Did you know that Israel as it is called today did not exist in the past? To know more about this topic, we must dive into the history of prophets, pharaohs, tyrants, and most importantly, the history of the Children of Israel.
Who Were the Children of Israel?
The Children of Israel, aka the Israelites, were the children, and later the descendants of Prophet Jacob or Ya‘qub as he is known in Arabic. Prophet Jacob had many children and grandchildren. His favorite son, Joseph, or Yusuf, was thrown into a well by his jealous brothers. Afterward, a caravan came, and as they pulled water from the well, they saw a child inside the bucket. Joseph’s brothers came and sold him to the caravan for a very small price. Joseph was taken to Egypt, where he was sold to the wife of one of the governors of Egypt. Joseph grew up, and Allah made him a prophet and taught him the interpretation of dreams. Eventually, Joseph was chosen as the treasurer of the king. Later, his brothers came to him and asked for grain. Soon, Joseph revealed to them who he was and the brothers expressed their regret for what they had done to him. Then, Joseph invited his parents, and all the people of Canaan, especially the Children of Israel to Egypt.
Years passed in Egypt and the Children of Israel multiplied. However, they were downtrodden and were considered inferior to the Egyptians. A while passed and Moses was born and grew up to be the prophet and savior of the Israelites. Moses successfully gathered all of the Israelites, crossed the sea, and reached a desert near a mountain called Mount Sinai. That is where they settled.
The “Sacred Land”
The Children of Israel lived near Mount Sinai for some years. Then, Allah ordered Moses to tell his people that they must go to the “Sacred Land” and fight the polytheists there and capture that land. However, the Children of Israel acted lazily and said:
قَالُوا يَا مُوسَىٰ إِنَّا لَن نَّدْخُلَهَا أَبَدًا مَّا دَامُوا فِيهَا ۖ فَاذْهَبْ أَنتَ وَرَبُّكَ فَقَاتِلَا إِنَّا هَاهُنَا قَاعِدُونَ ﴿٢٤﴾
They said, “O Moses, indeed we will not enter it, ever, as long as they are within it; so go, you and your Lord, and fight. Indeed, we are remaining right here.”
They rejected Allah and his prophet. As a punishment, Allah made that land forbidden for them for forty years. As the Quran says, they wandered around the outskirts of that land for forty years.
Doesn’t This Mean the Land of Israel is for the Jews?
Now we must be careful how we interpret these events. First of all, a great prophet of Allah had instructed the Children of Israel to go and capture the “Sacred Land.” So, if one is to do it now in this present age, it would be wrong because there is no prophet for the Children of Israel to command them to seize the lands of Palestine. Second, notice how the Quran uses the term “Sacred Land,” and not “Promised Land.” That land was sacred, but it was not promised to the Children of Israel.
What About David and Solomon?
Yes, during the time of David, the Israelites were instructed to fight the polytheists and take control of the Sacred Land. However, once again it is important to realize that the Children of Israel had a prophet who received revelation from God. We as Muslims believe that prophets are not only the representatives of God whom we must obey, but also they are infallible. Above all, the person who came to power and formed a mighty kingdom was himself a prophet, David, and then Solomon. Do the Children of Israel have a prophet who has told them to occupy Palestinian lands and cause bloodshed? No. Therefore, they have no right to kill the Palestinians and force them out of their homelands.
Who Were the Inhabitants of Palestine?
Long before the Children of Israel, the Arabs were the ones who lived in Palestine. Then came the Egyptians, followed by the Arabs, then David and Solomon, then the Romans, then the Palestinians, and now the Israelis have forcefully occupied most of the Palestinian lands. You cannot just attack a country, kill its people, and forcefully occupy their lands just by relying on your scripture that has mostly been distorted and altered as the Quran states. If you really believe in your scripture, you must wait and anticipate the coming of the savior or Messiah whom you and almost everyone else believe in. We as Muslims believe that when the Mahdi comes, he will take control over all of Asia, rather the whole world. Does that mean we can take the initiative and try to conquer Asian lands? Of course not because he has not reappeared yet.
Palestine Belongs to Palestinians
Arabs have lived in Palestine for millennia. No one has the right to claim that Palestine is their “Promised Land” and that the Palestinians must forcefully abandon their homes so that they, the Jews, can come and live there. The Arabs of Palestine have lived in Palestine for many years, and it is their entitlement to live there. There is no such state as “Israel.” Rather, we call it occupied Palestine. We all pray for the freedom of Palestine.