Israel/Palestine: I’m split

Yes. I am split. In these days, everybody seems to have a very clear, distinctive opinion about the Israel/Palestine issue. I am often asked the same: Do i recognize Israels right to exist? Do i oppose Hamas? Do i support the “moderate” Fatah? Do i agree on a two-state solution on the 67-borders? If yes, why? If no, why not?

Here is a summary of a dialogue that have taken place inside my head for years now.

Well i’m split between two:
A) Our pride and patriotism
B) My wish for peace and a better future for both arabs and jews.

My pride do not allow me to support what it regards as Arab land being splitted up in two halfs. What is rightfully ours is ours, my pride says, and it should not be divided. This is a duty for all Arabs.

But my wish for a better peace and a better future disagrees. “We have fought Israel for decades”, it says. “And look what it brought us: Losses of egyptian soldiers en masse and yet the future for palestinians looks darker than ever”.

Because it is about the Palestinians, really, not about us! It hurts my pride everytime I in reference to the Holy Land say “Israel” and not “Palestine”. I do not mean to hurt anyone but i am just being honest. But it is not about my pride and the pride of the arabs, is it? It is about what is best for the Palestinians (of course i do not want a solution that humiliates them, placing them all as second-rank citizens in Israel even though certain issues COULD improve this way, like health issues. Such a solution will never be acceptable).

So what do i believe should happen? Again, i am split. When i try to reconcile our pride and my wish for a better future, then i come forward to a one-state-solution: The holy land that is both “ours” and “theirs”, producing equality between Christians, Muslims and Jews. Something similar to the “Isratin”-idea of Moammar al-Gaddafi (no i do not support all aspects of his idea and no i do not support HIM). A country that is OURS – us being arabs and muslims – and on the same times, THEIRS – they being jews, christians and druze. That is what i believe is the right thing and the most beautiful thing indeed.

But suddently, my logic start working and interrupts this dream of mine (don’t you guys just hate when that happens?). It will never work this way. We are dealing with two people that share a very troublesome past, that have seen each others as enemies for decades – and most important, view themselves as two different national entities. I believe that the vast majority of the Israeli citizens with arab ethnicity feel more Palestinian that Israeli, if given the choice. I have spoken to some, and none of them held the opposite view. Besides, how many Israelis feel “Palestinian”? We are not talking about “jews and arabs”, but “Israelis” and “Palestinians”: Not only two different ethnicities, but two different NATIONALITIES. That will never work, Ahmad. Besides, should it happen, somebody is going to ruin it for sure! If not arab radicals (yes – they have a tradition for ruining stuff), then israeli extremists (yes – they do exist, guys) and if neither, then i’m sure some muslim countries would do what they can to mess things up. Keep in mind the support Iran draws from muslims because they “stand up against Israel” – thats basically what keeps them and Syria alive – if things should end up like this, i’m sure Iran or others would find a way to ruin it. No doubt.

What to do then? A two-state solution? The sentiments among Israelis and Palestinians kinda demands that. But what about the jewish settlers in West Bank and Arabs in Israel? The jews of Al-Khalil will remain “ISRAELI” even though they are palestinian by nationality, and the Israeli-Arab’s will remain “PALESTINIAN” even though they are Israeli by nationality. And should the millions of refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Khaleeg and Europe suddently return to Palestine, which in many cases is far away from where they belong (like a family from Akka returning to Nablus)? And most important: Would the newly independent Palestine be able to handle all those?

And what about Jerusalem? Ours or theirs? Or the West for them and the East for us?

It’s too complicated for my head to handle.

So instead, i will draw the sharpest of all swords: The prayer. And pray for a better future for both israelis and palestinians. I don’t know what to do about a palestinian boy growing up an orphan in poverty, his parents being killed in an IDF-action (yep – that happens!), and i do not know what to do about an israeli girl who is afraid to get killed by a bomb every time she is on her way to school. I cannot imagine what that would be like. All i know is that i want it to STOP as soon as possible and i pray that it will stop soon..

