The issue of Palestine has been an issue for not just the last 70 years, but for almost all of human history. There have always been battles over the land for over a millennia, with the Muslims having held all, if not majority, of the region since their conquest under ‘Umar (RA) in 638 AD, except the years of 1089 to 1187, till World War I. This article will focus heavily on the history of Palestine, from the rule of Dawud (alayhis salaam) till the present day, the Muslim claim to Masjid al-Aqsa and the surrounding land, and how Muslims can work towards helping those in need against the oppressors.
History of Palestine:
Dawud (alayhis salaam) was the divinely chosen ruler of the Kingdom of Bani Israeel. Him and his successor Sulayman (alayhis salaam) ruled the land as just, upright kings of the land, and from their rule all the way till ‘Isa (alayhis salaam), the land was occupied by the Bani Israeel, But within them there was a lot of disputes and many wars occurred in the land, The Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persian Empires all fought and occupied the land, and in particular the Babylonians. Once the Bani Israeel started to deviate from the beliefs of Islam, Allah sent a Mushrik king by the name of Bukht Nasr, who then demolished the Masjid of Sulayman (alayhis salaam) and laid siege to Baitul Maqdis. And like this power shifted between the Bani Israeel and various other nations.
‘Isa (alayhis salaam) was then sent as the Rasul of the Bani Israeel, during the Roman occupation, and the Bani Israeel opposed him at every turn. A long time after this, Rasulullah (SAW) went on the Isra’ and came to Masjid al-Aqsa, prayed there leading all the messengers and then was sent to the heavens. Fighting and violence in the land continued till ‘Umar (RA) conquered the land from the Byzantines in 638 AD. From then, peace in the land was there under Muslim rule. This peace lasted till 1096, where the Christians in the First Crusade, conquered the land and established the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
When the Christians arrived in Masjid al-Aqsa, they began to massacre all the Muslims there, so much so that in the Gesta Francorum, a Latin book denoting the history of the First Crusade, stated that the soldiers were killing and slaying so much that the men waded in blood up to their ankles, and another narration states "in the Temple and porch of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins''. A person who stayed with Baldwin I, the second King of Jerusalem, and who served as one of the commanders of the Christian Army in the First Crusade narrates that “In this temple 10,000 were killed. Indeed, if you had been there you would have seen our feet coloured to our ankles with the blood of the slain. But what more shall I relate? None of them were left alive; neither women nor children were spared”. During this time, under Muslim rule, both the Jews and the Muslims fought together to protect the city from the invasion. This shows how much brotherhood the Muslims created between themselves and the Jews and how other religions were not able to bring this brotherhood and instead brought violence and bloodshed.
After the Christians took over the land, they imposed their tyranny and oppression till 1187, when Salah ad-Din al-Ayyubi conquered the land once again from the Christians and established Muslim rule, From this point, till the end of the 19th century, it has been under Muslim rule, Changing hands from the Ayyubids to the Mamluks in 1250 and conquered by the Ottomans in 1517, and from 1517 till 1918 it remained under Ottoman rule with little breaks during the rule of Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt. During this period, the Muslims, Jews and Christian lived together under Muslim rule, and all of them had a sense of brotherhood and belonging to their land. The Ottomans ruled the land till 1914, in which, the Ottomans joined World War I as part of the Central Powers, the British in the Mc-Mahon-Hussein Correspondence, promised the Arabs independence in exchange of insurrection against the Ottoman Empire, using the argument that Arabs, the ethnicity of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), were being ruled by the Turks. This argument worked against the Arabs and the Arabs revolted against the Ottomans in 1916 in exchange for independence.
