Muslims on the Temple Mount pray towards Mecca (Sliman Khader/Flash90)

Citing the historical record and religious doctrine, a leading Pakistani historian proves that Muslims “have no religious basis to rule Jerusalem.”

Mobarak Haidar, a renowned Pakistani historian and author of multiple books, declared to the “Muslims of the world” that they “have no religious basis to rule Jerusalem.”

Following President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Haidar wrote in his Facebook page regarding “Jerusalem and Muslim Claims,” debunking various myths surrounding the city, which has been the capital of the Jewish people for the last 3,000 years, long before Islam was conceived.

Regarding the Muslim claim that the Al-Aqsa Mosque, situated on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, is supposedly mentioned in the Quran, the Pakistani historian explained: “The Holy Quran spoke of Al-Aqsa Mosque when it was not a ‘mosque’ in the Islamic sense. It was a holy place because of the prophets of Israel, from Moses to Jesus. It was the holy spot of worship for Jews and Christians.”

“Obviously, there were no Muslims in the city of Jerusalem till the era of Emir-ul-Momineen Umar ibn Khattab … . The Prophet [Muhammad] and his followers prayed with their faces toward this Jewish-Christian holy temple because Kaaba (the present center of Islamic Hajj) was full of idols,” Haidar pointed out, according to a translation of his Facebook post by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Jerusalem appears in the Hebrew Bible 669 times, but is not once directly mentioned by name in the Quran.

“After the ‘Conquest of Mecca,’ Muslims were told to turn their faces toward Kaaba and away from Jerusalem. They have never faced their loyalty toward Jerusalem after that, for the last 1,400 years. No Muslim ever went to pray in Jerusalem till it was conquered by the second caliph [Umar ibn Khattab in the 7th century] although there was no restriction on Muslims,” he wrote.

“Christians were masters of Jerusalem before Muslims conquered it. It is still a holy place for Christians. But Christians have no dispute over ownership of the city. It is their religious right to visit the holy city; and the Jews do not stop them,” he underscored.

“Muslims, too, should have the same religious rights, and in fact they have those rights; Jews do not stop them,” Haidar wrote.

Therefore, “Muslims of the world have no religious basis to rule Jerusalem. Most of the Muslims have never even wished to visit Jerusalem,” he said.

No Muslim Political Claims to Jerusalem

As for a political claim to the city, in his opinion, “only Palestinians can make it and only they should negotiate. It cannot be a collective Muslim claim.”

“Quraishi Arabs were masters of Jerusalem for some time. Then Mamluks [from Egypt], Muslim kings, took over. Turks came after them. Colonial Christians [the British Mandate] were the last political rulers.

He said it was “interesting to note that Iranian Muslims or Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent or Southeast Asia or Africa have never been its masters. They can claim only spiritual ties.”

He concluded by stating that “active centers of Muslim faith are none other than the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina.”

While Iranians have never controlled these active centers, “they are passionately building deadly weapons and jihadi forces to conquer or destroy Israel. It is sectarian politics of hegemony which can generate nothing but division and pain,” he warned.

Haidar is not the first Muslim or Arab scholar to concede that Muslims have no political connection to Jerusalem.

Renowned Egyptian scholar and novelist Youssef Ziedan conceded in an interview in December 2015 that the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is not the Al-Aqsa Mosque referred to in the Quran, and that the Temple Mount complex in the heart of Israel’s capital is not sacred to the Muslims.

Citing ancient scholars, Ziedan said that the Al-Haram Mosque and Al-Aqsa Mosque were “on the road from Mecca to Ta’if.”

He also contested the authenticity of other stories related to Mohammed in Muslim tradition.

In fact, the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site, where the First and Second Holy Temples stood. There are many artifacts discovered by archaeologists as well as historical documentation that demonstrate these ties to the site.

Ziedan explained that “Hamikdash [the Temple] is a Hebrew word [which Muslims also used for the Temple Mount]. This is a Hebrew concept. The Al-Aqsa Mosque, in my view, is not the one [in Jerusalem]. It cannot be.”

He also pointed out that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is not the first direction of prayer for Muslims.

Ziedan also said there is no justification for a war over Jerusalem, and that Muslims should just leave Al-Aqsa, which would lead to peace.