Monday, December 07, 2015

No connection between Jerusalem and early Islam?

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Egyptian Muslim scholar: No connection between Temple Mt., Islam. Arab world outraged at latest research of renowned scholar of Arabic and Islamic studies Youssef Ziedan.
Renowned Egyptian scholar Youssef Ziedan, a specialist in Arabic and Islamic studies, has given a series of interviews to Egyptian television stations of late, the purpose of which appears to be to anger his Muslim colleagues.

His main point has been to say that there is actually no connection between Jerusalem and ancient Islam. When Islam was founded during the 7th century, he says, Jerusalem was a holy city to the Jews, while the Mosque of Omar was not even built until 74 years after Muhammed's death. The reason it was built, Ziedan says, is because the builder wished to detract from the centrality of Mecca in Islam.

There has been an important connection between Jerusalem and Islam for many centuries, at least from shortly after the time of Muhammad and perhaps going back to his famous vision, Al-Miraj. It's hard to say about the vision, since the references in the Qur'an (traditionally Surah 17.1, 62 and 53.13-18) are cryptic, but the earliest interpretations unanimously place part of the vision in Jerusalem. That is, Muhammad experienced being in Jerusalem in the vision, although he did not ever travel there in non-visionary reality. There is no reason to deny that Jerusalem and the Temple Mount have been important to Islam from very early on. The problem is when some Muslims claim (e.g., here and often) that there was no ancient, pre-Islamic, Jewish connection to the city and the site. That, of course, is nonsense.

Mr. Ziedan's novel, Azazeel has been in the news off and on for some years. See here and follow the links.