By Mohammed Adamu
IT is a fact of religious history that all three Middle Eastern religions –Judaism, Christianity and Islam- consider Jerusalem a holy city. It is also true that Jerusalem contains sites that are sacred to all of these essentially monotheistic faiths.
The Jews whose religious interests in Jerusalem preceded those of the Christians and Muslims, had the holiest of the Hebrew shrines, ‘King Solomon’s Temple’, which was destroyed at various times by invaders; and then the ‘Wailing Wall’ where Jews are said to gather on the eve of Sabbath to express grief at the destruction of the Temple. The Christians, whose religious interests preceded only those of the Muslims, have the ‘Church of the Holy Sepulcher’ –the holiest shrine to Christian pilgrims- built by the Roman Emperor Constantine in remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and then the ‘Garden of Gethsemane’ where the betrayal of Jesus was said to have taken place. The Muslims whose religious interests in Jerusalem succeeded both the Jews’ and the Christians’, have the Silver-Domed ‘Al-Aqsa Mosque’ or ‘Masjid Al-Aqsa’, built in the year 1034 by the Fatimid Caliph Al-Zahir on the site of the old ‘Temple of Solomon’; and then the ‘Dome of the Rock Mosque’ built in the 7th Century (by the Caliph, Abdul Malik) over a rock from which the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad was said to have made his Miiraj (ascension) to heaven.
Almost every narrative that supports America’s President, Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, has this one-stop historical justification that ‘three thousand years ago’ –precisely 1000 years before Christ was born- the Jews under King David had made Jerusalem their Capital. And by that fact alone, they believe, even contemporary European claimants to Judaistic descent today, are justified to claim rightful ownership -in perpetuity- of Jerusalem. And this is especially so considering that it is a fact of recorded religious history also that none of the other two Abrahamic faiths, namely Christianity and Islam, which at various times had also occupied Jerusalem, ever made it their capital. Why then, the question is asked, should they be ‘heirs to’ or ‘trustees of’, ‘assigns’ or ‘beneficial owners’ of the whole or any part of today’s Jerusalem?
Emphasis on the fact that only the Jews –and not any of their monotheistic cousins- had ever made Jerusalem their Capital, has continued to be made with such righteous indignation as though having once made Jerusalem Capital alone is the qualifying criterion that entitles the Jews to the undisputed, undisturbed enjoyment of a possessory right or of the assertion of ownership over Jerusalem. None of these so called pro-Israel narratives have bothered to be honest enough to discuss the true status of Jerusalem before the Jews first came into its occupation ‘three thousand years ago’ or before 1000 B C when they declared it their Capital.
And so the questions arise: who were the original inhabitants of Jerusalem before three thousand years ago or by 1000 BC when the Jews presumably first came into its occupation and then subsequent declaration of it as their Capital? If the Jews were the original owners of Jerusalem, at what point previously did they come into such ownership before that material time we are told they proclaimed it their Capital? And if they were not the original owners or inhabitants of Jerusalem, did they take (or inherit) it from a pre-existing non-Israelite, non-Judean people and made it theirs? And if they took it from others and made it their own, who were those others, when and how did they take it? Was it peacefully by sale or voluntarily by cession? Was it by unchallenged occupation or by violent conquest -like the Christians and Muslims allegedly did?
Because we see also that many of the pro-Israel narratives supporting Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Capital of the Jewish State, appear also hypocritically always to allege that all the other historically recorded occupations of Jerusalem by the Christians and the Muslims, other than when the Jews first occupied it 3000 years ago, were not legitimate; either because the occupations by Christians and Muslims technically came ‘later’ in time than that by the Jews, or that because they were effected through violence, as if the Jews had effected their own occupation of Jerusalem peacefully by sale, by cession or by unchallenged occupation.
Jerusalem or Urusalim?
Of the numerous historical sources on the subject of the origin and status of Jerusalem the Encarta Encyclopedia indicate that some “early records referring to Jerusalem as ‘Urusalim’ had appeared on Egyptian tablets dating from about 1400 BC” -or four hundred years before the Jews occupied and or subsequently declared it the Jewish Capital. Thus the existence, physically, of the City of Jerusalem and the fact of its original baptismal too, which was traced to its Egyptian source as ‘Urusalim’, both predated its occupation and its subsequent declaration by the Jews as their Capital. And which therefore makes the name ‘Jerusalem’ most likely a corruption of its original Egyptian, ‘Urusalim’ –indicating a non-Judean, non-Israelite origin.
The place called Urusalim was historically a terra-cognita somewhere in the pre-Abrahamic territory called Canaan which the Encarta Encyclopedia says was “the region to the west of the Jordan River later known as Palestine”. Some of the proof of this was in the request made by England’s King Richard in a letter to the Muslim General Salahuddin (Saladin) during the third Crusade’s failed attempt to take Jerusalem: “As for the land” Richard pleaded with Salahuddin “give us back to the further side of Jordan.” The present day ‘Jerusalem’ was originally part of a pre-existing, non-Abrahamic, and therefore definitely non-Israelite and non-Judean territory identified only by its relationship with the ‘Jordan river’. Meaning that present day Palestine itself had existed previously as a community of the ‘Jordan river’ side long before it came to be known as Palestine.
