The Jewish Roots Of Sunni “Islam”; Rabbi Ka’ab al-Ahbar and his religion

Rabbi Ka’ab al-Ahbar left a long lasting legacy..

Praise be to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ), for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

As-salāmu `alaykum, there’s an ongoing sectarian slur on the part of Sunnis against Shia Muslims that the Shia thought emerged from the teachings of a Jew named Abdullah ibn Saba’. Such accusation is meant to defame (Shia) Islam as “non-Islamic”. Despite the fact that Saba is a fictional character that never existed, as proved by multiple historians both Western and Muslim, including Sunni ones; Taha Hussein, Ali al-Wardi, Bernard Lewis, Wilferd Madelung, Askari. Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari’s account of ibn Saba is a sheer fiction. “Sunni” historians Taha Hussein and Ali al-Wardi maintain that Ibn Saba’ was the creation of Umayyad propaganda. Ka’ab al-Ahbar, however, was real. His teachings had profound influence over the development of a Sunni religion.

Abdullah ibn Saba; Sunni anti-Shia myth

The Sunni fairytale of ibn Saba can be traced to its original creator, Sayf ibn Umar (died 796 CE/174 AH). The anti-Shia propaganda tool was basically unknown until ibn Umar wrote it and Al-Tabari (died 932 CE/310 AH) picked it up from him, some 250-300 years after the death of the Prophet. Ibn Umar and Al-Tabari lived at the time when the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates were in constant fear of Muhammad’s descendants claims to power, and uprisings, just as the Abbasids promised to hand over the power to them after the overthrow of the Umayyads. Hence, the myth of ibn Saba came in handy to discredit and humiliate Muhammad’s descendants and their followers.

Oxford Bibliographies Online points out:

Sunni historiography, which spread the imaginary tale of the Shiʿa erroneously begun by Ibn Sabaʼ, a Yemeni Jew stirring up the rebellion against ʻUthman. Al-Tabari relied on Sayf b. Umar, a Kufan historian whose account of early Islamic history heavily influenced later Sunni historiography (see Rosenthal 1989 and Madelung 2009).

Source: Oxford Bibliographies Online, Ghadir Khumm by Arzina Lalani

But our dear reader will ask, how reliable is Sayf ibn Umar? Let’s answer with the opinions of the Sunni scholars.

al-Dhahabi (d. 748 AH) has quoted from the book of Sayf in his History, but wrote in “al-Mughni fi al-Dhu’afa'” that: “Sayf has two books which have been unanimously abandoned by the scholars.”                                Yahya Ibn Mueen (d. 233 AH) wrote: “Sayf’s narrations are weak and useless.”
Abu Hatam (d. 277 AH) wrote: “Sayf’s Hadith is rejected.”
JIbn Abi Hatam (d. 327 AH) wrote: “Scholars have abandoned Sayf’s narrations.”
Ibn Habban (d. 354 AH) wrote: “Sayf attributed fabricated traditions to the good reporters. He was accused of being a heretic and a liar.”
Ibn Abd al-Barr (d. 462 AH) mentioned in his writing about al-Qa’qa: “Sayf reported that al-Qa’qa Said: I attended the death of the Prophet Muhammad.” Ibn Adb al-Barr continued: “Ibn Abu Hatam said: Sayf is weak. Thus, what was conveyed of the presence of al-Qa’qa at the death of the Prophet is rejected. We mentioned the Sayf’s traditions for knowledge only.”
al-Darqutini (d. 385 AH) wrote: “Sayf is weak”.
Firuzabadi (d. 817 AH) in “Towalif” mentioned Sayf and some others by saying: “They are weak.”
Ibn al-Sakan (d. 353 AH) wrote: “Sayf is weak.”
Safi al-Din (d. 923 AH) wrote: “Sayf is considered weak.”
Ibn Udei (d. 365 AH) wrote about Sayf: “He is weak. Some of his narrations are famous yet the majority of his narrations are disgraceful and not followed.”
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (d. 852 AH) wrote after mentioning a tradition: “Many reporters of this tradition are weak, and the weakest among them is Sayf.”
al-Hakim (d. 405 AH) wrote: “Sayf is accused of being a heretic. His narrations are abandoned.”
Abu Dawud (d. 316 AH) wrote: “Sayf is nothing. He was a liar. Some of his Hadiths were conveyed and the majority of them are denied.”
al-Suyuti (d. 900 AH) wrote: “Sayf’s Hadith is weak.”
al-Nisa’i (d. 303 AH) wrote: “Sayf’s narrations are weak and they should be disregarded because he was unreliable and untrustworthy.”

