Posted On December 7, 2017 By In None With 124 Views

Jerusalem: rallying cry for Muslims

Cairo, Dec 7, 2017 (AFP)

Jerusalem, called Al-Quds in Arabic, was once the direction Muslims turned to for prayers before it came a source of anger and a symbol of collective defeat.
The holy city has again become the subject of angst throughout the Muslim world after US President Donald Trump recognised it as Israel’s capital on Wednesday.
The Koran does not mention it by name, but it is identified in prophetic hadiths as the site of the Al-Aqsa mosque from where the Prophet Mohammed ascended to the heavens and drew close to God, after being transported from Mecca.
Muslims at first faced the direction of Jerusalem when praying, but during the Prophet Mohammed’s lifetime their focal point changed to the Kaaba, the square stone building in the centre of Mecca’s Great Mosque.
Yet Jerusalem retained its holy status to them.
The Al-Aqsa mosque still stands in the historic compound known to Jews the Temple Mount, their holiest site.
Over the centuries the city had repeatedly emerged as a rallying cry for Muslims, and it has become a symbol of what befalls them when they lack unity.
The Crusaders seized Jerusalem in the 11th century to proclaim it as the capital of their Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Almost a century later, Muslim armies under the command of Salaheddin al-Ayyubi reclaimed the city.
– Flashpoint of violence –
Jerusalem would remerge as a flashpoint of violence.
The city was seized by Britain from the Ottomans during World War II.
The Arabs in what became mandate Palestine grew restless as Jewish migrants from Europe joined their brethren, encouraged by the nascent Zionist movement which Britain had initially supported.
The mufti of Jerusalem at the time, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, launched a campaign in mandate Palestine and Arab countries claiming Jews intended to retake the site of the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa mosque, eventually leading to riots in 1929 in which dozens of Jews were massacred.
The loss of west Jerusalem in the 1948 war with Israel, and the eastern part of the city housing the holy sites in 1967, came as a blow to the psyche of the then prevailing Arab nationalism.
In Arab nationalist and Islamic prose, poetry and music, the loss of Jerusalem has become a symbol of collective defeat.
In one famous work that resonated with the Arab nationalist zeitgeist, the Iraqi communist poet Muzzafar al-Nawab wrote: “Jerusalem is the bride of your Arabhood.”
“So why did you allow all the fornicators by night to enter her chamber? You sat behind the doors listening to her screams.”

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