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History Islam Jerusalem

The Case Of Jerusalem — The Holy City

Editor’s Note: The missionaries have published an article claiming that there is no significance between the holy city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) with Islam, while at the same time displaying their Zionist tendencies. We republish an article from Israeli Watch which rebuts their fatuous claims and cements the relationship between Islam and Al-Quds.

Last June, Israel celebrated Jerusalem Day to commemorate its capture of East Jerusalem 38 years ago. As one may recall in 1980, in violation of the U.N. resolutions, the Government of Israel officially annexed the city and adjoining areas in the West Bank of the Jordan River. The city remains the thorniest and knottiest issue facing negotiators that will decide its final status in a future Palestinian state.

Since coming to power in 2001, Prime Minister Sharon has issued orders for constructing new settlements around the occupied East Jerusalem. His defense force has also confiscated Palestinian?owned land for the construction of Israel’s Apartheid Wall.1 Many Middle-East experts suspect, and probably rightly so, that his recent unilateral ?disengagement? or withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, after some 38 years of illegal occupation, is ill-motivated and is only a smokescreen to deny the Palestinian Authority — in future negotiations — any claim to East Jerusalem as its capital.

According to Yossin Beilin, head of Israel’s left-wing Yachad Party, since the Intifadah of September 2000, nearly 1200 Israeli Jews have moved into the predominantly Palestinian parts of eastern Jerusalem.

All these activities are in violations of UN Resolutions and President Bush’s “Roadmap”. However, the Bush Administration will not take Sharon to task for such non-compliance, and the latter knows it very well. That is why he is so bold with all his war crimes – from his genocidal activities in Jenin to extra-judicial killings of leaders and members of Palestinian resistance.

Sharon creates the impression that he is not ready to go back to the pre-1967 border and wants to hold on to East Jerusalem by hook or by crook. He wants to make sure that Palestinians are removed out of Jerusalem and its environs so that the demography of the Holy Land is altered before any serious negotiation resume on the final status of Jerusalem. This is also the position suggested by the organizers of the Jerusalem Summit and other Zionist leaders. For instance, Martin Sherman, the Academic Director to the Jerusalem Summit and a Political Science lecturer at the Tel Aviv University recently ?redefined? the Palestinian problem by suggesting that ?generous? sums of money be paid to the Palestinians so as to relocate and resettle them elsewhere in Arab/Muslim world. What a “brilliant” and “benevolent” way of cleansing Palestinians from their ancestral land! To these hawks: Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal capital and “Jews should rule an undivided Jerusalem.”

So, how does Israel prove its heritage to a city? Archeology is a means. Years of excavation in Arab East Jerusalem in the post-1967 era by Dame Kathleen Kenyon, Benjamin Mazar and Meir Ben-Dove, however, did not unearth any traces of Jewish existence from the so-called “Temple Mount Era”. Much to their embarrassment what surfaced were more Muslim palaces, courts and mosques, and ruins belonging to the Romans, Greeks and Canaanites. The excavations, clandestine and overt, underneath the Haram al-Sharif (the so-called Temple Mount) are weakening the very foundation of two of the holiest Muslim shrines. Should those shrines cave in and collapse, I am not sure if many Israelis and their friends realize the ensuing repercussion, enough to pale all the wars humanity has seen before. I only pray and hope that we never see such a human catastrophe.

Another technique employed is: manipulation of history. A classic example is the Israeli-sponsored ?Jerusalem 3000? celebration in 1998. This was aimed at advocating the myth that Jerusalem?s history began 3000 years ago with David, rather than some 5000 years ago, as the archeologists concur. Following the footsteps of early Zionists who willfully “transformed” Palestine into a historical and geographical desert with propagandas like “Give a country without a people to a people without a country,” today’s Zionists are also spreading the myth that “politics, not religious sensibility, has fueled the Muslim attachment to Jerusalem for nearly fourteen centuries” or that Jerusalem was “never important” to Muslims, and that during the Muslim rule it “declined to the point of becoming a shambles”. Another technique in proving heritage is finding justification through theology.

In what follows, we shall study these hypotheses.

Introduction

Jerusalem has been the subject of immense interest throughout history. It embodies sacred memories of the Prophets of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is here that all the three Semitic religions of the world played vital roles at different junctures in the history of mankind. For twelve centuries, under Muslim rule (636-1917 CE, except a century of Christian rule), Jerusalem has been an oasis of peace and tranquility. Yet, beginning in 1948, we witness a change of a major dimension, a conspiracy that culminated in the establishment of a Zionist state in Palestine ignoring the rights of its overwhelming Muslim majority. This event has been responsible for much bloodshed to subsequently follow among the children and heirs to the Abrahamic heritage.

Jerusalem is very dear and sacred to Muslims for a number of reasons.

The Holy Qur’an refers to Jerusalem in connection with Prophet Muhammad’s (sallal-lahu alayh wa-as-salam: blessings of Allah and peace be upon him) Isra’ and Mi’raj in the following verses: “Glory be to Him who did take His servant for a journey by night from the Masjid Al-Haram (Sacred Mosque) to the Masjid Al-Aqsa (Farthest Mosque) whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of Our signs. He (Allah) is the One who hears and sees all things.”2 (The masjid in Jerusalem was called the farthest mosque because it was the farthest mosque known to the Arabs during the Prophet’s time.) According to most commentators of the Qur’an, this event of Isra’ and Mi’raj took place in the year before the Hijra (Prophet’s migration to Madina). The hadith literature gives details of this journey. To Muslims, the event is viewed as passing of the spiritual baton.

As has been pointed out by Professor Walid Khalidi in his 1996 address at the Jerusalem Conference of the American Committee on Jerusalem, “The Prophet’s isra to and mi’raj from Jerusalem became the source of inspiration of a vast body of devotional Muslim literature, as successive generations of Traditionists, Koranic commentators, theologians, and mystics added their glosses and embellishments. In this literature, in which the Prophet is made to describe his visits to Hell and Paradise, Jerusalem lies at the center of Muslims beliefs, literal and allegorical, concerning life beyond the grave. This literature is in circulation to this day in all the languages spoken by nearly one billion Muslims. To this day, too, the Night of the Mi’raj is annually celebrated throughout the Muslim world.”

A particular link also exists between Jerusalem and one of the five “pillars” of Islam — the five daily prayers (salat). According to Muslim tradition, it was during the Prophet’s mi’raj that, after conversations between the Prophet and Moses, the five daily prayers observed throughout the Muslim world became canonical. Parallel to this body of literature concerning the isra and miraj is another vast corpus of devotional writings concerning the “Excellencies” or “Virtues” (fada’il) of Jerusalem.”

In the early stage of Islam, Jerusalem was the Qiblah towards which Muslims faced in their prayers. Later, however, they were instructed by Allah to change their Qiblah to Makkah: “So turn thy face toward the Masjid al-Haram, and ye (O Muslims), wheresoever ye may be, turn your faces (when ye pray) toward it. Lo! those who have received the Scripture know that (this Revelation) is the Truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do.”3

With this change of Qiblah, Jerusalem did not lose its sacredness to Muslims though. It came to be known as Al-Quds (the sanctuary), al-Bayt al-Muqaddis (i.e., the holy house), and al-Quds ash-Sharif (the holy and noble city).

Pre-Islamic Period

The memorandum of the Zionist Organization to the Peace Conference in 1919 declared, “This land is the ‘historic’ home of the Jews”. By “historic” they meant the right of the ?first occupier,? i.e., nobody inhabited the region prior to the Jews. Such an assertion, as we will see, is only a myth. For debunking this myth of ?first occupier,? we shall examine the Bible. The Book of Genesis says, “And Terah took Abram [referring to prophet Abraham or Ibrahim (alayhi-salaam)] his son, and Lot [referring to Lut (AS)] the son of Ha?ran his son?s son, and Sa?rai his daughter in law, his son Abram?s wife; and they went out from Ur of Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan.? [Gen. 11:31]; “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.” [Gen. 12:6] The verses 13:3-7 state that the Canaanite and the Perizzite were already dwelling in the land when Abraham returned from Egypt to Bethel and set his tent between Bethel and Ha?i. Not only did the tribes with Abraham find the Canaanites but they also found the Hittites (around Hebron), the Ammonites (around Amman), the Moabites (to the east of the Dead Sea) and the Edomites (in the south-east). At the same time, there were arriving from the Aegean Sea another people, the Philistines, who installed themselves between Mount Carmel and the desert.

The Bible says that Jacob [Prophet Ya’aqub (P)], who is also known as Israel, settled in Sha’lem , a city of She’chem, which was in the land of Canaan (Gen. 33:18). There he erected an altar and called it El-e-lohe-Israel. [Gen. 33:20]

The modern-day Palestinians are, in deed, descended from indigenous Canaanite Jebusites who lived in Palestine at least 5000 years ago, from the Philistines (who gave the country its name – Palestine, Arabic for Falastin), and from the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and the Turks who successively occupied the territory, following the Babylonians, the Hittites, and the Egyptians. The ?first occupiers? are these inhabitants who have inhabited the territory since the dawn of history. And any reference that the Palestinians are descendants of Muslim Arabs (from the time of Muslim conquest of Jerusalem) is disingenuous and is aimed at denying their ancestral tie to the land for five millennia.

The current mythology to connect Prophet Dawud or David (P) with Jerusalem is a typical example of distorting history. The name Jerusalem does not come from the Hebrew word “shalom” meaning peace, but from Uru-shalim, meaning the city or foundation of the (Canaanite Jebusite) god Shalim, cited in ancient Egyptian texts. It is these Jebusites who gave the name of the city some 2000 years before the time of David and Solomon.

Both the Qur’an and the so-called Old Testament mention that the children of Jacob [Ya’aqub (P)] settled in Egypt when Joseph [Yusuf (P)] was appointed a Minister to the Pharaoh. Moses [Musa (P)], born in Egypt, was later commanded by Allah to rescue the Children of Israel from the Egyptian bondage and to settle them in the Sinai desert. During the time of Moses, the holy land was denied to them due to their disobedience of the commandments of Allah (see the Book of Deuteronomy).

From the accounts in the Bible, it is clear that the Children of Israel did not establish themselves in the Holy Land until around 1004 BCE when David [Dawud (AS)] of the tribe of Judah defeated the Jebusites to found a kingdom there. He created a multi-national state, embracing peoples of different religions. His own ancestress Ruth was a Moabite. His son Solomon [Sulayman (AS)], who succeeded the throne, was born of a Hittite mother. Solomon, like his father, maintained the multi-national characteristics of his regime. He built a stone temple, commonly known as the Temple of Solomon, as a gesture of his thanks to Allah (YHWH).

After Solomon?s death, the kingdom got divided into two ? the Kingdom of Israel in the north (comprising the ten tribes) with the capital in Samaria, and the Kingdom of Judah in the south (comprising the two tribes) with capital in Jerusalem. In 722-721 BCE, the Kingdom of Israel was invaded by the Assyrians and its people scattered, who came to be known as the ?Ten lost tribes of Israel.? In 586 BCE, the Babylonians under the leadership of King Nebuchadnezzar annexed the southern kingdom of Judah. The country?s notables were exiled to Babylon. Jerusalem was ravaged to the ground, along with its temple and fortifications. When Emperor Cyrus (Dhul Qarnain of the Qur’an) of Persia defeated the Babylonians in 538-537 BCE, he let the exiles to return to Jerusalem. Many Jews, however, preferred to remain in more prosperous Babylon.

History is scant and dubious before Alexander?s peaceful entry into Jerusalem in 332 BCE, but it suffered heavily under the Persians and the temple — rebuilt under Ezra (Uzayr) and Nehemiah about 515 BCE — might have been destroyed during Artaxerxes’s regime. In 320 BCE, Ptolemy I of Egypt partially demolished the fortifications that remained in ruins until their restoration by Simon II in 219 BCE After a series of struggles between the Ptolemies and Seleucids, the latter obtained the city by a treaty in 197 BCE. The temple was totally Hellenized, i.e., turned into a heathen idol-temple, by Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 BCE.

Next we come to the period of the Maccabean revolt. After a twenty years? struggle, the Maccabees were able to form the Hasmonean dynasty in 164 BCE. This broke up owing to internal conflicts and in 63 BCE Roman General Pompey was able to conquer Palestine, which first became a vassal monarchy under Herod, and then a Roman province.

Under Herod, Jerusalem was rebuilt and the second temple (known as the Temple of Zerubabel) elaborated (from 17 BCE to 29 CE). However, during the failed revolt (66-70 CE) by the Hebrews, the city was blockaded by Roman General Titus who completely razed it to the ground and burned the temple in 70 CE on the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Ab, the very month and day on which 657 years earlier Nebuchadnezzar had razed the first Temple. (The Qur’an briefly mentions these two destructions of the Temple in Surah 17:4-7.) The Jewish inhabitants were exiled or sold into slavery. After the failed second revolt (132 CE), led by Bar Kochba, the city was renamed Aelia Capitolina in 135 CE and Jews were banned from entering the city. And since then Jews gradually moved away from Palestine.

In 326 CE, Emperor Constantine the great ordered the building of the Church of Holy Sepulcher in Aelia. In 614-615 CE Khoshru II of Persia captured the city by defeating the Roman (Byzantine) Christians, mention of which is available in the Qur’an 30:2-3: ?The Romans have been defeated in a land close by: but they, (even) after (this) defeat of theirs, will soon be victorious within a few years, with Allah is the command in the past and in the future: on that day shall the believers rejoice.? His forces destroyed many buildings. Just as the Qur’an had prophesied, the Romans defeated the Persians in 628 C.E, under Heraclius, and reentered Aelia.

Muslim Period

In 636 CE, at the battle of Yarmuk, the Byzantines were defeated by the Muslim Army, led by Amr ibn al-?As (R). Patriarch Sophoronius offered to surrender the city if Khalifa Umar ibn al-Khattab (R) himself would come in person to ratify the terms of surrender. The encounter between these two men was very dramatic. In the words of a Christian historian, Anthony Nutting, ?Umar taught the caparisoned throng of Christian commanders and bishops a lesson in humility by accepting their surrender in a patched and ragged robe and seated on a donkey.? [The Arabs, New American Library, N.Y. (1964)]

The terms of the surrender were: ?Bismillahir Rahmaneer Raheem (In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful). This is a covenant which Umar, the servant of Allah, the Amir (Leader) of the faithful believers, granted the people of Aelia. He granted them safety for their lives, their possessions, their churches and their crosses. They shall not be constrained in the matter of their religion, nor shall any of them be molested. ? Whoever leaves the city shall be safe in his person and his property until he reaches his destination.?

Umar (R) thus pledged security of the lives, properties, churches and freedom of worship of the city?s Christian inhabitants. These pledges came to be knows as the Covenant of Umar, which established the standard of conduct vis-a-vis the non-Muslim population of Jerusalem for subsequent generations and specifically for the two subsequent Muslim conquerors of Jerusalem: Saladin (1187) and the Ottoman Sultan Selim (1516).

When Umar (R) entered Jerusalem what is now known in the West as the Temple Mount lay vacant. The Christian Byzantines had used it as a garbage dump. But to the Muslims it contained the Rock hallowed by the Prophet Muhammad?s (S) Isra? and Mi?raj (the Prophet?s nightly journey to Jerusalem and ascension to heaven). According to the Muslim chroniclers, Umar?s (R) next concern was to identify that Rock. Sophoronius guided him to a spot, which by then had no traces of its Jewish past. Because of high reverence for the place, Umar (R), the Amirul Mu?meneen, himself started cleaning it in person, carrying dirt in his own robe. His entourage and army followed suit until the whole area was cleaned. He directed that no prayers be held on or near it until the place has been washed by rain three times. His entourage then sprinkled the place with scent. Umar (R) then led the Muslims in prayer on a clean spot to the south. Foundation of a mosque was erected on the spot and this is the Al-Aqsa mosque, revered by Muslims as one of the three most sacred mosques on earth.

In the Jewish apocalyptic literature of the time, Umar?s (R) capture of Jerusalem was seen as an act of redemption from the Byzantines. It is worthwhile mentioning here (as has also been recognized by Jewish historian Moshe Gil) that it was not until 638 CE that a Jewish quarter would be assigned in the city – since the days of the second Jewish Revolt some five hundred years ago – when Muslims invited Jewish families to reside there.

The most obvious reflection of Islam?s reverence for Jerusalem is in its architecture. During the Umayyad rule (660-750 CE) Jerusalem flourished to become a major city, and from this period, important buildings survive. The Umayyad Khalifa Al Walid later completed the construction of the al-Aqsa mosque in 715 CE. His father Caliph Abdul Malik bin-Marwan constructed the ?Dome of the Rock? ? Masjid al Quba as-Sakhra (visible with gold dome) on the Haram al-.Sharif earlier in 688-691 CE (68-71 AH). These two mosques became essentially the most visited mosques in the entire Muslim world outside the Ka?ba and Masjid an-Nabi in Arabia, and grace the city of Jerusalem to this very day.

In 728 CE the cupola over the Al-Aqsa Mosque was erected, the same being restored in 758-75 by the Abbasid Khalifa Al-Mahdi. In 831 Khalifa Al-Ma?mun restored the Dome of the Rock and built the octagonal wall. In 1016 the Dome was partly destroyed by earthquakes; but it was repaired in 1022.

As part of historical revisionism, some Orientalists, such as John Wansbrough, and Likudnik/Zionist historians have opined that Muhammad?s (S) night journey to Jerusalem – the Isra’ and Mi’raj, one of the principal foundations of Jerusalem?s sanctity in Islam – was a later invention aimed at accounting for the Qur’anic verse 17:1. Others, such as Patricia Crone, have proposed that Jerusalem was in fact the original Islamic holy city, and that the sanctity of Makkah and Madinah was a later innovation. Neither of these ludicrous theories enjoys much acceptance (outside die-hard Zionists), least of all among Muslims.

During the Abbasid rule (750-969 CE) Jerusalem became a religious focal point for Christian and Jewish pilgrims and Sufi Muslims. The vast majority of its inhabitants were Muslims. It remained under Muslim control until the first Crusade (1099). Excepting a brief period during Fatimid caliph (insane) al-Hakim?s rule (996-1021), there was no religious persecution of minorities.

In November 1095, Pope Urban II delivered a speech at Claremont, France, which can only be described as the vilest and most spiteful speech of the Middle Ages, responsible for initiating the never-ending Crusade. He said: “O race of Franks! race beloved and chosen by God! From the confines of Jerusalem and from Constantinople a grievous report has gone forth that an accursed race, wholly alienated from God, has violently invaded the lands of these Christians, and depopulated them by pillage and fire. The kingdom of Greeks is now dismembered by them, and has been deprived of territory so vast in extent that it could not be traversed in two months’ time.

On whom, then, rests the labor of avenging these wrongs, and of recovering this territory, if not upon you – you upon whom, above all others, God has conferred remarkable glory in arms, great bravery, and strength to humble the heads of those whom resist you? Let none of your possessions keep you back, nor anxiety for your family affairs. For this land which you now inhabit, shut in all sides by the sea and the mountain peaks, is too narrow for your large population; it scarcely furnishes food enough for its cultivators. Hence it is that you murder and devour one another, that you wage wars, and that many among you perish in civil strife.

Let hatred, therefore, depart from among you; let your quarrels end. Enter upon the road to the Holy Sepulchre; wrest that land from a wicked race, and subject it to yourselves.

Jerusalem is a land fruitful above all others, a paradise of delights. That royal city, situated at the center of the earth, implores you to come to her aid. Undertake this journey eagerly for the remission of your sins, and be assured of the reward of imperishable glory in the kingdom of Heaven.”

With that deleterious speech, the Pope aroused Christians to recapture Jerusalem from Muslims. On 1099 CE the Crusaders entered the city and began one of the bloodiest and crudest massacres in history. According to Ibn al-Athir some 70,000 Muslims were slaughtered in Masjid al-Aqsa alone, all of them non-combatants, some of them Imams and professors of theology.

Raymond d’Aguiliers, chaplain to Raymond de Saint-Gilles, Count of Toulouse, wrote: ?Piles of heads, hands, and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city. It was necessary to pick one?s way over the bodies of men and horses. But these were small matters compared to what happened at the Temple of Solomon, a place where religious ceremonies were ordinarily chanted. What happened there? If I tell the truth, it will exceed your powers of belief. So let it suffice to say this much, at least, that in the Temple and porch of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle-reins. Indeed, it was a just and splendid judgment of God that this place should be filled with the blood of unbelievers, since it had suffered so long from their blasphemies. The city was filled with corpses and blood.?

Jerusalem became the capital of the Latin Kingdom under Godfrey, Count of Bouillon, who changed the Al-Aqsa mosque into a church and erected a big cross on top of the Dome of Rock. Muslims and Jews were banned from living in the city.

