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How and Why the Israelites Lost the Promised Land

By Spahic Omer

Islamic City, February 5, 2024

  Scenes of victims of the Israeli genocidal air strikes and bombardment on Gaza Strip, January 31, 2024 pic

How and Why the Israelites Lost the Promised Land

By Spahic Omer

This article discusses the reasons for and the milieus in which the Israelites lost the Promised Land. The article shows that the Promised Land was a crucial responsibility, rather than an impeding privilege. The Israelites had been entrusted with the Land, which symbolized the burden of the Covenant they had to bear and with which they were expected to serve as a model to other nations.

However, instead of faithfully obeying and duly serving, incessant rebellions and transgressions against God, His prophets, and His commandments soon became the national ethos of the Israelites.

Losing the Land and reverting to slavery, cultural bareness and civilizational anonymity was what the Israelites deserved. They wasted their last opportunity in the seal of prophets: Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his family), after which their ultimate doom has been decided. The Holy Quran thus foretold the Jewish global dispersion, diaspora, and the impossibility of a Greater Israel.

The Promised Land was a purposeful responsibility, rather than an inhibiting privilege

The Israelite Promised Land was not an absolute and passive privilege. Rather, it was a form of empowerment with which came enormous responsibilities. The Land was nothing but a locus within which the Israelites were expected to discharge their duties towards the Almighty God, themselves and other people. The Land furthermore was the last component the Israelites and their ontological project needed to duly perform the above.

In this manner, the Israelites were not just placed on a par with other nations, but also elevated further. They were to lead the world and serve as an example of righteousness, piety and justice, which was meant to be followed by others. Such was the case of the Israelites that they were fated either to rule or be ruled over, to chart an exceptional civilizational trajectory for themselves or that a lowly one be charted for them by others, and to worship the Almighty God as He should be worshipped or to be given to the worst forms of idolatry and even paganism.

There is no middle way; it is either lofty heights or abysmal depths, either the acme or the nadir. It goes without saying that such issues as the unqualifiedly warranted Israelite exclusivity, superiority first in heaven then on earth, and unconditional and everlasting privileges, are nothing but the historical as well as ideological distortions of the truth.

The Holy Quran – whose purpose is to rectify the Israelite narrative - is explicit about this: “But the Jews and the Christians say: ‘We are the children of Allah and His beloved.’ Say: ‘Then why does He punish you for your sins?’ Rather, you are human beings from among those He has created.

He forgives whom He wills, and He punishes whom He wills. And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them, and to Him is the (final) destination” (Al-Ma-ida, 5: 18).

The Israelites were just another nation, or community, which had its turn in the dynamic processes of history and civilization making. It enjoyed its specific mission with an equally specific set of rights and responsibilities, featuring their strengths and weaknesses and, as expected, performance-oriented ups and downs. The substance of their socio-religious instance was by no means different from the rest of instances that dotted the rich tapestry of history.

The Holy Quran proclaims: “That is a nation (the Children of Israel) which has passed on. It will have (the consequence of) what it earned, and you will have what you have earned. And you will not be asked about what they used to do” (Al-Baqara, 2: 141). The Israelite transgressions (breaches of the Covenant) after Prophet Mousa, peace be upon him,  following his death, and following the Israelites’ entry into the Promised Land, their transgressions and breaches of the Covenant continued unabated.

Instead of becoming an epicenter of virtue and God worship, the Land became a hub of vice, wickedness and idolatry. The only difference between the first generation of the Israelites and those that followed was that the latter utilized the advantage of the Land for institutionalizing their evil practices. With them, the Israelite transgressions became organized and entrenched, growing into what resembled national traditions, a culture.

Divided into twelve tribes, the Israeli nation (their Kingdom in the Land) was at each other’s throats. The incessant religious, plus national, disunity and abuses contributed to the Kingdom of the Israelites to be split into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Thus divided and weakened, the two sides practically competed, not in uprightness and general goodness, but in national perfidy and religious aberration.

