It has become a habit for some to publish responses to any paper dealing with the issue of Islam, its truthfulness and the falsehood of other religions. This is particularly true of the Christian missionaries as such people do not care whether they provide an efficient responses or not; all they care about is to respond, regardless of the outcome. Is this reaction an idiotic one? Well, we cannot claim that it is a stupid strategy; because it is always useful to show your followers that you are able to respond and speak loudly, drowning other voices. The psychological factor is after all always important here. But what is glaring indeed are the content of such “responses” because the writer tries to show that he is competent in the field when in actual fact he is totally unqualified.
During the Mi’raj, the Prophet(P) is reported to have received from God the command of five daily prayers (salah) that all Muslims must perform. Upon his return to Mecca, the Prophet instituted these prayers. It is significant to note that he made Jerusalem the direction (al-Qiblah) which Muslims must face while doing their prayers (narrated by al-Bukhari, 41 and by Muslim, 525). Jerusalem is thus called Ula al-Qiblatain (the first qiblah). The Prophet (P) and the early community of Islam worshipped towards the direction of Jerusalem during their stay in Mecca. After the Hijra’ (migration), Muslims in Medina also continued to pray facing Jerusalem for almost seventeen months until God commanded the Muslims to change their direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca (Qur’an 2:142-150). These established facts clearly signifies the importance of Jerusalem in Islam.
The story of Prophet Ibrahim’s migration from Babylonia to Syria-Palestine (Kan’an), then to Egypt, then his return to Palestine and subsequently his coming with his wife Hajar and son Isma’il to Makka is well-known. These epoch-making travels took place roughly at the beginning of the second millennium B.C. Ibrahim had at first called his own people to abandon the worship of idols and other objects like the heavenly bodies and to worship the One Only God. They, however, instead of responding to his call, put him to various vexations and ultimately to the test of fire from which God protected and saved him. Only his wife Sarah and nephew Lot believed and accepted his call. Under God’s directive Ibrahim, accompanied by Sarah and Lot first migrated to Haran (in Syria) and then on to Kan’an (Palestine). At both the places he preached God’s message and called the people to worship Him alone.
Asif Iqbal presents a commentary of an extract from the Christian historian Theophanes’ account of a group of Jews accepting the Prophet Muhammad as their awaited Messiah.