Losing Jerusalem

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Al-Aqsa Mosque: Jerusalem

Visiting Jerusalem is up for debate now, and it’s good that it is being taken up and understood now. The question is not whether to visit Jerusalem or not, rather it is visiting it under Israeli’s occupation. Islamic scholars have different opinions on this, all of which are respected. 

Let’s look at it from the religious perspective first. Jerusalem has always been a sacred place as mentioned in the Holy Quran “… to Masjid Al-Aqsa, whose surroundings we have blessed…” (17:1). It is the land of prophets all of whom are revered and respected. This mosque is the place where all the prophets (May Allah be pleased with them all) met on the night of Isra. When the Holy prophet (PBUH) migrated to Madinah, the Muslims prayed in its direction for more than one and a half year. Being host to the third holiest place of Islam, Jerusalem is equally dear to Muslims, as it is for Jews and Christians. The holy Prophet (PBUH) has specifically mentioned Al-Aqsa Mosque to be visited along with the ones in Makkah and Madinah. So it’s more important for Muslims to try and visit there if conditions allow. Though under Israeli occupation, we can still go there via Jordan. According to some scholars, it’s like recognizing Israel, and they have a valid point too – in accepting the norms and procedures formed by the occupying Israeli government. 

But let’s look at the other side as well. All these decades we have been “not recognizing Israel”, but have also been losing an opportunity to visit Al-Quds. So just by going there, do we “recognize Israel”? No, as long as you are just going to fulfill your religious duty. We have the treaty of Hudaibiyah as an example, where the holy Kaabah was still in control of the Quraysh, but the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions made a pact with them, stayed in Makkah for three days and performed their pilgrimage. Did they recognize the Quraysh’s ownership of the Kaabah? Definitely not.

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Babri Masjid as it stood once in India

Now coming to the political and strategic aspect – Israel has long been trying to drive out all the Palestinians from the remaining lands they hold. And it has been blocking all attempts to even talk of return of refugees to their own country. The only aim is to declare and let the whole world accept Israel as a Jewish state. More importantly there have been concerted efforts to Judaize the surroundings of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Now if Muslims continue to isolate Jerusalem and Al-Quds, just because its under Israel, will it not boost their efforts to Judaize the whole of Jerusalem? The more number of Muslims visiting Al-Aqsa, the more Islamic right it retains. Of course, the struggle against the Israeli occupation can continue, but the more we shun Jerusalem the stronger will be the Judaization of Jerusalem. If we are honest with ourselves and with the Palestinians, we really don’t see even a rare chance of Israel returning back the occupied territories in decades to come. So how long will we be leaving Jerusalem alone? And what do we say about the Muslim countries who already have either full diplomatic ties with Israel or have some tacit (hand in glove) understanding with Israel? Refrain from them as well?

An interesting example should be of significance here: The destruction of historic Babri Masjid in India at the hands of right wing Hindu fanatics. The controversy and court cases over this issue were in existence ever since the British rule in India. At one time a court declared the complex locked for both Hindus and Muslims. And after decades the locks were opened and Hindus given access to perform their worship, thereby reducing the Muslims’ chances of winning back the right to offer prayers in the Masjid. One of the significant stands taken by right wing propaganda in the run up to opening the locks for Hindus was – “No Muslim prayers were offered there for so many decades, No Muslim ever entered there so it cannot be a Masjid”. 

Al-Quds should not suffer the same fate.

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Ajaz Ahmed is a Middle East based IT Systems Analyst from Aurangabad, India. He writes on various issues pertaining to the Muslim world. He can be reached at ajaz.n.ahmedgmail.com



12 Comments

  1. Regarding Babri Mosque, it is correct that court cases existed since British days (about 1850 and afterwards). Why not before? Because that territory was ruled by muslim rulers; Hindus could not complain because the rulers will get mad and knock down a few more of Hindu temples (remember Somnath destruction around 1706). The moment British took over territory of Oudh, in which Babri Mosque was located, Hindus filed lawsuits.

    It is correct that Babri Mosque is historic (but what is not historic?; anything and everything can be considered historic); but not holy; it is just like hundreds of thousands of other mosques and has no special significance.

    It took only a few hours to demolish the mosque with literally no equipment, other than hammers; no wrecking ball, no bull dozers, etc. It means, it was in bad shape, not good for use, and ready to be demolished.

    Ayodhya is a holy city to Hindus; it is the birthplace of Lord Rama, but Ayodhya has absolutely no significance to Muslims. The city has 5-6 other mosques there still too. Hindus have plenty of Holy cities. It is a polytheistic religion and has lots of gods; hence lots of holy cities. Muslims live in all holy cities of Hindus; but no non-muslim is allowed to live in any Islamic Holy city.