Their two greatest kings: David and Solomon certainly led the way (which was the case before the split of the Kingdom for which Solomon was held accountable). David is said to have been guilty of murder, adultery and a number of intrigues (2 Samuel 11, 12). On the other hand, Solomon, David’s son, went so much further that, ultimately, his case was turned into the epitome of the Israelite degeneration (1 Kings 11).

Solomon’s early rule was righteous, but later the wisest King allowed his passions to overcome him and to rule over his decision making. In defiance of the divine ordinance prohibiting the marriage of foreign women, Solomon married seven hundred foreign wives who held the rank of princess and three hundred concubines. They soon turned Solomon’s heart away and after other (the wives’ and concubines’) gods. Solomon became an idol-worshipper. He built prominent places for those new gods, turning them into centers of idolatry, featuring such abominable rituals as child sacrifice.

Solomon likewise was responsible for the split of the first Israelite Kingdom in the Promised Land. By extension, the blame for the steady religious-qua-national regression affiliated with the split – during which a multitude of incompetent and wayward kings led the nation – was also assigned to Solomon. He is indirectly held accountable for the Babylonian exile or captivity as well, which marked the climax of the Israelites’ defiance and the corresponding climax of divine retribution for their contravention of the ancient Covenant. {1}

Losing the Land and becoming enslaved again was what the Israelites deserved

In a nutshell, the Israelites turned away from God and broke the Covenant, thereby coming out from under God’s care and protection. They rejected God and He rejected them; they run after other people’s gods, so their God gave them to the subjugation of others, often the nations of the gods they ended up exchanging for their own God, thus amplifying the intended demise and humiliation.

Estranged from their religion, history and culture, the Israelites were increasingly becoming outsiders, yet pariahs, in their own Land and in the eyes of their own God. The more they violated the Covenant, the more they were forgetting themselves and were losing the Land. When their treacheries reached the point of no return, the final judgment was pronounced: they were qualified neither for the status of God’s chosen people, nor for the Land.

As a consequence, the Israelites were driven away from the Land and were massacred and enslaved – just as they had been in Egypt, thus completing a cycle. Solomon’s Temple, their cities and institutions were all destroyed and with them the identity, legacy and future of the Israelites as a nation. Indeed, the Israelites got what they both deserved and asked for. In lieu of being “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6), they turned out to be a fragmented kingdom of renegades and a blasphemous people. As God said about them, they followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless (2 Kings 17:15).

When enough was enough, God became so angry that He removed the Israelites from His presence. He rejected all of them, afflicted them and “gave them into the hands of plunderers, until He thrust them from His presence” (2 Kings 17: 18-20).

The Bible is replete with references to the above events and conditions. For example, as for the reasons why Solomon had deviated and was punished by God by tearing the rule away from him and by causing a gradual destruction of the Israelite Kingdom, it is said thus: “The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.

Although He had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. So the Lord said to Solomon: ‘Since this is your attitude and you have not kept My Covenant and My decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates” (1 Kings 11:9-11).

Additionally, this is how God in an elaborate fashion revealed the justifications for depriving the Israelites of the Promised Land and subjecting them to exile and captivity in Assyria and Babylonia: “All this (God’s punishments whose culmination were exile and captivity) took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced.

The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns. They set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. At every high place they burned incense, as the nations whom the Lord had driven out before them had done. They did wicked things that aroused the Lord’s anger. They worshiped idols, though the Lord had said: ‘You shall not do this.’

The Lord warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and seers: ‘Turn from your evil ways. Observe My commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through My servants the prophets.’ But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God.

They rejected His decrees and the Covenant He had made with their ancestors and the statutes He had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them: ‘Do not do as they do.’ They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole.

They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing His anger. So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, and even Judah did not keep the commands of the Lord their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced.

Therefore the Lord rejected all the people of Israel; He afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence (2 Kings 17: 7-20).