Source: Sayyid Murtada Al-’Askari, Abdullah ibn Saba and Other Historical Legends, pages 27-28

The myth of ibn Saba became popular among nasibis. Historians and writers, one after the other recorded it, adding more and more to it. With a glance at the chain of transmitters of this story, you will find the name of Sayf being always at the very beginning. The following Sunni historians recorded directly from Sayf:

(1) Tabari.
(2) Dhahabi. He has also cited from Tabari(1).
(3) Ibn Abi Bakir. He has also recorded from Ibn Athir(15), who has recorded from Tabari(1).
(4) Ibn Asakir.

The following have recorded indirectly from Sayf (mainly through al-Tabari):

(5) Nicholson from Tabari(1).
(6) Encyclopedia of Islam from Tabari(1).
(7) Van Floton from Tabari(1).
(8) Wellhauzen from Tabari(1).
(9) Mirkhand from Tabari(1).
(10) Ahmad Amin from Tabari(1), and from Wellhauzen(8).
(11) Farid Wajdi from Tabari(1).
(12) Hasan Ibrahim from Tabari(1).
(13) Saeed Afghani from Tabari(1), and from Ibn Abi Bakir(3), Ibn Asakir(4), and Ibn Badran(21).                                                                       (14) Ibn Khaldoon from Tabari(1).
(15) Ibn Athir from Tabari(1).
(16) Ibn Kathir from Tabari(1).
(17) Donaldson from Nicholson(5), and from Encyclopedia(6).
(18) Ghiath al-Din from Mirkhand(9).
(19) Abul Fida from Ibn Athir(15).
(20) Rashid Ridha from Ibn Athir(15).
(21) Ibn Badran from Ibn Asakir(4).
(22) Bostani from Ibn Kathir(16).

The above list gives evidence to the fact that the fictional stories about Abdullah ibn Saba had been started by Sayf and cited next by Tabari directly from Sayf’s book as Tabari mentioned himself (see the chain of narrators of traditions related to Abdullah ibn Saba, inside the History of Tabari. For instance, see the index of Vol. 15, English version, under the name of Sayf ibn Umar or Abdullah ibn Saba).

It is worth to point out that there is NO mention of Abdullah ibn Saba in any of the six authentic Sunni hadith collections. Surely ibn Saba would of been mentioned there if he wasn’t such an outwardly fictional character, who allegedly started Shia Islam and stirred rebellion against third Sunni Caliph-usurper, Uthman.

Allamah Sharif ‘Askari wrote a work titled Abdullah ibn Saba and Other Historical Legends, where based upon a throughout study of Shia and Sunni literature, he came to conclusion based on detailed evidence that ibn Saba was a non-existing figure developed by Sayf ibn Umar for the purpose of the anti-Shia Umayyad propaganda. Putting fictional character of Ibn Saba aside, let’s analyze the very real Jewish roots of the Sunni religion, that is so called “Sunni Islam”.

Yaakov ben Shallum, alias Ka’ab al-Ahbar; a Jewish rabbi advisor to Umar, Uthman and Muawiyah. The father of a Sunni religion. 

Ka’ab al-Ahbar (full adopted Arab name; Abū Iṣḥaq Ka‘b ibn Mati‘ al-Humyari al-Aḥbār, born Yaakov ben Shallum) was a prominent Jewish rabbi educated in Pumbedita Academy. According to Sunni traditions, he is counted among the Tabi’in and narrated many Isra’iliyat. Therefore, he was an influential figure in the reigns of the usurpers Umar, Uthman and Muawiyah.

Jewish and Sunni sources (for example, al-Tabari) intensively mention Yaakov ben Shallum/Ka’ab al-Ahbar, and the influence he had upon Sunni religion. Read his short Jewish biography that relies on Sunni sources, here. (This website is run by the Committee for Historical Research in Islam and Judaism in Jerusalem, Israel.)

