Answers by Yair Davidiy (21 May 2017, 25 Iyar, 5777)
What do orthodox Jews think about Muslims?
On a day to day basis?
Jews take people as they find them. The piety and modesty of many Muslims is admired. Some of them may be of good character.
Everything however is conditional and involves a good deal of wariness taught by experience.
From the Theological point of view:
I cannot answer for Orthodox Jews in general. I can however relate what the opinion of a major Jewish Religious authority was:
# Mishneh Torah (Hilkhot Melakhim 11:10-12), Maimonides claims that nevertheless Muhammad was part of God's plan of preparing the world for the coming of the Jewish Messiah: "All those words of Jesus of Nazareth and of this Ishmaelite [i.e., Muhammad] who arose after him are only to make straight the path for the messianic king and to prepare the whole world to serve the LORD together. As it is said: 'For then I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech so that all of them shall call on the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord' (Zephaniah 3:9)."#
Judaism's views on Muhammad
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A Jew may learn Scripture with a Christian but not with a Muslim. This is despite the fact that a Muslim is a monotheist whereas a Christian perhaps not entirely so.
The Christian however believes in the Divine Origin of the Hebrew Bible whereas the Muslim does not.
Maimonides (1135-1204 CE) was the personal physician of Saladdin the Muslim ruler of Egypt and antagonist of Richard the Lionheart of England.
[Remember Robin Hood, King John and his brother King Richard? Saladin was the one Richard fought against.]
The example of Maimonides and the high rank he held is sometimes held up as an example of the benign conditions the Jews enjoyed under the Yoke of Islam.
It is therefore worth seeing what Maimonides himself said on the matter:
Excerpt from Maimonides,
"Letter to Yemen"
concerning Mohammed and Islam
# Let yourselves understand, my brothers, the Holy One Blessed HE through the liability incurred by our iniquities cast us among this nation. These are the people of Ishmael [Muslim Arabs] whose oppressiveness is strongly felt by us. They connive to do us wrong and despicably downgrade us as the Almighty decreed against us (Deuteronomy 32:31, "Your enemies shall judge you"). There never came against Israel a more inimical nation. They oppress us with the most oppressive measures to lessen our number, bring us down, and make us as despicable as they themselves are. King David, may he rest in peace, saw through Divine Inspiration all the calamities that were destined to come upon Israel. Nevertheless [even though he saw all the other troubles], he still began to shout out and lament in the name of the whole nation against the oppression that would be occasioned by the Ishmaelites. David said, "WOE IS ME, THAT I SOJOURN IN MESECH, THAT I DWELL IN THE TENTS OF KEDAR!" [Psalms 120:5]. Notice how David emphasizes "Kedar" out of all the other Children of Ishmael. This is because that Mad Man [Hebrew: "meshuga"@ i.e. Mohamed] came from Kedar according to what has been published concerning his genealogy. #
@ Maimonides is referring to the fact that Mohammed was from the Koresh clan of Arabs and they claimed descent from Kedar son of Ishmael (Genesis 25:13). The term “Meshuga” (i.e. “madman”) is taken from Hosea 9:7 where Hosea (in the Hebrew text) appears to be predicting a future disaster connected with Mohamed a version of whose name (“Machmad”) is explicitly mentioned in a previous verse (Hosea 9:6 sometimes translated as “Pleasant Places” or something similar).
-Maimonides continues to explain from Daniel 8:10 that Ishmael will ultimately be defeated by Israel.
Source: Maimonides, "Letter to Yemen" 1:4.