(updated March 3, 2013)
Jerusalem's role as "The Third Holiest Site in Islam" in mainstream Islamic writings does not precede the 1930s. It was created by the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al Husseini
"The Greatest Lie Ever Told About Jerusalem"
The 13th Century Arab biographer Yakut noted: "Mecca is
holy to Muslims; Jerusalem is holy to the Jews."
by Emanuel A. Winston, a Middle East analyst & commentator
January 7, 2001
Goebbels said that "If the lie is big enough and told often enough, it will be believed."
Yassir Arafat and the Arabs claimed the Holy Jewish Temple Mount and Jerusalem based upon one extraordinarily huge lie told over and over again. Here then is a brief history of the religious war against the Jewish people, the Jewish State of Israel and her 3000 year old Eternal Capital, Jerusalem.
Would be conquerors invariably issue false claims to provide justification for their march to conquest. The more recent call to "Jihad" against the Jews of Israel was first called in 1947 after the U.N. partition in a "Fatwa" (religious ruling) by the Saudis - supposedly to save the Al-Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount from the Jews. Thus, Yassir Arafat, with the full support of the Arab Nations, later claimed the Jewish Temple Mount as the third holiest site for Islam - including all of Jerusalem. Therefore, as in the past, this claim has its root in a classic religious war - in addition to other spurious reasons offered.
Arafat resurrected this false political claim in 1967 with the same excuse that Arafat's uncle, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin Al-Husseini, used to initiate the riots of Hebron and Jerusalem in 1929. The Grand Mufti FALSELY claimed that the Jews were attacking the Al-Aksa mosque and killing Muslims in his virulent war against the Jews. Then the Muslims began massacring the Jews in Jerusalem, Hebron (67 killed) and other Jewish areas. Husseini later became a confidante of Adolph Hitler, begging him to bring his Jew-killing machine to Jerusalem during WWII.
Similarly, Arafat has done everything possible to bring the larger Arab nations into the conflict, using the false claim that the Temple Mount and all of Jerusalem belongs only to Islam. Arafat desperately wants and needs a full scale war as a bloody rite of passage for his miscellaneous Palestinians. Arafat may, however, absorb whatever concessions he has been offered by Barak and delay the big war until a time of his own choosing. (Just as Mohammed did in violating the Hudaibiya Treaty in 628 C.E. - see below)
This myth of Jerusalem as Islam's third holiest city based upon the mythical ascension of Mohammed from Al-Aksa to Heaven has grown exponentially in the recent telling since 1967. When you tell a Big Lie and repeat it often, it achieves credibility and legs of its own. In Islam, telling a lie to infidels for the sake of enlarging your own believers' faith or defeating the infidel is acceptable, even desirable.
2 Samuel 24:21-25
The choosing of the site came when G-d punished Israel because King David ordered a census of the Jewish people after he defeated of the Philistines in a great battle. The sin was King David's presumption that the salvation of the people came from their sheer numbers and not the Hand of G-d. A pestilence followed which only ceased when the prophet Gad advised King David to erect an altar on the stone threshing floor on Mt. Moriah that belonged to Araunah, the Jebusite. So King David purchased the site for 600 silver shekels, for which he assessed 50 silver shekels from each tribe. (1 Chronicles 21:25)
King David built the altar and the plague ceased. The site was on Mount Moriah where Abraham had prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac in obedience to G-d's Command as this final test of Abraham's faith. This then was the place where the future Jerusalem was to be built and the site of the First and Second Temples. As a man of war, King David was not allowed to build the Temple, so the task fell to his son King Solomon, who built the First Temple on the Temple Mount.1
Revision of History
These facts of recorded history have been obliterated by the recent false claims made in the name of radical Islamic Fundamentalism supported by the silence of scholars unwilling to face a "Fatwa" of assassination as was issued against Salman Rusdie. Moreover, the World Media, with full access to Biblical scholars and historical files, have instead accepted the Great Lie. They carry it forward without question and with a certain perverse enthusiasm, having refused to use the Bible (Torah) as a resource. They also have neglected to publicize the opinions of such experts as the 13th Century Arab biographer Yakut who noted: "Mecca is holy to Muslims; Jerusalem is holy to the Jews."2
The history of Jerusalem and the site of the Jewish Holy Temple, constructed in 956 B.C.E. (2956 years ago) by King Solomon, son of King David according to G-d's specific instructions is fully described with minute detail in the Torah. The First Temple was later destroyed by the Babylonian conqueror, Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.E. (2370 years ago). This was not the first attempt to destroy the Jewish people but was significant in its goal to eliminate what was the repository of Jewish strength and belief.
