Commandments,” you replied: “we have heard but we will not obey.” So much was the love of that calf in their hearts due to their unbelief. Tell them: “If you are real believers, then why does your faith prompt you to do such evil things?”(Qur’an;2:93).
Under thunder and lightening the mountain must indeed have appeared an awe-inspiring sight above to the Camp at its foot. And the people solemnly entered into the Covenant: all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” But they said in their hearts: “We shall disobey”. The Jewish traditions assume that all the spirits of decedents of Israel, even to be born in future were present is some way to undertake the covenant.
Moses asked them to enter the Promised Land:
“(Moses said) O my people! Enter the holy land which God has promised you and turn not back ignominiously for then will ye be overthrown to your own ruin.”(Qur’an;5:21).
The spies reported that the land was rich, but the men there were too strong for them. The people of Israel had no courage and no faith, and Moses remonstrated with them, they had to suffer for forty years in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land.
Children of Israel, which was despised, became a great and glorious nation under David and his son Solomon, who had goodly territory, and was doubly blest. His land and people were prosperous, and he was blessed with wisdom from God. His sway and his fame spread east and west. And thus promise of God with the Children of Israel was fulfilled:
“And We made a people considered weak (and of no account) inheritors of lands in both east and west lands whereon We sent down our blessings. The fair promise of the Lord was fulfilled for the children of Israel ….”(Qur’an;7:137)
“And after that We said unto the children of Israel: “Dwell now securely on earth – but [remember that] when the promise of the Last Day shall come to pass, We will bring you forth as [parts of] a motley crowd!”(Qur’an;17:104).
Motley crowd denotes a human crowd composed of innumerable heterogeneous elements, good and bad, strong and weak, fortunate and unfortunate: in short, it characterizes mankind in all its aspects. It is obviously used here to refute, once again, the idea that the children of Israel are a “chosen people” by virtue of their Abrahamic descent and, therefore, a priori and invariably destined for God’s grace. The Qur’an rejects this claim by stating that on Resurrection Day all mankind will be judged, and none will have a privileged position.
To Believe in Prophet to Come (Muhammad, pbuh):
This was the general covenant particularly with the Prophet Mosses and Jesus, still forms part of their scriptures: “The people who were given revelations earlier are bound by their own oaths, sworn solemnly in the presence of their own Prophets: “Behold! God took the covenant of the Prophets saying:
“I give you a Book and Wisdom; then comes to you an Apostle confirming what is with you; do ye believe him and render him help.” God said: “Do ye agree and take this My Covenant as binding on you?” They said: “We agree.” He said: “Then bear witness and I am with you among the witnesses.”(Qur’an;3:81).
This covenant In the Old Testament as it now exists, Muhammad (pbuh) is foretold to Moses:
“God speaks to Prophet Moses: “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and I will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not harken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him”(Deuteronomy; 18:18,19).
The rise of the Arab nation in Genesis;12:2,3, 17:10-12, 20,21, Isaiah. 42:1-8, 11-13, 60:7, for Kedar was a son of Ishmael and the name is used for the Arab nation.
Muhammad (pbuh) is foretold in the Gospel of John. 14:16, 25,26, the future Comforter cannot be the Holy Spirit as understood by Christians, because the Holy Spirit already was present, helping and guiding Jesus. The Greek word translated “Comforter” is “Paracletos”, which is an easy corruption from “Periclytos”, which is almost a literal translation of “Muhammad” or “Ahmad”. [More details about Prophesies of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Bible, visit link: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dgxfvv3_93c9fjj7cx]
Further, there were other Gospels that have perished, but of which traces still remain, which were even more specific in their reference to Muhammad; e.g., the Gospel of St. Barnabas, of which an Italian translation is extant in the State Library at Vienna. It was edited in 1907 with an English translation by Mr. Lonsdale and Laura Ragg.
With the passage of time the Israelites violated the Covenant, as mentioned in Bible:
1) The Israelites became unfaithful to covenant engagements (Jeremiah;3:6-8, 31:32; Ezekiel;16:59).
2) Became rebellious against God (Deuteronomy;32:15;9:7; Isaiah;1:2,Exodus;32:9)
3) They often displeased God by their sins (Numbers;25:3; Deutreronomy;32:16; 1Kings;16:2; Isaiah;1:4; 5:24-25).