In 1187 Sultan Salahuddin (Saladin) Ayyubi (RA) liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders and restored the al-Aqsa mosque to its previous condition. Before liberating Jerusalem, Saladin wrote a letter to King Richard which sums up Muslim position vis-?-vis the status of the city. He wrote: ?Jerusalem is our heritage as much as it is yours. It was from Jerusalem that our Prophet ascended to heaven and it is in Jerusalem that the angels assemble. Do not imagine that we can ever abandon it. Nor can we possibly renounce our rights to it as a Muslim community. As for the land, your occupation of it was accidental and came about because the Muslims who lived in the land at that time were weak. God will not enable you to build a single stone in the land so long as the war lasts.?

Comparing Saladin?s behavior with those Christian Crusaders, the historian Anthony Nutting writes: ?Apart from restoring the holy places of Islam, Saladin allowed not a single building to be touched. As Christian historians have attested, strict orders were issued to all Muslim troops to protect Christian life and property and not a single Christian was molested on account of his religion – a remarkable contrast to the atrocities perpetrated by the Franks eighty eight years before.? It is worth mentioning here that while the Crusaders, when they entered Jerusalem, burned Jews in their synagogue Salahuddin, after recovering the city, had allowed Jews to return.

Excepting brief periods between 1229-1239 and 1243-1244 when Jerusalem again fell in the hands of the Crusaders (because of Muslim in-fighting), it remained a Muslim City through all its life. Religious freedom and rights of worship by Christians and Jews were respected. In 1267 Rabbi Moshe Ben Nahman (Nahmanides) arrived from Spain, revived the Jewish congregation and established a synagogue and center of learning bearing his name. In 1448, Rabbi Obadiah of Bertinoro settled in Jerusalem and led the community. After the Spanish Inquisition (1492), Jews found shelter among the Muslims of North Africa and (what is now called) the Middle East.

The Mamluks (1248-1517), who came after the Ayyubids, left their mark in architecture with beautiful buildings, schools and hospices throughout the Old City. They added markets, repaired water supplies and constructed city?s fountain system.

In 1517 the Ottomans took over Jerusalem peacefully. Sultan Suleiman ?the magnificent? (1537-41) rebuilt the city walls (un-walled since 1219) including the present day 7 gates (what is now known as the Old City) and the ?Tower of David.? He further improved the city?s water system, installed drinking fountains still visible in many parts of the Old City. He also patronized religious centers and educational institutions. A Jewish colony ?Safaradieh? was formed in 1522 in Palestine. The Ottomans granted religious freedom to all and it was possible to find (something that was unthinkable in Europe) a synagogue, a church and a mosque in the same street.

The Damascus gate was erected in 1542. It was Sultan Selim, the Ottoman ruler, who dug out the Wailing Wall from under the rubble in the 16th century and permitted Jews to visit it. All the Ottoman Sultans ? from Suleiman ?the magnificent? to Sultan Abdul-Hamid (RA) ? were great patrons of Jerusalem, making surrounding territories of the mosques as their Waqf properties.

Throughout the Ottoman era, the city remained open to all religions, although the empire?s faulty management after Sultan Suleiman meant slow economical stagnation. When Jewish people faced extermination across Europe, the Ottoman Sultans allowed them to take refuge in the Empire. Some of them settled in Palestine. In 1562 there were 1,200 (mostly religious) Jews and 11,450 Arabs living in Jerusalem.

By mid-19th century, with the weakening of the Ottoman Empire (to the extent of being ridiculed as the ?Sick Man of Europe?) the European colonial powers vied with each other to gain a foothold in Palestine. New areas with names like the German Colony and the Russian Compound sprouted the city. According to Zionist historiography, residential building outside the walls of the Old City began around 1860 with the Jewish settlement – Mishkenot Shaananim. However, such scholarship overlooks the much earlier construction and continued use of numerous indigenous residential buildings outside the walls such as khans, residences for religious persons, and summer homes with orchards and olive presses, belonging mostly to non-Jews, especially the Arab Muslims. In time, as the communities grew and connected geographically, this became known as the New City.

This was also an age of Christian religious revival, and many churches sent missionaries to proselytize among the Muslim and especially the Jewish populations, believing passionately that this would expedite the Second Coming of Christ. These outside missionaries settled in and around places like Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

In 1846 there were only 12,000 Jews in Palestine out of a population of 350,000. In 1880, shortly before the Russian Pogroms, there were only 25,000 Jews in Palestine out of a population of half a million.

The last half of the 19th century witnessed the pontification of Pope Pius IX (1846-78), the publication of Wilhelm Marr?s ?Jewry?s Victory over Teutonism? (1873), the assassination of Czar Alexander II (1881) and the Alfred Dreyfus case (1894). These events led to pogroms and anti-Semitism (actually Jew-hatred) across Europe, especially in Eastern Europe and Russia. Jews again found refuge in the Ottoman Empire. [Ironically, the demise of the Ottoman regime can partly be blamed on the Jewish enclave in Salonika (now Thessalonica or Thessaloniki in Greece) – home of the D?nme and the birthplace of the (Jacobin) Young Turk movement.]

The last decade of the 19th century saw the emergence of political Zionism calling for the establishment of a Jewish state. Sultan Abdul-Hamid, the last of the Ottoman Sultans, was approached by Theodor Herzl, the father of political Zionism, who offered to buy up and then turn over the Ottoman Debt to the Sultan?s government in return for an Imperial Charter for the Colonization of Palestine by the Jewish people. In his Diary, Herzl writes, ?Let the Sultan give us that parcel of land [Palestine] and in return we would set his house in order, regulate his finances, and influence world opinion in his favour?? The Sultan rejected the offer.

In his letter to a Sufi Shaykh (dated Sept. 22, 1911), Sultan Abdul-Hamid mentions this episode: ?I left the post of the ruler of Caliphate only because of the obstacles and threats on the side of people who call them ? Young Turks. The Committee of Unity and Progress obsessively insist on my agreement to form a national Jewish state in the sacred land of Palestine. But in spite of their obstinacy I strongly refused them. In the end they offered me 150 million English pounds in gold, but again I refused and said the following to them: ?If you offer me gold of the world adding it to your 150 man, I won?t agree to give you the land. I have served Islam and the people of Muhammad (S) for more than 30 years, and I won?t cloud the Islamic history, the history of my fathers and grand fathers ? Ottoman Sultans and caliphs.? After my definite refusal they decided to remove me from power, and after that they told me that they would transport me to Salonika and I had to resign. I praise my benefactor who didn?t let me bring shame on the Ottoman state and the Islamic world. I want to stop at this. I praise the Almighty once again and finish my letter. ?

The Sultan, to the last of his days, resisted bartering Jerusalem for his reign.

So what we notice from historical accounts is a remarkable Muslim reverence for the city of Jerusalem, much in contrast to the disingenuous claims made by Zionist apologists like Daniel Pipes. Down the centuries, from the time of Umar (R) to the subsequent Muslim dynasties ruling from Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo and Istanbul, Jerusalem was always important to Muslims. They constructed a wide variety of buildings and institutions in Jerusalem: mosques, theological college convents for Sufi mystics, abodes for holy men, schools of the Hadith and the Qur’an, orphanages, hospitals, hospices for pilgrims, fountains, baths, pools, inns, soup kitchens, places for ritual ablution, mausoleums, and shrines to commemorate the Prophet?s (S) Mi?raj. These buildings were maintained through a system of endowment in perpetuity (awkaf), sometimes involving the dedication of the revenues of entire villages in Palestine, Syria, or Egypt. The patrons were caliphs and sultans, military commanders and scholars, merchants and officials, including a number of women. Their philanthropy bears witness to the importance of Jerusalem as a Muslim center of residence, pilgrimages, retreat, prayer, study and burial.

British Mandate Period:

With the defeat of the Turkish Army during the World War I (1914-18), British General Edmund Allenby took control over Jerusalem. Upon entering the city on 11 December, 1917, he declared, ?Now the Crusades come to an end.? As a matter of fact, it was the beginning of the end, i.e., marshalling of a neo-crusade against Muslims by using Israel as a ?rampart? in the Muslim heartland.

In 1917, Britain issued the infamous Balfour Declaration promising the Zionists establishment of a Jewish national homeland in Palestine. The Declaration was criminal to the core as historian Arthur Koestler so aptly described: ?One nation solemnly promised to give to a second nation the country of a third nation.? With that goal in mind, during the devious British Mandate (1917-47), Jews were pumped into Palestine from all over Europe. In spite of such Jewish influx, according to a census taken by the British on 31 December 1922, there were altogether 83,000 Jews in Palestine out of a total population of 757,000 of which 663,000 were Muslims. That is, the Jewish population was only 11%.

In 1935, when the Palestinian Arabs rose in revolt against further Jewish immigration, there were 370,000 Jews out of a total population of 1,366,670, i.e., 3 out of 4 were Arabs. During partition, the Jewish population owned less than 6% of the total land in Palestine. Yet when on November 29, 1947, the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem in an international zone, 56% of the total area was allotted to the Jewish state. As was expected, Arabs (with the exception of King Abdullah of Transjordan) rejected the plan and a fight for territories broke out in which armed Jewish terrorist gangs massacred unarmed Palestinians in several villages. At that time, in Old (East) Jerusalem Jews owned less than 1% of land. Their ownership of properties in the New (West) city was 26%.

In recent years, the issue surrounding pre-1948 demographics of Jerusalem has become a hot item. Zionist historiographers (e.g., Ben Arieh, Gilbert and others) have been trying to prove a Jewish majority in Jerusalem before the partition. This myth has no substance whatsoever quite simply by looking carefully at the available late Ottoman-era statistics and (for the later period) by examining the boundaries of the Jerusalem municipality as drawn by the British Mandatory authorities.

In this regard it is worth quoting what pre-eminent demographer Justin McCarthy had clearly pointed out, ?Ottoman statistics are the best source on Ottoman population.? The Ottoman data on Jerusalem show that in 1871-2, the Jewish population of Jerusalem was a quarter of the total population living in Jerusalem. In 1895, when the city?s population was about 43,000, the entire Jewish population could not have been more than a third (i.e., 14,500). In 1912 – the last Ottoman statistics – show that Jerusalem had a total population of 60,000 of which nearly 25,000 were Jews.

According to Professor Walid Khalidi the international zone comprising ?Mandatory municipal Jerusalem? in addition to some 20 surrounding Arab villages had a slight majority of Arab population who numbered 105,000 while the Jewish population was just under 100,000. Academic research works by Salim Tamari (director of the Institute of Jerusalem Studies and a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Birzeit University) and others present a similar picture. They point out how Zionist historiographers deliberately avoided accounting for Arab neighborhoods in their demographic studies of Jerusalem while concentrating mostly on Jewish suburbs.

Upon reviewing the literature on the selective demographics of Mandate Jerusalem, British historian Michael Dumper attributes two major reasons for these population discrepancies. First, estimates counted Jewish migrants who arrived in Jerusalem before 1946 and later moved to Tel Aviv and other localities. Second, while excluding Palestinians who were working in the city but living in its rural periphery (the daytime population such as the commuting workers from Lifta and Deir Yasin), they included Jewish residents living in suburban areas such as Beit Vegan, Ramat Rahel, and Meqor Hayim. The latter were incorporated within the municipal population through a process he refers to as ?demographic gerrymandering.?

Professor Tamari?s studies on Jerusalem?s western villages, for instance, show that once the rural neighborhoods are introduced, the picture in regard to demographics and land composition change dramatically. ?Extrapolations from 1945 Mandatory statistics,? Professor Tamari says, ?show that the Jerusalem sub-district contained slightly over a quarter of a million inhabitants of whom 59.6% were Arabs and 40.4% were Jewish. In the western Jerusalem areas that came under Israeli control after the war (251,945 dunums) 91.8% (231,446) dunums were Arab owned, 2.7% were Jewish owned, and the rest were public lands.?

Israeli Period:

The conspiracy of the Western powers in collusion with the Zionists, the terrorism inflicted upon the Arab inhabitants, the foolishness of the local leaders, and the incompetence or indifference of others – all these led to the establishment of the state of Israel on May 15, 1948 when on that day the Jewish settlers declared independence. The massacre of Arab residents of Deir Yasin, Qibya and Kafr al-Qasim that followed were only the preludes to Israel?s genocide of Palestinians at Sabra and Chatilla, Tyre and Sidon, Nablus, Jenin and of ongoing atrocities in Gaza, West Bank and Southern Lebanon.

Soon after the unilateral declaration, in a subsequent war with neighboring Arab states, Israel captured 78% of the original Palestine by annexing territories set for the Arab Palestinian state, leaving only East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in Arab hands. This cataclysmic event forced 750,000 Palestinians to seek refuge elsewhere.

As to its impact on Jerusalem, Professor Tamari writes, ?During the war of 1948, particularly during the months of April-May, about 25-30,000 Palestinians were displaced from the urban suburbs of Jerusalem. In addition, the bulk of the village population (23,649 rural inhabitants) were also expelled. These included the population of the two largest villages in the Jerusalem sub-district, Ain Karim and Lifta, and virtually all of the rural habitations west of the city (with the exception of Abu Ghosh and Beit Safafa). Altogether 36 villages and hamlets were destroyed, or – as was the case with Lifta and Ain Karim – were physically left intact but their Palestinian inhabitants removed. Most of the displaced persons eventually found refuge in the Old City and its northern Arab suburbs (Shu?fat, Beit Hanina, Ram), and in the refugee camps of Ramallah and Bethlehem. Today the refugee population originating from the Jerusalem district is estimated to be 380,000.?

In July 1949, the Israeli government declared West Jerusalem ?territory occupied by the State of Israel?, and all Arab lands and businesses were confiscated under the Absentee Property Regulations of 1948. Most of the urban refugee property in Jerusalem was sold to Israelis and squatters. Refugee-lands outside the urban center were mostly sold to a specially established Government Development Authority which in turn sold them to the Jewish National Fund or to cooperative agricultural settlements. Soon, Israel began to transfer its government offices to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Government employees were housed in abandoned refugee property.

On 13 December 1949, the Israeli government declared Jerusalem as its capital, which was later passed as a resolution in the Knesset on January 23, 1950.

On June 5-10, 1967 Israel launched an offensive against neighboring Arab states and captured East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza, plus the Sinai and the Golan Heights. Most Jews celebrated the event as a liberation of the city; a new Israeli holiday was created, Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim), and the popular Hebrew song, ?Jerusalem of Gold? (Yerushalayim shel zahav), became popular in celebration.

Between 1949 and 1967 scores of Palestinian towns and more than 400 Palestinian villages were destroyed by Israel. In the first flush of victory in the 1967 war, Ben Gurion wanted the magnificent walls built by the Ottomans that surround the ?Old City? destroyed because they were such a powerful reminder of the Islamic character of the city. Most of the Israeli government buildings in Jerusalem including the Knesset are built on Palestinian-owned land.

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), since annexation of East Jerusalem, have embarked on a ?Judaization? policy that entails constricting building permits to local Arabs to build houses on their ancestral land, withdrawing residency permits, demolishing Palestinian homes and mosques, and building illegal settlements. One of the first moves was to demolish the Maghariba quarter in order to enlarge the prayer area next to the Wailing Wall. One hundred and twenty-five Arab houses were destroyed in the process. Jerusalem Palestinians are considered as foreign residents. The policy of the Interior Ministry towards them – endorsed on 30 December 1996 by the Israeli Supreme Court – is too severe and arbitrary (especially since 1994). In 30 years (1967-97), an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 Arab residents in Jerusalem have lost their right of residency in the city. These include, for example, Jerusalem Palestinians who lived for over seven years outside the city limits. During the first two weeks of January 1997 alone, 233 Palestinian residents in Jerusalem were issued with expulsion orders. Palestinian refugees from camps located within the limits of Greater Jerusalem (the Shufat and Kalandia camps) have absolutely no political rights.

This ?policy of Judaization,? which has been conducted openly by the Israeli government to reduce the Arab presence in Jerusalem, is starting to bear fruit. While in 1990, there was still a majority of 150,000 Palestinians against 120,000 Jews in the eastern part of the city, the ratio has been reversed to the benefit of the latter. In 1993, East Jerusalem counted 155,000 Palestinian Arabs against 160,000 Israeli Jews. Some 250,000 Israelis lived in West Jerusalem. In 1996, out of a total population of 602,100 in Jerusalem, the Jewish population alone was 421,200.

On 19 April 1999, an inter-ministerial committee on Jerusalem recommended that Israel needs to build 116,000 new housing units in the city for Jews by 2020 in order to maintain a 70/30 percent Jewish majority in Jerusalem. This would signify an annual rate of 5,500. Figures published on 28 May, 2003 by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics show that Jerusalem?s population has reached 683,000, of which sixty-six percent is Jewish. Of the 32 percent of the population who are Arabs, 94% are Muslim and 6% are Christians. In 2004, the Jewish population in Jerusalem was estimated at 464,000 out of a total population of 692,000.

The illegal Israeli settlements in and around occupied East Jerusalem have expanded rapidly, in violation of all international laws. The Jewish settler population in East Jerusalem has also multiplied accordingly. In 2000 it was estimated to be close to 180,000. In 2003, 217,000 Palestinians share East Jerusalem with 200,000 Jewish settlers. Of these, 66,500 were in the Greater Jerusalem area of Ma?aleh Adumim, Givat Ze?ev, Betar Elite, Har Adar, Efrat and part of the Etzion Bloc.

The Israeli government has succeeded in applying Jerusalem?s religious symbolism to vast areas that have nothing to do with historic Jerusalem. So, e.g., over half of what we call Jerusalem today was not part of the city pre-1967, but were parts of Bethlehem and 28 other West Bank towns.

Between 1967 and 2003, 35% of the land in East Jerusalem has been expropriated for the construction of Jewish neighborhoods and attendant facilities. Of the more than 38,500 houses built on expropriated land, as of 2003, none has been constructed for Arabs. In East Jerusalem there are now over 43,000 homes in Jewish neighborhoods and only 28,000 in Palestinian neighborhoods.

In today?s Israel even the dead are not safe from desecration. For example, during Olmert?s tenure as the mayor of Jerusalem, Islamic burial places in West Jerusalem ?Ma?man Allah? (or colloquially Mamilla), measuring some 250,000 square meters, were turned into building plots. The Sheraton Plaza Hotel, Supersol supermarket, Beit Argon building and the adjacent car parking lot are all built on this Islamic Waqf owned land which was used by Muslims as their burial place in Jerusalem until 1948. What remains of this Muslim cemetery is being used as an open park, courtesy of Jerusalem mayors.

The 1993 Oslo Accord left the future of Jerusalem to be determined later through serious negotiation. At Camp David in July 2000 and later at Taba, Israeli negotiators considered allowing some sovereignty to the Palestinian state over Arab areas of East Jerusalem but no agreement was reached. The Palestinian side was ready to concede Israel?s claim to West Jerusalem of which Palestinians had privately owned 40 per cent in 1948. The final negotiation fell flat on the status of Haram al-Sharif.

In the post-Clinton era, nothing significant has been done to settle Jerusalem?s long-standing problem except President Bush?s announcement of the so-called ?Roadmap? for the creation of a Palestinian state, which appears to be aimed more at getting the necessary cooperation from his Arab client states before toppling Saddam than establishing the groundwork for real peace or a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem.

Religious Myth

Next, we come to the question of religious myth, as Menachem Begin once said, ?The country was promised to us, and we have a right to it.? [Davar, Dec. 12, 1978] Golda Meir similarly said, ?This country (i.e., State of Israel) exists as a result of a promise made by God Himself.? Moshe Dayan said, ?If you have the book of Bible, the people of the Bible, then you also have the land of the Bible – of the Judges, of the Patriarchs in Jerusalem, Hebron, Jericho and thereabouts.? [Jerusalem Post, Aug. 10, 1967]

One should not be surprised by such invocations of Biblical passages to ?justify? or ?sanctify? the permanent extension of the Zionist state. In 1956, it was David Ben-Gurion who showed the way by declaring that Sinai formed part of the ?Kingdom of David and Solomon.?

Over the past year, Jerusalem municipality has issued orders to demolish 64 of the 88 Palestinian homes in the adjoining Arab town of Bustan (Silwan for the Israelis). City Councilman Meir Margalit said that the remaining 24 homes would also be demolished shortly. Why Bustan? The answer is simple: to the Israelis, it is the ?City of David? where King David decided to build the capital of his kingdom in 1004 BCE. To them, Bustan should not belong to a future Palestinian state. To realize this, Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski plans to expand the ?City of David Park? that would include nearby Bustan.

Colonialists have always sought a rationalization for their criminal annexations, robberies and authority. And what a better way than to claim being ?God?s Chosen People? or belonging to a ?Superior? race? Are we, therefore, surprised at the remarkable similarity between Zionist claims and Vorster?s (late Prime Minister of the Apartheid regime in South Africa in 1972) assertion about justification of apartheid when the latter said, ?Let us not forget that we are the people of God, entrusted with a mission??