The Second Temple was rebuilt by order of Cyrus, the King of Persia, who also paid for its reconstruction and ordered the return of the Jews exiled to Babylon in 538 B.C.E. The Second Temple was completed and consecrated in 515 B.C.E.2, 3 & 4
King Herod, a great builder but a cruel, despotic ruler appointed by the Romans rebuilt and added to the Second Temple for 46 years. After the Jews revolted against Roman rule, the Romans under Titus destroyed and burned the Second Temple beginning on the Ninth of Av (Tisha B'Av), 70 C.E. (1930 years ago). You may recall seeing photos of the carvings on the Arch of Titus in Rome, depicting Titus' triumphal march through Rome, parading the sacred Temple vessels, including the great Menorah (Candelabra).
The Romans sent the Jews into exile again for 1,878 years. However, for all that time there was a Jewish presence and those dispersed across the globe prayed daily - "Next Year in Jerusalem!" The City and the Temple have always been central to Jewish thought and identity. (Note! Despite Arafat's claim that there was no Jewish Temple, the Romans memorialized their capture of the Jews and their Temple in 70 C.E. by carving it in stone.)
The streets of Jerusalem and the Holy Jewish Temple were walked upon by Jewish Kings and Prophets long before the 7th century C.E. when a man named Mohammed had a vision that he was the last chosen prophet of G-d, the G-d they called Allah. Mohammed was driven out of Mecca by the Arab community and fled to Medina which had three Jewish tribes. Mohammed offered himself to the Jews as G-d's (Allah) final Prophet.
For 19 months Mohammed offered his "quibla" (direction of his prayers) toward Jerusalem as a "confidence-building gesture", until the Jews refused to believe his claims and totally rejected him. Then Mohammed gathered the pagan desert tribes under his visionary image.
Mohammed used the trick of a temporary truce (permitted in Islam) to make a treaty called the Hudaibiya Treaty with the Jewish Koraish tribe. But, in 628 C.E. at the Khaidar Oasis, Mohammed killed them. Arafat often claims that the Oslo Treaty is similar to the Hudaibiya Treaty which Mohammed violated with impunity when he was militarily stronger.4
Mohammed never again mentioned the word Jerusalem in his compilation of Islam's holy book, the Koran and directed his "quibla" (prayers) to Mecca. If a Muslim happened to visit or pass through Jerusalem, it was called a "ziyara" unlike the holy pilgrimage to Mecca which was called by the honorific "Haj". A mandated visit to Mecca allowed the Muslim pilgrim to add Haj to his name.
For Mohammed, Jerusalem was a despised place of the Jews and had no place in his vision for his Islamic religion. It was as if he could not excise the Jewish essence from holy Jewish City of Jerusalem, although it is said that he believed that the Last Judgement of man would issue from Jerusalem.
Mohammed spent his early years among the Jewish tribes particularly in and around Yathrib (Medina). It was, therefore, not unusual for Mohammed to include a pilgrimage to Mecca since the Jewish Torah called for the Jews to make three pilgrimages to Jerusalem each year on Sukkot, Pesach, and Shavuot. There is much in the Koran that finds its source in the Torah (Jewish Bible).
Before the days of Mohammed, Christian conquerors had occupied Jerusalem (within the Byzantine Empire). Bringing one's religion into battle demonstrated that both their armies and their religion were superior to those of their victims when they won. So, they usually built their holy places on top of their victims' holy places, which they did on the Temple Mount, to absorb the strength of their conquered adversaries and to convert them to their religion. Even under the threat of the sword, the Jews refused to convert and allow their lineage to be absorbed, which would in effect, transfer G-d's Covenant.
Mohammed died in 632 C.E. Jerusalem was subsequently captured from the Christians by Khaliph Omar, six years after Mohammed's death, accompanied by the apostate Yemenite Jew, Ka'ab al Akhbar (the same syndrome as today). There was a struggle over who would assume Mohammed's role as leader of the new religion of Islam which he had envisioned.
