February 15, 2024 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1745

The Hadith Of The Stones And The Trees – About The Muslims Killing The Jews Ahead Of The End of Days – In The Hamas Charter And In A Publication Of The Hamas-Affiliated Palestine Scholars Association

February 15, 2024 | By Dr. Eliyahu Stern*
Palestinians | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1745

There is currently much discussion of the murderous methods used by Hamas in its October 7, 2023 attack on localities in southern Israel, methods that resemble those of the Islamic State (ISIS) organization in their cruelty and brutality. This article questions whether the religious philosophy of ISIS, especially its perception of its struggle against the infidels as a war that heralds the End of Days, helped radicalize the religious outlook of the Palestine Scholars Association, whose heads are members of Hamas.[1] 

The connection between the current jihad against the Jews and the war at the End of Days is mentioned already in Hamas' 1988 founding Charter. This document presents the war against the Jews as part of ongoing jihad that will not stop until the End of Days, when the Muslims finally kill all the Jews. But today it is pertinent to ask whether there are some who encourage Palestinians to regard their struggle against the Jews as part of an eschatological war that has already begun, and in which the Jews will ultimately be annihilated. 

This question arises from a perusal of a document issued on April 16, 2023 by the Palestine Scholars Association[2] – translated excerpts from which will be presented below – and is presented here as a proposal to investigate the issue further in light of additional documents and testimonies.[3] The question is a very important one, since religious beliefs are known to be powerful factor in recruiting and motivating the believers who operate in the ranks of religious organizations like  Hamas and ISIS.

The document in question is an authoritative religious one, since it is based on authentic hadiths and Quranic verses and presents its message not just as absolute truth but also as a religious directive that must be obeyed.[4] It is also meant to hearten and encourage the readers by describing the annihilation of the Jews and repeatedly promising “glad and momentous tidings about the victory over the Jews and about their defeat with the help of Allah the Almighty.”

The War At the End Of Days And The Killing Of The Jews As Presented In Hamas’ 1988 Charter

The Hamas Charter[5] states that jihad against the Jews began with the advent of Islam, continued throughout history and will not end until they are finally annihilated before the End of Days.[6] In this document, Hamas’ current struggle against the Jews is described as a war of jihad aimed at realizing the divine promise of the Jews' defeat at the hand of the Muslims ahead of the End of Days. This is conveyed in Article 7 of the Charter, which portrays Hamas’ jihad as a continuation of the jihad waged by previous generations of jihad fighters, namely by Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam and his fellow members of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1936,  by the Palestinians and the Muslim Brotherhood in 1948, by the  Muslim Brotherhood in 1968 and by others after them (who are not explicitly named). The Charter explains that these links in the chain of jihad were separated by periods in which no fighting took place, due to obstacles that the servants of Zionism placed in the path of the jihad fighters. It stresses, however, that despite these obstacles, the war against the Jews will not stop until the End of Days – for this is a divine promise that was conveyed by the Prophet Muhammad in a hadith. The Charter says: “…The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The Prophet, Allah's prayer and peace be upon him, says: "The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him' – except for the gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews." [7] (Recorded in the collections of Bukhari and Muslim).”[8]

Known as the Hadith of the Stones and the Trees, this is a quintessential eschatological hadith that is recognized as “authentic” (i.e., is confidently ascribed to the Prophet Muhammad) by the most authoritative sources of Prophetic traditions.[9]  Dating back to early Islam, this hadith is still prominent in the consciousness of Muslims today, and is frequently mentioned in contemporary  discourse, e.g., in sermons and in the media, and in school curricula, including in West Bank and Gaza schools.[10] As we have seen, Article 7 of Hamas' Charter presents this hadith as relevant to the operative reality of its war.

A YouTube video promising that the end of the Jews is imminent shows a Jew hiding behind a tree, which says, "'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him" (

According to Islamic eschatological traditions,[11] the End of Days will be heralded by a large war against the infidels. At the height of this war the Muslims will face a terrible foe that will seem invincible: the Dajjal, the false messiah, a kind of antichrist who will spread horrific evil. According to most of the traditions, the Dajjal will be a Jew and will be accompanied by tens of thousands of Jewish followers. Victory over the Dajjal will come in the form of divine salvation: Jesus (who in Islam is one of the messengers of Allah and was not crucified but was raised to heaven by God) will reappear on earth and defeat him. Many traditions claim that Jesus will reappear in Jerusalem, where the Muslims will be besieged by the Dajjal and his army. Jesus will kill the Dajjal, and the Muslims will fight and exterminate the Jews, before exterminating the rest of the infidels throughout the world.  

