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JERUSALEM
The Blessed Land, Through Bible, Qur’an & History
The Covenant, Chosen Race & Promised Land

 
The most complex geopolitical and religious issue, the historic and impending flashpoint of clash of civilizations, reviewed in the light of Bible, Qur’an & History, a rare research combination:
By: AftabKhan
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Jerusalem: The Blessed Land
Historically there is evidence of existence of population in the area around 3000 B.C.E. The city derives its name form Hebrew; Yerushalayim  in Arabic it is called Al-Quds Located in the heart of historic Palestine, it is nestled between the West Bank and Israel. It is holy to Judaism as the site of the Temple of Jerusalem, to Christianity because of its association with Jesus (pbuh), and to Islam because of its connection with the Mi’rāj (the Prophet Muhammad's , pbuh, ascension to Heaven) and Qibla (prayer direction) for some period. Jewish shrines include the Western Wall; Islamic holy places include the Dome of the Rock and Mosque. In 1000 BC King David (pbuh) made it the capital of Israel. Razed by the Babylonians in the 6th century BC, it thereafter enjoyed only brief periods of independence. The Romans devastated it in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, banishing the population. From 637 it was ruled by various Muslim dynasties, except for short periods during the Crusades. Rule by the Ottoman Empire ended in 1917, and the city became the capital of the British mandate of Palestine. It was thereafter the subject of competing Zionist and Palestinian national aspirations. Israel claimed the city as its capital after the Arab-Israeli War in 1948 and took the entire city during the Six-Day War of 1967. Its status as Israel's capital has remained a point of contention: official recognition by the international community has largely been withheld pending final settlement of the issue.
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Foreword
Palestine is the most complex geopolitical and religious issue, confronted by the humanity, which if left unresolved will continue to pose major threat to the world peace. This historic flashpoint which kicked off the clash of civilizations, centuries ago, still has the potentials to flare up to repeat the history with unpredictable terrible consequences.
While the followers of three Abrahamic faiths; Judaism, Christianity and Islam have the historic, religious, emotional and sentimental attachments with this land, no sane person can agree to deny the right of the Palestinian people as human being to enjoy the fruits of freedom in their own land in this era of freedom and democracy.
In order to ponder over possible peaceful resolution of this issue there is a need to review the issue in the light of Bible, Qur’an & History. This research work is part of ‘peace endeavour’ in the same context.
AftabKhan
6 July, 2009
LahorePakistan
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Jerusalem: The Blessed Land, Bible, Qur’an & History
Table of Contents
 

Serial
Contents
Page
 
PART-I The Covenant, Bible & Qur’an
 
1.         
Introduction- Covenant
5
2.         
Covenant of Humanity & Prophets with God
9
3.         
The Covenant with Abraham
14
4.         
Abraham’s Legacy
20
5.         
Covenant with Moses and Children of Israel:
20
6.         
Special Covenant with Moses & Jesus
24
7.         
Israelites Violated The Covenant:
25
 
PART-II Encapsulation Through History
 
  1.  
Fulfilment of Covenant & Children of Israel
34
9.         
The Real 1st Temple at ‘Shiloh’ not Moriah
35
10.      
1St Temple-Construction- 957 B.C.E
36
  1.  
1st Temple, Destruction, Babylonian Exile:586 B.C
37
12.      
Return of Jews & 2nd Temple-515 B.C.E
38
13.      
Palestine under Greco-Roman Rule
38
  1.  
Jesus Christ: & Christianity
39
15.      
Islam & Jesus Christ:
39
16.      
Jesus Ridiculed in Jewish Texts:
40
17.      
Jewish Revolt, Destruction of 2nd Temple:70 C.E
42
  1.  
Change of Leadership Role
44
  1.  
Inheritance of Covenant for Good Deeds Only
45
  1.  
Jerusalem & Muslim Rule [637-1917 C.E]
46
21.      
Crusaders Shatter Peace [1095-1291]
47
22.      
Ottoman Rule, Peaceful Coexistence 1514-1917
48
  1.  
Muslims and Christians Chasm
48
  1.  
Illusion of ‘Chosen Race’ & Zionist Movement
50
  1.  
The Largest 13th Tribe [Converted Jews]
51
  1.  
Why Christians Love Jews Now?
52
  1.  
Evangelist Christians & Neo Conservatives
53
  1.  
Colonization of Palestine
54
  1.  
The Real Agenda of Zionists
55
  1.  
A Jewish Woman Exposes Reality
58
  1.  
Muslims Revived the Legacy of Abraham
59
  1.  
Qur’an for Equity, Justice to Non Believers
60
  1.  
Special Status of Jews and Christians in Islam
60
  1.  
Colonization of Palestine- Shame Arguments
61
  1.  
Geopolitics Under The Cover of Religion
62
  1.  
Conclusion
62
  1.  
Appendices
66
  1.  
I: Translation of Qur’an & Reference
66
  1.  
II: Qur’an–Reference Index
69
  1.  
III: Books of Bible
70
  1.  
IV: The Other Side of Israel [Jew speaks out]
71
  1.  
V: How to Attain Peace in Jerusalem?
74
  1.  
VI: References for Study
79
  1.  
List of Books by AftabKhan
80

