Is Islam hostile to Jews? When observing the Israeli Palestinian conflict it seems that long standing animosity comes to the fore. Religious symbolism is used and abused. Daniel Pipes (director of the Middle East Forum in the USA) writes: "Muslims takes religious interest in Jerusalem when it serves practical interest. When those concerns lapse, so does the standing of Jerusalem." Others are expressing concern that Muslims claim to be tolerant of Jews but try to legitimize their age old hatred by undermining the Zionist dimension of Judaism.
There are three distinct issues that have been raised:
- Muslim-Jewish relationship through history
- The significance of Jerusalem to Muslims
i) Muslim-Jewish Relationship through History
Since the holy Prophet Muhammad's coming into contact with members of the Jewish faith in Madinah, tolerance, kindness and co operation were the principles that permeated his attitude and approach towards them. Together with followers of the Christian faith, Jews are honorably considered as "People of the Book"; with whom we share a special heritage through the Prophets we jointly hold dear. Numerous verses in the holy Qur'an emphasize the Muslim duty of dealing with People of the Book with the highest degree of respect and etiquette [Q 2:62; 3:64; 4:113 115; 5:5; 29:46].
The constitution of the City of Madinah, drawn up by the holy Prophet (pbuh) in 622 AD, is a magnificent historical document that bears testimony to the fair and even handed manner which the Prophet used to serve and promote cooperation and amity among people of differing creeds, ethnicity and lineage. The constitution established and instituted the right and equality of every citizen before the law, freedom of religion, trade and interaction. This constitution specifically spelled out the political right and duties of both Jews and Muslims to protect each other and their city form enemies to uphold justice and promote ethical conduct.
The Prophet further bound the ties between Muslims and Jews through his marriage to Safiyah, the daughter of the Jewish chief of the Nudair tribe. There were in fact quite a few Jews who embraced Islam and are considered companions of the Prophet. Among them were notable ones like Abdullah bin Salaam and of course the companion who is said to have narrated more traditions of the Prophet than any other companion, Abu Hurayrah.
In his book, More in Common than you Think: Bridge between Islam and Christianity, Dr. William Baker elaborates on the fact that Muslims view the Torah and the New Testament as inspired revelations of God and that Islam neither targeted the Jews nor Judaism. He says: "It is a fact of history that when the Jews were being persecuted in Europe during the Middle Ages, they found peace, harmony, and acceptance among the Muslim people in Spain. In fact, this was the era of Jewish history that they themselves refer to as 'the golden age'. In the famous treatise by Rabbi Minken, he says of this era: 'It was Muslim Spain, the only land the Jews knew in nearly a thousand years of the dispersion, which made the genius of the Jewish physician Moses Maimonides possible. After the fall of Spain, the Jews followed the Muslims to Morocco and Egypt where Maimonides became the personal physician of the great Muslim leader Salahudin, who sent him to King Richard in order to treat the king'. During the Ottoman period and their great empire, Jews and Muslims lived and prospered together".
Whenever there has been hostility, it was due to breaking of agreements, treachery or in recent decades; the illegitimate occupation of Palestine by a Zionist Imperialist force under the guise of religion.
ii) The Significance of Jerusalem to Muslims
Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, the birth place of many civilizations and a city central to the three "Abrahamic faiths", Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
To Muslims, the sacredness of Jerusalem lies in the religious reality, it being an integral part of our sacred history and thus considered an important manifestation of our sacred geography. The significance of Jerusalem is further evidenced through reference to it and its precincts in the holy Qur'an [21:71; 17:1] and numerous sayings of the holy Prophet (pbuh). This is the area of the world where Prophet Dawood (David), Sulayman (Solomon) and 'Isa (Jesus) were born, grew up and carried out their missions; the place to which Prophets Ibrahim (Abraham) and Lut (Lot) migrated; where Yahya (John) preached and where Ibrahim (Abraham), Ishaq (Isaac), Ya'qub (Jacob), Yusuf (Joseph) and Musa (Moses) are buried. May Allah be pleased with all of them.