The concept of “race” is a 19th century invention by European colonialists to justify colonial hegemony. To justify colonialism, English writer, Rudyard Kipling spoke of “the White Man’s burden” to civilize the non-whites. This very idea of “chosen people” should be recognized as historically infantile, politically criminal, theologically intolerable, and morally insane. It has no scientific basis. It is a bizarre puzzle to say the least. Because, God’s mercy is never restricted to a group, but transcends entire humanity. It is narrated in the Qur’an, ?Remember when Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain words, which he fulfilled. He said, “I shall make you an Imam to humankind.” Said he, “And what of my progeny?” He said, “My covenant shall not include the wrongdoers.” [Qur’an 2:124]

Zionists often invoke the Book of Genesis (15:16) which states: ?In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.? So, which ?seed? or son is meant here? Is it Ishmael ? the first born, or Isaac (the son of Sarah) ? the father of Jacob? What we know from history is that this ?promise? was only fulfilled through the Arab descendants of Ishmael, the forefather of Muhammad (P), and not ever by any descendant of Isaac. Period!

So, if theology were to determine the status of Jerusalem, the Muslim position strongly contradicts Jewish aspiration for the city and shows that they have stronger claim to the city than their Jewish cousins.

Sadly, political Zionism has betrayed Judaism and perverted Christianity. The same church that once labeled Jews as ?Christ-killers?, as the ?rejected? or ?forsaken people?, now calls them the ?Chosen people.? They are now its best friends, more zealous than many Israelis in their support for the rogue state. It is really strange! I wish the Christian motivation was genuine and not simply to gather them as the sacrificial lambs for the ?coming Armageddon?!

The entire policy of the state of Israel, internal or external, is a colonial enterprise, but it wears the ?chador? (cloak) of pseudo-theological myth. From its beginning to the present, Israel has always been a racist, colonial state. The father of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl remarked, ?Universal brotherhood is not even a beautiful dream, antagonism is essential to man?s greatest efforts.? [Jewish State, (1897)] Contrary to this view, the greatest minds ever in the history of mankind, from Moses to Jesus to Muhammad (S), spoke of universal brotherhood to be the solution. This remark rightly shows the sick mentality of this founder of Zionism. As a matter of fact the Zionists – Jewish or Christian alike – are morally wrong.

In his Diary, Theodor Herzl writes about the establishment of a Jewish state: ?We should form there a portion of rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.? Here, it clearly shows his colonial, racist mentality. He first disregards the rights of the indigenous inhabitants of the Arab Palestinians, and then calls them barbarians. With the records of Israeli leaders since the establishment of the modern Zionist state, it is quite obvious that it has served the purpose of being a ?rampart? rather too well!

Concluding Remarks

From the above discussion we see that the so-called Children of Israel far from being the first settlers in Palestine were only one group among many others. The total period of Jewish rule or sovereignty over Palestine in general and Jerusalem in particular was only about 400 years, and this period is much shorter a period compared to the period of Muslim rule. As a matter of fact, in its entire history, no other community had ruled Palestine or Jerusalem for a longer period. The myth of political rights of the Jews over Palestine is thus not substantiated by history.

In the pre-1948 period, Jews returned to Palestine primarily as a result of persecution in Europe, and least from any yearning for the “homeland of their ancestors”. Had it not been for the generosity of Muslim rulers, they could not have found refuge among Muslims, and surely not in Palestine.

If theology were to be the basis for occupying land, then Muslim claims for Jerusalem is at least, if not more, as strong as those of Jewish (and Christian) claims.

Contrary to the myths now spread by Zionists, Jerusalem was always important to Muslims and that during the Muslim rule it never declined to the point of becoming a shambles.

More importantly, East Jerusalem, including its Muslim holy places, is not the patrimony of any Arab incumbent in whatever Arab capital he or she may be, but that of nearly 1.5 billion Muslims and of the Arab people of Palestine. Israel through its actions in post-1967 era has shown that it cannot be trusted for guardianship of Muslim shrines.

In common with the wishes of millions of Palestinians living inside and outside the Occupied Territories of Palestine, Old (East) Jerusalem, comprising all the pre-1967 territories, is deserving of being their capital. The Case of Jerusalem -- The Holy City 2

Adopted and updated from the author’s speech at the California State University, Los Angeles, May 16, 1987. The author may be contacted at saeva[at]aol[dot]com
  1. http://www.countercurrents.org/pa-pmc150604.htm []
  2. Qur’an 17:1 []
  3. Qur’an 2:144 []
Categories
Op-Ed

What I Did Not Say And The Missionary Myopia

Introduction

There are those who say that lying and deceiving is at the soul of all crime and that Christianity epitomizes these traits more than any other faith.1 As proof of their assertion they often quote Paul of Tarsus, arguably the true founder of Christianity, who is recorded to have said, “But if through my falsehood God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? Any why not do evil that good may come? – as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.” (Romans 3:7-8)

While I want to exclude myself as one who would condemn an entire religious tradition based on such statements, I must admit that the temptation is too great when I see how the fanatics of evangelical Christianity, the bigots with their highly bloated ‘holier than thou’ notion of moral superiority, often try to set hallmarks of lying and deceptions. To these xenophobic bigots, there is nothing good in Islam, Qur’an and Muhammad (S) – the religion, the Scripture and the Prophet of Muslims; dialogue with Islam is out of question. The mere acceptance of Islam as a “go-between” Judaism and Christianity would be “disastrous”, especially now that “relations between Jews and Evangelical Christians in America are flowing smoothly.” To them, “if Muslims were to join the dialogue, then they must leave their holy book far behind them in public, especially in areas of legislation. Islamic law must never be considered in deliberations, for it is too harsh and barbaric.”

By the way, none of the above quoted statements are mine, but comes from a die-hard Christian missionary. Soon after my speech at Vanderbilt University on the subject of “Islam and Coexistence” got posted in the Internet, this activist reacted vehemently with his 13-page polemical writing and silly propaganda objecting to what he calls my ‘errors and omissions’ — what “I should have said at Vanderbilt” -– obviously asserting my speech as a “non-speech”. I must admit that I was unaware of the existence of this propagandist before some of my readers pleaded that I should respond. I told them that I try to avoid participating in debates on comparative religion for the mere fact that they often burn more bridges than I can ever afford to build. After realizing that the Christian polemist’s writing display a penchant for anti-Muslim bigotry, I relented.

Some background information on my speech. A few weeks before the event, when the organizers of the Interfaith Coalition of Nashville contacted me to represent Islam, I politely suggested that they should instead contact Dr. Robert D. Crane.2 Apparently, he turned them down, and I ended up speaking on the subject of “Islam and Co-existence”.

Like other speakers, I was allotted only 15 minutes to cover such an important and vast subject, especially in the aftermath of 9/11 when interests are high to learn about Islam. Oddly, none of the other speakers said anything from their own scriptures, talking only on generalities.

During the question and answer session, when I tried to respond to a question from the audience, some bigots from the rabidly anti-Muslim Jihad Watch group tried to disturb me. They were arrogant and rude. They won’t allow me to respond to the question and instead insisted that I answered their question first. When I provided the answer from the Qur’an, they won’t yield because it did not agree with their poisonous and confused “learning” about Islam, thanks to Spencer and his ilk. When I challenged them to prove me wrong from the Qur’an, they didn’t have anything to say other than rambling that they did not “believe” me. I told them that they were entitled to their erroneous opinion and that I must answer the question posed to me first. They stared angrily at me before leaving the conference room.

This incident once again demonstrates what kind of malicious and bigoted sermons and hate literature many Christians are now fed about Islam. Naturally, the merchants of Christian religion have found that selling the poisonous pills of bigotry and Armageddon is much more lucrative to their coffers than communion breads!

In what follows, I shall discuss some major themes raised by the Christian missionary. Other issues have long been answered by me and others.

A. Violence:

The evangelical Christian missionary was not gay about the selection of verses from the Qur’an that exemplified coexistence with people of other faiths.3 He would rather have me quote the verses from the Surah at-Tawbah, which were revealed about the anti-Muslim mushriqs of Arabia so as to prove how intolerant Islam is or its prophet Muhammad (S) was. As I have explained many times, all the scriptures have their share of violent passages. The Qur’an does not have a monopoly there. As a matter of fact its share of violent passages is insignificant compared to those in the Bible.4 If such passages in the Qur’an make the Prophet of Islam a violent man, then most of the great personalities in the Bible, from Jacob to Moses to David to Jesus were no less violent individuals.

When Christian zealots shield those Biblical violent verses from a comparable critique, and yet demand a different set of rules for Muslims, it is intellectual dishonesty. Such a norm is exemplary of the ancient Latin phrase: Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi –- which means “what is allowed to Jupiter is not allowed to the cattle”. Therefore, I am not too surprised to see how these Judeo-Christian fanatics always relegate the role of cattle to others. It is in this pompous vein that the propagandist complains:

    But Siddiqui makes some errors and omissions. He assumes, for example, that Jim Jones of the Guyana mass suicide and David Koresh of the Waco incineration were Christians, but they were not. They deviated far from the New Testament and its teaching of love demonstrated by Jesus Christ.

How wonderful! Zarqawi and OBL are Muslims, but Jim Jones and David Koresh are not Christians! They might as well be Muslims (for the sake of deceiving missionaries)! So must be Hitler!

How about King Richard, the so-called “Lion-Heart”? Wasn’t he a Christian when he killed 3000 Muslim prisoners of war in Accre?5 How about all those mass-murderers in history who professed Christianity? To those fanatics: genocide, murder, mayhem, rape and plunder were no predicament but God’s vengeance brought about by faithful upholders of Christianity who were inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit!

I shall have no problem discussing the Qur’anic verses that are violent in nature when my counterparts are willing to wash their dirty laundry in the open. In the meantime, let them reflect on the instruction enunciated in the gospel according to Matthew (7:1): Judge not that ye not be judged.

The Jesuit asks: when did Jesus and his first generation of Christians take up arms to kill people or to impose a dhimmi tax on those who refused to submit? My question is: did Jesus run the affairs of his people? If not, how can he be compared with someone who did? The actions of Muhammad (S) should, in all fairness, be compared with prophets of the Bible who held similar responsibilities –- the likes of Moses.6 When we do that we’ll find Muhammad’s (S) and his ashab’s (Companions) treatment of the conquered people was far superior. In contrast to the Biblical prophets who killed all people, including infant males and unarmed women who had known (sex with) men (see, e.g., Numbers 31:17-18), except virgins, Muhammad (S) instructed his army not to kill any old man, unarmed civilian, child and woman.7 They were also instructed not to demolish homes, nor to destroy cattle and trees. So, if death is better than life, then the so-called dhimmi tax would be construed as being worse than murder.8910

The Biblical prophets also burned down the cities of the conquered people (see, e.g., Numbers 31:10).

In spite of many leadership shortcomings (e.g., being rejected by his own people), the portrayal of Jesus in the so-called New Testament is not the “love-all” and “forgive-all” kind of personality that the Church would have us believe. He appears rude (John 2:4, Matt. 12:48, Mark 3:33-4), mean-spirited (Matt. 15:26, 17:17, 23:33-5), offensive (John 8:44, Matt. 23:13-29), abusive (Matt. 12:39, 23:23-9, Luke 11:44), disrespectful (Matt. 11:21-3, 16:4, 23:13-9), divisive (Matt. 10:35, Luke 14:26), racist (Matt. 15:26) and prone to violence (Matt. 10:34; Mark 11:15; Luke 12:49-53, 19:27, 22:36). He is even tempted by the devil (Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2). He commands stealing (Matt. 21:1-3, Luke 19:29-34), and may even be a homosexual (Mark 14:49-52, John 13:23). [Na ‘oozu billah!]

The apocryphal Gospel of Thomas puts the following words in Jesus’s mouth: “I shall destroy this house and no one will be able to (re)build it.” The depiction of Jesus during his second coming is anything but flattering or peaceful.11

The early history of Christianity in the pre-Constantine era (324-337 CE) is not immune from violence either. It is a history of heresy, riots, torture, torment, extortion, competition/rivalry, excommunications, banishments and assassination.12 It is therefore not difficult to understand the statement of James in the NT: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not; ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. … Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? .., Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4:1-8)13

The situation did not improve much even after Christianity was adopted as the state religion. The Roman emperor Justinian (332-63 CE) described the “love” of Christians for each other in this way: “I experienced that even beasts of prey are not that hostile minded to human beings than Christian sinners to each other.”14 With state backing, Christianity soon revealed its “my way or highway” type mentality annihilating all competing faiths from vast territories it came to control. There was to be no rivalry, no qualification to the rigid unity of the Church.

During his reign Catholic emperor Flavius Theodosius (346-395 CE) took severe measures against Arianism and the surviving remnants of paganism. In 388 a prefect was sent around Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor for the purpose of destroying temples and breaking up pagan associations; it was then that the Serapeum at Alexandria was destroyed. He prohibited pagan religion and introduced heavy financial penalties.15 The imperial decree stated: “We command that those persons who follow this rule shall embrace the name of Catholic Christians. The rest, however, whom We adjudge demented and insane, shall sustain the infamy of heretical dogmas, their meeting places shall not receive the name of churches, and they shall be smitten first by divine vengeance and secondly by the retributions of Our own initiative, which We shall assume in accordance with the divine judgment.” And later, with regards to pagan houses of worships, he decreed: “We command that all their fanes, temples, and shrines, if even now any remain entire, shall be destroyed by the command of the magistrates, and shall be purified by the erection of the sign of the venerable Christian religion.”

These codes resulted in further legislation, culminating in the death penalty for non-Christians in 435 CE. All citizens had to belong to the authorized “Catholic” Christianity, except Jews who were permitted to practice in places isolated from the rest of the population. Between 429 and 439 CE some 150 different laws were enacted defining and defending the “Catholic faith.” Church lands were made exempt from taxation and bishops immune to chastisement.

Theological support for repression of religious plurality was formally indoctrinated by St. Augustine (354-430 CE), Bishop of Hippo.16 As part of his hostility to the Donatist heresies, he formulated his doctrine of Cognite intrare (Italian: costringali ad entrare, meaning: “compel them to enter”), which was used throughout the Middle Ages to justify the suppression of differences and tyranny against the dissenters. Augustine stated: “The wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy. To love with sternness is better than to deceive with gentleness… In Luke 14:23 it is written: ‘Compel people to come in!’ By threats of the wrath of God, the Father draws souls to the Son.”17

The interested reader may like to read the book: The Dark Side of Christian History by Helen Ellerbe for an account. Excerpt from chapter 8 reads: “The Reformation did not convert the people of Europe to orthodox Christianity through preaching and catechisms alone. It was the 300 year period of witch-hunting from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, what R.H. Robbins called “the shocking nightmare, the foulest crime and deepest shame of western civilization,”…that ensured the European abandonment of the belief in magic. The Church created the elaborate concept of devil worship and then, used the persecution of it to wipe out dissent, subordinate the individual to authoritarian control, and openly denigrate women.”

So my suggestion to these myopic missionaries who seem to suffer from chronic mental ailment of “cognitive dissonance” is: before you nitpick the Qur’an by cherry-picking violent passages you ought to study your own scripture first and make an objective evaluation. Truly, if you are looking for violence, you don’t have to go beyond your own Bible. It is arguably the most violent book in the annals of human history.

B. Slavery:

Writing on slavery, the Jesuit alleges, “Moreover, the Quran endorses slavery—not merely permits it because it was too deeply entrenched in society. Muhammad himself traded in slaves.” He continues, “The slave trade was lucrative for Muhammad and his original Islam. It traded in slaves throughout its history…”

There is not an iota of truth in his assertions. Instead if the Jesuit had studied his own Bible well, he should have seen how it endorsed and encouraged slavery: “You may possess slaves, but make sure they are foreigners. You may also make slaves of the natives who dwell among you and from their children who are born and reared in your land. You may own them as chattels and leave them to your sons as their hereditary property, making them slaves forever. But you should not lord it over your own countryman, your own kinsmen.” [Lev. 25:44-46] (See also: Deut. 21:10) Even in the NT, not a single statement can be found in Jesus’s mouth that comes close to uprooting slavery. (See also: 1 Timothy 6:1, 1 Peter 2:18, Col. 3:22 for endorsement of slavery.)

The ancient world was deeply entrenched into slavery, and the Arab society in Muhammad’s (S) time was no exception. The pagan aristocracy in Makkah, Jewish landowners and merchants in Madinah and many wealthy Christian Arabs were slave owners.18 Most of the early believers in Muhammad’s (S) message of pure monotheism, on the other hand, were slaves, who were brutally tortured for their faith by their non-Muslim slavers. It became, thus, incumbent upon the Prophet (S) and his Companions (notably Abu Bakr and Uthman – may Allah be pleased with them) to free those slaves. Muhammad (S) bought freedom of 63 former slaves, A’isha (RA) 67, Abbas (RA) 70, Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) 1000 and Abdur Rahman ibn Awf 30,000.19 It was no wonder that some of the best-known Muslims and soldiers in the defense of Islam were these former slaves and their children.20

The Qur’an unequivocally makes it clear that no man, irrespective of his status (including a prophet), can enslave any other human being: “It is not (possible) for any human being unto whom Allah had given him the Scripture and wisdom and ‘Nabuwah’ (Prophethood) that he should afterwards have said unto mankind: Be slaves of me instead of Allah …” [3:79]

Thus, Islam’s credit lies in being the only major religion to curtailing slavery and encouraging emancipation of slaves.21 Following the dictates of the Qur’an, personal and public wealth from zakat fund and the Baitul-Mal was used for manumitting slaves.22 Here are some relevant Traditions (ahadith) encouraging emancipation of slaves, Muslims and non-Muslims alike:

  • “A person who frees a Muslim slave, Allah will deliver every one of his limbs from the fire of Hell in return for each of the limbs of the slave, even his private organs for the sake of the freed slave’s organs.” – Muhammad (S) [Bukhari and Muslim: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]
  • “The atonement for beating or slapping a slave (Muslim or non-Muslim) on the face, for no fault of his, is that he should be set free.” – Muhammad (S) [Muslim: Ibn Umar (RA)]
  • “Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom).” – Muhammad (S) [Bukhari: Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (RA)]
  • “Allah the Most High said, I will be the opponent of three persons on the Day of Resurrection. They are the one who makes a covenant in My name and then prove treacherous. Or the one who sells a free person (Muslim or non-Muslim) as a slave and appropriates his price for himself. And the one who hires a laborer and having taken full work from him, fails to pay him his wages.” – Muhammad (S) [Hadith Qudsi, Bukhari: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]
  • “There are three people whose prayers are not accepted. And one of these three is a man who enslaves a free person (Rajulun iitabada muharraran).” – Muhammad (S) [Abu Dawud]
  • “No son can repay his father unless he finds him as a slave and purchases him and sets him free.” – Muhammad (S) [Muslim: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]

As hinted earlier, many of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (S) were freed slaves who went on to become great leaders of the Islamic community. Bilal the Abyssinian became the first caller to Islam [note: the position of mu’addhin is next to the imam]. Ammar ibn Yathir was from Yemen, Salman al-Farsi was from Persia, Suhayb al-Rumi was from Byzantium. Many of the rulers in Muslim territories were freed slaves and their descendants.

On the other hand, throughout our known history, many of the notorious slave traders (including those involved in the Atlantic slave trade) were Christians and Jews.23 To them, the fate of dark-skinned (African) race was sealed with Genesis 9:25: “And he [Noah] said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” (See also Joshua 16:10.) The Church did not believe that Africans possessed human souls.24 Not surprisingly, when the British Crown asked the Christian clergy for supporting documents to justify the slave trade, they readily found them within the Bible.

Dr. George Best, a non-Muslim historian, says, “Christianity did not object to slavery. Politically or economically, it did not encourage the believers to oppose the traditions of their generations as regards slavery. Christianity did not even discuss the problem and said nothing against the rights of slave owners. It did not urge slaves to demand their freedom and did not basically ask to free the slaves.”

Nor should we forget that the movement to abolish slavery in Europe and America is rather a new phenomenon and dates back only to the 19th century,25 nearly 1200 years after Islam forbade taking any free man as a slave (see Imam Bukhari’s chapter: Baab Ithm man ba’a hurr wa akala thamanahu). Even with the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 in the British Parliament, the practice of owning slaves continued for another century in the West. The Grand Larousse of the 19th century reads: “Man does not wonder at the presence of slavery and its being common among the Christians till now. The religious representatives approve it and believe that it is legal. In brief Christianity approves it completely till our time and it is very hard to prove that Christianity tried to abolish slavery.”

Unfortunately, modern-day slavery still exists today in one form or another, e.g., sex labors in many parts of the world, captives or prisoners of war held in many parts of the world, forced labor in Burma and China, and slave camps run by the SPLA and Lord’s Army.

