A number of self-declared Middle East “experts” have downplayed the importance of Jerusalem to Muslims, arguing that the city is not mentioned in the Qur’an.
Is that the best you could do? Please.
It’s true that the word J-E-R-U-S-A-L-E-M does not appear in the Qur’an. Why should it? It’s a Hebrew word. The Qur’an is in Arabic.
Arabs, who have never used the word Jerusalem, have their own words to address their city: sometimes al-Quds (still used today), sometimes Eliya (which appears in Hadeeth), sometimes Bait al-Maqdis or Bait al-Muqaddis.
Hebrew sources claim that Jerusalem has more than seventy names, and that’s in Hebrew alone – not to mention other languages like Arabic, Urdu, Persian or Turkish.
So no, the Hebrew word isn’t found in the Arabic Qur’an. Boo.
Once that’s out of the way, one sees that references to Jerusalem are rife in the Qur’an. Here’s one:
O my people, enter the Holy Land (al-Ard al-Muqaddas) which Allah has ordained for you, and do not turn fleeing, for you turn as losers.
Here, the eminent Prophet Musa (Moses, peace be upon him) urges the newly-liberated-from-Egyptian-slavery Hebrews to conquer the Holy Land by God’s Permission, they refuse, and are consequently left to wander in circles for forty years.
During this period the Prophet Musa passes away, peace and blessings be upon him, and under the leadership of Yusha bin Nun (Joshua) the Hebrews finally muster enough courage to launch an attack.
And when it was said to them: Dwell in this town (al-Qariya) and eat therein as you wish, and say “repentance” and enter the gate prostrating – we will forgive you your sins and give increase to those who do good.
The word Qariya is unlikely to refer to Jericho, which was leveled in the ensuing battle. Do the math.
Additional references to Jerusalem abound, such as 7:137 and 21:95.
Now imagine that someone claimed that you had no reference of a certain town, and you shot back not only with the city’s name, but also with the coordinates of its most well-known landmark.
That would shut them up wouldn’t it? I’d think so.
The Qur’anic verse below’s refers to Prophet Muhammad’s infamous Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, peace and blessings be upon him, well-documented in books of Hadeeth (tradition) and Seerah (biography).
Glorified is He Who took His servant by night from Masjid al-Haraam (the Sacred Mosque) to Masjid al-Aqsa (al-Aqsa Mosque) whose precincts We have blessed, so that We show him Our Signs.
I mean really, is a commentary really needed here. Where is the al-Aqsa Mosque located anyway?
An adjunct Hadeeth referring to the Night Journey states:
When the people of Quraish did not believe me, I stood up in Al-Hijr and Allah displayed Jerusalem in front of me, and I began describing it to them while I was looking at it.
[Sahih al-Bukhari 5:58:226]
So, dear experts, before you claim that the Holy Land/al-Quds/Bait al-Maqdis and oh yeah, Jerusalem is nowhere in the Qur’an, you might want to do a little more research that using your browser’s find feature.
Yusuf Khan Facebook | Twitter | MySpace
The writer gratefully acknowledges the research of Shaykh Imran N. Hosein whose works and scholarship greatly contributed in making this article possible.