When the majority disobeyed Allah – Example of Bani Israel – Allah’s Chosen People

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Some so-called Muslims claim that Allah has condemned the majority only while referring to the polytheists and disbelievers. The Muslims on the other hand are always right when they are in majority. Therefore the Quranic verses condemning the majority cannot be advanced as an argument against the Muslims.


1. Bani Israel
2. The Christians also erred in many ways
3. Muslims will tread the path of Bani Israel

There is nothing in the Holy Quran to support the claim that the majority is condemned specifically when it refers to the polytheists and disbelievers and that whenever the Muslims have been in majority they have always been praised for their actions.

As we will see from the Noble Quran, even when the Muslims or the Bani Israel before them, were in majority, they have been condemned by Allah.

Let us see how the Bani Israel, Allah’s chosen people as pointed out twice in His Book, have often erred when in majority.



Back to TopBani Israel

1. Taloot’s selection

The Bani Israel did not accept Taloot’s appointment made by the Prophet (Shamueel) despite Allah’s explicit command.

And their prophet said to them: Surely Allah has raised Talut to be a king over you. They said: How can he hold kingship over us while we have a greater right to kingship than he, and he has not been granted an abundance of wealth? He said: Surely Allah has chosen him in preference to you, and He has increased him abundantly in knowledge and physique, and Allah grants His kingdom to whom He pleases, and Allah is Ample giving, Knowing.” (Surah Baqarah (2): Verse 247)

2. Taloot’s warning to avoid drinking water

When Taloot mobilized his army in the expedition against Jaloot, he clearly forbade his soldiers from drinking water at the river, but the Bani Israel disobeyed him and failed the divine examination.

So when Talut departed with the forces, he said: Surely Allah will try you with a river; whoever then drinks from it, he is not of me, and whoever does not taste of it, he is surely of me, except he who takes with his hand as much of it as fills the hand; but with the exception of a few of them they drank from it. So when he had crossed it, he and those who believed with him, they said: We have today no power against Jalut and his forces. Those who were sure that they would meet their Lord said: How often has a small party vanquished a numerous host by Allah’s permission, and Allah is with the patient.” (Surah Baqarah (2): Verse 249)

3. Bani Israel disobeys Moosa (a.s.)

An entire book can be written given the number of occasions the Bani Israel disobeyed Moosa (a.s.) incurring divine wrath and punishment.

  • Worshipping the calf

And Moosa’s people made of their ornaments a calf after him, a (mere) body, which gave a mooing sound. What! could they not see that it did not speak to them nor guide them in the way? They took it (for worship) and they were unjust.” (Surah A’raaf (7): Verse 148)

  • Haroon (a.s.) almost got killed trying to stop the calf-worship

And when Moosa returned to his people, wrathful (and) in violent grief, he said: Evil is it that you have done after me; did you turn away from the bidding of your Lord? And he threw down the tablets and seized his brother by the head, dragging him towards him. He said: Son of my mother! Surely the people reckoned me weak and had well-nigh slain me, therefore make not the enemies to rejoice over me and count me not among the unjust people.” (Surah A’raaf(7): Verse150)

This is a case of a nation being deviated in the presence of the Prophet’s (a.s.) successor.

  • Refusal to enter Palestine and as punishment wandering the jungle for 40 years

They said: O Moosa! We shall never enter it so long as they are in it; go therefore you and your Lord, then fight you both surely we will here sit down.    

He said: My Lord! Surely I have no control (upon any) but my own self and my brother; therefore make a separation between us and the nation of transgressors.

He said: So it shall surely be forbidden to them for forty years, they shall wander about in the land, therefore do not grieve for the nation of transgressors.” (Surah Maaedah (5): 24-Verse 26)

This is an example of an entire nation disobeying their Prophet (a.s.).

  • Killing several prophets of Allah

Those who disbelieved from among the children of Israel were cursed by the tongue of Dawood and Esa, son of Marium; this was because they disobeyed and used to exceed the limit.” (Surah Maaedah (5): Verse 78)

After slaying of prophets, it is unlikely any rational person can claim that the majority is always correct!



Back to TopThe Christians also erred in many ways

  • Confusion about the so-called crucifixion of Prophet Eesaa (a.s.)

 “And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure.” (Surah Nisa (4): Verse 157)

The majority failed to identify their own Prophet who had lived with them for so many years! How can they be expected to abide by Allah’s laws in more complicated matters – majority or otherwise?

  • Took Prophet Esa (a.s.) as the son of God (Allah forbid)

And when Allah will say: O Esa son of Marium! did you say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah he will say: Glory be to Thee, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to (say); if I had said it, Thou wouldst indeed have known it; Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I do not know what is in Thy mind, surely Thou art the great Knower of the unseen things.” (Surah Maaedah (5): Verse 116)

Till this day, all Christians worship the cross, take Prophet Esa (a.s.) as Son of God (Allah forbid), consume the prohibited like alcohol and believe these are the basic tenets of their faith!



Back to TopMuslims will tread the path of Bani Israel

Muslims who dismiss these verses and arguments and believe they can never err like Bani Israel should note the tradition:
Salman (r.a.) said: And I have heard the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) say: My community will choose the tradition of Bani Israel in exactly the same manner that one foot falls on the other foot, one span equal to another span, one hand like the other, one distance like the other distance, until they enter a hole then these people will also enter that hole. Surely, Torah and the Quran were written by one Angel, on one skin, and with one pen, and all examples with tradition became equal.

  • Kitab-o-Sulaim b. Qays al-Hilaali (r.a.) vol 2 pg 599

And they should note the tradition of Imam Hasan (a.s.) when he points out to Muawiyah how the Muslims imitated the Bani Israel in the matter of caliphate:

Imam Hasan (a.s.) said – ‘…the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) has said – When people hand over their affairs to such a person (who is less knowledgeable) whereas more knowledgeable people are present among them, their affairs will certainly proceed towards failure. So much so that they will go out of the religion and enter the custom of calf worship.

The Bani Israel abandoned (Prophet) Haroon and started worshiping the calf even though they were aware of the fact that Haroon was the successor of (Prophet) Moosa(a.s.). In the same way this nation also abandoned Ali (a.s.) even though they themselves had heard the Messenger (s.a.w.a.) say – You are to me as Haroon was to Moosa except that there is no prophet after me’.

  • Al-Ehtejaaj, vol 2, pg 289

Clearly even followers of Tauheed and Prophets have erred in the past and being in the majority did not save them from deviation. Same is the case with the Muslims today. Being in the majority on the matter of caliphate cannot be a proof of truth and guidance. In fact, going by the examples of Bani Israel and the Christians, being in the majority is sufficient proof of their misguidance.

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