True Martyrdom – Rejecting Islam

Whereas Maimonides’ opponents held to the mistaken belief that Islam was idolatry, there were those authorities, after Maimonides, who, while clearly aware of the monotheistic nature of Islam, still disagreed with Maimonides’ position, and asserted that Jews must give up their lives rather than be forced to convert to Islam. Their rationale was based on the fact that if one gives his agreement to Muhammad’s prophetic mission, this is the equivalent of denying the validity of Torah.

In their opinion it is a capital offense to deny the Torah, and they thus viewed idolatry as merely a manifestation of this denial. Rabbi David ibn Zimra quotes the renowned Rabbi Yom Tov Ishbili (c.1250‑1330) as holding to this view and expresses agreement with him.

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