Islamic Jerusalem: “We Will Drive the Jews into the Sea” – 1 of 3

The following is the first installment of a three-part series of posts on the subject of “Islamic Jerusalem”, written by our latest associate author, Dr Abu Abdullah.

Introduction

Dore Gold, the former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, recently wrote a book entitled The Fight for Jerusalem. A synopsis of the book reads: “Radical Islam has long desired to seize Jerusalem and cut it off to Christian and Jewish believers.”

In today’s climate of Islamophobia, it is no surprise that this oversimplified understanding—touted by Jewish Zionists and Christian neoconservatives—is readily accepted by many laypersons. There is an erroneously held belief that the entire Israel-Palestine issue revolves around the historical Muslim desire to “drive the Jews into the sea.” Muslims—unlike Jews and Christians—are seen as totally incapable of the tolerance needed for a resolution of the conflict. These are widely held ideas, and therefore it is important to address this issue.

Dogmatic discourse would not serve our purpose here, and so herein the author has decided to employ a less direct means: this article will contain a brief chronological history of Jerusalem, starting from its earliest inhabitants (the Canaanites) all the way to the modern era. It is hoped that this lesson in history will dispassionately challenge the popular misconception, and demonstrate how in verity it was the Jews who “drove the Gentiles into the sea”, and the Christians who “drove the Jews into the sea”, so to speak. Meanwhile, Jews were not only not thrown out during the Muslim rule, but they came back to Jerusalem in droves due to the prevailing religious tolerance found therein. As for the Christians of Jerusalem and its surrounding areas, surprisingly they favored the rule of the Muslims over that of their coreligionists (the Eastern Roman Empire).

The article will broken down into the following parts:

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Parts 1-3 are included below.

Part 1: Jewish Rule of Jerusalem [Prehistory to A.D. 70]

Part 1a: The Earliest Known Inhabitants of Jerusalem

The earliest known inhabitants of Jerusalem were the Canaanites:

Concerning the origin of the city of Jerusalem we have no information. Even the meaning of the name is unknown. Various Semitic etymologies have been proposed, but all are uncertain, and it is possible that the name goes back to the primitive non-Semitic inhabitants of Palestine. Ezek. 16:3 [in the Bible] says of Jerusalem: “Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of the Canaanite; they father was an Amorite, and they mother a Hittite.” This statement may point to a tradition that the city was originally founded by Amorite colonists, settling in Hittite territory.

(Jerusalem in Bible Times, by Lewis Bayles Paton, p.66).

In particular, the Jebusites—a Canaanite tribe of either Hittite or Amorite origin—lived in Jerusalem:

The city of Jerusalem was sometimes called Jebus because the Jebusites controlled it.

(The Oxford Guide to the People and Places of the Bible, by Bruce M. Metzger, p.120)

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Part 1b: The Jewish Conquest

Somewhere between the sixteenth and thirteenth century BC, the Hebrews (often synonymously used with the words “Israelites” and “Jews”) emerged from Egypt and marched towards Canaan (modern day Israel, Palestinian territories, Lebanon, etc.). Eventually, the Jews conquered Jerusalem:

The conquest of Canaan was not completed until the time of David (c 1012-972 BCE), who conquered Jerusalem and made it the capital.

(Encyclopedia of Religious Freedom, by Catharine Cookson, p.247)

The Jews believed that God had promised the land of Canaan to them; thus, the native Canaanites were to be destroyed in order to remove the influence of any other religion:

Conquering Jericho and other Canaanite cities are not ordinary battles…Instead, these are wars of “destruction” (from the Hebrew word herem, often mistranslated as “holy war”), which have their own special laws as recorded in Deuteronomy 20…If the war is fought against a city within the borders of the Promised Land, then to erase the influence of foreign religion, the destruction must be total. Men, women, children, and even livestock are to be destroyed. This divinely sanctioned genocide is disturbing, but the Bible presents this as a unique period in ancient Israel’s history.

(Christianity for Dummies, by Jeffrey Geoghegan, p.128)

Although the Biblical verse commanded the Jews to “exterminate…the Jebusites” (Deut. 20:17), some Jebusites were spared and enslaved:

The Israelites…enslaved the remainder of the Jebusites and other non-Israelites.

(The Oxford Guide to the People and Places of the Bible, by Bruce M. Metzger, p.120)

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Part 1c: The Second Jewish Conquest

The Jews ruled Jerusalem for more than four hundred and fifty years, until the Babylonians conquered the city in 586 BC. After the Babylonian conquest, the city shuffled between the rule of the Persians, Macedonians, and Greeks. Finally, in 168 B.C., a Jewish national liberation group (the Maccabees) overthrew the Greek Seleucid Empire, and the Jewish Hasmonaean Kingdom was established, with Jerusalem as its capital. Gentiles (non-Jews) were either killed, driven out, enslaved, or allowed to stay if they became Jews:

How many of the conquered Gentiles were brought back to Judea as slaves, we do not know. Maccabees and Josephus speak of some populations’ being exterminated, some driven out, and some permitted to remain if they accepted Jewish practices. Those of Samaria, Gaza, Raphia and Anthedon, are said to have been enslaved. The biblical law on these matters reads as follows:

When you go to make war against a city you are to make [an offer of] peace to it. Then if it accepts peace and surrenders to you, you shall use all the people found in it as forced labour, and they shall be your slaves/serfs. But if it will not make peace with you, and makes war against you, you are to besiege it, and when Yahweh your god gives it to you, you are to kill by the sword every male in it. Only the women and the children and the animals and whatever [else] may be in the city…you are to take as plunder [i.e. slaves]…Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far off from you, which are not of the cities of these peoples [who live in the promised territory]. However, from the cities of these people [the cities] which Yahweh your god is giving you as a possession, you shall not let any human being survive. For you shall completely exterminate the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as Yahweh your god has commanded you.

[Deut. 20:10-17]

However the [Jewish] Hasmonaeans could interpret the [Biblical] Law to suit themselves and slaves were worth more than corpses, so enslavement, even of the resistant and of people from the territory biblically assigned to Israel, is indicated not only by Josephus’ reports, but also by the fact that the Romans were able to restore many of the gentile towns to (the descendants of) their former inhabitants…Accordingly enslavement, being usual, should usually be supposed when nothing else is specified.