One of the examples. According to Sunni traditions, Ka‘ab believed that “Every event that has taken place or will take place on any foot of the earth, is written in the Tourat (Torah), which God revealed to his Prophet Moses”. (Sunni source: Yusuf ibn Abd-al-Barr – al-Istiab, v3, p1287 Printed in Cairo 1380 A.H) He is said to have predicted the death of Umar using the Torah. According to one narration, Ka‘ab told Umar “you ought to write your will because you will die in three days.” Umar responded “I do not feel any pain or sickness”. Abu Lulu (radhiallahu ‘anhu) assassinated Umar two days later. (Sunni source: Tarikh al-Tabari v4, p191 Printed by Dar al-Maarif – Cairo)

After Umar’s death, Ka‘ab started officially issuing fatwas for Uthman, then he went to Syria and became one of the top Mu‘awiyah’s advisers:

The influence of Yaakov continued to grow after the death of ‘Umar. During the reign of the Third Khalif ‘Uthman, Yaakov was able to give verdicts in Islamic law. The Khalif often agreed with him, and no one among the attendants of the Khalif’s meetings would oppose him. During Mu’awiyah’s sojourn at Medina on the occasion of his visit to Khalif ‘Uthman, Mu’awiyah asked Yaakov how the prevailing Khawarji disturbances against ‘Uthman would end. Ka’b predicted that ‘Uthman would be murdered and that in the long run the Grey Mule (meaning Mu’awiyah) would succeed in rising to power.

Sunni source: See any Tārīkh al-Rusul wa al-Mulūk (eng. History of the Prophets and Kings), more commonly known as Tarikh al-Tabari (eng. History of al-Tabari).

Islamic literature says Yaakov obtained a prominent position with Mu’awiyah. It is said that Yaakov moved from Medina to Damascus during the reign of ‘Uthman. There he lived in the shadow of Mu’awiyah who befriended him and made him one of his closest associates. Mu’awiyah directed Ka’b to report anything that he considered advantageous to him. Mu’awiyah ordered Ka’b to narrate to the people of Damascus anything that puts Syria and its people above other provinces.

Sunni source: Mahmood Abu Rayyah, in his book Adhwa (lights) on AI-Sunnah AI-Muhammadiyyah, reported that Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalani, recorded in his book (Al-Isabah, part 5, page 323). Also, see any Tārīkh al-Rusul wa al-Mulūk (eng. History of the Prophets and Kings), more commonly known as Tarikh al-Tabari (eng. History of al-Tabari).

Opinions on Ka’ab al-Ahbar and his Sunni teachings

Abd Allah ibn Abbas:

Abd Allah ibn Abbas disputed a view by Ka’ab that “on the day of the judgement the sun and the moon will be brought forth like two stupefied bulls and thrown to hell“. According to the renowned Sunni scholar Al-Tabari, Ibn Abbas responded “Kaab is a liar!” three times, quoting the Quran that the sun and moon are obedient to Allah. He accused Ka’ab of trying to introduce Jewish myths into Islam. (Sunni source: Tabari – History of al-Tabari, v1, p62 – 63)

Abu Dhar al-Ghifari:

Rabbinic literature says al-Achbar/Yaakov was executed in 643CE. Islamic histories mention that around this time Abu Dharr, a strict ascetic, became incensed upon hearing Ka’b giving verdicts in Islamic law. Yaakov had justified ‘Uthman’s withholding State funds from being distributed to the poor. Abu Dharr struck and perhaps killed Yaakov with his rod, saying Son of a Jewish lady, are you trying to teach us our religion? (Sunni source: Tabari – History of al-Tabari)

Within the Sunni tradition Ka’ab is seen as a trustworthy scholar:

Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, a 14/15th-century Sunni Shafi’i scholar, wrote:

Ka`b Ibn Mati` al-Himyari, Abu Ishaq, known as Ka`b al-Ahbar, is trustworthy (thiqah). He belongs to the 2nd [tabaqah]. He lived during both Jahiliyyah and Islam. He lived in Yemen before he moved to Sham [~Syria]. He died during the Caliphate of `Uthman exceeding 100 years of age.

Source: Ibn Hajar Asqalani, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, Op Cit., p. 135.

Al-Tabari, famous 9/10th-century Sunni Jariri scholar, recalls countless traditions/narrations related to Ka’ab al-Ahbar in his Tārīkh al-Rusul wa al-Mulūk (eng. History of the Prophets and Kings), more commonly known as Tarikh al-Tabari (eng. History of al-Tabari). For example, we learn from al-Tabari that Ka’ab predicted the death of Umar using the Torah. Another example, al-Tabari mentions that by using the Torah, Ka’ab foretold Muawiyah his usurpation as a first Sunni Umayyad caliph.