Jerusalem was spiritually linked with Makkah when Masjid-ul-Aqsa became the destination of the Israa' (Night Journey [Q 17:1] of the Prophet Muhammad). All these Prophets are equally recognized only by Muslims, since Jews do not revere Prophet Jesus nor Prophet Muhammad and the Christians do not accept Prophet Muhammad as a messenger of God.
Jerusalem was the first Qiblah for the Muslims and has throughout history been considered the third most holy city after Makkah and Madinah. The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have exhorted Believers to "undertake journeys to visit three mosques, Masjid ul Haraam (in Makkah), Masjid ul-Nabawi (in Madinah) and Masjid ul Aqsa (in Jerusalem)". [Saheeh Muslim]
The Prophet also intimated that prayer in Masjid ul Aqsa is 500 times greater in value than prayer in any ordinary mosque. On the basis of such hadith, Muslims have always considered it a religious and meritorious deed to visit Jerusalem.
It is unfortunate that the imbalance in the perspective of the openly pro-Zionist Daniel Pipes denies him the decency to be honest in recognizing that historically and religiously Jerusalem is, has always been, and will forever be significant to the Muslims. Let all be reminded that Muslims refer to Jerusalem as BAYT UL MUQADDAS (The Sacred Place).
In trying to understand the diabolical nature of Zionism, we need to remove the myth that Zionism is an essential component of Judaism. Judaism has been a religion for over 3,000 years. Zionism is an organized European political movement that arose in the late 19th century, founded by two men: Theodore Herzl and Chaim Weizman, who were both of Jewish background but self professed atheists.
Zionism evolved into a militant political movement consisting of Jews who wish to establish a homeland for all Jews in Palestine. (Argentina and Uganda were also considered initially.) Zionism was officially launched by Theodore Herzl at a convention held at Basle, Switzerland in 1897.
Zionism, the originally secular, racist and mostly non believing movement, resorted to inventing a religious cause, a Jewish crusade in order to succeed in its colonial endeavor of establishing a national home for the Jewish people. Without this tactic the scattered Jewish communities around the world would not have heeded the call for uniting behind it. A pack of lies had to be fabricated and children brought up on them. Thus, Palestine, the heart of the Muslim world, has become their promised land, a God given gift to His "chosen people", who would kill, rape and rob in His name.
Zionism is a nationalistic movement with a sense of racial superiority serving the interest of a specific group, exploiting religious sentiments, distorting history and vulgarizing interpretation of destruction as its sinister components.
Dr. Israel Shahak, chairman of the Israeli League of Human and Civil Rights, stated: "It is my considered opinion that the State of Israel is a racist state in the full meaning of this term. In this state people are discriminated against in the most permanent and legal way and in the most important areas of life only because of their origin. This racist discrimination began in Zionism and is carried out today mainly in cooperation with the institution of the Zionist movement. I do not wish to debate any justification for the racist policy. The most important fact is that it exists. Therefore the first step consists in admitting the truth: The State of Israel is a racist state, and its racism is a necessary consequence of the racism of the Zionist Movement. Facts are facts. After this we can debate, if we wish to do so, why such a racism is 'forbidden' against the Jews and becomes a good deed when it is carried out by the Jews". (The Racist Nature of Zionism and of the Zionist State, article published in Pi Ha'aton, Hebrew University of Jerusalem on November 5, 1975)
The United Nations General Assembly designated "Zionism as a form of racism" on November 10, 1975 and has passed over 20 resolutions condemning Israel's annexation of Jerusalem and its occupation of other Palestinian lands.
Zionism seems to have taken upon itself the gratuitous role of the number one enemy of Islam and Muslims. In the name of the Jewish people, Zionists in Palestine are committing the most heinous crimes as is evident from the present atrocities perpetrated by the oppressive Zionist army against unprotected civilians, the owners of the land.
By Br. Sadullah Khan
Source: Muslim Bridges