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Copyright © 2009 Joseph A Islam: Article last modified 31st March 2011



The majority of Muslims today regretfully interpret their scripture (Quran) through the lens of the Islamic Secondary Sources rather than studying the Quran from within its own context. There is strong adherence to the traditions as collected by men centuries removed from the time of the Prophet's ministry but attributed to the Prophet of God. Many of them are blindly followed without question.


With regards Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and the Children of Israel, we read:



“And (I come) confirming that which is between the hands (Arabic: bayna yadayya) of the Torah, and so that I make lawful for you some of that which was forbidden to you. I come to you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to God and obey me”


The above verse's reference to lifting certain prohibitions may be a reference to prior commandments, or those traditions that were self imposed by the Children of Israel and not necessarily decreed by God.


Despite the nature of the prohibition, from the Biblical narrative it seems clear that at the time of Prophet Jesus's (pbuh) ministry,  the Jews had undoubtedly added to their practices and made their ‘Deen’ (religion) increasingly difficult by adhering to the traditions of their forefathers.




The 'Earliest' Synoptic Gospel (Based on consensus)


MARK 7 Verses 1-9


"The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were "unclean," that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders). When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles"


So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with 'unclean' hands?"


He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: 


'These people honour me with their lips,  but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.


You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."


And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”






It appears through our experiences of history, little ever really changes. True teachings of God are at best infiltrated and at worst abandoned in preference for the traditions of men.


Many Muslim preachers and clergy today operate no differently to the Pharisees during the ministry of Prophet Jesus. (pbuh) Traditions regrettably often take priority over the commandments of God given to us by scripture.


See related article:  Do Not Complicate Religion - Wisdom from Surah Baqarah




Joseph Islam

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