It is worth to point out that unlike Abdullah ibn Saba, Ka’ab al-Ahbar is mentioned in the six authentic Sunni hadith collections!

Yaakov ben Shallum/Ka’ab al-Ahbar in authentic Sunni hadith collections

Sunnis are very well known to be either ignorant about their own religion or pathological liars. Many Sunni nasibi websites claim that Yaakov ben Shallum/Ka’ab al-Ahbar is not mentioned in the six authentic Sunni collections. Sadly for them, he is:

Abu Huraira teaches his Jewish master Ka’ab al-Ahbar:

Classification of hadith: Sahih (authentic)

Sunni collection: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Muslim. In Sunni “Islam”, it’s considered second the most authentic book after the Quran.

Sahih Muslim Book 1 Hadith 388

Amr b. Abu Sufyan reported: Abu Huraira said to Ka’b al-Ahbar that the Apostle of Allah (Peace be upon him) had said: For every apostle there Is a (special) prayer by which he would pray (to his Lord). I, however, intend (if Allah so willed) that I would reserve my prayer for the intercession of my Ummah on the Day of Resurrection. Ka’b said to Abu Huraira: Did you hear this from the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)? Abu Huraira said: Yes.

Abu Huraira struggles with the views of his Jewish teacher Ka’ab al-Ahbar, another Jewish rabbi Abdullah ibn Salam comes to the rescue, Abu Huraira is convinced to accept their views on Sunni religion based on the teachings of Torah, not the Prophet of Islam:

Classification of hadith: Sahih (authentic)

Sunni collection: Muwatta Malik. In Sunni “Islam”, it’s considered one of the most authentic books after the Quran.

USC-MSA web (English) reference : Book 5, Hadith 17
Arabic reference : Book 5, Hadith 240

Yahya related to me from Malik from Yazid ibn Abdullah ibn al-Had from Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Harith at-Taymi from Abu Salama ibn Abd ar-Rahman ibn Awf that Abu Hurayra said, “I went out to at-Tur (Mount Sinai) and met Kab al Ahbar and sat with him. He related to me things from the Tawrah (Torah) and I related to him things from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Among the things I related to him was that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘The best of days on which the sun rises is the day of jumua. In it Adam was created, and in it he fell from the Garden. In it he was forgiven, and in it he died. In it the Hour occurs, and every moving thing listens from morning till sunset in apprehension of the Hour except jinn and men. In it is a time when Allah gives toa muslim slave standing in prayer whatever he asks for.’ Kab said, ‘That is one day in every year.’ I said, ‘No, in every jumua.’ Then Kab recited the Tawrah and said, ‘The Messenger of Allah has spoken the truth.’ ”
Abu Hurayra continued, “I met Basra ibn Abi Basra al-Ghiffari and he said, ‘Where have you come from?’ I said, ‘From at-Tur.’ He said, ‘If I had seen you before you left, you would not have gone. I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, “Only make a special journey to three mosques: the mosque of the Haram (Makka), this mosque (Madina), and the mosque of Ilya or the Bait al-Maqdis (two names of Jerusalem).” ‘ ” (He was not sure which expression was used.)
Abu Hurayra continued, “Then I met Abdullah ibn Salam and I told him that I had sat with Kabal-Ahbar, and I mentioned what I had related to him about the day of jumua, and told him that Kab had said, ‘That is one day in every year.’ Abdullah ibn Salam said, ‘Kab lied,’ and I added, ‘Kab then recited the Tawrah and said, “No, it is in every jumua.” ‘ Abdullah ibn Salam said, ‘Kab spoke the truth. ‘Then Abdullah ibn Salam said, ‘I know what time that is.’ ”
Abu Hurayra continued, “I said to him, ‘Let me know it – don’t keep it from me.’ Abdullah ibn Salam said, ‘It is the last period of time in the dayof jumua.’ ”
Abu Hurayra continued, “I said, ‘How can it be the last period of time in the day of jumua, when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “a muslim slave standing in prayer”, and that is a time when there is no prayer?’ Abdullah ibn Salam replied, ‘Didn’t the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, “Whoever sits waiting for the prayer is in prayer until he prays?” “‘
Abu Hurayra added, “I said, ‘Of course.’ He said, ‘Then it is that.’ “

Someone added weird, completely unrelated narration about pilgrimage in the middle of the hadith. Not very cleverly of Sunnis to smuggle their other made up narrations unnoticed. However, let’s continue.

