“Historic Palestine”? A heretical invention. The right to al-Aqsa? Nothing less than a distortion of Allah’s word. An unconventional view of Zionism and Islam, courtesy of Jordanian Sheikh Ahmad al-Adwan.
“Historic Palestine”? A heretical invention. The right to al-Aqsa? Nothing less than a distortion of Allah’s word • Jordanian Sheikh Ahmad al-Adwan adheres to his unconventional interpretation of the Koran, and is not afraid to enrage the Palestinians and their supporters • In the wake of his visit to Israel in 2012, al-Adwan agreed to be interviewed by ‘Israel in Arabic’ and explained his teachings • Islam like you’ve never heard before
“The Palestinians are murderers of children, elderly and women. They attack the Jews, use children as a human shield and hide behind them without mercy, as though they weren’t their own flesh and blood. And all this to deliver a false message, as though the Jews are the hostiles and not them.” These words, which sound as though they come from the IDF Spokesperson or a Hasbara representative, were recently written by Jordanian Sheikh al-Adwan on his facebook account , causing a furor. His unusual statement was published in the pro-Palestinian daily al-Quds al-Arabi, after which it made its way to hundreds of Arabic websites, forums and facebook pages – all of them fiercely attacking and criticizing him.
A few years ago, al-Adwan was unknown. But his bravery and sharp statements placed him at center stage, whether intentionally or not, where he is understandably under fire from Palestinians and their supporters. He has now became their declared ideological enemy after stating that “Palestine” doesn’t appear in the Koran, that Allah commanded to bequeath the Land of Israel to the Jews and anyone who argues otherwise distorts its meaning.
In December 2012, Sheikh al-Adwan visited Israel and met with Jewish Rabbis including Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu in order to discuss peace and reconciliation between the religions. He was interviewed after the visit, which was published a few months ago on the ‘Israel in Arabic’ site. ‘Mida’ is honored to present for its readers, for the first time, an English translation [of a previous Hebrew translation] of this important interview, which allows a look into unconventional positions and facts, which are not sufficiently well-known in the Israeli and worldwide media. We thank the website ‘Israel in Arabic’ for their permission to translate the article and publish it.
Translator’s Note: Koran verses were taken from Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation, available at Project Gutenberg.
Honorable Sheikh, could you tell us a little about your past and yourself? How do you see your place in the Kingdom of Jordan?
In the name of Allah the merciful and compassionate, praise be to God the Master of the World.
I was born and raised in the city of Amman in 1952. After I finished high school I continued on to Islamic Sharia studies at the College for Islamic studies in Amman. During my studies I worked in the Jordanian post office in a number of positions, until I resigned from my official position there in 1997. Since then I have dedicated myself to the book of God may He be praised (the Koran), and I expanded my knowledge of the Islamic religion and the life of the Islamic Ummah.
God may he be praised and blessed rewarded me with knowledge of His holy book and chose me to renew the knowledge of God and religion among the Islamic Ummah, and interpret that which needs interpreting in its verses, which most Islamic scholars misinterpret. Among these are the verses which deal with the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) and their rights in particular. There are a hundred holy verses in the Koran which contemporary scholars did not properly interpret. These are verses where there is no connection between their plain meaning and the meaning given by the latter. These verses prove and express God’s will and his intentions: the will and desire for peace and harmony and His instructions for people to ensure them.
I believe my role in the life of the Kingdom of Jordan is the making of improvements and fixing that which needs fixing. I conduct meetings with the greatest scholars, religious institutions, Ministers in charge of Waqf, Jordanian Kingdom religious decisors and scholars from different sects. In addition to Islamic law instructors in a number of Jordanian, Arab and other universities, I also meet, of course, with Christian representatives, monks, Rabbis and other respected Jewish religious representatives, as is published on my internet site and on facebook, and I thank God who rewarded me to act towards the clarification of their rights.
In response to our request to conduct an interview with you on our website, you quoted a verse form the Koran and called the Jewish People “cousins”. What did you mean?
The Jews are our cousins and therefore we must pray for them and visit them, live alongside them, grant them respect and cooperate with them at the highest levels of esteem and appreciation. This, because we are not more God-fearing, smarter, or better than the Prophet Muhammad may he rest in peace, who lived alongside them and behaved honorably, mercifully and amicably with them. Let us state that it was permitted for Muslims to marry them.