And so identifying ‘Palestine’ today as a post-Abrahamic, post-Israelite or post-Judean creation, is both anachronistic and historically fallacious because the ‘Palestinians’ as a people before they were to be called ‘Palestinians’, had been there at Canaan as people of the ‘Jordan River’ long before Abraham arrived from what the Bible says was Ur of the Chaldea (or present day Iraq), some 1500 years before Christ was born. When he arrived Canaan –or the part of it, Haran- Abraham had met these people of the ‘Jordan river’ (the future Palestinians) and had to settle down amongst them thereafter to father Isaac who the Bible tells us sired Jacob, who would be called ‘Israel’ and who was therefore to begin the lineage of a God’s own people, namely the Israelites; down the line to the birth of Judah, who would be the progenitor of the Jewish tribe, the precursor of the Jewish religion, and the father of the Judean nation. Meaning that the people of the ‘Jordan river’ (or the Canaanites who would be the future Palestinians), and the cities and towns of that community of the ‘Jordan river’ –of which ‘Urusalim’ was one- had all existed long before the birth either of Israel or of the Israelites, the Jews or Judaism, or of Judea.
But it also means that at the material time in religious history -before the arrival of Abraham to Canaan, or before the birth of Ishmael and Isaac, the Arabs too, like their brethren the Jews and the Israelites, were equally not in existence anywhere. Because Ishmael had to be born first, by Hagaar, before the Arabs could descend from his loins to found the land of Kedar whence Arabia itself was to be born. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia quotes the American Roman Catholic Archbishop A. S. Fulton as saying: “It is through Kedar (Arab, Keidar) that Muslim genealogists trace the descent of Muhammad from Ishmael.” Also the Davis Dictionary of the Bible, 1980 describes ‘Kedar’ as “A tribe descended from Ishmael… and from their tribe Muhammad ultimately arose” (see also Genesis 25:13).
It is thus wrong historically to suggest that the present day Palestinians originally came to the place called Palestine as some kind of post-Israelite or post-Judean Arabs settled in the land of the Jews and of the Christians; and that that migration was as recently as after the departure of the Prophet of Islam. In truth, the present day Palestinians technically were some of the aboriginal Canaanites west of the ‘Jordan river’ who were first Arabised at some point in religious history and who -at various times during the spread of Christianity and Islam- were also either Christianised or Islamised to their present day standing. The Palestinians had always been where they are –the aboriginals of Canaan long before Israel, Judea or even Arabia were born. And so the question is asked: ‘who is taking the land from who today?’ Is it the one who had come much later in time or the who had been there right from time?
To be continued…
Re: On Atiku’s ambition
Online:– “By sheer coincidence, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has dominated the attention of our columnists today such as Mohammed Adamu and Dr. Jideofor Adibe. I have already noticed that some guys are unhappy with Mohammed Adamu, but it is impossible to please everyone all the time as long as you are writing sincerely and objectively. None of you -Mohammed Adamu’s critics- on this post has energetically, frequently and sincerely defended the PMB administration to the incredible degree he did. And so because he chose to write on a subject you don’t like, he is no longer objective. Many people are so consumed by their own bias blind spot that they won’t even notice it. Today Mohammed Adamu and Dr. Jideofor Adibe, look beyond popular sentiment and clinically examines the issue of perceived ‘over ambition’ and its public perception as a ‘sin’” –Na-Allah Mohammed Zagga
Online:– “There is nothing in one being ambitious. In fact, it is what distinguishes the great from the fickle-minded. One thing I give Atiku is his entrepreneurial background which will be an asset if properly utilised because this Nigerian mentality of quota system has to just go. Let people compete, then the country will truly discover her truest potential. I have always believed that people who have never created wealth should not get close to power, because all their lives the only thing they understand is the mentality of sharing and not creating.” –Kelly Abraham
Online:- “I tend to concur… ambition begets greatness and greatness begets more ambition for greater greatness.” –Sunny Ume.
Online:- “You wrote for Atiku clumsily and made it appear like the way many are seeing his ambition to a wingless project that can never fly”. –Aare Olayiwola Saheed-Lekan Raji
Online:- “Atiku dumps APC, Bindow dumps Atiku. But if Buhari can be President, not just Atiku, BUT anybody can be President. We should just let 2019 take care of itself jare!” –Kesto Love
Still on Atiku’s ambition
Online:- “Those saying Atiku is the next President of Nigeria are lawless just like Atiku. In line with the Constitution of PDP, Atiku needs to wait in the new Party for one year before contesting. He cannot contest in PDP now, talkless of winning”. –Rafiu Olaniyi Popoola.
Online:– “PDP will make a huge mistake if Atiku should be their 2019 presidential candidate.” –Patrick Ibn Yargurum
Online:- “Bring a younger person, NOT the recycling approach of leaders”
Online:- “What a piece! More hurdles for Atiku to cross.” –Sani Mohammed Barade
Online:– “Yes, you have said it all. This is the most comprehensive reminder I have read in a long time. THANKS” –Balarabe Nazeephy
Online:- “Well done. Your brilliant write ups on critical national issues always bring me close to the matter more. In deed your quote from Macbeth drew me nearer to former VP’s blind ambition. He who the gods want to destroy they first make mad. Yes, to struggle for what you believe in and like is good and worth doing, but you should not lose your common sense.” –Mohammed Baba Katun