Jerusalem: The Blessed Land, Bible, Qur’an & History

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Introduction:
In the Hebrew Scriptures, Covenant is an agreement or treaty among peoples or nations, but most memorably the promises that God extended to humankind (e.g., the promise to Noah never again to destroy the earth by flood or the promise to Abraham that his descendants would multiply and inherit the land). God's revelation of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai created a pact between God and Israel known as the Sinai Covenant. According to Christian traditions Jesus Christ established a new covenant with God. Islam holds that the Last & Final Covenant was between God and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for all the humanity till eternity.
Hence for proper understanding of this doctrine of ‘Covenant’, it should be studied in the light of Bible, Qur’an and the history. Without going in to the historic details of the issue, well known to the readers, here the scriptural aspects are being covered. There is general agreement that Prophet and Patriarch Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all) believed and worshiped same God. In Arabic this supreme God is called Allah, while Hebrews have been calling Him; El 'Elyon, Yahweh (Jehovah), elohiym,(el-o-heem) or Adonai. God is the supreme creator and Sustainer of all the worlds. He is the God of all the creatures and people, He is not the God of any one group only, though He loves and prefers those who obey Him and dislike those who are disobedient, transgressors, and disbelievers. He is Kind and Merciful to those who repent and perform deeds pleasing to Him. He is not unjust; God established His Covenant with the humanity, individually as well as collectively through prophets.
 http://rapidshare.com/files/227793863/1-Creator.pdf 
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Appendix IVl
The Independent views of an Israeli
The Other Side of Israel
By Susan Nathan
A Jewish Women suggests a possible Resolution of Israeli -Palestinian Conflict

