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Why is Jerusalem important to Jews Christians and Muslims?

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January 16, 2016 7:32PM

For Judaism: The holy land for Judaism is Israel (see Deuteronomy 11:11-12), and the holy city is Jerusalem.


Jerusalem is the center of Judaism. It is important to Jews because it was chosen by God (Zechariah 3:2). It was the site of the Akeidah (Binding of Isaac, in Genesis ch.22) and was later the seat of the Davidic Kings, when King David, Israel's greatest king, founded the dynasty that ruled Judah for much of its history, making Jerusalem the capital of the United Kingdom of Israel during his reign and that of his son, King Solomon.

Most importantly, it was the location of the First and Second Temples, where offerings were made to God and where His presence dwelt in the Holy of Holies (1 Kings ch.8) and was manifested in a number of miracles (Mishna, Avot ch.5).
Jerusalem is called the holy city by the prophets (Isaiah 52:1). It was where Jews would go three times a year to celebrate the holiest festivals (Deuteronomy ch.16). Even after the destruction of the Temple, the Temple Mount and adjacent Western ("Wailing") Wall, which still stands, is the holiest site in Judaism. It is hoped and prophesied (Ezekiel ch.40-44) that one day a third temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem and that the Messiah will come to it.

Jerusalem has become representative of the connection with the Divine. Jerusalem is also seen as the source of Divine Law, as demonstrated in many Jewish prayers: "Ki miTziyon tetze Torah udvar Hashem miYerushalayim - From Zion comes the Torah and the Word of God from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3). Jerusalem is also representative of the Redemption of the Jewish people from their physical and spiritual exile, because this exile causes the melancholy that the Jewish people experience by being apart from God's presence. The Redemption, which Jews believe will be brought by the Messiah, will result in the Jewish people returning to Jerusalem.

According to ancient Hebrew tradition, Jerusalem is the site where God took the very earth from which Adam, the first man, was formed (midrash Rabbah 14:8). Read Genesis carefully; Adam was not created in the garden of Eden; he was taken there. Jerusalem, because it is the first place on Earth where the spirit of God dwelt, is considered a direct link to God.

Judaism is the oldest monotheistic religion and Jerusalem has been its only holy site for over 3000 years. King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by invading Babylonians, and rebuilt at the same site (known as the Temple Mount) about 2500 years ago. It was then destroyed again when the Romans conquered Judea about 2000 years ago, killing a million Jews. All Jews who value their heritage feel ties to Jerusalem and the holy land, where so many of their people struggled for the freedom to practice Judaism. At the same time, Jews believe that all people should be welcome there, regardless of faith.

Jerusalem is the eternal Jewish city, and a symbol of a future time of peace. Jerusalem is also the focal point of prayer of the Jews. When they pray, wherever they are, they face towards Jerusalem (Talmud, Berakhot 30a), with love and longing. The sentiment is aptly expressed in Psalm 137: "By the waters of Babylon, there we sat and wept as we remembered Zion....If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its wisdom." For thousands of years we remembered our exile and prayed for its end. Now at least we can do so from "up close."

See also the Related Links.

Link: The Promised Land

Link: The Western Wall

Link: Destruction and Diaspora

Link: Beauty of Jerusalem

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January 16, 2016 7:28AM

Universal Answers

It is so important because it is where their faiths started and it contain holy lands. God also chose Jerusalem as His own. Three religions in the world have chosen Jerusalem to be there holy land these are Muslims, Jews and Christians. Many people go there every year and there are many riots and arguments about people's religions.

Jerusalem is very significant to all God's People and is considered Holy Land by the 3 major religions in the world, the Judaism, Islam and Christianity. These 3 religious groups came from one family, the family of Abraham.

Jewish Answers

Jerusalem has been the Jewish Capital since BCE 1500 when David Captured it from the Jebusites. It was destroyed in AD73 by the Romans who then expelled the Jews from the land.

The Jews when they pray, wherever they are on the surface of the earth face towards Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the focal point of prayer of the Jews. In Hebrew the focal point of prayer is called Misrach, where the Temple mentioned is the bible when one time as mentioned in the New Testament where Jesus preached.

