is not mentioned in the Koran even one time."
September 2002 by Asher
So claims Hebrew and Arabic scholar,
Dr. Nisim Dana, as quoted in a recent article by Ariela Ringal-Hoffman in Yediot
Achronot (largest selling Hebrew newspaper in Israel). This is an astounding
observation and has a deep impact on the conflict in the Middle East, which in
turn affects the entire world.
The reason this is important is that the conflict in the Middle East is based on
the religious claims of Islam that Jerusalem and Palestine are "holy" territory for Muslims. These claims are in turn supposed to be based on the
Koran, which is the final authority in Islam.
If Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran, then the claims of Islam over
Jerusalem have no direct authority. Those claims are based on later teachings of
Sheiks and Imams without textual support from the Koran. This also proves that
those claims are not born of pure religious and spiritual motives, but rather
from racial and political ambitions of religious leaders that were added later.
From my own limited study of the Koran, it strikes me that the Koran positions
Allah as the same God that gave the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. The
Koran seems to accept the general revelation of the Bible from Abraham and Moses
through Jesus as correct. (There is a change however in emphasizing the role of
Ishmael as favored over Isaac in carrying on the covenant of Abraham.)
The Koran supposes that Judaism and Christianity had become corrupt and that
both religions had violated the divine truths that had been given to them.
(Considering the fact that Mohammed had dealings with Christian and Jewish
leaders from the seventh century, there is probably a lot of truth in his claim
that they were corrupt.)
Mohammed is portrayed in the Koran as the great reformer of Judaism and
Christianity, defending what he saw as the original truths of the Bible. He is
seen as the greatest prophet, with the Koran as the final authoritative
Scriptures, which in turn have now been given to the Arabic peoples as the
defenders of the true faith.
In that context the Koran contains virulent attacks against Christians and Jews.
But those attacks are because of their blasphemous rejection of Mohammed, not
because of their claim to Israel as the Holy Land.
In fact, the Koran itself takes it for granted that Jewish habitation of the
land of Israel is not only not against Mohammed's teaching, but is in fact a
divine commandment from Allah. Professor Dana quotes several passages of the
Koran supporting this view (Sura 5, verse 21; Sura 7, verse 137). Sura 17
contains an interesting quote: "and Allah said to the children of Israel:
Dwell in the Land, and when the time of the end days comes, we will gather you
tribe by tribe."
According to Dana, Jerusalem is also indirectly referred to (Sura 2:142) when
Mohammed cancels the biblical commandment for the nations of the world to face
toward Jerusalem in prayer. (This verse does not command Muslims to face toward
Mecca, but only cancels the need to face toward Jerusalem.) It is significant to
note that when Muslims pray in Jerusalem, they turn their back toward the Temple
Mount and face Mecca.
There is a story in Islamic tradition that Mohammed rose on a white horse from
Jerusalem to heaven after his death. This story is not found in the Koran, but
only became part of Islamic folklore in later sources. Most early Islamic
commentators considered that story spurious. Professor Dana even quotes from the
biography of Ayisha, Mohammed's beloved wife, as saying that Mohammed's
corpse was with her in the house, and that Allah simply took his soul to heaven.
The only possible verse that has any remote connection in the Koran (Sura 17) is
"blessed be He who brought His servant at night from the holy sanctuary to
the outermost sanctuary." The words here "outermost sanctuary"
are "misgad Al Aksa" which in later times was connected to the Al Aksa
mosque in Jerusalem.
How could it happen that millions of Muslims are ready to declare Jihad on
Israel, and thousands of Palestinians ready to become suicide terrorists in
order to liberate the holy city of Jerusalem, when Jerusalem is not even
mentioned in the Koran? The answer is that most Moslems do not actually read the
Koran for themselves. (Unfortunately, as in many realms of Judaism and
Christianity where people do not read the Bible for themselves.)
The people are basing their faith on what the Sheiks and Imams are teaching
them. They are assuming that these Islamic clerics are basing their teachings on
the authority of the Koran. As the Sheiks and Imams urge them towards Jihad
against Israel, the people assume that this Jihad is a divine commandment. (The
only connection between Jihad and Jews is a passage in which Jihad was declared
against a group of Jews living in Medina, Saudi Arabia, who refused to accept
Mohammed as their prophet; the passage had nothing to do with Israel.)
The fervent religious claims that Jerusalem and Palestine are holy territory to
Islam can only have force (even if incorrect) if they are based on direct
commandments of Mohammed. Without the authority of the Koran, the basis for
Islamic claims concerning Israel lose their power.
This slogan ought to be publicized around the world: "Jerusalem is not
mentioned in the Koran even one time." I wish I could put up a huge
billboard in every Muslim city and town, saying, "JERUSALEM is not
mentioned in the Koran even one time."