In 1999, Susan Nathan moved from the UK to Israel, taking advantage of the Jewish state’s standing offer of automatic citizenry for any Jew. She moved from a nation in which she was part of a minority to one where she was a member of the majority. Her first reaction was euphoric. ‘My first months were filled with thrilling moments of feeling, for the first time in my life, that I belonged… I did not need to explain my family name, nor did I have to hide my pride in my Jewishness.’ Raised on tales of historical oppression and the more recent depravity of the Holocaust, Nathan felt that she had come to a home where she could be secure in her identity.
What could be more natural? After all, Israel came into existence after World War II as a homeland for her people: a ‘land without a people,’ as early Zionists claimed, ‘for a people without a land.’
The reality wasn’t so simple. Nathan soon learned that a million Israeli Arabs live in the country as well; descended from those Palestinians who refused to flee during Israel’s initial seizure of land and homes. Today, those citizens — referred to not as Palestinians but as ‘the Arabs’ by the Jewish majority — live in cramped, squalid conditions, their rights abridged, and their voices unheard in public. Many of their villages have been razed and planted over with pine forests. They are, for all intent and purposes, an invisible population.
As Nathan learned of this, she underwent a crisis of conscience that was as powerful as it was unexpected. Even more unusual was her response: leaving her home and career in Tel Aviv, she moved into a small, third-story apartment in the village of Tamra. She has made her permanent home there, the only Jew living openly in a town of some 20,000 residents. The Other Side of Israel documents her life.
Nathan describes injustice piled atop injustice, as Israel’s Arab citizens struggle against ridiculous odds. Life in Tamra exposes Nathan to inequalities that are part of everyday life for Israel’s Arabs: the town lacks basic services such as electricity, roads, and a sewerage system; its children, some of the poorest in the land, are barred from receiving university scholarships through a clever series of restrictions that allow only active members of the armed services to receive government money. (Non-Jews are barred from the armed services, and from government services such as scholarships or unemployment benefits.) It is illegal for Arab Israeli school children to be taught in Arabic. Village land can be — and is — confiscated at the government’s whim. The depressing list goes on and on.
Nathan is not afraid to draw parallels which would earn her the ire of many Zionists. Having lived part of her life in South Africa, she declares that ‘Israel chose the path of apartheid’ in creating its twin systems of law for Jews and non-Jews. More provocatively, she compares the current plight of Israeli Arabs with that of European Jews in the 1930s.
Watching a film about the Holocaust, she takes in the scenes of Jews being driven from their ghettos and remarks, ‘I could not help but see a parallel with what had happened to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians only three years after the Holocaust.’ Such a contention from a non-Jew would bring instant charges of anti-Semitism from many quarters; one can only imagine the reaction from Israelis themselves, or the non-Israelis who support their state.
To be sure, Nathan does not claim that there is any systematic extermination program in place, such as the Germans used on the Jews. Her comparison is with the wretched conditions of the Warsaw ghetto, not the death camps of Treblinka and Auschwitz.
She also examines the absurdity inherent in the notion of a ‘Jewish democracy.’ When the state is, by definition, identified with a single group the very notion of democracy become meaningless. Israel operates on a dual level, with one set of laws and privileges for Jews, and another set for everybody else.
The book ends with a consideration of possible ways out of the current impasse. The most extraordinary idea of all, perhaps, is that there is a way out. Certainly it won’t be easy, and it will require commitment and creative thinking on both sides, but as Nathan points out, ‘everyone — apart, apparently, from our current leaders in Washington and Jerusalem and a few Islamic extremists — agrees that armed conflict can offer neither side a meaningful victory…. Ordinary Israelis understand that the Palestinian nation’s desire for independence and freedom cannot be defeated with weapons; and most Palestinians accept that they cannot vanquish one of the most powerful armies in the world….’What, then, is left?
Nathan proposes a model that combines elements of both one-state and two-state solutions. ‘There would be one secular, democratic country, but it would be divided into two confederated states, one Palestinian, one Jewish, each with its own political institutions.’Co-existing within a single border, Israeli Arabs could choose to continue living under Israeli law — or move to Palestinian territory if they wished. Israeli settlers now living illegally in the occupied territories would be allowed to stay, under Palestinian authority, or move to Israeli territory if they wished. The tricky part is that ‘the security of each minority would be guaranteed by legal codes that banned discrimination… Resources would have to be divided equitably between the two states and within each state.’ Far from a perfect solution?. But it has the advantage of moving this intractable situation in a new direction, and it is proposed by a woman who truly understands both sides of the conflict, from the inside out. Susan Nathan’s voice is a unique one in Israeli society. We would all do well to listen.

[The Other Side of Israel; Book By Susan Nathan, Harper
Collins, UK, ISBN 978-0-00-719511-4 , 274pp. £8.99, Apeople without a land: Book Reviewed by David Maine, Courtesy, Dawn, 7 June 2009, http://65.175.69.196/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/in-paper-magazine/books-and-authors/a-people-without-a-land]
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Appendix V


How to Attain Peace in Jerusalem?
 
