Recently the usurper state of Israel has increased its encroachment on Islam’s 3rd holiest site, the al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Islamic city of Bayt al-Moqaddas. There are reports of stepped up atrocities against the Palestinian natives by the illegal Zionist entity. Please stay with us for an interesting article written by Yusuf Zia-ollah titled “Zionists Cast Evil Eye on Masjid Aqsa”.
While Rabbinical Law prohibits Jews from trespassing on the sacred soil of Haram ash-Sharif, the Zionist thugs are trampling on their own law to grab even this holy Islamic site. Zionist encroachments in Bayt al-Moqadda that houses the two holy mosques — al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock — have become quite brazen in recent weeks. Palestinian men under 50 have been barred from entry onto the sacred site resulting in clashes with heavily armed Israeli police and soldiers. Armed Zionist squatters (mistakenly called settlers) also attack Palestinians when they try to prevent Zionist encroachment. What has added urgency to the matter is the fact that a bill filed some six months ago in the Israeli Knesset is reportedly being considered for a vote. Knesset members Miri Regev of Likud and Hilik Bar of Labor are signatories of the bill that calls for Muslims and Jews sharing space for prayers. Bar retracted his signature several days later, after his party pressured him to do so but Regev as chairwoman of the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee and member of the ruling Likud party, carries considerable weight, and has stayed put. While the Zionist regime claims there are no plans to put the bill to a vote in the Knesset, it has prompted Palestinian leaders and Jordanians to take steps.
Khaled Meshaal, head of Hamas’ Political Bureau issued a call to the Palestinians and members of the broader Arab and Muslim Ummah to take note of the issue and to rise up for the defence of Masjid al-Aqsa. He issued the call from Doha, Qatar on October 16. He said the Zionists of trying to occupy the sacred site. Jordan’s ambassador to Israel, Waleed Obeidat, also approached the Zionist Foreign Ministry regarding the bill after Palestinian and Arab media reported that it would be put to a Knesset vote late November. Obeidat said his country was very concerned by the reports, and asked the Israeli regime to clarify the matter. In his call, Meshaal said, “We call on all our people inside the country to hurry up to al-Aqsa to defend it. We call on the people to be angry and to send a message of painful anger to the world that the Palestinian people, the Arab and Muslim Ummah, will not be silent at the Israeli crime.” The Hamas leader dismissed allegations that his call amounted to a declaration of war. He said, “Nobody wants a war, but it’s our right to resist and preserve our rights. We are under occupation… We have been resisting for one hundred years and will continue.” Meshaal then added, “for the sake of al-Aqsa is worth we are ready to court martyrdom, and anyone who can carry a weapon in the region should go and defend it, as this is the true meaning of jihad.”
Zionist Premier Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied that Israel plans to encroach on the holy site. Netanyahu is a compulsive liar; he is adept at twisting words and their meanings. For instance, when US President Barack Obama told him to stop settlement construction in the West Bank and Bayt al-Moqaddas because it was hindering “peace” with the Palestinians, Netanyahu accused him of “ethnic cleansing” of the Jews! It takes chutzpah. The Zionists are taking advantage of the turmoil in the Muslim world — instigated incidentally by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia — in places like Syria and Iraq. With the Muslims’ attention diverted to these crises, Israel is using such turmoil, according to Meshaal, to take over Masjid al-Aqsa. The Zionists are masters at creeping annexation. This is what they have been doing in the West Bank as well as in Qods for decades. Zionist squatter camps on the West Bank have turned Palestinian villages into Bantustans while Bayt al-Moqaddas is being emptied of the Palestinians. The Zionists’ creeping encroachment on the Haram ash-Sharif is part of a larger plan to first set foot there under the pretext of offering prayer and then gradually annexing the entire sanctuary. Since the Zionist occupation of the whole of Bayt al-Moqaddas in 1967 — following their occupation of the western half of the city in 1948 — there have been several incidents that point to their nefarious designs.