So, another conqueror (the Muslims) had superceded the Christian invaders and their Mosque was proof of their superiority in battle and religion. But, it was much more. It was also to be a mighty symbol in the struggle for leadership of the growing movement of Islam. Since Mecca was already the location of Mohammed's power with its own priest cult, if a claimant wanted to redirect that power to himself as the new leader of Islam, he would also need an uncontested and new base of religious power. He could not make war on Mecca and expect to be accepted as Mohammed's rightful heir.
Jerusalem, despite Mohammed's rejection, was still looked upon in the then Arab world as a powerful symbol where the ancient Jews had placed their faith. The Jews considered Jerusalem the center of the world and the earthly dwelling place of HaShem... the one G-d. It was not surprising that the Arabs and other nations wanted to own and control this source of power.
Approximately 60 years after Mohammed's death, the Dome of the Rock was built by Khaliph Abd El Malik of Syria in a first effort to turn Muslim prayers toward his edifice. He wanted to demonstrate Islam's superiority over the Christians and Jews they had driven from Jerusalem. This was primarily for political purposes, not necessarily religious. El Malik failed in his bid to become the replacement for Mohammed and the Muslims continued to direct their "quibla" (direction of prayers) toward Mecca and the revered Kaba"a stone monolith. The El-Aksa Mosque was built 20 years after the Dome of the Rock or 80 years after Mohammed died.4 & 5
The Church, Saint Mary of Justinian, constructed on the Jewish Temple Mount, later became the foundation for the Dome of the Rock built by Khaliph Abd El Malik over and around the Church in 691-692. Approximately in 711 C.E., Malik's son Abd El Wahd, who ruled from 705 to 715 - reconstructed the Christian-Byzantine Church of St. Mary and converted it into a mosque. He left the Christian structure as it was, a typical Byzantine "basilica" structure with a row of pillars on either side of the rectangular "ship" in the center. All he added was an onion-like dome on top of the building to make it look like a mosque. He named it El-Aksa, so it would sound like the one mentioned in the Koran.5
Early Islamic scholars, with no particular political agenda, interpreted Mohammed's dream flight to El-Aksa * (lit. the furthest place) was to a Islamic heavenly place where the purest and most holy mosque which would be in the courtyard of Allah. That, indeed, would be the "furthest place" or "El Aksa". The revised myth of today names the earthly Al-Aksa Mosque built by Khaliph El Malik on the site of the Jewish Temple as the basis of the Muslim claim to the Temple Mount. This is substantially different than that of the early non-political scholars of Islam. Serious Islamic scholars viewed the tale as merely a folk story. The mythical story of Mohammed's night flight, which evolved from unidentified sources after Mohammed's death went something like this: (Note! Keep in mind that there was no El-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount until 80 years after Mohammed's death.)
"In the time it takes for a drop of water to spill from a tipped over jug, Mohammed flew, in a dream, to El-Aksa (the furthest place). He flew on a winged horse named El-Buraq which had the face and breasts of a woman and the tail of a peacock. El-Buraq landed on the rock upon which it was believed Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac as G-d's ultimate test of Abraham's faithfulness. (The Muslims maintain that it was Ishmael, son of the Abraham's Egyptian concubine Hagar who was to sacrificed.) This giant horse was tethered for a period of time on the Rock or foundation stone of the Holy Jewish Temple, leaving a hoofprint on the Rock. Then Buraq leapt to the 7th Heaven where Mohammed purportedly met all the ancient Jewish prophets (including J...s) and received their blessings as the last Prophet of Allah. Then (in the dream) he returned to Mecca as the last authorized prophet of Allah.(6 Koran Sura 17:1)
This is the basis of Yassir Arafat's present claim to the Jewish Temple Mount (and, by extension, all of Jerusalem) as the third holiest place for Islam after Mecca and Medina. He has called his recent terrorism against Israeli Jews, the Aksa "intifada" and renamed the Western Wall: the "El-Buraq Wall". The Muslim "Wakf" (caretakers) are presently excavating and destroying all evidence of Jewish artifacts under the Temple Mount, and Arafat has claimed there is nothing in, on or under the Temple Mount to prove its Jewish history. The Arabs" massive excavation under the Temple Mount is more than removing the traces of the Jew, but is a virtual displacement of the Jewish religion by Arafat for Islam.7
Tragically, Ehud Barak has not objected to this de-Judaizing of the Jewish Temple - even to stop these grossly illegal excavations.
