The ‘Temple Mount’ Deceit | Ustadh Abu Haneefah Sohail, ISLAM21C, 5 August 2017.
Israel is a Zionist military outpost in the Middle East masquerading as a nation state. It has never possessed legitimacy by standards of international law and is founded on on-going forced expulsions of people, land-theft and military occupation. Neither has it ever possessed moral legitimacy being the principal aggressor in the epic 70 year suffering of the indigenous Palestinian people.
The foundation of this genocidal masquerade is a fabricated religious dogma which seeks to annihilate the sacred sanctuary of al-Haram al-Sharif and replace it with a 2000 year-old mythical temple. Al-Haram al-Sharif is one of the three most sacred sites in Islām situated on a hill in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is the original direction of prayer for all Muslims and home to the oldest extant Islamic monument in the world, the dome of the rock, and the al-Aqsa mosque where the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) led all Prophets in prayer and then ascended through the heavens in the miraculous night journey and ascension of 621CE. The site is a 35 acre complex which was managed by the Waqf Ministry of Jordan until the 1967 War, after which civil administration for the site was transferred to the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf trust, funded by the King of Jordan. Its historical status as a ‘waqf’, or endowment, means that no authority, Muslim or non-Muslim has the right to annul its standing as an endowment, or prevent access for any Muslim. This status is under threat with open acts of criminality which have gone unchecked: During the July 2017 siege of al-Aqsa in which the entire sanctuary was closed off for three days, Jerusalem Islamic Waqf trust staff were evicted, and title deeds relating to ownership of buildings in the sanctuary were stolen.
Destruction of the ‘Temple of Solomon’
The ‘Temple Mount’ deceit is a Zionist inspired religious dogma, in complete contradiction with orthodox Jewish beliefs, which seeks to destroy the entire sacred sanctuary and rebuild a 2000 year-old mythical temple known as the ‘Temple of Solomon’. The ‘Temple of Solomon’ is considered the most sacred site in Judaism and is said to have been destroyed by the Babylonians in 587BC. It was again rebuilt and destroyed by the Romans in 70CE. So for almost 2000 years the temple has not existed at all. Yet the power of Zionist propaganda is such that the concept of ‘Temple Mount’ as opposed to ‘Al-Haram al-Sharif’ has lodged itself into media outlets, religious discourse and current affairs. There is no ‘Temple Mount’. There has been no ‘Temple Mount’ for 2000 years as there has been no ‘Temple of Solomon’ for 2000 years. Its reported destruction was at the hands of ancient civilisations that have long faded away – so why are Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular paying the price? Would we consider destroying landmarks of cultural, political or religious significance in any other part of the world, thereby igniting conflict and war, based on mythical claims dating back thousands of years? It is an outrage that since 1983 The Temple Mount Fund has been established to collect funds for the destruction of ‘Al-Haram al-Sharif’, and the Temple Institute established in 1987 for the same express purpose. What started as a fringe, extreme Zionist movement has now gained traction with senior Israeli politicians who are openly supportive of the desecration of one of the most sacred sites in the world.
There is no conclusive archaeological evidence even for the existence of the ‘Temple of Solomon’ never mind its precise location. The few relics recovered from excavations attributed to the ‘Temple of Solomon’ have been found to be forgeries. A tiny thumb-sized ivory pomegranate discovered in 1979 bearing an ancient Hebrew inscription was originally believed to have adorned a sceptre used by the high priest in the temple. It was considered the most important item of biblical antiquities in the Israel Museum collection of 2004, but the Israel Antiquities Authority reported the inscription to be a forgery while maintaining the artefact itself did date back to the 13th or 14th century BC. Another artefact, the Jehoash Inscription, which first came to notice in 2003, is a tablet containing a Hebrew inscription. The Israel Antiquities Authority again concluded that that the patina must be an artificial chemical mix applied to the stone by forgers.
The Western Wall
The Western Wall is the most sacred existing site in Judaism. It is a centre of Jewish pilgrimage, prayer and lament. Jews consider it to be the only surviving remnant of the second building of the Temple of Solomon by King Herod. In fact, the wall was never part of the temple itself but the western wall of a retaining structure built under King Herod to support the plaza above. It historically had no religious significance until the 16th century after which rituals associated with the temple were transferred to this wall. The inside face of the wall facing al-Haram al-Shariff is actually called the Buraq Wall where the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) tethered his riding animal during the miraculous night journey.