Diversion has always been a favorite ploy utilized by shrewd strategists to divert attention. Imperialists and their agents have successfully used it to colonize and mislead others.26 This tactic still has tremendous appeal among the modern-day empire dreamers. So, as it was during the pre-colonial days of Africa, we were bombarded not too long ago with allegations that the northern Sudanese were enslaving the southern animists and Christians. Thanks to the CBS program which unearthed the hoax of slave emancipation by the Christian Solidarity, now we know that there is no truth to these allegations. The program established that the Christian SPLA and Lord’s Army routinely practice this crime by enslaving free people (against their own kind in Sudan and Uganda) and trading thereafter for money and arms. It is a lucrative business for these savages and their western/Christian patrons to slicing Sudan and establishing their zone of influence. For years, these criminals used every means at their disposal, including heinous propaganda campaigns and arms shipment, to encourage secession movement in the southern Sudan. [See the link in http://www.sudanembassy.org/ for a CBS interview with Dan Rather on the hoax of The Sudan Slave Trade.27

C. Treatment of Jews:

To prove Islam’s alleged mistreatment of Jews, the Jesuit provides a link to Spencer’s hate literature. As have been repeatedly demonstrated by many scholars he simply cannot be relied upon to provide the truth on anything pertaining to Islam and Muslims.28 He is a merchant of hatred – an Islamophobic maniac. Period! Scores of Jewish scholars and historians can be cited, including Ben-Sasson29 and Abba Eban30 to prove him unreliable, hostile and lying.

Let me quote from the scholarly work, A History of the Jewish People, edited by Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson (Harvard University Press, 1976), an Israeli historian:

“The height of magnificence and luxury was reached by the wealthy Jews in the lands of Islam, particularly in Moslem Spain. We know that the court bankers of Baghdad in the tenth century kept open house for numerous guests and for the poor. Similarly, the ceremonies of the Jewish leaders in Babylonia [Iraq] and the patronage of the leading Jews in Moslem Spain, indicate conditions of ease and plenty.

“The attitude toward these non-Moslems in the Islamic territories was shaped in principle in accordance with the concept of dhimma, meaning protection granted to them by agreement or treaty… In return, their lives and property were protected and, in accordance with the general attitude of Islam to infidels, they were assured liberty of faith and worship. They were also permitted to organize themselves as they wished, and the Jews fully availed themselves of that permission.

“From the Jewish viewpoint, this conglomerate of Moslem attitudes to infidels was easier to live with than the one that had been established by Christianity, particularly in the Byzantine Empire. As we have noted above, for hundreds of years the overwhelming majority of Jews lived in the Islamic territories. Although it is possible to perceive some Christian impact on the Moslem attitude towards non-believers and even towards the Christians themselves, the moderation with which the Moslems applied this influence proved to be of great importance to the majority of Jewry over a long period. Unlike the masses of Christians and pagans who joined the Moslems over the first half century or so, the overwhelming majority of the Jews under Moslem rule held firmly to their own faith.”31

As to the settlement and economic activity in the 16th and 17th centuries and the establishment of the Sephardic Diaspora in the Ottoman Empire, the above book states:

“A considerable stream of exiles from Spain overflowed into the Ottoman Empire. Once the latter had annexed Erez Yisrael, it became a lodestone for Marranos who wished to repent and return to their former faith…. The sultan at the time of the expulsion, Bayezid, welcomed the refugees fleeing from the fanatical Christians. As recorded by a Jewish contemporary ‘the Sultan sent men ahead, and spread the word through his kingdom in writing as well, declaring that none of his officers in any of his cities dare to drive the Jews out or expel them, but all of them were to welcome the Jews cordially.’ It can be assumed that this imperial protection and the order granting right of domicile were issued through the influence of the leaders of the long-established Jewish community in the Ottoman Empire… Success was not restricted exclusively to medical and court circles. It seems that in the Ottoman Empire it was felt that the absorption of the exiles from the West provided social, cultural and even military advantages… The exiles gradually dispersed throughout the main cities of the Empire. Many synagogues were to be found in Constantinople during the sixteenth century. In this city they settled in quarters where Jews had not formerly resided. Salonika also became one of their main centres, and similarly Adrianople and Smyrna (Izmir). The exiles also established themselves in smaller cities. Expulsions from southern Italy helped to diversify the Jewish community and increase the various congregations in the Empire.”32

What is clear is that historically the relationship between Jews and Muslims living under Muslim Sultans was rather amicable and, that even in places like Palestine, Muslim people did not have any problem with Jews living there. The relationship soured only after the Balfour Declaration (1917) when the British allowed European Jews to colonize Palestine.33

As to the matter of jizya imposed on Jews, one simply has to read European history about what had happened to the European Jewry who sought protection from the Christian royalty in the medieval times. In return for royal protection during the first two Crusades, German Jews were made ‘serfs of the Imperial Chamber’ and were required to pay vast sums of ‘protection money’ for this privilege. Those Jews eventually became a very real source of royal revenue. As the king’s property, they could be – and were – bought, loaned and sold, to pay off creditors. The custom spread to other European countries. Church leaders justified this status theologically on the basis of earlier Church teaching that the Jews were doomed to eternal servitude for having crucified their lord – Jesus Christ.34

Unfortunately, the protection for which the Jews paid such a hefty price in Europe did not always materialize. For instance, before setting out for the 3rd Crusade the Crusaders plundered the possessions of the Jews, who had fled into the royal castle where they were besieged by the warriors – many of whom were deeply in debt to their quarry. In York, England, the climax was reached when a stone, thrown from the castle, killed a Christian monk. A battle cry was raised urging the people to “destroy the enemies of Christ.” When the Jews saw the fury of the besiegers and felt their fate to be sealed, they took their own lives, cutting one another’s throats. When the mobs gained access to the tower, the few Jews left, who begged for baptism and deliverance, were slaughtered. The total casualties have been estimated variously from 500 to 1500. From this scene of carnage, the attackers converged on the cathedral and burned all the records of financial obligations to the Jews kept in its archives.35

Writing in 1135, the French scholar Pierre Abelard has a European Jew in “Dialogue between a Philosopher, a Jew, and a Christian” spoke these words:

“No nation has ever suffered so much for God. Dispersed among all nations, without king or secular ruler, the Jews are oppressed with heavy taxes as if they had to repurchase their very lives every day. To mistreat the Jews is considered a deed pleasing to God. Such imprisonment as is endured by the Jews can be conceived by the Christians only as a sign of God’s utter wrath. The life of the Jews is in the hands of their worst enemies. Even in their sleep they are plagued by nightmares. Heaven is their only place of refuge. If they want to travel to the nearest town, they have to buy protection with the high sums of money from the Christian rulers who actually wish for their death so that they can confiscate their possessions. The Jews cannot own land or vineyards because there is nobody to vouch for their safekeeping. Thus, all that is left them as a means of livelihood is the business of money-lending, and this in turn brings the hatred of Christians upon them”36

Bottom line: the status of a dhimmi in a Muslim-run state was much better compared to that of a Jew living in Christian-run Europe.

There is no denying that the Jewish tribe of Bani Quraiza was punished by the Prophet of Islam. But can Muhammad (S) be blamed for their treason? They were punished not for rejecting Muhammad (S) as the last Prophet (nabi) of Allah, but for their confessed crime against the nascent Islamic state, and judged by their own laws, by their appointed judge. My question is: was Musa [Moses] (AS) more merciful to the Jews when he and his faithful disciples killed 3000 misguided Children of Israel (Exodus 32:28)? [See Md. Saidul Islam’s “Were the Jews maltreated by Prophet Muhammad, or vice-versa?” for a good analysis.]

A closer scrutiny will show that the verses in the Qur’an that castigated Jews of Madinah for their nefarious activities were comparatively milder than those found in the Bible (see, e.g., the Books of Isaiah, Micah, Hosea and Ezekiel, and especially those of Jesus in the so-called NT).37

D. Israel and cost of progress:

As any evangelical Christian-Zionist would be expected these days, the Jesuit missionary is very gay to report about the “progress” of the colonizing enterprise – Israel. He does not tell us that the land was stolen in a landmark Christian-Zionist conspiracy from its native people and given to outsiders from Europe (mostly Kharazites) who had no claim. He also does not tell us that the so-called progress of Israel has been costing America billions of dollars. The latter’s naked support of the rogue state has given us the cliché: the tail that wags the dog! [Interested readers may like to read John Mearsheimer and Stephan Walt’s recently published work “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” London Review of Books, March 2006, to understand Israel’s harmful effect.]

E. Status and Worship:

Commenting on the Qur’anic verse 98:4-6, the Jesuit says, “This implies that the Bible is inferior. Verse five says that Jews and Christians must do salat (prayer five times a day) and give zakat (required charity).” Such comments once again show that he needs to study the Bible before getting jumpy with the Qur’an. Don’t Jews and Christians pray and pay alms?38 Didn’t Jesus pray also (Mark 1:35, 14:35-39; Matt. 26:39-44)? So why complain? Interestingly, he is very upset about the Qur’an having put the idolaters in the same sentence as the people of the Book, as can be seen in the last phrase of the next statement where he says, “Verse six categorizes unbelievers among the People of the Scripture (= the Bible) with idolaters, the most impure of all humans.” It is no coincidence that the Biblical prophets killed the idolaters en masse whereas, after the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet of Islam announced a general amnesty against the idolaters. (See, e.g., Exodus 22:20 – “Anyone who sacrificed to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed.”)

F. Law of Retaliation:

The Jesuit makes a fool of himself when he alleges, “Siddiqui omits Sura 5:45, which imposes retaliation, literal eye for an eye. Would radical Muslims want to impose this around the world?” The Qur’anic verse in question talks about the retaliatory laws of the Books of the Children of Israel, e.g., Exodus (21:23-5), Leviticus (24:20) and Deut. 19:21. If the Christian missionary had an open mind, and not the kind of obsessed mind he had demonstrated, he could have noticed the clear preference enunciated in the Qur’an in the very next sentence within the same verse 5:45, which states, “But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself.” As has been noted by Karen Armstrong every harsh verse in the Qur’an is followed by those that seek compassion and not retaliation. The Qur’anic message is of moderation, and not extremes. Muslims are, thus, called upon to be a “middle” nation (ummatan wasatan).

G. Morality:

Let me now touch upon the matter of the Judeo-Christian morality in the Bible of which the Jesuit is convinced that Islam cannot contribute anything. Let us look at this haughty assertion from the Bible itself.

  • A prophet is reported to have committed sex with his own daughters.
  • A prophet is reckoned to have committed adultery with another man’s wife.
  • A prophet indulges in calf-worship.
  • A prophet’s son impregnates his own son’s wife and becomes the father of twin sons who are to become father of great prophets to come later (e.g., David, Solomon and Jesus). Yet this son is blessed by the prophet. Another son commits fornications with the prophet’s consort.
  • A prophet abandons his faith in one True God and take to idolatry and builds idol temples.
  • One of the prophets wrongly attributes his own false statements to God.

Need I continue any further to show how hollow such assertions about superiority of Judeo-Christian morality sound?39

Jesuit Christians give the impression that celibacy is preferred over marriage for the clergy. Yet a reading of the so-called New Testament gives the impression that the disciples of Jesus may not have abstained from sex (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:6, 1 Cor. 9:5). There are now claims that Jesus himself may not have been celibate either.

As hinted earlier, according to early Christian fathers, truth is called falsification and vice-versa. In a Gnostic Gospel, an early Christian Theodore asks Clement of Alexandria (150-215 CE) – an early Church father – the veracity of the recorded message that Jesus was a homosexual (na ‘oozu billah). In reply, Clements writes, “To them, therefore, as I said above, one must never give way; nor, when they put forward their falsifications, should one concede that the secret Gospel is by Mark, but should even deny it on oath.”40

There are Christian churches in the USA that ordain gay and lesbian priests and draw their legitimacy from such claims. One simply wonders if sodomy and other forms of sexual abuse of children by Christian priests draw their moral justification from such records of Jesus’s life (na ‘oozu billah)! Evidence suggests that many instances of child abuse by clergy were not one-time, isolated incidents. Shielded by a church culture of secrecy, some priests preyed upon numerous victims during multiple parish assignments. Church records have revealed stories of many other repeat abusers, including priests who traded drugs for sex with minors, fathered children, and physically assaulted their victims. In the case of almost every predator priest, church officials had reports of abusive behavior, but allowed the priests to remain in ministry. In many cases, accused priests were sent for brief periods of psychological evaluation and then returned to parishes — where they abused again.41

According to Catholic moral theology42 (for ordained priests), priests can have sex three times a year (for details consult: St. Alphonsus Liguori’s work.43). In a 1983 doctoral thesis by Richard Blackmon, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner and 38% admitted to other sexualized contact with a parishioner.44 In separate denominational surveys, 48% of United Church of Christ female ministers and 77% of United Methodist female ministers reported having been sexually harassed in church.45 17 percent of laywomen said that their own pastor had sexually harassed them. Ten percent of Protestant pastors had been sexually active with an adult parishioner.

According to the dictates of the NT, the Church does not allow divorce (Matt. 5:32). This ruling has contributed to illicit sexual relationship. Surveys by Baltimore psychologist and marital researcher Shirley Glass showed that 25% of wives and 44% of husbands in the USA at one time or another have had sexual relationship outside of marriage (USA Today, Jan. 9, 2003).46 It does not take a psychologist to understand the effect of unhappy marriage on crimes that is glued by Church edicts! [The leading cause of death of pregnant women in the USA is murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).]

One-third of all U.S. children are born out of wedlock. One-half of all U.S. children will live in a one-parent house (CNN, Dec. 10, 2004). A recent survey in UK showed that the proportion of children born outside marriage has leapt from 12% in 1980 to 42% in 2004, according to the Office for National Statistics. In contrast, 15 other EU countries had an estimated average of 33%, the annual ONS’ Social Trends report said.47 In the USA, 70% of all black children are born out of wedlock. Sixty-five percent of never-married black women have children, double that for white women.48

As to violence, rape, murder, the less said the better. The crime statistics in any major city in the USA is sure to dwarf crime rates in many eastern countries.49

One simply wonders how much of all these immoral and criminal activities in the Christian society draw their inspiration from the Christian teaching of vicarious atonement, so tersely articulated by our Jesuit propagandist: “I do not believe that my good works get me into heaven. Only Christ’s good work on the cross does this – a bodily and literal crucifixion that the Qur’an denies in Sura 4:157!”

Succinctly speaking, Christianity has no moral high ground and has failed abysmally.50

Conclusions

In closing, let me say that unlike Christianity, which is responsible for breeding a society devoid of any moral obligation through its notion of original sin and the accompanying theology of vicarious atonement, Islam preaches individual accountability for oneself. Its practicality, notions of peace, justice and pluralism put it on a serious level to have a genuine dialogue of civilizations.51 Bigotry and racism should not stand in the way of the West to open that dialogue. They need it more than they are willing to admit it.

Islam, more than any other religion, embodies the concept of coexistence.52 Denying it will only reflect on one’s inherent xenophobia and bigotry. Let the Christian xenophobe reflect on Muhammad’s (S) statement:

“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.

No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.

No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.

Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”

Such were the memorable words of Muhammad (S), the Prophet of Islam, in the year 628 CE, when he granted this historic document, also known as the Charter of Privileges, to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai.53

Is there anything remotely similar to this document that an Islamophobe can produce from his/her founder(s) of the faith? Not a chance!

Peace, Salam, Shalom, Shanti. What I Did Not Say And The Missionary Myopia 4

The author, Dr. Habib Siddiqui may be contacted directly at saeva@aol.com
Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "What I Did Not Say And The Missionary Myopia," in Bismika Allahuma, May 22, 2006, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/op-ed/missionary-myopia/
  1. See e.g., http://www.bare-jesus.net for a detailed analysis, which are unflattering to Christianity. []
  2. For a short biography see here. []
  3. See this author’s article, Islam and Co-existence. []
  4. See this author’s article, Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi: Why a different yardstick for Muslims? for a sample of violent and demeaning verses in Christian and Jewish religious books. []
  5. We should not, therefore, be surprised with the killings of POWs in Iraq and Afghanistan by Jesus-loving, faithful Christian warlords. []
  6. Deut. 18:18 offers a close resemblance. []
  7. In a celebrated hadith Muhammad (S) instructed his army: “Depart in the name of Allah, and be His helper. And kill not any old man, nor young boy, nor child, nor woman. But be good-doers, for Allah loves those who do good.” []
  8. It is worth mentioning here that this tax was collected to guarantee protection of lives and properties of the ‘protected’ people, who needed not to participate in Jihad. The dhimmis were also exempt from payment of other forms of taxes that were mandatory on Muslims. []
  9. See the article: Non- Muslims and the Law of Social Security in Islam By Shaykh Shawkat Husayn – for an excellent analysis. See also: Anecdotes from the life of the Prophet Muhammad by Mumtaz Ahmed Faruqui; “A True Word – Here’s to You, Dr. Robertson” by Amir Butler. []
  10. See also this author’s article “Real Islam and Jihad – a rejoinder” for an understanding on the subject of Jihad. []
  11. See the Book of Revelations []
  12. The Outline of History by H.G. Wells; The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbon. []
  13. See also Acts 5:1-11. []
  14. Quoted from Kurt Eggers []
  15. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14577d.htm []
  16. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02084a.htm []
  17. Edward Peters, Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe; R. Dean Peterson, A Concise History of Christianity; James A. Haught, Holy Horrors; J.N. Hillgarth, Christianity and Paganism; Malcolm Lambert, Medieval Heresy. []
  18. A study of the lives of many former slaves who became the Companions of the Prophet (S) is sufficient to prove this. For instance, Salman al-Farisi’s (RA) slave master was a wealthy Jew from Banu Qurayza. (See also Maulana Rumi’s masterpiece – Mathnabi.) []
  19. Human Rights in Islam by Abul ‘Ala Mawdudi. []
  20. Read this author’s The Book of Devotional Stories (in print) for stories of some of these early Muslims. []
  21. See the Qur’an for many such references, e.g., 4:92, 5:89, 58:3, 90:13, 24:33, 9:60, 2:177, 2:221, 4:25, 4:36. []
  22. See Fethullah Gulen’s article: How is it that Islam, a religion inspired by God for the good of humanity, allows slavery? []
  23. According to some historians, eighteen million Africans are estimated to have died during the Atlantic slave trade. In American Holocaust (1992), David Stannard estimates that some 30 to 60 million Africans died being enslaved. Howard Zinn puts the number at 40 million. []
  24. See, this author’s “An anatomy of racism” and “White Man’s Burden: the never-ending saga.” []
  25. The only real exception is Portugal (1761), however, the practice continued for decades in its colonies. []
  26. For a full treatment, interested readers may consult Prof. Ali Mazrui’s books, including The Africans, a PBS Documentary, USA. []
  27. http://www.sudanembassy.org/ (and click the link to The Sudan Slave Trade). []
  28. See, e.g., Choose: Islam Scary, Lite or Dry?by David Need for a review on Spencer’s book. []
  29. A History of the Jewish People, edited by Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson. []
  30. Heritage: Civilization and the Jews by Abba Eban. []
  31. For a brief review of the book, see: http://www.muhajabah.com/jewsofislam.htm []
  32. op. cit., pp. 631-3 []
  33. See this author’s article: The Case of Jerusalem — for a detailed treatment of the holy city. []
  34. Edward H. Flannery, The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism, Paulist Press, New York/Mahwah, 1985; Michael L. Brown, Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the “Church” and the Jewish People, Destiny Image Publishers, Shippensburg, 1992. []
  35. Flannery, op. cit. []
  36. ibid. []
  37. See this author’s article, Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi: Why a different yardstick for Muslims? for detailed analysis. []
  38. See the book: “To pray as a Jew: a guide to the prayer book and the synagogue service” by Hayim Halevy Donin, New York: Basic Books, c1980. []
  39. The interested reader may like the read Mowlana Rahmatullah Kairanvi’s “Izhar-ul-Haq” for a detailed analysis of the Bible. []
  40. For details, see: The Gnostic Society Library, Gnostic Scriptures and Fragments, The Secret Gospel of Mark; see also Acts of John, from “The Apocryphal New Testament,” M.R. James – translation and notes, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924 []
  41. http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/nation/12707654.htm; http://www.bishop-accountability.org/; http://www.telegram.com/static/crisisinthechurch/092205.html; http://www.ffrf.org/timely/pedo1992.php; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/extras/coverups_archive.htm; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories5/040704_vermont.htm; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories5/022804_victims.htm; http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/scandal/; http://www.ffrf.org/timely/1990study.php; http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0MKY/is_16_29/ai_n15779345; http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0412/09/asb.01.html. []
  42. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14611a.htm []
  43. http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_author/129/St._Alphonsus_Liguori.html []
  44. Richard A. Blackmon, unpublished Ph. D. dissertation (1984). The Hazards of Ministry. Fuller Theological Seminary: Pasadena, CA. Note: The author noted that 16 ministers did not answer the question concerning sexual intercourse with parishioners, indicating that the percentage is probably higher. []
  45. Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence (1992). Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Sexual Abuse in the Ministerial Relationship. Seattle, WA []
  46. http://www.dearpeggy.com/announce20.html; Conservative estimates in the West suggest that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair (http://www.dearpeggy.com/affairs.html#3). []
  47. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4733330.stm []
  48. http://www.saveus.org/docs/factsheets/portrait_black_family7-12-05.pdf; http://www.citypages.com/databank/26/1264/article12985.asp. []
  49. http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/; http://www.singstat.gov.sg/ssn/feat/4Q94/feat.html; http://www.crimestatistics.org.uk/tool/; http://www.police999.com/stats/index.html []
  50. See, e.g., the book: Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality and the Catholic Church by Uta Ranke-Heinemann, Penguin, 1990 []
  51. See this author’s 1994 article: Islam and the West: The Need For a Bilateral Talk []
  52. See this author’s “Islam and Coexistence” for supporting evidences. []
  53. ‘Muslim History: 570 – 1950 C.E.’ by Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq, ZMD Corporation. P.O. Box 8231 – Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8231. []
Categories
Bible Contradictions External Contradictions Of The Bible The Bible

The Eclipse Of Matthew 27?