The Israelites were twice destroyed and deprived of the Promised Land

There were three milestones in the evolution of the Israelites’ love-hate (respect-disrespect) relationship with the Promised Land and, by extension, with God. The initial instance occurred with Moses, when the admittance into the Land was ultimately refused at the eleventh hour, the Land thus appearing so near and yet so far.

The second instance was twofold: the conquest of the Northern Kingdom of Israel from 740 to 722 BC by the Assyrians (the Neo-Assyrian Empire) – which happened approximately two centuries following the death of Solomon (d. 931 BC), after whom the Israelite Kingdom was divided and was ushered into a prolonged period of socio-political and religious decline – and the conquest of the Southern Kingdom of Judah in 587 BC by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.

Thus, the whole Promised Land was lost to the aggressive conquerors who destroyed everything the Israelites had, both materially and immaterially, and who enslaved the Israelites and took them into captivity initially in Assyria (ten tribes) and subsequently in Babylonia (two tribes). The Israelites were back to square one, or had come full circle, so to speak, and having had a similar experience as a nation in Egypt about six or seven centuries earlier, it was like deja vu all over again.

This second milestone was the first time the Israelites, as the inhabitants of the Promised Land, were completely crashed and deprived of the Land. About the Assyrian invasion it is recorded that “thousands of Israelites were put to the sword and 27 thousand of their leading men were driven out of their homeland and scattered in the eastern districts of the Assyrian Empire and replaced by settlers from other parts of the Empire.

When the remaining Israelites intermixed with the settlers, they also lost gradually their national and cultural identity” (al-Maududi, Tafhim Al-Quran). Ten tribes were taken from the Promised Land and were never heard from or found.

It is also said: “After defeating the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC, the Assyrians carried away thousands of Israelites and resettled them in other parts of the Assyrian Empire. This was a blow from which the nation of Israel never recovered. The ten tribes that were taken to Assyria became the ten lost tribes, for they have never again emerged in world history.

Assyrian policy was to deport conquered peoples to other lands within the empire, to destroy their sense of nationalism, and break any pride or hope of rebellion and replace them with strangers from far away” (Bible History: Maps, Images, Archeology, The Assyrian Captivity).

The Bible is clear that the Assyrian tragedy was a sign of God’s anger and a form of His sentence for the stubborn Israelite nation. In short, the Israelites were punished because they never stopped violating God’s Covenant: “The king of Assyria deported Israel to Assyria and settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in towns of the Medes. This happened because they had not obeyed the Lord their God, but had violated His Covenant -all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out” (2 Kings: 18:11-12).

With regard to the Babylonian calamity, it was as devastating as its Assyrian counterpart. The Bible vividly documents the tragedy as follows: “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. In the spring, King Nebuchadnezzar sent for him and brought him to Babylon, together with articles of value from the temple of the Lord, and he made Jehoiachin’s uncle, Zedekiah, king over Judah and Jerusalem.

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke the word of the Lord. He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him take an oath in God’s name. He became stiff-necked and hardened his heart and would not turn to the Lord, the God of Israel. Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the Lord, which He had consecrated in Jerusalem.

The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because He had pity on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against His people and there was no remedy. He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm.

God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its Sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah” (2 Chronicles 36: 9-21).

The Israelites wasted their last opportunities, ultimately sealing their doom

Seventy years after the Babylonian exile-cum-slavery, the Israelites (only two tribes) were allowed to return to the Land and rebuild the Temple. Ezra the Priest was instrumental in restoring the Jewish religion and holy scriptures to the people after the return from the Babylonian captivity. However, it was not long before the remaining Israelites reverted back to their former habits of disobedience and rebellion.

To what extent the Israelites had done so testify the following facts. When John the Baptist (Prophet Yahya) – who was related to Jesus and was his forerunner - was beheaded by the local ruler on behalf of the Romans, Herod Antipas, at the request and desire of a dancing girl, nobody either from the ranks of the ordinary Israelites or the Israelite religious leaders voiced any form or level of dissent or disapproval, though the crime had been committed in the most gruesome way and somewhat publicly. “(Only a few of) John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it” (Mark 14:1-12).