Revision of the Myth
During the military campaign of Saladin in 1187 against the Christian Crusaders, the myth of Mohammed's flight to a heavenly mystical Al-Aksa was revised to state that his dream flight was to an earthly Al-Aksa on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Here we find a political revision of a myth by Saladin (a Muslim and a Kurd) to attack the Christian infidel Crusaders who had previously conquered and occupied Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. To seal their earlier conquest, the Christians Crusaders converted the Dome of the Rock to a Church called Templum Domeni. They made Al-Aksa a Church called Templum Solomonis (Solomon's Temple). Both were reconverted to Muslim shrines by Saladin after his victory in 1187. Both Christians and Muslims, each in own their time, claimed supercedence over the Jews, demonstrating their superiority by conquest.
Strangely, the succession of conquerors demonstrated the universal belief that the Jewish Temple did indeed house the invisible G-d of the Jews and whoever held this mystical Temple also controlled vast powers. A succession of conquerors found to their disappointment that they could not tap or unlock those powers and were left holding only the bricks and mortar.
Arafat proclaims almost daily since the signing of Oslo that "With the children of the stones, I will fight until all of Israel is the new State of Palestine and its flag flies over the churches and mosques of Jerusalem, the capital of that State and only that State, and whoever doesn't like it can go drink Gaza (or Dead Sea) water - or go to Hell."
It seems clear that Arafat and the Arab nations have taken the liberty of distorting a mythical folk tale into the substance of a false religious claim on the Jewish Temple Mount and the environs of all Jerusalem. I believe it was Goebbels who developed the concept that, if a lie is big enough, it will be believed. Although the World Media and the Nations hostile to Israel as a Jewish State, know better, they have accepted this El-Buraq myth and its attendant lies which support Arafat's claims, justifying their displacement of the Jews.
Arafat has undertaken the task to literally erase the past of the Jews. In doing so, he simultaneously erases the present which includes their future. In essence, by giving up the Temple Mount (among the many other concessions by Ehud Barak) he delegitimates the reasons for having a Jewish State. This erasure of history is moving swiftly with Barak, Clinton and Arafat in total agreement. The radical Jewish Left, both in Israel and in America is hastening this erasure by not only denying the past but has carried it into the children's classrooms...
Photos of the Dome of the Rock & AL-Aksa Mosque were taken in 1875
by the family Bonfils of Lebanon. It seems amply clear that for centuries
the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aksa Mosque were left unattended, without
the flood of Muslim worshipers who would have come IF this was indeed the
third holiest site in all Islam. The buildings show decay and lack of repair.
The weeds and grass grew up between the stone flooring, proving that few
Muslim feet trod the Temple Mount. (Recall that Jews were prohibited by
their rabbis from walking across the surface of the Jewish Temple Mount
since, without intent, they might tread on the place where the Holy of
Holies stood with the Ark of the Covenant.)
The Temple Mount was held by the Muslim Turks for several hundred years. Nothing was done to repair the walls or the roof tiles on the Dome of the Rock and the El-Aksa Mosque. There are no records of high Muslim clerics or kings paying homage to Jerusalem by visiting El-Aksa or the Dome of the Rock nor is there evidence of caretakers or clerics to greet or preach to Muslims coming to worship during those hundreds of years. Granted the Temple Mount was a magnet for conquerors seeking its power but, once in hand did not give up her secrets. Only the Jews seemed to want to stay and bask in its spiritual glow.
It wasn't until the Jews recaptured the Temple when they reunified Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Days War that the Arabs paid any attention to the area. King Hussein of Jordan previously held the area for 19 years and did nothing to reclaim it. His only interest was to destroy the 58 Jewish synagogues, desecrate the ancient Mt. of Olives Jewish cemetery and drive the Jews out of what is now called East Jerusalem by the Arabs. King Hussein (along with the Arab nations who lost the wars they started to wipe out the Jewish State) vented his fury by destroying everything Jewish.
The Muslims claim that either the Temple Mount or Jerusalem is holy to Islam is false based upon irrefutable historical evidence. Arafat, however, has found it quite easy to tell the Big Lie since he received such positive support from the Nations and the Media. Strangely, he also received support from the Catholic Church who were willing to cut off the branch upon which their own religion rested. If, as Arafat claims, there was no Jewish Temple, then J...s, the Jew, could never have thrown out the money changers from the Temple, not studied there or even existed.