O Allah, to you all my prayers belong
All praise is for you, who guides and judges mankind
Who created us, our hearts and minds,
the earth we stand on,
the air we breathe.
All praise is for you, who’ve send unto us the mercy to the worlds,
our Master and our Beloved,
Muhammad Al-Mustafa, peace and blessing upon him.
O Allah, have mercy upon us
And save the people of the Holy Land, jews,
Muslims and christians
From their state of fear and free them from the threats they face.
O Allah, guide us all to the truth and grant to their people
peace, smile and laughter.
O Allah, grant the believers the intercession of your beloved,
our master from his birth to the day of judgement
Muhammad al-Mustafa.



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30 Responses to “Israel/Palestine: I’m split”

  1. Today’s Three Linkies : The Sudanese Thinker Says:

    […] Israel/Palestine: I’m split […]

  2. Andrew Brehm Says:

    I was born and grew up in Germany.

    Territories that were once “German” are now Polish and Russian.

    I don’t understand why that would be a reason for war or hurt pride.

    My pride as a German was hurt because Hitler attacked Poland. My pride as a German was restored when Germany lost territory because of that crime.

  3. The Raccoon Says:

    Yeah, it’s a bummersome dead-end situation, innit?

  4. Roman Kalik Says:

    Thank you, Ahmad. Both for your prayers and for putting pride aside. Pride didn’t get us very far over the decades, eh?

    And yes, Fatah are very… “supportable”. They do have one saving grace, though – their emergency government hardly has anyone from Fatah in it, and its members (mainly the PM) are some of the people who *should* have been elected, had skill, honesty, and forward planning been an actual factor in electing someone into government.

  5. Howie Says:


    You struggle with difficult questions…

    The available answers will not satisfy many folk…but it is about taking a half-loaf or blowing up the whole damn kitchen…just out of prideful spite.

    We can argue forever about right and history and we will not ever agree on that…

    But your heart and thoughts are in the right place. You are trying to find an objective truth in this matter and that is a blurred and complicated mess.

    But good for you and your honesty.

  6. Don Cox Says:

    “What is rightfully ours is ours”

    The problem is that word “rightfully”. Conquest does not necessarily give one group a right to hold a piece of territory for all time, as Andrew Brehm points out. Especially as the Arabs have a much larger area which they do hold without question – Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq.

    The English long ago gave up claims to hold the territories in France that they conquered under Henry V. It wouldn’t do the Arabs any harm to give up their claims to Israel and Judea. The oil money which is being lavished on expensive luxuries could have been invested in new cities for the former Palestinians.

    The Israelis have nowhere else to go. I don’t see anyone offering a “right of return” to all the Jewish refugees from Arab states – for example, there used to be a million Jews in Baghdad, and I don’t know how many in Egypt. Israel is really a small patch of ground being used as a refugee camp, and surrounded by enemies who want to exterminate its inhabitants.

  7. Ahmad al-Safawi Says:

    Thank you all for your comments. Yes Howie, i guess i’ll have to agree on that. It seems like we all have to accept the solution that we disagree with the least instead of the one we agree on the most.

    Don Cox,
    When you talk about pride, you cannot bring forth logic and things like that. For example, exiled jews in the 19th century would wish for their return to Jerusalem and many would consider Jerusalem “theirs” – despite that they have never seen it and neither have their ancestors for several generations. Legally it was not theirs, but in their hearts it was.

    Same is for Palestine with me. I cannot help feeling it all as “rightfully ours” – Judea, Samaria, Galilea, Negev, Gaza, West Bank… Thats how i feel and in my heart i wish it was that way. But i know that this is something that will probably never happen, and should it happen it will not happen in a good way. I dont want no manslaughter. And thats the issue i am writing about: Judging between my pride and reality, between idealism and realism… Perhaps you should read it again.

  8. Andrew Brehm Says:

    “specially as the Arabs have a much larger area which they do hold without question – Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq.”

    The Kurds of Syria and Iraq tend to doubt that the Arabs hold the areas without question.

    “Same is for Palestine with me. I cannot help feeling it all as “rightfully ours” – Judea, Samaria, Galilea, Negev, Gaza, West Bank…”

    Perhaps it was, but it was also rightfully the Jews’ who have never given up their claim.

