This is a book review of Yehud Ki Chalees Bimariyan (“Forty Diseases Of The Jews”), authored by Maulana Masood Azhar, the emir of Pakistani jihadi organization Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), and published by Maktaba Hasan, a publishing house based in Pakistan. Maulana Masood Azhar is one of the three jihadi terrorists freed by India in exchange for the passengers of an Indian plane hijacked to Kandahar in December 1999, when the Taliban were in power in Afghanistan. The book was written in 1999 in the Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu and Kashmir where Maulana Masood Azhar was imprisoned by India along with other terrorists.
It must be mentioned that at the Kot Bhalwal prison, Indian officials facilitated the provision of numerous books for the militants. In the writing of this book, the terrorist commander Masood Azhar notes that he was able to receive numerous reference books he requested from Pakistan through his lawyer. In the Introduction, Masood Azhar also notes that some like-minded Kashmiri militants who were being transferred from Kot Bhalwal to some other prison also handed over their books to him, leading to the accumulation of 250 books. This was not the total number of books in the entire prison, but only of those in Azhar’s own library in his own ward at Kot Bhalwal.
The Urdu-language book is sold by Jaish-e-Muhammad in Pakistan and is available for free download from the organization’s various websites. The cover page carries a Koranic verse (2:120) in Arabic with the Urdu translation: “And the Jews will never be happy with you, nor will be the Christians until you follow their religion.” This verse is repeated on the next page along with another verse (5:51): “O believers, do not befriend the Jews and Christians. They are friends between themselves…” This book might be the most antisemitic book available in the Urdu language.
As per the book, a militant named Hafiz Sajjad Khan was killed by Indian prison officials at Kot Bhalwal on June 15, 1999. It was after this date that Masood Azhar and other militants in the jail started thinking over the fall of Muslims and came to the conclusion that some so-called diseases of Jews had influenced the character of Muslims. They began collecting the verses of the Koran that discussed the character of Jews. As per the Introduction, Masood Azhar signed off on the first volume of the book on September 20, 1999, when he was still in the Indian prison, and sent the book for publication. Maulana Masood Azhar is currently backed by the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and operates from Osman-o-Ali Mosque in Bahawalpur, the headquarters of JeM and its charity Al-Rehmat Trust. The group also publishes the Urdu weekly Haftroza Al-Qalam.
In this review, two words are used for yehudiyat: Judaism and Jewism. The former denotes a neutral concept while the latter carries a hateful connotation in the Urdu language. The 424-page book is divided into 68 chapters, in addition to a Foreword and an Introduction, in four sections. The titles of the sections and the chapters are interesting. Section One includes a chapter titled “The Struggle Against Jewism And Jihad Against The Jews.” Section Two has two chapters: “The 40 Diseases Of Jews – A Short Analysis” and “The List Of The 40 Diseases Of Jews.” Section Three has a chapter: “Detailed Examination Of The 40 Diseases.” Section Three is further divided into 10 sub-sections discussing 10 of the so-called diseases of the Jews. Section Four contains a chapter titled: “The Discussion Of Jews In The Koran.”
This book is the first volume of an intended two-volume series. It discusses in detail the so-called 10 diseases of the Jews, though a list of the 40 so-called diseases is also given in this volume. It seems that the second volume, which was expected to discuss in detail the rest of the 30 so-called diseases, may not have been written, though the author had plenty of time to do so in Pakistan after his release by India in 1999. This book review is, therefore, limited to the first volume, covering only 10 of the so-called diseases of the Jews.
440 Koranic Verses Concerning The Jews
The purpose of the book is to put forward the argument that the so-called diseases that led to the downfall of the Jews have spread among Muslims too. The author, Maulana Masood Azhar, writes: “To know, recognize, and understand Jewism, there is no better means than the Koran. The Koran is the identifier of the vein of Jewism. And the Koran has, time and again, presented Jewism as an example of failure and erring so that the entire humanity remains protected from those causes of failure and erring which have gathered with all force among the Jews.”