In 1918, after the defeat of the Ottomans in World War I. Instead of the Arab states gaining independence, Palestine was brought under the rule of the British, who established a League of Nations mandate in the lands of Palestine and Transjordan. Transjordan was made a British protectorate and Palestine stayed as part of Mandatory Palestine. Under this administration, the British Foreign Secretary and later Prime Minister Arthur Balfour declared on behalf of the British government that Britain would actively support the creation of a “Jewish homeland” in the region of Palestine. After this, Jewish immigration to Palestine increased dramatically, as the British administration was encouraging Jewish migration to tip the ethnic majority in the Jews’ favor. In response, the Muslims began to riot against the migration in the 1920 Palestine Riots. The British failed to quell the protests and the riots lasted for four days, eroding the trust between Muslims, Jews and the British. The British effectively ended the almost thousand years of brotherhood and defending the land from foreign invasion. These riots, strikes and protests continued throughout the years of British rule in the region.The Jewish supported the British efforts to quell the protests and employed their own terrorist organization such as Haganah and Irgun to help the British against the Muslims.
In order to appease both the Muslims and the Jews, in 1937, the Peel Commission declared its intention to create both a Jewish and Muslim state. In 1947, the United Nations led by America and Britain acted upon this and declared the creation of a Muslim state and a Jewish state. But despite the fact that the Arab Muslims lived there for thousands of years and numbered over twice the Jewish Immigrants, they still gave the Jews 56% of the land. This plan, which was completely unjust towards the Muslims, was carried out and enforced by the British with the Jews declaring their independence and the Muslims, understandably furious, declared war against it. After which, numerous wars occurred between the Muslims and the Jews such as the Suez Crisis, Six-Day War, both of which the Israelis started against the Muslims and in the Suez Crisis in particular, the Jews sided with the British and French who wanted control over the Suez Canal in Egypt. Therefore, the Jews sided with the foreigners who occupied their land just out of spite against the Muslims. After the Jews conquered and annexed the Muslims land, the Muslims retaliated in the Yom Kippur War, which the Muslims stalemated against the American-armed Jewish Army.
This cycle of violence has been continuing till the present day, where the Jews have been trying a new strategy to annihilate the Palestinians from the map, using illegal settlements, considered illegal even by the Western controlled UN, to tip the balance of the population in their favor in the West Bank. The Jewish government under their leadership have worked tirelessly to make the lives of Muslims a living hell, to completely annihilate any claim they have in the land. May Allah protect us all and May Allah help and protect the Muslims in Palestine and May Allah give us the ability for us to help them also. Amin
The Claim of Muslims to Masjid al-Aqsa and its Land:
All three religions have some claim to the land of Palestine and in particular, Masjid al-Aqsa. Jews, Christians and Muslims pray there and they all claim the land due to particular reasons. The Christians claim the land because this was the birthplace of Isa (alayhis salaam) and this was the place where he was crucified by the Jews. The Jews claim the land because the prophet Musa (alayhis salaam) migrated here after escaping from Fir’aun, and after this Dawud (alayhis salaam) and Sulayman (alayhis salaam) ruled the land and the Bani Israeel in the land. The Muslim claim to the land is that, alongside all the prophets who stayed in Masjid al-Aqsa and how it is the second Masjid to be created in the world, behind Masjid al-Haram, this was the place where Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) arrived on the Isra’ on the Night Journey to the Heavens, as evidenced in the Qur’an,
سُبْحَـٰنَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِۦ لَيْلًۭا مِّنَ ٱلْمَسْجِدِ ٱلْحَرَامِ إِلَى ٱلْمَسْجِدِ ٱلْأَقْصَا ٱلَّذِى بَـٰرَكْنَا حَوْلَهُۥ لِنُرِيَهُۥ مِنْ ءَايَـٰتِنَآ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلْبَصِيرُ
“Glory to the one who took his servant (Muhammad) at night from Masjid al-Haram to Masjid al-Aqsa which we blessed (the land) around it, so we may show him our signs, Indeed He (allah) is all-hearing, all-seeing.”