(The Cambridge History of Judaism: The Early Roman Period, by William David Davies, pp.195-196)

The Jews sought to expand their territory, and forcibly converted entire populations by the sword:

Hasmonaean imperialism can be explained in part by…a search for new lands where Jews who had none could settle. And indeed, Jewish conquests for the most part were accompanied by a program of rural colonization…The policy of forced Judaization…[involved] offering the conquered peoples a choice between expulsion or conversion…

It seems likely, therefore, that the Hasmonaean program of territorial expansion was also dictated by a concern for rebuilding a kingdom that would coincide with the Promised Land…Generally speaking, Judaization was effective…

Jews annexed the Greek coastal cities (Gaza, Raphia, Azotus, Strato’s Tower, Dor, Joppa, Iamnia) and the cities of the Decapolis (Gerasa, Gadara, Scythopolis, Dion, Pella), which they sought to Judaize by force; they razed Pella when its inhabitants refused to convert. This policy was no doubt responsible for the exile of prominent Greeks from the cities…

(The Middle East under Rome, by Maurice Sartre, pp.15-16)

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Part 1d: Roman Rule

The Hasmonaean Kingdom lasted about one hundred years. In 19 B.C., the Romans installed a client king in the region, and by 6 A.D., Jerusalem came under direct Roman rule. In 66 A.D., the Jews revolted, but the Romans brutally put down the rebellion. In A.D. 70, the Romans expelled the Jews:

After Jewish rebels attempt to overthrow Roman authority, Romans capture Jerusalem and destroy the Jewish Temple in A.D. 70. Jews disperse from Jerusalem and scatter throughout the Roman Empire.

(Christianity for Dummies, by Richard Wagner, p.348)

The Jewish rule thus came to an end.

Note: The author does not at all approve of Part 1 of this article being used for Anti-Semitic propaganda; it is not the intention of this author to demonize the Jews. Although such atrocities seem out of place today, back then it was quite the norm, as evidenced by the treatment of the Babylonians towards the Jews, the subsequent actions of the Romans, the war ethic of the Crusaders, the devastation of the Mongols, etc. Therefore to single out the Jews would be altogether inappropriate and unjustified. The author has investigated the Jewish rule of Jerusalem only in order to contextualize the subsequent Islamic rule of the city, as well as to address the argument brought forth by the former Israeli ambassador.

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Part 2: Christian Rule of Jerusalem [A.D. 70 – 630]

Part 2a: Constantine

The Roman emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianity, and passed sweeping legislation in A.D. 313 that empowered Christianity in the land, and by A.D. 380 Christianity became the official state religion of the Roman Empire. With the rise of this new religion, Jerusalem developed into a distinctly Christian city:

With the triumph of Constantine in 313, Jerusalem changed character again. Jerusalem became a Christian city. The Christians from Byzantium built churches and monasteries in the city and its environs.

(Medieval Women Monastics, by Miriam Schmitt, p. 107)

Under Constantine, Jews were officially banned from residing in Jerusalem (emphasis is ours):

Under Constantine, Jews were forbidden to live in Jerusalem (315 CE). Even earlier, mixed marriages and sexual intercourse had been forbidden, and in 337 these became punishable by death. The first case of burning a synagogue following a local anti-Jewish campaign occurred in 388…

St. Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, had the Jews expelled from this city, and the Byzantine emperor Justinian I prohibited reading the Bible in Hebrew, building synagogues, and Jews’ assembling in public. The Synod of Claremont in 535 decreed that Jews could not hold public office; in the fifth century Jews were expelled from parts of France, and in 613 Jews in Spain had to either embrace Christianity or leave the country. Pope Leo III outlawed Judaism and in 855 the Jews were exiled from Italy…The church council of Toledo in 697 decreed that Jews were to be held in perpetual slavery…

(The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism, by Walter Laqueur, pp.50-51)

Note: The author of this book, Walter Laqueur, served for over thirty years as the director for the Wiener Library in London, the leading institute for the study of Anti-Semitism.

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Part 2b: The Byzantine Re-conquest

In A.D. 614, the Persians managed to conquer Jerusalem, and Jews were once again allowed to live in Jerusalem. However, the Eastern Roman Empire (i.e. the Christian Byzantines) recaptured the city within fifteen years, and immediately expelled the Jews. The official website of the Jewish Agency for Israel writes (emphasis is ours):

Constantine was the founder of the Byzantine empire and a devout Christian. He tried to make Jerusalem into a center of Christian worship by erecting many churches there, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and designating various areas as Christian holy sites….In 614 the Persians actually managed to capture Jerusalem…but this victory was short-lived and the Byzantines returned in 629 to again expel the Jews. They ruled Jerusalem until their defeat at the hands of the Muslim Arab caliph, Omar, in 638.

[source]

Note: The Jewish Agency for Israel was the pre-state Jewish government before the establishment of Israel, and later became the official organization in charge of Jewish immigration.

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Part 2c: The End of Byzantine Rule

In A.D. 630, the Eastern Roman emperor dispatched an army to attack Arabia, a confrontation between the Christian Byzantines and Muslim Arabs that is known as the Battle of Tabouk. Thus began the epic Byzantine-Arab wars which would last for hundreds of years. It would only be a matter of time before the Christian rule of Jerusalem would come to an end, and a new phase would begin.

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Part 3: Muslim Rule of Jerusalem [A.D. 630 – 1095]

Part 3a: The Ghassanids

Before the Islamic conquest of Jerusalem, the city was occupied by the Ghassanids, a group of South Arabian tribes that immigrated to the Holy Land in the early 3rd century from Yemen. The reader may ask: did we not agree that the Romans (i.e. Byzantines) ruled Jerusalem, so how do the Ghassanids fit into the equation? This confusion can be cleared up by explaining to the reader that the Ghassanids were actually a vassal state of the Romans.

The Ghassanids were Christians, but they were Monophysites. Monophysitism is a sect of Christianity that denies the orthodox Christian position as enunciated by the Council of Chalcedon: the Monophysites rejected the dual nature of Christ (i.e one divine and one human). For their rejection of this integral Christian doctrine, the Monophysites were declared heretics by their Roman counterparts and were thus heavily persecuted:

[Emperor] Justin’s succesor Tiberius (578-82) continued the persecution [of the Monophysites] instigated by Justin…It seems that Maurice [Tiberius’s successor] too abandoned formal negotiations with the Monophysites…Monophysites were persecuted during his reign. According to John of Ephesus, John the Faster, patriarch of Constantinople at the time (582-95), asked why pagans were given amnesty while Monophysite Christians were persecuted.