    Why do you call it “Palestine” anyway? That’s the name the Romans gave to the land of Israel. And what is “ours”? Are you a Palestinian Arab or a Palestinian Jew?

    Israel was “rightfully” yours (Arab) only because you (Arabs) at some point invaded it and colonised it. The Jews have the same claim to the land and a greater claim.

    1. The Jews were there first.

    2. Both Tanakh and Quran acknowledge that G-d gave the land of Israel to the Jews.

    3. The Jews were willing to share the land with others and live there together in peace. Arabs were not.

    4. The Jews won the land in battle.

    5. The Jews bought the land they live on and gained the rest defending their lives when attacked.

    6. Middle-eastern Jews fled their homelands and had to go somewhere.

    The only Arab claim to the land is that Arabs, like so many others, once invaded and colonised Israel. Egypt, Iran, Greece, Italy and Turkey can make the same claim to it (plus lots of other European countries who had a stake in crusader kingdoms).

    I don’t understand your feeling of the land being rightfully yours.

    If nothing else it is necessity that underscores the Jewish claim. They cannot live anywhere else (unless we deport all middle-eastern Jews to Europe and America in the name of Arab justice).

    Germany ruled much of Europe at some point or another. The German emperor in Vienna ruled most of South America.

    Do you think that normal Germans feel that all the land ever ruled (or owned) by Germany is “rightfully theirs”?

    I have seen pictures of the Temple Mount from around 1900. The mosque wasn’t even in use! (Grass grew between the stones on the plaza.) And suddenly it is so important? Why?

    The Jews have to live somewhere.

    You (Arabs) lost the land again. Deal with it.

    Your pride has nothing to do with idealism. Idealism would have been to live with the Jews together in peace. The attempt to throw them into the sea and then start a decades-long terrorist campaign against them, the “Palestinian cause”, is not idealism; it’s fascism.

    “For example, exiled jews in the 19th century would wish for their return to Jerusalem and many would consider Jerusalem “theirs” – despite that they have never seen it and neither have their ancestors for several generations. Legally it was not theirs, but in their hearts it was.”

    Jews have wished for a return to Jerusalem for centuries. Arabs didn’t care much about Jerusalem before the Jews returned. Your pride is the product of a early 20th century campaign to bring nationalism to the Arab world. It’s not real. It’s not Arab. It’s the result of the most vicious manipulation of Arabs by Europeans.

    Your pride makes you the servants of an ideology that has long since died in Europe.

    I don’t understand it.

    I grew up in occupied territory in a country that lost so much to other countries in war, and I do not understand why anyone would care about land lost, unless it is needed to survive.

  9. Ahmad al-Safawi Says:

    Andrew, i do not intend to go into at in-dept discussion about who by history, legal or common sense have the right to the land. As i’ve explained, it is a feeling. Very much similar to how jews in exile felt that it was theirs – an analogy which you did not really address instead of saying “the jews wished for Jerusalem for centuries, the arabs didnt”, despite that in 50 years, many arabs will have wished for Jerusalem in a century.

    I call it “Palestine” when i refer to the terrority as a whole (it’s not like i refuse to name the state of Israel by its name) because that is the closest to the Arab “Falastin”, and also that is what it was called before the state of Israel was proclaimed. When referring to the state, i call it Israel (like the fact that i do not call ancient arabia “Saudi Arabia”, just Arabia or when speaking in geographical matters “the Arabian peninsula”, but when referring to the present-day state, i call it by its name).

    But Andrew, it is fair that you do not understand, but after reading your comment, i get the impression that in fact you do not wish to understand. Do you really try to understand how we feel like we feel? Do you really want to do so? You should provide yoruself with an answer to these questions. I do not claim knowledge of how you think, i am just asking you. We should all ask ourself this question. Personally i also find it hard to understand the Israelis at some points.

    The reason why i get this impression is partially because you claim that the Quran says that Israel was granted to the jews, which is not true, but it is a claim i have often seen among europeans (for some reason never among jews). If you post the verse, i will respond to why i – and virtually all muslims – disagree with that interpretation of yours.

