The Muslim Attitude Towards the State of Israel
Why does the presence of the miniscule State of Israel, with its population of eight and one-quarter million, cause such derangement of life in its own neighborhood, where the descendants of Ishmael have 22 nations today with a population of about 144 million, and where they occupy almost five million square miles — a landmass 450 times that of the Jewish state?
Why is it that the issue of Israel and her relationship with her neighbours is such an obsession at the U.N., where during its 2013 session the General Assembly adopted a total of 21 resolutions criticizing Israel directly but only 4 resolutions criticizing all the other nations in the rest of the world?
How is that secular “progressives,” hand-in-hand with the leaders of “mainline” Christian denominations throughout our part of the world are signing-on today enthusiastically and with display of virtue to the proposition that removing Israel from the company of decent and legitimate nations will, at a stroke, remove the largest impediment to peace that exists in the world, allowing the lion to lie down with the lamb?
The bottom line here is that Israel’s offense follows not from any of the properties which Westerners (Christian or secular) imagine they can measure (size, population, wealth); nor does it follow from any of the categories of moral evaluation that they use when reckoning the rights and wrongs behind other current political issues. Israel’s offense follows from the pretensions of Islam – which follow from the message of its Prophet, Muhammad. It is because Israel is the only non-Muslim sovereign state in the heart of the Muslim world that Muslims cannot be at peace with it. Israel has accomplished what is theologically impossible and impermissible. She has taken a portion of the Muslim world into the world of non-Islam.
Since 1969, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), with fifty-seven members, “the collective voice of the Muslim world” as it calls itself, has dealt the largest bloc of votes at the United Nations and in many other world bodies. The 140-odd non-Muslim nations, divided among themselves on all the other issues of the day, have learned to reap great rewards for displaying solidarity with the Muslim bloc. For example, thanks to their loyalty to the Muslim bloc, China, Russia, Cuba, and Venezuela have gained the necessary support for their inclusion on UN Human Rights Council, where they enjoy exemption from criticism for their own records while gleefully passing resolutions denouncing nations like Canada for theirs.
The Unforgivable Offense For Which Israel Must Answer.
The Qur’an states that, for their refusal to heed the prophet, “humiliation and wretchedness were stamped upon them [the Jews] and they were visited with wrath from Allah.” (Sura II:61; cf., Sura III:112.) Muslims understand this as an eternal judgment on the Jews. The creation of the State of Israel is an intolerable reversal of this judgment, an assault on the credibility of Islam which cannot be permitted to stand. A Muslim contributor to a Conference of the Life and Peace Institute of Uppsala (which “seeks to contribute to justice, peace and reconciliation through research, seminars and publications”) explained “the Muslim perspective” on the history of modern Israel to his mainly Christian audience in 1992:
With the Balfour Declaration,] Britain granted Islamic land, which did not belong to Britain, to people who did not live on the land, and had no relation to it except a religious connection … In the year 1967, Israel invaded and declared war on neighbouring Arab countries, and occupied all of Palestine. The West Bank, Gaza, the Sinai Desert, and the Syrian Golan Heights, and all Islamic holy places and shrines fell under Israeli military authority, most notably the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the 1st Qibla for Muslims.
The Qibla is the fixed point in the Mosque which indicates the direction in which to pray, which in every Mosque in the world today is towards Mecca. This recital bears out the Islamic view that Muhammad’s original intention to pray towards Jerusalem, later corrected by himself in response to the Jews, “mockery” of his claims, now is to be understood as fixing the exclusiveness of Islam’s claim to this Holy site no less than its claim to Mecca and Medina.
In Islam, nothing, once possessed, is ever given up to the other side. When, in June, 1967, the combined Arab forces failed to save the “Holy Places of Islam” from Israeli armies, “the responsibility for liberating the Mosque, as well as the Islamic land was transferred from their hands to the Islamic nations.”
Nothing will delay its liberation when a leader such as Saladin appears to call for struggle and gather Arab countries … We lived on this land since the beginning of its existence. We have never left it … The occupation of Palestine left a deep wound in every Muslim’s heart … In Islam, peace is the foundation upon which relations are built, according to God’s word. All believers should participate and share in peace … But Islam calls upon and orders Muslims to own all means of power and superiority as the Quranic verse says: “You have to prepare power by all means so as to frighten your enemy.”
