Not possible to escape Jerusalem

What we are witnessing in the Middle East is an issue not only of regional and international politics, but also of the history of religions, as it has been for many centuries. In this context, with references to the present versions of the sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity, issues take on a doxastic form as well. Therefore, it is impossible to understand the present-day Middle East and its politics without studying the history of religions and examining their references.

It is not in vain that the Quran insists and speaks frequently of Israelites and their historical marches in a narrow circular cycle (Palestine-Egypt-Sinai-Palestine). It is possible to recognize the signs of the historical roots of many of today's crucial points when the Torah and Bible, even with their falsified forms, are read along with the Quran. The wisdom of the Quran’s frequent citations of the Israelites and Prophet Mohammad’s migration to Medina, which was dominated by Jews, is hidden here. Until doomsday, these topics will constantly be on our agenda. This is the truth that the verses of the Quran and the prophetic biography indicate.

For the sake of divine wisdom, Muslims adopted Bayt Al- Maqdis in Jerusalem as their kiblah (the direction in which Muslims turn to pray) during the first years of Islam. They performed their prayers turning toward Jerusalem for 14 years of Muhammad’s 23-years as a prophet. Bayt Al Maqdis did not physically and tangibly exist at that time in Jerusalem. Muslims, in fact, were directed to the memory of that magnificent sanctuary Prophet Suleiman had built. The message was as follows: Pay attention to Jerusalem.

The fact that Prophet Muhammad went to Jerusalem during the ascension, as well as the divine signs being revealed to him here, were for the same purpose: Keep Jerusalem on your agenda. 

Regardless of whether we ignore it or take it seriously, as Muslims, Jerusalem will always be "our main concern”. Jerusalem is the key of the region and its history. This is unescapable and at the same time unavoidable. 

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In this column I previously wrote: We have to read the Quran not only to learn orders or prohibitions, and to be in the good grace of God, but to learn about history and politics. When we do so and conduct a more extensive reading, a sublime perspective of the past, present and future is what emerges. 

We have been discussing the questions: "What can we do about Jerusalem?” and “What are our duties and responsibilities?” in our circle of friends for a few days. When we try to recognize these signs from the Quran, what we come across is profoundly instructive. Here's an example:

It is a story we all know. During the first genocide of the Children of Israel in Egypt, Moses was placed in the palace of the Pharaoh under divine protection. Then, again, as we know, he took refuge in Madyan when the death of a man occurred, whom Moses was trying to separate in a fight, was struck by Moses’ fist. He remained there for 10 years, and he was sent back to Egypt to fulfill his duties as a prophet. After Moses encountered the Pharaoh as a prophet, the Egyptian rule began to kill the sons of the Children of Israel. Hence, this is the second major genocide. Thousands of babies were slaughtered by the soldiers of the Pharaoh while they were still in their cradles. 

The Quran in Surah Al-Araf tells the story of the Israelis’ objection to Moses: "We have suffered before and after you arrived." They obviously meant, “You say you are a prophet and promise divine aid, look at us.” And Moses answered: “Perhaps your Lord will destroy your enemy and grant you succession in the land and see what you will do.” 

Here is the part that gives us a message about Jerusalem: It is not about the suffering and deprivation that was experienced. They come and go, in fact, they all turn into rewards and spiritual degrees. You had better consider how you will act when it is your turn and when it is entrusted to you. 

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If Israel says that it will end invasion and the Islamic world should seize Jerusalem and manage it; Muslim countries, unfortunately, do not have an opportunity and capability to manage it with common sense in peaceful terms. This is a painful fact that must be faced. If we take Jerusalem away now, this delicate city will probably fall victim to internal conflicts, competition, jealousy and hatred in the Islamic world.  It is very likely that serious tensions and battles about the rule and management of Jerusalem will break out. 

It is the easiest thing to curse Israel, talk about the evil of occupation, and reveal the tragedy. As Muslims, the point we have to ponder is this: Are we worthy of Jerusalem? Unlike the others we have constantly criticized, can we treat it the way it deserves to be treated? What should we do for this? Are we prepared? Are our generations conscious of this? Do we know Jerusalem? Are we working on it?

If we are still meditating while recommending sources to Jerusalem, if the books describing the issue in detail are still being translated from foreign languages, and the academy still does not carry out satisfactory studies about Jerusalem, then there is a long way to go.

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