Islam and Jerusalem


Introduction:

I remember telling you a couple of years ago that Jerusalem was a holy city to Christians, Jews and Muslims.   I repeated to you what we had been told when we were there, that Jerusalem is the second holiest city in the world, to Muslims.

I believed it.

We were told that Mohammed had ascended to heaven from Jerusalem, just like Jesus.   So Muslims considered it Holy because of that.   To the question, "Why is Jerusalem a second holy city for Muslims, after Mecca and Medina?" -- there is no simple answer.

But the other day when someone asked why it was the second holiest city to Islam, I decided to research it.

History demonstrates that any tie between Islam and Jerusalem is a lie --  a lie that Islam uses from time to time to sound conciliatory, to be able to show how much Islam and Judaism have in common, or just to justify their actions toward Jerusalem. The truth is that:

  1. Mecca
  2. Medina - Mohammed is buried there (curiously, near a grave prepared for Jesus, whom Muslims believe will return, and die, and be buried there).
  3. The Hajj, (the holy pilgrimage) is made to Mecca, not to Jerusalem.
  4. Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran or in Muslim prayers.
  5. Jerusalem never became a Muslim cultural center
  6. It never became the capital of any of the Islamic states.
The only time Jerusalem has been relevant for Muslims has been when it became politically important: i.e. when they want what someone else has. Jerusalem has also become the focal point of anti-Semitic movements.

History:

To understand this, you have to understand the history of Jerusalem in Islam.   Stick with me here.   It will not be apparent where I am going, but just take the trip with me.

Remember that the very beginning of Islam was that night at the end of 6 months that Mohammed was alone in a cave in Saudi Arabia. After 6 months of solitary meditation, Mohammed had a vision or a fit from Allah or Satan that is called the Night of Power.   It is celebrated on the 27th day of Ramadan, the month-long fasting period.

Back to Mohammed after the Night of Power.   Mohammed told his family and friends that Allah sent the word of Allah from the 7th Heaven to the 1st Heaven by way of Gabriel who appeared to Mohammed and gave him the word of Allah, the beginnings of what was collected as the Quran.

Do you remember when the Apostle Paul, probably talking about himself, said,

Does it sound like Mohammed wanted to out-do Paul?   Paul was carried to the third Heaven; Mohammed wanted the Word of Allah to come from the 7th heaven, higher than Paul went.

The Quran describes that night that “Allah takes Mohammed from the sacred mosque to the furthest mosque”.   The sacred mosque refers to the Ka’bah in Mecca.   The furthest mosque was to be interpreted metaphorically, that Allah took Mohammed to Heaven or gave him a glimpse of Heaven. So the Quran says that Allah took Mohammed from the Ka’bah in Mecca to Heaven to get the word of Allah from Gabriel.

So plant that in your mind.   We will come back to it.

Remember that Mohammed tried to build a group of followers in Mecca after the Night of Power, but it never jelled.   And the people of Mecca ran him out of town, and he and his small group of followers made an exodus to Medina.   In Medina, the power structure there too was Jewish, like Mecca was.   So Mohammed decided on another tack; he decided to reconcile with the Jews.

To change his teaching to make it more Jew-friendly, to make it more palatable to the people in power, he added a feast similar to Yom Kippur, and a house of prayer like a synagogue.   He decided that Muslims should face the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, to the site of the Jewish Temple, which by then had been destroyed by the Romans; to face the Temple site instead of the Kab’ah in Mecca.

One historian wrote that he chose the “Holy House” in Jerusalem so that the “People of the Book” would be conciliated. (The People of the Book are Jews and/or Christians).   The Jews were pleased with these changes, but the Jews still rejected his religion.