Renowned Indian scholar, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan suggests a [temporary] peaceful solution to the issue of worship at Jerusalem [paving the way for final peaceful settlement], by separating the issue of worship from that of political supremacy. He draws support of his argument from the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) by applying the principle of ‘Al-fasl bayn al-qaziyatayn’
 
According to the Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him); ‘a believer is one with whom one can trust one's life and property’. That is because Islam is a religion of peace. The Qur'an calls its way ‘the paths of peace’ (Qur’an;5:16). It describes reconciliation as the best policy, (Qur’an;4:128) and states quite plainly that God abhors disturbance of the peace (Qur’an;2:205).
Yet, in this world, for one reason or the other, ‘Peace’ remains elusive. Differences   political and apolitical keep on arising between individuals and groups, Muslims and non-Muslims. Whenever people refuse to be tolerant of the differences among themselves, insisting that the differences be immediately rooted out the moment they arise, there is bound to be strife. Peace, as a result, can never prevail in such a world.
One recent example is the ever-recurring conflict over Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a very ancient, historic city with a unique value for all the millions of people of different religious persuasions who believe Jerusalem to be their very own Sacred Place. Jerusalem is, indeed, a symbol and centre of inspiration for the three great Semitic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
For Jews, Jerusalem is a living proof of their ancient grandeur, and the pivot of their national history. For Christians, it is the scene of their Savior’s agony and triumph. For Muslims, it is the first halting place on the prophet's mystic journey, and also the site of one-of Islam's most sacred Shrines. Thus, for all three faiths, it is a centre of pilgrimage, while for Muslims it is the third holiest place of worship.
Some question arises:
  1. How, when it is a place of worship for all three religions, it can be freely accessible to all?
  2. How can the adherents of all the three religions have the opportunity to visit the sacred site, to satisfy their religious feelings?
Nowadays, all around us, we hear the slogan: "Jerusalem is ours." The raising of this slogan by different parties clearly shows that each one desires political supremacy for itself. All the three believe that without political dominance over this sacred city, they cannot worship God in the proper sense of the word. If the condition for visiting this sacred place were such; then only that person or group could visit it who enjoyed political dominance there, Jerusalem would be turned from a place of peaceful worship into a battlefield. As political power can be wielded by only one religious group at a time, the other two groups, who are not in power, will constantly be in opposition to it. In this way, a place which should remain perfectly 'tranquil'' will be eternally rent by clash and confrontation. As a result, not even the group in power will have the opportunity to perform its religious rites in peace.
Position of Islam on Worship in Peace at Jerusalem:
This is indeed a very practical and important question which demands a serious rethinking. I would like to deal here briefly with the position of Islam in this matter.
The first indirect reference to Jerusalem appears in the 17th Surah of the Qur'an. It says: 'Glory be to Him who made His Servant go by night from the Sacred Mosque to the distant Mosque, whose precincts We have blessed" that we might show him some of Our Signs' (Qur’an;17:1). Prior to the emigration from Makka to Medina in early 622, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) went on an extraordinary journey called Mir’aj (Ascension) in the history of Islam. Through God's unseen arrangement, this journey took the Prophet (pbuh) from Mecca to Jerusalem. There, according to the belief of the Muslims, he performed a prayer in congregation with all the Prophets who had been his forerunners at the holy site of al-Masjid al-Aqsa (aI Bayt al-Maqdis).
Another reference to Jerusalem appears in one of the sayings of the Prophet recorded in all the six authentic books of Hadith with minor differences in wording. According to this tradition, there are only three mosques to which a journey may be lawfully made for the purpose of saying one's prayers al-Masjid al-Haram of Mecca, al-Masjid al-Nabi of Medina and al-Masjid al-Aqsa of Jerusalem. Yet another tradition tells us that there is a far greater reward for praying in these three mosques than in any other mosque.
We learn, however, from the Qur'an that in no part of the world can political power be wielded indefinitely by the same nation or group: “We bring these days to men by turns”(Qur’an;3:140). Given that power changes hands from time to time between different communities, how are believers to worship at al-Masjid al-Aqsa? Whereas each Muslim has a natural desire to enter this mosque and prostrate himself before God as the Prophet Muhammad and the other Prophets did.
According to the Qur'an, political power, by the very law of nature, cannot forever remain with one nation. In that case, if this act of worship is linked with the notion that a Muslim can receive God's blessings only when this land is under Muslim political rule, millions of Muslims would have had to bury this desire in their hearts and leave this world with this cherished desire unfulfilled, as it happened with the former Saudi king Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz (1906-1975). They would never have had, the unique experience of prostrating themselves before Almighty God at a place where the Prophet Muhammad, along with all the Prophets (peace be upon them all) had prostrated himself before his Lord.
What is the solution to this problem? Its solution lies in a practice (Sunnah) of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): to separate the religious aspects from the political aspects of the matter. This would enable men of religion to solve the problem by applying what is called “practical wisdom”, that is, to avoid the present problems and grasp the available opportunities. By following this process, they would be able to fulfill their cherished religious desire of which they have been denied unnecessarily so far. In the process, they would be able to avoid confrontational situations.
Here are some telling examples of this Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh):
Prayer Direction (Qiblah):
The Prophet Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina in July 622. For the first year and a half in Medina (i.e. till the end of 623) he and his companions prayed in the direction of al-Bayt al-Maqdis in Jerusalem. At the beginning of 624, the faithful were enjoined, by Qur'anic revelation, to face in the direction of the Sacred Ka'ba at Mecca to say their prayers (Qur’an;2:144). When this injunction regarding the Qiblah (direction of prayer) was revealed, 360 idols were still in position in the Ka'bah, at that time a long-established centre of polytheism. The presence of these idols must certainly have made Muslims feel reluctant to face in the direction of the Ka'bah at prayer time.
How could believers in monotheism turn their faces towards what was, in effect, a structure strongly associated with polytheism? It is significant that along with the change of Qiblah came the injunction to treat this problem as a matter requiring patience, and not to hesitate in facing the Ka'bah: "O believers, seek assistance in prayer. God is with those who are patient" (Qur’an;2:153).
As history tells us, this state of affairs continued for six long years, till the conquest of Mecca (630) when the Ka'bah was cleared of idols. This establishes a very important principle of Islam which may be termed as Al ‘fasl bayn al-qaziyatayn’, that is, the ‘separation of two different facets of a problem from each other’. According to this principle, the Ka'bah and the idols were given separate consideration. By remaining patient on the issue of the presence of the idols, believers were able to accept the Ka'bah as the direction for prayer.
Jerusalem under Persian Rule At the time of Miraj:
Another such example is the above mentioned heavenly journey (Isra or Mi'raj) undertaken by the Prophet before the emigration in 622. At that juncture, Jerusalem was ruled by Iranians, that is to say, by non-Muslims. The Iranian ruler, Khusroe Parvez, attacked Jerusalem in 614, wresting it from the Romans, who had governed it since 63 B.C. This political dominance of the Iranian empire ended only when the Roman Emperor Heraclius defeated the Iranians and restored Roman rule over Jerusalem in 629.
This means that, before his emigration, the Prophet Muhammad entered Jerusalem on his Mi'raj journey to say his prayer at the Masjid al-Aqsa at a time when the city was under the rule of a non-Muslim king. From this we derive the very important Sunnah of the Prophet that worship and politics practically belong to separate spheres, and, as such, should not be confused with one another.
 
