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['Aalim Network QR] Bani Israel

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\

Salaamun alaykum,
	The reply to the following question was kindly provided by Shaykh


Mustafa Rawji
Moderator, 'Aalim Network



Assalaamu Alaikum

I have a question about Bani Israel (The children of Israel).  How come in
the Qur'an it says that the Bani Israel were the chosen ones by God, that
they were superior to any other humans on earth, yet, they did not follow
the commands of Nabi Musa (AS). Could you please shed some light
as to why they were considered the chosen ones? 


	I have personally found Allameh Tabatabai's explanation of this 
issue the must convincing one. In the volume one of his Tafsir under the 
Holy verse: " And thus we have made you a medium ummah (people) that you 
may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Apostle may be 
a bearer witness to you..." (2:143),
	First he discusses what it mean to be "bearers of witness" and
explains that it involves knowledge of the unseen, intentions and so on.
Then he argues that this is not something that ordinary people can be
capable of. He concludes that this verse does not apply to all Muslims
even not to majority of them, but rather a few people in Islamic Ummah are
capable of doing so. These people bear witness to all other nations and
prophet Mohammad (SA) bears witness to them. And this is the meaning of a
medium Ummah. In other words, those who act as a medium between the Holy
Prophet (SA) and other people are from Muslims, but not that all Muslims
are medium and bearers of witness.

	He then argues that the same is true about Bani Israel when Allah
(SWT)  says to them that "Children of Israel ...I have exalted you above
the nations" (2:47; 2:122).  This does not mean that every single
individual among Bani Israel is superior to all others. This only means
that exalted individuals come from them. Verse (6:86) also supports this
interpretation for it says: "We gave him Isaac and Jacob...Among his
descendants were David and Solomon, Job, and Joseph and Moses and Aaron;
Zacharias and John, Jesus and Elias...; and Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah and
Lot. All these WE EXALTED ABOVE NATIONS ..." As we see this "Fazl" (or
exaltation) is given to certain individuals from Bani Israel and through
them Allah (SWT)  bestowed his blessing over children of Israel. 

	This is a very brief response and there are might be some other
aspects which needs more time and space. 

With Regards


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