Dear Sheikh! As-Salam `Alaykum. What, according to the Qur'an, are the main characteristics and qualities of Jews?
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All thanks and praise are due to Allah and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear questioner, we are really pleased to have your question and we pray to Allah to make our humble efforts, exerted solely for His Sake, come up to your expectation.
As regards the question you posed, the following is the fatwa issued by Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former Head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, in which he states the following:
"The Qur'an has specified a considerable deal of its verses to talking about Jews, their personal qualities and characteristics. The Qur'anic description of Jews is quite impartial; praising them in some occasions where they deserve praise and condemning them in other occasions where they practice blameworthy acts. Yet, the latter occasions outnumbered the former, due to their bad qualities and the heinous acts they used to commit.
The Qur'an praises them on the verse that reads: " And verily We gave the Children of Israel the Scripture and the Command and the Prophethood, and provided them with good things and favored them above (all) peoples." (Al-Jathiyah:16) i.e. the peoples of their time.
Among the bad qualities they were characterized with are the following:
1. They used to fabricate things and falsely ascribe them to Allah. Allah Almighty says: " That is because they say: We have no duty to the Gentiles. They speak a lie concerning Allah knowingly." (Al-`Imran:75) Also: "The Jews say: Allah's hand is fettered. Their hands are fettered and they are accursed for saying so. Nay, but both His hands are spread out wide in bounty. He bestoweth as He will." (Al-Ma`idah:64)
In another verse Almighty Allah says: "Verily Allah heard the saying of those who said, (when asked for contributions to the war): "Allah, forsooth, is poor, and we are rich! We shall record their saying with their slaying of the Prophets wrongfully and We shall say: Taste ye the punishment of burning!" (Al-`Imran:181)
2. They love to listen to lies. Concerning this Allah says: "and of the Jews: listeners for the sake of falsehood, listeners on behalf of other folk" (Al-Ma'idah: 41)
3. Disobeying Almighty Allah and never observing His commands. Allah says: "And because of their breaking their covenant, We have cursed them and made hard their hearts." (Al-Ma'idah: 13)
4. Disputing and quarreling. This is clear in the verse that reads: "Their Prophet said unto them: Lo! Allah hath raised up Saul to be a king for you. They said: How can he have kingdom over us when we are more deserving of the kingdom than he is, since he hath not been given wealth enough?" (Al-Baqarah: 247)
5. Hiding the truth and standing for misleading. This can be understood from the verse that reads: “…distort the Scripture with their tongues, that ye may think that what they say is from the Scripture, when it is not from the Scripture.” (Al-`Imran: 78)
6. Staging rebellion against the Prophets and rejecting their guidance. This is clear in the verse: “And when ye said: O Moses! We will not believe in thee till we see Allah plainly.” (Al-Baqarah: 55)
7. Hypocrisy. In a verse, we read: “And when they fall in with those who believe, they say:fs We believe; but when they go apart to their devils they declare: Lo! we are with you; verily we did but mock.” (Al-Baqarah: 14) In another verse, we read: “Enjoin ye righteousness upon mankind while ye yourselves forget (to practice it)? And ye are readers of the Scripture! Have ye then no sense?” (Al-Baqarah: 44)
8. Giving preference to their own interests over the rulings of religion and the dictates of truth. Allah says: “…when there cometh unto you a messenger (from Allah) with that which ye yourselves desire not, ye grow arrogant, and some ye disbelieve and some ye slay?” (Al-Baqarah: 87)
9. Wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them. This is clear in the verse that reads: “Many of the People of the Scripture long to make you disbelievers after your belief, through envy on their own account, after the truth hath become manifest unto them.” (Al-Baqarah: 109)
10. They feel pain to see others in happiness and are gleeful when others are afflicted with a calamity. This is clear in the verse that reads: “If a lucky chance befall you, it is evil unto them, and if disaster strike you they rejoice thereat.” (Al-`Imran:120)
11. They are known of their arrogance and haughtiness. They claimed to be the sons and of Allah and His beloved ones. Allah tells us about this in the verse that reads: “The Jews and Christians say: We are sons of Allah and His loved ones.” (Al-Ma’idah: 18)
12. Utilitarianism and opportunism are among their innate traits. This is clear in the verse that reads: “And of their taking usury when they were forbidden it, and of their devouring people's wealth by false pretences.” (An-Nisa’: 161)
13. Their impoliteness and indecent way of speech is beyond description. Referring to this, the Qur’anic verse reads: “Some of those who are Jews change words from their context and say: "We hear and disobey; hear thou as one who heareth not" and "Listen to us!" distorting with their tongues and slandering religion. If they had said: "We hear and we obey; hear thou, and look at us" it had been better for them, and more upright. But Allah hath cursed them for their disbelief, so they believe not, save a few.” (An-Nisa’:46)
14. It is easy for them to slay people and kill innocents. Nothing in the world is dear to their hearts than shedding blood and murdering human beings. They never give up this trait even with the Messengers and the Prophets. Allah says: “…and slew the prophets wrongfully.” (Al-Baqarah: 61)
15. They are merciless and heartless. In this meaning, the Qur’anic verse explains: “Then, even after that, your hearts were hardened and became as rocks, or worse than rocks, for hardness.” (Al-Baqarah: 74)
16. They never keep their promises or fulfill their words. Almighty Allah says: “Is it ever so that when ye make a covenant a party of you set it aside? The truth is, most of them believe not.” (Al-Baqarah: 100)
17. They rush hurriedly to sins and compete in transgression. Allah says: “They restrained not one another from the wickedness they did. Verily evil was that they used to do!” (Al-MA’idah:79)
18. Cowardice and their love for this worldly life are their undisputable traits. To this, the Qur’an refers when saying: “Ye are more awful as a fear in their bosoms than Allah. That is because they are a folk who understand not. They will not fight against you in a body save in fortified villages or from behind walls. Their adversity among themselves is very great. Ye think of them as a whole whereas their hearts are divers.” (Al-Hashr:13-14) Allah Almighty also says: “And thou wilt find them greediest of mankind for life and (greedier) than the idolaters.” (Al-Baqarah:96)
19. Miserliness runs deep in their hearts. Describing this, the Qur’an states: “Or have they even a share in the Sovereignty? Then in that case, they would not give mankind even the speck on a date stone.” (An-Nisa’:53)
20. Distorting Divine Revelation and Allah’s Sacred Books. Allah says in this regard: “Therefore woe be unto those who write the Scripture with their hands anthem say, "This is from Allah," that they may purchase a small gain therewith. Woe unto them for that their hands have written, and woe unto them for that they earn thereby.” (Al-Baqara: 79)
After this clear explanation, we would like to note that these are but some of the most famous traits of the Jews as described in the Qur’an. They have revolted against the Divine ordinances, distorted what has been revealed to them and invented new teachings which, they claimed, were much more better than what has been recorded in the Torah. It was for these traits that they found no warm reception in all countries where they tried to reside. Rather, they would either be driven out or live in isolation. It was Almighty Allah who placed on them His Wrath and made them den of humiliation due to their transgression. Almighty Allah told us that He’d send to them people who’d pour on them rain of severe punishment that would last till the Day of Resurrection. All this gives us glad tidings of the coming victory of Muslims over them once Muslims stick to strong faith and belief in Allah and adopt the modern means of technology.