The Huffington Post must be getting nervous that too many people are discovering the truth about what Islamic texts really say. Thus they have given three Islamic apologists space to explain that the hadith in which Muhammad is depicted as prophesying that Muslims will bring on the end times by killing Jews wholesale is really quite benign and nothing to worry about at all.
Here is the fullest version of the hadith, which appears many times in shorter forms in the two hadith collections that Muslims consider most reliable, Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim:
“Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.” (Sahih Muslim 6985)
To whitewash that is a tall order, and the results in the HuffPo are predictably meager. The thrust of the argument below is that the text refers only to the unrighteous Jews, not the righteous ones. Oh, okay. What the HuffPo doesn’t tell you, however, is that while the Qur’an promises Paradise to the Jews (2:62), it also says that the “unbelievers among the People of the Book,” a group that includes the Jews, are “the most vile of created beings” and are headed for hell (98:6). How can those two statements be reconciled? Very easily: the Jews who are righteous and will be saved are those who accept Muhammad as a prophet and become Muslims, and the Jews who are hellbound are those who remain Jewish. As the Tafsir al-Jalalayn explains: “Before his arrival they had all agreed to believe in him when he would come; then those who disbelieved in him from among them became envious of him.”
So the HuffPo is publishing a slyly dishonest piece that is endorsing the traditional Islamic idea that Jews have to convert to Islam to be saved. When will they publish explanations of problematic bits of Jewish or Christian scripture? Don’t hold your breath; hell hasn’t frozen over yet.
“The ‘Jew Killing Hadith’ And The Myth of An Antisemitic Genocide In Muslim Scripture,” by Nazir Khan, Omar Suleiman, and Justin Parrott, Huffington Post, March 30, 2017:
A Jordanian cleric visiting Canada recently misleadingly cited a hadith without context or explanation, which rightly triggered condemnations from the Muslim community as well as numerous headlines around the world. A hadith is an oral report transmitted from the Prophet Muhammad, and can be incredibly complex as one needs to evaluate all the chains of transmission of a particular statement recorded in a hadith in order to arrive at an appropriate conclusion of what the particular hadith is actually talking about. In this case, a single phrase was cited, one describing rocks and trees calling out to Muslims, “There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
This is not the first time that this text has been used to foment anti-Semitic sentiment within the Muslim community. Muslim leaders and scholars must forcefully denounce such rhetoric and clarify Islam’s unequivocal condemnation of all forms of anti-semitism, racism, discrimination, and xenophobia. Of course, Islamophobes pounced on the opportunity to trigger alarm bells and generate a new wave of propaganda accusing Muslims of genocidal ambitions towards Jews, and to claim that Islam is inherently anti-Semitic and a threat to Western civilization.
Explanation of the misquoted hadith
A story about a supernatural apocalyptic battle between good and evil
When we look up different narrations of the Hadith in question, we find out that the phrase being quoted is actually part of a larger narrative in the genre of eschatology (the part of theology dealing with the end times and the Day of Judgment), describing the return of Jesus and the apocalyptic battle between Jesus and the Dajjal (Antichrist).  In this battle that will take place between the armies of Jesus and the Dajjal, several miracles are said to occur including that the Dajjal will melt when Jesus sees him, and that inanimate rocks and trees will speak and identify soldiers of the Dajjal (Sunan Ibn Majah 4077).
This is a story about a battle between two groups of soldiers involved in war, one side of which is clearly unjust; it does not refer to innocent civilians. And it’s not actually a battle about ‘Muslims versus Jews’! As a matter of fact, Muslims believe that all righteous Christians, Jews, and Muslims will be following Jesus after he returns (Qur’an 4:159), while misguided Christians, Jews, and Muslims will be following the Dajjal. Indeed, other Hadith demonstrate that many of the Dajjal’s forces will actually be deviant Muslims (Sunan Ibn Majah 179).
Jews are amongst the good guys in the Muslim apocalypse
Moreover, the vast majority of Jews will NOT be followers of the Dajjal, as hadith commentary describe that the Dajjal’s followers will come from only two out of the twelve Israelite tribes, while most Jews will be righteous folk amongst the forces of good uniting with virtuous Christians and Muslims (Fayd al-Bari, Anwar Shah Kashmiri, 4/197).  After all, the Dajjal will be a murderous dictator who claims to be God, an anathema to all followers of the Abrahamic tradition as well as to all people of conscience.
Muslims do not believe that rocks and trees will be pointing out random innocent bystanders, but rather soldiers of the Dajjal – combatants who are themselves involved in killing innocent people. It is about these specific combatants in the Antichrist army that rocks and trees will say, “There is one hiding behind me, come and slay him!” The religious identity of the Dajjal’s soldiers includes evildoers from all backgrounds (including misguided Muslims). Other variants of the hadith state that the rocks and trees will simply say, “Here is a rejector of truth hiding behind me!” (Musnad Ahmad 3546), and do not use the word “Jew” to describe them.
Therefore, this hadith describes a future battle between warriors and can only occur after the return of Jesus; in no way can this hadith be interpreted as a prescription to go out and harm civilians or peaceful members of any faith community. The Qur’an explicitly condemns violence against civilians and non-combatants, stating “Whoever kills a soul it is as if he has slain all humanity,” (5:32) and, “So if they withdraw and do not fight you, and offer you peace, then God gives you no way against them,” (4:90). War is only permitted in defense against aggression or to aid the oppressed, as in the case of Jesus fighting against the Dajjal’s forces….