    Also your history is not quite true. When did the germans rule most of South America? I have never heard that claim before. And that we never cared about Jerusalem before the arrival of the jews, that is not true, did you ever care to read the muslim accounts on the crusades? Ever wondered why the name of Jerusalem in Arabic is “Alquds” (The holy)?

    You, me and everybody else should ask the question: Are we really willing to understand, or are we more comfortable in our tiny boxes?

  10. Andrew Brehm Says:

    Arabic “Falastin” comes from the Roman “Palestina”. The Romans renamed Israel “Palestina” about 1900 years ago.

    You are right. I do not want to understand. I find those sentiments you have irrational and not very useful. We have had them in Germany and it didn’t help us or anyone in Europe. It is better to get rid of them. I do not wish to understand them, but I know it is possible to forget them. Most Germans have.

    I didn’t say the Germans ruled most of South America, I said the German emperor did. That was in the 16th century. See ( for more information.

    The “Holy Roman Emperor” is the closest European equivalent to the Islamic rulers who conquered Israel. If Europeans (and Germans) shared your type of sentiments, his empire would be what we would not want to lose (even after we lost it).

    As for the Quran, it is indeed true. Sure 17 tells the story of how G-d sent Moses to the children of Israel and commanded them to go and settle in the holy land.

    The Quran retells many stories of the Bible, adding details or correcting bits where deemed necessary. Muhammed himself believed in Moses’ prophecy and that the Jewish religion was true (although corrupted). However, the Jewish belief that the holy land was given to Jews by G-d is confirmed in the Quran and not said to be a corruption of the word of G-d.

    I found that most Muslims who disagree with this reading are usually surprised to learn that the Quran mentions the children of Israel and the holy land at all.

    As for Jerusalem, I was talking about the 19th century. And the reason you call Jerusalem “the holy” is certainly because Muslims acknowledged that Jerusalem was the location of G-d’s temple. It’s not that I wonder why Muslims call Jerusalem “holy”. It’s rather than I think that Muslims call Jerusalem holy for the same reasons Jews do.

    As the region, I wouldn’t have a problem with the Roman name if not for the fact that many understand it be an Arabic name, which it isn’t.

    The Romans named it “Palestina” to erase the land’s connection with G-d. I do not understand why a Muslim would want to uphold the Roman name given that. The Jews who fought the Romans were fighting for G-d against the pagans. I don’t understand why Muslims would today celebrate the Roman victory rather than the Jewish attempt to defend the land.

    The British called the region “Palestine (Land of Israel)”. It included Transjordan and excluded the Golan. (I don’t know if Britain called it “(Land of Israel)” before the first partition.)

    I am not willing to understand. I have seen this pride thing come and go and we are better off without it. I didn’t want to understand why Germans had it, but I can tell you that it can go away without trace.

  11. liat Says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I feel like I can relate, because I’m struggling with the same thing but in the opposite direction. It’s so hard to reconcile feelings of national/religious pride and identity with equally important human rights and desires for peace and coexistence. I know, because of the little spark of anger I get every time I see a picture of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock. It’s just gets me so angry that Muslims built their mosque complex right were are our Temple is supposed to be! It isn’t fair! They have so many other holy cities and spots, and yet they had to take our most holy and dearest place in the whole world, us who had been there for centuries before Mohammad was even born. I feel guilty for feeling this way, because I know it would hurt my Muslim friends if they knew but I also can’t help feeling this way. And yet, I have to accept that the structure is holy to them, and further more, that any human efforts to change things would be hurtful to Muslims, and probably create all-out war that would be disastrous for everyone. The right thing to do is to just let it be, because the alternative is war and pain. I wish for there to be peace, but it can’t happen in a way that everyone gets what they want. Both Israelis and Palestinians will have to make very painful compromises. It’s just the way it is, and it’s very sad.

  12. abuskander Says:

    Sorry Andrew, i got you wrong about the South America thing.

