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McDonalds vs. a Mosque?? Funny!

Reader comment on item: Offer: $1 million for Finding "Jerusalem" in the Koran
in response to reader comment: : $1 million for Finding "Jerusalem" in the Koran

Submitted by sara (United States), Aug 17, 2010 at 20:01

I am saddened to read your explanation/justification for the Muslim's claim to Jerusalem, made with such naive expectation that it would be generally accepted. How exactly do we make the logic leap from ubiquitous golden arches to a mosque built after the death of Mohamed on top of the ruins of the Jewish Temple? Not sure, but I am pretty confident that it is a stretch to compare a commercial marketing branding issue like arches, or nike checkmark, etc. to a mention of a vague phrase like 'the farthest mosque' mentioned only in the Quran, with no other historical or other substantiations.... really not a worthy rebuttal.

I wanted to refer you to a very informative and comprehensive account by Dr. Pipes on this very topic. I recommend reading it:

http://www.danielpipes.org/84/the-muslim-claim-to-jerusalem

1. The point here is that you need to try to understand that Jerusalem has meaning to other religions. Judaism existed long before Islam and was based in Jerusalem thousands of years before Muhamed was a sparkle in his father's eye. Jews have always prayed in Jerusalem, and always prayed towards her if they were prevented from being there. Jerusalem is mentioned hundreds of time by name in the bible, not once in the Quran. Jews for thousands of years have prayed to be 'next year in Jerusalem'. For Christians, Jesus lived and died in Jerusalem, and these places are understandably holy to them. There is mutual respect between Jews and Christians to tolerate each other's beliefs and sacred lands.

2. The flimsy connection between the ambiguous phrase 'farthest mosque' and the mosque given that name (and built upon the ruins of the SECOND temple of Israel in Jerusalem) was actually built nearly a century AFTER Mohamed's death. It was a convenient link to establish a location for the night journey and assert a claim to Jerusalem. A mosque by the name of Al Aqsa (The Farthest) could have been built anywhere in the world, but for political and strategic reasons, Jerusalem was chosen.

3. The 'Qibla" to pray towards Jerusalem was stopped during Mohamed's lifetime. No Muslim prays facing Jerusalem but facing Mecca. You already chose Mecca and Medina, leave Jerusalem alone.

see: ... a Qur'anic verse instructing the faithful no longer to pray toward Syria but instead toward Mecca. The passage (2:142-52) begins by anticipating questions about this abrupt change: The Fools among the people will say: "What has turned them [the Muslims] from the qibla to which they were always used?"

God then provides the answer: We appointed the qibla that to which you was used, only to test those who followed the Messenger [Muhammad] from those who would turn on their heels [on Islam]. In other words, the new qibla served as a way to distinguish Muslims from Jews. From now on, Mecca would be the direction of prayer:

now shall we turn you to a qibla that shall please you. Then turn your face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque [in Mecca]. Wherever you are, turn your faces in that direction.

The Qur'an then reiterates the point about no longer paying attention to Jews: Even if you were to bring all the signs to the people of the Book [i.e., Jews], they would not follow your qibla. ...

So in your own Quran Jerusalem is abandoned as a place of importance once Mohamed broke with the Jews (who had helped and supported him).

We can dispute these FACTS if you like, and let me take this a step further in an effort to communicate with you. Let's say for the sake of argument only, that Burak really was tied to the Jewish temple mount for the midnight journey. Just suppose. Then if that place becomes holy to Muslims because Muhamed was there for a few hours, then how many other places should be claimed as holy because Mohamed was there? The argument does not hold up even on that level.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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