This demonstrated the width and intensity of the rift between the truth, which the Israelite prophets continued to convey to their insubordinate people, and falsehood, which the Israelites persevered in adhering to, within the community of the Children of Israel.

In addition, Herod Antipas’ father, Herod the Great, also a local ruler before the former, was responsible for what came to be known as “the massacre of the innocents.” During this catastrophic event, the lives of all young boys residing in the city of Bethlehem and its neighboring regions, aged two years and below, were taken to avert the appearance of the king of the Jews, that is, Jesus.

The massacre is documented in the Bible as well: “When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi (the wise men who misguided Herod regarding the birth of Jesus, aware of his murderous intentions), he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi” (Matthew 2:16).

It is believed that the carnage took also the life of Zechariah (Prophet Zakariyya). Inasmuch as John the Baptist was Zechariah’s son - who was about three months older than Jesus – he too was targeted by Herod’s ungodly scheme. When the soldiers of Herod came to Zechariah to seize and kill his infant son, he refused to reveal the latter’s whereabouts (who apparently was in hiding). As a result, Zechariah was killed instead.

The true nature of Herod the Great was readily discernible. Nevertheless, the religious leaders of the Israelites are not reported to have condemned the person and his deeds. At most, his Jewishness and commitments to the Jewish religion was questioned, sometimes seriously. He is even respected in some circles due to his extensive rebuilding works on the Second Temple, including the famous Western Wall.

Given Herod's actions among the Israelites, it was incumbent upon them to publicly denounce him and ensure he was held accountable for all eternity. In light of their reputation for participating in a succession of political and militaristic confrontations with the Romans, it begs the question as to what deterred the Israelites from engaging in an ideological or theological confrontation with them. The answer is along the lines that, akin to the Romans, the Israelites, too, were antithetical to the truth. Despite traversing divergent paths, both of them trampled on the truth and committed themselves to furthering the agendas of falsehood.

That said, in their capacities as the embodiments of and callers to the truth, each of Zechariah, John the Baptist and Jesus were enemies as much of the Israelites as the Romans. For that reason did Jesus in particular censure the Israelites, especially their social and religious leaders. He exposed their lies, distortions of history and the truth, and their favoring of narrow dogmatic tendencies over the religious certitude.

To Jesus, the overwhelming majority of the Israelites who not only rejected, but also constantly conspired against him, were nothing but an assembly of liars, hypocrites and traitors. Their actions went against every Covenant of God and yet they felt no sense of shame. Rather, it is evident that they continued to hold their shameful past and equally shameful legacy in high esteem. It is of no surprise then that Jesus was subject to great suffering from both the Israelites and the Romans.

The following is a comprehensive and revealing conversation between Jesus and some of the Israelites: “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said: ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ They answered him: ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?’ Jesus replied: ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants.

Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.’ ‘Abraham is our father,’ they answered. ‘If you were Abraham’s children,’ said Jesus, ‘then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.

Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.’ ‘We are not illegitimate children,’ they protested. ‘The only Father we have is God himself.’ Jesus said to them: ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God’” (John 8: 31-47).

The Israelite hatred towards Jesus – i.e. the truth – was uncontainable. There was a Passover tradition in Jerusalem that allowed Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, to grant clemency to a convict who had been given the death penalty through majority approval. When the Israelites were given the choice to pardon either Jesus, the last prophet of God sent to them and one of their own, or Barabbas the insurrectionist and murderer, they all chose the latter to be released and the former crucified.

Astonishingly, the Israelites did not harbor even an ounce of remorse pertaining to the decision they had made. Pontius Pilate seems to have been reluctant to penalize Jesus, saying “I find no basis for a charge against him”, but had no choice as the Israelites - the chief priests, the rulers and the people – insisted, shouting: “Crucify him! Crucify him!” (Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:13-25; John 18:38-40).