ISIS’ Perception Of The Eschatological War, And Possible Influence On Muslim Ideologues Affiliated With Hamas

ISIS too presents its struggle against the infidels as part of a fateful war heralding the End of Days.[12] ISIS propaganda is replete with the message that this war is imminent, a belief that has helped it to recruit fighters from across the world.  It is reasonable to assume that years of ISIS propaganda have left their mark on the thinking of many Muslims, including clerics affiliated with Hamas, and deepened their belief in the eschatological nature of the war with the Jews, namely, that Muslims fighting the Jews today are actively taking part in the war that heralds the End of Days.

Such influence is perhaps reflected in a document posted on April 16, 2023 on the website of the Palestine Scholars Association that describes the war at the End of Days. Titled “The End of the Jews and the Future of Jerusalem According to the Hadith of the Prophet,” this lengthy document (of about 3,000 words) describes the imminent and complete annihilation of the Jews, first in Palestine and then in the rest of the world. The document is based on several Prophetic hadiths, and thereby presents its message as unassailable truth and as a religious source that must be obeyed. Among the hadiths cited are the abovementioned Hadith of the Stones and the Trees, which is presented as the most important of the traditions mentioned. The document stresses that the Jews know their end is near, and therefore plant many gharqad trees in the places where they live (a claim that is frequently repeated today in educational materials, in propaganda and in the media).[13]

The document contains two descriptions of the extermination of the Jews. The first speaks of extermination in two stages: in the first stage, all the Jews in Israel will be killed and their state will be annihilated, whereas the rest of the jews in the world will be exterminated to the very last one only later, after the war between Jesus and the Dajjal. The second description states that the complete extermination of global Jewry will occur immediately after the elimination of Israel and its Jews.

The first description – which speaks of two stages of extermination in two different periods – is based on hadiths that claim that the Dajjal will only appear when all of Al-Sham (greater Syria, including Israel) will be under Muslim rule, and that the Dajjal’s army will comprise tens of thousands of Jews from the Iranian city of Isfahan. This means that, while the elimination of Israel and its Jews can take place already in the current era, the final elimination of the world's Jews, which is prophesied to occur after the defeat of the Dajjal, can only take place at some future time, when the conditions described by the prophesy prevail (i.e., when Al-Sham is under Muslim rule and there are jews living in Isfahan).

The second description – which speaks of the complete extermination of world Jewry immediately after the elimination of Israel – is based on a well-known belief that states that Allah himself has gathered all the Jews in Palestine so that the Muslims can fight and exterminate them, because the annihilation of the Jews cannot be achieved when they are scattered all over the world.[14]

In any case, both descriptions in the document convey that Israel and its Jews are destined to be completely annihilated by the Muslims. The following are several translated excerpts from the document:

The Hadith Of The Stones And The Trees

“The evil hatred of the Jews and their hostility towards Islam and its followers has prevailed since the revelation of Islam, and will continue until the End of Days. But the Great and Exalted Allah, when He set out the laws that govern creation,[15] decreed that victory will go to the people of Truth [i.e., the Muslims], even if the evil of the Jews prevails for a long time and their state grows arrogant.   For the Honorable Quran and the reliable traditions of hadith state that the Jews will meet their end in Jerusalem, where many gharqad trees have been planted. This planting of gharqad trees by the Jews is an immense signal and sign [indicating] that the Messenger of Allah, God's peace be upon him, was right, and that all [the hadiths] that were transmitted from him were right, and it is decisive and unquestionable proof that the end of the Jews is almost upon us, Allah willing…

"In this hadith [of the stones and the trees], Muhammad, the Prophet of Truth, Allah's blessings and peace be upon him, conveyed one of the signs that indicate that the End of Days is nigh,  namely the occurrence of a war between the Muslims and the Jews. For [the Prophet], Allah's blessings and peace be upon him, says that 'the hour of judgment shall not come until you fight the Jews.’ This will come to pass when Jesus son of Mary, peace be upon him, arrives, and the Muslims will be on his side, whereas the Jews will be on the side of the Dajjal. In this war, all things will come to the aid the Muslim jihad fighters, and even inanimate objects like stones will open their mouths and speak. Whenever a Jew hides behind an inanimate object, the object will open its mouth and call out to the Muslim, saying: 'Oh Muslim, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!' The hadith... states further: 'except for the gharqad, which is one of the trees of the Jews.' The gharqad is a thorny tree well known in the Jerusalem area, which is where the Jews and the Dajjal will be killed. The meaning of this is that all things, plants and inanimate objects, will cooperate with the Muslims in killing the Jews, except for this species of tree, and that is why the Jews plant many of these trees."

