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Muslim Writer Contends Jerusalem Not Sacred to Muslims

A columnist for an official Egyptian government journal has called into question the widely held Muslim belief that Jerusalem is a holy Islamic city.

Writing for the weekly Al-Qahira, published by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, Ahmad Muhammad ‘Arafa rejects the Islamic doctrine that the Prophet Muhammad’s celebrated “Night Journey” took him from Mecca to Jerusalem.

The passage in Quran 17:1 – known as the Sura of the Night Journey – does not refer to a miraculous trip from Mecca to Jerusalem, but to the prophet’s emigration from Mecca to Medina, Arafa asserts in his Aug. 5 article.

The text of the Quranic passage says, according to a translation, “Praise be to Him who took His servant by night from the Al-Haram [Sacred] Mosque [in Mecca] to the Al-Aqsa [literally ‘the most distant’] Mosque, whose environs We did bless, so that We might show him some of Our signs, for He is the All-Hearing and All-Seeing One.”

Arafa contends “Al-Aqsa” must refer to an existing mosque, not a place where a mosque would be established later.

“But in Palestine during that time, there was no mosque at all that could have been the mosque ‘most distant’ from the Al-Haram Mosque,” he said, according to MEMRI. “During that time, there were no people in [Palestine] who believed in Muhammad and would gather to pray in a specific place that served as a mosque.”

The Egyptian columnist noted most of the inhabitants of Palestine at that time were Christians and a Jewish minority.

I am not sure what is more amazing – that the article was written in an Egyptian government publication, or that no-one has yet issued a fatwa against the writer.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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