    Rafiq Zakaeeria (father of Fareed Zakaria, CNN/Newsweek) wrote a few years before destruction of Babri Mosque that if muslims gave up Babri Mosque, Hindus will come up a list of 300 other mosques which muslims built by destroying Hindu temples when muslims ruled India. If muslims gave up Babri Mosque, then WHERE WILL IT END? So, no religious reason; only political reason for retaining the mosque.

  2. Here is an interesting bit of information about Babri Mosque:

    Inside the walls of the mosque, there were 2 raised platforms where Hindu priests (and Hindu congregation) performed daily Hindu services (must be using idols) since at least 1870’s and onwards. There is no Hindu service really without using idols. It is part of the court records and muslims agree to this fact. Check the court records. (Probably they made a small temple there just to keep idols there rather than bringing them with them all the time).

    What!! Idol worshippers worshipping their idols in a muslim mosque. And muslims are idol breakers. Crazy, just plain crazy. But then, if you think deeply, it is a very crazy world.

  3. Whatever Quran may say about Masjid Al-Aqsa, it did not exist (at least in Jerusalem) at the time death of Mohammed (632); no muslims lived in Jerusalem around that time. The construction of the mosque in Jerusalem Masjid Al-Aqsa was not started till 691, almost 60 years after his death; it took about 10 years to finish it.

    So, where is Masjid Al-Aqsa (the one mentioned in Quran)? Nobody really knows, if it exists at all. The one in Jerusalem may have been given the same name, but is it the same entity?. But then it does not matter. People fight based on religious emotions.

  4. Yes, we Muslims should not let the same happen to Aqsa Masjid as

    happened to Babri Masjid. Dear Muslims make effort and don’t loose the

    reward of visiting Aqsa Masjid as said by Prophet (SAWS).

  5. It is an excellent article Ajaz. May Allah give you more wisdom to

    help your fellow muslims to uderstand the right path of piety and

    Honour. Amin. Sum-amin. Salam, Tahir

  6. Peace be unto you.May Almighty Allah retain the power for Muslim ummah against the aggression of the unbeliever and direct them to the right path(Islam)and retain the peaceful land for Islam(Amin).

  7. Here is additional information on Babri Mosque:

    As I wrote in earlier post that were 2 raised platforms within the walls of mosque where Hindus did their idol worshipping. Actually, this started quite a bit earlier during Akbar’s days. Akbar (ruled 1555-1605) wanted to undo the injustice of building mosque on Hindu temple (he was tolerant of other religions), but found it impossible to do without incurring wrath of Mullahs; so he gave the authority to build the 2 raised platforms. Couple of foreign travellers in the 17th century reported practice of Hindu worship there (it is part of the court record).

    Were there problems after building of raised platforms? Of course there were. There were problems during Jehangir’s days (successor of Akbar) and in Aurangzeb’s days too. Afterwards Mughals became very weak and lost territory to other muslim rulers. Some of these rulers when threatened by foreign invaders like Abdali of Afghanistan and Nadir Shah of Persia asked help from Hindu Marhattas, who asked for return of 3 Hindu holy cities. Unfortunately, they did not win the war against Abdali and hence agreements never implemented.

    Then territory was captured by British. That is when lawsuits were filed and never resolved. Then came partition and mosque was closed. Rest is well known history.

    Hindus worshipping idols in the walls of a muslim mosque; well, that is part of history too.

  8. In response to all the comments.,

    You all have forgotten that Islam started since the mankind. Prophet Adam was the first prophet. God had to remind of the religion sending prophets for guidance. All the prophets are Muslims. Humanbeings are terribly wrong doers. Look whats happening now., gay marriage that is forbidden by all the religions are given the right. That occured during prophet Lot’s time period. You may laugh but if you use your common sense you will get it.

  9. Assalam alaykm to all my muslim brothers and sisters all over the world. This article is a reminder to all muslim umah that we shouldnt forget to pay a visit to masjid aqsa .after reading this article have made up my mind to visit if Allah will.

  10. Masha Allah,

    Great Article brother Ajaz,

    This Judaization of Jerusalem is a part of the Big Agenda that they are heading with, one of the reason is they denied christ [Isa (as)] as the Messiah and are awaiting their false messiah [Dajjal the anti christ] and he will rule the world for 40 days from Jerusalem only.

    This Zionist cults are all Satan worshippers and they shall pay a heavy price for the same.

    May ALLAH [swt] protect Masjid Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem and every Muslim…….Ameen !!!

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