    Andrew, you should work on that. Really. You cannot argue with someone that you do not try to understand. Perhaps it is irrational (i would have said the same to the exiled jews), but its about emotions – they are not always created by rational thoughts, rather, often their bias shapes the rationality of your way of thinking.

    I have been to Germany many times, it is close to Denmark (and i speak a little german too), and from what i’ve heard, germans have serious nationality issues. This is noted by many. I do not get why guys have these feelings, but i try too understand you on that. But with this bias shaping your mind and understanding, it is only natural that you do not understand nationalistic claims and thoughts.

    Like i said, i do not wish to go in an in-dept discussion about who legally and by common sense have the rights to the land. But i have noted that you have a tradition for simplifying things. It is not like the German emperor, who only “de jure” ruled South America, while it de facto was ruled by various catholic kings. And as i’ve already explained you, it’s not like we did’nt care about Jerusalem through history. I consider that debate closed.

    Thank you for your efforts to teach me the Quran, Andrew, but do yourself a favor and post the relevant verses. If you do that, then i’ll show why why i do not agree with your interpretation.

    Regarding the use of “Palestine”, no, as far as i’ve been told, “Palestine” is a roman abbr. of “Filistrea”, the greek people who lived in Gaza. That “Palestine” became adopted into Arab language as “Falastin” does not mean thet we celebrate the Roman wars against the jews or anything. “Falastin” became the Arab name from the land (i do not believe that i have to teach you about Loan-words), and as such, is used in every arab-speaking country, and also in Turkey. Very few arabs even know that it is derived from Filistrea.

    liat: thank you for your comment and your honesty.

  13. Don Cox Says:

    Today, Arabs seem to have much more serious “nationality issues” than modern Germans.

    I wonder if this kind of nationalistic racism is a feature of a certain stage of social development? It took the English a long time to accept the idea of Ireland as a free, independent country. Now, nobody in England would dream of wanting to reconquer Ireland.

    Hatred of Jews is one of the world’s great evils. It is a very destructive emotion.

  14. Halalhippie Says:

    Good rant:… I salute you trying to keep emotions and common sense apart: it’s not an easy thing to do.

  15. abuskander Says:

    Don Cox: How do you believe that we have more serious nationality issues?

    Nationalistic racism? Where do you get that from… Nobody in here have mentioned any hatred towards jews (had somebody done that, i would have deleted his comment!), in fact, i have only seen the opposite – a wish for coexistence.

    And please, guys, stup simplifying things. That makes you blind. You cannot even compare the british conquest of Ireland and modern british sentiments to the creation of present-day Israel and recent arab sentiments.

  16. zaki Says:

    Most comments are outright reductionists to a point where it become sort of laughable and completely off-subject. Well I thought I will add my point that could make a point. If not, ignore it. We are just trying to provide comfort and piece of mind to the blogger Abou Skander for his dilemma regarding the Palestinian and Israeli conflict.

    Palestine as a demarcated country (or nationality, or ethnicity or religion) has never existed. It is historically a fictional entity. But recently (1940’s, 1950’s) it became very useful politically if you are an Arab who has been fucked by the Ottoman Turks for so long then has notice his cousin the Jew settling on his wheat fields fleing Europe for protection to avoid the gaz chambers. Read about the history of the middle east from the rise of the Islamic caliphates until the saga about the demise of Ottoman Empire at the turn of the last century if you find any mention of Palestine please show me the citation.

    Most lands west of river Jordan were in the Hashemite kingdom (now Jordan) most of the souther border (negev,including Gaza) was under the mamelouk regency of now Egypt.

    There is no point to suggest that palestine was a country. The romans were notorioulsy geographical in their naming system of regions that come under their control. They called all of now Tunisia and part of eastern Algeria and western Libya (Carthage). I do not see a Carthagenian identity yet. Well I guess they are all dead now, let them rest in peace these semi-barbarians pagan berbers amazighens. They (Romans) called all what west of Carthage, Mauritania. Looking now at the present maps, Algeria and Morocco are actually Mauritania. I guess the present state of Mauritania should claim their rights to those lands right? I do not know.