Did your openness towards the People of Israel lead you to recognize their sovereignty of their historic land?
Indeed, I recognize their sovereignty over their land. I believe in the Holy Koran, and this fact is stated many times in the book. For instance “O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you,” [Koran 5:21], “We made the Children of Israel inheritors of such things.” [Koran 26:59] and additional verses in the Holy Book.
And there are additional reasons: this people (Israel) is peaceful and peace-loving, is not hostile or aggressive; [they are] a people that defends itself only when necessary, while trying to minimally harm its enemies. In addition, I recognize the fact that God may He be praised gave preference to these people over humans and demons until the end of days. God does not give preference for nothing but grants all that which they deserve. God may He be praised never turned to any [other] people by name and grant them this honor, aside from the People of Israel, who are named for their ancestor Israel (Jacob), may he rest in peace, as it says in the Koran “O Children of Israel”. In contrast, in approaching others it is said “O Believers” or “O people”, which is a more general greeting.
In 2012, you met with Jewish Rabbis in Tzfat. What was your impression from the visit? What was the message you tried to deliver in the meeting?
I came to the city of Tzfat to visit a number of honorable Jewish religious wise men. I found among them tremendous courtesy and honor, forthrightness, transparency, honesty, tolerance, wide knowledge of the books of Abraham’s descendants (the Torah, New Testament and the Koran). This, as it is written “Is it not a Sign to them that the Learned of the Children of Israel knew it (as true)?” [Koran 26:197] and in addition to other things I found by them.
My visit to Tzfat had two purposes: one, promoting cooperation and coordination for support of the peace process and its success, as King Abdallah II called for, and promoting agreement between the two religions. The second, interpreting the words of God in the Koran, which were interpreted by the majority of scholars of the Ummah in a capricious, racist and ignorant manner, and activity for strengthening and spreading the words said by our Jewish cousins and the role Allah designated for them until the Day of Resurrection.
All should know that the Holy Land is their [the Jews’] land and that Jerusalem is the direction towards which they pray and during their readings and ceremonies, as God said in the Koran “Turn then Thy face in the direction of the sacred Mosque” (in Mecca) [Koran 2:144]. This verse effectively cancels out the prayer towards al-Aqsa (the Temple Mount) and all traditions regarding al-Aqsa for Muslims.
It is also said in the Koran “Even if thou were to bring to the people of the Book all the Signs (together), they would not follow Thy Qibla; nor art thou going to follow their Qibla;” [Koran 2:145]. That is, God created two directions for prayer [“Qibla” in Arabic]. One he designated for Muslims – this is the Kaaba in holy Mecca, while the Jews’ prayer direction is al-Aqsa which is holy to the Jews, this in spite of the nations of the world, because this is the command of God, the King of Kings who chooses how to run His world.
In your opinion, how can we finally put an end to anti-Semitism among Arab and Muslim nations, who feel loathing and hostility to the Jews and refuse to recognize them and live alongside them?
In my opinion the way to end anti-Semitism is to concentrate efforts and call for peace, spreading knowledge and forthrightly educate people of the values of justice and truth in accordance with what appears in the books of God – the Torah, Tehillim, the Ingil [the Gospel] and the Koran, which admired the Israelites, clarified their rights, gave preference to them and bequeathed to them the Holy Land and their direction of prayer – to Jerusalem. The books testify that this is a peace-loving and peace-calling nation, and it is the first people for whom the Creator designated a role in order to serve as its messenger on this earth until the Day of Resurrection.
In the Koran, it is written “Those who have faith and do righteous deeds, they are the best of creatures.” [Koran 98:7]. The intent in the word best is “the best among people”, but regarding the Umma of the Koran – that is the Arabs and those who preach Islam – they have no recourse but to return to the straight and true voice as appears in the Koran that many of its scholars interpreted in a mistaken and deviant manner. They distorted the true will of God may He be praised, as it is expressed in the verses, in a false and fallacious manner to say that murder of Jews is part of the commandment of Jihad for Allah and that this land is not the Land of [the People of] Israel.
They continue to hold this villainous interpretation towards others, and there will be no true peace but with the return of the Ummah of the Koran to the book of the Koran, as God bequeathed to his adherents. My religious education allowed me to strengthen what I say, and I have merited much honor in succeeding in interpreting verses which scholars did not properly interpret. These are verses which spell out the obligations and rights of people and that which is required so that peoples not be hostile to one another.