To find these diseases, the author and his friends collected all those verses in the Koran that discuss some issue or another concerning, in their opinion, the character of the Jews. They identified 440 verses in 34 chapters in the Koran concerning the character of Jews. They also noted that a further 41 verses can be interpreted to shed light on the character of Jews. Before reviewing the author’s discussion of 10 of these so-called 40 diseases, it is relevant to mention these Koranic verses and chapters, which are given by the author as an appendix to the book. According to the author, these 440 Koranic verses are:
Chapter 1 Al-Fatiha – Verse 7 (Total=1); Chapter 2 Al-Baqara – Verses 40-109, 111-113, 116-117, 120-124, 132-137, 139-142, 144-146, 150 and 159, 160, 174-177, 211 and 243, 246-251 and 253. (Total=109) A note says: Verses 114 and 115 of Al-Baqara could also be related to Jews in terms of interpretation; Chapter 3 Al-Imran – Verses 19-25, 28 and 52, 54-56, 64-80, 93-96, 98-101, 105, 110-115, 118-120, 181-184, 186-189 (Total=55); Chapter 4 Al-Nisa – Verses 37, 44-47, 49-55, 60, 123, 131, 137, 144, 150-151, 153-162 (Total=29);
Chapter 5 Al-Mai’dah – Verses 5, 12-13, 15-16, 18-26, 32, 41-45, 48-53, 57-66, 68-71, 77-82, 110 (Total=47). A note says that verses 46 and 47 of Al-Mai’dah could also be related to Jews; Chapter 6 Al-An’am – Verses 20, 114, 146 (Total=3); Chapter 7 Al-A’raaf – Verses 105, 127-129, 134, 137-142, 145-150, 152-157, 159-171, 175-176 (Total=38); Chapter 9 Al-Tauba – Verses 29-35 (Total=7); Chapter 10 Yunus – Verses 83-94 (Total=12); Chapter 11 Hud – Verse 110 (Total=1); Chapter 13 Al-Ra’ad – Verses 36-37 (Total=2); Chapter 14 Ibrahim – Verses 5-9 (Total=5); Chapter 16 Al-Nahl – Verse 118 (Total=1);
Chapter 17 Al-Isra aka Bani Israel – Verses 2-8, 85, 101, 103-104 (Total=11); Chapter 19 Maryam – A note says that the first 37 verses of this chapter concern the Bani Israel (i.e. the Jews) and there is a discussion of their diseases as well; Chapter 20 Taha – Verses 47, 77-48, 80-98 (Total=22); Chapter 22 Al-Hajj – Verse 17 (Total=1); Chapter 26 As-Shu’ara – Verses 17-22, 52-68, 197 (Total=20); Chapter 27 Al-Naml – Verse 76 (Total=1); Chapter 28 Al-Qasas – Verses 4-6, 52-55, 76-82 (Total=14); Chapter 29 Al-Ankabut – Verses 39-40, 46-47 (Total=4) Chapter 32 As-Sajdah – Verses 23-25 (Total=3);
Chapter 33 Al-Ahzab – Verses 26-27, 60-62, 69 (Total=6); Chapter 37 Al-Saffat – Verses 115-116 (Total=2); Chapter 40 Al-Mumin aka Al-Ghafir – Verses 24-25, 53-44 (Total=4); Chapter 41 Ha-Mim Al-Sajda aka Al-Fussilat – Verse 45 (Total=1); Chapter 44 Al-Dukhan – Verses 18, 23-33 (Total=12); Chapter 45 Al-Jathiya – Verses 16-17 (Total=2); Chapter 59 Al-Hashr – Verses 2-7, 11-12, 14 (Total=9); Chapter 60 Al-Mumtahanah – Verse 13 (Total=1); Chapter 61 Al-Saf – Verses 5-7 and 14 (Total=4); Chapter 62 Al-Jum’uah – Verses 5-8 (Total=4); Chapter 74 Al-Mudatthir – Verses 31 (Total=1); Chapter 98 Al-Bayyinah – Verses 1-8 (Total=8).
“Judaism Became Another Name For Those Beliefs, Ideas, And Practices Which Were Invented By Satan”; Prophet Muhammad Said: “Allah Willing, If I Am Alive, Then I Will Expel The Jews And Christians From The Arabian Peninsula”
The author Masood Azhar begins the discussion by saying that the Jewish people were the most favored by God: “The doors of sky were open for their worshippers”; “The clouds were the guardians over their heads for decades”; “Angels would land down to fight for them”; “They were given so much respect and greatness that Allah declared them the loved ones,” and so on. He proceeds to argue why Jews fell from the grace of Allah.
Masood Azhar notes that the incidents mentioned in the Koran are not mere stories, but explain “why a respected person is disgraced suddenly” and “strong persons suddenly turn [into] paupers.” He states: “So long as the Judaism of Jews remained in obedience before the orders of Allah, they remained deserving of Allah’s aid and love. But when Judaism changed its face and became the second name for Satanism and oppression, the same Jews who were the friends of Allah became the recipients of his wrath…” The militant commander notes: “In other words, Judaism became another name for those beliefs, ideas, and practices which were invented by Satan.”
“Thus, this is the reason Allah has cautioned Muslims everywhere in the Koran to save themselves from the diseases of Jews, or Jewism,” Masood Azhar says that Allah has ordered Muslims not to maintain friendship and contact with the Jews and Christians. He cites several Koranic verses: 2:109 – “Many of the People of the Book [i.e. Jews and Christians] wish they could turn you back to unbelief after you have believed…” 2:120 – “And never will the Jews or the Christians be happy with you until you accept their religion…” 3:100 – “O you who have believed, if you obey a party of those who were given the Book, they would turn you back (to being) unbelievers…”
Masood Azhar cites two more verses from the Koran: 5:51 – “O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are (in fact) allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is (one) of them…” 5:52 – “So you see those in whose hearts is disease hastening into (association with) them, saying, ‘We are afraid a misfortune may strike us.’ But perhaps Allah will bring conquest or a decision from Him, and they will become, over what they have been concealing within themselves, regretful…” He draws five conclusions from these two verses: 1. It is not right for Muslims to make infidels a wali (“nominee”); 2. Jews and Christians always unite against Islam; 3. Muslims who have only apparently accepted Islam run to sit in the lap of Jews and Christians; 4. Jewism seeps into those Muslims who become friends of Jews and Christians in greed of wealth and for fear of life; 5. When Allah makes Muslims victorious, those loyal to Jews and Christians will be disgraced.