In the article Historical Errors in the Qur’an? I briefly touched upon the events mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew surrounding the crucifixion of the Prophet Isa(P). With regards to the crucifixion of ‘Isa(P), it is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew:

Matthew 27:4
“From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land.”

With most ancient events, it is often difficult to verify whether an event actually happened or not. Thanks to modern astronomy, however, this has become relatively easy.

According to NASA, two solar eclipses occurred during the period of Isa’s ministry – on the 19th of March 33AD, and the 24th of November 29AD.

19th March 33AD

The Eclipse of Matthew 27? 5

As we can see here, the only way Jerusalem could be plunged into darkness is if it were situated in the Indian Ocean!

24th November 29AD

The Eclipse of Matthew 27? 6

On closer study, and by comparing this with a map of Jordan, the path of total eclipse passes through Lebanon, southern Syria and northern Jordan, but not Jerusalem. Judging by the above diagram, I would estimate that Jerusalem experienced about 98% of the total eclipse – this probably would have caused a very slight dimming of the sun and a distinct chill in the air, but no darkness.

Furthermore, in quoting Matthew 27:45, some versions of the Bible (namely The Message, The Amplified Bible, New Living Translation, Contemporary English Version, Worldwide English) specify the time of the eclipse as being from noon to 3:00 pm, with the New American Standard Bible and English Standard Version quoting these times as a footnote.

Given that the coordinates for Jerusalem are latitude 31° 48′ 00″ N, longitude 35° 12′ 00″ E, it is possible to work out from NASA’s information table for this eclipse exactly what time of day the total eclipse would have been visible, and for how long?

The Eclipse of Matthew 27? 7

Times above given in what NASA refers to as ‘Universal Time’ — this is equal to GMT, as explained in NASA’s Definition of Universal Time. Jerusalem is two hours ahead of GMT. Therefore, the time at which Total Eclipse occurred in the nearest area north of Jerusalem was around five minutes to eleven in the morning, for approximately 1 minute 40 seconds.

So there is no doubt that the solar eclipse could not have happened as written in Matthew 27:45, therefore modern astronomy has proven that at least this part of the Gospel of Matthew is incorrect. And if it undisputedly incorrect, how can we Muslims accept it as the Word of God?

And only God knows best! The Eclipse of Matthew 27? 8

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "The Eclipse Of Matthew 27?," in Bismika Allahuma, October 15, 2005, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/bible/the-eclipse-of-matthew-27/
Categories
Qur'anic Commentary The Qur'an

When The Evangelist Becomes A Shaikh, The Angels Become Worshippers Of Adam

When the Evangelist becomes a Shaikh, the angels become polytheists, worshipping Adam instead of Allah. When the Evangelist becomes a Shaikh, the Nasikh becomes Mansukh, the Mutlaq becomes Muqayyad and the ‘Aammbecomes Makhsus, and vice-versa. Not that it is not hilarious to read for Evangelists-turned-Shaikhs. It is at the discovery of the level of horrific confusion and plain errors contained in the “fatawa” of the many Evangelists/Shaikhs who sprung up in recent years that intensifies one’s amazement and bafflement, especially noting the level of publicity the writings of the new Shaikhs receive in the western media.

Answering Islam, a neo-conservative website, propagates articles of the nature described here that discusses specific, knowledge-based Islamic topics, without using a knowledge-based approach. By appealing to their readers’ emotions rather than the pursuit of truth and serious scientific research, the Neo-Cons/Neo-Shaikhs seek to deflect attention away from discussing the core foundation of their religion in comparison to the Islamic Faith to discussing specific aspects of the Islamic Law. However, if one does not believe in the tree itself, i.e., Islam and its creed, then discussing the attributes of the tree’s branches, leaves and fruit becomes irrelevant. Nonetheless, callers to Islam, who are required to convey the Islamic Message in its entirety to mankind, should consider criticism of the Islamic Law and Islam’s concepts as an opportunity to explain both the core tenets of their religion and the specifics of its Law. This is a type of Jihad of profound significance that uses the tools of written and spoken words to clarify Islam to mankind and inform them of its magnificent creed.

“One or Two Adams?”

This is the title of an article on the topic of Sujud (prostration) written by Wail Taghlibi and posted by Answering Islam on their website. Before we discuss the major points of interest in Taghlibi’s article, we should first explain the topic under discussion in his article to satisfy the requirement of scientific research in a knowledge-based atmosphere.

Linguistic Definition of Sujud

In Ahkamu al-Qur’an, Imam Ibn al-Arabi1 said that linguistically, both Sujud and Ruku’ pertain to in’hinaa, meaning “lowering [of the head, or both the head and back]”. Imam Ibn al-`Arabi added that every ruku’ (bowing) is a sujud (prostration) and every sujud is a ruku’, saying that Ruku’ pertains more to bowing (in’hinaa), while Sujud pertains more to bending (Meel). Ibn al-Arabi added that both Sujud and Ruku’ are used to describe each other, even though each one of them may exclusively describe a certain position [example: in the Islamic Prayer, Ruku’ pertains to bowing while Sujud pertains to prostrating on the ground].

Another book of fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) titled, Ghidhaa al-Albab fi Sharh Mandhumat al-Adaab2 also stated that sujud has several meanings, such as bending, making In’hinaa, humbleness, modesty and greeting. The same book quotes the linguist Abu Yusuf, Ya’qub ibn Ishaq ibn as-Sikkat (died 244/858), as saying that it is said that one has made Sujud if one [at least] lowered (or nodded) his head or went to the extent of placing the face on the ground (prostrates).

Conclusion: both Ruku’ and Sujud carry meanings of lowering or nodding the head lightly, bowing down, bending both the head and back to the extent of placing the hands, knees, feet and face on the ground in prostration, humbleness, modesty, greeting, and so forth. The context of the sentence in which Sujud or Ruku’ appears defines which meaning mentioned here is desired.

For instance, Allah said in the Qur’an, which translated means:

    “O, you who have believed! Bow down, and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord and do good that you may be successful.”[22:77]

In this context, Ruku’ pertains to, while standing, bending the head and back parallel to the ground while placing the hands on the knees, while Sujud pertains to placing the face, hands, knees and feet on the ground. In this context, Ruku’ and Sujud describe different pillars of the Islamic Prayer.

Ruku` was also mentioned in the context of sujud in this Ayah (Qur’?nic verse):

“And Dawud [David] guessed that We have tried him and he sought forgiveness of his Lord, and he fell down in Ruku` and turned [to All?h] in repentance.” [38:24]

The great Muslim Scholar, Imam Ahmad Ibn Taimiyyah, stated[3] that in this Ayah, Prophet Dawud, peace be upon him, made Sujud. Sujud was mentioned in the context of Ruku’ in the Ayah:

    “And (remember)when it was said to them (Children of Israel): “Dwell in this town (Jerusalem) and eat therefrom wherever you wish, and say, ‘(O, All?h) forgive our sins’ and enter the gate Sujjadan (making Sujud)'”[7:161]

Ibn Taimiyyah said that several scholars of Tafsir (interpretation of the Qur’an) stated that the Children of Israel were ordered to enter the vicinity of the Masjid (Temple) while making Ruku`, i.e., bowing down, since entering while prostrating on the ground is not possible.[4]

Pertaining to the Islamic Prayer, “Sujud”, is generally in reference to the act of prostration where one places the face, hands, knees and feet on the ground, as scholars al-Bukhari and Muslim reported from the Prophet, peace be upon him. “Ruku'”, if used in the context of prayer, is generally in reference to the position where while standing, one bends the back and head parallel to the ground while placing the hands on the knees as if holding to them, extending the hands and bending the elbows to the outside with the feet apart from each other as wide apart as one’s shoulders are.[5]

Hatred vs Scientific Research to Support Criticism of Islam: “One Adam or Two?”

It is astounding as to how Wail Taghlibi and his sponsors imagine they can circumvent the advance of Islam’s plain creed by writing this type of article that joins evident error and utter confusion to the inability to understand Islamic concepts.

Wail Taghlibi wrote:

    The Qur’an tells that God created Adam, then he commanded the Angels to bow down before Adam?(Sad 38:71-72 Pickthall). This command is confirmed in other verses: (Al-Baqara 2:34; Al-Aaraf 7:11; Al-Hijr 15:28-29; Al-Isra’ 17:61; Al-Kahf 18:50; Ta-ha 20:116).

The Sujud (prostration) performed by the angles to Adam is an aspect of the Ghaib, or matters of the Unseen, that Muslims believe in and do not dispute. In his article, Wail also correctly described the conversation that went between All?h and Iblis (Shaitan [Satan]), ?The angels, except Satan, obeyed God’s command?God asked Iblis (Satan): ??What hindereth thee from falling prostrate before that which I have created with both My hands?…Iblis (Satan) answered: ??I am better than him. Thou createdst me of fire, whilst him Thou didst create of clay’ (Sad 38:76; cf. Al-Hijr 15:33).

Wail added that:

    Iblis’ disobedience to God’s command can never be justified, yet it raises the question of what was really meant by ‘falling down prostrate to Adam’.

To directly answer Taghlibi’s question, we hereby testify that the answer is “really” found in the Qur’anic verses that he quoted: Allah “really” ordered the angels to make Sujud to Adam, and the angels “really” made Sujud to Adam. To assert this fact, the Qur’an did not mention the word ‘Ruku(bowing down)' while describing Allah's order to the angels, but always the word, 'Sujud'. Sujud, in this context, means to fully prostrate on the ground as indicated by Allah's statement to the angels, {Fa (so) Qau (fall down) Lahu (to him [Adam]) Sajidin (Prostrate)} [15:29].

Wail Taghlibi continues, by saying:

    The study of Adam’s relationship to God and His angels raises a bewildering question with regards to worship…Another fact to consider when seeking to understand the phrase, ‘falling prostrate to Adam’ is the role of ‘falling prostrate’ in the context of worship. The phrase is overwhelmingly used in the Qur’an in reference to worship to God?This is obvious in the following verses: ‘O ye who believe! Bow down and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord, and do good, that haply ye may prosper’ (Al-Hajj 22:77; cf. 22:18)?(Fussilat 41:37), and ?(An-Najm 53:62).’..These verses clearly demonstrate that to ‘fall prostrate’ is to God alone? One may find it difficult to see how these verses could be consistent with the previous references that call angels to ‘fall prostrate to Adam’.

Wail then expounded on his “fatwa” by writing this:

    To worship anyone other than God is described in the Qur’an as Shirk. Shirk, from the perspective of Qur’an, is the most grievous sin?If God really did command his angels to ‘fall prostate to Adam’, this would mean that they were commanded to commit Shirk, which He forbade and imposed the most severe punishment on those who commit that sin! God is far above contradicting himself.

We shall deal with this allegation in the subsequent passages.

Where Does the Qur’an Say that Allah Ordered the Angels to Worship Adam?

When one involves oneself in a type of knowledge that is far superior to one’s intellect, one falls into the absurd idea that All?h ordered the angels to worship Adam. There are various ways to scientifically analyze Wail’s claim that All?h Himself ordered the angels to commit Shirk by making Sujud to Adam, even though All?h made Shirk the most grievous sin. Yet, we should start with the most direct method of scientific analysis of Wail’s statement by asking this question: Where does the Qur’?n say that All?h ordered the angles to perform an act of worship to Adam?

In his article/fatwa, Wail mentioned Allah’s order to the angels to prostrate in Sujud to Adam and commented by saying:

…this would mean that they were commanded to commit Shirk.

However, the first question that one should ask Wail is the most fundamental: Where is the Qur’anic verse stating that the angels’ Sujud to Adam was an act of Shirk? To further confuse his readers, Wail mentioned several Qur’anic ayat (verses) that ordain on Muslims various acts of worship, including prostrating to Allah in sujud, but failed to mention a single Qur’anic verse stating that in Islam, every type of Sujud is an act of worship.

To explain, Wail Taghlibi rightfully stated that Shirk means to worship others besides All?h, and he quotes the following verse:

“Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills; and whoever sets up partners with All?h in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.” [4:48]

However, Wail made every Sujud an act of worship as is clear from his ‘decision’ that All?h’s order to the angels to make Sujud to Adam is the Shirk that He forbade for creation. Wail also said, “These verses clearly demonstrate that to ‘fall prostrate’ is to God alone”, in reference to the several Qur’anic Verses he mentioned about dedicating ?acts of worship’ to All?h Alone, including Sujud. Thus, it seems clear that to Wail, “acts of worship”, and, ‘Sujud’, are somehow synonyms. However, the verses that Wail mentioned did not state that every Sujud is an act of worship, but mentioned Sujud in the context of worship, and indeed, all acts of worship are only directed at Allah Alone; both the angels and mankind are prohibited from making this type of Sujud to other than Allah, as Imam Ibn Taimiyyah stated[6]. Then again, Wail used the word, ?Sujud’, then the word, ‘context’, thus indicating that ‘Sujud’ alone is not sufficient to explain the meaning desired behind using it in a sentence without a ?context’ to define it. Yet, he decided that the Sujud of the angels to Adam was in the context of worship, without bringing a ‘context’ to establish that the Sujud under discussion was “really” an act of worship. To get out of this utter confusion, one needs to acquire knowledge on how the mind of an Evangelist “really” works.

These are two distinctly different topics that Wail has combined, two different concepts he has made one and the same: the concept of dedicating all acts of worship to Allah, Alone without partners, which is the Tauheed (Monotheism) that is the foundation of Islam, and the act that is called Sujud, making every act of Sujud an act of worship.

To explain, the Qur’an never stated that the angels were directing an act of worship to Adam; it is Wail who made up this conclusion on his own without a shred of evidence to support his stance. He then tried to cover his error by first saying that, the phrase ?Sujud’ is ?overwhelmingly’ used in the Qur’an in reference to worship to God. Then, he stated that Muslim Scholars, meaning, the scholars of Islam who know what Islam is about and are qualified to explain the meaning contained in the Qur’an and Sunnah, “‘simply explain this phrase as meaning ‘greeting and exaltation.'” Amazingly, Wail then dismissed the explanation given by Muslim Scholars on their own Qur’an and acted as if they are bound by his explanation on it, even though he is neither a Muslim nor a scholar on Islam.

Is It “Exclusively” or “Overwhelmingly”?

If the Qur’an “overwhelmingly” mentioned Sujud in the context of worship, then it is logical to state that rarely, the Qur’an would mention Sujud in a context other than worship. Therefore, why would Wail dismiss the explanation given by the scholars of Islam that the angels’ Sujud to Adam was in a context other than worship if the scholars did not deviate from the fact that “overwhelmingly”, the Qur’an mentioned the Sujud in the context of worship? It is clear that Wail believes that the term, “Sujud”, was mentioned “exclusively” in the context of worship in the Qur’an. Otherwise, why would he write his article if he only meant “overwhelmingly” instead of “exclusively”?

Types of Sujud in the Qur’an

Unlike the method that Wail used, here is scientific research on the types or ‘various contexts’ of Sujud mentioned in the Qur’an and the evidence establishing each type from the Qur’?n and Hadith (Prophetic Tradition). We start by narrating one of the major foundations of Islam that is of great relevance to the topic of this article: the Prophet’s Hadith, “Actions are tied to the intentions behind them.” This Hadith is found in the authentic Hadith collections of Imams al-Bukhari and Muslim.

There are several types — or contexts — of Sujud mentioned in the Qur’an and Prophetic Tradition distinguished from each other by their linguistic implication and the intention behind performing each type.

First: Sujud As An Act of Worship

Sujud, in the context of worship, is only dedicated to Allah, Alone without partners. This type of Sujud is of two categories classified either under Shirk (Polytheism) or Tauhid (Islamic Monotheism), as follows.

Surat an-Naml, chapter 27 in the Qur’an, narrated the story of Prophet Sulaiman (Solomon), peace be upon him, with the Hudhud (hoopoe). The Hudhud said this to Prophet Sulaiman,

I found a woman ruling over them (people of Saba`), she has been given all things that could be possessed by any ruler of the earth, and she has a great throne. I found her and her people prostrating (Yasjudun’, verb for, ‘Sujud’) to the sun instead of All?h, and Shait?n (Satan) has made their deeds fair seeming to them, and has barred them from (Allah’s) way, so they have no guidance; So they do not worship (prostrate themselves before) All?h, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what you conceal and what you reveal. Allah, Laa ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Lord of the Supreme Throne!

Even the bird knew that the Sujud of the people of Sabato the sun was in the context of worship. The bird also affirmed the Islamic <em>Tauhid</em> of dedicating all aspects of worship to All?h, Alone without partners. However, this is not our only proof. The Qur'an said after a few sentences and in direct reference to the Sujud of the Saba people to the sun:

“And that which she used to worship besides All?h has prevented her [from Islam], for she was of a disbelieving people.” [27:20-43]

Therefore, it is the Qur’an that defined the Sujud of the Queen of Saba` and her people to the sun as an act of worship, in this case, Shirk.

With regards to the second category of Sujud in the context of worship, among the Qur’anic verses that Wail mentioned is Allah’s statement:

“O, you who have believed! Bow down, and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord and do good that you may be successful. And strive hard in All?h’s Cause as you ought to strive (with sincerity). He has chosen you (to convey Islamic Monotheism to mankind), and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship: it is the religion of your father Ibrahim (Abraham) (Islamic Monotheism). It is He (Allah) Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (the Qur’an), that the Messenger (Muhammad) may be a witness over you and you be witnesses over mankind! So perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), give Zakat and hold fast to Allah [i.e. have confidence and trust in Allah].” [22:77-8]

These two Qur’anic verses, which as Imam Ibn Taimiyyah stated, ordained all types of good and rebuked all types of evil, list various acts, such as Ruku(bowing down), Sujud (prostrating) and doing good, all in the context of worship and as parts of the Islamic Monotheism. Evidence: Allah said in verse 77, {"and worship your Lord"}, thus indicating its intended context. In addition, there are two key factors that Wail ignored in these two Qur'anic Verses that clearly explain the meaning of Ruku and Sujud intended in them. Firstly, Verse 77 mentioned the Ruku` and Sujud that are pillars of the Islamic Prayer (Salat), which Verse 78 mentioned in plain terms, {So perform As-Salat}. Hence, the falsehood of the comparison between the Sujud in verse 77 to the Sujud of the angels to Adam is clear: the angels did not make Sujud to Adam in the context of prayer or while praying to him, not even Wail made this wild assumption.

To continue, Verses 77-8 mentioned three pillars of the Islamic Prayer: Ruku, Sujud and sincerity to Allah. The Ruku and Sujud were mentioned as pillars of the Islamic Prayer in specific Prophetic Statements as collected by Imam an-Nasaii and others; Verse 39:11 ordained sincerity to Allah in the worship,

“Say (O, Muhammad): ?Verily, I am commanded to worship Allah (Alone) by obeying Him and doing religious deeds sincerely for His sake only.”

Verse 78 clearly indicated that the context of the Ruku` and Sujud mentioned in Verse 77 is their being parts of the Islamic Prayer:

{So perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), give Zakat}

Verse 77 legislated doing good, including being charitable; Verse 78 implied that the pillar referred to in ordaining doing good in Verse 77 is the Zakat which, just like the Salat, is one of five pillars of Islam. Therefore, these sentences wherein the word ‘Sujud’ appeared indicated the context of it, that is, worshipping All?h in sincerity. ‘Sujud’, by itself does not mean an act of worship; even Wail understood this by saying that there is a ‘context’ in which ‘Sujud’ is mentioned. If defining the implication of Sujud requires a context, then the context decides which meaning is derived for Sujud, not the rhetorical babbling of un-enlightened Evangelists.

