The Jews say they are the 'chosen people' of God, while the non-Jews are goyim created to serve the Jews. The Christians say that 'because the Jews rejected the only ((begotten --as per christians)) son of God', they were rejected by God. What is the Islamic view on this issue? Are the Jews still the 'chosen people' of God, even after rejecting Prophet Jesus(PBUH) who is the Christ(Messiah) and the last Prophet and Messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)?


1 Answer 1


Allah's chosen people are those who abide by His criteria for being chosen. The Jews were neither God's chosen people then nor now. I suppose you are referring to the Children of Israel being the chosen group at one stage, rather than the Jews:

يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتِيَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأَنِّي فَضَّلْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

O Children of Israel, remember My favor that I have bestowed upon you and that I preferred you over the worlds.

Surat Al-Baqarat 2:47

The criteria, from an Islamic point of view, for being among God's chosen people are clearly stipulated in the Qur'an:

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah. If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient.

Surat Ali 'Imran 3:110

Said criteria being:

  1. Enjoining what is right
  2. Forbidding what is wrong
  3. Believing in Allah.

To assume that said criteria were satisfied only by the Jews is incorrect. In fact, the same verse implies that the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not always believe in Allah. This is in addition to numerous textual evidence that the People of the Scripture neither always enjoined what is right (e.g., Qur'an 7:164) nor forbade what is wrong (e.g., Qur'an 5:79).

To assume that this verse 3:110 is referring to followers of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ only is equally incorrect. The verse refers to all Muslims at any time, let that be followers of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ or Prophet Ibrahim ﷺ or Prophet Mussa ﷺ or any other prophet or messenger for that matter.

The reasons that the Children of Israel were among God's chosen people at one time are also listed in the Qur'an. They were given:

  1. Scripture
  2. Authority to rule
  3. Consistent presence of prophethood among them (not to be assumed that all prophets were from them; rather, among them, they always had prophets)
  4. Knowledge.

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحُكْمَ وَالنُّبُوَّةَ وَرَزَقْنَاهُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

And We did certainly give the Children of Israel the Scripture and judgement and prophethood, and We provided them with good things and preferred them over the worlds.

Surat Al-Jathiyah 45:16

وَلَقَدِ اخْتَرْنَاهُمْ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

And We certainly chose them by knowledge over [all] the worlds.

Surat Ad-Dukhan 44:32

وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ يَا قَوْمِ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ جَعَلَ فِيكُمْ أَنبِيَاءَ وَجَعَلَكُم مُّلُوكًا وَآتَاكُم مَّا لَمْ يُؤْتِ أَحَدًا مِّنَ الْعَالَمِينَ

And [mention, O Muhammad], when Moses said to his people, "O my people, remember the favor of Allah upon you when He appointed among you prophets and made you possessors and gave you that which He had not given anyone among the worlds.

Surat Al-Ma'idah 5:20

كَانَتْ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ تَسُوسُهُمُ الأَنْبِيَاءُ كُلَّمَا هَلَكَ نَبِيٌّ خَلَفَهُ نَبِيٌّ

Banu Isra'il were ruled over by the Prophets. When one Prophet died, another succeeded him.

Sahih Muslim, Book 33, Hadith 71

To the People of the Scripture, being God's chosen people is a matter of heritage; they perceive themselves as the "children of the Lord" (see Deuteronomy 14:1), and that once Israel's remnant was restored, they cannot go wrong (see Zephaniah 3:12-13). This understanding is, in fact, incorrect from both the text of the People of the Scripture and Islam.

Deuteronomy 32 talks about making the Children of Israel angry by a nation that has no understanding:

They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding.

Deuteronomy 32:21 (NIV)

In Idhhār al-Haq 5/1132-1133 (Arabic only), Rahmatullah Kairanawi explains that the nation that has no understanding refers to the Arabs since they had no previous Divine Scripture. The criteria for remaining as God's chosen people, after becoming so, are also clearly stipulated in the Qur'an:

الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ

[And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of [all] matters.

Surat Al-Haj 22:41

So the Jews fell out of this group long before they rejected Prophet 'Issa ﷺ, as did the Christians long before they rejected Prophet Mohammad ﷺ.

Furthermore, Allah challenged them over their claim that their heritage is the reason for them being chosen:

وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ نَحْنُ أَبْنَاءُ اللَّهِ وَأَحِبَّاؤُهُ قُلْ فَلِمَ يُعَذِّبُكُم بِذُنُوبِكُم بَلْ أَنتُم بَشَرٌ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقَ يَغْفِرُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَاءُ وَلِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ

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.

Surat Al-Ma'idah 5:18

They are then informed that they are nothing other than "human beings from among those He has created." Allah also confirmed that (as in Deuteronomy 32:21) when the prophethood was given to another nation, and they recognized that it was Divine, they rejected Allah's message:

وَلَمَّا جَاءَهُمْ كِتَابٌ مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ مُصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَهُمْ وَكَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ يَسْتَفْتِحُونَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُم مَّا عَرَفُوا كَفَرُوا بِهِ فَلَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ

And when there came to them a Book from Allah confirming that which was with them — although before they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieved — but [then] when there came to them that which they recognized, they disbelieved in it; so the curse of Allah will be upon the disbelievers.

Surat Al-Baqarat 2:89

What you assumed that they never returned to being God's chosen people, and never will, is correct:

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا نَصِيبًا مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْجِبْتِ وَالطَّاغُوتِ وَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا هَٰؤُلَاءِ أَهْدَىٰ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا سَبِيلًا ــ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ وَمَن يَلْعَنِ اللَّهُ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُ نَصِيرًا

Have you not seen those who were given a portion of the Scripture, who believe in superstition and false objects of worship and say about the disbelievers, "These are better guided than the believers as to the way"? Those are the ones whom Allah has cursed; and he whom Allah curses — never will you find for him a helper.

Surat An-Nisa 4:51-52

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