    Well Israel now. The kingdom of David and Solomon (for the muslims preferably Sidna Daoud then Soulaiman) comprise both Israel and Judea. By the way both father and son were jewish and praticed Judaism. THEY WERE NOT MUSLIMS. Remember they were living in JAHILIYA OK. Of course, I forgot there is always some exception to the rules in Islam. Anyway, of course the mighty kingdom of David, we all know what happened to it. Israel was non-existent for almost 3 thousand year after their exile and defeat by Babylon and then the crushing blow by the romans. Should they have the rights of coming back and taking the lands that were once ancient kingdoms of David. Here I think the genuine right to exit comes in handy. I do know with certainlty that the present state Israel wants these palestinians to have a state of their own, but the palestinaians do not want Israel to exist at all. Well Well I know on paper they say yes, but on deeds they want war. Why don’t they stop waring and built the social institutions and develop their country to better demand recognition and support and RESPECT in the eyes of the world which may provide them with better deal than what they have right now. Why bother fighting when you know we can get your ass kicked all the time. Here there is not split and furthermore I am not split about the idea that Palestine was a country, distinct from its neighbor Jordan or Egypt. To this I say Bullshit. Now it does not mean that they were no Arabs, on the contrary they were many, there were also Christains and Jews and Armenians of many nationalities living in the land. But do not come to me and suggest that they consider themselves palestinians. That’s fiction and wishfull thinking. The inhabitants consider themselves lucky to be alive under the authocratic, backwards looking and tyranical dead end islamic empire of the Ottomans Turks.

    My dear honorable Abou Skander, If you are split and worry about the palestinian issue I think you should not be because really the so-called palestinians have not figured out what they want. They tried to take over Jordan in 1970 by assassinating the late King Husssain. They demolish the very progressist Lebanon in 1980’s, which is now still recovering from the nighmare of letting these present day Vickings into their country. It is the Syrian army that fought them bitterly and killing score of them to get rid of them from Lebanon, because the Israeli Defense forces were closing in to Beyrout. There is a straight way to Damascus. Every time they (palestinians) undertake something it always back fire. They cannot win a war and they still want to go to war. Thank God Japan and Germany surrendered after their defeat in WW2 (and they lost much of what they had) or else we would be in great shit now. They (palestininans) even supported Saddam Hussain when he invaded Koweit in 1991, for sure this is the dumb and dumbest thing to do. Didn’t they know that the money that was supporting them against Israel when they were in exile in Lebanon, then Tunisia and all over the world came from Koweit and the gulf states. They want to drag every Arab to their cause, but when one gives them advice they tell him to shove it up his ass. Fuck them then. They want their state, they will have it after all. They got Gaza after all right? Now what? They want everything or nothing. Well shit, go ahead and fight and carry one your armed struggle, but I am not going to fight for or with you in the battle fields. I will stay in the side line and complain on blogs about their dire conditions. I hate them for all the problems they created and deaths they produce (Lebanon). They destroy everything. They are destroying all the infrastruture of Gaza strip. Forget about them. I am glad the palestinian issue is only a sentimental issue among the other Arabs, it is no longer an Arab political issue.

    How about Numbia??? Well that’s another country that should have been created after the Ottoman turks lost and the Arabs bedouins started their offensive against the black muslims. Did I forget Kurdistan? Well shit. Fuck the palestinians. People who trully deserve a nation of their own they have been forgotten and eaten up by the cretins Arabs of history.

    I think I said it all. Peace.

  17. abuskander Says:

    Zaki: Thank you for your comment. Needless to say, i disagree with you on a lot of issues, but i’ll leave it there.

    There is, however, certain matters where i have to correct you. First, muslims do not believe that Sayidina Sulaiman and Sayidina Dawood (Salawat Allah 3alaihima) mere jewish. They were muslims. Jahiliya, when used in the sense as a period of history, is whatever was before the call of Muhammad (3alaihi alsalati wa alsalam) – that does not mean that everyone before it were JAHIL (ignorant). In fact, the prophets (as) before Muhammad (saw), which includes Moses, Dawood, Sulaiman and Noah (3alayhim as-salam) held such a rank that is impossible for a non-prophet to attain, and the Prophets (as) are the best creations of God, Muhammad (saw) being the last and greatest among them.