Exterminating The Jews In Two Stages: First In Their State, Then In The Rest Of The World

"Our fierce war against the Jews, which is imminent, has two stages. The first stage, which is referenced in verses [4-8] of Surat Al-Israa [the 17th Surah of the Quran],[16] targets the entity [i.e., the state] of the Jews in Palestine with the aim of destroying it… This stage of the war will end with the victory of the Muslims and the jihad fighters over the Jews. In this stage their entity will be destroyed, their corruption  will be expunged ,and the entire land of Palestine will be taken back from them. Later, the Jews will become an oppressed and degraded people and will be scattered in small groups all over the world.

The second stage will see the complete extermination of the Jews, who will vanish from the world for good, and humanity will be free of them, because after [this stage] not a single Jew will be left alive. This stage will be long in coming, and may possibly arrive only at the very last moments of this world's existence, when the Dajjal arrives, and he will be a Jew from the east. Wherever he goes, he will be followed by 70,000 Jews from Iran, all of them from Isfahan – for the Prophet, peace and prayers be upon him, said…: 'The Dajjal will be followed by 70,000 Jews of Isfahan, whose heads and shoulders will be swathed in large scarves.'[17] Yet today there aren't even five Jews in Isfahan. Then Jesus son of Mary, peace be upon him, will fight the Dajjal and his Jewish followers, and will kill the Dajjal with his own noble hand. This is the stage in which the Muslims will exterminate each and every Jew, and the stage in which the words of God's Messenger, God's blessings and peace be upon him, will come true:  '"The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: 'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him…'"

The Extermination Of The Jews In Their State And Later In The Entire World Thanks To Their Concentration In That State

"[Before the founding of the State of Israel,] the hadith [that says that] 'the hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews' often gave rise to the following question: How can the Jews even be fought, when they are  riff-raff, scattered in groups all over the world, in accordance with what Allah the Almighty said [in Quran 7:168]: ' We dispersed them through the land in groups'? They do not form a collective, or have a center where they all congregate together. Nor do they have a state. So how can war be waged against them?  But today, the matter has become clear to all: The Jews came from all over the world and congregated in this blessed land [of Palestine]. And that is what the Messenger of Allah, peace and prayers be upon him, meant when he said that 'the hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews… and the stone and the tree will say, Oh Muslim…' These words of the Prophet indicate that the Jews will be massacred all together and the land will be purged of their filth – and even those who try to flee for their lives will be pursued. And the fighting will not be only against those who live in the land where the war will take place [i.e., in Palestine]. On the contrary, the Jews will be pursued in every corner of the world, and those who try to hide, the very stones and trees will open their mouths [and reveal their presence]."


* Dr. Eliyahu Stern is a researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a research fellow at MEMRI.


[1]  The Palestine Scholars Association is affiliated with both Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and its heads are current or former senior Hamas officials. The association’s chairman, Nawwaf Al-Taqrouri, is a Hamas founder and one of several hundred Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) activists deported by Israel to the South Lebanese town of Marj Al-Zohour in 1992 (See Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, October 14, 2020; The association spokesperson, Khafez Al-Karmi, is also a Hamas member, as evident from a condolences notice issued by Hamas on the death of his mother, which described him as "a political member of Hamas' Britain office" (, September 22, 2008), and from a 2021 report on the Saudi Al-Arabiya channel that described him as the Hamas member "in charge of relations between the West and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Gaza and the Arab countries, who prepares the budgets and transfers the funds to the administrations (, November 20, 2021). 