The bill before the Knesset calls for separate space for Jews to worship on the Haram ash-Sharif. It also calls for separate prayer times for Muslims and Jews. This is what the Zionists have imposed on the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil – which they mischievously call Hebron – and where the Brooklyn-born American terrorist Baruch Goldstein perpetrated a bloodbath during the Fajr early morning prayer on February 25, 1994. He murdered 29 Palestinian men and children on the spot using a sub-machine gun while they were praying and wounded at least 100 more. After this bloodbath in the month of Ramadhan, the Zionist occupation army clamped a curfew on the Palestinians (but not the Zionist murderers) and by the end of the day, the Palestinian death toll had climbed to more than 100. The gun-toting Zionist squatters were free to shoot and kill Palestinians. Exploiting the turmoil caused as a result of the bloodbath, the Zionist regime imposed what it called a “solution” on the Palestinians. They were restricted to a small area of the mosque and allowed to be present there only at the designated times for the five daily ritual prayers. The rest of the time, the Zionist squatters were given a free hand to roam there with guns and intimidate the Palestinians. This is what has happened to the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil. The Zionists want to repeat the same process in Haram ash-Sharif.
The question that arises is: What is the Jewish religious position on Haram ash-Sharif? The answer is obvious. Until a few years ago, the Chief Rabbinate in Israel strictly prohibited Jews from praying or even walking in the area for fear of desecrating the “holy of holies” in Jewish religious tradition. There is in fact a board erected near Haram ash-Sharif prohibiting Jewish trespassing of the sacred site. Observant Jews instead only pray at the outside wall. In recent years, however, there appears to have been a change in policy. While publicly claiming that Jews are not to set foot there, the Rabbinate seems to have relaxed its prohibitions somewhat under pressure from the Zionist squatters, a rabidly racist and warlike lot, that come mainly from North America and Europe. Muslim religious scholars dispute the site’s importance to Judaism arguing that Judaism survived thousands of years without the Temple and without Jerusalem. According to Ikrema Sabri, an Imam at Aqsa Mosque, “this place has been an exclusive Muslim house of worship almost without interruption for 14 centuries. We as Muslims cannot succumb to Zionist myths and whims.” Imam Sabri’s position is borne out by historical facts. When Prophet Joseph (PuH) settled in Egypt following his ordeal brought on by his stepbrothers, he invited his father, Prophet Jacob (PBUH), and all his brothers to settle with him in Egypt. The al-Aqsa Mosque, which was built by Prophet Abraham (PUu) about 20 years after the rebuilding of the holy Ka‘ba in Mecca, was left in the care of his son Prophet Isaac (PuH), who left it to his son Prophet Jacob (PuH), who was also called Israel. But when Prophet Jacob (PuH) and his family, i.e the Children of Israel, relocated to Egypt, the al-Aqsa Mosque was handed over to the care of tribes that resided there. One of the main tribes was the Philistines, from whom the name Palestine is derived. The Prophets and their progeny stayed in Egypt for nearly 400 years and the Temple Mount as they called it (its real name was Beteyel, meaning the House of God) was never viewed as being of importance to them, much less being central to the religion – later to be known as Judaism.
There is also no evidence to suggest that the al-Aqsa Mosque is built on the site where the first Temple was built. A great deal of myth is interwoven into the narrative about the Temple Mount despite the fact that it was destroyed repeatedly by invading forces. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzer (Bakht Nasr) attacked Jerusalem in 587 BC and destroyed the Beteyel. The Israelite tribes were enslaved and suffered greatly for many years. The story of Nebuchadnezzar is narrated in detail in the Bible in the Book of 2 Kings, 24–25. The Torah also says that the Israelites were enslaved in both Egypt and in Babylon (present day Iraq). The fate of the Children of Israel became precarious when the Pharaohs of Egypt enslaved them. It was not until Allah Almighty commissioned Prophet Moses (PuH), who led them out of slavery and across the Red Sea into the Sinai Peninsula. When Allah ordered them to enter Palestine, they refused, incurring divine wrath, which punished them to wander in the desert for 40 years. During this time, Prophet Moses (PuH) died and Allah Almighty later raised another Prophet, named David (PuH), who was a soldier in the army of Saul. Because of his courage, Prophet David (PuH) was made king and entered Palestine to establish his kingdom there. It was Prophet Solomon, the son of Prophet David (peace upon them), who rebuilt the Temple with the support and help of the indigenous people, principally the Palestinians. The father-son rule, however, lasted a mere 73 years. Thereafter, his sons divided the kingdom and power once again slipped from their hands. A chain of prophets emerged among their progeny but the Israelite tribes constantly bickered, arguing with the prophets and refusing to abide by divine teachings.
