In many places in the Quran, the characteristics and attributes of Jews are mentioned; they are threatened, reprimanded and affronted due to those evil deeds. For instance, their ingratitude toward the bounties they were given, their associating partners with God, their conceitedness due to regarding themselves as the superior race in the world, their abasement due to attributes like ambition and greed are mentioned.
In the Torah, Sons of Israel are presented as “God’s (distinguished) nation” and “blessed nation”; on the other hand, they are criticized because of their bad acts. It is because they opposed Moses (Musa) and Aaron (Harun), committed what is regarded bad by God, worshipped gods like Baal and Moloch (idols of deified kings) and golden calf. Thus, they did not keep their promise they gave to God, broke their promise, committed immorality and fornication, demolished temples and tried to kill their prophets.
They put God's shariah aside and adopted the laws of other nations. The holy book of Jews is full of examples showing that Sons of Israel were condemned by their prophets and threatened by torture because they deviated from the right path and worshipped other gods.
After mentioning the attributes of Jews, the Quran indicates what disasters their evil attributes caused; by doing so, the Quran shows the outcomes of obeying the evil-commanding soul for human beings in general principles. The concrete outcomes of obeying one’s desires instead of God are shown through Sons of Israel and the severity of the test man is given on the earth is presented. The threats and rage of the Quran are important in that it shows the magnitude of the mistakes that were made and the murders that were committed.
The nation that became famous with the love of goods and property and that showed the most effort and ambition to obtain goods and property in the history was Jews. The most important factor in this attitude of theirs is the fact that they are attached to the world as if they adore the world. As a matter of fact, according to their creed, the only nation that will enter Paradise is Jews. Therefore, for a nation that has such a notion of the hereafter, all means to attain its aims in the world are legitimate.
It is stated in the Quran that they deserve debasing torture because they worship the world, want to live long and regard every means to obtain goods and property legitimate. It is also stated in the Quran that some things that were halal before were rendered haram for Jews because they go beyond bounds to obtain material things. (an-Nisa, 160-161) Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states that the Jewish nation was punished by abasement and lethargy because they love the worldly life too much.
It is stated by the following verse in the Quran that Jews have the bad habit of breaking their promise and violating treaties: "Is it not (the case) that every time they make a Covenant some party among them throw it aside? - Nay most of them are faithless." (al-Baqara ,100). It is also stated in the Quran that they are deniers because they oppose the commands of God and they are enemies of angels and prophets and that God will punish them with severe torture and that they will attain hell-fire. During the era of the Prophet, Jews asked him questions and said that they would believe in him. However, when they received answers contrary to their understanding and desires, they denied the Prophet.
It is also stated that Jews acted with severe enmity and that advice and exemplary lessons would not affect them because their hearts were hard.
It is stated in the Quran that Sons of Israel, the nation of Moses, were made superior to the realms, that they were given privileges, that they were given bounties which were not given to any nations and that they were sent prophets and kings. However, it is also stated in the Quran that the real superiority was valid when they obeyed God only, that God damned them due to their ingratitude and that the mercy of God would not reach them in the periods when they associated partners with God and disobeyed him. Therefore, their superiority is related to their degree of taqwa. As a matter of fact, the Quranic principle "superiority is related to taqwa” shows that superiority is not related to being a member of a certain tribe.
Another characteristic of Jews is that they describe God with inappropriate attributes. Jews claimed that they were children of God and described Him using attributes like stingy and poor. However, it is mentioned in the Quran that there is scorching torture for them, that such words will increase their unbelief, that enmity and hatred have been placed among them until Doomsday and that they have become a nation damned forever due to their polytheism. (al-Maida 18, 64)
Another characteristic of Jews mentioned in the Quran is that they are a nation that causes mischief and disorder. (al-Maida, 64) What lies behind their mischief is their hatred they feel against mankind and their acts based on their personal interests. First, they corrupt the societies morally, set people against one another; then, they act in accordance with their personal interests. It is stated that God will not give them victory to attain their aims using tricky ways in that case.
Another example for the ingratitude of Jews is that they killed prophets and just people in their communities. It is also stated in the Quran that Jews, who compete one another in hatred and enmity, will be inflicted upon painful torture due to these acts of theirs.
The Quran mentions Jews as a cursed nation but it also states that there will be good news for them if they believe in God and the hereafter, command what is good and prohibit what is evil. The following verses in the Quran state that not all Jews are the same, that those who are damned deserve it due to breaking their promise, polytheism and bad deeds and that those who are given good news deserve it because they do not associate partners with God and they obey Him as His slaves:
"Shame is pitched over them (like a tent) wherever they are found, except when under a covenant (of protection) from God, and from men; they draw on themselves wrath from God and pitched over them is (the tent of) destitution. This because they rejected the signs of God, and slew the prophets in defiance of right; this because they rebelled and transgressed beyond bounds. Not all of them are alike: of the People of the book are a portion that stand (for the right); they rehearse the signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration." (Aal-i Imran; 112-113)
When People of the Book who do good deeds are described, it is stated that if you entrust them loads of goods, they will return them in the same amount, that they are glad that the Quran was sent down and that they surrender to and believe in God sincerely.
In the Quran, the acts that do not conform with the purpose of creation of man on earth are listed and stated clearly, and the deviations and bad characteristics that cause the damnation of a society are described based on the example of Sons of Israel. When the state of a nation that lives among other nations, that forms the basis of all kinds of bad deeds and that can be regarded as the evil commanding soul of mankind because of it and the outcomes that it will encounter are described in the eye of God, the testing of man on earth is shown. As a Quranic method, general principles are shown through the experiences of a nation; it is emphasized that in order to be able to get rid of the bad characteristics that lead man to damnation, debasement, lethargy, torture and troubles, it is necessary to obey God. The torture, hardship and damnation that Sons of Israel suffer are not because of their ethnic origin but because of their obsessions and bad characteristics.
It is because of the principles included in the destiny and character of the Jewish nation that the Qur'an acts so severely against them. (Sözler; p. 367) Therefore, the Quran damns Jews because those characteristics are present in the majority of the Jewish nation intensively. In a way, not the Jewish nation but the characteristics owned by most of Jews are damned. If those acts, which bring about that state, are committed by others, they will be regarded as the same and suffer the same consequences.
As it has been mentioned before, Sons of Israel were given bounties like being saved from the oppression of the Pharaoh and from being drowned thanks to Moses, being fed by the food sent down to them in the desert, being given water gushing forth from a rock and they were protected from torture. However, they did not keep their promise, killed some prophets, started to worship idols by forgetting God and caused mischief on earth. They were damned by God because they were ungrateful to the bounties granted to them, committed oppression, tricks, mischief and intrigues, acted conceitedly, stubbornly and fanatically, and they worshipped material goods and the world greedily.
However, it will be wrong to think that this damnation is due to their race because it is clear that there are some people who accept the truth, and who command what is good and prohibit what is evil among them. As a matter of fact, Abdullah b. Salam, one of the Jewish scholars who lived during the era of the Prophet, had read the attributes of the Prophet in the books and as soon as he saw the Prophet, he said, “there is no lie in this face” and became a Muslim.
Nobody is regarded as evil due to their nation and race or as good; it is the necessity of the absolute justice of God that superiority is related to taqwa and that anybody who does a small good or bad deed will be rewarded or punished for it.