According to its website, the Palestine Scholars Association is an independent body of Shari'a scholars that first convened in Beirut in 2009 and is now based in Istanbul. Comprising Palestinian scholars from across the world, it seeks to promote Palestinian interests, with emphasis on the struggle against the Zionists for the land of Palestine ("steadfastness against Zionism and the colonialist plans in the region in general and Palestine in particular"), based on a religious and shar'ia worldview. It also aims to extend material aid to Palestinians, as well as assistance in Islamic shari'a education, while strengthening the relations between Palestinians in different parts of the world and between the Palestinians and other Muslims (, "About Us"). 

[2], April 16, 2023.

[3] A more comprehensive investigation of this question will be undertaken in a forthcoming report.

[4] The association issues religious fatwas, as evident from a video in which one of its representatives delivers a fatwa that permits the killing of Israelis outside Palestine. See MEMRI TV Clip No. 10518: Dr. Mahmoud Al-Shajrawi Of The Palestine Scholars Association In The Diaspora: A 'Wonderful' New Fatwa Permits Killing Israelis Wherever They May Be – In Palestine, Israel, Or Abroad, October 9, 2023.

[5] For a translation of the Hamas charter, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 10899 - The Ideology Of Hamas – In Its Own Words – October 23, 2023.

[6]  On this see my chapter: Eliyahu Stern, "The Use of Religious Themes to Islámize European Anti-Semitism and Motivate Hateful Expression in the Hamas Covenant." In: Morten Bergsmo and Kishan Manocha (eds.), Religion, Hateful Expression and Violence.  Brussels: Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher, 2023, pp. 791–799.

[7] Many sources explain that the gharqad is also called awsaj (today used to refer to the box thorn tree). See the material collected by Lane in his large dictionary of Classical Arabic, in the entries for gharqad (p. 2251) and awsaj (p. 2042).  See also Ibn Al-Jawzi (d. 1201), Ibn Al-Mubbarad (d. 1503), and Al-Fatani (d. 1578) Many Medieval sources, and following them religious literature in the modern age, agree that the tree is a thorny one. The assumption that has gained currency in the modern age, which identifies the gharqad with the genus Nitraria, probably stems from the fact that some Arabic speakers apply this name to plants in this genus, but their usage does not necessarily indicate that this is the original meaning of gharqad in the ancient sources.

[8] Muhammad ibn Isma'il Al-Bukhari (d. 870) and Muslim Ibn Al-Hajjaj Al-Nayshaburi (d. 875) are the compilers of the two hadith collections that are considered to be most authentic sources of hadith in Sunni Islam. Known as Al-Sahihayn ("the two authentic ones"), these collections, along with four other collections by other compilers, form the most authoritative sources of oral tradition in Sunni Islam.  

[9]  On 11 appearances of this tradition in the major hadith compilations, see my abovementioned chapter: Eliyahu Stern, "The Use of Religious Themes to Islámize European Anti-Semitism and Motivate Hateful Expression in the Hamas Covenant." In: Morten Bergsmo and Kishan Manocha (eds.), Religion, Hateful Expression and Violence. Brussels: Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher, 2023, p. 799, n. 31. See also discussion of this hadith in Meir M. Bar-Asher, Jews and the Qurʾan, Princeton University Press, Princeton & Oxford, 2021, pp. 55–56; Menahem Milson, lecture delivered at the opening of the annual international conference of the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism held in Jerusalem on Sunday, 24 February 2008; MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 442, Arab and Islamic Antisemitism, May 29, 2008; Meir Litvak: "'Martyrdom is Life': Jihad and Martyrdom in the Ideology of Hamas", Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 33:8 (2010), pp. 727, 729.

[10] On a sermon mentioning the Hadith of the Stones and the Trees that aired on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV, see Meir Litvak: "'Martyrdom is Life': Jihad and Martyrdom in the Ideology of Hamas," Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 33:8, 2010, p. 727.

For further examples of the use of this hadith, see the following MEMRI publications:

--2018 compilation of sermons mentioning this hadith. The last of these sermons states that whoever visits the Google Earth website can see that the Jews are aware of this hadith and are preparing for the End of Days by planting gharqad trees throughout their land. The preacher concludes by stating that they will indeed be exterminated, to the last one. 

--Statements by Osama bin Laden in a 2003 Eid Al-Adha sermon that aired on Al-Jazeera and were distributed on social media;

--Report in Hebrew on 2001 Friday sermon encouraging suicide attacks that mentions the hadith, which was aired on the Palestinian Authority's television channel;

--Report in Hebrew on 2001 Friday sermon in Gaza that mentioned the hadith and aired on the Palestinian Authority's television channel .