There were several phases of destruction and rebuilding of the Temple, the last being the destruction by the Romans in 70 AD. No trace of the Temple has ever existed since that time. So what is the Muslims’ position on the al-Aqsa Mosque, which is mentioned in numerous places in the holy Qur’an and served as the first qibla (direction of prayer) for Muslims for many years? The best-known ayah about al-Aqsa is ayah 1 of Surah al-Isra that describes the Prophet of Islam’s night journey from the Masjid al-Haraam or the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to Masjid al-Aqsa or the Remote Mosque in Bayt al-Moqaddas: “Glorified is He Who carried His servant on a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose environs We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs.”
It is for this reason that al-Aqsa holds such immense significance in Islamic religious tradition as well as history. It is known as the first qibla of Muslims — the direction toward which Muslims face to offer their daily ritual prayer — as well as the third holiest site in Islam.
Muslims liberated Jerusalem from the Eastern Roman Empire in the year 638 AD. There is also another, more impressive structure that was built on Haram ash-Sharif. This is called the Dome of the Rock and has a huge golden colored dome. It is said that the footprint on this rock is that of the Prophet of Islam. It remains suspended till this day except for very thin metal rods underneath it. This is the place where the Dome of the Rock Mosque exists.
The Muslims lost al-Aqsa and Bayt al-Moqaddas to the Crusaders of Europe – who seized this land and the sacred sites from the Fatemid Shi’ite Muslim Empire of Egypt-Syria-North Africa in the year 1099 AD. Muslim rulers surrounding Palestine had become corrupt, much like the rulers today and had lost the will to defend Islam or Muslims. It was not until another 88 years that the Kurdish ruler Salah od-Din Ayyaubi liberated the whole of Bayt al-Moqaddas from the clutches of the Crusaders – with an army of Turks, Kurds, Arabs and Iranians.
Unfortunately the decline in Muslim rule and corruption in their ranks led to the loss of al-Aqsa one more time. It occurred in several phases. When the Ottoman Sultanate was defeated and dismembered, the British colonialists took control of Palestine and in typical colonial style started to disburse Muslim lands to others. The Europeans had never tolerated Jews in their midst; the frequent pogroms against them are a constant reminder of the Europeans’ intolerance. In 1918, when Britain occupied Palestine, it conspired to hand it over to the Zionists as a permanent homeland totally ignoring the rights of the indigenous Palestinian people. At the time the Zionist entity was implanted in Palestine in 1948, more than 60% of Palestinian land was handed over to the illegal Zionist migrants from Europe. The rest was grabbed by the Zionists in 1967 together with East Bayt al-Moqaddas that houses al-Aqsa as well as the Dome of the Rock.
This is where the situation stands today. The Masjid al-Aqsa, indeed the entire Haram ash-Sharif is under Zionist occupation and threatened with destruction. Even while Muslims throughout history provided sanctuary to the Jewish people after they suffered persecution elsewhere, the Zionists have turned out to be the worst kinds of oppressors in history. They act with impunity and are extremely hostile toward the indigenous Palestinian (Muslim) people. Heavily armed, they shoot at the slightest pretext and have no regard for Palestinian life. The corrupt Muslim rulers are totally subservient to the imperialists and Zionists. Reposing hope in them to rescue the Muslims is a waste of time. It would require a truly Muslim figure l to emerge among Muslims to liberate Masjid al-Aqsa and Palestine from another group of Crusaders, this time of the Zionist variety. Until then, Muslims can pray and prepare for that day. A good starting point would be to become better acquainted with their history, especially relating to Palestine and Masjid al-Aqsa, which seems to have been largely forgotten.