In 2011 the “Arab Spring” filled most of the world with great hopes. Now, seven years later, the Near East is filled with increasing conflict, anxiety, fear, and despair. According to a worldwide poll for Reuters (May 2, 2012), “Nearly 15 percent of people worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime.” That number is surely even higher by now.
But the faithful and trusting activities of Abraham and his two sons during their great test at Mori-yah and Marwah should give us hope for the future of peace in the Near East.
In the Hebrew Bible, the name Mori(y)ah (Hebrew: מוֹרִיָּה) occurs only twice: once in Genesis 22:2, the first book of the Hebrew Bible, and once in 2 Chronicles 3:1, the last book of the Hebrew Bible.
Genesis 22:2 says: "Then God said, 'Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him there as an offering on a mountain I will show you.'"
2 Chronicles 3:1 says: "Then Solomon began to build the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite (2 Samuel 24:16-25) the area bought by David.”
Jewish tradition has interpreted these two far distant verses as referring to the same exact place. This tradition which first appears in a definite shape in the writings of the first century Jewish historian Josephus, and is now almost universally accepted, asserts that the "Mount Moriah" of 2 Chronicles 3:1 is identical with a "mountain" in "the land of Moriah" of Genesis 22:2; and that the spot on which God appeared to David, and on which the temple was built, was the very spot of the sacrifice of Isaac.
In the Qur’an, the mount is called Marwah in Arabic, as Qur’an 2:158 states: “Indeed, as-Safa and al-Marwah are among the symbols of Allah. So, whoever makes Hajj to the House or performs 'Umrah - there is no blame upon him for walking between them (the two hills located close to the Kaaba in Mecca). And whoever volunteers good - then indeed, Allah is Appreciative and Knowing.”
The Qur’an informs us that Har Moriyah and Al-Marwah are among the symbols of Allah. The two of them are theological symbols of the great trust and faith that Abraham/Ibrahim and his two sons displayed for God; and they are also two geographical locations of great sanctity for mankind.
Yah is a short version of Ya-hovah used often in names; so Mori-yah means either God’s incense-spice Mor or God is my teacher Mori. The Mor incense-spice hints at a future place of ritual offering. My teacher hints at the Torah that Mori (Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad) will teach the descendants of Abraham.
The Qur’an verse also states that “There is no blame upon one who walks between them and volunteers good.” I understand this to mean that peace and brotherhood will someday exist between all Jews, Christians, and Muslims the Qur’an states and as Prophet Isaiah predicts (19:23-25):
“On that (Messianic) day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. On that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.”
And "Allah is Appreciative and Knowing” of everyone who contributes to Allah's peace.
Rabbi Maller's web site is: www.rabbimaller.com. His new book ‘Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms: A Reform Rabbi's Reflections on the Profound Connectedness of Islam and Judaism’ (a collection of 31 articles by Rabbi Maller previously published by Islamic web sites) is now for sale ($15) on Amazon.