Control of Jerusalem

Last November, Prof Waleed Khalidi addressed the UN in New York on Jerusalem. Here is the recording of his address in 5 parts. To know about the background of what Jerusalem stands for today, do have a look. And circulate widely.

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The Meaning of the Word “Islam”

Islam is a word misunderstood by many non-muslims as well as some muslims. I would like to share with you the true meaning of this word and what it actually means. The word “Islam” is the verbal noun of the verb “aslama”. This verb is defined as, “He resigned or submitted himself.” When used with respect to Allah (God), it means, “He became submissive to God.” If you refer to Arabic language dictionaries you will find out that the meaning of the word Islam is:

Submission, humbling oneself, and obeying commands and heeding prohibitions without objection, sincerely worshipping Allah alone, believing what He tells us and having faith in Him. Literally, Islam denotes self-surrender or to give oneself up to Allah (God) and accept His Lordship in the fullest sense of the term. The religion sent down by Allah (God) and brought into the world by His Apostles has been called Islam for the simple reason that, in it, the bondsman yields completely to the power and control of the Lord and makes the rendering of whole-hearted obedience to Him the cardinal principle of his life. This is the sum and substance of the Islamic creed. Perhaps it should be noted that the word “Islam” does not mean “peace.” It is true that the Arabic word for “peace” (salaam) comes from the same root as the word Islam. It is also very true that true peace—both internal and external—can only be the result of performing correct practices of Islam. At the same time, it should be very clear in the minds of every Muslim that Islam represents his commitment and devotion to worshipping and submitting to Allah (God) alone. This should become the essence of what the individual Muslim is all about. It is important to recognize a more specific usage for the word “Islam” as a religion.

Islam, as stated above, implies the complete submission to the one and only true God (Allah). Thus, anyone who is truly submitting himself to Allah (God)—according to what has been revealed from Allah (God) and not simply according to his own whims or imagination and considers Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) as the final prophet, who completed not only the religion Islam but Prophet hood—is a Muslim.

In this sense, the religion of all of the prophets of Allah (God) was Islam and all Prophets told their followers about the coming of a final Prophet in their teachings hence they were all Muslims. Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus (and many more), for example, were all Muslims and their religion was Islam, the true and sincere submission to God.

Thus, Allah says in the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):

“The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah – that which We have sent by inspiration to you (Muhammad) – and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.” (Qur’an 42:13)

Why is this religion called Islam? For all the religions on earth are called by various names, either the name of a specific man or a specific nation. So Christianity takes its name from Christ; Buddhism takes its name from its founder, the Buddha; the Zoroastrians became well known by this name because their founder and standard-bearer was Zoroaster.

Islam: The ideological superpower

Muslims number more than one billion today. If you go round the world to study the minds of Muslims inhabiting various regions you will probably come to the conclusion that Muslims all over the world share the feeling that the history of Islam had reached an impasse. Despite enormous sacrifices no way out is in sight. It is our firm belief that Islam offers guidance at all times and in all situations. Therefore it must certainly be able to offer us a clear guidance as regards the present state of affairs. I must say that it does exist in a very clear form. The history of Islam provides us two very clear examples of bringing into play the da‘wah power of Islam.

The first guiding example recorded in the early period of Islamic history is that of Sulh-e-Hudaybiyya (Hudaiybiya Treaty). As we all know, the Prophet(PBUH) of Islam was compelled to migrate from Mecca to Medina. The majority of Muslims followed him Consequently Medina became a center of Muslims. However, afterwards the event took a more serious turn. The opponents of Islam now started armed onslaughts against the Muslims. Yet after several full scale wars and so many minor armed conflicts the balance failed to tip on any side. Apparently the history of Islam reached an impasse.

At this critical juncture, according to the Qur’an, the Prophet (PBUH) of Islam was shown the straight path in this matter (48:3-4). This straight path was to create a conducive atmosphere for peaceful da‘wah work by ceasing armed conflicts altogether. Accordingly the Prophet in the 19th year of his prophethood entered into a peace treaty with his Arab opponents. This step put an end to the state of war. This event is referred to in the history of Islam as Sulh-e-Hudaybiyya. This peace treaty diverted the field of encounter between Islam and its rivals from the battlefield to Da‘wah field.

This peaceful activism brought incredibly revolutionary results. The power of peace proved itself far superior to the power of war. This treaty rendered a widespread interaction between Muslims and the opposing group possible in normal atmosphere. In this way the peace treaty cleared the path for the direct propagation of Islam to take place. The opponents came to accept Islam in great numbers, ultimately the numerical power alone sufficed for the victory of Islam.

According to Imam al-Zuhari, Sulh-e-Hudaybiyya was the greatest victory in the history of Islam. Prior to this whenever Muslims and their rivals encountered one another fighting ensued. But after the reconciliation the state of war ended and peace prevailed. Now they began meeting one another in normal, tension-free atmosphere. This interaction naturally led to an exchange of ideas. When someone heard anything of Islam and found it appealing, he would go in, without fail, to enter into the fold of Islam. That is why after a mere two years of Sulh-e-Hudaybiyya such large number of people entered the fold of Islam as had never happened before (Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah Vol. 4, p. 170).

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