Category Archives: Masjid Al Aqsa

Ihraam From Masjid al-Aqsa

Reasons for wearing the Ihraam for Hajj or Umrah from Masjid al-Aqsa, Palestine:

Forgiveness
Our Mother, Hadhrat Umm Salamah (radhiyallahu anha), the wife of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), reported that she heard the beloved Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) say:

“Whoever wears the Ihraam for Umrah or Hajj from Masjidul Aqsa, and then proceeds to Makkah Mukarramah, he will have all hia sins forgiven.”  [Sahih Ibn Hibban, Ahmad]

Hadhrat Umm Salamah (radhiyallahu anha) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “If anyone puts on Ihraam for Hajj or Umrah from Masjidul Aqsa and then proceeds to the Sacred Masjid (Ka’abah), their past and future sins will be forgiven, or they will be entered into Paradise.”  [Abu Dawud]

Special Dua’
Prophet Sulaymaan (alayhissalaam) asked this special dua’ for all those who will visit and offer Salaah at Masjid al-Aqsa:

“O Allah! Forgive that person in such a way that he becomes sinless as the day he was born.” [Ibn Majah]

Special Reward
‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) relates, I asked the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), O Prophet of Allah!, tell us the legal injunction about (visiting) Bayt al-Maqdis:

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said,

“Go and pray there, if you cannot visit it and pray there, then send some oil to be used in the lamps.” [Bukhari]

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FIDGET SPINNERS – THE LATEST DAJJALIC TREND

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In any other era, if we were to see an adult aimlessly and mindlessly spinning a silly, colourful, childish toy between his fingers, we would perhaps start to doubt the fact that his mental capacities were still functioning according to the Divinely set and apportioned harmonious equilibrium normally found in adults. Or, in simpler terms, we would consider calling the psychiatrist. But not in the era we are living in. This techno-tronic era we find ourselves in is an exaggerated form of The Brave New World of Aldous Huxley, and the 1984 of George Orwell, satirical works written many decades ago about a futuristic world devoid of, well, everything even remotely humane. An era in which Dajjal calls the shots (at least according to his deficient and limited mental scope), and we, the Ummah, obediently follow in utter subservience, choosing to ignore and lay to waste the great gift of intelligence given to us by Allah Ta’ala, and the ability to think for ourselves.

Fidget spinners, as these new toys are called, have been quite aptly named. It is claimed that they help bring about concentration and calmness, and remove fidgeting. Outwardly it may seem so, but in reality this toy has been cleverly designed to do just quite the opposite – it is nothing but a time-wasting distraction which causes excessive and dangerous fidgeting of the spiritual heart, and the fidgeting it is actually supposed to remove is quite different from anything we may imagine. The saddest and most distressful part is the fact that Muslims have been rushing to buy, and even sell the toy, despite knowing well that Allah has categorically and clearly stated in the Quran, “Beware! It is only and only through the remembrance of Allah that the hearts can attain peace, contentment, tranquillity, happiness.”  

Concentration and calmness cannot be achieved through fidget spinners when a person is involved in the disobedience of Allah, because to disobey Allah is to forget Him. Peace can only be achieved through staying away from sin, and involving oneself in salaah, dhikr, recitation of the Quran, pondering over the power and beauty of Allah, sitting in the gatherings of the Awliyaa, among numerous other praiseworthy deeds.

Whoever has seen a fidget spinner will know that they come in various colourful designs and shapes. When spun, the rotation of the designs creates a mesmerising, hypnotic effect similar to what is used in actual hypnosis sessions. Similarly, the spinner comes with an option of LED lights, for spinning in the dark. The effect created by these fast spinning, colourful LED lights is almost the same as the effect of flashing, pulsating, rotating disco lights. Disco lights aren’t how they are without any reason, the lights have been specifically designed to achieve sinister objectives. Disco lights were created to blanket the human mind into a mildly hypnotic stupor, and this is what happens with the LED lights on the fidget spinner. Not everyone goes to the disco, so they simply brought the disco lights home in the form of a seemingly harmless toy. From this we get to know that the spinning of the colourful designs and/or the LED lights exercises a tranquilising, hypnotising effect on the brain, relaxing its natural guards and alarms, so that the mind becomes more willing to accept subliminal messages and suggestions, and becomes more vulnerable and susceptible to subconscious programing.

In layman’s terms, fidget spinners have been designed to make our minds more willing to blindly accept, consciously or subconsciously, whatever Dajjal and his cronies want us to believe, without even knowing what we are actually doing. It thus effectively removes the ‘fidgeting’ of the mind, otherwise more commonly known as critical thinking. Not co-incidentally, television works according to the same principle of flashes of colourful lights moving with high speed, to achieve a similar objective.

Fidget spinners are extremely dangerous and harmful toys for adults as well as children, which can destroy our dunya as well as Aakhirat. Let us not become gullible, blind slaves to the fads and crazes being propelled by the West. Let us learn to think for ourselves, and look deeply into matters with the noor of the heart, to be able to see the reality that is not apparent at first glance. May Allah save all of us from the traps of Dajjal.

Ahadith On the Virtues of Masjid al-Aqsa

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Infograph source: Islamiclandmarks.com

Masjid Al-Aqsa – The Second House of Allah on Earth
1, Abu Dharr (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that he asked the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), “O Messenger of Allah, which Masjid was built first on earth”? The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied, “The Sacred Masjid of Makkah”. Abu Dharr (radhiyallahu anhu) again asked, “Which was next”? The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Masjid Al-Aqsa”. Abu Dharr (radhiyallahu anhu) further asked, “How long was the period between the building of the two Masjids”? The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Forty years”. Apart from these, offer your prayer anywhere when it is time to pray, although excellence is in praying in these Masjids”. (Bukhari)

The Importance of Visiting Masjid Al-Aqsa
2, Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “You should not undertake a special journey to visit any place other than the following three Masjids with the expectations of getting greater reward: the Sacred Masjid of Makkah (Ka’bah), this Masjid of mine (the Prophet’s Masjid in Madinah), and Masjid Al-Aqsa (of Jerusalem)”. In another narration the words are, “For three Masjids a special journey may be undertaken: The Sacred Masjid (Ka’bah), my Masjid and Masjid of Jerusalem (Al-Aqsa). (Muslim, Bukhari, Abu Dawud)

Greater Virtue of praying in Masjid Al-Aqsa
3, Abu Darda (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallqm) said, “A prayed in Makkah (Ka’bah) is worth 1000,000 times (reward), a prayer in my Masjid (Madinah) is worth 1,000 times and a prayer in Al-Aqsa Sanctuary is worth 500 times more reward than anywhere else”. (Tabarani, Bayhaqi, Suyuti)

4, Anas Ibn Malik (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ” The prayer of a person in his house is a single prayer; his prayer in the Masjid of his people has the reward of 27 prayers; his prayer in the Masjid in which the Friday prayer is observed has the reward of 500; his prayer in Masjid Al-Aqsa (i.e. Al-Aqsa Sanctuary) has a reward of 5,000 prayers; his prayer in my Masjid (the Prophet’s Masjid in Madinah) has a reward of 50,000 prayers, and the prayer in the Sacred Masjid (Ka’bah) has the reward of 100,000 prayers”. (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)

The Importance of Donating to Masjid Al-Aqsa 
5, Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) relates, I asked the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), “Apostle of Allah, tell us the legal injunction about (visiting) Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem).” The Apostle of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ”Go and pray there. If you cannot visit it and pray there, then send some oil to be used in the lamps”. (Bukhari)

6, Maymunah Bint Sa’d (radhiyallahu anha) relates that she asked the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), “O Messenger of Allah, inform us about Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem)”. He said, “Visit it for prayer “. She further asked, “If one of us cannot visit it, what should we do”? He said, “If you cannot go for prayer then send some oil to be used for its lamps, will be as if he has prayed in it”. (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, Tabarani)

The Virtues of Wearing Ihram From Masjid Al-Aqsa
7, Umm Salamah (radhiyallahu anha) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “If anyone puts on Ihram for Hajj or Umrah from Masjid Al-Aqsa and then proceeds to the Sacred Masjid (Ka’bah), their past and future sins will be forgiven, or they will be entered into Paradise”. (Abu Dawud)

The Blessed Land of Masjid Al-Aqsa
8, Zaid Ibn Thabit (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “How blessed is Al-Sham”! The Companions (ra) asked, “Why is that”? The Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied, “I see the Angels of Allah spreading their wings over Al-Sham”. Ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) added, “And the Prophets lived therein. There is not a single inch in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) where a Prophet has not prayed or an Angel not stood”. (Tirmidhi, Ahmad)

9, The Prophet Mohammed (saw) said, “Allah has blessed what lies between Al-‘Arish (in Egypt) and the Euphrates and has made Palestine particularly Holy”. (Kanz Al-Umal)

Masjid Al-Aqsa – The First Qiblah (direction of prayer)
10, Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates, “We prayed along with the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) facing Al-Quds (Jerusalem) for 16 or 17 months. Then Allah ordered him saw) to turn his face towards the Ka’bah (in Makkah). (Bukhari)

11, Al-Bara (radhiyallahu anhu) added, “Before we changed our direction towards the Ka’bah in prayer, some Muslims had died or had been killed and we did not know what to say about them (regarding their prayers). Allah then revealed: And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost (i.e. the prayers of those Muslims facing Bayt Al-Maqdis were valid) {2:143} (Bukhari)

Masjid Al-Aqsa – The Station of Al-Isra and Al-Miraj
12, Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “On the night journey Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu alayhi wasallan) was taken on a night journey (Al-Isra and Al-Miraj), two cups, one containing wine and the other containing milk were presented to him (saw) at Al-Quds (Jerusalem). He looked at them and took the cup of milk. Angel Gabriel said, “Praise be to Allah, who guided you to Al-Fitrah (the right path); if you had taken (the cup of) wine, your Ummah would have gone astray”. (Bukhari)

13, Regarding the statement of Allah in the Holy Quran, “And We granted the vision (ascension to the Heavens) which we made you see (as an actual eye witness) was only made as a trial for the people”. (17:60) Ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) said, “The sights which Allah’s Apostle was shown on the Night journey where he was taken to Bayt Al-Maqdis (i.e. Jerusalem) were actual sights, (not dreams). And the Cursed tree (mentioned) in the Quran is the tree of Zaqqum. (Bukhari)

14, Jabir Ibn Abdullah (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “When the people of Quraysh did not believe me (i.e. the story of his Miraculous Night Journey), I stood up in Al-Hijr and Allah displayed Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem in front of me, and I began describing it to them while I was looking at it”. (Bukhari)

15, Abdullah Ibn Hawwala (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “I saw on the night of Al-Isra and Al-Miraj (the Night Journey) a white column resembling a pearl which the Angels were carrying . I asked them, “What are you carrying”? They said, “The Column of the Book, we have been ordered to place it in Al-Sham. Later in my sleep, I saw the Column of the Book being taken away from under my headrest. I began to fear lest Allah the Almighty had abandoned the people of the earth. My eyes followed the Column of the Book. It was a brilliant light in front of me. Then I saw it was placed in A;-Sham. (Tabarani)

16, Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “I was brought the Buraq, a tall white beast, bigger than a donkey, smaller than a mule. It could place his hooves at the farthest boundary of his gaze. I mounted it until I arrived at Bayt Al-Maqdis. I tied it at the ring where the Prophets tied it before (i.e. Buraq Wall or the Western Wall). I entered Masjid Al-Aqsa Sanctuary and prayed 2 rak’ah there…” (Muslim)

Masjid Al-Aqsa – The Place for Major Events
17, Mujamma Ibn Al-Harith (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Ibn Maryam (Jesus) will kill Al-Dajjal (the Anti-Christ) at the door of Ludd (a town in Palestine)”. (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)

18, The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said regarding Al-Dajjal: “He will stay in the land forty days; he will enter every place on earth except the Ka’bah, the Prophet’s Masjid, Al-Aqsa Sanctuary and Mount Sinai”. (Ahmad)

19, Nahik Ibn Suraym Al-Sakuni (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “You will fight the pagans until the remnant of you fights on the river of Jordan, you to the east of it (present day Jordan) and they to the west of it (occupied Palestine)”. (Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani)

20, Maymunah Bint Sa’d (radhiyallahu anha) reports that she asked the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), “O Messenger of Allah, give us a pronouncement about Al-Quds (Jerusalem)”. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied, “It is the land where they will be raised (Al-Hashr) and gathered (Al-Mahshar)”. (Ahmad, Tabarani)

21, Muadh Ibn Jabal (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “The Flourishing state of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) (under the non-Muslims) will be taken when Yathrib is in ruins, the ruined state of Yathrib will be when the Great War comes, the outbreak of the Great War will be at the conquest of Constantinople and the conquest of Constantinople when Al-Dajjal (Anti-Christ) comes forth”. He (the Prophet) struck his thigh with his hand and said, “This is as true as you are here or as you are sitting (meaning Muadh Ibn Jabal). (Abu Dawud)

22, Awf Ibn Malik (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “The rest of the world will be destroyed forty years before Al-Sham is”. (Ibn Asakir)

23, The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said regarding the inhabitants of the blessed land, “They and their wives, children and slaves (male and female) are in ribat (guardians, literally a fort) in the cause of Allah”. (Tabarani)

24, Al-Nawwas Ibn Saman Al-kalbi (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “If Al-Dajjal comes forth while I am amongst you then I shall dispute with him on your behalf, but if he comes after I am not with you, a man must dispute on his own behalf, and Allah will take to protecting every Muslim. Those of you who live up to his time should recite over him the opening verses of Surah Kahf, for they are your protection from his trial”. We asked, “How long will he remain on earth”? He (saw) replied, “Forty days, one like a year (1 day will be equivalent to 1 year), one like a month, one like a week and the rest of his days like yours”? We asked, “Will one day’s prayer suffice us in the day which will be like a year”? He replied, “No, you must estimate of its extent. Then Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Virgin Mary) will descend at the white minaret to the east of Damascus. He will then catch Al-Dajjal up at the gates of Ludd and kill him”. (Abu Dawud)