To expand on this topic, we should assert that the verses that Wail mentioned are not suitable to be compared in context to the Sujud of the angels to Adam.

Firstly, Wail mentioned this verse:

See you not that whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and Ad-Daw?bb [moving (living) creatures, beasts], and many of mankind prostrate themselves to All?h [22:18].

The context of this Verse is the obedience to Allah’s Qadar (Divine Preordainments and Predestination), which is another meaning for Sujud, not prostrating to All?h by placing the face on the ground. Proof: the sun, the moon, the mountains, the trees and the animals do not prostrate in the manner many of mankind and the Jinn and all of the angels willingly prostrate. These things praise Allah in a way that we do not comprehend,

The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him and there is not a thing but glorifies His Praise. But you understand not their glorification. Truly, He is Ever Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving [17:44]

and show complete obedience to Allah’s appointed destiny and His created laws that govern every aspect of the existence. However, these things, including the animals, do not worship All?h, as Imam Ibn Taimiyyah rightfully stated. Imam Ibn Taimiyyah said, ?How can every type of Sujud be disallowed (meaning an act of worship), when the animals, which do not worship All?h, used to make Sujud to Allah’s Prophet, peace be upon him???? Imam Ibn Taimiyyah is referring here to a Hadith wherein a camel is reported to have made Sujud to the Prophet, peace be upon him, in the presence of the Prophet’s companions.[7]

But, Wail did not mention this verse:

And unto Allah (Alone) falls in prostration whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and so do their shadows in the mornings and in the afternoons [13: 15].

Unlike verse 22:18, this Verse includes those who do not believe in Islam or the Qur’an, including Wail himself. Even Wail would not explain this Verse as being in the context of worship, because his fellow Evangelists would protest by saying that they never prostrated even once to Allah. This Verse explains the meaning of the Sujud mentioned in it by saying that it is done either willingly, by many of mankind, or unwillingly, by the non-believers in Allah and all created things and animals. This Verse contained reference in it to the type of Sujud that is an act of worship and to the type of Sujud that is done involuntarily. Those who do not believe in Allah or Islam and would never willingly prostrate to Allah, unwillingly fulfill the destiny that Allah ordained for them, and their shadows prostrate to All?h without their consent: do they not see that their shadow always falls to the ground? Many among mankind willingly prostrate to Allah, and in their case, their Sujud is in the context of worship.

Conclusion: Contrary to what Wail insinuated, Sujud is not mentioned in the Qur’an only in the context of worship. In the examples given here, the Qur’an states that everything, including those who do not believe in Islam or Allah, prostrate to Allah in some manner, even if involuntarily. Therefore, Muslim Scholars are perfectly correct to explain the Sujud of the angels to Adam in the context of greeting and honoring Adam, since ‘Sujud’ has different meanings and various contexts. Allah willing, the reader will soon discover our most significant evidence yet to substantiate these facts.

Secondly, Wail also mentioned these two verses:

And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate yourselves not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate yourselves to All?h Who created them, if you (really) worship Him [41:37]

and

So fall you down in prostration to Allah and worship Him (Alone) [53:62]

These very verses that Wail used to support his Fatwa that the angels prostrated to Adam in the context of worship explain, and in the clearest terms for anyone who has eyes and can read, that the Sujud ordained in them is in the context of worship of Allah, a context that is made separate of the word ?Sujud’ so as to define its meaning and intended implication. Hence, we again ask, where is the Verse that states that the Sujud of the angels to Adam was an act of worship or Shirk that All?h prohibited?

Second, Sujud As A Matter of Shari’ah (Islamic Law)

There is another type of Sujud that is a matter of Shari’ah (Islamic Law). To explain this type, we should say that the Qur’an did not only state that the angels were ordered to make Sujud to Adam, but also mentioned the reason behind this Divine Commandment. Allah said,

“So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them. Except Iblis (Satan), he was proud and was one of the disbelievers. (All?h) said: ?O Ibl?s (Satan)! What prevents you from prostrating yourself to one whom I have created with Both My Hands. Are you too proud (to fall prostrate to Adam) or are you one of the high exalted???? [Ibl?s (Satan)] said: “I am better than he. You created me from fire, and You created him from clay.” [38:73-6].

All?h mentioned His creating Adam with His Hands as the reason for His commanding the angels and Satan to prostrate before Adam. In comparison, Adam’s offspring are created by All?h saying, “Be”, and they come to existence. The topic of discussion in these Verses was the origin of creation, i.e., how All?h created some of His creation, not the worship of Adam, his privileges or subsequent sin. This is why Satan responded by saying, “I am better than him”, then said, “You created me from fire and him, You created from clay.” The Islamic tradition teaches that for a period of time before Adam was created, Satan was with the angels, even though he was from the Jinn (the devils are disbelieving Jinn):

“So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together. Except Ibl?s (Satan) ? he refused to be among the prostrators.” [15:30-1]

If the topic of discussion were on who deserved to receive a Sujud on account of their privileges, Satan would have said, “I was in the company of the angels, who always worshipped You (All?h); Adam did not worship You at all before this.”

The Neos Hid This Qur’?nic Verse From Their Readers – What Happened to the Word ‘Karramta’?

Satan protested on two accounts, as follows. Firstly, Satan rejected All?h’s Commandment to make Sujud to Adam because he believed that the origin of his creation, fire, is ?better’ than the clay from which Adam was created. Secondly, and to further solidify this meaning, we hereby uncover the Qur’?nic Verse that Wail Taghlibi hid from his readers, the Ayah wherein All?h said,

“[Ibl?s (Satan)] said: ?See this one (Adam) whom You have Karramta (honored) above me, if You give me respite (keep me alive) to the Day of Resurrection, I will surely, seize and mislead his offspring (by sending them astray) all but a few!??? [17:62].

Thus, and contrary to what Wail decided in his “fatwa”, it is not Muslim commentators who stated that the prostrating of the angels to Adam was an act of Ikram (honoring) of Adam, it is the Qur’?n itself that did so in the plainest terms. This is the Ayah that Wail and his neo-sponsors hid from their readers! Wail mentioned the verse before this one (17:61), but made no mention to the very next Verse (62) which contains the word, ‘honored’. The reason behind this action on his part is obvious: this Ayah refutes the entire article that Wail wrote without having knowledge or even attempting serious research.

Satan mentioned the purpose behind All?h ordering him and the angels to make Sujud to Adam, that is, All?h’s “Ikram (honoring)” of Adam above the angels and the devils; the Qur’?n stated that the reason behind Adam’s “Ikram” is that All?h created him with His Hands. Hence, to honor Adam, the angels made Sujud to Adam in direct worship (obedience) to All?h Who created him with His Own Hands and Who does what He will. The question remains as to why Wail Taghlibi did not mention this Verse? And where is the Ayah that says that Satan protested the order to make Sujud to Adam on account of his rejection to perform an act of worship to Adam? Even the devil did not think of this one!

As stated, Islamic traditions teach that Iblis, the forefather of the Jinn, was with the angels and All?h put him to the test of obedience by ordering him and the angels to prostrate to Adam, soon after All?h created Adam with His Own Hands. Instead of acting like the angels by obeying All?h and honoring what He has created with His Own Hands, Satan refused and was thrown out of All?h’s Mercy for eternity. He was arrogant and the father of evil, refuting All?h’s Commandment by ?informing’ Him of which of His creation is better than others, fully knowing that All?h is the Creator, the All-Knower.

Biblical Verses That Wail Hid From His Readers

Wail hid several “types of” verses from his readers, including those from his own Bible, as follows.

Genesis 37 states this:

    3. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children…
    4. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him…
    5. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more…
    9. And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
    10. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?

Wail could have used these verses to conclude that the “bowing down” mentioned in them was in the context of worship. Then he may conclude that not only Joseph, but also Jacob, his wife and eleven children committed Shirk, since the Bible states this:

    Psalms 95:
    6. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
    7. For he is our God.

and,

    Exodus 20:
    1. And God spake all these words, saying,
    2. I am the Lord thy God…
    5. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.

Wail may also find further proof that the Bible promotes Shirk in the fact that several other Biblical verses mentioned bowing down that was performed to other than God, such as,

    Genesis 27
    22. And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
    23. …so he blessed him.
    24. And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.
    25. And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine and he drank.
    26…and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said…
    28. Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:
    29. Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee.

and

    Genesis 49
    8. Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.

Thus, “Prophet” Isaac drank wine, while “Prophet” Jacob lied in a shameless manner to receive a blessing that was not intended for him; Isaac did not have a spare blessing to give to Esau who was cheated out of the only blessing Isaac could afford giving.[8]

What Happened to the Biblical Story of Prophets Jacob and Joseph?

The Qur’?n mentioned another instance wherein some of All?h’s righteous slaves made Sujud to some of All?h’s righteous slaves. All?h said in the Qur’?n:

“And he (Prophet Yusuf [Joseph]) raised his parents to the throne and they fell down before him prostrate. And he said: ?O my father (Prophet Ya`qub [Jacob])! This is the interpretation of my dream aforetime! My Lord has made it come true! He was indeed good to me, when He took me out of the prison, and brought you (all here) out of the Bedouin-life, after Shait?n (Satan) had sown enmity between me and my brothers. Certainly, my Lord is the Most Courteous and Kind unto whom He wills. Truly, He! Only He is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.” [12:100]

These great Prophets of All?h did not perform acts of worship to each other, as Wail insinuates in his “fatwa”. Prophet Yusuf said, while affirming Tauh?d:

“And I have followed the religion of my fathers, ? Ibr?h?m (Abraham), Ish?q (Isaac) and Ya?q?b (Jacob), and never could we attribute any partners whatsoever to All?h.” [12:38]

And when death came to Prophet Ya`qub, peace be upon him, he said this to his sons:

“What will you worship after me???? They said, “We shall worship your Il?h (God ? All?h) the Il?h (God) of your fathers, Ibr?h?m (Abraham), Ism?’?l (Ishmael), Ish?q (Isaac), One Il?h (God),and to Him we submit (in Isl?m)” [2:133].

This is pure Monotheism untainted by the whims and desires of present-day Evangelists, who wish that the Qur’?n would contain contradictions similar to the horrific contradictions that their ?holy books’ contain. All what they were able to bring is an alien idea never contemplated in the Qur’?n or the Prophetic Tradition or preached by any Muslim Scholar.

Surat Yusuf clearly described the reason why Prophet Ya’qub, his wife and eleven children made Sujud to Prophet Yusuf, as follows: first, it was the habit of those who were before Islam to honor their leaders by prostrating before them.

    Genesis 43
    26. And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth.
    27. And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?
    28. And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.

and

    2 Samuel 1
    1. Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag;
    2. It came even to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance.

Second, this Sujud that Prophet Yusuf received was the direct interpretation of a vision that he saw before his brothers plotted to kill him:

“(Remember) when Y?suf (Joseph) said to his father: ‘O my father! Verily, I saw (in a dream) eleven stars and the sun and the moon ? I saw them prostrating themselves to me.’ He (the father) said: ‘O my son! Relate not your vision to your brothers, lest they should arrange a plot against you. Verily, Shait?n (Satan) is to man an open enemy! Thus will your Lord choose you and teach you the interpretation of dreams (and other things) and perfect His Favor on you and on the offspring of Ya’q?b (Jacob), as He perfected it on your fathers, Ibr?h?m (Abraham) and Ish?q (Isaac) aforetime! Verily, your Lord is All-Knowing, All-Wise.'” [12:4-6].

Prophet Yusuf saw in a dream that eleven stars and the sun and the moon prostrated before him. His father informed him that his dream meant that All?h had chosen him, meaning, to be a prophet and a king, and to teach him knowledge in the interpretation of dreams. Years after Yusuf told his father about his dream, All?h made it come true: his parents and eleven siblings prostrated before him, because he was the king. Proof: All?h said that after they prostrated before him, Prophet Yusuf said,

“My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty, and taught me the interpretation of dreams ? the (Only) Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wal? (Protector, Helper, God, Lord) in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die as a Muslim, and join me with the righteous.” [12:101].

Therefore, Prophet Yusuf praised All?h for making him a king; his family prostrated before him because he was the king. Where did the Qur’?n or even the Torah say that when Prophet Ya`qub prostrated before his son, it was an act of worship? Where did the Qur’?n say that every Sujud is an act of worship? What Muslim Scholar preaches making Sujud as an act of worship to other than All?h if, as Wail dreamed, All?h ordered the angels to make Sujud as an act of worship to Adam?

The type of Sujud that All?h ordered the angels to perform before Adam, as well as the Sujud that Prophet Ya`qub made to Prophet Yusuf, is a matter of Law (Ahkam, or Shar?’?h), not a matter of worship. When Islam came, many of the laws of previous nations were abrogated, among them the Sujud that is to honor kings and leaders. Ever since Islam disallowed it, making any type of Sujud to other than All?h regardless of the intention behind it, even if it were to honor kings and leaders as was the tradition before Islam, became prohibited for Muslims. However, we should state that the Angels are not required to follow Islamic Law. For example, the angels do not fast during Ramadhan; the angels do not eat let alone fast from eating. In addition, we should state that prostrating to other creations as a way of honoring or greeting them is disallowed in Islam for those who came after this ruling was revealed, not for those who came before it and certainly not for the angels.

As evidence that making Sujud as a matter of tradition was popular during the Prophet’s time, al-Bukhari reported that when the Prophet, peace be upon him, sent a messenger to Hercules, the Roman Emperor, Hercules had a lengthy discussion with his advisors about Prophet Muhammad and afterwards, the priests prostrated before Hercules. This occurred in the presence of the Prophet’s companion who carried the Prophet’s letter to Hercules. The Prophet’s companion did not interpret this as an act of worship by the Christian advisors and priests to their Christian king, but as a matter of tradition and habit.

There is an authentic Hadith that is directly related to this type of Sujud. When Muadh Ibn Jabal, the Prophet's companion, came back from the Sham Area (Syria) to Madinah, he prostrated before the Prophet, peace be upon him, who asked him, "What is this, O, Muadh?” Mu`adh said, “I visited the Sham Area and witnessed them prostrate before their priests and patriarchs. I wished to myself that we did the same for you.” The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Do not do it. However, if I were to order anyone to prostrate before anyone else besides All?h, I would have ordered the wife to prostrate before her husband.”[9] The topic of this Hadith is, “Making Sujud, as a matter of Islamic Law, To Other than All?h”.

This specific topic was brought to the Prophet’s attention, the same Prophet who received the Qur’?n from All?h wherein is mentioned the Sujud of the angels to Adam. Even if the Qur’?n had not elaborated on this topic ? yet we proved that it did in the clearest terms – the Prophet himself had elaborated on it. He did not say to Mu`adh, “Do not do this, because Sujud is an act of worship and directing any act of worship at other than All?h is Shirk.” He did not say, “It is alright to do it, because the angels worshipped Adam as the Qur’?n stated.” He, peace be upon him, merely stated that this type of Sujud was prohibited in Isl?m and that if he were to allow it, he would have ordered the wife to prostrate to her husband. It is not possible that the Prophet, who upheld Islamic Monotheism in its most clear and pure form, would say to his companion, “If I were to order anyone to worship anyone else besides All?h, I would have ordered the wife to worship her husband in Sujud,” because this would contradict the essence of Tauheed which the companions embraced in defiance of Shirk itself. While commenting on this Hadith, Imam Ibn Taimiyyah said, “How can it be concluded that prostrating to something indicates worship of it, when the Prophet said?” and he mentioned the Hadith above, saying afterwards, “It is known that the Prophet did not say, ‘If I were to order anyone to worship anyone else?'”

We should add that Muadh ibn Jab?l stated that the Sujud he witnessed was the practice of Christians during that era, and indeed, the Christians still practice this Sujud in the present time as they bow down to their kings or queens, and even bow down to kiss the hands of their popes and patriarchs. In yet another proof that this Sujud was a matter of tradition, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal reported in another narration that Muadh Ibn Jabal said to the Prophet, “I thought that you have more right to be honored [than the priests and patriarchs].”

In addition, the type of Sujud that the Prophet said he would have ordered the wife to perform to her husband, was explained by the Prophet himself in that it was due the husband’s great right on his wife.[10] In another narration[11] the Prophet, peace be upon him, further explained this Hadith by saying, ?Because of what All?h favored (or, honored) him with above her.??? In this last narration, the Prophet used the word, ?Fadh-dhala???, which describes a type of honor that All?h bestows on whomever He will. All?h said in the Qur’?n:

“And indeed We have honored (karramna) the Children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea, and have provided them with At-Tayyib?t (lawful good things), and have preferred them (Fadh-dhal-nahum) above many of those whom We have created with a marked preferment.” [17:70]

Thus, two things are clear: the context of this Hadith is Sujud as a matter of tradition, and “Karramna”, from the same root word as “Karramta”, is another term that Wail mysteriously ignored mentioning in his article/fatwa.

Third, Sujud in Yet Another Context in the Qur’?n

All?h said, when translated means:

“So the earthquake seized them (people of Prophet Salih), and they lay (dead), prostrate (Jathimeen) in their homes.” [7:78];

“And As-Saihah (torment ? awful cry) overtook the wrongdoers, so they lay (dead), prostrate (Jathimeen) in their homes. As if they had never lived there. No doubt! Verily, Tham?d disbelieved in their Lord. So away with Tham?d!” [11:67-8]

And you will see each nation Jathiyah (humbled to their knees; kneeling), each nation will be called to its Record (of deeds) [45:28].

Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said in his explanation on Sahih al-Bukhari, that, ‘Jathin’, pertains to sitting on the knees, or kneeling (a type of Sujud). Muslims are anxious: it remains to be seen as to how Wail Taghlibi and the entire community of Evangelists/Shaikhs would explain these Verses and in which context they would kindly place them.

Conclusion: Depending on the intention behind performing it, Sujud is either an act of worship, and in Islam, all acts of worship are strictly and exclusively directed at All?h. As Imam Ibn Taimiyyah rightfully stated, both the angels and mankind are prohibited from making this type of Sujud to other than All?h. Or, Sujud is a matter of habit and tradition to honor kings and leaders, and as such, pertains to the Islamic Law which has prohibited it. In addition, if it were Prophet Joseph who made Sujud to his parents and if it were mankind whom All?h ordered to make Sujud to the angels, then this Sujud would still be allowed for them since it is not meant as an act of worship but as a way of greeting and honoring those who deserve to be honored. Or Sujud is done involuntarily as it is clear from All?h’s statement:

“See you not that whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and Ad-Daw?bb [moving (living) creatures, beasts], and many of mankind prostrate themselves to All?h. But there are many (men) on whom the punishment is justified (they do not worship All?h). And whomsoever All?h disgraces, none can honor him. Verily, All?h does what He wills.” [22:18]

Or, Sujud is in the context of All?h’s punishment to disbelieving nations as is clear from the Qur’?nic verses describing the fate of `Ad and Thamud who were destroyed and left laying prostrate on their foreheads. And on the Day of Judgment, every nation shall fall to their knees to the Lord, prostrating before His Majesty and Irresistible Power. There is also the voluntary Sujud as an act of worship that mankind will be asked to perform on the Day of Resurrection; those who did not do it voluntarily and sincerely in this life will not be able to perform it voluntarily on the Day of Judgment:

“(Remember, or mention) the Day when the Shin (of All?h) shall be laid bare (on the Day of Resurrection) and they shall be called to prostrate themselves (to All?h), but they (hypocrites) shall not be able to do so. Their eyes will be cast down and ignominy will cover them; they used to be called to prostrate themselves (offer prayers), while they were healthy and good (in the life of the world, but they did not).” [68:42-3]

What Happened to the Law of Stoning the Adulterer?

Islam abrogated many of the laws legislated for earlier believing nations in addition to some of the laws legislated in the early era of Islam. The Bible also abrogated parts of the Jewish law. Matthew 19:8-9 states:

“Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.???

Yet, Answering Islam dares to post an article by (an alleged) “former Muslim”, Farooq Ibrahim, entitled The Problem of Abrogation in the Quran. It appears that these Neos not only do not read the Qur’?n even though they “generously” explain it to Muslims, but also do not read their own Bible. Farooq Ibrahim claims that he used to be a Muslim until, among other things, he was “confused” on why All?h would abrogate some of His Law. To answer that entire article, which was written by the yet another ‘confused’ author, we post a single question to Christians: what happened to the “eternal” Law of Circumcision[12] , prohibiting eating the flesh of swine[13], and the law of stoning the adulterer[14] and the other ancient laws that are found in the Bible, the Literal Word of God as Christians claim, which the Christians did away with?

