As indicated earlier, all Palestinian land - particularly Jerusalem - are sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The reason for this is that most of the prophets God sent to warn people spent part or all of their lives on this land.
According to historical studies based on archeological excavations and sacred texts, Prophet Ibrahim, his sons, and a small number of people who followed him first migrated to Palestine - known then as Canaan - in the nineteenth century bce. The Qur'anic commentaries (tafsir) indicate that Ibrahim (Abraham), peace be upon him, thought to have lived in the Palestinian area known today as Al-Khalil (Hebron), settled there with Prophet Lut (Lot). The Qur'an reports of his migration as follows:
We said: "Fire, be coolness and peace for Ibrahim!" They desired to trap him, but We made them the losers. We delivered both him and Lut to the land which We had blessed for all beings. (Qur'an, 21:69-71)
This region, described as "the land which We had blessed," is mentioned in various Qur'anic commentaries as referring to the land of Palestine.
Before Ibrahim, peace be upon him, the Canaanite (Palestinian) people were idolaters. He convinced them to abandon their idolatry and recognize the one and only God. According to historical sources, he settled his wife Hajar and his son Isma'il (Ishmael) in Mecca and its surroundings, while another wife, Sara, and his second son Ishaq (Isaac) stayed in Canaan. Likewise, the Qur'an mentions that Prophet Ibrahim settled some of his sons in the vicinity of al-Bayt al-Haram, which, according to the Qur'anic commentaries, is located in the valley of Mecca.
Our Lord, I have settled some of my offspring by Your Sacred House in an uncultivated valley. Our Lord, let them perform prayer. Make the hearts of mankind incline towards them and provide them with fruits, so that hopefully they will be thankful. (Qur'an, 14:37)
However, Ishaq's son Ya'qub (Jacob) emigrated to Egypt during his son Yusuf (Joseph)'s royal appointment. (Ya'qub's sons also are remembered as the "Children of Israel.") After Yusuf's release from prison and appointment as the head of the Egyptian treasury, the Children of Israel lived in peace and security in Egypt.
Somehow, their condition changed over time, and Pharoah treated them with great cruelty. God made Musa (Moses) His prophet during this period, and ordered him to lead them out from Egypt. He went to Pharaoh, asked him to give up his pagan beliefs and to surrender to God, and to free the Children of Israel also called Israelites. But Pharaoh was a cruel and savage tyrant. He had enslaved the Children of Israel, working them almost to death, and then ordered the execution of male children. Continuing his cruelty, he responded hostilely towards Musa. To prevent his own followers - actually his sorcerers - from believing in Musa, he threatened to cut their alternate hands and feet.
Following the death of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph), the Children of Israel endured great cruelty at the hands of Pharaoh.
Although Pharaoh refused permission, Musa, peace be upon him, and his people fled Egypt, with the help of God's miracles, in approximately 1250 bce. They settled in the Sinai Peninsula and in eastern Canaan. In the Qur'an, Musa commands the Children of Israel to enter Canaan:
My people, enter the Holy Land, which God has ordained for you. Do not turn back in your tracks and so become transformed into losers. (Qur'an, 5:21)
After Musa, peace be upon him, the Israelites continued to live in Canaan (Palestine). Again according to historians, Dawud (David) became the Israelis' king and created a powerful kingdom. During the reign of his son Sulayman (Solomon), Israel's borders extended from the Nile River in the south to the Euphrates River in today's Syria to the north. This was a magnificent period for the Israelite kingdom in many fields, particularly architecture. In Jerusalem, Sulayman had a magnificent palace and temple built. After his death, God sent many more prophets to the Children of Israel, though in most cases they did not listen to them and rebelled against God.
Those who disbelieve filled their hearts with fanatical rage - the fanatical rage of the Time of Ignorance - and God sent down serenity to His Messenger and to the believers, and bound them to the expression of guarding against evil which they had most right to and were most entitled to. God has knowledge of all things.
As a result of their degeneracy, the Israelite kingdom dissolved and was occupied by various idolatrous peoples, and the Israelites, also known as Jews at the time, were enslaved once again. When Palestine was occupied by the Roman Empire, Prophet 'Isa (Jesus), peace be upon him, came and once again invited the Children of Israel to forsake their pride, superstitions, and rebelliousness and to live according to God's religion. Very few Jews believed in him; most of the Children of Israel denied him. And, as the Qur'an reports, they were: "Those among the tribe of Israel who disbelieved were cursed on the tongue Dawud and that of 'Isa, son of Maryam." (Qur'an, 5:78) After some time, God plagued the Jews with the Romans, who drove all of them out of Palestine.
Our reason for this lengthy explanation is to show that the Zionists' fundamental contention that "Palestine is the land God promised to the Jews" is not true. This topic will be examined in more detail in the chapter on Zionism.
Zionism interprets the concepts of "chosen people" and "promised land" through a racist lense. According to this claim, everyone descended from the Jews is "chosen" and owns "the promised land." However, race has no value in the sight of God, for what is important is godliness and righteousness. In God's eyes, the chosen ones are those who continue to follow the religion of Ibrahim, no matter what their race may be.
The Qur'an also emphasizes this fact. God announces that Ibrahim's heirs are not the Jews who boast of being "children of Ibrahim," but the Muslims who live according to his religion:
The people with the strongest claim to Ibrahim are those who followed him and this Prophet [Muhammad], and those who believe. God is the Protector of believers. (Qur'an, 3:68)
THE MUSLIM OBSERVER, 9.2001
W.REPORT, JULY 96
While Jews opposed to Zionism openly defy the Israeli government, fanatical Jews take the view: "The Promised Land is for the Chosen People. For good. For keeps. Forever." On a cover of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, fanatical Jews are pictured carrying signs with this slogan. Due to such mistaken ideas, they behave cruelly toward their captive population of Palestinian Christians and Muslims.