(Late Antiquity: Empire and Successors, by Averil Cameron, pp. 830-832)

As such, it is no surprise then that during the Byzantine-Arab Wars, the Monophysite Ghassanids of Jerusalem defected and joined the side of the Muslims. This mass defection can be attributed to two causes: (1) The persecution of the Monophysites by the orthodox Christians, and (2) The Ghassanids were Arabs and therefore sympathized with their Arab brethren:

The Ghassanids promptly defected and joined their [Arab] brothers coming up through the south.

(Israel, by Joan Comay, p.30)

And:

At the Battle of Yarmuk in 636 AD, at least 10,000 (and perhaps as many as 15,000) Ghassanids defected, and working in concert with the Muslims, essentially destroyed the entire Byzantine army. Damascus and Syria were lost forever. Jerusalem fell shortly afterward.

(Bleeding for Allah, by Markus Aurelius, pp. 122-123)

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Part 3b: The Jerusalemites Preferred Islamic Rule

It was under Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab’s reign that Jerusalem was conquered by the Muslims. The Christian Monophysites breathed a collective sigh of relief:

The [Christian] residents said that they preferred the [Islamic] Arabs to the tyranny of the Byzantines. This is…recorded in both Christian and Muslim sources. In 661 the Monophysite Armenian bishop Sebeos…explained that God intended to fulfill in the Arabs the promises made to Abraham and his descendants…and with God’s help [they had] overcame the armies of Byzantium. The Monophysite chronicler John of Nikiu in the last decades of the seventh century wrote of the conquests that God, “the guardian of justice,” allowed the Islamic conquests for the sake of his persecuted people, the Monophysites, and as punishment upon those who “had dealt treacherously against Him,” to wit, the Orthodox [Christians]. A later Monophysite chronicler explained that the Byzantines had been given over to the Muslims “as a punishment for their corrupt faith,” and because of their heretical acceptance of the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon. In the early eighth century, when the Muslims were seeking to consolidate their control over Caucasian Albania, they were aided by [Christian Monophysite] factions from within that did not want the Monophysite Albanian church to submit itself to the authority of the Byzantine Orthodox church.

(Medieval Christian Perceptions of Islam, by John Victor Tolan, pp.13-14)

Other Christian sects too, such as the Nestorians, looked to the Islamic rule as something beneficial:

When we examine the earliest non-Melkite Christian sources, we find a similar enthusiasm [towards Muslims]…Iso’yaw III, Nestorian Catholicos in the 650s, in his fourteenth epistle wrote with respect to the Muslims:

“These Arabs, whom God has now given sovereignty over the world, are disposed towards us as you know. They are not opposed to Christians. Indeed, they respect our religion and honor the priests and the saints of ours Lord and they give aid to the churches and monasteries.”

This is more than rhetoric: As was mentioned above, Nestorian monasteries first began to appear in Palestine only under the Muslims. Clearly, the rule of the Muslims was for the [Christian] Nestorians a better state of affairs than had been the rule of the Byzantines.

(Medieval Christian Perceptions of Islam, by John Victor Tolan, pp.13)

Indeed, both Jews and Christians—as well as other minority groups—felt this way:

In the case of the Jews and Samaritans, although we have few accounts from their own hands, their actions would seem to suggest that they welcomed the Muslims, or at the very least, that they aided the Muslims to the best of their ability, limited though it was as a result of various Byzantine indemnities…Jacobites and Nestorians also appear to have looked upon the Muslim conquests with a guarded hope for increased freedom…Monophysite authors, mostly of a later date, saw the defeat of the Byzantines as a punishment for their heresy and their persecution of the Monophysites.

The responses of the religious minorities taken as a whole show that the Muslim invasions were looked upon as a generally positive state of affairs by the non-Melkite inhabitants of Syro-Palestine–not usually because of some inherent value attached to Islam per se, but rather insofar as the events were seen as playing an important role in the maintenance and furtherance of the communities of the religious minorities themselves.

(Medieval Christian Perceptions of Islam, by John Victor Tolan, pp.17-18)

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Part 3c: Ban on Jews is Lifted

Caliph Umar reversed the four hundred year Christian ban on Jews:

Caliph Omar allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem, and granted Christians free use of their holy sites…Caliph Omar’s openness helped make Jerusalem the city it is still today: an intense collocation of Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

(The Temple of Jerusalem, by Simon Goldhill, pp.109-110)

Karaism, a Jewish sect, had its golden age during this period of Islamic rule, which ended with the Crusader conquest:

[Jewish] Karaism is born and takes form in the Islamic world. The period selected, from the advent of Islam in the seventh century until the Crusader conquest of Palestine in 1099, constitutes for Karaism its formation and florescence…In the tenth and early eleventh centuries, Jerusalem became a center for Karaism and Karaite literary production, inaugurating what has been called a “golden age” of [Jewish] Karaism, characterized by intellectual achievement…The Crusader conquest, following shortly on the heels of the Turkoman conquest of 1071-1073, marks the end…The stories of Crusaders burning the Jews alive in their synagogues…certainly stand as testimony to the wholesale massacre and taking of captives that marked the end of a vibrant Jewish community in Jerusalem, composed of both Rabbanites and Karaites.

(Karaite Judaism and Historical Understanding, by Fred Astren, p.24)

The Muslims then ruled Jerusalem for an uninterrupted half a millennium, a time during which Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived side-by-side in harmony and tolerance. The Andalusians coined the appropriate term for this era: La Convivencia (The Coexistence). But the peace would not last forever, and soon would the world witness a conflagration that would leave deep wounds that remain unhealed to this day.

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›› Continue to second instalment (parts 4 & 5)

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50 responses to “Islamic Jerusalem: “We Will Drive the Jews into the Sea” – 1 of 3”

  1. hilas says:

    Assalamu alaikum

    welcome dr hashmi..

  2. Hassan says:

    Early jews were muslims, is there any reason that the article is lacking any Quran and hadith narrations about this history?

    • MR says:

      It’s a historical article.

      • Hassan says:

        Quran and hadiths has the most authentic history

        • MR says:

          To Muslims yes, but not to the Academic world of history. Historians in general don’t rely on religious text but historical text.