Christians falsely claim that Jesus is lord and eternal, as Wail stated, “In fact, from eternity, he was equal with God.” Rhetorically, it must have been Jesus who issued these commandments in the Old Testament and later on abrogated them in the New Testament. The reality is that these laws were corrupted by the hands of Paul, the true founder of Christianity, and the many anonymous writers who authored the New Testament.

The Christians have two choices: either God abrogated some of the Law He revealed to ancient Prophets or there was no abrogation, and thus, the Christians are sinners on two accounts: for disobeying the Lord’s ‘Literal Word’ by drinking wine, eating pork and not punishing the adulterer by stoning, and for changing and corrupting God’s Law as found in the Old Testament by abrogating it on their own in the New Testament.3

Privileges of the Prophets; Relevance of This Topic to the Angels’ Sujud to Adam

In his article on Sujud, Wail Taghlibi listed the privileges that All?h bestowed on Prophets Ibrahim (Abraham), Mus? (Moses) and Is? al-Masih (Jesus), saying:

The privileges given to these prophets qualify them more than Adam to receive the prostration from angels as ?greeting and exaltation’, if we should accept this as a possible meaning. Since there is no indication that such a phrase was used to address any of these prophets, the interpretation offered by Muslim commentators to the phrase of ?falling down in prostration to Adam’ seems unconvincing.

First, we hereby testify that Wail’s acceptance ? or lack of it – of the explanation given to this ?Islamic’ concept by ?Muslim Scholars’ has never been of any concern to Muslims. Wail, who does not believe in All?h, the Qur’?n, Muhammad, or Islam, invented a concept that was never propagated by the Qur’?n or the Prophetic Tradition or contemplated by any Muslim scholar.

Second, and in contradiction to the assertion that Wail made, we mentioned the story of Prophet Yusuf and the fact that his parents and eleven brothers prostrated to him as a way of greeting and exaltation. Yes, Prophets Yusuf and Ya`qub were not specifically mentioned in Wail’s statement, “?these prophets”. Yet, the fact remains that Prophet Yusuf received a Sujud that was preordained in the Qur’?n itself and this is further proof that Wail erred in his “fatwa”.

Third, we should ask, what relevance do the privileges of the honorable Prophets Wail mentioned have to the topic under discussion? All?h did not say in the Qur’?n that He ordered the angels to prostrate to Adam because Adam’s privileges were better and more exalted than the privileges given to the other Prophets.

Fourth, the Prophets whom Wail mentioned were tremendously honored by All?h, Who gave each of them miracles exclusive to them and frequently praised them in the Qur’?n. In contrast, the Qur’?n did not mention any miracle that Prophet Adam was favored with, and therefore, the Christians will have to be ?generous’ with their father and allow him to keep this privilege. Amazingly, Wail strives hard to deprive Adam of any virtue so as to support the Christian dogma of doom stating that Adam’s sin stained all of humanity and chained them, unjustly preventing them from having a good relation with God without having Jesus crucified for their sin.

These mentioned Prophets also received a part of the honor that All?h bestowed on their honorable ancestor, Adam, the father of all of mankind, when the angels prostrated before him. Thus, Wail’s statement, “?we may wonder why God would exclusively honor Adam by this privilege. The question becomes why would God not honor other prophets like Ibrahim, Musa, and Issa Al-Massih (Jesus Christ) in the same way?”, is entirely irrelevant because the answer is that this honor was given to he who was created by All?h’s Own Hands. Thus, we should ask Wail, who else among the Prophets and all of mankind was created by All?h’s Own Hands so that he too receives the honor designated to he, Adam, who was created by All?h’s Own Hands?

Fifth, Adam dwelled in Paradise, as the Qur’?n and even the Bible testify. Therefore, why did not Wail protest this privilege too, since some of the Prophets he mentioned are at a higher degree of honor and exaltation than that of Adam and deserve to dwell in Paradise as well?

Sixth, Islam teaches this about All?h:

“He cannot be questioned as to what He does, while they will be questioned.” [21:23]

Seventh, the privilege of receiving the angels’ Sujud that All?h gave Adam is not because Adam was a Prophet who received revelation from All?h, or because he was better than all other Prophets, or on account of what Adam did or did not do in his faith: there is not a single Qur’?nic Verse that mention any of these ideas. This privilege, as Wail concurs, is exclusively based on what All?h Himself did: He created Adam with Both His Hands. Wail said:

Paul describes the origin of first Adam as ‘of dust of the earth’ (1 Corinthians 15:47); thus referring the readers back to the beginning. ?In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth?and God said, let there be?and there was’ (Genesis 1:3, 6-7). God brought all things into being, by his word, (Psalms 33:6, 9; 145:5; Hebrews 11:3). But for Adam it is explicitly stated to be different. God created Adam in a different manner. ?The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being’ (Genesis 2:7). That was a special favor that God exclusively conferred to Adam, but not to the rest of creatures. He did not come to existence by the simple command of God, but rather by receiving the breath of God, that gave him life.

Amazingly, Wail finds it “bewildering” that Adam, not the rest of mankind, would receive the honor of being prostrated to by the angels, even though he was endowed with this favor for being created by All?h’s Own Hands, i.e., the very reason for ordering the angels and Satan to prostrate to Adam, i.e., the very special favor that Wail agreed was given to Adam and none else among creation. Why did not Wail protest this exclusive favor that God gave only to Adam, i.e., being the only living creation created by All?h’s Own Hands, when other Prophets had more privileges and were better qualified to receive the honor of being created in this manner than Adam?

One Adam, Two Adams, Three Adams, And So Forth

Eighth, when Adam received the prostration from the angels, he had not yet committed a sin. However, Wail made a comparison between the sinful Adam and the sinless second Adam, saying, “After this review of the characteristics of the first Adam, and those of the last Adam, Jesus Christ, a brief comparison between them would demonstrate who deserves to receive prostration from angels.” Comparing Adam who sinned later on in his life with the rather fictitious, eternal, spiritual, sinless, second Adam is just another fantasy that has no relevance to the topic under discussion, which is concentrated on he who was created by All?h’s Own Hands. This is especially the case since according to the false Christian dogmas, Jesus was begotten, not made.

What Happened to the Original Sin?

For some reason, Wail evaded mentioning the Christian dogma of “Original Sin”. However, he kept babbling about Adam’s sin and how he lost his relationship with God because of it, saying:

Briefly, Adam was in good relation with God; but because of his disobedience he lost that relation. On the other hand, the Last Adam, Jesus Christ, was sent by God from heaven. And he fully obeyed God; therefore he was able to restore man to a good relation with God.

Wail also said:

The result of Adam’s disobedience was not restricted to Adam himself. It entailed curse upon the earth?Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12).

Thus, Wail means, mankind inherited Adam’s sin, but Wail skillfully evaded direct mentioning of this Christian dogma by name.

Wail Quotes Paul, the True Founder of Christianity

Wail deviated to a topic that is entirely irrelevant to the topic under discussion by saying,

Adam is frequently mentioned in the Bible. In fact, the Bible speaks about two Adams?In the 15th chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians which Paul wrote c. 55 AD, he advocated the reality of resurrection. And in order to support his position he spoke about the first man Adam and the Last Adam:

“The first Adam became a living being, the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven” (1 Corinthians.15:45-47).

Wail then ended his article by saying:

Conclusion: Dear reader, you have two options: Either you are satisfied only with what the Qur’an says about the first Adam, or you believe what the Bible says about the Last Adam. If you choose the Adam of dust, and continue your walk in the path of disobedience like him, you will end up with eternal punishment?But if you believe what the Bible says about the Last Adam, who came from heaven and fully obeyed God, you will be saved from your sins, and have eternal life. Moreover you will have also fellowship with him now and forever.

Note the horrific, false news that Wail brought the Children of Adam: Adam ended up with eternal punishment, “If you choose the Adam of dust, and continue your walk in the path of disobedience like him, you will end up with eternal punishment.”

Ninth, if Jesus is lord, as Christians claim, and if Sujud is an act of worship, as Wail claims, then why did not the disciples worship the second, sinless, eternal Adam by making Sujud to him, especially since Wail wrote this, “Therefore he is worthy that every knee should bow before him, not out of respect and exaltation, but rather in the sense of worship due to God himself. In fact, from eternity, he was equal with God”?

The “Good News” of Prophet Muhammad (21:107)

Tenth, All?h clearly stated that Adam made errors:

“Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray” [20:121].

Yet, All?h stated that Adam repented from his sin and that He forgave him:

“Then Adam received from his Lord Words. And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful” [2:37]

and

“Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him with forgiveness, and gave him guidance” [20:122]

The “Words” mentioned in verse 2:37 were reported in another part of the Qur’?n:

“They (Adam and Eve, peace be upon them) said: ‘Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers’. [7:23]

Adam became free of his sin when All?h accepted his repentance, and thus, neither he nor his wife or offspring were burdened with his sin. All?h said:

“Or is he (who turned away from Islam) not informed with what is in the Pages (Scripture) of M?s? (Moses). And of Ibr?h?m (Abraham) who fulfilled (or conveyed) all that (All?h ordered him to do or convey). That no burdened person (with sins) shall bear the burden (sins)of another. And that man can have nothing but what he does (good or bad). And that his deeds will be seen. Then he will be recompensed with a full and the best recompense.” [53:36-40]

In Islam, everyone is born sinless. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that Muhammad, the Messenger of All?h, the Bearer of Good News, said:

“Every child is born on al-Fitrah (the pure Islamic Nature) and then his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Magian (fire-worshipper), as an animal produces a perfect young animal: do you see any part of its body amputated???? Then, he recited, “The religion of pure Islamic Faith (Hanifa [to worship none but All?h]), The pure All?h’s Islamic nature with which He (All?h) has created mankind. Let There be no change in All?h’s religion (i.e. to join none in All?h’s worship). That is the straight religion; but most of men know not [30:30]”.

Delivering Mankind From the Injustices of Tyrannical Religions to the Justice of Islam

This is tremendous, good news from Allah, the Creator of all that exists. Mankind is no longer bound by the invented doctrine of doom, where everyone is born with a sin they did not commit, where everyone must seek salvation from the original sin that they did not commit through the crucifixion of a man who did not commit their sin or the original sin. Mankind should seek salvation from these doctrines and free themselves from the chains unjustly placed on them by false religions, to the freedom of Islam where one only worships the One and Only Lord and Creator of everything, where one is only responsible for his or her own errors and collects the rewards for his or her own righteousness.

The Christian concept of the original sin is firmly rejected in Islam, which teaches the good news that one is only responsible for one’s own actions and errors. It is unjust that one should carry the burden of an error committed by someone else, inheriting this burden from one generation to the next generation. It is more unjust that God should love the world so much that, as Christians claim, He would have His own [falsely claimed] son crucified for the sins of Christians who commit every type of sin God forbade in every Divine Book He revealed.

Christians Should Respect Adam, the Father of Humanity

Adam was the first Muwa`hh?d (Monotheist) among mankind, the first righteous man to have ever lived. He observed and taught Tauh?d to his children. He was a Prophet to whom All?h spoke and revealed specifics of Tauh?d and Monotheistic worship. His offspring remained on Tauh?d until the time of Prophet Noah, when they started worshipping the idols. Thus, Noah was the first Messenger, as al-Bukhar? and Musl?m reported from All?h’s Prophet, in the sense that he was the first Prophet to be sent to a disbelieving people. The Christians should respect Adam and refrain from demeaning him because of a sin he committed, repented from and became sinless. Adam is the father of mankind whom All?h honored by giving him knowledge and faith:

“And He taught Adam all the names [of everything].” [2:31].

Adam is the father of mankind who taught them to have faith in the Creator of all that exists. Adam was the representative of all of mankind when he received the honor of being prostrated to by the angels because All?h created him with His Own Hands. This is the topic, not a comparison between the privileges of the Prophets as compared to the privileges of Adam or how many original Adams one can come up with.
Wail’s Bewilderment is of His Own Creation

Muslims reject trinity because trinity was never mentioned as a part of the valid creed either in the Old Testament or in the Qur’?n. Jesus never professed trinity; trinity was never mentioned by name in the New Testament. Trinity, the Original Sin, the second Adam, God’s claimed begotten, yet, eternal son, and the Holy Ghost being God are all alien ideologies never professed to by Jesus himself or by any other Prophet who came before or after him. The Old Testament never mentioned these dogmas, and Biblical Prophets never preached them. And not only Muslims reject these dogmas. The Jews do not only reject trinity, but also disbelieve in Jesus, accuse his honorable mother of horrible sins and are still awaiting the first coming of the Messiah, more than two thousand years after the Messiah came.

The Christians profess trinity as the entire world knows and therefore, Muslims did not unjustly claim that Christians call to trinity. In contrast, Wail and his neo-supporters invented an alien concept to Islam not found in the Qur’?n, the Prophetic Tradition or the statements of any Muslim Scholar. They invented an understanding that is never preached by Muslims, then decided that Muslim scholars did not convince them about the proper interpretation of the Qur’?n, even though what Muslim scholars say as explanation for the Sujud of the angels to Adam is found explicitly in a Qur’anic verse that Wail hid from his readers. The question is, to what lows are haters of Islam willing to sink to in their feverish yet vain attempts to defeat Islam’s superior creed? If they wish to try and derail the progress of Islam, and they will never succeed, they will fair better if they confronted the Islamic creed with their creed, so that Truth is made apparent and Falsehood is destroyed. Mankind already accepts Islam as their religion at a faster rate than Christianity, making many Christians worried. Yet, instead of confronting Islamic Tauh?d with the Christian Trinity, some Christians resort to defaming Islam and corrupting the Islamic Texts in such a shameful manner demonstrated by Wail and his supporters. If one does not believe in Islam’s creed, one should not waste time discussing Islamic Law.

Wail’s “?bewildering question, of what is meant by God’s command to angels to ?fall down prostrate to Adam'” did not consume him because, as he claims, “?neither Muslim commentators nor the Qur’an itself have succeeded in offering a plausible answer.” His bewilderment is of his own making. He did not read the Qur’?n with care so as to understand its Message in pursuit of Truth. To the contrary, Wail first filled his heart with hatred of a religion he cannot even begin to understand, then hastily read Qur’?nic verses to find mistakes in them. This article has clearly shown him to be a fake Shaikh who did not contemplate what he wrote before posting it. If Islam is a false religion as Christians claim, then why do they spend so much time and effort trying to defeat it? The full responsibility now lies with Answering Islam to remove Wail’s article from their website, especially that they now know that Wail hid the fact that the Qur’?n specifically described the angels’ prostration to Adam by saying that it was a way of honoring him, {?Ara-aitaka hadha al-ladhi karramta `alai???} [17:62]. From his name, Wail Taghlibi seems to be an Arab Christian, and thus we ask him to first recite this verse to his sponsors, interpret its meaning for them, and then explain to them why he did not mention it at all in his article.

This is only a reminder and peace be unto those who follow the true guidance that the Creator of all that exists sent down to His Prophets, peace be upon all of them.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "When The Evangelist Becomes A Shaikh, The Angels Become Worshippers Of Adam," in Bismika Allahuma, October 14, 2005, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/quran/when-the-evangelist-becomes-a-shaikh-the-angels-become-worshippers-of-adam/

[3] al-Fatawa, Vol. 23, p. 145

[4] al-Fatawa, Vol. 21, p. 269

[5] As reported in a Hadith, or Prophetic Tradition, collected in Sahih Sunan at-Tirmidhi [249]. For a detailed description of the Islamic Prayer, refer to the English translation of Zad-ul Ma`ad, by Imam Ibn al-Qayy?m, Vol. 2.

[6] al-Fatawa

[7] Sahih at-Targheeb wa-t-Tarheeb (1936)

[8] We will revisit these false accounts attributed to Allah’s Honorable Prophets in our book, The Prophet of Mercy, which is in response to Craig Winn’s The Prophet of Doom.

[9] This is an authentic Hadith (Prophetic Statement) collected in Sahih Ibn Majah.

[10] Sahih at-Targheeb (1936)].

[11] As reported in Sahih at-Targheeb (1935)

[12] Genesis 17: 12-13, “For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised. And my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant” and Luke 2:21, “On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise, he was named Jesus”; yet, in Galatians 5:2-6 one reads this, “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”

[13] Leviticus 11:1, 7, “And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them?And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you”; yet Christians did away with this Divine Law in 1 Timothy 4:1-5, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

[14] John 8:4-5, 7 as follows: “They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you,let him first cast a stone at her.”

  1. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn al-Arabi, born in 468 AH (i.e., after the Prophet’s Hijrah, or Migration from Makkah to Madinah)/1075 CE and died in 543 AH/1148 C.E. []
  2. By Abu al-Aun, Muhammad ibn Ahmad as-Saffarini, born in 1114 AH/1702 CE and died in 1188 AH/1774 C.E. []
  3. I should make mention that the matter of abrogation is explained in detail in my translation of Izhar-ul-`Haqq, by Shaikh Rahmatullah ibn Khalil ar-Rahman al-Kayranawy al-Hindi. []
Categories
Bible Contradictions External Contradictions Of The Bible The Bible

Geographical Errors Within The New Testament

It is well known that the Gospel of Mark contains numerous geographical errors. This is summed up in Kummel’s classic, Introduction to the New Testament:

[T]he considerations against this assumption [that John Mark, companion of Peter, wrote the gospel of Mark] carry weight. The author obviously has no personal knowledge of Palestinian geography, as the numerous geographical errors show. He writes for Gentile Christians, with sharp polemic against the unbelieving Jews. He does not know the account of the death of the Baptist (6:17 ff) contradicts Palestinian customs. Could a Jewish Christian from Jerusalem miss the fact that 6:35 ff and 8:1 ff are two variants of the same feeding story? The tradition that Mk was written by John Mark is therefore scarcely reliable. The reference to I Pet 5:13 (“The elect of Babylon and my son Mark also greets you”) does not account for the tradition, but only the subsequent linking up of the author of Mk with the preaching of Peter. Accordingly, the author of Mk is unknown to us.1

In fact, one of the reasons why many scholars doubt that the anonymous author of Mark was a Jewish individual and a native of Palestine is precisely due to the presence of a number of geographical errors, mistakes and confusions in this gospel. If the author was a native of Palestine and a Jew, then how was he so ignorant regarding the region’s geography?

Essentially, the arguments against John Mark, a Jewish resident of Jerusalem and later the companion of Paul and also of Peter, writing this Gospel are that he does not appear to be familiar with the geography of Palestine in the first century (Mark 7:31; 11:1) or with Jewish customs, overgeneralizes about the Jews (7:3-4), from whom he seems to distance himself, and does not reflect the theology of either Paul or Peter as a companion might (Phlm 23; cf. Col. 4:10; 2 Tim 4:11).2

To give an example, we read in the gospel according to Mark the following account:

“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt there which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you,’Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The lord needs it and will send it back shortly.'” They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They answered that Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had out in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming of the kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late he went out to Bethany with the twelve.” (Mark 11:1-11)

In Mark 10:46 however, we read that Jesus was in Jericho. The sentence above shows that Jesus and his group were travelling from Jericho to Jerusalem via Bethphage and then Bethany. This, however, is quite impossible. Bethany is further away from Jerusalem than Bethphage is. The Biblical theologian, D.E. Nineham, comments:

The geographical details make an impression of awkwardness, especially as Bethphage and Bethany are given in reverse order to that in which travellers from Jericho would reach them…and we must therefore assume that St Mark did not know the relative positions of the two villages on the Jericho road…3

The missionaries would obviously deny the above glaring error in Mark with their multiferous explanations. However the author of Matthew fully realised that Mark, who was supposedly “inspired”, had made a gross factual error. Matthew, who copied Mark changed this passage to remove the error:

“When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives…” (Matthew 21:1)

Note that Matthew had removed the reference to Bethany completely from Mark’s account. Again the most likely explanation is that Matthew noticed Mark’s error and tried to correct it. As Randel Helms informs us:

Mark writes on the basis of a vague knowledge of Judaean geography, not knowing that one approaching Jerusalem from the east on the road from Jericho would reach first Bethany and then Bethphage, not the reverse order he indicates. However, the important location is the Mount of Olives; typology, not history, is at work here. The typological fiction continues on the basis of Zech. 9:9 LXX:

‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion; proclaim it aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, the king is coming to thee, just and a Saviour [sozon, “saving”]; he is meek and riding on an ass, and a young foal [polon neon, a “new (unridden) foal”].’

It is only with this passage that we can understand why Mark has Jesus specify that his diciples obtain a “colt [polon] which no one has yet ridden” (Mark 11:2). Mark ignores the danger and unlikelihood of riding on an unbroken, untrained animal, assuming its miraculous tractability; typology rather than history is operative here.4

Who is correct, Matthew or Mark? Was Mark “inspired” or was Matthew “inspired” as far as the above passage is concerned?

