From Al-Quds to Armagedon

Al-Quds is central to the three Abrahamic faiths but unfortunately it became a bone of contention
Representational Image [Source:  boubakar from Pixabay]
Representational Image [Source: boubakar from Pixabay]

If the recent news reports are to be believed, there are only eleven schools for the entire

Muslim population of Palestine. On the other hand, Jews are barely 0.2 % of world population yet the most literate of the world's major religious groups. They have stuck to what we have grossly abandoned, i.e knowledge. They are also ritually very sound. They wear hats and skull caps that are outdated with us. They shave their heads not faces. They circumcise their children. They do not eat pork. What we call Al Quds, they call Jerusalem. A vast majority of them recognises it as a Palestinian territory and condemns all sorts of violence in this regard. However, some of them have chosen to go the other way round.

The timeline starts with prophet Ibrahim, a tall historical figure who lived around 2000 BC. He is held in high praise in Quran, Bible and Torah. He also finds a detailed mention in the history outside the sacred scriptures such as in ancient clay tablets, dated around 1950 BC in his contracts with the kings of Babylonia. His descendants were enslaved in Egypt and liberated by Moses to Israel.  Ibrahim had a son Ismail, from whose genealogy followed Muhammad ( SAW) and another son Isaac, from whom, descended Jesus.  He is thus the patriarch of Israelites and Arabs, alike. Muhammad ( SAW) went to the cosmic journey of Me'raj from Al Quds and it is here where Abraham had offered his son as a sacrifice. Jesus also used to visit this site quite frequently. Whether by the events of history or of religion, Al-Quds is central to the three Abrahamic faiths but unfortunately, owing to egoistic terms of interest and an attitude of self sufficiency, it became a bone of contention amongst the cousins in faith and lineage. It requires a little optimism and we are sorted. Religious monuments can be anywhere by geography but are everywhere by sense of reverence and belongingness.

We face ka'ba a million times in our life from any part of world for our prayers but may not chance to actually visit it even once in lifetime. Spirit, not symbol is what matters. However, our cousins (jews) want the custody of Jerusalem any way. If that is the case, then one may have to take to a specific set of arguments as follows. Quran begins by telling about a broken love affair between God Almighty and the Israelites. In fact, this story consumes one-third of the book interspersed by other details and directives. The most appealing verse repeated many a time reads, "O Children of Israel! call to mind the special favour which I (Almighty) bestowed upon you, and that I (Almighty) preferred you to all others (for My Message, favours and guidance)."

Generation after generation, they were bestowed with prophets who came with the message of guidance and straight path. The significant in this chain were, Abraham, Isaac, Job, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Jonah, Joshua, David, Solomon and Jesus. But the people failed most of them by their mischief and even went to slay many of them. Some were sent to exile. The real trouble is selfishness, narrowness and a mean dislike for anything which runs counter to habits, customs or inclinations. They wanted to live free with their orthodoxy and superstitions rather than to get caged by doctrine, discipline and law. Almighty chose to forgive again and again, warn again and again, favour again and again until all means to rectify them were exhausted. Then one fine day, God's decree came to choose the second line of Abraham's children for the crown of prophet-hood which was bestowed upon Muhammad [S.A.W].

Quran says that they recognise the truth as they recognise their sons, yet they choose to deny.  Deep down, they already know the truth. All they need is to overcome their illusions and make way for a solution. Currently, the two most proposed solutions to resolve the lingering Israel-Palestine conflict are: one–state idea and the two–state idea. But these are neither workable nor achievable. The first is to diffuse the borders between the two and put them together as a pluralistic state, but this cannot be viable for the simple reason of demographics. Arabs would very soon outnumber Jews. And given the feeling of disenfranchisement and persecution by Israel, the Arab majority would do away with everything that makes Israel a Jewish state. Similarly, Israelis after having done everything they could do to finally achieve a Jewish state after thousands of years of their own persecution, would never surrender willingly to become a minority among a population they see as hostile. As both declare Jerusalem as their capital, the two state solution is also not practicable.

The only way this could end is with one side outright vanquishing the other and that would certainly be a catastrophic abuse of human rights. But this is what they are upto and they call it  "Armagedon", a self prophesied huge battle between forces of good and evil, in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. However, if the good sense prevails, then they may soon realise that even this is not a solution. There is not a slightest history of them being warriors of the battle-field nor have they retained a considerable size and strength. Better is to acknowledge the reality and make way for peace. According to Benjamin Franklin "there was never a good war or a bad peace."

Dr. Qudsia Gani is Faculty, Department of Physics, Govt. College for Women, M.A.Road Srinagar

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