Historical Background of the First Qibla
The Conquest of Jerusalem during the Rashidun Caliphate
During the time of the Rashidun Caliphate and thereafter, Islam saw its rise. During this period, Jerusalem and the Holy Land were conquered in the 15th Hijri year under the leadership of Caliph Umar. Hazrat Umar, during his caliphate, visited the land of Sham (Greater Syria) four times. Christians made a peace treaty with him in the city of Jerusalem, handing over the keys of Jerusalem to him. Following this, for more than five centuries, this sacred land remained under Muslim rule.
With the rise of Islam during the era of the Rashidun Caliphs and beyond, Islam spread across the world in four directions. In retaliation for their defeats during this time, the Christians waged wars against Muslims in the region, including Arabia, the Holy Land of Palestine, and especially Jerusalem. These wars are historically known as the Crusades. In these wars, Christians were successful once again in conquering Christian-held Jerusalem.
Conquest by Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi
Jerusalem was once again conquered in the year 583 AH (1187 CE) by Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi, known as Saladin, after defeating the Crusaders. After the conquest of Jerusalem, Salahuddin Ayyubi’s greatest achievement was that he did not seek revenge against Christians by committing mass killings. Following the triumph of the Crusades, Jerusalem remained under Muslim control for almost seven centuries.
Jewish Conspiracies and Occupation of Jerusalem
Throughout history, Jews have been the target of hatred and contempt due to their conspiracies and schemes. Various countries have expelled them from within their borders at one time or another. Even the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) banished them from Medina due to their mischief and conspiracies, and they settled in Khyber. Their conspiracies persist to this day. As a result of these conspiracies, in 1948, through a global conspiracy involving the United States, the United Kingdom, and other anti-Muslim nations, a Jewish state was established in the region of Palestine, right in the heart of the Muslim world. The city of Jerusalem and the first Qibla, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, fell into the hands of the Jews. In 1967, during the Third Arab-Israeli War, the Jews carried out a dreadful bombing in Jerusalem, a part of the Holy Land. They sealed the central gate of Al-Aqsa Mosque and even demolished one of its minarets. As a result of the war, Israel occupied 78% of Palestinian territory.
In June 1967, the Israeli Parliament abolished the Arab identity of Jerusalem and granted it the status of Israel’s capital. As a result, the Muslim Qibla (direction of prayer) is still under Jewish control. In August 1969, the world witnessed one of the most tragic incidents in the history of Islam. On this day, for over three and a half hours, a fire raged in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. A large part of the mosque was burned, and the iconic pulpit of Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi was reduced to ashes. The entire Islamic world was filled with anger and sorrow, but so far, Al-Aqsa Mosque awaits another Salahuddin Ayubi who will liberate it from Jewish oppression and restore its sanctity. In March 2017, former U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He also announced that the American embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem within the next three years. Just over a week ago, Israel has been bombarding the Palestinian city of Gaza for more than a fortnight, resulting in the deaths of over 200 people and the destruction of dozens of homes. Their sole communication network has been disrupted to prevent news of the injustices suffered by the Palestinians from spreading. How long will this issue persist? How long will they endure these unjust oppressions? When will another Salahuddin Ayubi emerge to save them from the claws of the Jews?
Jerusalem and Our Responsibilities
Understand the Palestinians’ suffering as our own.
The upheaval happening to the Palestinians is a tragic and heart-wrenching story, resulting in countless Palestinian martyrs. Their women have become widows, and their children have become orphans. Many people have been injured, and their homes have been destroyed. In this situation, every Muslim should feel their pain, and the entire Islamic world should, to the best of their ability, support them. This is because Allah has declared all Muslims as brothers and sisters in the Holy Quran, as directed by the Almighty:
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ (الحجرات : 10)
Muslims are brothers to one another.
And in the noble hadith, there is guidance from the Prophet Muhammad, (ﷺ).
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ نُمَيْرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، حَدَّثَنَا زَكَرِيَّاءُ، عَنِ الشَّعْبِيِّ، عَنِ النُّعْمَانِ بْنِ بَشِيرٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ مَثَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فِي تَوَادِّهِمْ وَتَرَاحُمِهِمْ وَتَعَاطُفِهِمْ مَثَلُ الْجَسَدِ إِذَا اشْتَكَى مِنْهُ عُضْوٌ تَدَاعَى لَهُ سَائِرُ الْجَسَدِ بِالسَّهَرِ وَالْحُمَّى ” .
Nu’man b. Bashir reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever. (Sahih Muslim)
The meaning of this hadith is that the Muslims of the world are like one body. Just as in a physical body, if one part is in pain, the whole body feels it and is attentive to removing that pain, whatever is within our means. Similarly, in the case of our Muslim brothers and sisters anywhere in the world, when they suffer, we should feel as though their suffering is our own. Our faith demands that we empathize with their pain, and considering their suffering as our own is a sign of our faith being alive.