4) They were punished by God for; Idolatry (Psalms;78:58-64; Isaiah;65:3-7), Unbelief (Romans;11:20), Breaking covenant (Isaiah;24:5; Jeremiah; 11:10), Transgressing the law (Isaiah;1:4; 24:5-6), Changing the ordinances (Isaiah;24:5), and Killing the prophets (Mathew;23:37-38, 27:25).
5) They were scattered among the nations (Deuteronomy;28:64; Ezekiel; 6:8; 36:19).
6) Despised by the nations (Ezekiel;36:3), their country trodden under foot by the Gentiles (Deuteronomy;28:49-52; Luke;21:24).Their house left desolate (Mathew;24:38) and were deprived of civil and religious privileges (Hosea;3:4).
Finally God sent a prophet for the Israelites:
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:”(Acts;2:22).
“But he (Jesus) answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”.(Matthew;15:24).
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew;4:17).
“These twelve (disciples) Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”(Matthew;10:5-7).
Jesus said: “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”(Matthew;3:9).
Jews rejected Jesus and arranged to kill him (Luke 22:63-71, 23:1-56, John;19-42), though his innocence was also acknowledged by Pilate, the Roman ruler (John;19:4).
“The Jews and the Christians say: “We are the children of God and His beloved ones.” Ask them, “Why then does He punish you for your sins? Nay! In fact you are human beings like others which He has created. He forgives whom He pleases and He punishes whom He pleases. To God belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and to Him is the final refuge.”(Qur’an;5:18).
“This is because they say: “The fire of Hell shall not touch us; even if it does, it will be for a few days.” In their religion they are deceived by their own self-invented beliefs. What will they do when We will gather them together on the Day which is sure to come, when every soul will be given what it has earned and there shall be no injustice? “(Qur’an;3:24-25).
Thus the Children of Israel as a community did not adhere to the Covenant in totality, though there were some exception.
“There are some among the people of the Book who truly believe in Allah and what has been revealed to you, (Muhammad), and what has been revealed to them before you. They humble themselves before Allah and do not sell the revelations of Allah for a petty price. For them, there will be a reward from their God. Surely Allah is very swift in settling the accounts.(Qur’an;3:199).
“Rest assured that the believers (Muslims), the Jews, the Sabians and the Christians – whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does righteous deeds – will have nothing to fear or to regret”.(Qur’an;5:69).
“If they would have believed (in Islam) and kept themselves away from evil, there would have been a better reward from Allah, if they could understand it!”(Qur’an;2:103).
God addresses the children of Israel:
“O children of Israel! Remember My favors to you; fulfil your covenant with Me and I will fulfil My covenant with you, that you should fear none but Me. Believe in My revelations, which are confirming your scriptures; do not be the first one to deny My revelations, and do not sell them for a petty price, fear Me and Me alone. Do not mix the Truth with falsehood, or knowingly conceal the truth.(Qur’an;2:40-42)
“…Do you believe in a part of your Holy Book and reject the rest? So what other punishment do such people among you, who behave like this, deserve, than disgrace in this world and to be driven to grievous punishment on the Day of Judgment? God is not unaware of what you do.” (Qur’an;2:86).
“As for those who break their covenant with God after confirming it and cut asunder what God has commanded to be joined and create mischief in the land, they are the ones on whom there shall be a curse and they are the ones who will have a terrible home.”(Qur’an;13:25).
“Tell them: “O people of the Book! Do not transgress the bounds of truth in your religion, and do not yield to the fancies of those people who went astray before you, They misled many others and have themselves strayed away from The Right Way.”(Qur’an;5:77).
Rebelliousness of Jews has also been mentioned in Bible:
“And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff necked people: (Exodus; 32:9)”
“Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiff-necked people. Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD. Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.” (Deuteronomy; 9:6-8)
“Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadeshbarnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice. Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.” (Deuteronomy; 9:23-24), “Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin”: (Deuteronomy; 9:27).
Through Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):
“Tell them: O people of the Book! You have no ground to stand on unless you observe the Torah, Gospel and other revelations that have come to you from your God. This revelation (The Qur’an) which has come to you from your God will surely increase the rebellion and disbelief of many of them but you should not grieve for the disbelievers”(Qur’an;5:68)
“If they would have observed the Laws of Torah and the Gospel and other Revelations which were sent to them from their God, they would have certainly enjoyed abundance from above and from beneath. Though there are some among them on the moderate course; but most of them do nothing but evil”.(Qur’an;5:66).