Masjid Al-Aqsa – The place of Mujahideen
25, Umamah Al-Bahili (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “A group of my Ummah will remain on truth, they will vanquish their enemy and those who disagree with them will not be able to harm them until Allah commands”. “Where are these people”? The Companions (ra) asked. The Prophet (saw) said, “In and around Al-Quds (Jerusalem). (Ahmad)

26, Mu’awiyah Ibn Sufyan (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “There is a group among my followers who will continue to be openly on the truth. No one who opposes them can harm them until the coming of the Hour”. The Companions (radhiyallahu anhum) asked, “Where will they be”? The Messenger of Allah said, “They will be in and around Bayt Al-Maqdis (i.e. Jerusalem)”. (Ahmad)

27, Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “A group of my Ummah will not cease to fight at the gates of Damascus and at the gates of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and its surroundings. The betrayal or desertion of whoever deserts them will not harm them in the least. They will remain victorious, standing for the truth, until the Final Hour rises”. (Tabarani)

Masjid Al-Aqsa – The Best Place of Residence
28, Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, There will be migration upon migration. The best of the inhabitants of earth will reside where Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) migrated (Jerusalem)”. (Abu Dawud)

Masjid Al-Aqsa – The Desired Site of Musa (Moses)
29, Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “The Angel of death was sent to Musa. When he came to Musa, Musa punched him on the eye. The Angel returned to Allah and said, “You sent me to a servant who does not want to die”. Allah ordered the Angel, ‘Return to him and tell him to put his hand on the back of an ox and for every hair that will come under it, he will be granted one year of life’. Musa asked, “O Lord! What will happen after that”? Allah replied, ‘Then death’. Musa decided, let it be now’. Musa then requested Allah to let him die close to the Sacred Land (near Masjid Al-Aqsa) so much so that he would be at a distance of a stone’s throw form it”. Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) added, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) then said, “If I were there, I would show you his grave below the red sand hill on the side of the road”. (Bukhari)

Liberation of Masjid Al-Aqsa Prophesied
30, Awf Ibn Malik relates, “I went to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) during the battle of Tabuk while he was sitting in a leather tent. He said, ‘Awf, Count six signs, between now and the approach of the Hour (Qiyamah/Doomsday): my death, the conquest of Al-Quds (Jerusalem); a plague that will afflict you (and kill you in great numbers) as the plague that afflicts sheep; the increase of wealth to such an extent that even if one is given 100 hundred Dinars (Arabian currency), he will not be satisfied; then an affliction which no Arab house will escape; and then a truce between you and Banu Asfar (i.e. Byzantines) who will betray you and attack you under eighty flags. Under each flag will be twelve thousand soldiers”. (Bukhari)

31, Shadad Ibn Aws (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Sham will be conquered and Al-Quds (Jerusalem) will be conquered and you or your sons will be Imams there, if Allah will”. (Tabarani)

The Preference of Masjid Al-Aqsa
32, Once the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) advised Abdullah Ibn Hawwala (radhiyallahu anhu) to join the army in al-Sham, over any other. However, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), noticing Ibn Hawwala’s indifference said, “Do you know what Allah says about Al-Sham? Allah said, ‘Al-Sham you are the quintessence of My lands (safwati min biladi) and I shall inhabit you with the chosen ones among My servants’”. (Tabarani)

33, Abdullah Ibn Amr (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) repeated the following statement three times: “When the dissension takes place belief shall be in Al-Sham”. One version of hadith states, “safety will be in Al-Sham”. (Tabarani)

34, Abdullah Ibn Hawwala reports that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “At some point you will be (split into) standing armies: one army in Al-Sham, on in Yemen and one in Iraq”. Abdullah Ibn Hawala asked he Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), “Choose for me, Messenger of Allah in case I live to see that day”. The Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied, “You must go to Al-Sham, for it is the chosen land of Allah in all His earth. He protects, by sending them there, the chosen ones among His servants. If you do not wish to go there, then go to Yemen. Allah has given me guarantee concerning Al-Sham and its people. (Abu Dawud, Ahmad)

Masjid Al-Aqsa – The Site of the Future Caliphate
35, Abdullah Ibn Hawwala Al-Azdi (radhiyallahu anhu) reported, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) put his hand on my head and said, “Ibn Hawwala if you see that the Caliphate has taken abode in the Holy Land then the earthquakes and tribulations and great events are at hand. The last Hour on that day will be closer to people than my hand is to your head”. (Ahmad, Abu Dawud)

36, Yunus Ibn Maysarah  relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “This matter (the Caliphate) will be after me in Madinah, then Al-Sham, then Al-Jazira, then Iraq, then in Madinah, then in AL-quds (Jerusalem). If it is in Al-Quds, its home country is there, and if any people expel it, it will not return there forever”. (Ibn Asakir)

37, Al-Numan Ibn Bashir (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Prophethood will last with you for as long as Allah wants it. Then Allah will end it if He wishes to end it. Then there will be the Rightly Guided Caliphs according to the method of Prophethood and things will be as Allah wishes them. Then Allah will end it if He wishes it. Then there will be a voracious kingdom and things will be as Allah wishes them. Then Allah will end it if He wishes. Then there will be Khilafah (Caliphate) according to the method of Prophethood. Thereafter the Prophet (saw) fell silent”. (Ahmad)

38, Abd Al-Rahman Ibn Abi Umayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “There will be an oath of allegiance according to guidance in Al-Quds (Jerusalem)”. (Bukhari, Muslim)

Masjid Al-Aqsa – The Place Where Allah’s Revelation Descended
39, Abu Umama (radhiyallahu anhu) reports that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Prophethood descended upon me in three places: Makkah, Madinah and Al-Sham. Once it is brought out from any of them, it shall never return to it”. (Abu Dawud) In another narration it states, “The Quran was revealed in three places – Makkah, Madinah and Al-Sham”. (Tabarani) Ibn Kathir, the great scholar of Islam, said, “Al-Sham here means Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem). (Abu Dawud, Tabarani)

Masjid Al-Aqsa – Mentioned By Name In The Holy Quran
40, Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) reports that the Prophet (saw) used to recite Surah Al-Isra every night in his prayer:
Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) Who took His slave (Muhammad Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Makkah) to the farthest mosque (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad SAW) of Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. (17:1)

May Allah Ta’ala protect Masjid al-Aqsa and protect its surroundings from the enemies. Aameen.

Existence of Masjid Al-Aqsa During Isra’ Wal Miraj

Source: www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Contrad/External/aqsa.html

Introduction

Glory to (Allah) 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]

Many Christian missionaries point to an ‘alleged difficulty’  concerning the above passage. They claim that:

The Farthest Mosque (Al-Masjid-ul-Aqsa) was built many years after the death of Muhammad. It is utterly impossible that Muhammad visited it on his Night Journey.

They further add:

The Temple of Solomon had been completely destroyed in 70 AD, i.e. 550 years before the alleged time of the Miraj in 622 AD, the twelfth year of Muhammad’s mission. A Temple that didn’t exist anymore does not provide any better solution to this problem than a Mosque which wasn’t built yet.

Similarly, the Christian apologist ‘Abdallah ‘Abd al-Fadi says:

Moreover, the Further [sic!]  Mosque was not in existence at the time of Muhammad, but was built about a hundred years after his death! How could he have prayed in it, then, or described its gates and windows? [1]

Firstly, al-Aqsa mosque was built not “about a hundred years” after the death of the Prophet in 11 AH / 632 CE. In 49-50 AH / 670 CE, Bishop Arculfus, a Christian visitor in Jerusalem, reported:

On the famous place where once stood the temple, the Saracens worship at a square house of prayer, which they have built with little art, of boards and large beams on the remains of some ruins… [2]

By the time Bishop Arculfus was in Jerusalem, some 40 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad, the al-Aqsa mosque was already being used as a place of worship by Muslims. Secondly, as usual, the solution to such a “difficulty” lies in part in an elementary knowledge of the Arabic language as well as an understanding of basic Islamic concepts relating to the word “masjid”.

What Is A Masjid??

We will begin by dealing with the word masjid from both the linguistic and legal points of view. The Arabic word for “mosque” is masjid. Discussing with the word masjidfrom a linguistic point of view al-Zarkashi says:

Masjid from a linguistic point of view

Linguistically, it comes on the scheme of maf’il with a kasrah  [i.e. the ‘i’ of masjid] which is ism makan [i.e., name of location] for prostration, while with a fathah [i.e., masjad] it is a masdar.

Abu Zakariyya al-Farra’ [a famous grammarian] said: Every verb coming on the scheme of fa”ala  [in the past form] yaf’ulu [in the present form] like dakhala yadkhulu [which means “to enter”] admits the form maf’al  with a fathah as a noun or  masdar without distinction like in dakhala madkhalan. There are some nouns that were bound to take a kasrah on the second letter of its root like masjid, matli`,  maghrib, mashriq and others, thus making the kasrah a sign of the noun, and some Arabs may say it with a fathah.

Indeed, masjid and masjad, and matli’ and matla’ were all narrated.

He said: Putting a fathah in all these forms is admissible even if we did not hear it before.

He said in Al-Sihah: Masjad with a fathah refers to one’s forehead which is the place involved in prostration. [3]

The Arab grammarians classify masjid as “ism makan”, i.e., “name of location”; it indicates the place where an action takes place.  Masjid being derived from the root sa-ja-da (to prostrate), it means “place of prostration”. Since a place of worship is a place where believers prostrate to God, “masjid” is a general term to designate any place of worship without any religious distinction. Later, this word was used to designate Islamic places of worship in particular, i.e., the mosques.

The Prophet’s night journey was from “the inviolable place of worship” (al-Masjid al-Haram) to “the farthest place of worship” (al-Masjid al-Aqsa). The former is certainly located in Makkah, but what about the latter? The reference to Allah blessing its surroundings (…whose precincts We did bless) suggests a location in the “Holy Land” (cf. 21:81; 7:137; 34:18). Neal Robinson states:

The [Muslim] tradition which identifies it [i.e., al-Masjid al-Aqsa] with the Temple Mount in Jerusalem makes admirable sense in view of the fact that the ‘place of worship’ (masjid) whose destruction is evoked in v. 7 [i.e., 17:7] is clearly the Temple. [4]

This view is also shared by many western scholars. [5]

As it was mentioned earlier that masjid refers to a place of prostration without any religious distinction; an excellent example of the usage of the word “masjid” referring to a non-Islamic sanctuary can be seen in the verse 17:7. The verse describes briefly the destruction of the masjid in Jerusalem (i.e., the Temple) by the enemies of Children of Israel. Allah says in the Qur’an that the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem was a punishment was inflicted upon the Children of Israel for their tyranny and arrogance.

Now that the linguistic issues are clarified, let us now turn to the legal issues (i.e., Islamic Law) concerning the word masjid. Al-Zarkashi says:

Masjid from a legal point of view

From a legal point of view it refers to every place on earth since the Prophet – peace be upon him – said: “The earth was made a masjid for me” which is a particularity of this ummah. This was said by the Qadi `Iyadh because the previous nations used not to pray except in the places they were sure of their pureness whereas we were allowed to perform the prayers in any place not known to be impure. [6]

Further he emphasizes:

Since prostration is the most honourable act in prayer because of the nearness of the servant to his Lord, the name of the location was derived from it. This is why we call it masjid [location of sujud / prostration] and not marka` [place of ruku` / inclination]. [7]

In summary, masjid from a linguistic point of view means a “place of prostration” without any religious distinction. From a legal point of view the word masjid in shari’ah constitutes every place on earth that is fit for prostration. In other words masjid does not designate a building but only a “place of prostration”; the place may or may not have the building. In support of the argument, we quote hadith #323 in Sahih al-Bukhari that has already been mentioned by al-Zarkashi:

Muhammad Ibn Sinan, i.e., al-‘Awqi told us, Hushaym told us; and Sa`id Ibn an-Nadr told me, Hushaym informed us that Sayyar informed us, Yazid, i.e., Ibn Suhayb al-Faqir told us, Jabir Ibn ‘Abd Allah told us:

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “I have been given five things which were not given to any amongst the Prophets before me. These are:

1. Allah made me victorious by awe [by His frightening of my enemies] for a distance of one month’s journey.

2. The earth has been made for me [and for my followers] a “masjid” [Arabic: a place for prostration] and a means of purification. Therefore, my followers can pray wherever the time of a prayer is due.

3. The booty has been made halaal [lawful] for me [and was not made so for anyone else].

4. Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation exclusively but I have been sent to all mankind.

5. I have been given the right of intercession [on the Day of Resurrection]. [8]

So, according to this hadith, any place on the earth is a masjid for Muslims. Therefore, whether there was a building or not when the Prophet made his heavenly trip, it is the location of the “Farthest Mosque” that is intended by the verse and not a building per se because the location where it lies was blessed by God as mentioned in verse 17:1 “the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless”. Therefore, no one can claim that the word “masjid” in the Islamic terminology refers necessarily to a building. Imam Ibn Hajar confirms this opinion in Fath al-Bari (his commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari) :

(the earth has been made for me a “masjid”) means a place for prostration, i.e., prostration is not restricted to any particular place of the earth. It may also be a metaphor of a construction built for prayer. This is due to the fact that once prayer is authorized everywhere on earth it becomes like a mosque for that purpose. Ibn al-Tin said: “The earth has been made for me a masjid and a means of purification” both were given to the Prophet, peace be upon him, while it was only a place for worship for others and was not a means of purification, because Jesus used to walk around and pray whenever prayer was due. Al-Dawudi said likewise before him. It was also said that they [the previous generations]  were authorized to perform prayer in places known for sure to be pure, whereas this ummah is authorized to pray anywhere on earth except in the places known for sure to be impure. The strongest opinion is that of al-Khattabi who says that earlier nations were authorized to perform prayer in special places like synagogues and churches. This is confirmed by the wording of the narration of Ibn Shu`ayb “And before me people prayed in their churches.” This is a controversial [?] wording but the specificity was established [??]. This is supported by the narration of al-Bazzar from the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas similar to the present hadith which includes “Prophets did not pray until they reached their chamber”. [9]

Before we close this issue, one should realize that verse 17:1 also speaks of “The Sacred Mosque” which is in Makkah around the Ka`bah. Did a building for the mosque exist there in the time of the Prophet? The answer is that the Ka`bah was there but there was no building for the mosque. This further adds to the argument that the word masjid in this verse refers to a place of performing the prostration and does not imply the presence of a “building” in the modern understanding.