Bruce M. Metzger makes mention of several internal and geographical errors within the New Testament in which later scribes attempted to clear away:

A few scribes attempted to harmonize the Johannine account of the chronology of the Passion with that in Mark by changing ‘sixth hour’ of John xix. 14 to ‘third hour’ (which appears in Mark xv. 25). At John i. 28 Origen 1 altered in order to remove what he regarded as a geographical difficulty, and this reading is extant today in MSS. 33 69 and many others, including those which lie behind the King James version. The statement in Mark viii. 31, that ‘the Son of man must suffer many things…and be killed and aftee: three days rise again’, seems to involve a chronological difficulty, and some copyists changed the phrase to the more familiar expression, ‘on the third day’ . The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews places the golden altar of incense in the Holy of Holies (Heb. ix. 4), which is contrary to the Old Testament description of the Tabernacle (Exod. xxx. 1-6). The scribe of codex Vaticanus and the translator of the Ethiopic version correct the account by transferring the words to ix. 2, where the furniture of the Holy Place is itemized.5

Another Christian scholar, Raymond E. Brown, notes the inability of the author of Mark to identify the geographical places in ancient Palestine. He says:

That the author of this Greek Gospel was John Mark, a (presumably Aramaic-speaking) Jew of Jerusalem who had early become a Christian, is hard to reconcile with the impression that it does not seem to be a translation from Aramaic,82 that it seems to depend on traditions (and perhaps already shaped sources) receieved in Greek, and that it seems confused about Palestinian geography83 (The attempt to claim that Mark used geography theologically and therefore did not bother about accuracy seems strained).6

In footnote 83, Brown had in fact revealed another instance of the gospel author’s unfamiliarity with ancient Palestine geography. He states that:

83 Mark 5:1, 13 betrays confusion about the distance of Gerasa from the sea of Galilee (n. 17 above). Mark 7:31 describes a journey from Tyre through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee in the midst of the Decapolis. In fact one goes SE from Tyre to the Sea of Galilee; Sidon is N for Tyre, and the description of the Sea of Galilee in the midst of the Decapolis is awkward. That a boat headed for Bethsaida (NE side of the Sea of Galilee) arrives at Gennesaret (NW side: 6:45,53) may also signal confusion. No one has been able to locate the Dalmanutha of 8:10, and it may be a corruption of Magdala.7

Though Brown attempts to explain away these geographical errors by stating that “one must admit that sometimes even natives of a place are not very clear about geography”8, he does not deny their presence in the text. In another footnote, he states that:

Many other examples of improbable reconciliations could be offered. Since Matt has a Sermon on the Mount and Luke has a similar Sermon on the Plain (Matt 5:1; Luke 6:7), there must have been a plain on the side of the mountain. Since Matt has the Lord’s Prayer taught in that sermon and Luke has it later on the road to Jerusalem (Matt 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4), the disciples must have forgotten it, causing Jesus to repeat it. Mark 10:46 places the healing of the blind man after Jesus left Jericho, while Luke 18:35; 19:1 places it before Jesus entered Jericho. Perhaps Jesus was leaving the site of the OT Jericho and entering the site of the NT Jericho!9

Furthermore, the Gospel according to Luke, another anonymous gospel, also contains a number of geographical errors that have led scholars to the conclusion that its author was not from Palestine. Brown comments:

What happens when Jesus goes to a deserted place (Luke 4:24-44) exhibits typical Lucan universalizing, since the people rather than Simon and his companions come to seek out Jesus. Compared to Mark 1:39, which has Jesus going through the synagogues of all Galilee, Luke 4:44 localizes the synagogues in Judea. That may illustrate the vagueness of Luke’s ideas of Palestinian geography, since in the next verse (5:1) Jesus is still in Galilee, at the Lake. Or does Luke’s Judea simply mean “the country of the Jews”?10

Brown presents another example of Luke’s confusion with Palestinian geography:

3. Last Stage of Journey till Arrival in Jerusalem (17:11-19:27). This begins with the uniquely Lucan cleansing of the ten lepers, including the thankful Samaritan (17:11-19). Jesus has been travelling toward Jerusalem since 9:51, and in 9:52 his messengers entered a Samaritan village. That at this point in the story he is still passing between Samaria and Galilee tells us that the journey is an artificual framework (and also that Luke may not have had a precise idea of Palestinian geography).11

G. A. Wells in his The Historical Evidence for Jesus makes mentions a number of geographical errors within the gospel according to Mark together with quoting other Biblical scholars admiting the presence of these errors and confusions in this gospel:

Mark makes serious mistakes in his geographical references to Palestine. He knows the Galilean place names and the general relative positions of the localities, but not specific details. Hence he “represents Jesus as travelling back and forth in Galilee and adjacent territories in a puzzling fashion” (Kee, 117, pp 102 – 3). To go (as Jesus is said to in Mk. 7:31) from the territory of Tyre by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee “is like travelling from Cornwall to London via Manchester” (Anderson, 2, p 192). Again, Mark’s “references to movements across the Sea of Galilee are impossible to trace sequentially. Mention of specific location near the sea are either unknown sites, such as Dalmanutha (8:10), or are patently inaccurate, as in the designation of the eastern shore of the lake as the country of the Gerasenes (5:1)” (Kee, loc cit). Gerasa is more than thirty miles souteast of the lake, too far away for the setting of the story which demands a city in its vincinity, with a precipitous slope down to the water. Probably all that concerned Mark, collecting and adapting pre-existing stories about Jesus, was that the lake and its surrounding territories, some Jewish and some mainly Gentile, was an ideal setting for journey’s of Jesus and his disciples, showing how both Jews and Gentiles responded to him with faith. That place names in Mark caused perplexity among early readers is shown by the wide range of variants in the textual tradition where names occur in the gospel. Perplexity is also evidenced by Matthew, who changed Mark’s Gerasenes to Gadarenes (Mt. 8:28), Gadara being a well-known spa only eight miles from the lake.12

Michael T. Griffith makes note of this confusion between Gerasenes and Gadarenes, and says that:

According to most modern versions of the Bible, Mark 5:1 refers to the Sea of Galilee’s eastern shore as the country of the Gerasene:

“They [Christ and the disciples] came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes” (RSV; so also the NIV and the New American Bible).

This translation is based on the fact that the best and oldest manuscripts for this verse all read “the country of the Gerasenes.” However, the Sea of Galilee’s eastern shore cannot qualify as the land of the Gerasenes because Gerasa (modern Jerash) is more than thirty miles to the southeast. In addition, the account which follows verse 1 requires a nearby city with a steep slope leading down to the Sea of Galilee. This could not possibly be Gerasa. Gerasa is simply too far away, and there is no slope running all the way from that site to the Sea of Galilee.

In the KJV, Mark 5:1 reads, “the country of the Gadarenes,” but this is based on inferior readings from the Greek texts. As mentioned above, the best and oldest manuscripts read “the country of the Gerasenes.” In any event, Gadara, though closer than Gerasa, is still too far away to fit, since it is located about six miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee.

According to the KJV rendering of Matthew 8:28, the region in question is named “the country of the Gergesenes.” This reading is based on inferior manuscript evidence and represents a scribal addition by later copyists (Metzger 1971:23-24). The best textual evidence for Matthew 8:28 reads “the country of the Gadarenes,” which is how it appears in the better modern translations of Matthew. Again, though, Gadara is too far away from the Sea of Galilee. To add to the confusion, Luke 8:26 follows the geography attributed to Mark. Although the KJV reads “the country of the Gadarenes,” this is another case of this version’s reliance on inferior textual evidence. The better modern translations read “Gerasenes.”

Lindsey Pherigo sums up the situation with regard to Mark 5:1:

The general location [of the events spoken of in Mark 5] is reported [in vs. 1] to be the E shore of the Sea of Galilee but the exact location is reported in different ways. The oldest and best manuscripts have Gerasa, but this is too far from the Sea of Galilee to fit well. Matt. changes this to Gadara (“the country of the Gadarenes,” 8:28), but this, though nearer, is still too far from the water. Later copyists change both to “Gergesa,” which may correspond to some ruins on the E side of the sea. It remains a problem.13

Conclusion

We have thus shown that the scribes of the New Testament were certainly aware of the presence of errors, in this case geographical errors, within the New Testament text. That is why they had proceeded to clear up whatever obvious errors that recur within their texts. Many of such errors were thus “corrected” over the passage of time whereas others that escape “correction” are vehemently defended by current-day missionaries with the preference to use a number of highly-imaginative mental gymnastics.

And only God knows best! Geographical Errors Within The New Testament 10

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Geographical Errors Within The New Testament," in Bismika Allahuma, October 15, 2005, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/bible/geographical-errors-new-testament/
  1. Kummel, Introduction to the New Testament, p. 97 []
  2. Lee Martin Mc Donald and Stanley E. Porter, Early Christianity and its Sacred Literature, (Nov 2000, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.), p. 286 []
  3. Nineham, Saint Mark (Westminster John Knox Press, 1978), pp. 294-295 []
  4. Randel Helms, Gospel Fictions, p. 103 []
  5. Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament. Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (Third Enlarged Edition, 1992, Oxford University Press), pp. 199-200 []
  6. Raymond E. Brown, S.S., An Introduction To The New Testament, The Anchor Bible Reference Library (Doubleday, 1997) pp. 159-160 []
  7. ibid., p. 160 []
  8. ibid. []
  9. ibid., pp. 109-110 []
  10. ibid., pp. 238 []
  11. ibid., p. 251 []
  12. G. A. Wells, The Historical Evidence for Jesus (Prometheus Books, 1982), p. 230 []
  13. Michael T. Griffith, Is The Bible Inerrant And Complete? (1994) [Online Document] []
Categories
Jerusalem History

The Position Of Jerusalem And Haram As-Shareef In Islam

The purpose of this article is to explain the significance of Jerusalem, or also known to Muslims as Bayt al-Maqdis (The Holy House) or simply al-Quds (The Holy); and the Haram As-Shareef (The Noble Sanctuary) area from the viewpoint of Islam and Muslims. At the same time, we also seek to look at the common objections of the Zionists and Christian missionaries against the claim of Islam over Jerusalem as its third most holiest site and see whether it stands up to the scrutiny.

Jerusalem In the Qur’an

“Glory to [God] Who did take His Servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless – in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).” (Qur’an 17:1)

In Islam, the only place whereby the Farthest Mosque (Masjid Al-Aqsa) is located is in the city of Jerusalem. Furthermore, the surrounding land around the Mosque has also been described by the Qur’an as being holy:

“[Moses said] O my people! Enter the holy land [Palestine] which God has assigned to you…” (Qur’an 5:21)

The above verse in Qur’an 17:1 has also described the mosque to be located in surroundings which “… We [i.e. God] did bless”. It is interesting to note that that the location which “… We [i.e. God] did bless” is generally used in the Qur’an for Palestine1. The Bible too has referred to Palestine as a land blessed by God. Addressing the Israelites, Moses(P) is reported to have said about it:

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the LORD your God for the good land that he has given you. (Deuteronomy 8:7?10)

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 above clearly signifies the importance of Jerusalem in Islam. Furthermore, the Prophet(P)is reported to have said that:

You should not travel toward any other place for the purpose of worship and veneration except the three mosques: The Masjid al-Haraam [i.e. the Ka`abah]; the Masjid al-Aqsaa and this mosque [at Madinah] (Ibn Maajah)

Objections of Zionists and Christian Missionaries

We wish to examine two of the most often-repeated objections of the Zionists and the Christian missionaries to the claim of Jerusalem as the third-most holiest site in Islam. The first is as follows:

    …the Koran says nothing about Jerusalem. It mentions Mecca hundreds of times. It mentions Medina countless times. It never mentions Jerusalem. With good reason. There is no historical evidence to suggest Mohammed ever visited Jerusalem.

However, this claim is baseless. The reason they find difficulty in acknowledging the position of Jerusalem and the Haram As-Shareef in Islam is because of the general tendency of studying Islam in seclusion of the traditions of the Prophets of God preceding Muhammad(P). Islam is not a new religion. It has never claimed to be so. The Qur’an has clearly stated that Islam was the religion taught by all the prophets of God. The Islamic tradition is thus a continuation of the correct traditions of Judaism. If those in opposition to the Muslim claim over Jerusalem were to actually look at Islam, in the light of the foregoing principle, he/she would not find any problem in acknowledging that the position of Jerusalem in Islam is the same as it is in Judaism, merely on the grounds that Islam is actually in continuation of the true traditions of the prophets of God – including Moses(P), David(P), Solomon(P), John the Baptist(P) and Jesus(P) – even though the name of Jerusalem is not even mentioned once in the Qur’an.

The second objection commonly perpetuated by the Zionists is as follows:

    … Jerusalem was never the capital of any Arab entity. In fact, it was a backwater for most of Arab history. Jerusalem never served as a provincial capital under Muslim rule nor was it ever a Muslim cultural center.

To claim that Jerusalem is “unimportant” because it never served as a political capital for Muslims is hilarious in its absurdity and shows how desperate the Zionists are to deny the importance of Jerusalem to Muslims. The two holiest cities in Islam apart from Jerusalem – Mecca and Medina – had never become a political capital for an Islamic state. Medina was merely a city-state which the Prophet Muhammad had ruled, not a capital of a State. After the death of the Prophet(P), the Islamic capitals were subsequently located in (not in particular order) Baghdad, Damascus, Kufah, Cairo and Constantinople (Istanbul). The holy cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem has never diminished in their status as the three most holiest sites in Islam, even though the Islamic capital were located and relocated somewhere else. If the Zionists want to deny Muslims the city of Jerusalem on the basis that it was never a “political capital”, then what about the cities of Mecca and Medina which was never a “political capital” during Islamic rule?

Jerusalem in Muslim History

We have seen in history of Jerusalem how Muslims had not only dedicated the site of Haram As-Shareef for worship to The One True God countless times, they had also sacrificed their lives for it.

Jerusalem was liberated by the Muslims in the first half of the seventh century C.E., when Muslims entered the holy city in 14 A.H./A.D. 638 during the reign of the second Caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab(R). According to historical sources, the Caliph ‘Umar(R) came personally and specially to take over the city from its patriarch at that time, Sophronius, who refused to capitulate the city to anyone except `Umar(R). The sources also indicate that the Caliph declared a special Sulh (‘Ahd) to the Christians living in the city; its text developed in time to be known as the Covenant of ‘Umar. In this covenant, the Caliph guaranteed further religious freedom, safety of churches and secured the lives, fortunes and properties of the people living in the city (Mujir al-Din Vol. 1, 1973: 254)2.

The Muslims were horrified when they first discovered that that the area of Haram As-Shareef was abandoned and used as the city’s garbage dump. It was the Muslims who then cleaned and purified the place to its pristine form. We read that:

When the Arabs conquered Jerusalem they found the Temple Mount abandoned and filled with refuse. The abandonment of the Temple site was in accordance with with Jesus’ prophecy that not a stone would be left standing on another. ‘Umar ordered it cleaned and performed a prayer there.3

So we see that the Temple area had been abandoned some 600 years before the Muslims entered it. But who was using the holy site as a garbage dump?

Ever since the Persian occupation, when the Jews had resumed worship on the platform, the Christians had used the place as the city rubbish dump. When ‘Umar reached the old ruined gates of the Temple, says the Muslim historian Muj?r al-D?n, he was horrified to see the filth, “which was then all about the holy sanctuary, had settled on the steps of the gates so that it even came out into the streets in which the gate opened, and it had accumulated so greatly as almost to reach up the ceiling of the gateway.” The only way to get up to the platform was to crawl on hands and knees. Sophronius went first and the Muslims struggled up behind. When they arrived at the top, the Muslims must have gazed appalled at the vast and desolate expanse of Herod’s platform, still covered with piles of fallen masonry and garbage.4

So it was the Christians! The Christian attitude towards Jerusalem can be understood by reading the New Testament. Paul’s Epistles and the Book of Revelation may have defined a theological framework for the attitude towards Jerusalem, but the two synoptic gospels of Luke (19:42-44) and Matthew did more than that. They also provided guidelines for political or quaispolitical actions after Christianity became the officially established religion of the Roman Empire. The gospels relate how Jesus(P) rebuked his disciples when they admired the Temple’s beauty from the Mount of Olives:

His disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the Temple. But he answered them, ‘You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left any stone upon another.’ (Matthew 24:1-2).

Art historians such as Nuseibah and Grabar have reached a similar conclusion concerning the Christian attitude towards the Temple Mount:

More importantly, not only was the Haram left barren, but that very barrenness was given the Christian significance of fulfilling Christ’s prophecy, “There will not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down” (Mark 13:2). The ruins of the Jewish Temple and whatever else had been there were to remains as signs of the triumph of Christianity.5

And as expected, the Temple Mount was left in the state of pile of fallen masonry and rubbish, until the Muslims arrive and cleaned the place.

On July 15, 1099 Jerusalem was taken from the Muslims by the Crusaders from Europe. The Crusaders slaughtered the inhabitants of Jerusalem in an unjustified carnage. Philip K. Hitti records that:

A month’s siege proved more effective. On July 15 the besiegers stormed the city and perpetrated an indiscriminate massacre involving all ages and both sexes. “Heaps of heads and hands and feet were to be seen throughout the streets and squares of the city”.6

The Dome of the Rock was converted into a Christian church called the templum domini – “Temple of our Lord.” The Dome of the Rock was used as a headquarters for the Knights of the Templar who officiated the Temple compound, while Masjid al-Aqsa was used as a stable for their horses. It was a Muslim leader, Sultan Salahuddin Al-Ayubbi (Saladin) who fought for the liberation of Jerusalem from the Crusaders and finally succeeded in liberating the city. After ninety years of Crusader control (1099-1187), Jerusalem surrendered to Saladin’s army on October 2, 1187. In contrast to the brutality of the Crusaders, Saladin treated the defeated Crusaders with kindness and mercy.

To those who object to the significance of Jerusalem in Islam, we can ask them a simple rhetorical question: if Jerusalem has no importance in Islam, why did the city had consistently played a significant role in rallying Muslims? Why did the Caliph ‘Umar(R) and Saladin respectively wasted their time and resources to take the trouble to liberate Jerusalem from those who defile Haram As-Shareef? The answer is obvious, Muslims do hold Jerusalem as a holy city and the city does hold an important position in Islam.

Conclusions

We have seen the evidence of the claim of Islam over Jerusalem, where Masjid al-Aqsa is located. The city of Jerusalem is very important to Muslims and they have a right to this city religiously, historically and legally. Muslims have always viewed Jerusalem as a holy place which must be defended because it is similar to Makkah in its holiness and has been so for more than 14 centuries. These places must be protected given that Abraham(P), the Father of all Prophets(P), had built the Ka`abah in Mecca and thereafter moved to Palestine where he passed away and was buried in Hebron near Jerusalem.

Muslims will never forget that they used to pray toward Jerusalem in the early stages of Islam before God ordered it to be changed to the Holy Shrine in Makkah. There is a mosque in Madinah that still has the two directions (one pointing toward Jerusalem and one towards Makkah), namely Masjid al-Qiblatain, as real evidence for this intimate connection between Jerusalem and Makkah. Muslims had also several times sacrificed their lives for the holy city, and sanctified Haram As-Shareef when it was defiled twice — after liberating the city from Byzantium rule and the Crusaders respectively. It was Islam that had continuously and consistently restored the sanctity of the Temple Mount, and made it a place of prostration and prayer.

And only God knows best. The Position of Jerusalem and Haram As-Shareef in Islam 12

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "The Position Of Jerusalem And Haram As-Shareef In Islam," in Bismika Allahuma, October 15, 2005, last accessed December 4, 2021, https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/history/jerusalem/the-position-of-jerusalem-and-haram-as-shareef-in-islam/
  1. For examples see: Al-Aa`raaf 7: 137, Al-Anbiyaa 21: 71 and Al-Anbiyaa 21: 81. The Qur’an has several times referred to Palestine as al-ard al-muqaddasah (the sacred land; Qur’an 5:21) and called its surroundings barakna hawlaha (God’s blessed precincts; Qur’an 17:1) []
  2. Dr. Marwan Abu Khalaf, The Religious Factors in Settlement Patterns in Jerusalem in the Early Islamic Period [Online Document, archived], Ministry of Information, Palestine National Authority []
  3. C. Glasse, Dome Of The Rock, The Concise Encyclopaedia Of Islam (1989), Stacey International: London, p. 102 []
  4. Karen Armstrong, Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths, 1997, Ballantine Books: New York, p. 229 []
  5. Sa’id Nuseibah & Oleg Grabar, The Dome Of The Rock, 1996, Thames and Hudson: London (UK), p. 35 []
  6. Philip K. Hitti, History of the Arabs (10th Ed.), The Macmillan Press Ltd (1970), p. 639 []