Regrettably, he has also received support from Leftist Jews who despise their heritage and have no honor for their national memory. Their willingness to give up what constitutes the foundation and core of Judaism did not bring them the affection and acceptance they sought but rather they have earned undisguised contempt from the Arab world who do honor their religion.
While their Koranic teachings (fervently passed on to their children) mandate them to despise the infidel (Jews and Christians), nevertheless they have a certain respect for People of the Book (the Torah). However, Jews who give up their religion, land, water and Holy sites are viewed as beneath contempt deserving conquest and serving Muslims as "Dhimmis" (low people). Provoking the uneducated Muslim masses with myths and religious fantasies is not a new method to be used in a war. The political or religious demagogue can stir up their followers into a frenzy of riots, wars, suicide bombings, road ambush with automatic weapons - simply by proclamation - as Arafat is doing now.
As for Arafat's twisting of Koranic law and customs by claiming what Mohammed had rejected, that is, Jerusalem is holy to Islam, Arafat would likely be condemned by a "Fatwa" in Mohammed's time. In our time, his leaders will discard any agreements he may have made with the Jews as inconsistent with Koranic law and declare the agreements null and void. Arafat's likely replacements have already stated this loud and clear.
The claiming of Jewish Holy Sites, like Joseph's Tomb, has been a successful gambit by Arafat. His efforts are consistent with the goals of many nations to remove the thought and presence of the Jews from the Land of Israel. Separating the Jews from our historical touchstones of religious sites (especially, the Tombs of the Patriarchs, Rachel and Joseph) and the memory of our glorious past is intended to weaken our resolve to stay. Sadly, this has been assisted by the Jewish Left in the mistaken assumption that a Jewish nation unattached to an old religion would be more acceptable to Islam and even to the Christian Nations of Europe and America.
Many observant Jews and Christians who believe in the destiny of the Jewish Nation as ordained by G-d to be a light unto the nations, feel that we will experience G-d's wrath for challenging His Laws. The Arab Nations' challenge to western civilization, with their accumulation of catastrophic weapons of mass destruction, including NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) missiles, then the Biblical prophecies of the War of Gog and Magog could soon prove true. (Read: Ezekiel: Chapters 36-39)
I have drawn the above facts from various scholarly sources, including Dr. Manfred Lehman, z"l, a scholar and writer for the ALGEMEINER JOURNAL and Encyclopedia Judaica. The photos (which can be downloaded from the Internet) were called to my attention by Dr. Murray Kahl, a dedicated research scholar whose clear reporting makes it difficult for the Media to take too many liberties in their efforts to distort and spin the news.8
It must be understood that the history of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount
fills hundreds of volumes which cannot be offered in this brief review.
However, it is all there if you wish to look for it.
1. II Samuel 24:10-25; 1 Chronicles 21:25 The Stone Edition of THE TORAH - PROPHETS - WRITINGS - 24 BOOKS OF THE BIBLE Edited by Rabbi Nosson Scherman, ArtScroll Series Mesorah Publications December 1996
2. "The Jews of Islam" by Prof. Bernard Lewis Princeton University Press 1987 &
3. "Whose Jerusalem" by Eliyahu Tal International Forum for a United Jerusalem 1994
4. ENCYCLOPEDIA JUDAICA
5. "The Moslem Claim to Jerusalem is False" by Dr. Manfred R. Lehmann ALGEMEINER JOURNAL Aug. 19, 1994
6. Koran Sura 17:1
7. "Protect the Temple Mount: The world's patrimony is being carried off in trucks" by Hershel Shanks WASHINGTON POST 7/17/00
8. "The Islamic Claim to the Temple Mount" by Dr. Murray Kahl http://www.cmep.com/temple2.htm Emanuel A. Winston is a contributing writer for THE JEWISH PRESS/NY & ISRAEL.
* "El" and "Al" are phonetic English for the same Arabic word meaning "the". We used various forms of Arabic spelling as they appeared in each source.
**There is no law on earth that requires the Jewish people to accept the revision of their history nor their own demise merely because the outgoing American president wants a footnote in history and wishes to befriend a terrorist.
Source: The Greatest Lie Ever Told About Jerusalem