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Palestine: Its Significance for Muslims


PALESTINE is part and parcel of the Muslims? identity. Each Muslim has a role to play regarding Palestine and its people.

Each should support the Palestinian cause according to his means. Those who are well-off, those who have the financial resources should give charity. Those who pay the Zakah aught to allocate part of it to help their oppressed Muslim Brothers and Sisters in Palestine as well as in the whole world. Help is given to them to help towards education programmes, learning and development, health, hygiene, building new facilities infrastructures...

Every Muslim can champion the cause of his/her Ummah from the place where s/he lives.

In order to shed some light on the significance of Palestine in Islam, below find the following:

Palestine in Islamic Faith:

The significance of Palestine in the Islamic faith is evident by the frequent references to it in both the Qur'an and the hadiths (traditions) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The greatest significance of Palestine for the Muslims is that it contains Baitul-Maqdis (the Noble Sanctuary), the Holiest Place in Islam outside of the Hijaz. Both Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock are built in the area of the Baitul-Maqdis.

Baitul-Maqdis in Palestine was the center of Isra? and Mi`raj of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). In the Qur'an Allah says:
(Glory be to the One who took his servant on a journey by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa whose precincts We have blessed...)
(Al-Isra' 17: 1)

Baitul-Maqdis in Palestine was the second Mosque established on earth after Al-Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah.

In the Hadith, Abu Dharr said: "Once I asked Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) what was the first mosque established on the earth; he said ?Al- Masjid Al-Haram.? Then I asked him: then, which mosque? He replied: ?Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa.? I then asked him what was the time period between the establishment of the two mosques; and he said: ?forty years." (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

Baitul-Maqdis in Palestine was the first Qibla (direction in which Muslims face when praying).

The Muslims faced towards Baitul-Maqdis when praying during the entire Makkah period of Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) life and for the first 16 months of the Madinian period, after which Allah ordered the Qibla to be changed towards the Ka`ba in Makkah.

Prayers in Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa are equivalent to 500 times the Prayers in any other mosque except for Al-Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah and Al-Masjid An-Nabawi (the Mosque of the Prophet) in Madinah.

In the Hadith Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
"Prayers in Al-Masjid Al-Haram are equivalent to 100,000 Prayers, and Prayers in my Masjid (in Madinah) are equivalent to 1000 Prayers, and Prayers in Baitul-Maqdis are equivalent to 500 Prayers." (Reported by at-Tabarani)

In addition, there are several verses in the Holy Qur'an and several hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that describe both the significance of Baitul-Maqdis in Islam and the fact that Allah has blessed the land around it. The various Qur'anic revelations and Prophetic statements concerning the blessed land of Palestine endeared the land to the Companions (Sahabah) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to such an extent that when `Umar ibn Al-Khattab entered the region for the first time he announced that all the lands of Palestine would be part of the Islamic Waqf (endowment) for the Muslim generations to come.

After studying the various Qur?anic revelations, Prophetic traditions and practices of the Companions to the Prophet, no rational mind could deny that Palestine as a blessed and holy land is of extreme importance and significance to every believer in Islam.

Palestine in Islamic History:

The history of Palestine represents the history of Islam from the first Prophet of Islam, Adam (PBUH), to the last Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (PBUH). Palestine is the land of Prophets who were sent with the message of Islam and hence should not be ruled by anyone other than those who uphold the message of Islam by implementing its laws and regulations.

Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa was the second mosque established on earth forty years after the establishment of Al-Masjid Al-Haram.

It is a holy site where many of the Prophets were born or died, including Prophets Ibrahim, Lut, Dawud, Sulayman, Musa and `Isa. While Dawud and Sulayman were able to create Islamic states in Palestine based on divinely ordained laws, according to both the Bible and the Qur'an, their descendants strayed from the path, transgressed against the laws revealed by Allah and thus brought upon themselves Allah's punishment which included banishment from the holy land.

Baitul-Maqdis was the site of Isra' and Mi'raj of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during the Makkan period of his message.

Palestine was brought under Muslim control at the time of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second caliph of Muslims. Palestine was then made part of the Islamic state being ruled by Islamic law. The new laws were welcomed not only by the Muslims but also by the Jews and Christians of Palestine who had formerly been living under the tyrannical Byzantine yoke. The Byzantines were persecuting the Christians of the area because the Palestinian Christians belonged to a different Christian sect. The Muslims, however, guaranteed all Christians freedom of religion regardless of their sect.

~ In 1099 A.C. Palestine was invaded by the European Crusaders and subsequently occupied for nearly a century. During the occupation massacres and great injustices were committed against the Muslim, Jewish and native Christian residents of the area. The only law applied in the holy land blessed by Allah was the law of force and persecution.

~ In 1187 A.C. Palestine was liberated by the Muslims under the leadership of Salah Ad-Din Al-Ayyubi (Saladin) who brought back Islamic law to the area.

~ In 1917 the British government issued the Balfour Declaration which declared Palestine to be a homeland for Jews. At the time Jews made up approximately 8% of the population of Palestine and owned approximately 2.5% of the land.

~ In 1918 the British and their Arab nationalist allies defeated the Ottomans. The British dismembered the Ottoman Empire and occupied Palestine. The British immediately began a campaign of immigrating European Jews to Palestine.

~ In 1948 the Jews claimed the establishment of a state for themselves over the land of Palestine and called it Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims were forced out of Palestine under the military pressure of Jewish terrorist groups such as the Irgun, Levi, and Haganot which were financed and armed by the British army.

~ In 1967 Israel attacked Egypt, Jordan and Syria and occupied more land including, for the first time, Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa. Since that time Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa has been the target of several attempts by the Jews to destroy or burn it, including several attempts to bring about its collapse through underground excavations. The Jews know that Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa is symbolic of the Islamic nature of the land and want to remove any trace of Islamic civilization from Palestine.

Based on Palestine's Islamic history and significance in the Islamic faith, and after the failure of all non-Islamic methods to free Palestine from Zionist occupation, the Islamic solution is re-emerging as a powerful and popular means to liberate the occupied lands. Islam is a religion of peace secured by divine justice.

Only Islam offers Respect to all divinely revealed religions as it is the only religion which recognizes all the Prophets from Adam to Muhammad (PBUH).

It is the only religion which recognizes and believes that all the Prophets brought the same Essential Message and thus all people deserve the freedom to worship as they please without persecution or harassment.

For this reason, it has historically proven itself to be the only tolerant religion with regard to the peace and sanctity of the Holy Land. Only Islam can bring back Peace to the Holy Land and security for the unrestricted and unharassed worship of Allah, the All-Mighty, by all who believe in Him whether Muslim, Christian or Jew.

Excerpted, with slight modifications.
 

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