In about 624, two years after getting to Medina, Mohammed gave up.   Suddenly he had another vision: a part of the Quran recordings which reversed the prayer toward Jerusalem and again directed the prayers toward Mecca.   Sura 2:142 says the faithful should no longer pray toward Syria but toward Mecca.   Other information in the Quran and other writings clearly indicate that the direction of Syria meant Jerusalem specifically.   Jerusalem is toward Syria, but he did not want to name Jerusalem.   He was ticked off at the Jews now, because they did not buy into his game.

This is the first of a pattern that is repeated many times over time.   Muslims take great interest in Jerusalem when it serves them politically.   And when it no longer does, they quickly lose any interest in Jerusalem.

In the century after Mohammed’s death, Syria controlled Jerusalem.   A branch of Islam centered in Damascus was competing with Islam in Mecca for control of Islam.   A dynasty by the name of the Umayyad Dynasty was in control of Jerusalem.   The Umayyad leaders wanted to raise their position in Islam and diminish that of Mecca, so they declared Jerusalem to be a holy city.   They created literature praising Jerusalem, and circulated Haddiths favorable to Jerusalem.

From 688 to 691 A.D., they build the Dome of The Rock on the Temple Mount, on top of what remained of the Jewish Temple ruins.   They even reinterpreted the Quran to make room for Jerusalem.

Remember the quote from the Night of Power?   “Allah takes his servant Mohammed by night from the sacred mosque to the furthest mosque”.   They decided that the furthest mosque was not a metaphorical reference to Heaven, but was talking about taking Mohammed to Jerusalem.   They taught that during that night, Mohammed was taken from the Kab’ah, the Sacred Mosque in Mecca, to Jerusalem, the furthest mosque, and was then taken to heaven from the Temple Mount to get the word of Allah.   So they reinterpreted the Quran to say that Mohammed was raised to heaven by Allah from the Temple Mount.   Pretty clever, since in the Quran, the area around Jerusalem is referred to as the closest land.   How could the furthest mosque be in the closest land?

To reinforce this, the Umayyad Dynasty built a great mosque on the Temple Mount in 715 A.D. and named it Al-Aqsa, which means "furthest mosque".   So now the Quran clearly says Allah took Mohammed to Jerusalem to the Temple Mount, from which he ascended to Heaven.   Well, maybe not so clearly, but that was their story and they are sticking to it.

By 750 A.D., the Umayyad Dynasty collapsed.   After the political importance of Jerusalem disappeared with the collapse of the dynasty, Jerusalem fell in to obscurity.   Islam could care less, in fact the Meccean Muslims were glad to see it go.

For the next 350 years, anything that raised the image of Jerusalem in Islam fell out of favor.   The city and buildings fell into disrepair.   They even allowed the Dome of the Rock to collapse in 1016 A.D.

By the early 10th Century (1100s), Islam had little if any interest in Jerusalem.   In 1099 when the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem, it raised very little interest by Muslims.   There was little shock, or sense of religious loss.   According to the writings of the time, it was 1150 Ad before they decided that they even cared.   Only after they saw the city in the control of someone else did they decide that it was important to them again.   So all of a sudden, all of the writings praising Jerusalem resurfaced.   They even “discovered” a new Haddith.   They discovered that Mohammed had said that after his death, Jerusalem’s falling to the Infidels is the second greatest catastrophe facing Islam.   (I did not find out what the greatest catastrophe was.

By this new found Haddith, they determined that Mohammed wanted Islam to control Jerusalem.   In 1187 A.D., Saladin, a Muslim, retook Jerusalem.   Saladin was a Kurd, a Muslin from eastern Europe.  

Saladin was a general in the Syrian army.   He led the conquest of the Middle East for Syria.   He first conquered Egypt, and then Palestine and Jerusalem.   But once again, as soon as the Muslims controlled Jerusalem, they no longer cared about it.   It was more a matter of not wanting anyone else to have it.   It was a matter of exercising their power, not that they really cared about the city.