          The author states the purpose of the article in the introduction. It would be wise to read it, inshaAllah.

          • Jazakh-Allah khair, brother MR.

            I understand that this article is a bit different, in that it is a historical article, instead of one about a contemporary issue. I hope I did not bore readers…I really like to keep things relevant, and I think that the MM blog should definitely keep itself relevant. I simply think that sometimes history too is very relevant, especially since the issue of Palestine/Israel is a contemporary issue, and Muslims need to have ways of addressing popular misconceptions.

            I do not know if the article will go down well with the MM audience, as many may find it boring. I understand that, and I in fact feared that. It is at the end of the day an experiment. If the article is well received, then I can go ahead with some other ideas I had. If the article doesn’t go down that well, then I will make sure to keep future articles more relevant, insha-Allah. We must cater our articles to our audience.

            -J.Hashmi

          • Hassan says:

            He apparently quoted “practicing Christian evangelist”, so how does it is just history?

          • MR says:

            Historians have religions too. There are Muslim historians, Jewish historians and Christian historians.

          • Hassan says:

            Right… who is missing here…

        • Maverick says:

          Hassan,

          Perhaps you don’t understand, but this article isn’t really written for a Muslim audience. Its written for a wider, non-Muslim audience and if you start quoting the Qur’an or Ahaadith, you’ll have the article rejected by those non-Muslim readers because they wouldnt give any stock to such sources [otherwise they’d already be Muslim].

          Lets broaden our horizons a little and look at the bigger picture.

          Dr. Hashmi, keep it up inshallah

  3. Amad says:

    welcome doctor sahib… may Allah make your participation a source of reward for you and benefit for all of us.

  4. Wasn’t the first “Jewish” conquest of Jerusalem (mentioned in part 1) actually the Jihad of the Muslims led by the Prophet Yusha’ ibn Noon (for whom Allah held the sun until the Muslims were victorious)? I would be careful in quoting non-Muslim sources which labels this battle as a “divinely sanctioned genocide.” This is a Prophet we are talking about here (alayhi salaam)!

    Not trying to nitpick, may Allah reward you for your efforts bro, but we absolutely cannot condone such language used to describe a Prophet of Allah (Yusha), even if it is by an orientalist. If I am completely off the mark here in terms of which battle is being referred to, then, by all means, correct me inshaAllah.

    • Hassan says:

      Yes this is bothering, I mean I can get this information from wikipedia as well, I do not mind quotes from non-muslims resources, but there is no muslim touch it it

    • Wa alaykum as-salam, brother Ahmad al-Farsi.

      Thank you for your valuable input.

      I used the term “Jew” here as an ethnic word, not a religious one. The term “Jew” was used synonymously with “Judean,” i.e. inhabitant of Judea. Of course, this appellation is anachronistic in the context of the exodus, at which time they were known as “Bnei Yisroel” (and “Hebrews”) in the Old Testament and “Bani Israel” in the Quran. However, since the words are often conflated in popular usage, I chose to use the term that would most directly tie in the discussion at hand, which is the current political situation between Muslims and Jews. But again, it was used as a geographical–and not religious–label.

      I did not feel that this decision really conflicted with my religious beliefs, as Bani Israel in the Quran refers to the Jews in general. For example, Ibn Katheer says in his commentary of the second surah of the Quran:

      The Jews were Rebellious instead of Appreciative when They gained Victory

      Allah admonished the Jews for avoiding Jihad and not entering the holy land as they had been ordered to do when they came from Egypt with Musa. They were also commanded to fight the disbelieving `Amaliq (Canaanites) dwelling in the holy land at that time. But they did not want to fight, because they were weak and exhausted.

      So Ibn Katheer called them Jews. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

      About the “divinely sanctioned genocide,” these are actually the words of a practicing Christian evangelist, not an Orientalist. On this matter, I chose to remain neutral, and did not agree either way whether or not it was a genocide. This is a tricky issue. As you well know, the stories as narrated by Ahl al-Kitab are to be taken with a grain of salt by Muslims. Generally speaking, we are to neither affirm or deny them, but to remain neutral with regard to them…unless they are explicitly affirmed or denied in the Islamic canon.

      Oftentimes, the stories of the Prophets are narrated in the Israelite traditions, in such a way that although we agree with the general story, there are details that we disagree with. For example, we believe in the Jihad against the disbelievers, but do we believe in the Biblical laws that say to kill women and children, the babies, the elderly, the livestock, etc.? One could argue that perhaps the Shari’ah of that time was different than our Shari’ah, but is there any proof of that? It seems unlikely, especially since it is not only against the explicit prohibitions of our Shari’ah but also against the Islamic ethos in general.

      The Israelite traditions attribute many things which we consider to be slander to the Prophets. So it could be that this–a divinely sanctioned murder–is one of them. I’ve never seen Islamic sources detailing the massacres, whereas the Biblical ones go in great detail of this. So it seems that the Islamic texts have “censored” that portion, which seems to indicate disapproval. However, because we cannot be sure, I left out judgment on this issue.

      Our argument that the early prophets were Muslims is a religious viewpoint, one that is unfalsifiable. I decided that in the context of this discussion it was inappropriate to bring up religious arguments, and instead to use the historical record that our opponents would affirm. In other words, according to the historical record of their own people–according to their own sources–they believe that they drove non-Jews out of the Holy Land. As to whether or not this is real or imagined is immaterial; in their minds it is real and that is all that matters here.

      Lastly, we know that as soon as the Holy Land was conquered–only through the Divine Help and Favor of Allah [swt]–the Jews rebelled against Allah [swt], according to the Islamic sources; Ibn Katheer writes:

      The Jews were Rebellious instead of Appreciative when They gained Victory

      After the years of wandering ended forty years later, in the company of Yuwsha` (Joshua) bin Nun, Allah allowed the Children of Israel to conquer the holy land on the eve of a Friday. On that day, the sun was kept from setting for a little more time, until victory was achieved. When the Children of Israel conquered the holy land, they were commanded to enter its gate while, (prostrating) in appreciation to Allah for making them victorious, triumphant, returning them to their land and saving them from being lost and wandering…(enter the gate in prostration (or bowing with humility)) but instead, they entered while their heads were raised in defiance…

      This Ayah means, “If you implement what We commanded you, We will forgive your sins and multiply your good deeds.” In summary, upon achieving victory, the Children of Israel were commanded to submit to Allah in tongue and deed and, to admit to their sins and seek forgiveness for them, to be grateful to Allah for the blessings He gave them, hastening to do the deeds that Allah loves…

      The summary of what the scholars have said about this subject is that the Children of Israel distorted Allah’s command to them to submit to Him in tongue and deed. They were commanded to enter the city while bowing down, but they entered while sliding on their rear ends and raising their heads! They were commanded to say, `Hittah’ meaning, “Relieve us from our errors and sins.” However, they mocked this command and said, “Hintah (grain seed) in Sha`irah (barley).” This demonstrates the worst type of rebellion and disobedience, and it is why Allah released His anger and punishment upon them, all because of their sinning and defying His commands. Allah said, (So We sent upon the wrongdoers Rijz (a punishment) from the heaven because of their rebellion.)

