(MENAFN - Arab News) Of all the arguments used to justify visiting Jerusalem under occupation, what is the most dumbfounding one to date? Hint:It was used before to rationalize "peace" agreements with the Zionist state; agreements that translate into gains for the Israelis vs. Arab and Palestinian concessions. Of course, just as the unfair Treaty of Versailles largely resulted in World War II, such "peace" agreements were (and are) mines waiting to explode; in fact they have, and will. However, and returning to our topic, this "genius" argument basically says that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Muslims entered Makkah to perform Umrah while it was under the control of the Quraysh tribe almost a year after the Hudaybiyah treaty took place.
This treaty itself is also used as a pretext since the Muslims set off to Makkah in order to perform Umrah, but ended up striking the agreement with Quraysh and delaying their Umrah to the year after. To the justifiers' minds, this demonstrates the permissibility of performing acts of worship despite occupation. And even though it seems like they are merely grasping at straws with such an argument, it would be beneficial to shed light on the flaws in their understanding of these events in the Prophet's journey.
In order to do that we would have to start with the laughable comparison between the Israeli occupation of Palestine and Quraysh's authority in Makkah. It is kind of embarrassing to attempt to state the obvious, though it also seems sadly necessary in the face of arguments that are flimsy but still gain some popularity due to media masters of disinformation.
So we are obliged to note here that Quraysh was not an occupying colonial entity; it did not steal the land of Makkah from its rightful owners, because, quite simply, the Qurayshis were the rightful owners of the land. In fact, they were the immediate blood relatives of a huge portion of the Muslims, including the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself. So initially, likening the current situation in occupied Palestine to that of Makkah more than 1,400 years ago is a parody that is either wildly ignorant or just deviously misleading.
There is also another underlying fallacy (of elimination) in this argument that is equally crooked, which is the failure to acknowledge and mention the fact that what happened in Al-Hudaybiyah was a direct revelation from God to His messenger. This is evident and repeatedly stressed in the narration of the events as well as in the Prophet's remarks, and it is also clear that to some of the Muslims it seemed counter-intuitive; they did not understand how this could be a good thing but ultimately trusted in God's wisdom.
Those exceptional circumstances cannot be duplicated in our times. Why not? Well show me someone who receives direct revelation and we will call it even. Since that will never happen, and since we don't have this direct knowledge from God, there is no comparison to what happened in Hudaybiyah, and thus no excuse.
But there's more ... Something happened during the events of Al-Hudaybiyah that proves contrary to the justifiers' reasoning.
When Othman bin Affan was sent by the Prophet to Quraysh for negotiations, and while the Muslims were waiting near the entrance of Makkah hoping to perform Umrah, Quraysh leaders made Othman an irresistible offer. They actually offered him the opportunity to worship at the Kaaba. Now this is significant because this situation is almost parallel to Jumaa's or Jifri's when they decided to visit Jerusalem. So how do you think Othman reacted to this seemingly generous offer? You would think he jumped at the chance to worship at the holiest place for Muslims.
His heart was most certainly yearning for it, but what did he do? He refused in the firmest and most decisive way swearing to Quraysh that he would never perform this act of worship while the Prophet and the Muslims could not.
This was not only a religious sentiment that reveres the Messenger, but also a political statement. To drive the point home, the Prophet himself commented on this when rumors started circulating about Othman performing Umrah. The Messenger refused to believe it and repeatedly said: "I don't believe Othman would do that while we are incapable of entering."
So it was understood that it is not acceptable to favor your self-interest (even in matters of worship) over the general interest of your fellow Muslims, and that there are strategic and political considerations that trump individual desires and yearnings to worship. Does it seem like this is understood today? Hopefully, we'll get there...
For a more comprehensive analysis of this issue check the study published by the Palestinian Affairs Center titled: (Visiting Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa Under Occupation: Normalization or Support)