Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun & Jochen Katz's Article "Israel, the Quran and the Promised Land"
Their article could be located here. One must read their article before proceeding on to read this rebuttal.
I'm surprised (no actually I am not) that both Katz and Shamoun writing this article together failed to bear in mind what is actually meant by the "Promised Land".
The "Promised Land" is land that God supposedly promised to give to the Jewish people. It would be given to the Jewish people and their offspring forever (Genesis 13:15) as an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:8) and it was the same land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 50:24).
No where does the Qur'an ever describe Egypt using such language and terms.
They cite Surah 5, Ayah 21 where it says that God "ordained" land for the Israelites, however "ordaining" here isn't referring to God promising some special piece of land to the Israelites, but emphasizing that God has destined and is commanding that they enter the holy land. (see Ar-Razi)
They also cited Surah 26, Ayah 59, which scholars have understood as saying that the Israelites obtained gardens, springs, treasure and honour and Pharoah's property after he and his army were destroyed. No one understood this passage as saying that Egypt is the "Promised Land" of the Israelites. (see Al-Qurtubi, Ibnul Jawzi & Al-Baghawi)
They also cited Surah 7, Ayah 137, however it's not clear that Egypt is being referred to here. Several scholars opined that it's referring to the Sham area. (see Al-Tabari, Ibn Kathir & Al-Baidhawi). Even if it was speaking about Egypt, there is still no indication that Egypt is being treated as the "Promised Land". Neither does Surah 2, Ayah 61 and Surah 28, Ayah 5 which Shamoun and Katz go on to cite indicate this either.
Shamoun and Katz state:
In Q. 5:26 we are specifically told that Allah did not allow Israel to enter into the holy land for forty years because of their fear of the giants or the mighty people who lived there:
(Allah) said: "Therefore it (this holy land) is forbidden to them for forty years; in distraction they will wander through the land. So be not sorrowful over the people who are the Fasiqun (rebellious and disobedient to Allah)." Hilali-Khan
However, as we saw from the rest of the texts, the Muslim scripture implies that the Israelites actually took over Egypt right after Allah destroyed Pharaoh and his people in the flood.
Or maybe if we were to allow the Qur'an to speak for itself and be consistent within it self by giving it the benefit of the doubt we could see that Surah 5:26 is proof that the Qur'an doesn't view Egypt as the "holy land". But asking Shamoun and Katz to be fair would be asking too much I guess.
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