The above understanding of the wordmasjid as a place of worship not building per se is also well supported by archaeological and historic evidence. Below we present a picture of an early mosque in a place called Besor in Occupied Palestine. [10]

image

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Moshe Sharon comments about the Besor mosque. He says:

To the west of the village on the top of the hill, overlooking the valley and the houses of the village, was the threshing floor, and to the south of it a small open mosque with a rectangular mihrab made of 3 blocks of stones [bottom figure]. The mosque was built to a height of probably two layers of stones, no more than 0.5 m., and was almost square, about 3 x 3 m. and could contain no more than 8-10 men at a time. [11]

There are many other examples of early mosques from Negev region that are nothing but a few stones arranged to mark the mihrab. [12,13]

image

image

image

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It is clear from the above pictures that a mosque is simply a place where Muslims prostrate in prayer. It does not need an

elaborate building to be called a mosque. The open mosques that we have seen above do exist even today in Middle East and North Africa.

Concerning early mosques, Creswell states:

… their [i.e., Muslims’]  architectural resources, before they started in their career of conquest, were barely enough to give expression to their needs. In other words Arabia constituted an almost perfect architectural vacuum…The first mosques in the great hiras, or half nomadic encampments of the conquest, such as Basra, Kufa and Fustat, were primitive in the extreme, and in Syria the first mosques were churches that had been converted or merely divided: In fact there is no reason for believing that any mosque was built as such in Syria until the time of al-Walid (705-15) or possibly ‘Abd al-Malik (685-705), for over a generation the Arabs remained quite untouched by any architectural ambitions… [14]

It is worth noting that the Prophet disliked extravagance and impressive architecture in buildings, especially mosques. The relative simplicity of early mosques is in fact a historical example of how the Prophet’s Companions diligently followed his wishes. This is true to a greater extent even today.

Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa: A Place Of Prostration For Jews

The Qur’an refers to al-Aqsa as a masjid, a place of prostration. Was this place used for prostration in early times?

Al-Masjid al-Aqsa and the surrounding area (i.e., Dome of the Rock among others) is usually identified with the place where the Temple of Solomon once stood. Bet ha-Miqdash, as the Temple is usually known in Jewish literature, was primarily a place of assembly for the entire people, for purposes of sacrifice, prayer, and thanksgiving. It is in the prayer ritual that prostrations were performed by the priests. Encyclopaedia Judaica provides an interesting account of the prayer ritual by the priests of the Temple.

The priest who had gathered the coals entered the sanctuary first, scattered them over the incense altar, prostrated himself, and departed. Then the priest who was chosen by lot to offer the incense entered, bearing the pan of incense in his hand. He was accompanied by a priest appointed for this task who instructed him in the proper ritual, and he did not offer it until he was told: “Offer the incense!” The officiating priest waited until the space between the hall and the altar was cleared of people, offered up the incense, prostrated himself, and departed (Tam. 6; Kelim end of ch. 1). During the offering of the incense in the sanctuary, the people used to gather in the azarah for prayer, and even outside the Temple these times were set aside for prayer (cf. Luke 1:10; Judith 9:1). After the departure of the priest who had offered the incense, all the priests filed into the sanctuary, prostrated themselves, and went out again. [15]

It is interesting to note that the Temple was considered as the only place of prostration by some Rabbis and that they would refuse to completely prostrate outside the Temple in Jerusalem. [16]

The Jewish concept of worship has extensive vocabulary, out of which hishtahawah, “to prostrate oneself,” is the most frequently used in the Hebrew Bible (86 times). [17]

Yet Another Problem!

In the same article, the missionaries express another objection:

In Yusuf Ali’s commentary on this verse we read: “The Farthest Mosque must refer to the site of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem…” So, it is interpreted to be not the building itself, but only the site, the location where it had been. I might be wrong, but this seems to be contradicted by a hadith and Muhammad’s understanding that Al-Masjid-ul-Aqs-a is something that is built, not just a location. Al-Masjid-ul-Haram after all was a building.

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 636:

Narrated Abu Dhaar:

I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Which mosque was built first?” He replied, “Al-Masjid-ul-Haram.” I asked, “Which (was built) next?” He replied, “Al-Masjid-ul-Aqs-a (i.e. Jerusalem).” I asked, “What was the period in between them?” He replied, “Forty (years).” He then added, “Wherever the time for the prayer comes upon you, perform the prayer, for all the earth is a place of worshipping for you.”

This hadith actually introduces yet another problem. Abraham supposedly (re)built the Kaaba, (and Abraham lived about 2000 BC) and the Temple was built by Solomon in about 958-951 BC, then Muhammad gave another historically false information based on a major confusion about the time when these people lived.

Firstly, we have already shown that the word masjid does not necessarily refer to a building but rather to a location, i.e., the place of prostration. Secondly, the missionaries try to deceive the readers in the above paragraphs. Indeed, they admit the Islamic opinion that Abraham rebuilt the Ka`bah (it was Adam who built it originally according to the Islamic tradition), but for unjustified reason they overlook the Islamic traditions addressing the construction of the farthest mosque, presumably to generate a “contradiction”. 

They identify the Farthest Mosque with the Temple of Solomon without further justification, and point out an error that they had invented themselves. Let us for example see what Imam Ibn Hajar says about this hadith in Fath al-Bari:

His saying (40 years) 
Ibn al-Jawzi said: It raises a problem since Abraham built the Ka`bah and Solomon built Bayt al-Maqdis [another name of al-Masjid al-Aqsa cf. Hebrew Bet ha-Miqdash] and there are 1,000 years between them. His evidence for saying that it is Solomon – peace be upon him – who built the Farthest Mosque is the narration of al-Nasa’i from the hadith of `Abd Allah Ibn `Amr Ibn al-`As attributed to the Prophet with an authentic isnad that “When Solomon built Bayt al-Maqdis he asked God the Most High for three things etc.” and in al-Tabarani from the hadith of Rafi` Ibn `Umayrah that “David – peace be upon him – started building Bayt al-Maqdis but God inspired him: I shall accomplish its building with Solomon” and the hadith has a story. He[Ibn al-Jawzi] said: “The answer to that is that the mention concerns the first construction and the foundation of the mosque and it is not Abraham who built the Ka`bah for the first time nor is it Solomon who built Bayt al-Maqdis for the first time. Indeed, we have narrated that the first one who built the Ka`bah is Adam. Then his progeny spread out on earth. Therefore, it is possible that one of them built Bayt al-Maqdis. Later, Abraham (re)built the Ka`bah according to the Qur’an.” Likewise, al-Qurtubi said: The hadith does not indicate that Abraham and Solomon were the first ones to build the two mosques. It was only a renovation of what had been founded by others.  [18]

After quoting other opinions, Ibn Hajar insists:

But the possibility mentioned by Ibn al-Jawzi is more pertinent. And I found evidence supporting those who say that it is Adam who founded both mosques. For instance, Ibn Hisham mentioned in “Kitab al-Tijan” that when Adam built the Ka`bah, God ordered him to walk to Bayt al-Maqdis and build it and so he did and offered worship in it. And the construction of the House [Arabic: al-Bayt, i.e., the Ka`bah] is famous and we have mentioned earlier the hadith of ‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Amr that the House was elevated in the time of the flood until God showed Abraham its location. Ibn Abi Hatim narrated from the way of Ma’mar from Qatadah: God founded the House with Adam when he descended. But Adam missed the voices of the Angels and their prayers. Therefore, God told him: I sent down a House around which [people] will revolve like it is revolved around my Throne, so set out to it. Adam set out to Makkah – He had descended in India, and his steps were enlarged until he reached the House and revolved around it. It was also said that when he had prayed at the Ka`bah, he was ordered to set out to Jerusalem where he built a masjid [mosque]  and prayed therein so that it became a qiblah to a part of his progeny.  [19]

In summary, the verse 17:1 refers to the holy locations in Jerusalem and Makkah because they are blessed regardless of the presence or absence of a building at the time of the heavenly trip of Prophet Muhammad. From an Islamic point of view, evidence has been given by eminent Muslim scholars like Ibn Hajar and Ibn al-Jawzi showing that it was Adam who built both mosques for the first time and that the job of Abraham and Solomon was only a renovation/reconstruction of these sanctuaries.

Conclusions

The word masjid from a linguistic point of view refers to a place of prostration without any religious distinction. From a legal point of view the word masjid in shari’ah constitutes every place on earth that is fit for prostration, whether or not it is a building.

The verse 17:1 may very well refer to the holy locations in Jerusalem and Makkah because they are blessed regardless of the presence or absence of a building at the time of the heavenly trip of Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Jerusalem to the Heavens. From an Islamic point of view, evidence has been given by eminent Muslim scholars like IbnHajar and Ibn al-Jawzi who have discussed the issue. They have shown that it was Adam who built both mosques for the first time and that the duty of Abraham and Solomon was only a renovation/reconstruction of these sanctuaries.

And Allah knows best!

Appendix: Who Turned The Temple Mount Into A Garbage Dump??

Let’s now deal with some side issues. The Christian missionaries tell us that when the Muslims conquered Jerusalem they found the Temple Mount filled with garbage:

“When the Arabs conquered Jerusalem they found the Temple Mount abandoned and filled with refuse. … `Umar ordered it cleaned and performed a prayer there. The sanctuary [the Dome of the Rock] … was built by Caliph `Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan around 72/691.”

Two question now arise, who abandoned the Temple Mount and why was it filled it with rubbish? The facts become clearer when we actually fill in the blanks “…”  in the Christian missionaries’ quotation:

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 Jesus’ prophecy that not a stone would be left standing on another.`Umar ordered it cleaned and performed a prayer there. [20]

So, it was the Christians who abandoned the Temple some 600 years before the Muslims entered it. But who used the Holy place a rubbish 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 Mujir al-Din, 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. [21]

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 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. [22]

Thus the Christians preferred to leave Temple as it was after its destruction; it was left abandoned and became a place of dumping city garbage. It would not be out of place to cite the attitude towards Jerusalem in the early Christian literature. We will take the examples from the writings of John Chrysostom and Athanasius, both of them contemporaries. John Chrysostom of Antioch was the founding father of Christian anti-semitism, whose writing against Jews are extremely vitriolic and of bad taste (no wonder the Christian Church honoured him!).[23] He lived during the period (4th century CE) when Christian eschatology was being linked to Jerusalem or (euphemistically) the Temple Mount. In the wake of Jewish proselytizing efforts, which he feared would empty the churches, Chrysostom vented unbridled wrath against the Jews of Antioch, levelling various accusations against Jews and Judaism. He censured the Jews for celebrating Passover outside Jerusalem, thereby disobeying their own commandments. [24] Above all, he claimed that Jerusalem’s destruction testified the truth of Christianity. Jerusalem has been in ruins and lost to the Jews for three hundred years; why should they await a change? [25] They tried to rebuild the Temple three times – in the time of Hadrian (Bar Kochba revolt), Constantine (an unknown attempt) and Julian. All the attempts failed. It should make amply clear to the Jews that their status will not change. It is true that the prophets referred to an end to exile, but they did not mean the present exile, which is eternal. [26] In this way, Jerusalem’s status came to be identified by the Christians with the fate of Jews; the latter’s final, eternal defeat.

Like his contemporary John Chrysostom, Athanasius was involved in anti-Jewish polemics but not as bitterly as the former.[27] Athanasius thought that the incorporation of Jerusalem into Christian Empire provides the proof of new religion’s truth. According to Jesus’ prophecy, the Holy City as well as Temple have been taken from them forever.

The Christian Jerusalem, before of the advent of Islam, had undergone subtle developments. The Christians had appropriated a body of Jewish traditions concerning the Temple Mount (some of them mentioned in the New Testament) and were now applied to the Church of Holy Sepulchre and Church of Resurrection. The process of “consecration” of Jerusalem and making it into a Christian city met with little opposition; the pagans had no opposition, while the Jews had not been permitted to reside in Jerusalem since the time of Hadrian (the Bar Kochba revolt). And as expected the Temple Mount was left in the state of pile of fallen masonry and rubbish.

It was Islam that restored the sanctity of Temple Mount, and made it a place of prostration and prayer of One God.

References

[1] `Abdallah `Abd al-Fadi, Is The Qur’an Infallible?, 1995, Light of Life: Villach (Austria), p. 271.

[2] A. Duncan, The Noble Sanctuary: Portrait Of A Holy Place In Arab Jerusalem, 1972, Middle East Archive: London (UK), p. 24.

[3] Badr al-Din bin Muhammad bin Bahadir al-Zarkashi, I`lam Al-Sajid Bi-Ahkam Al-Masajid, 1995, Dar al-Kutub al-`Ilmiyyah, Beirut (Lebanon), p. 13.

[4] N. Robinson, Discovering The Qur’an: A Contemporary Approach To A Veiled Text, 1996, SCM Press Ltd.: London, p. 192.

[5] See for example the recent work of Heribert Busse, “The Destruction Of The Temple And Its Reconstruction In The Light Of Muslim Exegesis Of Sura 17:2-8”,Jerusalem Studies In Arabic And Islam, 1996, Volume 20, p. 1.

[6] Al-Zarkashi, I`lam Al-Sajid Bi-Ahkam Al-Masajid, op. cit., pp. 13-14.

[7] ibid., p. 14.

[8] Sahih al-Bukhari, available online.

[9] Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, Fath al-Bari available online.

[10] M. Sharon, Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarium Palaestinae, 1999, Volume II, Brill: Leiden, see plates P29 and P30.

[11] ibid., p. 172.

[12] G. Avni, “Early Mosques In The Negev Highlands: New Archaeological Evidence On Islamic Penetration Of Southern Palestine”,Bulletin Of The American Schools Of Oriental Research, 1994, Volume 294, pp. 83-100. All the pictures are taken from here.