      In other words, as soon as the Children of Israel entered into the Holy Land–immediately even as they crossed the very gates–they rebelled against Allah [swt] and began disobeying Allah’s Laws. Them disobeying Allah’s Laws is what caused them to fall out of Allah’s Good Pleasure. So it could be that as soon as they entered the city, they slaughtered the local inhabitants out of rebellion and haughtiness–not the humility that they were commanded to exhibit. Therefore any subsequent massacre on their part would not mean that they were obeying a past Shari’ah, since they were in a state of rebellion from the Shari’ah at that time.

      For example, if a pious general leads his men to conquer a city–and as soon as they overtake the city–the soldiers begin to loot, plunder, and rape…it doesn’t mean that the general approved of that; the soldiers could have just gone against his orders, and this happens quite frequently, and we have examples even today of this. Let’s pretend for example if Prophet Muhammad [s] led a battle against his enemies–with only the Hypocrites accompanying him instead of the Companions–don’t you think the Hypocrites would have shown incredible cowardice when the actual battle was raging against armed soldiers? But as soon as the war would be over–and Allah [swt] granted them victory–wouldn’t the Hypocrites puff out their chests and walk around with arrogance, and treat the local populace with such an attitude, one conducive to human rights violations? Then they could loot, plunder, rape, and slaughter the inhabitants, and claim falsely that the Prophet [s] gave them this permission, putting it all on him. It’s just a hypothetical scenario, but it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility. When the truce was stricken between the Muslims of Madeenah and the polytheists of Mecca, wasn’t it the Hypocrites who hoped that the Muslims would be the ones to break it, so that the kufaar could accuse the Prophet [s] of injustice and criminality?

      Anyways, this is all speculation, and a part of religious debate. Whether or not a past nation would have been legitimized genocide by Allah [swt]–and I of course would be highly skeptical of such a thing–is all a matter of religious dispute, which is not really relevant to the article, which only tries to examine the historical record of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim rule of Jerusalem.

      I hope this sheds some light on the matter, insha-Allah.

      EDIT: Thank you all who welcomed me. May Allah [swt] reward you all. And thank you all those who gave constructive criticism. May Allah [swt] reward you as well.

      -J. Hashmi

      • Hassan says:

        Ok how about citing islamic sources as well (in the original article)? Is there a reason you are quoting jews and christians (not just historians) and not muslims? Why those sources constitute history not Quran and hadiths?

        • Wa alaykum as-salam, brother Hassan.

          Actually yes I tried to stay away from Muslim authors altogether, in order that our opponents not claim a bias. I only quoted from reliable historical books. In that one case, I did cite an Evangelical Christian, but only because he wrote a book for a highly established introductory level series.

          -J.Hashmi

  5. Abu Bakr says:

    Just a note, the Kara’ites still exist but they have almost vanished.

  6. Abu Uthman says:

    Al-Salam alaykum,

    To continue on the point the author of this article makes in his intro to this article,

    What the Palestinians mean or want is that they would like to drive out or bring into submission the oppressive and evil Zionist Jews and leave the rest of the Jews to live amongst them peacefully. They do not at any time mean that they want to drive all Jews out to the sea back to the land of their respective second passports.

    I guess by intending to drive out or bring into submission the evil Zionist Jewry policies and not all Jews their intention is similar to the intention of the Allied forces had in dealing with the Germans. They wanted the Nazis killed, removed or out of power, and did not expect all Germans killed and or removed from Germany; although some of their policy makers had probably said it during the peak of the war.

    Now why would a main stream media reporter ask a question to clarify this point and then drive the clarification to their audience.

    Anyways, the Palestinian leadership should be advised that this point should be clarified in their talks everywhere. They should make a precondition that with the media, during interviews that this question is asked and the clarification driven to all ears across all seas.

    To the leadership of the Palestinians and the allies helping their cause from the Arabs and others:
    Make a documentary drawing parallels on statements vs. Intentions Allies to Nazis, and Muslim allies to Zionists.

    Obviously, for obvious reasons from obvious sources what’s getting out is that the Palestinians want ‘every Jew driven out to sea or killed,’ and that as we all know is so wrong.

  7. Ikram Kurdi says:

    There is an ad for nazarethcenter.com, and one for cyjtexas.org, which I think you might want to block.

  8. Hassan says:

    By the way I just like to mention that I really like the brother who wrote article, he has many many valuable contributions, and websites that I refer to quite often for reasons that the websites are for….

  9. Norma Loquendi says:

    I don’t think Mr. Hashmi’s article is boring AT ALL and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this excellent article.

    I really don’t get why that Hassan guy thinks that early jews were actually Muslims, though. The people who made up the “jews” were probably of the same general tribal mix as all the other peoples who came from the middle east, but nobody was a Muslim until after your prophet invented Islam – and that was pretty recent. What is up with all the revisionism? I mean, I understand it with Wiccans and other neo-nits who need to invent a lineage to give an appearance of some credibility to their stories, but it seems to me that Muslims can stand on their own without tarting it up by laying claim to pre-Mohammed religious myths. What’s wrong with just sticking with the historical facts, like Mr. Hashmi’s doing?

    • Well, Norma, one of the fundamental pillars of Islamic doctrine is that all prophets, from Adam, to Moses, to Jesus, to Muhammad, all were prophets of Islam and their followers were Muslims (those who submitted themselves to Allah). This is mentioned quite explicitly in the Quran and in the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam). Not a single Muslim believes that the Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) was the first prophet of Islam; on the contrary, we hold him to be the last prophet. If you investigate the fundamental message of the previous Prophets from a creedal perspective, you will find them to be precisely the same beliefs in Islam.