During that journey, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) was even given Imamah (leadership) over all the prophets as he led them in prayer. This action signifies that the protectors of Masjid al-Aqsa and rulers of the land were not to be the Jews or Christians who came before them, rather it was the Ummah of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). Masjid al-Aqsa is also the third holiest place in Islam, it was the first Qiblah of the Muslims before it was changed to Masjid al-Haram, the prayer of a Believer is multiplied by 500 times as evidenced in the Hadith of Abu Darda (radhiyallahu anhu) who narrated from Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), who said “A prayer in Makkah (Ka'bah) is worth 1,000,000 times (reward), a prayer in my Masjid (Madinah) is worth 1,000 times, and a prayer in Al-Aqsa Sanctuary is worth 500 times more reward than anywhere else.” Another virtue of Masjid al-Aqsa is reported in another Hadith. Zayd ibn Thabit reports that the Prophet said, “How blessed is al-Sham!” The Companions around asked: "Why is that?" The Messenger replied, “I see the angels of Allah spread their wings over al-Sham.” lbn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhuma) added, “and the Prophets lived in it. There is not a single inch in al-Quds (Jerusalem) where a Prophet has not prayed or an angel has not stood.” This is another Hadith which shows the virtues of Masjid al-Aqsa. May Allah Ta’ala grant it security and safety, and May Allah protect it from all harm. Amin
How Muslims can help Masjid al-Aqsa and the Palestinian people?
The first and most effective way how Muslims can help Masjid al-Aqsa and the people of Palestine is sincere Du’a. Without du’a, no matter how much we protest or we demand, no action will be taken as these actions do not have the barakah of Allah. Only through Allah do we claim victory, so it only makes sense that we ask victory from the one who holds it. A few du’as will be mentioned here which everyone should try to recite regularly,
حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ، نِعْمَ الْمَوْلَى وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ
“Allah is sufficient for us, and he is the best disposer of affairs, and he is the best protector and the best helper.”
اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّا نَجْعَلُكَ فِي نُحُورِهِمْ وَنَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شُرُورِهِمْ
“O Allah, we ask you to restrain them by their necks, we seek refuge in you from their evil.”
If one recites these du’as regularly, then insha’Allah, the help of Allah is near. One should never despair from the mercy of Allah, as Allah says
لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ
“Do not despair of the mercy of Allah.” (Zumar:53)
The second way is to spread the word by telling friends and family of the atrocities committed by the Jewish government. By doing this, we are able to bring the message and sorrows of the Palestinian people to everyone and combat the propaganda which has been plaguing the media for decades. And once everyone learns of these atrocities, we hope that this will help end this terrible conflict.
The third way is to send financial aid to Masjid al-Aqsa and the Palestinian people, Maymunah Bint Sa’d (radhiyallahu anha) relates that she asked Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam): ''O Messenger of Allah, tell us the legal injunction about (visiting) Bayt al-Muqaddas.'' The Messenger of Allah said: “Go and pray there. All the cities at that time were effected by war. If you cannot visit it and pray there, then send some oil to be used in the lamps.” The oil here being Sadaqah, meaning that we, who do not have the ability to pray there, we should send some Sadaqah for the masjid. We should also help the Palestinian civilians who have been bombarded by attacks and airstrikes and we should donate a little portion of our wealth, and this will raise our status in the court of Allah. May Allah Ta’ala preserve our Masjid al-Aqsa, and may Allah Ta’ala bring his victory for the Palestinian people. Amin
The current situation is very saddening and very horrific, thousands of people including children are being killed, and this has been happening for decades. However, due to the current state of global affairs, this issue has been sidelined bythe media away from public view. It is our duty to protect Masjid al-Aqsa and Palestine through whatever means necessary we have, and only through the help of Allah, only through his mercy are we able to go through these troubling times and only through him are we able to achieve victory. May Allah give victory to the Palestinians and May Allah bring the best of reward to them and us, and May Allah give the best of mercy to them and us, May Allah give us the Tawfiq to help the Palestinians in whatever way he pleases. Amin