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Jewish - Islamic Conflict Over Jerusalem
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Debates continue over the long existing conflict between the Jews and Islamic states over the control of Jerusalem. They argue that they have exclusive rights over the city. Scholars have come out to support or criticize either group on the basis they use to claim ownership of the city.
At first glance, there is the misconception that the fight is about land. But study and research will tell you that the core of the problem is far more complex. Besides, scholars and historians agree that the fight is a combination of both political and religious factors.
There have been adverse effects of this prolonged war. The worst being that many people lost their lives and some analysts warn that there are signs of even far worse happening if leaders do not come up with a solution soon. But both sides seem adamant and stress that the war is far from ending.
These kinds of revelations require us to understand the genesis of this problem. There have been attempts to make peace between these states but to no success. Therefore in this paper we will focus on establishing the religious causes that contribute to this condition.
Moreover, the paper aims to evaluate some of the claims by scholars that the Muslim community has less religious connection to Jerusalem as opposed to their Jewish counterparts. The Zionist perspective will also feature in the discussion of this issue.
Both the Jewish and Islam communities have strong reasons why they want control over the city of Jerusalem. We start by looking at the Jews religious claims over the city.
The Jewish perspective
The religious reasons for the Jews claim over Jerusalem, comes from the Jewish Bible. In Jerusalem, we have an area that the Jews consider as the single holiest ground in all the other called the temple mount. From the Jewish bible, this place is the Mount Moriah. Interestingly enough the temple mount currently lies beneath the Dome of the Rock, which is a Muslims shrine (aish.com par 7).
There are several reasons why the Jews hold this area with high regard. Their Bible records that there are several significant things that happened in this area connected o their ancestors. For instance in Genesis 4:18, the Jews father Abraham interacted with King Malchizedek of Shalem at this place. Shalem is a Jewish term for Jerusalem as well as jebuse (Yevuse), Zion (Tziyon) and Moriah. However, ‘Yerushalayim’ which means Jerusalem is the most common term in their Bible as it appears 349 times (aish.com par 7).
There are other instances like the Binding story of Isaac (Genesis 2:1-9) when Isaac goes to pray prior his encounter with Rebecca for the first time (Genesis 24:63-67)and Jacobs’s dream of angels ascending and descending from heaven (Genesis 28:10-22) among others. All these are some of the significant events that happened at this site of the Temple Mount (aish.com par 8).
The Jews consider all elements in this place as holy and sacred, i.e., the air and the soil. They mention it in their prayers. This area has been conquered, destroyed and rebuilt time and again. A particular instance is the destruction of this temple back in 586BC when most exiles went into exile. Despite their large numbers in Palestine after a 1000 years of exile when Christian Crusaders allowed them to return, they went ahead and built Tsfat. It became their religious capital for more than a hundred years (aish.com par 8).
To date, the Jewish still have practices that show their connection to this city. They make their prayers facing Jerusalem. The word surfaces numerous times in their daily prayers and also in the ‘grace after meals’. They also invoke this word close to the Passover Seder by saying “next year in Jerusalem. These are the same words that they invoke when concluding their holiest day ‘Yom Kippur’ (aish.com par 8).
The Islam Perspective
Similarly, the Islam has religious reasons for wanting to control this territory. There are scholars who argue that Muslims interest for Jerusalem is mainly an influence of political reasons rather than religious ones when you compare to the Jews. However, these claims are misleading. The Muslims have many religious reasons to want o cling to Jerusalem just like the Jews (aish.com par 9).
The Islam connection to the city began during the 7th century. It is at this time that prophet Mohammed successor, the Caliph Omar took control of the city from the Byzantines in 638. An early Islam name for the Jews Temple Mount was “Baty al-Maqewdis”. This term means holy temple. However, today the Muslims use the name al-Quds, and it means holy (aish.com par 25).
It also derives this prominence from the fact that it was the first Qibla. The Prophet and the early Muslim community faced this direction when they prayed. However, a divine command ordered that the direction change towards Mecca. The Muslim quarter has the shrine of the Dome of the Rock as well as the al-Aqsa Mosque called the Haram al-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary (aish.com par 26).
To Islam, this mosque is the third holiest site and is under the administrative control of the Waqf, which is an Islamic trust. The Muslims also believe that the Prophet Muhammad traveled to this place from Mecca where he prayed together with the souls of all prophets. Also, it is the place where the prophet ascended to receive the laws of Islam. There is a record of the event in the first verse of Chapter 17 of the Koran (BBC par 3).
The significance of this spiritual journey has three dimensions to the Muslims. First is the fact that there is a mention of the city in the initial Qibla. Secondly, there is a celebration every year by all Muslims to celebrate this event. Thirdly, it ushered in a new era where the Muslims consider it their duty to protect the city from encroachment. There is evidence of this at the time of the Byzantines and Persians (Abu-Amr par 3).
Furthermore, one hadith (oral tradition) that states that one prayer in the Aksa Mosque is worth a thousand prayers. Although the Muslims acknowledge that both Christians and Jews have an affiliation with the place, they emphasize that their attachment to the place stems from their doctrinal view of the Holy City. This attachment is not for the Muslims in Palestine and the neighboring Arab states rather it is for all Muslims around the World (Abu-Amr par 3).
There is also a connection during the Umayyad and Abbasid rulers in the region. It was the first Umayyad who made Jerusalem the Capital caliphate instead of Damascus. The successive rules ensured that Jerusalem enjoyed the equal status with Mecca and Medina. This situation continued up to the rules of the Mamelukes and the Ottomans (Abu-Amr par 4).
The meaning of Zionism stands for the return of the Jewish people to their land. Among the objectives of the Zionist ideology is to build a third temple in Israel in the place where the Dome of the Rock currently stands. The reason is that this area is where the former temple stood before its destruction in 70 A.D. The Zionist believes that this is where the binding of Isaac took place. This story is similar to that of the Jews according to the Torah (Raines par 3).
People wonder what will happen since this area is the place that a Muslim shrine currently stands. It is ironic how the term acts as an offensive weapon batted from side to side in the dispute between the national camp and peace camp among the Jews. There are many who believe that the solution for peace in Israel will result from ‘de-zionization’ of the term (Raines par 3).
Moreover, there are Israeli Jews who do not believe in the Law of the return. Therefore, it is evident that the claim that Jews have more right to Jerusalem is quite confusing as we see some of their scholars arguing for their return or not. Nonetheless, Zionism does not truly address the issue of the current inhabitants of the land who are not of the Jewish origin (Raines par 3).
The discussion focused on the religious reasons that lead to the Jewish-Islam conflict over the city of Jerusalem. It is evident that both groups have numerous justifications to want to claim control over the city. Nonetheless, it has come out that the Muslims have much attachment to the City as the Jews over events in the previous years.
Abu-Amr, Z. "The Significance of Jerusalem: A Muslim Perspective." The Palestine-Israel Journal is a quarterly of MIDDLE EAST PUBLICATIONS, a registered non-profit organization (No. 58-023862-4) 2.2 (1995): n. pag. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.
Aish.com. Jerusalem: Jewish and Muslim Claims to the Holy City. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.
BBC. What makes Jerusalem so holy?. N.p., 30 Oct. 2014. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.
Raines, A. Zionism - The Occult Guild Of Antichrist. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.
Sherry Roberts is the author of this paper. A senior editor at Melda Research in professional writing services if you need a similar paper you can place your order for a custom research paper from writing services online.
Author is associated with MeldaResearch.Com which is a global Custom Essay Writing and Term Paper Writing Company. If you would like help in Research Papers and Term Paper Help you can visit Custom Writing Service
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