[13] U. Avner & J. Magness, “Early Islamic Settlement In The Southern Negev”, Bulletin Of The American Schools Of Oriental Research, 1998, Volume 310, pp. 39-57. This articles throws further light on an early Islamic open mosque and a settlement.

[14] K. A. C. Creswell, A Short Account Of Early Muslim Architecture, 1968, Librairie Du Liban, Beirut, pp. 15-16.

[15] “Temple”, Encyclopaedia Judaica (CD-ROM Edition), 1997, Judaica Multimedia (Israel) Limited.

[16] “Tahnum”, ibid.

[17] “Worship”, ibid.

[18] See ref. 4.

[19] ibid.

[20] “Dome Of The Rock” in C. Glassé,The Concise Encyclopaedia Of Islam, 1989, Stacey International: London, p. 102.

[21] K. Armstrong, Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths, 1997, Ballantine Books: New York, p. 229.

[22] S. Nuseibah & Oleg Grabar, The Dome Of The Rock, 1996, Thames and Hudson: London (UK), p. 35.

[23] St. John Chrysostom (translated by P. W. Harkins), Discourses Against Judaizing Christians, 1979, The Catholic University Of America Press: Washington, DC.

[24] ibid., See discourse IV: 4.9, 5.1-3, 6.1-5.

[25] ibid., See discourse V: 3.13-15; also 5.10

[26] ibid., See discourse V: 4.5.

[27] St. Athanasius (translated by C. S. M. V.), The Incarnation Of The Word Of God: Being The Treatise Of St. Athanasius De Incarnatione Verbi Dei, 1944, The Centenary Press: London (UK), see the chapter VI, “Refutation Of The Jews”, p. 64.

In Qur’an, Does Allah Promise Israel to Jews??

Initially, there is nothing in Surah Al-Israa or Bani Israel to justify that Palestine belongs to the Jews; and not anywhere in the Qur’an. In Surah Al-Israa, Allah is telling us at the beginning that Bani Israel will corrupt twice in the Earth. At the end of the chapter, it says that Allah will bring them forth from everywhere; we read what means:

{And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the Scripture: indeed you would do mischief in the land twice and you will become tyrants and extremely arrogant!} (17:4)

{And We said to the Children of Israel after him: “Dwell in the land, then, when the final and the last promise comes near [i.e. the Day of Resurrection or the descent of Christ [‘Îsa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) on the earth], We shall bring you altogether as mixed crowd (gathered out of various nations). (Tafsir Al-Qurtubi,)} (17:104)

Scholars have concluded that the second mischief must be during our current time since the Jews did gather from everywhere as Allah told us above, in the state of Israel.

In summary, Allah asked the Jews who were in Egypt with Moses (peace be upon him) to enter Palestine but they refused until later generation when David (peace be upon him) did. At that time, the people who lived in it were ruthless invaders; They themselves were invaders of the land.

The point here is that Allah told the believers from Bani Israel (the word Jews was invented later) to enter Palestine and drive those invaders out and not the original inhabitants.

The prophets who ruled were David and Solomon both prophets of Islam since all prophets from Adam to Muhammad (peace be upon them all) preached Islam.

Allah mentions about this subject mainly in Surah Al-Baqarah, the second chapter in the Quran. For details, you need to read the articles referenced at the end.

At this point in time, Palestine belongs to Israelis. Before the second world war it belonged to Palestinians.

If you ask me as a Muslim, Palestine belongs to Muslims, Christians and Jews because there is history in this land for all these three religions.

However, currently there is oppression from the Israelis side because both Muslims and Christians are deprived from certain areas of the land; in addition to the expansion of Israeli settlements on the account of the original inhabitants.

There are no shortages of opinions on this matter. Human rights abuses occur all around us and some of these problems are easy to resolve. Unfortunately, some problems, like the topic of Palestine/Israel, are much more complicated now than they were when they began.

I don’t want to get into an in-depth history lesson here, so suffice it to say that for the greatest part of Islamic history, from Prophet Muhammad’s time to today, even before that actually, the name of that region was known to all as Palestine, and the vast majority of its inhabitants were Muslims.

Historically Palestine belongs to Muslims. In the past century, there was a struggle of control between Arabs and Zionists. Currently, there is a struggle for Palestinian survival and identity as most of their land has been occupied and taken away by “settlers”.

In the beliefs of some Jews and Christians this land was called Israel based on scriptures. However, their books, as we know, have been tailored with.

The only time that Palestine was under the control of Israel’s descendants, the 12 tribes of Prophet Jacob, peace be upon him, was during the time of Prophets David and Solomon, peace be upon them.

Since they were prophets of God and did no injustice to anyone, they are both, along with their followers considered to be Muslims in the religious sense, but Jews in ethnicity.

Most of the early history of the 12 tribes of Israel/Jacob, of which Moses, peace be upon him, was a member, was spent in the land of Egypt, not Palestine.

Since the time of David and Solomon, peace be upon them, there has been very minimal presence or power over the land by any Jewish government until the last 70 years or so.

If we believe that land belongs to those who are in control of it, lived there for a significantly long period of time (centuries?) then the best claim to Palestine is with people who have lived there for centuries. This includes Muslims, Christians, Jews, or any other person.

To say that this land belongs to Jews exclusively disregards the rights of inhabitants of other ethnic backgrounds or religious beliefs whose history on that land goes back hundreds of years.
Control of Palestine, except for about 100 years of Crusader occupations, was continuously and firmly under control of Muslim governments.

It is only in the last 100 years or so that outside influence, namely British/French/American/Zionist forces have struggled to take control of this land from its Palestinian inhabitants.

Prior to that, it was the Ottoman Caliphate that governed Palestine continuously for over 700 years. Christians and Jews were guaranteed their rights to their lands and property. Control of lands by Caliphates and Muslim governments over the centuries has primarily been characterized by respect to properties of non-Muslims.

That is why the earliest churches and Jewish temples still exist in Palestine, and why Christians and Jews with centuries of history in Palestine still live there.

The problems that exist today in Palestine are a result of Zionists trying to force Palestinian Christians and Muslims off of their ancestral lands in order to make way for non-Palestinian Jews.

Palestine has been the home of Christian, Muslim and Jewish families since the beginnings of each. To chase people off their ancestral land is unjust, especially when based merely on religious beliefs.

Further Reading:
Refuting the Jewish Claim of Their So-Called ‘Divine Right’ to Palestine

[Part-2] Refuting the Jewish Claim of Their So-Called ‘Divine Right’ to Palestine

[Part-2] Refuting the Jewish Claim of Their So-Called ‘Divine Right’ to Palestine

Continued from ➡ Refuting the Jewish Claim of Their So-Called ‘Divine Right’ to Palestine

The Stone Which the Jews Rejected

Luke 20:9 And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. Luke 20:10  When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Luke 20:11  And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. Luke 20:12 And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. Luke 20:13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son (servant the Messiah); perhaps they will respect him.’ Luke 20:14  But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’  Luke 20:15 And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? Luke 20:16  He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!” Luke 20:17  But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Luke 20:18  Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” [English Standard Version]

How did the Jewish people come to occupy Palestine originally? According to their own Scriptures, it was done by vicious murder and genocide. They conquered a land already occupied by indigenous peoples. Supposedly this was done by the command of God; but God also warned them that if they departed from Him and His commandments, He would drive them out of the land again, and “curse” them. According to their Scriptures and history, God did indeed drive them out by means of the Assyrians and Babylonians.

Then God permitted them to return again to Judea and Jerusalem, but he also gave a prophecy to Daniel (9:24-27) that they would once again violate God’s covenant, and a ‘decreed end’ would come upon the nation of Israel. Within a period of 490 years (“70 weeks” of years – 70×7 years) “Messiah” would appear and then be “cut off” from them; and after that the “people of the Prince” would come and thoroughly destroy the city and Temple.

Again history tells us that this did indeed occur when the Roman army conquered Judea and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple (in A.D. 70). Many orthodox Jews recognize that this destruction was the punishment of God for their sins; they maintain that they have a commandment from God to submit humbly to God’s punishment and not take any steps, particularly military, to remove themselves from the punishment and reinstate themselves in their “ancestral land”. They must live peacefully in whatever lands to which they have been dispersed by God’s retribution, and pray for the peace and welfare of those lands. They totally repudiate Zionism, and say that the only hope for peace in the Middle East is for the Israeli government to be disbanded and government of the whole land restored to the Palestinian peoples (including the Muslims, Christians, and Jews who lived there before Zionist Israeli occupation took place). They say that no Zionist can be a true Jew, and no true Jew can be a Zionist.

Those who are Christians should repudiate Zionism, because Jesus himself – in the parable related in Matthew 21:33-46 – explicitly stated that as a result of their rejection of him (“Messiah the Prince”) and his message, the kingdom of God would be taken away from the Jewish nation and given to another nation which would – unlike the Jewish people – bring forth appropriate ‘fruit’ for the kingdom. Mat 21:42  Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Mat 21:43  Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people  (“ethnos” – which means “nation”; the Jews use it to refer to nations other than the Jews, and it is frequently translated “Gentiles”) producing its fruits. Mat 21:44  And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”  There is simply no room in that prophecy for a revived “kingdom of the Jews” in the sight of God. When God brought the Roman army on Jerusalem, it signified “the end” for Jewish leadership in God’s kingdom. The Jewish people no longer occupy a special place in God’s favor (if they ever did), and have no ‘Divine right’ to any piece of real estate.

We Muslims of course recognize in this prophecy of the Prophet Jesus that the other nation to which the kingdom would be given – instead of the Jewish nation – is that other branch of the Abrahamic family which God promised to make a great nation: the family of Ishmael. This is the “stone” which the Jewish builders rejected, but God has made the “chief cornerstone” in His kingdom.

Despite all of this, however, the Zionist movement arose in the late 19th Century, calling for the Jewish people to retake Palestine and establish a Jewish nation there. In the 1940s they accomplished their mission, with the help of several ‘western’ governments, by means of terrorism and military violence. Their slogan was “A people without a land for a land without a people”. What could be more vicious than that slogan and the attitude it represents? It was either an outright lie – that Palestine had no occupants, so who could object to Jews moving to a vacant territory? – or it was, even worse, a statement that the Palestinians who were at that time inhabiting the land were sub-human, not even worthy to be considered people! Who could object to the Zionist Jews slaughtering a bunch of animals in order to retake their land?

While one could hope that they were ‘only’ telling an outright lie, the only real conclusion that can be reasonably reached based on the actions and statements of Israeli leaders since then is that the second alternative is the correct one. The Zionists don’t consider the Palestinians to even be people. No wonder what the Satan Netanyahu can state, without blushing in shame, that the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers in “Judea and Samaria”. How can you be foreign occupiers in a land which was previously inhabited only by animals?

Is it that those innocent  Palestinians shouldn’t object at all to being violently driven from their houses and lands???

The traditional Christian understanding of “the stone which the builders rejected” is that it refers to Jesus Christ himself. It’s the interpretation which the Christians accept.  In fact, it seems so obvious to them that it never occurred that there might be any other possible understanding of the reference. We Muslim interpreters insist that the “stone” was in fact the Arab people descended from Ishmael, to whom the Message of the Qur’an was given through the Prophet Muhammad – and from whom a ‘mountain’ has arisen which fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:35 in the ‘Old Testament’ of the Bible).

Because it was so obvious to the Christians that the “stone” was Jesus Christ himself, they will naturally think that this Muslim interpretation is absurd – an evidence of Muslims trying too hard to find Islam and Muhammad in Biblical prophecy. They definitely will not just immediately exclaim: “That’s right! Why couldn’t we see that before?”

However, they should continue to give it consideration, and seek out Muslim writers who could give a clear explanation of why they understood the prophecy in this way. This should ‘opened their eyes’; but this explanation now will seem clear and simple to them.

The whole point of the parable, of course, was to reach the conclusion that the Jewish “tenants” of the “vineyard” (God’s kingdom) had failed so miserably in their duty, and had proven to be so treacherous toward God, that their honored position in the kingdom would be removed from them and another people would be given that position – another people who would produce the ‘fruit’ of the kingdom and render it up to God. That is the inevitable conclusion of the parable, and in Matthew’s account the listeners themselves were so taken in by the parable that they themselves rendered the verdict that the “tenants” would be destroyed by the owner of the vineyard and others would get the lease.

By the way, this is an example in the Gospels that clearly shows the Bible is not inerrantly ‘inspired’. In Matthew’s Gospel, when Jesus asked the question  “What will he do to those tenants”, it was the listeners who responded with the verdict that those “wretches” would be killed and the vineyard leased to others. In Mark and Luke, though, it was Jesus who answered his own question. In fact, in Luke, the listeners were so far from rendering the verdict themselves that they responded “surely not” when Jesus gave the verdict. (I love the way the King James Version renders the phrase: “God forbid!”  However, “surely not” is actually a closer rendering of the phrase. “God” is not present in the Greek phrase. More literally, it would be “Let it not be”.) However, this is also a good example to show that while the details of the story may vary (and in fact are technically contradictory), the point of the story is not affected.

Notice, then, that it is in support of this verdict that the tenants are to be replaced with other more faithful people that Jesus refers to Psalm 118:22: “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?” The point of the parable was not that one of the emissaries of the owner would be restored in order to collect the rightful ‘fruit’ – not even the “son” who had been killed – but that the tenants themselves would be replaced. The point of Jesus’ quotation of the Psalm was that the Jewish Scriptures themselves declared this very thing.

In Matthew, this is clear in that immediately following the listeners’ verdict that the treacherous tenants would be killed and replaced, Jesus said  “Have you never read in the Scriptures…?” In other words, it’s as if he had said “Isn’t that precisely what the Psalmist said?” Then Jesus followed up the quotation with his own conclusion: Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.” He did not say “Therefore I tell you, the son (servant) whom you will treacherously try to slay will be resurrected to inherit the kingdom.” Then, immediately after saying that another nation/people will be given the kingdom of God, he says “And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” There is nothing in the statements of Jesus to indicate that the stone was a person rather than a “people/nation”, and everything to indicate that the “stone” and the “nation” were one and the same.