Why do Jordanian media outlets tend to describe Israelis in a racist and negative manner which does not reflect reality?
God may He be Elevated and Praised who gave Jacob his name “Israel”, and He is the one who called His sons “the sons of Israel”, “the Jews” and “those who believed in Moses”. The meaning of the word Israel is “present before their God” and God called them “the community present before their God”. And the meaning of the word Jews: those who follow the straight path, who return in repentance, as Moses may he rest in peace said “for we have turned unto Thee” [Koran 7:156].
Therefore, anyone who calls them by names which Allah did not use is a sinner and a falsifier of the verses of the Koran. It was already said “Those who pervert the Truth in Our Signs are not hidden from Us.” [Koran 41:40], and Ibn Abbas said in his commentary to this verse “the reference is to those who distort and replace and change the verses of God and stray from the truth”. This matter also arises in another verse, which says: “O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former)…It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames” [Koran 49:11]. The distortion is to use mistaken names, and call a believing man with negative nicknames. He who does not repent and cease from doing so is considered a wicked man and a criminal. The teaching of Allah’s messenger (Mohammad), may blessings and prayers be upon him, supported calling people with the finest names there are and which respect them.
Therefore, anyone who calls Israelis by names which Allah did not use is a villain for the following reasons:
1. He violated religious law, denied the verses of the Koran.
2. He disobeyed Allah’s command, who commanded not to curse or call negative names.
3. If he does not repent and stop his crimes he is a criminal and a wicked man in every sense of the religion of Islam.
4. He acts against the efforts of His Majesty the King of Jordan and his initiative for harmony between religions and his call for peace.
5. He takes an active part in hindering the peace process and increasing hostility before other people.
Media outlets in Jordan, and in the Arab world in general, need to act in a God-fearing manner and call Israelis with names Allah used, and the name he gave to their land. They must stop acting like the five criminals we mentioned above, who bring the wrath of God upon themselves and their people.
In your opinion, is the conflict part of a Jewish-Islamic crisis? If this is the case, is this an historic crisis or a new crisis?
The answer is in the affirmative, but this is a crisis of racism which was born in the Modern period and has nothing to do with history or religion. The proof? As we said above, Allah himself changed the verse calling to pray towards the al-Aqsa mosque and instructed Muslims to pray towards the holy mosque (the Kaaba). Allah gave each religion its prayer direction. Whoever says otherwise denies the verses of the Koran brought down by Allah, who said and clarified this in a clear manner and with a lucid interpretation.
There are those who say, both in Jordan and outside of it, that the Kingdom of Jordan in its present borders is the Palestinian State. What’s your opinion on this?
The borders of the State of Jordan are clear as day and it has rooted Jordanian sovereignty. The State was blessed with the glorious and honorable leadership of the Hashemites, a strong Jordanian nation connected to its land of tribes and families, and proud and brave men who support and embrace the present leadership and support its call for peace. Anyone who says this is the Palestinian State is either asleep or a daydreamer…a terrorist and a wicked person.
As a man of religion, do you believe that those who call themselves “Palestinians” have a right to establish a state on the Jews’ historic land?
Allah may He be praised wrote in the Torah that this is the land of the sons of Israel, he bequeathed the Holy Land to the sons of Israel and called the land by this name (the Land of Israel) and so it is stated by the Holy Koran: “O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin.” [Koran 5:21]. This holy verse is a “Kushan” (deed) which confirms that this land is granted to the Jews. It is also said “We made the Children of Israel inheritors of such things.” [Koran 26:59], and in the following verse “And We said thereafter to the Children of Israel, "Dwell securely in the land (of promise)"” [Koran 17:104] and there are many additional holy verses which prove and confirm this.
So in an answer to your question, how can they (the Palestinians) have the right to establish a State on the Jewish Land of Israel, which Allah granted and bequeathed to the Jews? More than that, even if all the inhabitants of the land forgot their right, or went crazy and collaborated with those who call themselves “Palestinians” to establish a state for the latter, they won’t succeed, and Allah will not allow this until the Day of Judgment, this because Allah Himself willed and specifically wrote in His book that this land will be the land of the People of Israel under Israeli sovereignty so that no-one would later dispute it.
English translation by Avi Woolf.