The photo above from 1931 shows the plaza area which is used today for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage. It clearly shows that historically the area between the western wall and the circled mosque dating back to Salahuddin Ayyubi was actually a thriving Muslim residential quarter with housing and seminaries known as the Maghribi (Moroccan) Quarter. It was endowed by Al-Afdal, the brother of Salahuddin Ayyubi, so that aid and services could be provided for North African pilgrims and the poor. The Jewish community had never shown any interest in the area except for a narrow 3.5m wide alley immediately in front of the wall used for rituals and prayer.
One of the first acts of the Israelis, upon taking over East Jerusalem during the 1967 war was to expel the Palestinian inhabitants of the Maghribi Quarter and completely destroy this historic district in contravention of the Geneva Convention.
A Roman Fort?
The Temple of Solomon was utterly destroyed by the Romans in 70CE and biblical sources indicate that the Prophet Jesus (ʿalayhi al-Salām) had earlier prophesised that not one stone would be standing upon another. The subsequent mass murder and expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem which took place raises the question, can we be confident that al-Haram al-Shariff is even the precise location of the ancient Temple of Solomon?
Up until the 4th century CE the precise location of the Temple was unknown to Jews themselves which brings one to question how they could have settled on its alleged exact location. The impressive stones which form the base of the Western Wall also appear to be in remarkably good condition. The structure is inconsistent with biblical descriptions and historical accounts of the complete annihilation of the second temple.
There is a view amongst some biblical scholars, particularly those keen to verify the veracity of Jesus’ (ʿalayhi al-Salām) prophecies as reported in the bible, that the modern day Western Wall is, in fact, a remnant from a former Roman fort occupied by the Tenth Legion (Legio X Fretensis). They consider the true site of Solomon’s temple to be 300 metres south of al-Haram al-Shariff in the City of David.
Return of the Jewish Messiah
Even if we were to assume that the temple did exist, and even if we were to ignore the complete absence of any convincing proof of its precise location, Orthodox Jewish creed is very clear that the temple cannot be rebuilt until the return of the Jewish Messiah. The Jewish Messiah is a futuristic Jewish King who will be from the House of David and will be anointed with holy anointing oil. He is believed to rule in a future period on earth where there is universal peace and brotherhood without war or suffering – far from the current state of affairs! Human endeavour to bring about the third temple by ordinary Jews is considered outlawed with rebuilding only occurring at the hand of Divine Providence.
Jewish prayer in the sacred sanctuary
Even the idea of Jewish prayer in the sacred sanctuary of Al-Haram al-Sharif is considered a religious heresy amongst devout Jews. Many refuse to visit the site for fear of entering an area where the Holy of Holies once stood. According to Jewish tradition, ordinary Jews were forbidden to go to the Holy of Holies because they were ritually impure. To this day, rabbinical authorities in Israel itself have declared unequivocally the prohibition of entering the sacred sanctuary. The Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, along with several other senior rabbis, issued a public statement in 2012 warning the public that visiting the ‘Temple Mount’ is forbidden by Jewish law:
“It is a sacred duty to awaken your hearts [to the fact that] it is completely forbidden according to Jewish law to go up to the Temple Mount…This prohibition has been simple and clear for a long time, and has been forbidden by all of the great Torah scholars.”
This has consistently been the position of the Chief Rabbinate which is recognised by law as the supreme rabbinic and spiritual authority for Judaism in Israel. The overwhelming majority of halakhic authorities forbid entry to the sacred sanctuary for Jews.
The Prophet Solomon
The mythical temple is named after the Prophet Solomon (ʿalayhi al-Salām), who was the son of the Prophet David (ʿalayhi al-Salām). According to classical Islamic beliefs, both were exemplary men of God inspired by revelation and powerful Kings who reigned in their respective times. The Prophet Solomon is described in the Qur’ān as the most powerful king of all-time and an inspirational leader who used his vast resources to spread monotheism across the world and enlighten civilisations with divine guidance. He is described as a grateful and patient man who was not deceived by the material trappings of his own power.