    As for the term Palestine not being used in history, i’ll have to correct you again. It is used numerous times and in various forms in the classic arabic works of Middle-Eastern history. I will mention some of them:

    In Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, Ibn Kathir narrates from a man named “Abu Sulaiman al-Falastini”, which indicates that there was a place named “Falastin” at that time. (see vol. 2 p. 22)

    Later, in the same volume, he explicitly names “Ardh al-Falastin” along with Masr (Egypt), Maghreb (Morocco), Urdun (Jordan), which clearly indicates the existence of a geographic area with that name. (see vol. 2 p. 49)

  18. zaki Says:

    You are trully confused my friend. The question of Palestine. You are mixing a geographical area (a naming system) with a group identity or natianonality. Your citations of the Arab writer suggest rather a geographical region “Ardh” the land. Sure, even in the old testament there is a term “the philistins”. What does this mean? There is a geographical area in Africa called the Sahel. We can take example of the Sahara, the amazon, the land of Cannaan (where are the cannaanite). So let us stick with Sahel. There are no group identity that mentioned as “Sahelian”. Rather there are group indentities living in the vast Sahel like the beautiful Wadabees of Niger, the mighty Dogons of Mali, the Bambaras of Senegal and the beautiful Touaregs of predominantly ethnocentric Arabs of North Africa.

    An man with a name “al falistini” does not mean nothing. I knew a man from Lebanon whose name was “Al-istambouli”. I do not have to wait for this name to know that Istamboul existed. In fact it was Constantinopole just recently. It happend that the cretin muslims erased it and named it Istambul. The man from lebanon realized that whe was a Christian so he wanted to change his name to “Al-Constantinopili” but he was not allowed to do so. I think this man should claim residence of Istamboul. Using names as a evidence of place is little naive, wouldn’t you think so. That’s creduleous.

    To sum up, by simply linking a name to a place does not mean there is a group identity or nationality. If you want to learn a thing or two from recent scholarly works about this problem of “land” and “group identity” I can refer you to Bernard Lewis.

    Persons’ name dont mean deadly. Ahmed Al-Sahraoui is not example to use to tell people that the Sahara really existed, EVEN when one can predict the Sahara will disapears or increase in size in the future.

    As far as David and Solomon being muslims, that’s the most ridiculous claim I have ever heard. But I have heard it before. I cannot debate this issue because there is not debate. David and Solomon being refered to in the Coran does not make them Muslims. Abu-Lahab is mentioned but he died as an hypocrite and a infidels. I thought to be a muslim only have AT LEAST beleive in Allah and his prophete Mohamed. David and Solomon were far back in time that they did not even know that this mohamed will ever appear. Another blunder found in the Coran about one prophete called “Dhul-Quarnayn” in the plariaged passage from the Biblie describing the famous story of Gog and Magog, known in Arabic as “Jooj oua Majooj”. Well this Dhul-Qarnayn is refered to as Alexander the Great according to most muslims oulema. Of course, he is a muslim because he is called as a good guy in one of the sourah. And all muslims mistakingly think he is a muslim. How credoulous can the people be? What a farce. We know for certain that Alexander the Great from the numerous and countless records and books written about hin from his own contemporaries that he considered himself the Son of Armetis. His priests carried out rituals to this event proclaiming him a semi-god himself. Even his visit to the oracle of Siwa in the Egyptian desert proclaim him the son of Ammon. CONCLUSION: HE WAS A PAGAN. Now it is either that these references are boggus or the muslims apologists are in a wishfull thinking mode of delusion by proclaiming that he was a muslim.

    The apologists do not even the chronology of world events to appreciate the story of Alexander the Great. By the way he is mentioned in the Koran only with
    god and magog episode. Nothing of this Homosexual leaning with his favorites army officiers, nothing of his arranged marriage of Roxanne, nothing of his military conquest of India, Nothing and Nothing. Why am I discussing this anyway.

    I rest my case.