Umar, second Sunni Caliph-usurper, made rabbi Ka’ab al-Ahbar his amir (eng. “commander-in-chief”, “general”; derived from the Arabic root a-m-r, “command”). During his rule, al-Ahbar issued fatwas (!) to his Sunni subjects that they can eat game and locust. Upon hearing of his rulings, at first Umar became furious (“Who told you, you could do that?”, notice the tone), but then knowing the author, Umar simply approved them. It’s noteworthy to mention that Jews have a long tradition of eating locust, and it is considered a delicacy in modern day Israel.

Classification of hadith: Sahih (authentic)

Sunni collection: Muwatta Malik. In Sunni “Islam”, it’s considered one of the most authentic books after the Quran.

USC-MSA web (English) reference : Book 20, Hadith 83
Arabic reference : Book 20, Hadith 787

Yahya related to me from Malik, from Zayd ibn Aslam, from Ata ibn Yasar, that Kab al-Ahbar was once coming back from Syria with a group of riders, and at a certain point along the road they found some game- meat and Kab said they could eat it. When they got back to Madina they went to Umar ibn al-Khattab and told him about that, and he said, “Who told you you could do that?”, and they said, ”Kab.” He said, “He was indeed the one I made amir over you until you should return.”
Later, when they were on the road to Makka, a swarm of locusts passed them by and Kab told them to catch them and eat them. When they got back to Umar ibn al-Khattab they told him about this, and he said (to Kab), “What made you tell them they could do that?” Kab said, “It is game of the sea.” He said, “How do you know?”, and Kab said, “Amir al- muminin, by the One in whose hand my self is, it is only the sneeze of a fish which it sneezes twice every year.”
Malik was asked whether a muhrim could buy game that he had found on the way. He replied, “Game that is only hunted to be offered to people performing Hajj I disapprove of and forbid, but there is no harm in game that a man has which he does not intend for those in ihram, but which a muhrim finds and buys.”
Malik said, about someone who had some game with him that he had hunted or bought at the time when he had entered into ihram, that he did not have to get rid of it, and that there was no harm in him giving it to his family.
Malik said that it was halal for some one in ihram to fish in the sea or in rivers and lakes, etc.

Again we can notice an addition to the hadith. This time at the end Sunni scholar “Imam” Malik added fatwa of his (and twisted explanation of it) on the subject of finding, buying and disposing of game by the muhrim in the state of ihram (a sacred state which a Muslim must enter in order to perform the major pilgrimage – Hajj, or the minor pilgrimage – Umrah). Randomness could be completely avoided if Sunni wizards, and their followers, would just open the Holy Quran:

O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts. Lawful for you are the animals of grazing livestock except for that which is recited to you [in this Qur’an] – hunting not being permitted while you are in the state of ihram. Indeed, Allah ordains what He intends. [5:1]

Other authentic Sunni ahadith about Ka’ab al-Ahbar can be further viewed here and here.

Sunni-Salafi website owned, run and operated by the Ministry of Awqaf (Endowments) and Islamic Affairs of the State of Qatar, states on Ka’ab al-Ahbar:

Fatwa No : 86343
Ka’b al-Ahbar
Fatwa Date : Sha’baan 1,
1424 / 27-9-2003
I want to know about Ka’b el-Ahbar.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

Books of biographies are full of stories about Ka’b al-Ahbar. For details one may refer to some history and biography books such as ‘Al-Isaabah’, by Ibn Hajar, ‘Ththeeb Al-Kamaal’ by Al-Mizzi, and others.
However, we may mention brief biographical notes about him: he is Ka’b bin Mana’ Al-Himyari Abu Is-haaq , from the tribe of Aal Thi Ra’een. He embraced Islam during the reign of Abu Bakr – some say during the reign of Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) and came to Al-Madinah, went to Syria, and then to Egypt where he died during the reign of Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) in the year 32 Hegira (some mention other dates).
Before Islam, he (may Allah have mercy upon his soul) was among the most outstanding Jewish monks. He read many books and narrated many stories and news.
Some companions quoted some matters from him, such as Ibn Abbas, Ibn Amr, Ibn Az-Zubair, and Abu Hurairah.

Allah knows best.

Source: – Ka’ab al-Ahbar

Shia Muslim stance:

Associated with the development of the Sunni religion, Ka’ab’s influence is deprecated within the (Shia) Islam.

