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B'shem HaShem HaRahaman

Salaam aleikum,

I am a religious Jew, and I think about Israel/Palestine largely (though not only) in religious terms.

I would be very grateful if any Muslim members of mepeace could address the following questions for me and, depending on the answer, maybe we can discuss it further.

In the Holy Torah, G!d directs Avraham (Ibrahim) to leave his birthplace, family, and homeland, and to let G!d lead him to a new land that Avraham does not yet know. That land is, of course, Kna'an, later to be known as Eretz Israel, and then Palestine. G!d blesses Avraham with a promise, and part of the promise is that his descendants will inherit that land. In this way, what Jews, Christians, and Muslims all know as the "Holy Land" came to be known to Jews also as the "Promised Land."

Does the story of Allah's promise to Ibrahim appear in the Holyl Qur'an? If so, what status or importance does that promise have within Islam? Is the phrase or concept of the "Promised Land" found anywhere in Islamic tradition, with reference to Palestine, or Arabia, or anywhere else, and whoever the inheritors of the promise may be? Is Palestine ever referred to as the "Holy Land" by non-Palestinian Muslims?

I would like to know 1) whether the land of Palestine has any special role in Islamic religious thought, from before zionism and modern Palestinian nationalism, and 2) whether the religious aspect of Palestinian Muslims' attachment to the land goes beyond the significance of Haram al-Sharif in the life of the prophet Muhammad.

Thank you so much, in advance, for any enlightenment you can offer me.

Blessings,
-Hayyim

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Salam Hayyim,

am not good in RJ but here is basic info about Ibrahim in Islam
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham#In_Islam

The holiness (blessing) of "Palestine or part of it is as God create the world without boarders" in Islam is mainly because of the Prophet Mohammad (PUH) travel to Al-aqsa Mosque where he climbed from there to the heaven and met God.

If you look to the history of Palestinian, they lived always with foreigner people has either occupied or used the land, so they themselves never demand an Islamic land to live in even most of them are Moslem. They have open culture in nature.
Even nationalism has grew only recently in the beginning of 20th century as reaction of hostile British colonialism and Zionist aggression on their homelands.

hope this helps a bit.
V'aleichem sholem Jafra,

And thank you. If you are willing to continue to help teach me, I have some questions about what you wrote:

"The holiness (blessing) of "Palestine or part of it is as God create the world without boarders" in Islam is mainly because of the Prophet Mohammad (PUH) travel to Al-aqsa Mosque where he climbed from there to the heaven and met God."

You seem to imply here that some of the holiness of Al-Aqsa for Muslims "rubbed off" onto Palestine as a whole. Similarly, if I'm not mistaken, not only the Kaaba but the whole city of Mecca is holy to Muslims, as well as the city of Medina. So it seems that there is an idea in Islam that even though G!d created the world without borders, some places are particularly holy. Maybe because they contain specific sites of religious significance, but the holiness is seen as extending beyond just those sites. Another possible example: When at least some Muslims (many? extremists only?) objected strongly to U.S. military forces being stationed in Saudi Arabia even temporarily, is that because they consider the whole of Arabia to be holy - more holy than, say, the rest of Dar Al-Islam?

Moving closer toward my more specific questions about the religious importance of Palestine for Islam, yes, I understand how the prophet Mohammad's (pbuh) experience at Al-Aqsa makes that site holy for Muslims. I have also heard that in the very beginning of Islam (I don't know for how long), Muslims face Al-Aqsah when they prayed, and only later was that changed to Mecca. If I understand right, the Qur'an, in telling the story of the revelation to the prophet, refers to Al-Aqsa as "the furthest mosque". But isn't it true that at that time there had not yet been any Islamic mosque built there? Didn't the holiness of that place, even in Mohammad's time, come from it being the site of the Holy Temple where Allah alone had been worshipped? Isn't that understood to be the reason why the revelation happened there?

I'd like to come back to the core of my question, which I don't think you addressed. Does the Qur'an retell, or do Muslims accept, the story of Ibrahim that appears in Torah about how G!d beckoned him to travel to Palestine and then promised that land to (some or all of) Ibrahim's descendants? It's really the question of that promise that I'm most interested in - whether there is anything in Islam about G!d's promises to Ibrahim, whether those promises are said to have included the land, and finally whether Palestine is ever therefore refered to as a "promised land"?

I know this is a lot. I would be most grateful if you or anyone else could answer even just this last paragraph, where I've tried to be most precise about what I would really like to know. Many thanks, again!

Blessings,
-Hayyim
V'aleichem sholem Moad, and thank you! I would be very grateful if you do. I can get a rough translation online, and maybe another mepeace member will help with a more "human" translation. Thanks again - I'm really looking forward to your reply!

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