Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tough Being A Muslim and An Anti-Zionist

In an attempt to attack Michael Oren's defense of Israel's position, a supporter of the Arabs of the Palestine Mandate writes:

Palestinians won't endorse the idea that Jews have some God-given right to the land; that argument, when offered by religious Jews, typically implies a claim to the West Bank as well, leaving no possibility of a Palestinian state.

That is a fair present.

But to be fairer, it should be pointed out that religiously observant Muslims have a problem.



...the foundation text of Islam, in fact, recognises the special link between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. “You will find very clearly,” says Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al-Husseini, “that the traditional commentators from the eighth and ninth century onwards have uniformly interpreted the Koran to say explicitly that Eretz Yisrael has been given by God to the Jewish people as a perpetual covenant. There is no Islamic counterclaim to the Land anywhere in the traditional corpus of commentary.”...

[for example] Koran (5:21), “O my people! Enter the Holy Land which God has decreed for you, and turn back on your heels otherwise you will be overturned as losers.”...Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (838-923), who says the remark is “a narrative from God… concerning the saying of Moses… to his community from among the children of Israel and his order to them according to the order of God to him, ordering them to enter the holy land.”

...The Arabic for “the holy land”, al-ard al-muqaddasa, is close to the Hebrew, eretz kodesh and refers to this piece of land rather than other sites sacred to Muslims. “During the life of the Prophet, there was an enormous territorial ambition to get Makka back from the Makkans,” he says. “There was no territorial ambition to claim Jerusalem, Palestine.
“What happens during his lifetime is what God wants to happen for the Muslim community. His prophecy and his objective was the reclamation of the Islamic holy site which is Makka. If God had decreed that His Prophet should have Jerusalem, then it would have been something that he would have been preoccupied with during his lifetime and he conquered the whole of the Arabian peninsula.

“It was never the case during the early period of Islam…that there was any kind of sacerdotal attachment to Jerusalem as a territorial claim. Jerusalem is holy but Mount Sinai is more holy. Sinai is mentioned far more often, and Jerusalem isn’t actually mentioned by name.” (Jerusalem is alluded to in the phrase “the further mosque”).

Al-Tabari’s commentary also notes that the word “decreed” — kataba in Arabic, related to katav, “written”, in Hebrew — has the connotations of “ordered”: in other words, settling the land was regarded as a mitzvah for the children of Israel. Al-Tabari also observes that the decree is confirmed in al-lawh al-mahfuz, the eternally preserved tablet” — a reference to the Islamic idea that in heaven exists a sacred blueprint from which the Muslim, Christian and Jewish scriptures emanate, hence the covenant with the Jewish people over Israel is everlasting.

Dr Al-Husseini— who stresses his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — points out that other contemporary Muslim scholars draw attention to this tradition, such as Professor Khaleel Mohammed in San Diego (see: and Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi in Rome (

But he also observes that many Muslims are unfamiliar with al-Tabari’s work because it is mostly untranslated and accessible only to an educated elite who understand Arabic. By contrast, the teachings of 20th-century radicals linked to political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood are often widely available in English. Since the militants cannot contradict the Koranic precedent for Jewish attachment to the Land of Israel, they adopt another tactic, Dr Al-Husseini says: they argue that Jews are a wicked people who “must be punished” — hence the spread of antisemitism within the Muslim world. “But no fundamentalist, no matter how hard they try,” he says, “can overrule the existing tradition to say there is, in fact, an Islamic counterclaim to Eretz Yisrael.”

It's tough being a Muslim and an anti-Zionist, I would presume.

- - -

1 comment:

muebles camobel said...

I saw a great deal of helpful information above!