When Allah addressed the Believers as a collective: “O you who believe, do not take the Jews and the Christians for your allies; they are but allies of one another…,” little did the Muslim world understand the message of Allah as contained in Q5: 51. On Wednesday, December 6, reality dawned when the U.S, a long-time ally of Saudi Arabia dared her Arab friends and the world by declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite warnings from the UN, Europe and Arab nations.
The U.S President Trump’s unilateral decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the plan to move the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem is undoubtedly a great danger not only to the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, but also Americans, Israelis and the entire world. Allah warns: “And fear Fitnah (tumult, oppression and trials, etc.) which will engulf, not only those (trouble makers) who committed wrong among you, and know that Allah is severe in penalty.” Q 8: 25
For decades, Jerusalem has been a disputed territory between Israel, Palestine and their Arab neighbours. More importantly, it is a historical and sacred land for all three Abrahamic religions – Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It is the location of the over 1.6 billion Muslims’ third holiest mosque, Al-Aqsa, after the Haram in Makkah and Masjid Nabawi in Medina.
According to Q.17:1, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) embarked on the Israi wal Miiraj, the miraculous night journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and then, the ascension to the Heavens where he went to receive the five daily prayers, the second pillar of Islam. The event of Israi Wal Miiraj took place within a single night, and commenced from Al-Aqsa.
The special status of Jerusalem perhaps could have been the reason the disputed city has been left out during the series of peace talks and the Oslo Accords championed by the United Nations, where the two-state solution was proposed for Palestine and Israel, with East Jerusalem as capital of Palestine and West Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
The Wednesday declaration has proven that the two-state solution was a scam and a façade, as Washington obviously knows that the move would shatter the fragile peace process in the region. Despite warnings from the UN, Europe and Arabs, Trump insisted that his unilateral decision on Jerusalem was long overdue. It was one of his core campaign promises last year and like his predecessors abstained, many had erroneously believed that Trump would not make such a declaration, as it is against international law and UN resolutions.
But Trump shocked the world, including the greatest allies of the US in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia (debatable anyway) and the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas.
The declaration is coming at a time when the disunited Arab world is in disarray over the Saudi-led war in Yemen and her proxy war with Iran in Syria, which has led to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.
The current political instability of the Arab world started shortly after Trump’s first international trip to Saudi Arabia, where he signed an arms deal worth $110 billion with the Kingdom to fight terrorism.
The Arab leaders never discussed with Trump about his campaign promise to move the Israeli capital to Jerusalem. Maybe they did, but that was not reported by the International media. The Arab leaders may also not have seen it coming so soon, or they may have been engrossed in the supremacy battle which started hours after Trump left.
Shortly after Trump’s visit, in June 2017, Saudi Arabia and three of its biggest allies — Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain – severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, suspending air, land, and sea links to and from the country. The move came after Riyadh accused Qatar of backing the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Since then, the entire Arab world has been in disarray, as Saudi lobbied other countries in the region and beyond to join the diplomatic boycott against her brother, Qatar.
While this was on-going and the cold war was getting messier, with many Nigerian Muslims divided into different camps over the issue, the US continued perfecting its plans with Israel to continue its illegal occupation of the West Bank, an act which has been severally condemned by the UN. Trump’s October 2017 decision to quit UNESCO over what he termed anti-Israel bias further frustrates peace efforts in Palestine. And now, the official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which is illegal under international law, has further complicated issues.
It may interest you to know that only the US (at least, for now) and of course the beneficiary, Israel are in support of this show of shame. The UN, EU and regional leaders including Pope Francis and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan have strongly condemned the declaration. However, beyond condemnation, necessary actions must be taken immediately to prevent outbreaks of violence within the disputed territory, the Middle East and the world at large. The world must stop Trump’s unilateral decision to spark what may turn out to be the Third World War.
I call for calm from the over 1.6 billion aggrieved Muslims across the globe, and pray that the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) reach a unanimous conclusion on how to deal with Israel and the US. It is also my prayer that Allah guides them and makes them come to their senses to collectively protect the heritage of over 1.6 billion Muslims from imminent loss by the time they meet tomorrow, Saturday December 9 and Wednesday, December 13 respectively.
– Rasheed Abubakar is a journalist and the author of “Hijab and the Nigerian Press”. Email: email@example.com