Jerusalem was named Jerusalem by King David when he made it the capital. Jerusalem is the location of Judaism most sacred site, the Temple Mount which is where the two Temples were located and the city is the centre of Judaism.

Jerusalem is the eternal Jewish city, and a symbol of a future time of peace. It is a symbol of zionism, a hopeful yearning to be free in our own land. Jews believe that all people, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and everyone else should be welcome there, regardless of faith.

Jerusalem figures prominently in Jewish prayers, and feels the heart with hope and the soul with longing.

Exclusivist Jewish Answers

The Palestinians have no claim of it as their capital prior to 1967 with the formation of the P.L.O.

In addition, Islam makes clear that the Land of Israel (and by default, Jerusalem) belongs to the Jewish people. The clearest evidence for this comes in Surat al-Ma'ida Lines 5:20-21, where God gives the Jewish People Israel. Note that those who condemn Jewish presence in the Land of Israel use historical or hadith-based rationale where in Islamic Circles, Quranic teaching is always superior.

The referenced lines of the Qur'an state (Sahih International Translation):

And [mention, O Muhammad], when Moses said to his people, "O my people, remember the favor of Allah upon you when He appointed among you prophets and made you possessors and gave you that which He had not given anyone among the worlds. O my people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has assigned to you and do not turn back [from fighting in Allah 's cause] and [thus] become losers."

Christian Answers

Jesus said when the Jews and Gentiles come together one to another that will be the beginning signs of His return to earth - Gentiles meaning non-Jewish people and Muslims as well as Christians. As it will be Christians who will introduce the Jewish people to our LORD Jesus CHRIST as the MESSIAH and as their eyes are opened from spiritual blindness to reveal the Truth an the Light of GOD opens their hearts and minds, they shall come to know through the Gentiles that His Son JESUS CHRIST and GOD are one and the same. As the Jews come to believe, it is then the HOLY SPIRIT enters into their hearts, minds and souls. That is the beginning of Jesus' returning to the earth as He prepares His people & all living things on His earth. The World will never end and all God's children will be saved. Those who are not or have unbelief will perish from His sight and from earth.

Jerusalem is significant to Christians as this is the place where Jesus was crucified. Jesus went to Jerusalem as it was the Passover, and it was Jewish tradition to visit the temple there prior to Passover. Thus he was crucified close to the Passover.

The Christians also considered Jerusalem Holy Land because that is where Jesus was crucified.

Christian Prophecies

Isaiah 43:5-6 Fear not: for I [am] with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east (mizrach), and gather thee from the west (ma'arav). I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.

Explanation of Isaiah 43:5-6: Fear not: for I [am] with thee: I will bring thy seed (seed of Abraham, Jews, Muslims and Christians) from the Mizrach (those who considered Jerusalem their own i.e. Jews, Muslims and Christians) and gather thee from the sunset (the time when elder Jews, Muslims and Christians lie in the graveyard or have passed away). The Jews and the Muslims when they pray they face east towards Jerusalem. So their front is facing the east, their back is facing the west, their left shoulder is facing the north and their right shoulder is facing the south. Now, us, humans have 2 guardian angels. On our right shoulder resides the good angel and on our left shoulder reside the bad angel.

God will say to the north which is the left shoulder where the bad angel resides give up, go away and God will say to the south which is the right shoulder where the good angel resides keep not back: I will bring my sons and daughter from all over the surface of the earth from east to west, from north to south (ends of the earth) to the Place called Judgement Hall.

The Biblical Passage was written before the advent of Christianity. It is a prophecy, so it has a beginning but it is continuous up to the present and up to the future until it is fulfilled.

Moslem Answers

Jerusalem is significant to Muslims as it is where Mohammed (Blessing upon him) was taken to heaven, (same as Jesus) Hence the building of the Dome of the Rock.

The Muslims, at one time in history, made Jerusalem their focal point of prayer similar to the Jews. But later on, they decided to move their focal point of prayer to Mekka in Saudi Arabia, because of the power-base which began to reside in Mekka and the holiness of the Ka'aba. But still the Muslims considered Jerusalem their Holy Land, just like Mecca and Medina.