--Report in Hebrew from 2002 on Friday sermons by Saudi Sheikhs

--Report on a 2009 article by a Saudi columnist that criticized the mention of the hadith in the Saudi school curriculum.

--Report in Hebrew on a 2004 article by an Egyptian intellectual  that criticized the mention of the hadith, and of the claim that the Jews plant gharqad trees, in the Saudi school curriculum.

--Report on a 2003 article by a Tunisian liberal that commented on the inclusion of the hadith in the Saudi curriculum, and noted that Osama bin Laden probably read about this hadith in the Saudi school textbooks. The article quotes a Saudi textbook as saying that "the gharqad is a large, thorny tree that the Jews frequently plant in Palestine in our time."

For a YouTube video promising the Muslims that the end of the Jews is imminent based on this hadith, see

On the inclusion of the hadith in school textbooks taught in the West Bank and Gaza, see "Remaining Antisemitism in Palestinian Authority Textbooks and Study Cards 2021-22 Grades 1-12", IMPACT-se, The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance In School Education, London & Ramat Gan, March 2022, p.12. I thank Mr. Arik Agasi for sending me this document.

[11] The eschatological literature of Islam has been studied extensively. Two especially rich and comprehensive studies are those of David Cook: Studies in Muslim Apocalyptic, Princeton NJ: Darwin Press, 2002; Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature. Ney York: Syracuse University Press, 2005. For a short and edifying article in Hebrew, see Hava Lazarus-Yafeh, "On the Messianic Idea in Islam." In: Zvi Baras (ed.), Messianism and Eschatology. Jerusalem, 1983, pp. 169–176.    

[12] This issue is discussed at length in McCants's book: William McCants, The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015.

[13] See references in Note 11, and especially the statements at the end of the 2018 compilation of sermons mentioning the hadith.

[14] On this belief as propagated today by Hamas and other elements in the Arab and Muslim world, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 10940, Article In Qatari Daily: Israel's Demise Is A Divine Promise, November 6, 2023, and further references therein.

[15]  This is reference to the Islamic belief in God's primordial decree, which governs the world since its creation.

[16]  The verses say: " And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the Book: ´You shall do corruption in the earth twice, and you shall ascend exceeding high.´  So, when the promise of the first of these came to pass, We sent against you servants of Ours, men of great might, and they went through the habitations, and it was a promise performed.  Then We gave back to you the turn to prevail over them, and We succored you with wealth and children, and We made you a greater host.  ´If you do good, it is your own souls you do good to, and if you do evil it is to them likewise.´ Then, when the promise of the second came to pass, We sent against you Our servants to discountenance you, and to enter the Temple, as they entered it the first time, and to destroy utterly that which they ascended to.  Perchance your Lord will have mercy upon you; but if you return, We shall return; and We have made Gehenna a prison for the unbelievers." (Translation: Arthur Arberry)

The four verses speak of two times in which the Jews spread corruption in the land and were bitterly punished with defeat at the hands of their enemies. In his Hebrew translation of the Quran, Uri Rubin comments that these the two times mentioned here allude to the two exiles of the Jews: to Babylon during the First Temple period and to Rome at the end of the Second Temple period. Rubin also notes that some Islamic exegetes interpret the text to imply that "the Jews sinned for a third time, when they rejected the Prophet Muhammad and persecuted him. They were punished when their tribes in Medina were exiled or destroyed." The Quran, translated by Uri Rubin. Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University Press, 2005, p. 227. The text under discussion evidently presents a different interpretation of the "two times," having to do with today's Jews and with the state of Israel. Indeed, these four verses feature prominently in the contemporary Arab-Islamic eschatological literature when it deals with the Jews and Israel, and David Cook devotes an entire chapter to them in his book on this literature: David Cook, Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature. New York: Syracuse University Press, 2005, pp. 98–125. 

[17] The scarves are called taylasan, and Vajda notes that the word resembles tallit, the Hebrew word for the Jewish prayer shawl. George Vajda, "Jews and Muslims according to the Hadith." Translated from the French by Susan Emanuel. In: Andrew G. Bostom, M.D. (ed.), The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism,, San Bernardino, CA, 2020, p. 246. See also his reference to the discussion in Goldziher. Ibid., p. 258, n. 173.

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