Masood Azhar notes that the Prophet Muhammad felt “so much danger” to his followers pursuing the path of Jews that he kept cautioning them against taking this path. In Azhar’s opinion, the Prophet therefore decided to cleanse the Arab lands of Jews. Masood Azhar cites two hadiths from the Book of Tirmidhi as per which Prophet Muhammad said: “Allah willing, if I am alive, then I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian peninsula”; “I will expel the Jews and Christians… from the Arabian peninsula and will not allow anyone but Muslims to live here.” From the Book of Bukhari, a hadith is cited as per which the Prophet Muhammad told the Jews clearly that “the only path for security for you is to accept Islam” and “very soon, I am about to expel you.”
“Jewism Is One Cancer In Which A Thousand More Cancers Are Hidden; And The Jews Are The Traders And Distributors Of This Cancer”; “Jews Are Not Just The Owners Of Mischief, But Its Inventors And Traders Too”
Arguing that Jewism has entered the beliefs, ideas, and practices of Muslims, the author makes the following observation: “Jewism is one cancer in which a thousand more cancers are hidden. And the Jews are the traders and distributors of this cancer. And they are such experts of this business that they always paste such labels on this cancer that Muslims longingly buy this cancer by giving their wealth and imbibe in their blood the influences of this cancer.” He concludes that “Islam and Jewism do not mingle between them because Islam is the torchbearer of Tawheed [Islamic monotheism] while Jewism is invitation to idolatry.” Masood Azhar adds: “Jews are not just the owners of mischief, but its inventors and traders too. Every day, every moment, the concern of every Jew is that he invent a new evil/mischief and spread it in the entire world and after spreading it receive money and praise.”
“Thus, due to this reason, it is right to say that the Jews are the cancer seeping into all of humanity who themselves have become rotten, but now their influences are spreading everywhere. If this cancer is not cut off, its path is not stopped, then all of humanity will rot and will be destroyed,” the militant commander observes. He calls upon “Muslims to cleanse their system, culture, and personality of the evil influences of Jewism and, by becoming the real Muslim, to challenge the Jews in the battlefield of jihad. Then they will discover that the Jews are the world’s most cowardly nation… But the condition is that Muslims first cleanse themselves of the diseases of Jewism…”
Masood Azhar lists 40 so-called diseases of the Jews that have seeped into the character of Muslims: 1. Disobedience to Allah and his Prophet, 2. Pride in lineage (to Islam) despite the lack of faith, 3. Differences in faith, meaning obeying some orders of Allah and not others, 4. Worshipping human desires, 5. Hiding the truth, 6. Mixing the truth and falsehood, 7. Mitigating religion and trading off religion, 8. Greed and lack of patience, 9. The tongue engaging in lies and deceit, 10. Parsimony and the teaching of parsimony, 11. Lack of trust in prophets, 12. Moralizing while engaging in the opposite, 13. Avoiding jihad, 14. Breaking a pledge, 15. Not following the orders of Allah completely, 16. Blaming others for one’s sins, 17. Following and eating haram (“forbidden”) things; 18. Aiding others against our own, 19. Claims without proof, 20. Bil-‘amiat (unclear), 21. Intra-religion sectarianism due to envy and stubbornness;
22. Killings and bloodshed among ourselves, 23. Lust of life and cowardice, 24. Recognizing truth and rejecting it, 25. Objections against Allah’s orders, 26. Discriminating between angels, 27. Lavishness and extravagance, 28. Lack of obedience of those in religious authority, 29. Rejecting the principle of Amr bil Maroof wa Nahi Anil Munkar (“enjoining what is right and forbidding what is evil”), 30. Engaging in magic, 31. Not enforcing the Book of Allah, 32. Misleading the righteous, 33. Harshness of heart, 34. Disgracing Maryam, the mother of Jesus, 35. Dishonoring Allah and his prophets, and blasphemy, 36. Saamriat (“Samaritanism,” unclear, but may mean magic and the madness that gets into the head of a politically powerful state), 37. Killing of the prophets, 38. Duplicity or complicity in sin and evil, 39. Kufr (“unbelief”), and 40. Idolatry. Only the first 10 of these so-called diseases are discussed in the book.
* Tufail Ahmad is Senior Fellow for the MEMRI Islamism and Counter-Radicalization Initiative.