If possible, this conclusion is even clearer in Luke’s account of the parable. In his account, the listeners had exclaimed “surely not” when Jesus said that the tenants would be destroyed and the vineyard leased to others. Jesus responded by saying  “What then is this that is written…?” Nothing could be clearer than that Jesus was asking how they could object to his conclusion, since the Psalmist had said the same thing: the Jewish nation which was currently the “cornerstone” in God’s kingdom – but which had failed miserably in its duty to bring the kingdom to all nations according to the promise to Abraham that “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3) – would be replaced by another “stone” which the Jewish builders had rejected; and that “stone” would produce the intended “fruit”.

Who that other nation/stone was should have been obvious to those who were familiar with the Hebrew Torah and the promises made to Abraham. God not only promised to make a great nation or nations from the seed of Abraham’s second son Isaac, but he promised that he would produce a great nation from the seed of Ishmael (Genesis 17:20 and 21:13 and 18). The Jewish “builders” weren’t too pleased with that, though. Although they did not entirely delete God’s promise concerning Ishmael from their Scriptures, they tried to obscure and cover it up as much as possible. After the Genesis 17:20 promise that God would bless Ishmael and make him fruitful, making a great nation of him, He then proceeded to say in verse 21 “And [or also] I will establish my covenant with Isaac…” But the Jews (and Christians) have, without any logical reason at all, read that as But I will establish my covenant with Isaac”; as if it were being said “but My blessing of Ishmael is really inconsequential; my real blessing and covenant will be with Isaac.”

Although Isaac was never at any time Abraham’s “only son”, they nevertheless inserted Isaac into the story  of Abraham’s near sacrifice of his “only son” as if Ishmael didn’t exist (Genesis 22:2 ff) . When God promised to bless Ishmael and make him fruitful, He said (Genesis 16:12) “He shall be a fruitful man, his hand with every man and every man’s hand with him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his kinsmen.” However, to show their hatred of Ishmael, the Jews (and Christians following in their footsteps) distorted that by claiming “fruitful man” should be read “wild ass of a man”, and “with” should be read “against”. (We will post on it later)

When Sarah (in Genesis 21) became upset at Ishmael’s laughter, the Jews have interpreted that laughter to be laughing at (mocking) Isaac (although the text itself only says that Sarah saw Ishmael laughing – not laughing at anyone or anything). The Christian apostle Paul even interpreted this to mean that Ishmael was persecuting Isaac (Galatians 4:29). The Ishmaelites don’t figure much in the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures because the Jews figured they were at best unimportant. At worst, the Jews despised the Arab descendants of Ishmael.

Who else, then, could the nation/stone which the Jewish “builders” rejected be but that great nation descended from Abraham’s firstborn son Ishmael? The promise of God to Abraham had been that in him all nations would be blessed. When the descendants of Isaac were rejected by God, then the descendants of that other son replaced them. God raised up a prophet from the seed of Ishmael; his Arab brothers embraced his/His message; and instead of thinking that they should hoard God’s blessing to themselves (as the Jews did), they fulfilled the duty of God’s covenant by bringing the message of God to all the nations.

The Christian Church did indeed keep alive the name of Jesus Christ, and expanded greatly. But while doing so, it distorted the message so greatly that it can hardly be recognized for “the way” that Jesus proclaimed. When Christianity became allied with the Roman Empire, it was more a defeat for the “Christian” version of the kingdom of God than a triumph. Rome conquered Christianity rather than vice versa. Only the Message of God through Muhammad, originally delivered to the nation descended from Ishmael, has spread the message – in its purity – of God’s kingdom throughout the earth. This “nation” has indeed been a faithful and fruitful “cornerstone” in the kingdom of God.

I would like to say more about the intriguing nature of the use of the word “stone” for the Islamic “nation”.

The Stone That the Builders Rejected

I presented reasons why I have come to believe that Jesus’ quotation of Psalm 118:22, 23 had reference to the Muslim “nation” beginning with Muhammad and his Arab kin – the “great nation” which God promised Abraham from the descendents of his son Ishmael.

Here, I want to explain why I believe the use of the concept of a “stone” to refer to the descendents of Ishmael as the “foundation” of God’s kingdom on earth is very appropriate – and also answer an objection to my interpretation of the prophecy.

Perhaps we don’t think of it very much, but the use of stones as altars to serve as focuses in the worship of the One God was common among the “fathers” of Judeo-Christian faith. Genesis 12:8 tells of Abraham building an altar at Bethel. Genesis 28:18, 19 tells of Abraham’s grandson Jacob taking a single stone which he had used as a pillow, making it a pillar, anointing it with oil, and making a vow to the LORD – which also is said to have taken place at Bethel. In Joshua 4 we are told that the Israelites, by God’s command, gathered 12 stones to set up as a remembrance after crossing the Jordan River.

As I’m sure is well known, Islam also has a very famous Black Stone which is a centerpiece in the Ka’ba in Mecca. The Qur’an explains that Abraham and Ishmael built the Ka’ba as a House of God in the place now known as Mecca, and set up the Black Stone. This stone is said by tradition to have come down from heaven. Some believe it is meteorite stone, though I don’t believe that has been officially confirmed.

Now despite the fact that no one seems to think Abraham, Jacob, or the Israelites were guilty of idolatry when they used stones as holy altars, anointed them with oil, and used them in their worship of God, many Jews (and Christians) delight in ridiculing Muslims as idolaters for their reverence for the Black Stone as ‘part’ of their worship of the One God. Quite literally, this is a stone which the Jewish builders rejected. And that is why it was so apropos that the Psalmist and Jesus should refer to a stone when prophesying that another nation would replace the Jews as the cornerstone in the kingdom of God. The Jewish ‘builders’ rejected the nation descended from Ishmael, and they rejected the center of worship in Mecca, with its Black Stone. Therefore, the “stone” is properly a metonym for the people and religion with which it is associated.

There have been various theories as to the origin of this stone. Some believe it is a meteorite or a fragment of one; others believe it might be volcanic rock. Whatever its origin, it was definitely not hewn by human hands from a mountain or quarry. Therefore, it fits beautifully with Daniel’s interpretation of the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2:31-45. In that dream, Nebuchadnezzar had seen a huge statue. Dan 2:32  The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, Dan 2:33  its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. Dan 2:34  As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Dan 2:35  Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”

The different metals in the statue represented 4 different kingdoms or empires, with the 4thbecoming divided (iron mixed with clay). Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian kingdom were represented by the golden head. The silver chest and arms represented the Medo-Persian Empire which followed Babylon. Afterward came the bronze middle and thighs, which represented the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great. Finally, the legs and feet of iron mixed with clay represented the Roman Empire – which became divided into Eastern (Byzantine) and Western sections.

But Nebuchadnezzar saw a stone cut out without human hands which struck the feet of the statue, which were a mixture of iron and clay. This caused the statue to collapse and be destroyed, and the stone itself became a great mountain filling the earth. This stone which destroyed the statue and became a great mountain is interpreted by Daniel to mean a great kingdom which the God of heaven would set up “in the days of those kings”. This kingdom would destroy the other kingdoms, and would itself never be destroyed or left for another people.

So here we are presented with 4 consecutive Empires or Kingdoms beginning with Babylon, with no break in between them; and then a 5thkingdom or Empire which arises “in the days of those kings”  – specifically, in the last days of the 4th kingdom when it was in a weak state. It seems hard for me, now, to avoid the understanding that the 5th kingdom, set up by the God of heaven and represented by a stone cut out without human hands, is none other than the religion and Empire of Islam which originated with the Arabian descendents of Ishmael and spread out to “the whole earth”. It is a kingdom which in point of fact did arise in the last days of the weakened Roman Empire, and wound up putting the finishing touch to that Empire (and indeed the whole ‘statue’) when it conquered Constantinople (the Capital of the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire – present day Istanbul) in 1453 A.D.

This “kingdom” remains intact to this day. Despite some parts of that vast kingdom having been conquered by invaders from time to time, it remains distinctively Muslim (submitted to the One God) in character. Even the Mongol hordes converted to Islam after they conquered Islamic nations. The conquerors were themselves ‘conquered’ by the religion of the One God. This kingdom has indeed not been left to another people.

Now this prophecy of the “stone cut out without hands”  in Daniel fits very well with Jesus’ prophecy of “the stone which the builders rejected”. As Daniel had predicted that the kingdom would never be destroyed or left to another people, Jesus said that “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him”  (Luke 20:18). In Psalm 118, from which the quotation about “the stone that the builders rejected” is taken, the context is of a victorious conqueror. “(7) The LORD is on my side to help me; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me… (10) All nations surrounded me; in the name of the LORD I cut them off!… (15) Hark, glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: ‘The right hand of the LORD does valiantly’…”

In Daniel 2:44, the stone which crushes the statue is specifically said to be a kingdom, not a king. This goes hand in hand with Jesus’ prophecy, confirming that “the stone that the builders rejected” is the people/nation which replaced the Jews as the ‘cornerstone’ in God’s kingdom, not the ‘son’ and ‘heir’ of the kingdom whom the ‘tenants’ killed.

All of these things fit so well together! The nation and kingdom which replaced the nation and kingdom of the Jews as the cornerstone of God’s kingdom is that ‘great nation’ which descended from Abraham’s firstborn son, Ishmael, which has filled/is filling the earth. And this kingdom is very fittingly represented by a “stone cut out without hands…which the builders rejected”.

This leaves us with the objection that the apostle Peter specifically ascribes to Jesus himself the honor of being “the stone that the builders rejected” (Acts 4:11, and 1 Peter 5:7). Nothing could be more explicit than the statement in Acts 4:11: “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.”  What can I say to this? Doesn’t this undermine my whole argument which I have gone to such great lengths to establish?

If Peter and the other apostles were in fact the infallible spokesmen that many Christians claim them to be, then it would certainly be true that Peter by that one simple statement completely destroyed my argument. However, that’s simply not the case. The Biblical authors and apostles are atrocious interpreters of the “Old Testament”. Take as an example ‘Matthew’s’ statement in Matt. 2:15 that the infant Jesus was taken by his parents to Egypt, and then brought back to Galilee and Judea, in order to fulfill Hosea 11:1 – “Out of Egypt I called my son”. When one actually looks up that ‘prophecy’ of Hosea, he/she discovers that Hosea was not making a prediction about a future Messiah; instead he was making a reference to the deliverance of the Jewish people (whom God is said to call “My son”) from Egyptian slavery hundreds of years before Hosea wrote his prophecy. Hosea is pointing out the ungratefulness of the Jewish nation for the blessings they had received from God, not predicting that a baby way off in the future would spend a short period of time in Egypt before being brought back home.

Another example can be found in the letter named “Hebrews” in the New Testament. In 2:13, the author quoted Isaiah 8:18 –  “Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.”  The writer of Hebrews would have us believe that the speaker in Isaiah’s prophecy was Jesus Christ, and the “children whom the LORD has given me”  were the children of God whom God gave to Jesus as his brothers. Yet that is clearly not the case. Isaiah was talking about himself and his own children. God had given him those children, and told him to give them very symbolic names (like “a remnant shall return”, “haste, haste to the spoil”, and “God is with us”), so that they would serve as signs and symbols for the Jewish people. The writer of Hebrews in fact winds up making a mockery of the prophetic Scriptures by the way he used them. By that system of “hermeneutics” (interpretation), one can make statements mean anything one wishes. I could use God’s commandment to Abraham to leave his country and kindred, and go to a land that He would show him, as a “prophecy” about Joseph and Mary fleeing to Egypt by the command of the angel!

There are plenty of other examples of such clearly wrong “interpretations” of the Old Testament by New Testament writers. Consider the examples of Peter himself in Acts 1:20 – where he refers to short excerpts from Psalm 69 (verse 25) and Psalm 109 (verse 8 ) to find guidance for replacing Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus Christ. I won’t deal with it here; just check it for yourself and see if by any stretch of the imagination those little snippets have anything to do with Judas and the apostles’ duty to replace him.

So I have no difficulty at all in acknowledging that Peter’s interpretation of “the stone that the builders rejected” is in error. It is understandable, inasmuch as the Jewish ‘builders’ did indeed reject Jesus (as they did many other prophets before him); but Peter is clearly in conflict with Jesus’ interpretation of the Psalm. I’ll accept Jesus’ interpretation over Peter’s.

Of course, one is free to question whether either Jesus or Peter got it right. Perhaps they’re both wrong, and the Psalmist was speaking only of himself. But I’m quite willing to believe that David was indeed a prophet, and he was speaking – by the Spirit of prophecy – of things future to him when he wrote that Psalm. The “I” in the Psalm was the coming deliverer who would bring God’s kingdom to the earth. The “stone” was the nation/kingdom of Ishmaelite descendents which he represented, and who would become the first followers of his God-given message.

The fact that the New Testament writers and apostles made errors in their handling of Old Testament Scriptures does not, of course, necessarily mean that they were always wrong – or even usually wrong. It does mean, though, that the exhortation of the apostle Paul is always relevant: “1Th 5:20 Do not despise prophecies, 1Th 5:21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 1Th 5:22 Abstain from every form of evil”(1 Thessalonians 5:20-22). No ‘prophet’ gets a free pass, giving him exemption from testing.

The Kingdom of God vs. The Kingdom(s) of This World

Daniel 2:44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another peopleIt shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end,  and it shall stand forever, Dan 2:45 just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold.

Luke 20:15 “And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? Luke 20:16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!” Luke 20:17 But he [Jesus – peace be to him] looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Luke 20:18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

John 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:  John 16:9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; John 16:10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; John 16:11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (Quotations from the English Standard Version of the Bible).

Some people may think that the title of this sub-topic is inappropriate. They will say that there is no opposition between God’s kingdom and human government. They’re 2 entirely distinct “kingdoms”, each having its own sphere; and the 2 must never meet. God’s sphere is that which is “spiritual”, and only that; while the sphere of human government has to do strictly with the material world. God is not concerned with matters of human government and society, and human government is not concerned with the things of God and spirituality. So why should I speak as if they were in conflict with each other? As long as we don’t try to mix the 2 spheres, there’s no conflict. Right?