    • Hello Ms. Norma,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      About what brother Hassan mentioned, actually it is a religious belief of Muslims that all of God’s Prophets were “Muslims.” The word “Muslim” is an Arabic term for “submitter” and it refers to someone who submits to God. So in this sense, we believe all of God’s Prophets were Muslims (submitters). It doesn’t mean that they actually used that appellation, but just that they were that in the general sense of the word.

      Muslims believe that the term “Muslim” has a general and specific meaning. Its general meaning refers to all those who submit to God, which includes all of God’s Prophets. The specific meaning of “Muslim” is one who follows the religious law of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

      This is a religious belief, so I chose to exclude it from the article, and simply focus on what is agreed upon by historians.

      Hope that clarifies.

      -J.Hashmi

  10. Amatullah says:

    mashaAllah, I enjoyed this very much. History is awesome. Jazaak Allahu khayran.

    Welcome to MM Dr. J, may Allah bless you in it and grant you tawfeeq in your affairs.

  11. Norma Loquendi says:

    Thank you to Mr. AlFarsi and to Mr. Hashmi for your explanations as to why Muslims claim all the prophets as their own. It’s not something that’s clear to non-Muslims, but there you go. That’s why people like me read sites like this – always something to learn, whether it makes complete sense to our personal worldview or not. Maybe some day I’ll even figure it out.

    I really, really like this article. Please have lots more like it.

  12. Abu Abdaen says:

    Salam Dr, Can you attach a pdf copy of the article to it. I think that will help to spread the message further to both muslims and non muslims alike.

  13. UmmeAmmaarah says:

    JazakAllahu khair brother for the very informative article…looking forward to your next post..

    May Allah Ta’Ala increase you in knowledge and wisdom, good luck with the residency [snipped] :D MashaAllah.

    EDIT by J.Hashmi: Jazakh-Allah khair.

  14. Nahyan Inc says:

    Jazakallahukhair Dr. Hashmi,

    Glad to know ppl are enjoying this.

    The style is not the most interesting but the academic approach is what’s to be appreciated. I’m especially looking forward to Part 2 – 6

    By the quality of it, looks like these will be reference material for many ppl on this subject.

    Keep up the great work, jazakallahukhair
    Nahyan

  15. Dawud Israel says:

    I find it kinda upsetting and troubling, we have someone who is an electrical engineer/computer scientist and soon to be a doctor (ma sha Allah a microcosm of every Muslim uncle!)…writing about the history of Jerusalem? Why don’t they write on technology and Islam or something that is in their expertise, as oppose to something which is not?

    I appreciate the focus on al-Quds, and applaud the author for his sincerity, but I think qualifications are important. Really there is no way around it- if we want to get anywhere, we need to approach these issues in the fitting manner! Have a historian talk about al-Quds. Really, there is a world of difference between someone writing from books they read, to a real, academic historian, who knows everything inside out, and won’t commit the intellectual mistakes we Muslims commit all the time.

    Otherwise, little which we say is of any value- and in a sense is worse than saying nothing, because it can distort and confuse. And in the end when you finally have someone who is learned in history, well, they will show you how worthless all your previous efforts were.

    • I am trained as an historical political economist with specialization in modern Eastern European and Jewish studies. Nevertheless, I have long had an interest in the classical and medieval Medieval period.

      I work as an engineer because reaction to my undergraduate hypothesis explaining the transition from Geonic to Rabbinic Judaism indicated that I would never be able to obtain an academic position unless I were willing to lie about Jewish historical political economy.

      Because I know the history of Greco-Roman Judaism in detail, I recently helped my wife put together a brief summary of Zionist usurpation for the Khaleej Times: [snipped]

      Although I am Muslim, I run an organization, whose name is [snipped] because in Boston Jews have generally been far more willing than Muslims:

      1. to undertake coordinated unequivocal anti-Zionist action and
      2. to stand up for Muslim constitutional rights.

      I have put up a summary blog entry, [snipped], that points to a collection of articles explaining more about the origins of Modern Jewry than most people would ever want to know.

      In order to be neutral on religious issues, the articles are all written from the standpoint of historical political economy.

      Edited by J.Hashmi

      • Welcome to MM, Joachim.

        I’m really sorry to do this to you, but I had to snip out your links. I wanted this article to deal only with that which is agreed upon by scholars and academics. Although I only spent a few minutes on your site, I did notice a few things which bothered me. I think your writing is much more controversial and contested.

        I generally have a very positive opinion of secular historians. I just tend to stick to the historical record that they agree upon, in order to avoid shoddy and selective scholarship. Furthermore, I prefer dispassionate discourse instead of ideologically driven research. With regard to your work, it is beyond my capability to comment on it, so I will just say nothing and apologize to you for snipping your links.

        There is an open thread on MM. You may share whatever views you want there, and the MM staff there may be more lenient in letting certain posts pass. I however will keep an eye on my article to make sure we stick to what is agreed upon. Muslims already have a credibility issue, as we–like minorities in general–tend to flock to conspiracy theories. I wanted to avoid this pitfall, insha-Allah.

        -J.Hashmi

        • While I generally focus mostly on modern E. European and Jewish studies, I am no slouch when it comes to the classics.

          Among scholars I am fairly close to the mainstream in Jewish studies.

          In this case, the preponderance of scholarship does not happen to agree with Zionist mythology even if common wisdom does, and to pretend that there is consensus on the issues my wife raised is the purest mendacity.

          In her article my wife cited two well-respected scholars: Columbia University Professor Nadia Abu el-Haj and Tel Aviv University Professor Shlomo Sand (Zand).

          I don’t quite understand why Muslims would go out of their way to pander Zionist racism by casting doubt on their scholarly qualifications and by insulting my wife, who is the Civil Rights Division Director of the National Association of Muslim American Women.

          I was trying to be nice, but you simply do not understand the Biblical History, and I have to doubt whether you ever read the Bible, religious historians of Biblical Israel or secular historians of Biblical Israel, for no one except a Zionist or someone totally indoctrinated with Zionist propaganda talks about the Jewish conquest of Canaan. The proper terminology is the Israelite conquest. The Kingdom of Judah does not arise until after the reign of Solomon, and many contemporary archeologists and historians treat that whole period as mythological.