Muhammad al-Tijani, an ex-Sunni Muslim scholar writes that “He (al-Ahbar) was a Jew from Yemen who pretended to have embraced Islam then went to Medina during the reign of Umar ibn al-Khattab.” Muhammad Jawad Chirri, a Muslim scholar, writes, after having quoted a hadith, “This dialogue should alert us to the deceptive and successful attempt on the part of Ka’b to influence future events by satanic suggestions. It contains a great deal of deception which produced many harmful results to Islam and the Muslims.”

Rabbi Shallum, alias Abu Bakr; a first Sunni “Caliph” who saved and preserved the Judaism

The notion that certain companions of the Islamic Prophet were practicising Jews who remained so even after supposedly accepting Islam, is widespread in the Jewish and non-Jewish literature. A prominent Jewish rabbi, historian and traveler Joseph Schwarz wrote in his work entitled “History of Palestine: 614 – 1096 C.E. From the Accession of the Mahomedans to that of the Europeans.“:

“(…) Mahomed had an astrologer at his court called Bucheran, who was a very great enemy of the Jews, and urged the prophet constantly to persecute and exterminate them entirely, so that Mahomed at length listened to the proposition, since he had without this already a hatred towards them, because they had not aided him in his campaigns according to his expectation; wherefore the whole Jewish population under his rule, ran great danger of being entirely cut off. Rabbi Shallum, son of the then Resh Gelutha, in Babel, perceiving this dreadful predicament, went to Mahomed, and offering him his submission, friendship, and services, endeavoured to enter with him into a friendly compact. Mahomed accepted his proposition with pleasure, conceived a great affection for him, and took his daughter, a handsome young girl, for wife; he made him also a general in his army, and gave him the name of Abu Bachr al Chaliva al Zadik, literally: The father of the maiden, the descendant of the righteous; this means, that of all his wives, who were either widows or divorced women, this one was the only one who had never been married before, and then she was the granddaughter of the celebrated chief of the captivity; therefore, the descendant of the righteous. This occurrence induced Mahomed to give up his terrible intention to destroy the Jews in his country, and thus did Rabbi Shallum save his people. (…)

Umar ibn al-Khat’tab; a second Sunni “Caliph” that tried to preach Judaism to the Muslims

Umar bin al-Khat’tab, second Sunni “Caliph”, was a well known person to be heavily under the Jewish influence and the teachings of Torah. According to the Sunni sources:

Abu Bakr al-Asfahani informed us> al-Hafiz Abu’l-Shaykh [al-Asfahani]> Abu Yahya al-Razi> Sahl ibn ‘Uthman> ‘Ali ibn Mushir> Dawud> al-Sha’bi who said: “Said ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be well pleased with him: ‘I used to go to the Jews upon their study of the Torah and was amazed to see the conformity of the Qur’an with the Torah and of the Torah with the Qur’an. On one occasion they said: ‘O ‘Umar! We do not like anyone more than we like you’. I asked: ‘And why is that?’ They said: ‘Because you come to us and mix with us’. I said: ‘I come to you only because of my amazement at how the different parts of the Book of Allah strengthen each other, and how the Qur’an is in conformity with the Torah and how the Torah is in conformity with the Qur’an’.

Sunni source: Tafsir of the Quran, Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi , trans. Mokrane Guezzou, on website owned by the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Amman, Jordan.

Classification of hadith: Sahih (authentic)

Sunni collection: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī. In Sunni “Islam”, it’s considered the most authentic book after the Quran.

Sahih al-Bukhari Book 60 Hadith 12

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The people of the Scripture (Jews) used to recite the Torah in Hebrew and they used to explain it in Arabic to the Muslims. On that Allah’s Apostle said, “Do not believe the people of the Scripture or disbelieve them, but say:– “We believe in Allah and what is revealed to us.” (2.136)

Narrated by Al-Bazzaar on the authority of Jaabir: He said, “‘Umar copied part of the Torah in Arabic, brought it to the Prophet , and began to read it to him. As he read, the Prophet’s face changed color. One of the men of the Ansaar said, “Woe to you Ibn Al-Khattab! Can you not see the face of the Messenger of Allah?’ Thereupon, the Prophet , said, ‘Do not ask the People of the Book about anything for they will not guide you when they have gone astray. (If you listen to them) You will either disbelieve in what is right or believe in what is false. By Allah, if Moses had been alive today, he would have been obliged to follow me.’

