The issue of whether Muslims should cooperate with Jews has sparked a debate after Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria said he is against working with Israeli Jews, even if they do not identify with Zionist ideology.
Opposing the view, former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin (left) pointed out that Islam is not against Jews, and that it is a religion that respects all races and does not punish any individual on the basis of ethnicity.
"Islam does not force people to embrace Islam or fight against (someone) because of different religion,” he said in a statement.
"Hence, Jews should not be punished because of their ethnicity or faith. The rivalry between Jewish community and Prophet Muhammad in history was due to the former’s hostility to Islam, not because of ethnicity.”
He said Prophet Muhammad had a Jewish wife, Safiyyah Huyai, and a Jewish friend named Abdullah Salam, and had mortgaged things to Jews, as well as visited ailing Jews.
"It showed that we can be nice to Jews on the basis of friendship which does not betray Islam or (or for the purpose) of preaching,” noted Ari, an influential Islamic scholar.
"Moreover, Surah al-Maidah in the Quran allows marriage with Jewish and Christian women categorised as Ahlul Kitab.”
Asri also quotedSurah al-Mumtahah, 8-9, a translated version of which states: ‘Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes, from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.
‘Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion - [Allah forbids] that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers.”
This has become the basis for Muslims to engage people of different religions, Asri concluded.
The issue had been raised by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang who said the party allows cooperation with Jews, especially in commerce, but rejected Zionism.
Harussani then claimed that Jews in Israel are kafir harbi (non-believers who wage war against Islam) as they consider Muslims to be their enemy and are colonising a Muslim country.