In 1229, the grandson of Saladin ceded Jerusalem to a German monarch, an emperor by the name of Fredrick II in return for a promise by Fredrick of military aid against his brother, a rival king.   Under the German Emperor, a Christian, and Jerusalem being in Christian control, the Muslims wanted it back again.   and in 1244 A.D. it was taken again.   The psychology of this is of note.   Historians wrote “that Christian knights traveled from distant lands to make Jerusalem their capital, made the city more important in the Muslim eyes too.   It was a city strongly coveted by the enemies of Islam, and thus became, is a sort of mirror image syndrome, dear to Muslim hearts”.

Jerusalem is not holy to Muslims, but if someone else wants it badly, they want it even more badly.   It is like an auction.   You are willing to pay up to $20 for something, no more.   Then someone else bids $20 and suddenly it must be worth more.   So you are willing to bid $40, and so on.   It is not the value of the item; it is the perceived value because someone else wants it, particularly if the other person is someone you do not like, whom you consider an enemy.

Then for about 800 years, Jerusalem was again of little interest to Muslims.   It was out of favor with the writings and all the pro-Jerusalem rhetoric.   The population fell to about 4000 people.   The Temple Mount sanctuaries, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, fell into disrepair, abandoned and dilapidated.

The Turkish Ottoman Empire controlled Jerusalem from 1616 to 1917.   Visitors in 1850 reported “ruins everywhere”.   Mark Twain visited in 1867 and wrote, “Jerusalem has lost all its ancient grandeur; it has become a pauper village”.

When the British took over and ruled from 1917 to 1948, the Muslims saw it as being in the hands of Christians again, so they decided they wanted it again.   The Palestinian leader at the time made the possession of the Temple Mount the central rallying point for anti-Zionist efforts.   They used it for a worldwide fund-raising effort to restore the Dome of the Rock as a sign of control over the Jews and the Christians.

Many Muslim political leaders, especially Iraqi leaders, made special trips to be seen praying on the Temple Mount and giving rousing political speeches, all anti-Zionist.

In 1948 when the Muslims again gained control of the Old City and the Temple Mount, they were excited and celebrating when Jordan took Jerusalem for the Muslims.   But after the takeover, as usual, they soon lost interest.   The Jordanian Muslims who took control made special efforts to lower the image of Jerusalem.   They turned the Islamic focus to Amman, the Jordanian capital.   The Jordanian powers closed many functions in Jerusalem and moved the power center to Amman.   Amman was chosen for the country’s first university, and for the residences of the royal family.   Jerusalem again disappeared from the political and religious map of Islam.   Instead of broadcasting the Friday prayers from Al-Aqsa, they started broadcasting the prayers from a mosque in Amman.   No foreign Arab leader visited Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967.

But then in 1967, Israel gained control of Jerusalem, including the Old City which includes the Temple Mount.   At once the Muslims wanted the city back.   The Palestinians led the cry, although their founding document written in 1964 does not even mention Jerusalem.   King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, after 1967, often spoke of wanting to return to Jerusalem to pray, although there is no record that he ever did.   In 1968, when the Palestinian Constitution was drafted, all of a sudden Jerusalem was named as the seat of the PLO government.  : But not only were the Palestinians interested.   All of a sudden the Muslim leaders began to stress the religious ties of Islam to Jerusalem.   They dusted off the earlier Haddiths, with their revised interpretations.   All of a sudden the Jordanian and Saudi governments were anxious to rebuild Old Jerusalem.   Jerusalem again became the poster boy for mobilizing Muslim emotion and power.   The Shi’ite leaders of Lebanon used “Liberate Jerusalem” as their Lebanese call to arms.

When the Islamic revolution took over Iraq, they even issued a coin with the Dome of the Rock engraved on it. Ayatollah Khomeini even decreed that the last Friday of Ramadan would be called “Jerusalem Day”.