Sunni source: Sunni-Salafi website owned, run and operated by the Ministry of Awqaf (Endowments) and Islamic Affairs of the State of Qatar, How ‘Umar read the Torah.

Another version of this Sunni hadith goes as following:

Imams Ahmad and Ad-Darimi narrated that Umar Ibn al-Khattab brought to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) a copy of the Torah and said: Allah’s Messenger, this is a copy of the Torah. He (Allah’s Messenger) kept quiet and he (Umar) began to read it. The (colour) of the face of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) underwent a change, whereupon Abu Bakr said: Would that your mother mourn you, don’t you see the face of Allah’s Messenger? Umar saw the face of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and said: I seek refuge with Allah from the wrath of Allah and the wrath of His Messenger. We are well pleased with Allah as Lord, with Islam as religion, and with Muhammad as Prophet. Whereupon Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: By Him in Whose hand is the life of Muhammad, even if Moses were to appear before you and you were to follow him, leaving me aside, you would certainly stray into error; for if (Moses) were alive (now), and he found my prophetical ministry, he would have definitely followed me”.

Uthman; a third Sunni “Caliph” that continued the influence of a Jewish rabbi

The influence of Ka’ab continued to grow after the death of Umar. During the reign of the Third Caliph, Ka’ab was able to give verdicts in Islamic affairs. The Caliph often agreed with him, and no one among the attendants of the Caliph’s meetings would oppose him, except for people like Abu Dharr who became so furious one time upon hearing Ka’ab’s verdicts in Islam that he hit him with his rod saying “Son of a Jewish lady, are you trying to teach us our religion ?

To secure for himself a bigger influence and a better future after the death of the Uthman, Ka’ab tried to please Muawiyah by predicting his future arrival at the helm of the Islamic Rule. Caliph Uthman was returning from his pilgrimage accompanied by Muawiyah and the caravan driver sang a song in which he predicted that ‘Ali would be successor of Uthman. Ka’ab belied the singer saying:

By God, you “lie “. The ruler after Uthman will be the rider of the blond mule.

Here Ka’ab was referring to Muawiyah, and he falsely attributed this information to the Old Testament! Muawiyah had also ordered Ka’ab to narrate to the people of Damascus anything that puts Damascus and its people above other provinces. It is worth to mention that Syria was previously given to the Banu Umayya, a tribe fiercly opposed to the revelation of Islam and the Prophet’s family, as a fief by nobody other than the second Sunni “rightly guided” Caliph Umar. (Sunni references: Ibn al-Atheer – Kamil, v3, p76 Known as ‘Ali Ibn al-Sahibani – Second Print (Mule reference). al-Tabari – History, v4, p343, printed by Dar al-Maarif – Cairo (Mule reference), Ibn Hajar Asqalani (Sunni Hadith Scientist), al-Isabah , v5, p323 (Muawiyah ordering Kaab reference)).

Jewish sources of Sunni “authentic” hadiths

Sunni hadith collections are full of references to Judaism and the Jewish teachings that had a profound influence on the Sunni religion. Among some:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr al-Aas:

The Prophet said, “Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of Bani Israel (which have been taught to you), for it is not sinful to do so. And whoever tells a lie on me intentionally, will surely take his place in the (Hell) Fire.”

(Note that the parts in the brackets/parentheses were added by the hadith narrator/copier to give a ‘clear meaning’ to the text. One can clearly see that by removing the explanations the hadith has a completly different meaning; The Prophet said, “Convey to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of Bani Israel, for it is not sinful to do so. And whoever tells a lie on me intentionally, will surely take his place in the Fire.” Taking into account that this hadith is even authentic, Prophet clearly allowed the Sunni cult members to learn from the Jews while warning the Sunnis not to attribute lies to him.)

It is worthy to note that Abdullah was one of a Sunni ahadith students of… Ka’ab. It is also reported that Abdullah ibn Amr al-Aas acquired two camels loaded with books of ‘people of the scriptures’ and used to give information to Muslims from these books.

Sunni and Western scholars themselves acknowledge that the Sunni hadiths come from the pre-Islamic, Jewish sources:

Mahmud Abu Rayya (d. 1970), in his 1958 book titled “Lights on Muhammad’s Sunna” (ar. Adwa’ ‘al al-sunna al-muhammadiyya), argued that “many supposedly authentic Sunni Hadiths were actually Jewish lore that had been attributed to Muhammad”.