          In the Hebrew Bible, the word Yehudi (יְהוּדִי equivalent to Arabic Yahudi) is not used until the Book of Esther, which among other things describes a massive conversion to some form of Judaism as it was practiced at the time period.

          If I were translating Yehudi, I would use Jehudite because the group being described is quite distinct

          1. from the Judahites of the pre-exilic Kingdom of Judah,

          2. from the Judeans of the Greco-Roman time period, and

          3. from Jews of the medieval to modern period.

          Obviously, there is some disagreement in the terminology, but the issue of properly translating Hebrew yehudi and Greek ioudaios has been around since Reuchlein in the 15th century.

          Reuse of gentilics or demonyms is hardly unusual in the European context, and Patrick J. Geary summarizes practice in The Myth of Nations, The Medieval Origins of Europe, pp. 118-119. His analysis applies at least as much to the term yehudi as it applies to any European ethnic name.

          Conclusion: Old Names and New Peoples

          The fourth and fifth centuries saw fundamental changes in the European social and political fabric. In the process, great confederations like those of the Goths disappeared, to re-emerge transformed into kingdoms in Italy and Gaul. Others like the Hunnic Empire or the Vandal kingdom seemed to spring from nowhere, only to vanish utterly in a few generations. Still other, previously obscure peoples, such as the Angles and the Franks, emerged to create enduring polities. But whether enduring or ephemeral, the social realities behind these ethnic names underwent rapid and radical transformation in every case. Whatever a Goth was in the third-century kingdom of Cniva, the reality of a Goth in sixthcentury Spain was far different, in language, religion, political and social organization, even ancestry. The Franks defeated by Emperor Julian in the fourth century and those who followed Clovis into battle in the sixth century were likewise almost immeasurably distant from each other in every possible way. The same was true of the Romans, whose transformation was no less dramatic in the same period. With the constant shifting of allegiances, intermarriages, transformations, and appropriations, it appears that all that remained constant were names, and these were vessels that could hold different contents at different times.

          Names were renewable resources; they held the potential to convince people of continuity, even if radical discontinuity was the lived reality. Old names, whether of ancient peoples like the Goths or Suebi or of illustrious families such as the Amals, could be reclaimed, applied to new circumstances, and used as rallying cries for new powers. Alternatively, names of small, relatively unimportant groups might be expanded with enormous power. The Franks were the most significant of these. In the third century, they were among the least significant of Rome’s enemies. By the sixth century, the name Frank had eclipsed not only that of Goth, Vandal, and Sueb, but of Roman itself in much of the West.

          Probably no greater fraud has ever been perpetrated in the history of the human race than Zionism.

          I am quite offended that you write:

          I wanted this article to deal only with that which is agreed upon by scholars and academics. [It is not a history where there is agreement. To pretend consenus exists is dishonest.] Although I only spent a few minutes on your site, I did notice a few things which bothered me. [Like what? On any point I make I can cite either primary research, primary literature or numerous secondary sources.] I think your writing is much more controversial and contested. [Your are simply saying that I do not agree with Zionist propaganda. A lot of Jewish studies researchers don’t in fact agree with it. That should be a good thing. Good historical scholarship is often controversial.]

          I generally have a very positive opinion of secular historians. I just tend to stick to the historical record that they agree upon, in order to avoid shoddy and selective scholarship. [There is no consensus in the history I was discussing except the nonsense Zionists are trying to foist on the rest of the world. If anything, you are regurgitating shoddy and selective scholarship.] Furthermore, I prefer dispassionate discourse instead of ideologically driven research. [Good research is objective even if it is passionate, and on some issues it is simply difficult to avoid passion. Jewish scholars of the Holocaust are not criticized for passion. They are criticized as Goldhagen was for selective or distorted use of sources.] With regard to your work, it is beyond my capability to comment on it, so I will just say nothing and apologize to you for snipping your links. [You are just admitting that you should not be pretending to write a factual summary and that you have no ability to justify your position.]

          There is an open thread on MM. You may share whatever views you want there, and the MM staff there may be more lenient in letting certain posts pass. I however will keep an eye on my article to make sure we stick to what is agreed upon. [I have to reiterate there is no agreement in this area, but the preponderance of serious scholarship is closer to my summary than to yours.] Muslims already have a credibility issue, as we–like minorities in general–tend to flock to conspiracy theories.

          There is a whole area of historical research devoted to conspiracy theories. (Fire in the Minds of Men by Billington is a popular but solid work in this genre.) Conspiracy theories are phenomenologies that people develop to explain observables in the face of a dearth of data. Usually when more data becomes available, previously formulated conspiracy theories must either be modified or dropped, but problems with a given conspiracy theory does not mean there are no conspiracies.

          In fact, because conspiracies are fairly common, they have been criminalized in US law and there are several regulatory agencies that watch for them. Eastern European politics has been highly conspiratorial since the 18th century at least. Sometimes scholarly literature calls the Polish Socialist Party the 40 year conspiracy to create an independent Poland. Historically Eastern European Jewish communism was highly conspiratorial just as Eastern European Jewish Zionism is today. Muslims have problems with conspiracy theories not because Muslims are wrong to worry about Islamophobic conspiracies but because American Muslims do not have a clue about discussing conspiracy in a rational or persuasive fashion.

          Censoring the discussion to avoid offending Jewish prejudices hardly makes American Muslims more credible especially when in this case the censorship is being applied to one of the 5 or so Muslims that actually has an in-depth knowledge of Jewish studies.

          • As-Salam Alaykum.

            I don’t quite understand why Muslims would go out of their way to pander Zionist racism by casting doubt on their scholarly qualifications and by insulting my wife

            My dearest brother, I did not question your or your wife’s scholarly qualifications. I do not know you or her, so what right would I have to do that?

            for no one except a Zionist or someone totally indoctrinated with Zionist propaganda talks about the Jewish conquest of Canaan. The proper terminology is the Israelite conquest.

            Brother, I already dealt with this issue in the comments. Please scroll up to see what I said. I acknowledged that the term “Jew” I used was anachronistic. As for your unnecessary accusation, please note that Imam Ibn Kathir himself used the term “Jew” when referring to the conquest of Canaan. But like I said, I acknowledge that it is anachronistic, and that the more correct term would be Israelite, like you mentioned.