Well, actually that’s quite wrong. Anyone who is consistently a believer in the Almighty, Infinite, and Ineffable One must acknowledge that the Creator of all things is also the Sustainer and Governor of all things. It is quite untrue to say that God’s “sphere” is restricted to the “spiritual” as opposed to the material.

Ultimately, the problems societies face are the result of seeking to ignore God in political, social, and generally “every day” affairs – and consequently substituting other authorities in the place of the King of all the earth. An individual assumes the role of ultimate authority in government, or a group of men do, or “the people” are seen as the ultimate authority. Basically speaking, that is simply atheism; but many supposed “theists” rationalize this by establishing those “categories” or “spheres”.

Those who truly worship the LORD their God, and serve Him only, realize that the only human government which is good, honorable, and just is that government which is in submission to the law of God – Who rules over all things and all “spheres” of life. They pray and work for the “coming” of God’s kingdom to earth in such a way that the will of God will be done by humanity as willingly and voluntarily as it is done by the angels of God in heaven.

Even those Deists – such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison – who drew up the founding documents of the government of the United States of America recognized this fact. They may not have believed in infallibly inspired Prophets and Revelations, but they nevertheless believed in the law of God which can be found in nature and can be discerned by human reason and intuition. For them, the “laws of nature and of nature’s God” were the ultimate laws which supersede even the “will of the people”. Of course, “the people” may refuse to follow the laws of God; but the result will be unjust government.

Those theists, though, who do believe that God has not left it entirely up to human reason and intuition (which are very fallible) to discern correctly God’s law – and that He has sent Prophets from time to time with Revelation to shine light on the darkness of the human mind and reason – find that God has promised that the day would come when He would establish His own righteous government in the earth. He would shatter and crush all ungodly governments.

The Biblical statements quoted at the beginning of this article are examples of this promise of God, and hope of His people. Daniel, for instance, had interpreted a dream of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in which he had seen a giant statue representing human government throughout the ages – beginning with his own government. It was one statue or government, yet it was divided into four segments or kingdoms. Looking back historically, we can see that the four kingdoms which constituted one “statue” were Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

Then Nebuchadnezzar had seen a stone “cut out without human hands” which struck the statue on its toes (which were part of the fourth kingdom, Rome), and caused the whole statue (representing ungodly human government) to collapse. Then the stone itself grew to where it encompassed the whole earth – meaning the kingdom or people whom God would raise up as a godly kingdom would overthrow all the previous corrupt governments (which were in fact only one corrupt government in various forms) and establish God’s kingdom in their/its place.

I have now come to the conclusion that this “stone” which was “cut out without human hands” ( and which Jesus –peace be to him – called “the stone which the builders rejected”, referring to Psalm 118) is the “great nation” promised to Abraham through his son Ishmael – or rather beginning with that Ishmaelite nation, and then spreading to people throughout the earth. Just as Daniel had said that the stone would crush ungodly empires, so Jesus said that the stone would break and crush all its opponents.

Having said that concerning the nation/stone which would replace the nation of Israel as the cornerstone in God’s kingdom – and which would “bring forth the fruits” of that kingdom – he also spoke of a Prophet (“helper”, “counselor”, or “comforter”) who would come for the good of men after Jesus (peace be to him) departed. One of the reasons for the coming of this other Prophet was to “convict the world … concerning judgment because the ruler of this world is judged”. This “ruler of this world” is none other than the great statue, representing ungodly world government, which Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream and which the Prophet Daniel explained. As there were 4 parts to the statue, so there were several manifestations of the “ruler of this world”; but the coming of the Prophet whom Jesus Christ predicted would indicate God’s judgment of this ruler (whether the ruler is a literal evil spirit named Satan, or a general evil principle pervading all government not submitted to the law of the One Creator and Sustainer of the worlds).

The great characteristic of the Religion of God, whose last Prophet was Muhammad, is simply that it proclaims the greatness and kingdom of God over all, and calls men to submit to God. The “kingdom” of Islam (submission to God) is that kingdom which “the God of heaven” has set up.

This “Muhammadan” Islam is not intended to be a separate religion from previous religions such as Judaism and Christianity, and in conflict with them. Rather the “Muhammadan” revelation is a continuation of, and fulfillment of, those religions. In fact, they all constitute the one “Religion of God” which is Islam (submission to the One God). The revelation given to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be to him and his family) just confirms the others, and ‘rescues’ them from corruption which had set in.

When God said to Muhammad,  “it is He who has sent forth His Apostle with [the task of] spreading guidance and the religion of truth, to the end that He make it prevail over all [false] religion, however hateful this may be to those who ascribe divinity to aught but God” (Qur’an 61:9, Muhammad Asad version), the “religion of truth” spoken of is not “Islam” as opposed to Judaism, Christianity, or other monotheistic religions. It is the one “Islam” which pervades all those true religions, but which has reached its perfection in the revelation given to Muhammad.

Many Christians have fallen into the snare of thinking that because Jesus the Messiah/Christ/Anointed One said that his kingdom was “not of this world”, and that the kingdom of God is “within you”, we should not be concerned with seeking and establishing righteous and godly human government. They have fallen for the “separate spheres” mode of thinking. But Jesus Christ himself denied the correctness of that conclusion.

Yes it is true that God’s kingdom must begin within people, and spread outward. And it is true that Jesus himself was not the one appointed by God to smash and destroy ungodly human governments. But he said that another Prophet and Leader of another (non-Jewish) nation would come after him who would effectively demolish ungodly government and establish God’s kingdom in human society.

Those whose “eyes and ears are open” to God, and who love His kingdom, should be delighted to see God fulfilling His promise of His glory filling the earth as the waters cover the sea! But so many people are deathly afraid of the spread of Islam (submission to God) and “Shariah” (God’s law). As the Qur’an says in 24:48 –  When they are summoned to God and His apostle, in order that He may judge between them, behold some of them decline (to come).   [Yusuf Ali English Version]. Why is that? Is it that there is a disease in their hearts? or do they doubt, or are they in fear, that God and His Messenger will deal unjustly with them? [Verse 50] I’m afraid that there is an underlying doubt of God’s goodness and trustworthiness in many people who are afraid of the “triumph” of the Religion of God. Such a doubt is of course in reality atheism or agnosticism. Those of us who claim to believe in the God of all the earth (and of all the worlds) should check ourselves carefully to make sure such a doubt of God does not lie secretly within us.

For myself, I can say that I am delighted to see the continued spread of Islam (submission to God) throughout the earth – even in the midst of tremendous opposition – because this is the spread of the Religion of God and the Kingdom of God; the Kingdom which the God of heaven has set up and which will certainly prevail over all false religion and government (religion and government which establishes other ‘gods’ or authorities beside the One) no matter how much those who serve other authorities than God may hate it. I believe, with Abraham, that “the Judge of all the earth will do right” and I have no fear of His religion as my rule and authority – though I certainly want to make sure whatever rule asserts itself to be “of God” is really what it claims to be. 

One of the basic premises of this Divine Revelation in the Qur’an is “freedom of religion”.  For instance: [2:256] There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from [the way of] error: hence, he who rejects the powers of evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is all-hearing, all-knowing.  [10: :99]  And [thus it is:] had thy Sustainer so willed, all those who live on earth would surely have attained to faith, all of them: dost thou, then, think that thou couldst compel people to believe..? As shown in the “Muhammadan” manifestation of the Religion of God, Islam (submission to God), is both multicultural and religiously pluralistic.

May God cause His light to shine upon us; and may His rightly guided leader (“Mahdi”) appear soon to lead us fully out of the mess we have  made of things and into a truly godly society with godly government.

Refuting the Jewish Claim of Their So-Called ‘Divine Right’ to Palestine

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Fundamentalist Christians and Zionist Jews vociferously proclaim the ‘Divine right’ of the Jews to statehood in Palestine, and are willing to joyously support all manner of Jewish atrocities done in order to kick others out of that land and keep them out. It was the support of western ‘Christian’ nations that originally (following World War 2) ‘granted’ the Jewish people the right to supplant the Palestinian Christians and Muslims who were at that time inhabiting the land. (Christian supporters of Israel conveniently overlook the fact that a large portion of Palestinians are in fact Christians; they’re not all ‘evil’ Muslims, whom some Christians love to hate). Any opposition to any Zionist Jewish acts, no matter how atrocious, is considered opposition to God and His purpose and Word.

So what is the basis of this supposed Divine right of Jews to the land of Canaan? Well, of course it is to be found in the promise of God to Abraham found in Genesis 17:8 – “The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”  This is taken to be a true historical event, and is to be interpreted literally (according to the fundamentalist Christians, and Zionist Jews). And of course it is pointed out that this covenant is ‘everlasting’.

Now first of all, the word ‘everlasting’ means ‘for an age’; that is, for a long time – not ‘forever’ the way the Zionists want us to think of it. And secondly, despite this ‘everlasting’ covenant, the Hebrew Scriptures themselves warn that if the Jewish descendants of Abraham violated the terms of the covenant, God would ‘curse’ them and drive them out of the land (see Deuteronomy 28 and 29 for instance). According to these Scriptures, God even warned that he would violate His own promise due to their disobedience: “The LORD will send you back in ships to Egypt on a journey I said you should never make again”  (Deut. 28:68). The curses and threats in Deuteronomy were fulfilled by the Babylonians and Assyrians; and then finally, after warnings by the Jewish Prophet Jesus and his followers, it was fulfilled by the Romans in 70 C. E. Jesus even said (Matt. 21:43): “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” That word ‘people’ is the Greek word “ethnos” which is frequently rendered as ‘Gentile’ and ‘heathen’; it means a non-Jewish people or nation. From a Muslim viewpoint this means that the kingdom of God is to be found in people of every nation and tongue in whose hearts God reigns supreme, who hear and obey His word. It includes Jews who love and serve the One God, but they are only a part of God’s people, not a ‘chosen nation’ any more (if they ever were such). That of course was in fact part of that original covenant promise to Abraham: that all the nations of the earth would be blessed in him. Who can imagine that God would ‘go back’ to a former predominant concern with the Jewish nation (if He ever had such a predominant concern) now that He is blessing the whole world?

If it be objected that in Deuteronomy 30 God said that He would bring back the Jews to their land, from whatever part of the world in which they had been scattered, it should be noted when such a return would occur: “When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, THEN the LORD your God will restore your fortunes…”  (Verses 1-3). Will any thinking person (particularly the fundamentalist Christians) say that such was the case in 1948, or any time since? I don’t think so! A good portion of Jews are atheists today (or even devil worshipping Free Masons); how many of those who are not atheists love God with all their heart and all their soul I wonder? Would it not be fair to say that most non-atheists are still just nominal Jews, fulfilling rituals but not heart-felt lovers of God? Well, who am I to judge, right? There are certainly at least some Jews who are truly devout, anyway. But surely the fundamentalist Christians (and modernist ‘Muslims’ like the Saud’s), who are such avid supporters of Israel, won’t be willing to admit that any but the Muslims would truly fit into the category of those who fulfill those verses quoted above. Therefore, Jews don’t have any claim to the fulfillment of that prophecy yet; and current support for them based on that promise is without foundation.

Having said all of that, though, the real question to be examined is whether or not the events depicted in the ‘historical’ books of the Hebrew Scriptures are indeed genuine history, and to be understood literally. We really need to know who wrote those accounts, and whether or not they can be trusted as having given us accurate historical accounts. It has traditionally been believed by the Jews and Christians that the first 5 books of the Bible (the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) were written by Moses; and the next book – Joshua – was written by Joshua. Conservative Christians still defend this idea, but it won’t hold up to examination. First of all, nowhere in the Pentateuch is it ever claimed that Moses was the author of the books, and Joshua doesn’t make any claim that Joshua was its author. Secondly, the books are all written in the 3rd person about  the characters in those books, just the way one would expect in a ‘history book’. Moses did such and so, and Joshua did this or that; not “I did” or “I said”. Now if the books made claim to being written by Moses or Joshua, one could acknowledge that a person could write about himself in the 3rd person; but absent such a claim to authorship, there is simply no basis to assume this.

There are so many more plain proofs that these books were not written by Moses or Joshua, though – rather they were written by some other unknown person or persons several hundred years later. Would Moses have said about himself: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3)? Such a claim by Moses himself would prove the claim was untrue! How could Moses write about his own death and burial in Deuteronomy 34? Note the account of Moses’ death and burial is written in the 3rd person, past tense (as one would naturally expect). Whoever wrote this lets us know that he is writing a long time after the events, because he said: “to this day no one knows where his grave is” (verse 6); “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses” (verse 10); and “For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel” (verse 12). These statements, and others like them in the Pentateuch and Joshua, show that the writer lived a long time after the events being described. (In Joshua 24, the death of Joshua is reported, so the same question applies as did to Moses’ death: can we really be expected to believe that Joshua wrote about his own death??!)

In Genesis 14:14 we read: “When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan”. The problem with that statement is that the city named ‘Dan’ did not go by that name in the time of Abraham or Moses. It was not named Dan until after the death of Samson, several hundred years after the time of Moses. Judges 18:27-29 tells us when that town came to be named Dan: “Then they [the Danites] took what Micah had made [idols], and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a peaceful and unsuspecting people. They attacked them with the sword and burned down the city. There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else. The city was in a valley near Beth Rehob. The Danites rebuilt the city and settled there. They named it Dan after their forefather Dan, who was born to Israel – though the city used to be called Laish”. So whoever wrote Genesis could not possibly have done so before the Danites destroyed Laish and renamed it Dan.