In Muslim eyes, Israel is the ultimate impediment in the way of the ultimate subjection of us all to a worldwide regime of under the direct rule of Allah.
The Pakistani Muslim scholar Mawlana Abul Ala Mawdudi, the founder of the version of Muslim absolutism to which the principal terrorists appeal today, puts their hope before us in these terms:
Islam is not a normal religion like the other religions in the world, and Muslim nations are not like normal nations. Muslim nations are very special because they have a command from Allah to rule the entire world and to be over every nation in the world. . . . Islam is a revolutionary faith that comes to destroy any government made by man. Islam doesn’t look for a nation to be in better condition than any other nation. Islam doesn’t care about the land or who owns the land. The goal of Islam is to rule the entire world and submit all of mankind to the faith of Islam. Any nation or power in this world that tries to get in the way of that goal, Islam will fight and destroy. In order for Islam to fulfill that goal, Islam can use every power available every way it can be used to bring worldwide revolution. This is jihad. [From Jihad in Islam, as quoted by Mark Gabriel, Islam and Terrorism, pp. 81-82.]
Among the six fundamental duties which Muhammad imposed on all Muslims was that of jihad, Holy War, [Reuven Firestone, Jihad: The Origins of the Holy War in Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999)] which Muhammad describes in his Qur’an as follows:
Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors. And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. Lo, Allah loveth those who battle for his cause [Qur’an,II:190 –191]
When you meet the Unbelievers in fight, smite at their necks; at length when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them); thereafter is the time for either generosity or ransom, unless the war lays down its burdens. [XLVII: 4]
The recent video-images of lines of young Christian men being paraded in bonds prior to their decapitation under the sword of their ISIS captors should leap to all minds.
Apologists for Islam who work in our local vineyards (rather than in locations at the heart of Islam, where their irenic declarations might actually do some good) ) strive heroically to persuade us that these bloody-minded injunctions and countless others scattered throughout the Qur’an and among the ahadith do not, of course, mean what they plainly mean. Many of these apologists find support from the eminent translator of the Qur’an and commentator, A Yusuf Ali scholar, who explains, in exegesis of Qur’an IX:20:
The essence of Jihad … consists in … a true and sincere Faith , which so fixes its gaze on God, that all selfish or worldly motives seem paltry and fade away… Mere brutal fighting is opposed to the whole spirit of Jihad, while the sincere scholar’s pen or preacher’s voice or wealthy man’s contribution may be the most valuable forms of jihad. (The Holy Qur’an: Text, Translation and Commentary, Brentwood Maryland, Amana Corp, 1983., page 444.]
I submit that this prissy view is simply incompatible in word and spirit with the texts just cited. Nowhere in these texts do we find the least hint of the pen being mightier than the sword.
***dar-al-Harb and dar-al-Islam.
Under the doctrine of jihad, we find everything we need to know about where human affairs are tending and how it will all end. The world is divided into two irreconcilable camps: (i) the dar-al-Harb (the territory of War) and (ii) the dar-al-Islam, the territory which has been taken irreversibly out of the dar-al-Harb and is now submitted eternally to Allah. In the dar-al-Islam, Islam rules everything. In the dar-al-Harb, Islam rules nothing (which does not contradict the other reality, that Allah rules over everything.)
Islam forbids that there should ever be peace for Muslims so long as any part of Allah’s world withholds submission (which is what “Islam” means.) Reconciliation between dar-al-Islam and any part of dar-al-Harb is not envisioned for a moment. A state of truce is permitted, so long as it is modeled on truces with the infidels which the Prophet promoted from time to time in his lifetime – the exemplary instance being the Treaty of Khudaibiya (628AD). The story here is that transitory weakness in fighting numbers forced Muhammad to enter into truce with the local Jewish armies – a truce that from the first he fully intended to violate — and did violate, without notice, Muslim notions of truthful speaking being what they are, when his side became stronger than that of the Jews. (Yasir Arafat and his successors in the PA brazenly invoke this Treaty of Khudaibiya when challenged by Arabs to explain why they feel it necessary to negotiate from time to time with the Israelis.)
Whether we recognize it or not, the non-Muslim world — that includes us! — exists today under a truce like that under which non-Muslim Arabia existed in the days when Muhammad set out on conquest of the world for Allah.