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“Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran even one time.”

written by Asher Intrater
September 07, 2002

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.”

Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.

He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.

Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.

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