Muslims worldwide observe Al Quds Day By Latheef Farook

quds200Muslims worldwide observe last Friday of the Holy Month of Ramadhan as Al Quds ( Jerusalem)  day which falls on 2 August 2013. Al-Quds is the Arabic name for the holy city of Jerusalem.

While  the Arabs sleep Muslims worldwide ,from Djakarta and Kula Lumpur in the Far East to cities in India, Pakistan the entire Middle East, London and numerous cities in the United States, Muslims and non Muslims alike, stage protest

marches highlighting the need to liberate Al Quds from the Israeli occupation. The two largest such marches comprising men, women, children and the aged from all communities without any race, language or any other barrier are being organised in London and Washington. They include Muslims, Christians,righteous Jews and all others.

These protest marches began 33 years ago when Imam Khomeini ,the late Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, suggested that the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadhan be observed as the Al Quds Day. He said on August 1979, “I invite Muslims all over the world to consecrate the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as ‘Quds Day’ and to proclaim the international solidarity of Muslims in support of the legitimate rights of the Muslims of Palestine.”

Thus the first such demonstration was held in Tehran before spreading to other cities all over the world. Over the years today the International Day of Al-Quds is an annual event opposing Israel’s control of Jerusalem, Al Quds.

In the United States a diverse group of protestors gathered last year on Embassy Row at the approximate midway point between the White House and thepale2 Israeli embassy.

As the noon-sun reached its zenith, Muslims and non Muslims, mothers and young children, students and grandparents approached the Circle wearing their khefayahs, and holding their flags or hand-made signs.

The event began with the group recitation of surah al-Fatihah, the most commonly recited prayer by Muslims, asking Allah to guide them to the path of those who please Allah, not those who incur His wrath and displeasure.

Introducing the theme of Al Quds Day the moderator said “the month of Ramadhan is a time of spiritual improvement for the individual as well as the community. Al Quds Day is another step in improving our connections with rest of the world-wide community and our connection to the Creator’s command to stand with the oppressed against the oppressors. Al Quds Day is an opportunity for participants to proclaim support for a Holy Land free from the oppression and injustice wrought by Zionism. It’s a day to reinvigorate our support for our brothers and sisters who are struggling to live in dignity”.

A group of orthodox rabbis representing Neturei Karta International had travelled from New York to join the rally. Neturei Karta is an orthodox Jewish group founded in Jerusalem in response – to and rejection – of Zionism at the turn of the 19th century. Rabbi Yisoroel Dovid Weiss, standing in front of Palestinian flags and signs that read ‘Gaza – Auschwitz’, began by establishing that from a Jewish perspective rooted in the Torah, the entire existence of Israel is illegal, and that the Zionist ideology that led to its creation is also the “root cause of every drop of blood in Palestine.”

Such startling words coming from a firmly Jewish presence based in New Jersey shatter the ‘anti-Semite’ rhetoric that is the innate response of many uneducated and often bigoted Israel-supporters. Rabbi Weiss stated that Jews were commanded by their Lord to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours, and that contrary to the Zionist dogma, were forbidden by their Lord to come out of their status of being exiled from the Holy Land as a people.

These demonstrations and protest marches, seeking peace through justice and expressing solidarity with Palestinians living under military occupation by, or as second-class citizens in, Israel extend beyond Palestinians to support all oppressed people in their struggles around the world. Thus the Al-Quds Day is an opportunity to stand in solidarity with the oppressed in their struggles all over the world, from Palestine to Iraq, from Congo to Honduras, and from China to right here in the American backyards.

These speakers pointed out that “for nearly one month, we have thanked Allah as we prepare to break our fasts at night with the provisions He provides us daily, still remembering the difficulty that others face, others who do not have the chance to ‘end’ their fast and continue in hunger and thirst after sunset. Is it enough to thank our Creator for the comforts He has given us, while we remain fully aware of the stark contrast between our own living conditions and those fortunate ones?

They could be Muslim or not – in a developing country or in the slums of our own inner cities – in ravaged Gaza or Washington, DC.

It makes little difference. Our Creator wishes for us to constantly reach out to our brothers and sisters, treat them as ourselves and spend in the way of Allah of our time and efforts.

Islam and Jerusalem

Masjid Al Aqsa, the first qibla of the Muslims, second oldest masjid after Makkah and the third most important holy place in Islam after Makka and Madina is located in the city of Jerusalem known to Muslims worldwide as Al Quds or Baitul Muqaddis (The House of Holiness).

The historical significance of the Masjid Al-Aqsa in Islam lies in the fact that the early Muslims turned towards it in prayer for a period of around seventeen months after the hijra or migration to Medina in 624 AC. Thus it became the qibla (direction) that Muslims faced for prayer. According to Allame Tabatabayee, Allah prepared Muslims for the change of the qibla, first by revealing the story of Ibrahim and his son Ishmael, and their prayers for Makkah, their construction of the House of Allah (Ka’aba) and the order to cleanse it of idols for the worship of the One True God-Allah. Then Quranic verses were revealed which ordered Muslims to turn towards Masjid al-Haram, the Holy Mosque in Makkah in their prayers.[Qur’an 2:142–151]

Iftar at Masjid Al Aqsa

Masjid Al Aqsa is the place where Prophet Ibrahim, the patriarch of all the three great monotheistic faiths Judaism, Christianity and Islam prayed. It was in this very same Masjid that Allah resurrected and assembled all the prophets and messengers for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to lead the prayer with them during his divine night journey to the heavens.

Allah chose the Masjid of Jerusalem for this greatest prayer, for the first time in history, because of its purity, nobility, distinction and highest standing.

pal3The ascension of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), from the rock beneath the Qubbat Al Sakhra Mosque known as Dome of the Rock to heaven remains the loftiest spiritual event in the history of Islam and highlights the importance of Jerusalem for Muslims.

Speakers from previous Quds Day rallies: John Rees (Stop the War Coalition), Les Levidow (Jews Against Zionism), Roland Rance (Jews Against Zionism), Rabbi Cohen (Neturei Karta), George Galloway – courtesy Ahlulbayth)

The direct ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) from Makkah to heaven would have been possible for Allah, but He wanted it to take place from Jerusalem.

That miraculous journey drew attention of Muslims to the specificity of Jerusalem and its extraordinary divine claim.

However, despite all this religious significance of Jerusalem for Muslims, the Zionist Jews who occupied East Jerusalem in their war of aggression in June 1967 have been repeatedly conspiring to destroy Masjid Al Aqsa and build in its place a new Solomon’s Temple, the older temple having been destroyed by the Romans in 70 AC, the remnants of which are only seen today as a wall known to Jews as the Wailing Wall.

As part of this conspiracy they commenced a ruthless campaign of ethnic cleansing the Palestinians who had been living there for generations. 

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