Jerusalem, English for Al- Quds, the oldest city in history that bears infinite scars from ancient times. From the Proto Canaanite period dating around 4500-3500 BC, through the Neo- Babylonian period, the Roman period, the Byzantine period, the Rashidun, Umayyad, and Abbasid periods, in addition to the Fatimid period until the decline of the Ottoman period and surrendering the city to the British mandate in 1917, the city has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.
Jerusalem is the cradle of Christianity, the land in which Jesus instructed his disciples in the Lord’s Prayer, where he cleansed the temple from the “money changers” who turned the temple into a den of thieves through their commercial activities. It is the place in which Jesus called for Christianity, shared the Last Supper with his disciples, and according to the Christian doctrine, was crucified and buried.
For Muslims, Jerusalem was the first qibla, before the Kaaba in Mecca. Muhammad (p), during the Night Journey, Al- Israa, during which the Prophet (p) prayed leading Abraham, Moses, Jesus (a.s.) at the Furthest Moque (Al- Masjed Al Aqsa). This spot was the place from which Prophet Muhammad (p) proceeded on his next journey, the ascension to heaven, Al- Me’raj. “Glory be to Him Who made His servant (Prophet Muhammad) to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) to the Farthest Mosque (Masjid al-Aqsa) of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” (17:01). Thus, Jerusalem is recognized as a sacred site in Islam, and there are several verses in the Holy Quran that refer to it.
For Muslims, Jerusalem is the third most holy site in Islam. The name of Jerusalem derived from its original Jebusite name Ur-Salem or Urishalim. For Muslims the name suggests "peace" and corresponds closely to the Muslim concept of the sacred; a place where peace reigns and conflicts are excluded.
It is believed that the Jewish religious claim to Jerusalem is powerful one since Jews pray in its direction, mention its name constantly in prayers, close the Passover service with the statement "Next year in Jerusalem," and recall the city in the blessing at the end of each meal. However, their claim is invalid since archeologists found no building works dating from the time when Solomon built his temple, which according to the Book of Chronicle, equates with David’s altar, concluding that it is primarily mythical.
However, historically speaking, Jerusalem has generally been the site for Muslim pilgrimage, prayer, study or residence. Al-Aqsa Mosque was a particular seat of learning. Muslim scholars came to Jerusalem from distant lands. Just as it is true to say that the first textbook in Islam was the Quran, so it is true to say that the first school was the mosque.
Jerusalem is more than just an alter, a temple, a dome, or a minaret. It should be regarded as a haven for both Muslims and non-Muslims since it is the cradle of the three heavenly religions. It is endowed with a significance that sets it as a line of thought.
Thus, Muslims celebrate an annual event that is commemorated on the last Friday of Ramadan, International Quds Day. The celebration expresses solidarity with the Palestinian people against Zionism. The annual anti-Zionist celebration was originated by the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary, the late Ayatollah Imam Khumeini (ra) who called Muslims and Arabs “to join together to sever the hand of this usurper and its supporters.”
However, the Arab world has forgotten all about it as a result of its commitment of the Israel’s existence and in an international political climate that manipulates the existing salutations in a way that farther complicates the problem and does away with the Palestinians' dreams of independence through turning the Road Map into a means of deceit to the Palestinian people and demanding impossible conditions as well as trying to force them to recognize Israel without promising anything in return.
In these days, the Muslim world and the civilized human world should strive to keep Jerusalem alive in the political and spiritual conscience, as well as maintaining the Jihad against the barbaric Jewish occupation. They should make every effort to expose the brutal massacres committed against the Palestinian people, and enable the Palestinians to move towards freedom that is based on the liberation of the land by means of an objective political and military plan that returns the city - the symbol and the cause- to its people.
If the Muslims respect their Islam, they should start planning on how to confront the plot of Judaization of Jerusalem, and protect their sacred shrines that represent their Islamic identity, since Jerusalem is the sacred symbol of Muslims and Islam.