Interesting for a city that a few years earlier the Muslims could care less about.   Muslim interest lies not so much in controlling Jerusalem as it does in denying control over the city to anyone else.   In Jerusalem, theological and historical claims matter.   They hold the Functional equivalent to legal documents elsewhere.   Whoever can establish a deeper and more lasting association with the city is likely to be able to win international support for its control.   So it is beneficial to look at the claim that Islam has for Jerusalem.   Muslims claim that Islam’s tie to Jerusalem predates the Jewish tie.   They claim that Islam has always been intertwined with Jerusalem.

This is not only ridiculous, but openly fraudulent.   The founding of Jerusalem and the tie with Judaism pre-dates the establishment of Islam by about 2000 years.   A Muslim would argue that Islam did not begin with Mohammed, but with Abraham, and then David and Solomon and Jesus, who were all Muslim prophets.   They would claim that these central figures of Judaism and Christianity were proto-Muslims.   They were really Muslims just waiting for Mohammed to tell the true story.  

That dog does not hunt.

Muslims would also claim that Jerusalem is mentioned in the Quran, specifically in the night of Power when Mohammed was taken to Al-Aqsa mosque and ascended to heaven: a mosque that was built a 100 years after the Quran was completed.

We have already dealt with this fabrication after the fact, and lastly that the Jews have no tie to Jerusalem.   They claim that the wailing wall, the western wall, so holy to the Jews as the remnant of the Jewish Temple, is not the Temple wall at all, but just a figment of the Jewish imagination.  : This claim is well refuted by archeological determination.

They simply claim that Jerusalem is Arabic, despite opposite claims by Muslims.

Built within Islam is a basic anti-Jerusalem sentiment.   A very prominent Islamic scholar and a fundamentalist of the Wabbhabis sect in Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to purify Islamic teachings and to set it historically straight with the basics, is quoted as saying:

Remember that Mohammed tried having the prayers said toward Jerusalem, and when that failed with his political motives, he reversed his instructions.   Early Haddiths specifically instructed prayers to be said away from Jerusalem.   Not by accident.   Prayers in the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount have the Muslims with their back to the Temple site and to the western wall toward which the Jews pray.

So let’s get to the bottom line.   The Islamic ties to Jerusalem are fabricated.   There are no ties.   Jerusalem never has been and never will be more than an insignificant city to Islam.   This, in contrast to Mecca, the eternal city of Islam,

Jerusalem is not even on the radar screen.

The question is one of power, not religion.   It is politics.   And in a sort of infantile way. it is about not wanting something for its worth, but wanting it so someone else cannot have it.

As I have continued to study Islam, and to get deeply into the history, and to look at what the Quran says about how it came about, about the purpose of it, and as I study the history concerning its tie to Jerusalem, I have gradually changed my mind about Islam.   I no longer think of Islam as a misguided error, as another of the religions like so many, that started with the truth of the Bible and got sidetracked like the Seventh Day Adventists or Mormons which could be considered a well-meaning deviation, but a deviation from truth to error, unknowingly led by Satan to deceive unwitting followers.

In contrast to that, I now see Islam as an intentional fraud,

I see it is less a religion than a racially based political device disguised as a religion, because people will do things in the name of religion that they will not do under any other guise.

Remember my statement last week, that most wars are fought in the name of religion?   That is the reason.   People are not willing to die for power.   What good is power if you are dead?   People are not willing to die for land.   If you are dead, you do not get to enjoy it.   People are not even willing to die for race.   When you are dead, you lose your race.

But people have always been willing to die for religion if they believe that their god will reward them for dying for him, if it will get them to heaven.   And Islam has taken this to the extreme, by teaching that everyone is going to hell, and that there is no way around it really, except to die in a Jihad, a war for Allah.

My study of Islam and Jerusalem seals the case for me: Islam is a fraud, a political and racial movement disguised as a religion.

__________

Next Week:

We will start to study what the Quran really says.   In the following week or two we will look at how Islam is practiced, and finally look for overlaps between Islam and Global Terrorism, what some writers have labeled "Islamic Radical Terrorism".