In the Name of God: The Exceedingly and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

There is no question that Jerusalem is at the center of Jewish spiritual life and consciousness. It is not a matter of “if,” but “when,” that Jerusalem will one day be officially recognized by the world as the capital of Israel. Political reality dictates this.

Political reality also dictates that Jerusalem is claimed by Palestinians as the capital of their future state, and while some are trying to erase Arab presence in Jerusalem, this city is inextricably tied to Palestinian life and consciousness as well. Add to that the fact that all three Abrahamic faiths lay claim to Jerusalem on a spiritual level, and it is no surprise that the issue of Jerusalem is so contentious.

Yet, why does Jerusalem have to be a “zero sum” city?

As a Muslim, Jerusalem is very precious to me. In this city, the great Kings and Prophets David and Solomon – two of my absolute favorites – reigned in greatness and basked in God’s glory. In this city, Jesus Christ walked and preached and performed miracles by God’s permission and grace. And, in this city, my beloved Prophet Muhammad prayed to God along with David and Solomon and Jesus and all the other Prophets, may God’s peace and blessings be upon all of them.

I would never deny that Jerusalem is “for the Jews,” just as I would never deny that Jerusalem is also “for the Christians and Muslims” as well. Jerusalem can be a city for all. Jerusalem must be a city for all. And the conflict that Jerusalem suffers is so painful for me to see, because its holy soil should never be tainted by the blood of innocents.

The picture above is from Jerusalem, and it was carved by the Ottomans. Many thanks to writer Mustafa Aykol for posting the photo on Twitter. It reads, “There is nothing worthy of worship but God, and Abraham is the friend of God.”

It is Abraham that brings all of us – Jews, Christians, and Muslims – together as our father. It is Abraham, and his staunch and undying belief in the One True God, that has given birth to all of our faiths. It is Abraham who should make us see that we have more in common than we have in distinction.

And it should be the memory of the beloved Abraham which should remind us what Jerusalem actually means: “an abode of peace.” If everyone in the Holy Land finds the courage to make it so, by the will of God, it will become exactly that.

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