For them, please sincerely pray
We should pray as much as possible for oppressed Muslims, asking Allah to aid them and grant them relief from their hardship. Allah is All-Powerful and has complete control over everything; He can change circumstances, so turning to Him is essential. Prayer is never in vain, as long as proper etiquette and conditions are observed. It is an easy action that anyone, rich or poor, can perform, both in general and specific terms. Therefore, sincerely pray to Allah that He may change the situation in Palestine. Mosque leaders should take care to include Qunoot Nazilah (special supplications) in their prayers, and every individual should continuously pray for their well-being in the path of Allah with humility and submission.
Numerous groups, organizations, and institutions are actively engaged in serving them. Through these means, one should contribute financially according to their capacity to help these Palestinians. At this time, they are helpless and in need, and they require assistance. It is incumbent upon us to aid those in need, as guided by the Prophet Muhammad, (ﷺ).
حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا لَيْثٌ، عَنْ عُقَيْلٍ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، عَنْ سَالِمٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ “ الْمُسْلِمُ أَخُو الْمُسْلِمِ لاَ يَظْلِمُهُ وَلاَ يُسْلِمُهُ مَنْ كَانَ فِي حَاجَةِ أَخِيهِ كَانَ اللَّهُ فِي حَاجَتِهِ وَمَنْ فَرَّجَ عَنْ مُسْلِمٍ كُرْبَةً فَرَّجَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ بِهَا كُرْبَةً مِنْ كُرَبِ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَمَنْ سَتَرَ مُسْلِمًا سَتَرَهُ اللَّهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ” .
Salim reported on the authority of his father that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: A Muslim is the brother of a fellow-Muslim. He should neither commit oppression upon him nor ruin him, and he who meets the need of a brot’ier, Allah would meet big needs, and he who relieved a Muslim from hardship Allah would relieve him from the hardships to which he would be put on the Day of Resurrection, and he who did not expose (the follies of a Muslim) Allah would conceal his follies on the Day of Resurrection. (Sahih Muslim)
Raise your voice against injustice
Raise your voice as much as possible against the injustices being committed against the Palestinians. Organize protests and demonstrations against the atrocities they are facing. Expose the grim reality to the world, and urge your respective governments to make every effort to stop the injustices being perpetrated against them. Remaining silent in the face of oppression is itself an injustice, as Allah Almighty has guided us:
وَٱتَّقُوا۟ فِتْنَةًۭ لَّا تُصِيبَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا۟ مِنكُمْ خَآصَّةًۭ ۖ وَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَدِيدُ ٱلْعِقَابِ ٢٥
And beware of a scourge that shall not fall only on the wrongdoers from among you, and know well that Allah is severe at punishment (8:25)
To be unaware and indifferent, O our Lord, is oppression.
To remain apathetic and devoid of zeal is oppression.
To turn a blind eye to wrongdoing is a crime.
To stay silent in the face of injustice is oppression.
Consider their enemy as your own enemy
The reality is that the Jews who commit oppression against the Muslim brethren in Palestine are the eternal and perpetual enemies of Muslims. Allah, the Almighty, has mentioned this in the Noble Quran.
لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ ٱلنَّاسِ عَدَٰوَةًۭ لِّلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱلْيَهُودَ وَٱلَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا۟ ۖ وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُم مَّوَدَّةًۭ لِّلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱلَّذِينَ قَالُوٓا۟ إِنَّا نَصَـٰرَىٰ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ مِنْهُمْ قِسِّيسِينَ وَرُهْبَانًۭا وَأَنَّهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ
And you will certainly find that the people most hostile against the believers are the Jews and the ones who ascribe partners to Allah. You will certainly find that the closest of them in friendship with the believers are those who say, “We are Christians.”That is because among them there are priests and monks, and because they are not arrogant. (5:82)
A list of their products (such as Coke, Pepsi, and McDonald’s, etc.) should be compiled, and it should be made public among Muslims so that Muslims residing all over the world can register their protest.
Prepare for Jihad
Always be prepared for Jihad. Allah, the Almighty, has given guidance in the Noble Quran:
وَمَا لَكُمْ لَا تُقَـٰتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱلْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ ٱلرِّجَالِ وَٱلنِّسَآءِ وَٱلْوِلْدَٰنِ ٱلَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَآ أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَـٰذِهِ ٱلْقَرْيَةِ ٱلظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَٱجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّۭا وَٱجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا ٧٥
What has happened to you that you do not fight in the way of Allah, and for the oppressed among men, women and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out from this town whose people are cruel, and make for us a supporter from Your own, and make for us a helper from Your own.” (4:75)