Umrah During Pagan Rule of Makka:
The third example took place after the Hijrah in 629. At that time, Mecca was entirely under the domination of the idolatrous Quraysh. In spite of that, the Prophet and his companions came to Mecca from Medina to spend three days there to perform   Umrah (the minor pilgrimage) and the circumambulation of the Ka'bah. This was possible solely because the Prophet did not mix worship with politics. If the Prophet had thought that Umrah could be performed only when Mecca came under Muslim political rule, he would never have entered Mecca for worship along with his companions.
CONCLUSION:
In the light of this Sunnah of the Prophet, the solution to the present problem of Jerusalem lies in separating the issue of worship from that of political supremacy. Muslims belonging to Palestine, or any other country, should be able to go freely to Jerusalem in order to pray to God in the Aqsa Mosque. Worship should be totally disassociated from political issues.          To sum it up, the only practical solution to the problem of Jerusalem, in present circumstances, is to apply the above principle of ‘Al-fasl bayn al-qaziyatayn’ to this matter, that is, to keep the two aspects of a controversial issue separate from one another. There is no other possible solution to the problem of Jerusalem. We ought to keep the political aspect apart from its religious aspect so that no ideological barrier conies in the way of worship by the people, and the faithful are able to go to Jerusalem freely in order to satisfy their religious feelings.                 
 
[By; Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, Courtesy, Monthly ‘Tazkeer’, Lahore, July 2009]
 
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