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Sometimes one comes across an article that provides such insight that one is startled into understanding. This article at Crisis magazine, “Jerusalem in the Islamic Imagination” by Derya Little, is just such an article. It provides an understanding of why Jerusalem has any importance in the greater Islamic world.
First, a short bio on Derya. She was born in Turkey and raised Muslim, fell into atheism, and had a conversion experience that took her into Christianity, ultimately settling on Catholicism. She has a Ph.D. in politics, so is quite learned and scholarly, and I’ve come across a number of her articles in the past year. Her insight and knowledge of the Islamic world and mindset are invaluable. She has a book out on her religious journey, From Islam to Christ: One Woman’s Path through the Riddles of God, which I have bought and intend to read shortly.
Here are a couple of key paragraphs on which I will build some observations:
In the Muslim mind, the history of nations is similar to the salvation of man. When a Muslim reads the Old Testament, or learns about Judaism, all he sees is a nation that failed time and again to obey the commands of Allah. There is no excuse for this failure. It is sinful, shameful, and disgraceful. It is not an occasion to acknowledge that without grace all will fail.
Living in a city of commerce and trade, Muhammad was exposed to Judaism and Christianity, and the pivotal role Jerusalem played as the center for Jewish worship and as the location of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. Since the central claim of Islam is that Jews and Christians corrupted Allah’s message, Muhammad’s followers would have to fulfill the mission that was entrusted to earlier prophets whose words went unheeded…. The Holy Land should be passed on to those who lived in accordance with Allah’s will, something the Jews and the Christians have failed to do. This mission to reconquer Jerusalem became even more important because the Israelites failed to protect the land after Kings David and Solomon, who, Muslims claim, ruled with Sharia Law. The Jews had declined to fight to defend Jerusalem, and because of their cowardice they lost the Holy Land.
To think that Kings David and Solomon ruled with Sharia law is delusional. It is absurd. And then Derya outlines the two distinct incidents involving Jerusalem in Islam: the mystical journey Mohammed took on a flying horse to Jerusalem and from there ultimately to heaven before Allah. This provides the mythic significance of Jerusalem in Islamic theology. But Derya’s conclusion should be read carefully:
The Muslim obsession with Jerusalem is indicative of the way Islam sees the entire world: a chessboard to be conquered. While Christ emphasized many time that his kingdom was not of this world, Muhammad’s desire to become the temporal sultan required the conquest of certain cities, namely Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. While before the end times, Muhammad promised that Constantinople, then Rome, would be conquered, Miraj sealed the fate of Jerusalem as an immediate target of Islamic Jihad, not a hope to be fulfilled in time.
While the realist political scientist in me wants to read world affairs in light of national interests and balance of power, there is no denying that the Muslim claim on Jerusalem is not merely a territorial ambition. To the Muslim mind, Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem is an abomination that cannot be tolerated. Any attempt to prevent the Muslim domination of Jerusalem is seen as a religious affront, not a political maneuver. Because of the nature of this particular beast, Jerusalem will remain a source of regional conflict for years to come.
Islam sees the world as “a chessboard to be conquered.” Do not think that Islamism is not inherent to Islam. It is at the core of Islam. If most Muslims aren’t acting in accordance, it is because of their failure to live up to Koranic values, of which they in time will be prodded into contrition. That the whole Muslim world doesn’t attempt Islamism is a practical calculation. If given a realistic opportunity for global implementation of Sharia, they will all take it.
The whole Islamic myth is a product of Mohammed’s delusions, or if not delusions, outright lies. It seems to me that those lies are amazingly expedient to the political landscape of his day. Whichever, they are absurd.
The answer to their objections to the issues around the world, but more specifically on the question of Jerusalem, is to put up resistance. Perhaps if they saw real resistance they would respect the opposition rather than consider us on the level of pigs and monkeys. It’s time to stop the appeasement, tell them if they don’t like Jerusalem under Jewish control to shove it, and ride off on the horse Mohammed rode on.