Question and answer details
|As-salaamu `alaykum, My questions are: Who inhabited Palestine in the earliest times and established Jerusalem? According to the Noble Quran, Allah (SWT) did promise the Children of Israel the holy lands; if so, what about the people who were living there? Were they to be sacrificed just as the Palestinians are now being sacrificed for the sake of Zionist Israel ? Again, according to the Noble Quran, the Children of Israel refused to obey Allah's commandments to enter the holy lands even though Allah (SWT) assured them victory as soon as they entered the lands; and they were punished harshly by Allah, when they disobeyed Allah’s commandments. Now, do they still have the right to claim the holy lands at anytime they desire? Are the Zionist movements in the 20-century justified from a religious perspective in massacring the people of Palestine to replace them with eastern European and Russian Jews, before, during, and after 1948, since Allah (SWT) did promise them the holy lands? Thank you and God bless you!|
AnswerSalam Abu Zidan,
Thank you very much for your questions.
I shall try to answer them as briefly as possible.
The earliest known people of Palestine came from the Arabian Peninsula. They are called the Canaanites by western scholars. Because they were the descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham. The name is also used for the territory now known as Palestine, which the Jews would prefer to call Israel. In the first book of the Bible we may read how Jehovah promised Abraham’s offspring the Land of Canaan:
“And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.” (Genesis 17: 8,9)
Abraham had two sons: the firstborn was Ishmael, the second, Isaac. The Arabs are the children of Ishmael and the Jews are the children of Israel or Jacob, the second son of Isaac. The Jewish claim is that only the children of Israel deserve the Promised Land; because Ishmael’s mother was only a handmaiden of Sarah, the mother of Isaac.
Part of the present complexity of the Palestinian Problem arises from the above claim. In the Book of Deuteronomy, the sixth book of the Bible, we read:
“If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: but he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.” (Deuteronomy 21:15-17)
It is clear from the above passage of the Jewish Bible itself, that neither Ishmael nor his children can be denied their birthright; but the perverse racism of most of the Children of Israel made them adopt an unjust policy towards their brethren.
The Holy Quran very clearly speaks of the special favor God gave the Children of Israel. You can read this in Surah 2, verse 47, which means:
The special favor mentioned here is obvious in the fact that they were miraculously liberated from the bondage of Egypt, and were led to the Promised Land. And more importantly, they were chosen as the bearers of the Divine Message, meant for leading the people out of darkness to light. For this reason Allah appointed a number of prophets from among the Children of Israel.
Yet, despite all this, the Children of Israel were ungrateful to the All-Merciful; and instead of worshipping Him alone, they took to idolatry: They defiantly broke God’s commandments given in the Torah. They insulted the prophets and even plotted against their lives.
Allah Almighty admonishes them and tells them in Surah 2, verse 40, what means:
Here God speaks of the special covenant of the Children of Israel. Allah says that He has fulfilled His part of the covenant, and it is now the turn of the Children of Israel to fulfill their part. The verses following the above would make it clear how they were expected to fulfill the covenant. Surah 2 verses 41 – 43 say what means:
The point to be noted here is that from the very beginning of mankind on earth, Allah has been sending His prophets to guide humanity along the Right Path. Whenever the people deviated from Divine Guidance, prophets came to correct them and lead them back to the Path of Allah. Thus after the time of Moses, when the Children of Israel distorted the Divine Message, many prophets came to them, of whom the most important was Jesus the Messiah.
In fact, the coming of Jesus had been clearly foretold and the Jews ought to have believed in him and followed him when he came. But selfish obstinacy prevented most of them from receiving the Messiah when he appeared; they ridiculed him and sought to crucify him. The Holy Qur’an narrates how Allah Almighty saved Jesus from an accursed death on the cross. Obviously the Jews who rejected Jesus were transgressors who broke God’s covenant and forfeited the special favor of God.
Indeed both Moses and Jesus had foretold the coming of the Last Prophet of God; and it was the duty of whoever persisted in the old Judaism and of the Christians to follow the Last Prophet who came to complete the Divine Guidance for mankind. But except for some, the Jews and Christians rejected God’s Last Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him).
In short, from the point of view of the Holy Qur’an, the real inheritors of the prophetic tradition of Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus, indeed of all the prophets culminating in Muhammad (peace be upon them all), are the Muslims. More than any political or military claim, this fact alone must establish the Muslims’ right to Palestine and its capital Jerusalem.
But Allah is the God of all; and He is Just, Compassionate and Forgiving as the Qur’an repeatedly states. So the Muslims are not to fight the Jews and the Christians for the reason that they rejected the Last Prophet; their duty is to invite all to the Path of God. And they have no business on that score to fight those who reject their invitation; on the contrary they must try their utmost to live with them in peace and harmony.
You have asked the question whether the Jews of the present day have any right to claim the Land of Palestine which God promised to Abraham’s children. The answer to this question can be found purely on the basis of the principles of justice and truth, the importance of which is emphasized throughout the Holy Qur’an. But the Zionists who come from Eastern Europe for instance, want the people living in Palestine to vacate the land to give way to Jewish settlements, because God had promised the Land to them about 4000 years ago!
The early Zionists used to say that they were claiming “a land without people for a people without land”; which means that they just refused to take note of their own brethren who had been living in that land for thousands of years.
In 1969, Golda Maier, the former Prime Minister of Israel echoed the same idea in other words:
“There was no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed.”
This means that the Zionists are not prepared even to acknowledge the existence of the people who were born and brought up in Palestine, on the plea that they were not Jews. And at the time of the Balfour Declaration in 1917, only 7% of the 700,000 inhabitants of Palestine were Jews; the rest were Christians and Muslims.
If so, is it reasonable to believe that the All-Merciful God would bless the Zionist plan of genocide against the Children of Ishmael, for the reason that their mother was a bondwoman? Isn’t it hypocritical of the modern apostles of human rights to ignore the cry of Sabra-Shatila and Jenin?
Hoping my answer is satisfactory. Thank you and please keep in touch.