The Dome of the Rock is in Jerusalem and it is the greatest achievement in the history of architecture. The Dome of the Rock is on Temple Mount and it is decorated with a huge golden dome and with glass mosaics with pictures of trees and flowers meaning to be how paradise might look like. The reason why it is so important to Muslims is because the spent many years trying to build the temple and it has the footprint of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh).

The Rock inside the Dome is believed to have the footprint of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh). The Muslims evidence id that when you go inside the Dome you can see the footprints and fingerprints, these imprints are believed to come from the Prophet (pbuh) before he ascended to the sky. The reason why this is important to Muslims is because it reminds them of the story of the 'Night Journey' and they want to feel closer to the Prophet (pbuh).

The 'The Night Journey' was situated in Jerusalem. The most detailed version of the story is in the Koran, it is about Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) told to go on a journey at night with a winged horse and an angel called Gabriel. The reason why this story is important to Muslims because that was where their blessing of five prayers a day came from, so they want to be closer to where the story came from.

Islam teaches that Muhammad visited the Temple Mount in a dream.

Exclusivist Moslem Answers

Firstly: with regard to the importance of Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), you should know - may Allaah bless you -that the virtues of Bayt al-Maqdis are many:

- Allaah has described it in the Qur'aan as being blessed. He said (interpretation of the meaning): "Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allaah) Who took His slave (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haraam (at Makkah) to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsaa (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed…" [al-Israa' 17:1]. Al-Quds is part of the neighbourhood surrounding the mosque and hence it is blessed.

- Allaah has described it as being holy, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): "[Moosa said:] O my people! Enter the holy land (Palestine) which Allaah has assigned to you…" [al-Maa'idah 5:21]

- In al-Quds there is al-Masjid al-Aqsaa, and one prayer there is equivalent to two hundred and fifty prayers elsewhere.

It was reported that Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: we were discussing, in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), which of them was more virtuous, the mosque of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or Bayt al-Maqdis. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: One prayer in my mosque is better than four prayers there, but it is still a good place of prayer. Soon there will come a time when if a man has a spot of land as big as his horse's rope from which he can see Bayt al-Maqdis, that will be better for him than the whole world. (Narrated and classed as saheeh by al-Haakim, 4/509. Al-Dhahabi and al-Albaani agreed with him, as stated in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, at the end of the discussion of hadeeth no. 2902).

One prayer in al-Masjid al-Nabawi is equivalent to one thousand prayers elsewhere, so one prayer in al-Masjid al-Aqsaa is equivalent to two hundred and fifty prayers elsewhere.

With regard to the famous hadeeth which says that prayer in al-Masjid al-Aqsaa is equivalent to five hundred prayers elsewhere, this is da'eef (weak). (See Tamaam al-Minnah [?] by Shaykh al-Albaani - may Allaah have mercy on him - p. 292).

- The one-eyed Dajjaal ("Antichrist") will not enter it, because of the hadeeth, "He will prevail over all the earth, apart from al-Haram [in Makkah] and Bayt al-Maqdis." (Narrated by Ahmad, 19665. Classed as saheeh by Ibn Khuzaymah, 2/327, and Ibn Hibbaan, 7/102).

- The Dajjaal will be killed close to al-Quds. He will be killed by the Messiah 'Eesa ibn Maryam (peace be upon him), as was stated in the hadeeth: "The son of Maryam will kill the Dajjaal at the gates of Ludd." (Narrated by Muslim, 2937, from the hadeeth of al-Nawwaas ibn Sam'aan). Ludd (Lod) is a place near Bayt al-Maqdis.

- The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was taken to Bayt al-Maqdis on his Night Journey (al-Israa') from al-Masjid al-Haraam to al-Masjid al-Aqsaa. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allaah) Who took His slave (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haraam (at Makkah) to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsaa (in Jerusalem)…" [al-Israa' 17:1].

- It (al-Quds) was the first qiblah of the Muslims, as was reported by al-Baraa' (may Allaah be pleased with him): the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed in the direction of Bayt al-Maqdis for sixteen or seventeen months. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 41 - this version was narrated by him - and by Muslim, 525).

- It is the place where Wahy (Revelation) came down, and it is the homeland of the Prophets. This is well known.