In Genesis 26:31 there is this statement: “These are the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned…”  Of course, the first Israelite king to reign was Saul, so whoever wrote Genesis at the very least had to have written after Saul became king. The city of New York used to be called New Amsterdam; the name was changed in 1644. Anyone who writes about events in New York, calling it by that name, by that very fact indicates that he is writing after 1644 even though the writer does not identify himself or tell us when he was writing. So it is with the writer of Genesis. Even though the writer is anonymous, and does not tell us when he wrote, the fact that he says those Edomite kings lived “before any Israelite king reigned” unquestionably tells us that he was writing after Israelite kings began to reign.

This is only a small portion of the evidence available that Moses and Joshua were not the authors of those books traditionally attributed to them. What’s the point, though? The point is that we have no idea who the author was, so we know nothing about his character and trustworthiness. The events happened many hundreds of years before he wrote, and we don’t know what sources he used for his accounts (and the trustworthiness of those sources). Any claim of the Jewish people to the land of Canaan, based on the Biblical story of Abraham, Moses, and Joshua, is worthless because the validity of those accounts is utterly unprovable! They are stories compiled and edited by scribes relatively late in ‘Old Testament’ Israelite history, and as ‘histories’ they are just examples of prejudiced Jewish propaganda designed to validate themselves as a nation with a country to inhabit.

In fact, I believe many of the stories were deliberately made up so that we would be taken in by the ‘letter’ to fool people into believing the so-called ‘right’ of the Jewish people to the Land of Canaan. Consider the deplorable morality of some of the stories. For instance, consider Deuteronomy 20:16 and 17: “However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them…” That is precisely what Joshua did to the city of Jericho, as recorded in Joshua 6:21. What person who has any feelings for the honor of the God of love, mercy, compassion, justice and righteousness would ever be a party to such slanderous lies against God by believing such examples of moral depravity in the name of God? We must either believe they are outright lies, or that the writers (forgers) intended us to know from their loathsomeness that these stories were fabricated in order to suit the Holy Land agenda of the Jews.

An indication of what the higher truth is can be found in the great ‘faith chapter’ of Hebrews 11 in the “New Testament”. In verses 8-10 we read concerning Abraham: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” This city is then further explained in verses 13-16: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country – A HEAVENLY ONE. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them”.

The “land of Canaan” is not a material, earthly territory, but is a ‘heavenly one’. The story of Abraham being commanded to sacrifice his son (whether it was Isaac, as in the Bible, or Ishmael as in the Qur’an) is an allegory teaching us that we must be willing to let go of even the dearest earthly attachments if they hinder our pursuit of God and His kingdom. In our struggle to inherit the heavenly Canaan, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” –those ‘Old Testament’ accounts of combat are allegories of the heavenly struggle – “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world [age] and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

Those Zionist Jews and fundamentalist Christians who promote Jewish occupation of the earthly Canaan, and building of a material Temple in earthly Jerusalem, have entirely ‘missed the boat’. The true Jerusalem is the one which ‘comes from above’, and the true Temple is the people of God, not a building. The true Canaan is the ‘heavenly country’ which God has prepared for those who love Him. Don’t ‘miss the boat’. And when you see or hear about despicable atrocities being done by anyone ‘in the name of God’, denounce them for the hypocrites and impostors they are, whether they’re Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists or Hindus (or anyone else).

To Whom Was the Earthly Land of Canaan Given?

Gen 17:9 And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” 15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.” 22 When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham. 23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him. (English Standard Version)

According to the Biblical story, God made a covenant with Abraham – spoken of in several places in Genesis – whereby God would be in a special manner his God, bless him greatly, and give to him and his offspring the land of Canaan. Genesis 15:18 said that this land would extend from the “river of Egypt” to the Euphrates – quite a sizable area. The vexing question, though, is: who are the offspring of Abraham to whom this portion of land was said to be given by God?

The traditional answer given by Jews and Christians is considered to be obvious: it was given to that line of offspring descending from Abraham’s son Isaac, and grandson Jacob. Ishmael and the other children of Abraham are said to be excluded from this promise of land. This is based on verse 21 of Genesis 17 (quoted above): But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year;  and on Genesis 21:12 – But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. This is understood to mean that God’s covenant is only with Isaac (not Ishmael or any other of Abraham’s children), and only the offspring of Isaac would be counted as Abraham’s offspring.

But is that traditional answer true? If you read this 17th chapter of Genesis from the beginning, you’ll see that the promise God was making to Abraham – based on the command to walk before me and be blameless – was that He would confirm the covenant promises to Abraham and greatly increase the number of Abraham’s offspring. Abraham would become the father of many nations, and kings would come from his descendants (the “many nations”). God would establish His covenant with those “many nations” offspring, and give them that land of Canaan.

Now one would assume from this that the covenant – with its promise of the land of Canaan – was intended for all of those “many nations” descendants (so long as they also fulfilled the covenant requirement to walk in blamelessness before God). As a confirmation of the correctness of this assumption, God proceeded to give Abraham a covenant sign – circumcision – which was to be applied to all of his male descendants throughout their generations. In fact, the covenant – with its sign – was not only for those who were physically descended from Abraham, but also with all the servants who were purchased and therefore members of his household. As long as all of these “descendants” (whether direct or purchased slaves) continued to practice that sign of the covenant, they were included in the covenant promise of being God’s people and inheriting the land of Canaan.

As a result, verse 23 says that Abraham proceeded to obey God by circumcising Ishmael, every other male born in his household, and all of those who had been purchased with money. They all received the sign of the covenant, and all – including Ishmael – were included in that covenant.

Note that this was a year before the birth of Isaac. Ishmael was already included in this covenant before Isaac was even conceived. However, while God was making this covenant promise and requirement, He told Abraham that his wife Sarah would give birth to a son – to be named Isaac. Abraham, though, was 99 years old and Sarah was 89; and despite the fact of the greatness of Abraham’s faith and trust in God, this was more than he could believe it would seem. He fell on his face laughing at this idea, and asked God to just let Ishmael “live” before Him.

God patiently responded that Sarah would indeed give birth to a son – to be named Isaac – and God would establish His covenant with that son. Ishmael would be blessed with fruitfulness, and a great nation would spring from him; but I will establish my covenant with Isaac. And it’s with that little word “but” that the problem arises. Despite the very apparent previous inclusion of all of Abraham’s circumcised descendants (including Ishmael) in the covenant of promise, that one little word seems to suddenly place a huge restriction on who would inherit the promise. Doesn’t that seem a good bit strange??

It would indeed be very strange; but that’s not what the Genesis account tells us that God said. Despite the fact that the translators are almost unanimous in putting that word “but” in there, the correct translation is “and” or “also”! Young’s Literal Translation renders it: and My covenant I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah doth bear to thee at this appointed time in the next year.

A web site called  “Ark of Salvation” has an article  explaining and defending this rendering of “and” rather than “but”. In this particular article, he points out that the word “but” in Genesis 17:21 is a single letter – transliterated as ‘V’ in English letters – which is prefixed to the first word of the sentence. As the author says, The Hebrew prefix “V-“ (Vav) is defined by Langenscheidt’s Hebrew Dictionary as a conjunction meaning “and, and therefore, also, then, yet”. He comments that beginning Hebrew students are taught that this prefix “V” means “and”. This would be the clear and obvious meaning in Genesis 17 if Hebrew prejudice and arrogance had not twisted it in order to make themselves “God’s special people”.

When the statement in Genesis 17:21 is read as “and” or “also”, it takes on an entirely different meaning than if it’s read “but”. The meaning in context then comes to this: God told Abraham that He was so pleased with him that it simply wasn’t sufficient that He was going to provide Abraham offspring through Ishmael; he was also going to give him another son whom God would also make to be very fruitful, and with whom He would also establish His covenant. [Compare this to what the LORD said to his servant (the messiah) in Isaiah 49:6 – he (the LORD) says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”  The idea is the same in what God is reported to have said to Abraham.] Ishmael was already obviously included in the covenant, but God was going to add to that blessing by establishing His covenant with another son also. Verses 20 and 21 would then read: As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 And I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.  Or if one insists on keeping the word “but” in the translation, it would read But also I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.

Some people maintain that it was certainly a very great blessing God bestowed on Hagar and Ishmael – making a great nation to come from them – but this was entirely separate from establishing His covenant. The covenant was a far greater blessing than just causing a huge number of descendants to come from them.

My response is that, on the contrary, the promise of fruitfulness and their descendants becoming a great nation (or nations) is precisely what the covenant was all about. Notice that in verses 15 and 16, this is precisely the promise that is made regarding Sarah and Isaac (which verse 21 defines as meaning God would establish His covenant with Isaac): And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” When God says he will make Ishmael fruitful, and cause a great nation to descend from him, that is the definition of establishing His covenant with Ishmael. (And the fact that Ishmael’s offspring would become a great nation necessarily implies that they would have a land to inhabit. And what would that land be other than at least a part of the promised land which would extend from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates – a land promised to the “many nations” offspring of Abraham?)

When verse 19 says: “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son…”, that was not a negation of Abraham’s request that Ishmael would “live” before God (as the context makes very clear); rather if there is any negation involved at all, it is negating Abraham’s denial that he and Sarah could possibly conceive a child at their advanced ages. In fact, the word rendered “nay, but” is probably not a negative at all. The KJV renders it “indeed” (And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed…); and the NIV renders it “yes, but” (Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son…). The Hebrew word appears 7 times in the Bible, and in the KJV is rendered “verily” 3 times; “indeed” twice; and “nevertheless” twice. In response to Abraham’s incredulity, God was telling him that His promise of a son through Sarah would indeed come to pass – without at all denying that Ishmael also would have God’s covenant blessing.

So verse 21 is not saying “but I will exclusively establish my covenant with Isaac”; rather it is saying “in addition, I will also establish my covenant with Isaac”.

This same idea of additional blessing, rather than exclusivity of blessing, can be seen in the passage in Genesis 21:12 and 13: (12) But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. (13) And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” Here’s how Young’s Literal Translation renders these verses: (12) and God saith unto Abraham, `Let it not be wrong in thine eyes because of the youth, and because of thy handmaid: all that Sarah saith unto thee–hearken to her voice, for in Isaac is a seed called to thee. (13) As to the son of the handmaid also, for a nation I set him, because he is thy seed.’ When Sarah jealously insisted that Hagar and Ishmael be “cast out” from the household, Abraham was understandably very distressed. But God is said to have reassured Abraham.   Abraham could safely do what Sarah requested, because God Himself guaranteed that Hagar and Ishmael would be safe, and would in fact thrive. Isaac would indeed bear offspring for Abraham; but Ishmael also was Abraham’s offspring, and God was going to fulfill His previously made promise and see to it that Ishmael survived to have a large family which would eventually become a great nation. Abraham’s offspring would be “called” from both of those sons.

That is the story as it is presented in the Hebrew Scripture. If it is a historically accurate account, then the “Israelites” don’t have a leg to stand on in arrogating to themselves sole “ownership” of the land of Canaan, and sole (or even primary) inheritance of God’s covenant with Abraham. The land belongs to all of Abraham’s descendants (including those from Ishmael) who keep God’s covenant requirements. If the story is not historically accurate, but is instead either false or allegory, then obviously again the “Israelites” don’t have any legitimate right to claim the “Abrahamic covenant” and the land as their own. The covenant is for all who follow in the steps of Abraham’s faith, and the “land” is allegorically interpreted as the “heavenly” inheritance.

It is certainly true that the Hebrew people twisted and distorted this Abrahamic covenant to make it theirs exclusively; and this distorted interpretation was reflected later in the writings of the prophets. But it is high time that this misuse of “sacred Scripture” should be corrected. The Qur’an points out in a number of passages that the Jewish people tended to pull verses out of context and distort their meanings. This is one example of such abuse.  Nevertheless, the interpretation of the particular text was wrong, although the principle he was seeking to establish was correct. This is a proof that God is able to bring forth good out of evil!

Is Israel God’s ‘Chosen Nation’??

“Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” [Acts 10:34, 35].

In this article I want to pursue the related idea of whether Jews (the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) have any special place in the purpose of God. This is obviously the key issue in the controversy over any national right of Israel to a particular land. It is the most basic element in the claims of Zionist Jews and their fundamentalist Christian supporters: the Jewish nation is God’s ‘chosen people’, made by God to be above all of the other nations and peoples of the earth; all nations must serve the Jews, and whoever opposes them opposes God Himself.

That viewpoint is so distorted, though, that one has to cry out in astonishment to Christians or Jews who hold such a view: “for you are still carnal [of the flesh]” [1 Corinthians 3:3]!  The key point of that story, though, is that Abraham and his descendants were being set apart as God’s witnesses to the nations, in order to – by their testimony – bring all the nations into the kingdom of God, and thereby into God’s blessings on an equal basis with themselves. God wasn’t setting up a national hierarchy, with one nation superior to all others. When the physical descendants of Abraham broke God’s covenant through disobedience, and failed to be a testimony to the nations of God’s righteousness and justice, mercy and kindness, then God cut them off from His blessing – as their own prophets testified.

Hosea, in chapter one, gave symbolic names to his children indicating that Israel would be called “not pitied” and “not my people” because of their disobedience. The point here is that it is not one’s genetic lineage that makes him part of the ‘people of God’, but one’s belief in God as manifested by an obedient life. The Hebrew prophets were clear in showing that it was never a violation of God’s covenant with Abraham when He removed unbelieving and disobedient descendants of Abraham (physically speaking) from the covenant blessings. The story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 illustrates the point beautifully. Elijah complained to the LORD that he was the only person in Israel still loyal to God, and the Israelites were seeking to kill him. The LORD responded that Elijah was mistaken; there were still 7000 in Israel who refused to worship Baal. These 7000 would be spared by God while the rest (the unbelievers) were cut off from God’s blessing and destroyed – despite their verifiable claim to be genetically pure descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The prophet John (“the Baptist”), when castigating his Jewish hearers for their sinful departures from obedience to God’s covenant and calling on them to repent before God cut them off (he said: “Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” – Matthew 3:10), made this very interesting statement in verse 9: “Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham”! He was using the metaphorical and hyperbolic language of the Hebrew people to refer to the fact that all of creation ‘sings praises’ to God; trees ‘clap their hands’ and mountains ‘skip like lambs’ in joy at God’s presence and blessings. So metaphorically speaking, the very stones believe in and praise God, and are therefore children of Abraham (children of his faith) in contrast to the disobedient physical descendants whom God was about to cut off from His blessings. Here it is made plain that not only must Jews be believers to be the true ‘people of God’, but there can be children of Abraham who have no physical connection to him at all. The only thing that matters is obedient faith, such as Abraham illustrated.