            May Allah [swt] reward you!

            -J.Hashmi

  16. Faraz Omar says:

    Excellent article Masha Allah. I have a question regarding the quote:

    “These Arabs, whom God has now given sovereignty over the world, are disposed towards us as you know. They are not opposed to Christians. Indeed, they respect our religion and honor the priests and the saints of ours Lord and they give aid to the churches and monasteries.”

    I read somewhere (unverified) that though Caliph Umar did allow freedom to practice the religion and protection of churches etc.. he stipulated a condition that they should not be repaired and reconstructed. Also building of new churches was not allowed… is this true? the above quote doesn’t seem to say that however.

    I think not touching what Muslim scholars and historians had to say is a big missing piece of this article. I believe including that will make the article more complete.

    No problem in quoting their own references as you said, but you are writing for us . It will really fall in place. You are just quoting historians to narrate the history, and not using it to arrive at conclusions, so why will it matter if you use references from Muslim scholars too? I think your article will be more accurate and better if you would quote Ibn Kathir, for example. If they read it, they have the choice not to take into consideration the references they don’t agree with, although that’s not how it should be. Let’s not be apologetic.

    Also, about the re-conquest, you mentioned from the perspective of Jewish history that it was after 15 years. Isn’t this re-conquest the same about which the Qur’an says Bid’u sineen? and that it was between 7-9 years?

    please clarify.

    I think this dimension, providing history, is a great initiative masha Allah. I hope u continue to do that. jazaak Allah khair.

    • Wa alaykum as-salam, brother.

      I read somewhere (unverified) that though Caliph Umar did allow freedom to practice the religion and protection of churches etc.. he stipulated a condition that they should not be repaired and reconstructed. Also building of new churches was not allowed… is this true? the above quote doesn’t seem to say that however.

      I am actually writing an article on this subject. Ninety-percent done! I am unsure if it will be posted on MM though. It depends on what the MM staff think of it.

      But I have researched the issue, and historians agree that the document you are talking about is a fabrication, spuriously attributed to Caliph Umar.

      New churches were most definitely built during the reign of Caliph Umar and thereafter. In fact, Christian sects which had been forbidden from building their churches under the Byzantine reign were finally able to be build their churches once Muslims entered the region.

      -J.Hashmi

  17. An-nayjeree says:

    Asalaamu `alaykum!

    Yes, Finally! I’ve been looking for a comprehensive work on the history of Israel without having to pick up a book (laziness deceive me into thinking “I don’t have time”). And no this is NOT boring…This is awesome! I can’t wait to read the rest!

  18. Abdullah says:

    Mr hashmi well done i wil request you to please write articles on unjutice with muslim countries like iran palestein etc

  19. yamin says:

    JazakAllah Khair for a wonderful article. It’s great to see such in-depth research on this subject, and I look forard too seeing more of your work inshaAllah.

    Is there any chance you can provide any information about the Greek rule of countries such as Syria before the influence of Islam? I have not been able to find much information about the subject.

    • Jazakh-Allah Khair.

      Is there any chance you can provide any information about the Greek rule of countries such as Syria before the influence of Islam?

      Unfortunately I have only studied Middle Eastern history in university.

      -J.Hashmi

  20. Dear Dr J. Hashmi,

    The article has many useful information about Islam based on others. Accounts based on writings from as old as the time of the Prophet, witnesses by non-Muslim who witnessed, saw and experienced the manners of the Companions and the Tabi’un. Certainly, provides another source of information other than Sirah of Ibn Ishaq.

    Dear brother,
    The reference you mentioned based on Tolan Ed., (2000), The Medieval Christian perception of Islam, p13.
    The link did not show the foot note, could you tell me the reference of the author information?

    Thank you

  21. bukhari says:

    TO THE BELIEVERS

    Very good day,

    This is to invite your attention towards the desirability, in today’s World__ where no one, be it a super power or a super-populated nation, is in a position to influence events __ of an inter-state alliance for the resolution of regional and global issues.

    The present time demands a new World Order achievable through a Global Alliance of Jews, Christians and Muslims who need to get their vision adjusted to the logic of events as they have unfolded in the beginning of the 21st century. If, thus, the believers correct their course to pursue such values as conform with God’s universal plan, design and order, they will be rewarded with world leadership. Otherwise, Nature will, for the correction of course, permit the evil to gather momentum and rush with fury to a WAR ON THE BELIEVERS who will suffer substantial loss before reuniting to once again play a role on the world stage.

    While the human beings have been waging bloody wars to block the transformation of one Culture/World Order into another, the forces of nature have continued for millennia to smoothly and peacefully transform day into night and darkness into light. I, therefore, request the sons of Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) to learn from nature and be united for replacing the illuminati World Order of the Industrial Culture era with a New World Order for the I.T. Culture era.

    Having been blessed with a crystal clear vision of the centuries ahead, coupled with the expertise to develop a practical shape of the I.T. Culture, my suggestions are not only compatible with the prevalent democratic system but also have an inbuilt mechanism for the evolution of I.T. Culture in accordance with the divine order and design. In this context, briefs of the fundamental principles of “IN GOD WE TRUST”, Constitution, Smart Government and Structure of I.T. Culture Government are enclosed.

    Since, besides, the United Nations (UN) has unfortunately failed to maintain global peace and its subsidiary organs have been unable to achieve their respective objectives, we need, on the one hand, to replace the UN with a new World Organization of the Nations (WON) and on the other, establish new subsidiary organs, namely GRACE, GOOD, JOIN, TOP and PACT, a brief of the fundamental principles of each of which is also enclosed.

    Hoping we can all join hands to develop an inbuilt mechanism for Global Peace in the New World Order,

    Sincerely yours,

    SYED AMMAR BUKHARI
    Cell: +92-321-2345617
    http://www.goodgovernance.org.pk

  22. David Kaelin says:

    Excellent summary.

    I could find nothing out of sorts and I’ve read widely and deeply on this subject.

  23. 786 As-salaamu ‘aleykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
    Thank you for this article; I’ve long wished for a concise summary of Jewish presence in Jerusalem compiled from academic sources.
    I’m very sorry for the misunderstandings of some of our coreligionists; being a revert myself, and well-versed in how non-Muslims think, I know firsthand the tremendous value of this work. It is both engaging and fascinating.
    Jazakallah khair!

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