Judeo-Christian sources, however, describe a very different character who was well versed in the dark arts of black magic; this claim is strongly refuted by the Quran. Throughout the ages various grimoires (textbooks with instructions on black magic) have been falsely attributed to the Prophet Solomon. Perhaps most disturbing of all is a description of a lustful king obsessed with women, possessing several hundred wives and concubines that misled him into idolatry, and the building of temples glorifying false gods in an attempt to appease his pagan wives.
The purpose of highlighting these scriptural differences is not to bring disrepute to the noble character of this immense Prophet or to criticise Judeo-Christian scripture but to show that Zionist claims of revering the temple of Solomon ring hollow when compared to their beliefs about the Prophet Solomon himself. Surely if anybody has the right to inherit the legacy of the great and wise Prophet Solomon it is those that believe in him, honour him and uphold his message of monotheism.
Enduring peace and stability for Jerusalem
Jerusalem is sacred to all three major world religions hence the right of access must be guaranteed for people of all faiths. The most sacred site in Christianity, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, is a stone’s throw away in the Christian quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is classical Islamic theology which gives due reverence and respect to all the Prophets inspired by God, regardless of whether they are central to Christianity or Judaism. It is precisely this reason, coupled with the well-developed juristic principles which exist in Islām for administering religious minorities, which has historically ensured Jerusalem enjoyed enduring peace and stability only when administered by Muslim authority.
This is in direct contrast to Israel which was born of European anti-Semitism with its bloody history of pogroms, the holocaust and forced expulsions of Jews. It is a sad reality that the illusion of the ‘Jewish state’ is, in part, a product of deep seated anti-Semitism and the desire to expel Jews from Europe. It is no coincidence that the IDF is not only waging a war against Muslims but also Orthodox Jews and Christians. In 2012 the Israeli Supreme Court invalidated the ‘Tal Law’ which gave Orthodox Jews pursuing religious studies exemption from military conscription. The forced conscriptions have led to huge global protests by Orthodox Jews and even assaults of IDF soldiers in Jerusalem. Christians have long been an overlooked persecuted minority in Israel. A recent declaration by the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem stated:
“We are worried about any change to historical (status quo) situation in al-Aqsa Mosque (Haram al-Sharif) and its courtyard, and in the holy city of Jerusalem. Any threat to its continuity and integrity could easily lead to serious and unpredictable consequences, which would be most unwelcome in the present tense climate.”
The threat of apocalyptic war
How can we even begin to contemplate standing idly by as one of the most sacred sites in the world, holding significance to all three major world religions, is destroyed based on a 2000-year-old myth? How can we contemplate plunging the world into a war of apocalyptic proportions based on the delusions of Zionist fanatics devoid of any religious credibility? How can we entrust custodianship of a sacred place to war criminals who do not respect the sanctity of children’s lives, never mind the sanctity of bricks and stones?
Regardless of your religious or political affiliations, one thing we can all agree on is that Israel has never, and will never, bring peace and stability to the region in general and Jerusalem in particular. We only have to look to 70 years of occupation, death and destruction to observe this self-evident truth.
A one state solution
International calls for a two-state solution where Palestinians are relegated to living in the largest open-air prisons in the world, in the West Bank and Gaza, are reminiscent of the calls for black and white segregation in South Africa. Peace and prosperity and integration into the international community were only achieved when South Africans recognised each other as equal stake-holders and forged a collective future for their country. There is only a one state solution for Palestine, and that is the solution that Palestinians define for themselves based on mutual tolerance and respect. There is an assumption that the term “indigenous Palestinians” refers to Muslims only, forgetting that there are besieged Christian Palestinians and even Arab Jewish Palestinian communities in Palestine. They are the indigenous people who historically enjoyed long periods of peace and stability under Muslim rule, and it is they who collectively need to forge a future for Palestine and Jerusalem which respects the integrity of al-Haram al-Sharif.
 Matthew 24:1-2
 Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim 11:1,4
 According to Orthodox Jewish beliefs this is the most sacred part of the ancient temple, the inner chamber of the tabernacle, and the place where the high priest entered only once a year on Yom Kippur (the Jewish day of atonement).
 Quran 38:30-40
 Quran 2:102