Jesus taught this truth when he said (in Matthew 21:43): “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom”.  The physical Jewish descendants of Abraham were to be disinherited, and another nation (the ‘nation’ of believers from ALL nations – including the remnant of believing Jews) would inherit the promises forfeited by the (national-Zionist) Jews. (This was equivalent to John’s prophecy that the axe was at the root of the Jewish ‘trees’ and was about to cut them down).

The fact of the matter, then, is that God has never blessed a people based on their physical descent, doesn’t now, and never will. That is why Peter’s new understanding of God, quoted at the beginning of this article, is of such importance. Peter had once believed the carnal distortion of many Jews that those who are Jews by physical descent from Jacob were a ‘special’ people to God, separate from the ‘unclean Gentiles’. He told the household of the Roman centurion Cornelius: “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean (Acts 10:28). And so he said (as quoted at the start of this article): “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation ANYONE who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him(Acts 10:34 and 35). The nation of Israel has no special claim on God’s favor, and never will! With the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, and the dispersal of the Jewish people throughout the nations, in 70 AD, God has torn down the ‘first tabernacle’ with all of its outward trappings (land, Temple, sacrifices, and other regulations of worship) in order to open the way to the ‘holiest of all’ (Hebrews 9). You may be sure that God will never ‘rebuild’ that ‘first tabernacle’ with its outward ordinances and land. Anyone holding to the Zionist illusion should disillusion himself, and set his eyes on that ‘spiritual, heavenly country’ which is the inheritance of those in every nation who fear God and do what is right. This includes Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and anyone else who truly loves and serves God. They show the law of God and of his anointed written on their hearts, even if it is not recognized intellectually. It is they who are the true ‘children of Abraham’ and receive the covenant promises.

Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. Gen 12:2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.Gen 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Isa 45:22 Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.

John 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.

John 10:16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

Acts 10:28 [The Christian apostle Peter speaking to the household of the Roman centurion Cornelius – SGP] And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean …
Act 10:34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, Act 10:35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.

Qur’an 49:13 People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should get to know one another. In God’s eyes, the most honoured of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware.

Qur’an 5:18 The Jews and the Christians say, ‘We are the children of God and His beloved ones.’ Say, ‘Then why does He punish you for your sins? You are merely human beings, part of His creation: He forgives whoever He will and punishes whoever He will. Control of the heavens and earth and all that is between them belongs to Him: all journeys lead to Him.’

[Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version; Qur’an quotations are from the Abdel Haleem English Version.]

Those verses, taken from the Hebrew and Christian portions of the Bible, and the Qur’an (Koran), proclaim with utmost clarity a most basic principle of the Religion of God in all its manifestations: God is King of all the earth (indeed of all worlds), all human beings come from Him, and He has no favorites among them – except that He favors all those from every nation and tribe who believe in Him and do righteous deeds.

This is actually something which should be clear to anyone who uses the reason God gave him/her, even without any ‘Divine Revelation’. Yet the darkness of human understanding is sometimes so great that even the most clear and evident truths of “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” are not seen or are ignored.

Some people have imagined that the color of one’s skin makes him/her superior to everyone else: “white supremacy” for instance – whether its manifestation in the Ku Klux Klan in the USA; or the white, blond haired, blue eyed ‘Aryans’ of Nazi infamy; or any other manifestation. And of course there was the reaction of the “Black Muslims” of the “Nation of Islam” who maintained (maintain?) that the true ‘master race’ is the race of black skinned people.

Others imagine that “God’s elect” are those who belong to a particular expression of the Religion of God. Perhaps most obvious would be some from the Christian religion (“evangelicals”, “fundamentalists”, etc.) who think that they alone belong to the family of God – because they have come to believe in the ‘right’ Prophet, and believe the ‘right doctrines’ concerning that Prophet (that he is – supposedly – Pagan doctrines like “God the Son”, the “Second Person of the Trinity”, and that he died as a substitute for all believers to bear the wrath of God against them and so-called ‘save’ them).

Such ‘supremacist’ imaginations are demolished by the above quoted verses.

But there is another group of people who believe they are “the apple of God’s eye” because of a combination of physical genealogical descent from Abraham through his grandson Jacob/Israel, and their religious faith and obedience to the Law of Moses. For many, it is the genealogical descent which at least seems to be the biggest factor. These people, of course, are the Jews – or at least some from among the Jews. I’m not one who believes that they’re all alike.

Nevertheless, even though not all Jewish people are ‘racists’, I imagine it must be with difficulty that they avoid it. It is so ingrained in Jewish thinking based on interpretations of the Bible and the Talmud, that it seems to me that one must either reject a large portion of those books as forgeries and fable, or resort to what appears to many as ‘far fetched interpretations’ of them. Still, there may be some truth to the idea that much of what are known as the ‘historical’ portions of the Hebrew Scriptures was never intended to be understood as ‘true history’, but rather as Zionist propagandism. It is not “the truth” historically, but it contains a truth. And perhaps the stories were written in such a way as to be unbelievable and even atrocious, in order to ‘cue us in’ that they were in fact forgeries rather than true histories.

However, historically the Jewish Scriptures have been understood by much of the Jewish ‘nation’ as very literally teaching that they are “God’s chosen people”, vastly superior to the ‘dogs of the Gentiles’. An illustration of just how ingrained such thinking is in Jewish thought is the story in Acts 10 and 11 of the Christian “New Testament” concerning Peter and the household of Cornelius.

Peter would not even have considered entering the house of Cornelius – a Roman centurion – if he had not been given a vision by God showing him that God doesn’t show favoritism. This despite the fact that Peter had spent so much time in the presence of Jesus Christ; and the fact that Cornelius was considered a ‘righteous’ and ‘God-fearing’ man, even by the Jews – who respected him (Acts 10:1, 2, 22). Despite his righteousness and fear of God, he was still a ‘dog of the Gentiles’. He may have been a ‘good dog’, but he was a ‘dog’ nevertheless. He was not an ‘equal’ of the Jews, and no good Jew would think of entering his house and eating with him.

It took visions given to Peter and Cornelius to convince Peter that this notion of Jewish superiority was invalid. And when he returned to Jerusalem, he had some explaining to do – because the Jewish disciples of Jesus  there were horrified that Peter had done something as unthinkable as entering the house of an uncircumcised Gentile and eating with him (again despite the fact that Cornelius was respected by the Jews as a righteous and God-fearing man) [Acts 11:1 and 2].

This idea of Jewish superiority is easily seen today in what is known as ‘Zionism’ and ‘the Jewish State of Israel’. Most Jewish people seem to accept without hesitation that the land of Palestine belongs to them by so-called ‘Divine Right’. They are “God’s chosen people”, and they just don’t seem to comprehend that there might be some problem with them ‘cleansing’ the land of its non-Jewish inhabitants, demolishing their houses and cities, burning their crops, etc.

They eagerly accept fables about the land of Palestine being uninhabited, barren, and unfruitful – just waiting for “the apple of God’s eye” to come in and make the ‘desert’ blossom like a rose! Their blind prejudice is reflected in the slogan they adopted about the land: “a land without a people for a people without a land”. Despite the fact they had to murder or drive out hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the land in order to turn it into a ‘Jewish State’, they still said it was a ‘land without a people’. I guess that’s because of the ‘fact’ that those Palestinian ‘Gentiles’ weren’t really people, but ‘dogs’! (Naudhubillah).

All of those olive and orange groves (as well as other types of agriculture) which the Zionist Jews had to destroy in order to be able to plant their own crops and turn the ‘desert’ into a ‘fruitful field’ were only imaginary, I guess. After all, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) wrote that in his travels in Palestine he found the land uninhabited and barren! (We’re supposed to ignore the fact, I suppose, that Mr. Clemens also said the same thing of Greece – in perhaps even stronger terms. Mark Twain was a great writer of fiction and humor; but it sounds like his “non-fiction” was perhaps not quite so ‘non’ fictional.)

What is truly amazing, though, is that many Christians – and even some (westernized dajjalized) Muslims – buy into the absurd notion of Jewish ‘chosenness’ and their ‘Divine Right’ to the land!

In the past two and a half years that I have been reading the Qur’an, I have seen that the Qur’an does indeed confirm what remains of the truth in the former revelations; and it definitely confirms the truth seen by Peter that God shows no favoritism, but those in every nation who believe in God and do good works are accepted by Him. The quotations from 49:13 and 5:18 given at the beginning of this article are quite explicit. 5:18 in particular says that neither the Christians nor the Jews are God’s special people; they’re just human beings, and God bestows His blessings on whom He will among human beings.

Surah 2:124 says this: When Abraham’s Lord tested him with certain commandments, which he fulfilled, He said, ‘I will make you a leader of people.’ Abraham asked, ‘And will you make leaders of my descendents too?’ God answered, ‘My pledge does not hold for those who do evil.’ This confirms the Biblical assertions that Abraham believed God (and showed it by his works), and this was accounted to him for righteousness; and that it is those who have the same faith as Abraham (shown by righteous works) who are his descendents and heirs. Those who disbelieve and disobey are not Abraham’s heirs.

Sura 17:4-8 says this about the children of Israel: (4) We declared to the Children of Israel in the Scripture, ‘Twice you will spread corruption in the land and become highly arrogant’. (5) When the first of those warnings was fulfilled, We sent against you servants of Ours [Assyrians and Babylonians] with great force, and they ravaged your homes. That warning was fulfilled, (6) but then We allowed you to prevail against your enemy. We increased your wealth and offspring and made you more numerous – (7) whether you do good or evil it is to your own souls – and when the second warning was fulfilled [We sent them] [“servants of Ours” – the Romans this time] to shame your faces and enter the place of worship as they did the first time, and utterly destroy whatever fell into their power. (8) Your Lord may yet have mercy on you, but if you do the same again, so shall We: We have made Hell a prison for those who defy [Our warning].

This again confirms the prophecies of the Hebrew prophets. Isaiah and Jeremiah for instance predicted the Assyrian/Babylonian captivity, while Daniel in particular (though not only Daniel) predicted the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the “last days/end” for the Jewish State. Daniel 9:24-27 predicted that from the time Cyrus the Persian freed the Jews from the Babylonian captivity there would be 490 years (70 “weeks/sevens” of years). Messiah the Prince would appear in the 69th “week/seven”, and be “cut off” in the 70th “week/seven”. After that, and as a result, the “people of the Prince” would come and destroy the city of Jerusalem and its Temple. When the “people of the Prince” is referred to, I believe the Prince is the same “Messiah the Prince” previously referred to who would come and be “cut off”. The Roman legions are seen as being sent at his command, by the will of God, to fulfill God’s purpose. However, others believe that this Prince whose people would destroy the Temple is Titus, the Roman General (son of Emperor Vespasian) who was the actual Roman leader.

In keeping with this prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple by the Romans – and its fulfillment – the Qur’an says this in 5:78 and 79: (78) The Children of Israel who defied [God] were rejected through the words of David, and Jesus, son of Mary, because they disobeyed, they persistently overstepped the limits, (79) they did not forbid each other to do wrong. How vile their deeds were!  

I believe this Qur’anic statement about David and Jesus proclaiming God’s rejection of the Jewish people who defied and disobeyed God refers in particular to a parable and statement of Jesus given (with minor variations) in 3 of the 4 “Gospels” (the “Synoptics” – Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Jesus told a parable about the owner of a vineyard leasing it out to some tenants, and then leaving on a trip. From time to time the owner would send servants to collect some of the fruit from the tenants (lease payment); but the tenants beat some and killed others of those servants. Finally, the owner sent his son (servant) (the last Prophet of Bani Israel), figuring that the tenants would at least honor him. Instead they tried to kill him, thinking that with the heir dead they would inherit the vineyard themselves.

According to Matthew’s account, Jesus then asked his hearers:  Mat 21:40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants? Their response (verse 41) was: He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.

Then followed this response: Mat 21:42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Mat 21:43  Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. Mat 21:44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

So Jesus confirmed the conclusion of his hearers, and applied it to the Jewish nation by quoting from David (Psalm 118:22 and 23) and making his own declaration of God’s rejection of Israel and replacement of them by another people.

Yes, I without hesitation adhere to what some (even Christians, interestingly) disparagingly label “replacement theology”. God honored the faithful obedience of Abraham by telling him that his descendants would bring the blessing of God to all the nations. The descendants of Abraham’s grandson Jacob were chosen to have the opportunity to fulfill that purpose and be a “light to the nations” (not to be superior to, and slave masters over, the nations). When those descendants of Jacob became arrogant and disobedient, and became a “blight to the nations” rather than a “light to the nations”, God repudiated them and gave that position to the descendants of Abraham’s firstborn son, Ishmael. The Arabic people, beginning with the leadership of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), fulfilled the purpose of being a “light to the nations”. They did not arrogantly imagine that God had made them superior to everyone else as the Jews had done. People from all nations and races have become “Muslims” (submitted and devoted to God), and the Arabs have no superior place among that “Muslim” people. They became the “cornerstone” in the kingdom, but they are not the kingdom itself.

To conclude then: it is simply impossible that God would adopt some particular nation or tribe of people – or followers of one particular Prophet out of the many He sent – to be His “chosen” or “special” people in any sense that makes them superior to everyone else. The Jewish people were chosen to have the opportunity to bring God’s light to other nations; but when they brought instead a “blight” to the nations, God rejected them and replaced them with a people who would not be arrogant and unfaithful. And it remains true of Arab Muslims as well as all other Muslims that if they are unbelieving and disobedient, they too will be rejected by God. God simply doesn’t play favorites!

In the next part we will try to identify the people of “The Stone which the Jewish People Rejected” and “the kingdom of God will be takeb away from you anf giveb to a people producing its fruits.” Insha Allah.