Source: Jeffrey T. Kenney, Islam in the Modern World, Routledge (2013), p. 21

The earliest Western scholar to note a relation between the Sunni ahadith and Jewish influences was the French Orientalist Barthélemy d’Herbelot (d. 1695), who “claimed that most of the six books (the most important Sunni hadith books) and many parts of the Sunni hadith literature were appropriated from the Talmud“, and later many others, like Alois Sprenger (d. 1893), Ignaz Goldziher (d. 1921), etc continued in such direction ; a more elaborated study was “Al‐Bukhārī and the Aggadah” by W.R. Taylor, who “appropriated some of these hadiths from al‐Sahih of al‐Bukhārī and some haggadic texts from the Talmud and Midrash. Taylor compared these hadiths with the texts, and concluded that these Sunni hadiths were appropriated from the Talmud and Midrash. Afterwards, he also said that there were many narratives in the Sunni hadith literature in general, especially in al‐Bukhārī, that were taken from haggadic literature. He then studied the ways of and how these Jewish narrations were transmitted to Sunni hadith literature. He concluded that a large amount of the oral information, narrations, stories, and folkloric information entered in Sunni Islamic literature in general, and hadith literature, in particular, during the transcription of the Talmud and Mishnah and after the formation of hadiths via the Jews living in the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the church fathers and Christian community.”

Source: Özcan Hıdır, “Discussions on the Influence of the Judeo‐Christian Culture on Hadiths” in The Journal of Rotterdam Islamic and Social Sciences, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2010, pp. 2-5

The Jewish Encyclopedia on Ka’ab al-Ahbar

One of the most prominent fathers of (Sunni) Moslem tradition, and one of those who introduced into this branch of Arab literature the method as well as many details of the Jewish Haggadah; died 32 or 35 a.h. (652 or 655 C.E.). Of his earlier life nothing is known except that he was a Jew, a native of Yemen. His complete name was Abu Isḥaḳ Ka’b b. Mati’ b. Haisu (Hosea ?). A genealogy attributing to him a purely Arabic descent also exists; it was probably invented after he had embraced Islam. This he did during the califate of Abu Bakr (according to others, of Omar), whom he joined at Medina. On account of his theological learning he was styled “Al-Ḥibr” or “Al-Aḥbar,” which is an adaptation of the Hebrew “ḥaber.” He lectured on the Koran and the career of Mohammed, not from the merely exegetical and biographical points of view, but in a homiletic and haggadic manner, just as Abdallah b. Salam had done. Both these men laid the foundation for the legends which glorify Mohammed’s youth and prophetic call.

The most prominent of Ka’b’s disciples were Ibn ‘Abbas and Abu Hurairah, prolific traditionists, who developed the art of apotheosizing the prophet’s life to its utmost extent, and are therefore not very reliable authorities. Ka’b was a great favorite of the calif Omar, who frequently consulted him, chiefly on religious matters. As a politician Ka’b was a partizan of Othman, and was once even flogged by Abu Darr, who disapproved of the calif’s administration. There are many sayings attributed to Ka’b, among them being the statement that “the world will last six thousand years” (comp. Sanh. 97). Several other sayings refer to the superiority of Egypt over other countries. Ka’b retired toward the end of his life to Emesa. He left a son named Tubai.

Jewish Sunni method of praying

Ka’ab al-Ahbar’s legacy lives on:


Classification of hadith: Sahih (authentic)

Sunni collection: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī. In Sunni “Islam”, it’s considered the most authentic book after the Quran.

Sahih al-Bukhari Book 56 Hadith 662

Narrated by Abu Said

The Prophet said, “You will follow the wrong ways, of your predecessors so completely and literally that if they should go into the hole of a mastigure, you too will go there.” We said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Do you mean the Jews and the Christians?” He replied, “Whom else?” (Meaning, of course, the Jews and the Christians.)

Classification of hadith: Sahih (authentic)

Sunni collection: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī. In Sunni “Islam”, it’s considered the most authentic book after the Quran.

Sahih al-Bukhari Book 88 Hadith 173

Narrated ‘Abdullah:

The Prophet said:

“I am your predecessor at the Lake-Fount (Kauthar) and some men amongst you will be brought to me, and when I will try to hand them some water, they will be pulled away from me by force whereupon I will say, ‘O Lord, my companions (sahaba)!’

Then the Almighty will say:

‘You do not know what they did after you left, they introduced new things into the religion after you.'”


And do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know [it]. [2:42]


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