- It is one of the mosques to which people may travel.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "No journey should be made except to three mosques, al-Masjid al-Haraam, Masjid al-Rasool (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and Masjid al-Aqsaa." (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1132. Also narrated by Muslim, 827, from the hadeeth of Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri, with the words, "Do not travel except to…").

- The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) led the Prophets in one prayer in al-Aqsaa, as reported in the lengthy hadeeth: "… Then the time for prayer came, and I led them in prayer." (Narrated by Muslim, 172, from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah).

It is not permissible to travel to any spot on earth for the purpose of worshipping there, except these three mosques.

Secondly:

The fact that Ya'qoob (peace be upon him) built al-Masjid al-Aqsaa does not mean that the Jews have more right to the mosque than the Muslims, because Ya'qoob was a monotheist and the Jews are mushrikeen. The fact that their father Ya'qoob built the mosque does not mean that it belongs to them. He built it for the monotheists to worship in it, even if they were not his children, and he did not allow the mushrikeen to enter it, even if they are his children, because the call of the Prophets has nothing to do with race; it is based on taqwaa (piety, awareness of Allaah).

Thirdly:

Your saying that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) led the previous Prophets in prayer to signify the unity of the message and all divine revelations is correct from the point of view of the origin of the religion and 'aqeedah (belief) of the Prophets. All of the Prophets received their Message from one source, which was the Wahy (Revelation), and they all had the same 'aqeedah, which was the belief in Tawheed (absolute unity of Allaah) and the worship of Allaah Alone, even though there were differences in the details of their laws. This was confirmed by our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he said: "I am the closest of mankind to 'Eesaa ibn Maryam in this world and in the Hereafter. The Prophets are brothers although they have different mothers, and their religion is one." (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3259; Muslim, 2365).

The phrase "brothers although they have different mothers" means brothers who have the same father but different mothers, i.e., they are the children of co-wives.

Here we would caution readers against believing that the Jews, Christians and Muslims are following the same principles nowadays, because the Jews have changed the religion of their Prophet. Indeed, part of the religion of their Prophet is that they should follow our Prophet and not reject him, but they disbelieve in the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and associate others in worship with Allaah.

Fourthly:

The Jews do not have any stake in al-Quds, because even though they may have lived in the land previously, that land now belongs to the Muslims from two points of view:

1. The Jews disbelieved and are no longer following the religion of the believers among the Children of Israel who followed and supported Moosa and 'Eesaa (peace be upon them).

2. We Muslims have more right to it than them, because land does not belong to the people who lived there first, but to those who establish the laws of Allaah therein. Allaah created the land, and He created people to worship Allaah in the land and to establish therein the religion, laws and rulings of Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "… Verily, the earth is Allaah's. He gives it as a heritage to whom He wills of His slaves; and the (blessed) end is for the Muttaqoon (the pious)." [al-A'raaf 7:128]

Hence if some Arabs came who were not followers of Islam and they ruled the land with kufr, they would have to be fought until they submitted to the rule of Islam or were killed.

It is not the matter of race or ethnicity; it is the matter of Tawheed and Islam.

Here it is useful to quote the words of one of the researchers:

"History tells us that the first people to settle in Palestine were the Canaanites, six thousand years BCE. They were an Arab tribe who came to Palestine from the Arabian Peninsula, and after their arrival, Palestine was named after them [i.e., Canaan]."

(al-Suhyooniyyah, Nash'atuhaa, Tanzeemaatuhaa, Inshitatuhaa, by Ahmad al-'Awadi, p. 7).

"As for the Jews, the first time they entered Palestine was approximately six hundred years after Ibraheem had entered the land, i.e., they entered it approximately 1400 years BCE. So the Canaanites entered Palestine and lived there approximately 4500 years before the Jews."

(Ibid., p. 8)

Hence it is clear that the Jews have no right to the land, whether according to religious law or in terms of who lived there first and possessed the land. They are aggressors who are seizing the land by force. We ask Allaah to rid Bayt al-Maqdis of them sooner rather than later, for He is Able to do that and He is Most Generous in answering. Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds
It is holy to the Jews because it is the City that God established for them and where their temple was built. It is holy to the Christians because Christ was a Jew and it is where he preached and died.