CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 24, 2018: It is often said that Jerusalem’s history is centered around being the crossroads of three great religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Nonetheless, it has always been unclear as to how Islam can claim the Holy City of Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount, as its third holiest city behind Mecca and Medina. The reality is that more than two decades ago, the U.S. Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 celebrated the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem marked by King David’s entry into the city.
A thousand years later, give or take, Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross at Calvary, thus giving Christians their claim to the city as a holy site. Neither the Christian or Jewish claim on the Holy City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount can be denied.
Christianity predates Islam by six centuries
It wasn’t until six centuries after the crucifixion of Christ that Islam even became a religion. In 716 when the Arabs conquered Jerusalem, they established their capital in Ramla. Somehow it doesn’t compute that Islam should have any claim upon the ancient holy city. Yet, thanks to political correctness and fear of Islamic reprisal, Muslims manage to get their way.
Where Judaism is concerned, Jerusalem has always been its capital. In Islam, Muslims face Mecca when they pray, not Jerusalem.
The Temple Mount
Eastern Jerusalem, otherwise known as the “Old City”, is the site of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in the Jewish faith. Muslims lay claim to the structure because they say it is the place where Muhammad ascended to heaven. People of Jewish faith are forbidden from praying at the Temple Mount despite Islam’s dubious claim.
The closest they can get is the Western Wall, or Wailing Wall, that still stands.
Mount of Olives
Travelers to the Holy Land who stand atop the Mount of Olives, can see the walls of Old Jerusalem as they look down upon the world’s oldest and largest Jewish cemetery just below.
That cemetery is more than 3,000 years old, but Islam itself has only existed for approximately 1,400 years. It doesn’t require an Einsteinian IQ to do the math.
Also visible from the Mount of Olives is the bright golden dome of the Temple Mount, which, in fact, is the site of the First and Second Jewish Temples that existed long before Muhammad and his religion were born.
Western Jerusalem, by the way, is the more contemporary half of the metropolis, having arisen in recent times.
The mention of Jerusalem in Holy Books
To continue, Jerusalem is referenced nearly 700 times in the Jewish holy books or Torah. Islam, on the other hand, never mentions Jerusalem a single time in the Koran.
Islam prides itself on its five pillars which make up the foundation of the faith; declaring allegiance to Islam, tithing, prayer, fasting and a one-time pilgrimage to Mecca known as the “Hajj.”
According to the tenets of Islam, a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia must be done once in a lifetime, if a person is financially and physically able to participate. However, the Hajj is to Mecca, not to Jerusalem.
Jews, on the other hand, make three pilgrimages to the Temple each year in Jerusalem to honor Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot.
Jews venerate Jerusalem; Islam Meccas
Today, Jews continue to observe holidays, weddings and prayers facing Jerusalem. Once again, not so in Islam.
When Muhammad was alive, Jerusalem was a Byzantine Christian city with their church built upon the site where the Temple Mount stands today.
During World War I, Muslim Ottomans deserted Jerusalem and left it to the British. Prior to their departure, Muslim forces even considered destroying the ancient city.
In the end, they left without a fight.
The folly of a two-state solution
Often we hear of conflicts between Palestinians and Jews and the prospects of a two-state solution between them. When Yasser Arafat was chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Jerusalem was occupied by Jordan, the first university in the country was built in Amman, which was also the capital of Jordan.
Here again, it was NOT Jerusalem.
Any outsider who travels to Israel and Jerusalem can readily witness the Jewish influence upon the city and country compared to that of a Muslim authority. Travel anywhere throughout Israel and visitors will see highways, landscaping, modern cities and all manner of contemporary influence.
By the same token, when travelers visit areas that have remained under Islamic control, they view places that resemble a landscape that is very much the same as it was 2,000 years ago.
It doesn’t take a genius to recognize the difference. It is so dramatic, in fact, that a middle school student with no background in the history of the region whatsoever can see it.
Jerusalem has long been a hotbed of religious contention that sometimes incites terrorism and bloodshed.
Common sense should dictate the cultural character of the city and yield to thousands of years of historical records that tell it tales through the layers of time that have evolved.
As a place of conflict for three great religions, Islam comes in a distant third.
One other great lesson to consider is the myth of the Crusades, but that’s another story.
Southern aerial view of the Temple Mount, Al-Aqsa Mosque (Hebrew: הַר הַבַּיִת, Arabic: المسجد الأقصى المبارك) in the Old City of Jerusalem ((Hebrew: העיר העתיקה, Arabic: البلدة القديمة). Annotated in the foreground is Al-Qibli Chapel (Arabic:المصلى القبلي). Al-Aqsa Mosque is considered to be the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina. Behind are The Dome of the Rock (Arabic: مسجد قبة الصخرة, Hebrew: כיפת הסלע) and to the right, The Dome of the Chain (Arabic: قبة السلسلة, Qubbat al-Silsila), constructed during the Umayyad Caliphate (c. 685 AD) and served as a model for the building of the Dome of the Rock (c. 691 AD). The Temple Mount, which is called by Muslims as Al-Aqsa Mosque, is considered to be the premier holy site in Judaism as it is the place where the first and second Temples stood. Andrew Shiva / Wikipedia
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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