This was indeed the last chance Almighty God gave to the Israelites, “and then their fate was sealed.” With the departure of Jesus as their final messenger of God with whom they immortalized their sacrilegious status, the Israelites were effectively forsaken forever and were left to their own meagre resources, relying on their own inept means. Mistreating Jesus the way the Israelites did was the last straw. Reaching its terminus, it was the end of the road for the Israelite conspicuous case. Bereft of celestial intervention and aid, the solitary course thereafter was a downward spiral towards the abyss.

The second deprivation of the Promised Land

Not long after that, the socio-political situation in Palestine deteriorated significantly, having been fueled by the intensifying conflicts between the Israelites and Gentiles and their incompatible religious views, “oppressive taxation and unwanted imperialism” of the Romans. The situation culminated in 66 CE in the First Jewish Revolt. In response, “the Roman Emperor Nero sent the general Vespasian to meet the Jewish rebellious forces, an endeavor that pushed the majority of the rebels into Jerusalem by the time Vespasian was proclaimed emperor in 69 CE.” In April 70 CE, the Roman general Titus besieged Jerusalem, capturing it in August the same year.

Following the suppression of the Revolt, a mass extermination, as well as displacement, ensued. Tens of thousands of the Israelites were killed (for example, approximately one-third of the Israelite population in Judaea perished), tens of thousands were enslaved, thousands aged 17 and above were assigned to forced labor in Greece, Egypt and elsewhere, the Second Temple was destroyed with the Western Wall only remaining, and the city of Jerusalem was razed to the ground.

This however was only the first phase of the tragedy. The Second Jewish Revolt in 132-135 CE (the Bar Kokhba Revolt or even the Third Jewish Revolt, in which case the Second Jewish Revolt was the Kitos War in 115-117 CE, which nonetheless was a revolt in the exile undertaken by the Israelites in diaspora) was the second and final phase whereby the fate of the Israelites (the Jews) was forever sealed. The Revolt came on the heels of the Roman persistent misrule, oppression and restrictions on Jewish religious freedom and observances.

The Revolt was unsuccessful, resulting in a total Israelite defeat and causing profound loss of life, extensive forced displacements and widespread enslavement. The severity of suffering exceeded that which the Israelites had faced in the aftermath of the First Revolt. What transpired amounted to a biological, cultural and religious genocide.

The remaining Israelites were expelled from the area of Jerusalem and were forbidden to return. The city of Jerusalem was later rebuilt by the Romans, but was renamed Aelia Capitolina. To add insult to injury, at the site of the Second Temple, a temple to Jupiter – the Roman god of the sky and thunder, and king of the gods – was erected. The province of Judaea, the epicenter of the rebellion, was renamed Syria Palaestina.

Indeed, all efforts were in place for the Israelites to be significantly decimated and reduced to an utterly subjugated, humiliated, displaced and dispersed community. While they were granted the bare minimum of survival, they were planned never to fully recover. If during the time of Moses, due to their rejection, coupled with incompetence, to enter the Promised Land, the Israelites were sentenced to a life in a regional wilderness, now, having relentlessly violated the Covenants of God and having betrayed the terms of the favor of the Promised Land, the Israelites were stripped not only of all favors, but also basic human rights, and were sentenced to a life in a worldwide wilderness. Their localized plight, as well as enemies, were now internationalized and the global phenomenon of the Jewish diaspora created.

In his book “Demonstrations of the Gospel”, Eusebius of Caesarea (d. 339 CE) - a Greek or Palestinian historian of Christianity and Christian polemicist - summarized the gist of the last Israelite catastrophe, highlighting that the same was a form of God’s punishment which, in turn, was triggered by the Israelites’ insults to the Lord: “Yea, in return for their (the Israelites’) insults to the Lord who thus prophesied, there has not failed for them lamentation, mourning and wailing.

And it was only after our Savior came, and even until our own time, that all the families of the Jewish nation have suffered pain worthy of wailing and lamentation because God's hand has struck them, delivering their mother-city over to strange nations, laying their Temple low, and driving them from their country, to serve their enemies in a hostile land; wherefore even now every house and every soul is a prey to lamentation. And so the prophecy says: ‘And family shall mourn by family, the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves, and all that follows this.’”