“Over shadowed by ignominy are they wherever they may be, save (when they bind themselves again) in a bond with God and a bond with men; for they have earned the burden of God’s condemnation, and are over shadowed by humiliation: for all this (has befallen them)” because they persisted in denying the truth of God’s message and in slaying the prophets against all right: transgressing the bounds of what is right”(Qur’an;3:112).
“O people of the Book! there hath come to you Our Messenger, revealing to you much that ye used to hide In the Book, and passing over much (That is Now unnecessary). there hath come to you from God a (new) light and a perspicuous Book,(Qur’an;5:13-15)
Ask Jews and Christians to Obey The Final Prophet:
“Remember Allah’s favor to you and the covenant by which He bound you to Himself when you said: “We hear and we obey.” Have fear of God; surely God knows the secrets of your hearts.”(Qur’an;5:7).
“God accepted a covenant form the Children of Israel and appointed twelve chieftains from among them and said: “I am with you; if you establish Prayers (Salah) pay Alms (Zakah), believe in My Apostles, support them [this includes Prophet Muhammad, pbuh] and give a generous loan to God (spend in charity), I will certainly forgive you your sins and admit you to gardens beneath which the rivers flow. However, if any one of you, after this, violates this covenant, he will indeed go astray from the Right Way. Even after that, they broke their covenant; as a result, We laid on them Our curse and hardened their hearts. They tempered with words out of their context and neglected much of what they were enjoined. You will always find most of them deceitful except for a few of them. Yet forgive them and overlook their misdeeds. God loves those who are kind to others. Likewise We also made a covenant with those who call themselves Christians, but they too have neglected much of what they were enjoined. As a result, We stirred among them enmity and hatred, which will last till the Day of Resurrection and soon God will inform them all of what they have done. O people of the Book (Jews and Christians)! Now Our Messenger (Muhammad) has come to you to reveal much of what you have concealed from the Holy Books and to pass over much which is no longer necessary. There has come to you from God a new Light and a clear Book (Qur’an), with which God will guide to the ways of peace all those who seek His good pleasure and bring them out of the depth of darkness into the light of His grace and guide them to the Right Way.” (Qur’an;5:12-15).
“Do you claim that Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants were all Jews or Christians? Are you more knowledgeable than God?” Who is more wicked than the one who hides the testimony he has received from God? Allah is not unaware of what you do.”(Qur’an;2:140).
“So if they argue with you (O Muhammad), tell them: “I have submitted myself entirely to God and so have those who follow me.” Then ask those who are given the Book and those who are illiterates: “Will you also submit yourselves to God?” If they become Muslims they shall be rightly guided but if they turn back, you need not worry, because your sole responsibility is to convey the Message. God is watching all His servants very closely.”(Qur’an;3:20).
The role of leadership of mankind to convey the message of God is now the responsibility of Muslims, God says:
“We have made you a (umuh-wasta, middle, central) middle way nation so that you may testify against mankind and that your own Messenger (Muhammad) may testify against you.” (Qur’an;2:143)
The place of Remote House of Worship at Jerusalem, is sacred to Muslims as well, being their prayer direction for initial few months at Medina, till changed to Makka, the original house of worship built by Abraham and his son Ishmael. Later it also became venue of Prophet’s mystic journey, (Mara’j) hence highly revered by Muslims:
“Glory to (God) Who transported His Servant (Muhammad) by night from the inviolable House of Worship (at Makka) to the Remote House of Worship (at Jerusalem) the environs of which we had Blessed..”.(Qur’an;17:1)
Muhammad Asad [Leopold Weiss (1900-1992), Jewish convert to Islam] writes: “It should be noted that the Prophet’s Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, immediately preceding his Ascension was apparently meant to show that Islam is not a new doctrine but a continuation of the same divine message which was preached by the prophets of old, who had Jerusalem as their spiritual home, This view is supported by Traditions (quoted in Fath al-Bari VII, 158), according to which the Prophet, during his Night Journey, also offered prayers at Yathrib, Sinai, Bethlehem, etc. His encounters with other prophets, mentioned in this connection, symbolize the same idea. The well-known Traditions to the effect that on the occasion of his Night Journey the Prophet led a prayer in the Temple of Jerusalem, in which all other prophets ranged themselves behind him, expresses in a figurative manner the doctrine that Islam, as preached by the Prophet Muhammad, is the fulfillment and perfection of mankind’s religious development, and that Muhammad (pbuh)was the last and the greatest of God’s message-bearers”.
The Covenant, Bible & Qur’an: http://wp.me/PCgrB-54