Too Big to Be Owned: Reflections on Jerusalem in Islamic History
Review of Middle East Studies
Muslims have venerated Jerusalem since the seventh century. Their direct control of the city began in 638 and lasted, except for a few interruptions, until 1917. When we examine the evolution of an official Muslim attitude towards Jerusalem, it becomes clear that they perceived their role not as owners of the city but rather as custodians. This attitude was informed by the realization that Jerusalem was sacred to Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike, and that all three religious communities share many of the same sacred sites. As such, statesmanship and law oblige Muslim rulers to protect and defend Christian and Jewish sacred spaces, even against occasional Muslim mob behavior that called for the destruction, confiscation, or exclusive use of those places. the Trump administration's embassy to Jerusalem stands as a violation of this historical framework and of the rule of law and sanctions the eradication of Palestinian identity and historical memory.
© Middle East Studies Association of North America, Inc. 2019
Mourad, Suleiman A., "Too Big to Be Owned: Reflections on Jerusalem in Islamic History" (2019). Religion: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.