The Holy Quran also mentions these two Israelite deprivations of the Promised Land, calling attention to the substance of the laws of the spiritual causality that presided over the two calamities: “And We conveyed to the Children of Israel in the Scripture that, ‘You will surely cause corruption on the Earth twice, and you will surely reach (a degree of) great haughtiness. So when the (time of) promise came for the first of them, We sent against you worshippers of Ours - those of great military might, and they probed (even) into the territory, and it was a promise fulfilled (Al-Isra, 17: 4-5).

Then We gave back to you a return victory over them. And We reinforced you with wealth and sons and made you more numerous in manpower. (And said) ‘If you do good, you do good for yourselves; and if you do evil, (you do it) to yourselves.’ Then when the latter (second) promise came, (We sent your enemies) to sadden your faces and to enter the Mosque (the temple in Jerusalem), as they entered it the first time, and to destroy what they had taken over with (total) destruction. (Then Allah said): ‘It is expected, (if you repent), that your Lord will have mercy upon you. But if you return (to sin), We will return (to punishment). And We have made Hell, for the disbelievers, a prison-bed’” (Al-Isra, 17: 6-8).

The Holy Quran foretold the Jewish global dispersion, diaspora and the impossibility of a Greater Israel

The Holy Quran further affirms that the prevailing tendency towards transgression among the Israelites will ultimately lead to their global dispersion, diaspora and affliction. There will be no escape from the sealed fate. The events that have plagued the Israelites (Jews) in the past two hundred years, including the spread of anti-Semitism and the accompanying acts of aggression, can be interpreted as a realization of the Quranic prophecy.

The Holy Quran is explicit that the Israelites will be forever scattered throughout the Earth, and that there will always be those who will afflict them with a variety of punishment, including the worst types. Yet again, their noncompliance and defiance will be the underlying reason; nevertheless, the door for repentance and reformation will remain open.

The Holy Quran says: “And (mention) when your Lord declared that He would surely (continue to) send upon them (the Jews) until the Day of Resurrection those who would afflict them with the worst torment. Indeed, your Lord is swift in penalty; but indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful. And We divided them throughout the Earth into nations. Of them some were righteous, and of them some were otherwise. And We tested them with good (times) and bad that perhaps they would return (to obedience) (Al-A’raf, 7: 167-168).

The potential existence of a Greater Israel, in which all Jews will live together one day, is also repudiated by the above verses. The Holy Quran adds that the only time when the Jews will be brought together will be during the time of the current, "latter" (second) period of the Israelite transgression and corruption on Earth, when “We shall bring you (together) as a crowd gathered out of various nations” (Al-Isra, 17: 104). {2}

In actual fact, the idea of a Greater Israel has always been a mere figment of the imagination of deluded idealists and a deceptive tactic employed by the corrupt Israeli politicians. As the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert once remarked in 2008: “Greater Israel is over. There is no such thing anymore. Whoever uses this language only deludes themselves.”


Dr. Spahic Omer, an award-winning author, is an Associate Professor at the Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). He studied in Bosnia, Egypt and Malaysia. In the year 2000, he obtained his PhD from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur in the field of Islamic history and civilization. His research interests cover Islamic history, culture and civilization, as well as the history and theory of Islamic built environment. IIUM Academia: Curriculum Vitae Website:

How and Why the Israelites Lost the Promised Land - IslamiCity


Editor's Notes:

{1} Kings David and Solomon are revered in the Holy Quran and referred to as Prophets Dawood and Sulayman,  peace be upon them (Al-Nisa, 4: 163).

{2} The correct translation of the Arabic word "Al-Akhira," in Al-Isra (17: 7 of the Holy Quran), is "the latter," in reference to the second Israelite transgression and corruption on Earth. It's not a reference to the Day of Judgment.





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