    By the way, the palestinian issue I speak of it from my onw history and background and not textbooks or usual slogans, I hate the Palestinians so much, because of what my family have suffered in Lebanon under their hands. Many have died from these brutal ways. For me they have blood in their hands. I know that some of them have suffered too (sabra and shatilla). But it does not matter, had they stayed in their own land they called theirs, we would not have the problems we have now. They are cursed people. If hell exists it should be a good place for them to go to as far as I am concerned. But as for you my friend Abuskander you can still go on in supporting their cause if you want. May the experiences that my family had experienced be fall on you on day and you will see the real truth of these cretins.

  19. abuskander Says:

    Ok zaki i think that i got you wrong from the beginning, resulting in you getting me wrong now.

    I understood you as saying that in arab history works, there was never a Palestine – as a geographical location (i have heard that claim before). I showed you that there was, and i never sought to prove that “PALESTINE” existed as a seperate national identity through the islamic golden age and the medieval age. So i got you wrong which in return caused you to misunderstand me. I take that on my shoulders and apologize.

    Regarding Sulaiman and Dawood (Salawat Allah 3alaihima), they were muslims. Thats what all prophets (as) were. The requirement for a muslim is to believe in what God had revealed – Islam is surrendering yourself to God. When the Prophethood of Muhammad (saw) had not yet been revealed, it was not the duty as a muslim to believe in it – like before the prohibition of alcohol, there was no sin in drinking it. I hope this makes sense.

    I will write further later, God willing.

  20. Jeff Says:


    You are so impressive; truly a noble soul!

    Integrity, honesty, humility: these are rare virtues.

    I try for them myself, but I often miss.

    You’re an inspiring guy. And that makes the world a better place.

    Since I’m in the world, I have to say: Thank you.

  21. zaki Says:

    You are totally mistaken. Of course, because you are a devout muslim, you beleive anything what your good book tells you or whatever you have been told to believe. You have not provide any evidence or support that Palestine was a country or a national identity.

    It is you who are not aware of history. The history you know is that of Islamic history. It certainly explain why you think that David and Solomon were muslims. The people of the jewish and christian faith would disagree with you. But I know the response, because Mohamed was the final prophete thus both Jewish and Christian religions should have been nullified. It is so easy to say and to believe it is true when you were told that they were true.

    David wrote poems called the psalms in Hebrew not Arabic.

    Surrendering yourself to God, maybe perhaps to you a precondition to being a muslim but many other faiths surrender to their God. By the way, David was a womanizer and he coveted one of his general wife because she was beautiful.

    The alcohol thing does not make sense at all. I see alcohol was not a sin before islam. That’s good to know. I wonder why alcohol was ok before. Perhpas people knew how to drink it then and after islam came in, people did not know how to drink and appreciate it. they became rowdy and forget to pray and think of God. I am just guessing. I wonder why come people before Islam still retained their faith with or without wine. It goes to show that autocratic element of Islam.

  22. liat Says:

    I always get a little twitch of irritation whenever Muslims claim that David and Solomon (and Abraham and Moses, and all the other Jewish patriarchs) were Muslim. There’s something arrogant and intolerant about it. Like they’re saying, “Your religion is false, but we will appropriate your prophets.” It’s like stealing someone’s weapon to use against them.

    I understand that it’s part of your religious beliefs, and that Muslims do it out of devotion to their faith, not to spite the Jews. But I hope you can understand how irritating it is for Jews to hear it. At least Christians don’t try to convince us that Abraham (and the others) were Christian.

    Please understand, I’m not trying to pick a fight. I just wanted to let you know the other side of the coin.

  23. abuskander Says:

    Jeff: Thank man, i mean it, really. I appreciate it very much.

    I would prefer if you payed more attention to what i’ve said. I never said that Palestine was a national identity before the 20th century, but it was the name of the geographic area (note that Ibn Kathir seperates “Urdun” from “Falastin”!). Why would i have to prove that?

    I have no problem with jewish and christian people diagreeing with me, but your argument for them being jewish is not valid. It does not prove anything that Dawood (as) spoke Hebrew, and not Arabic. Only natural, when many of the major Prophets (as) was from the children of Ishaq (as), not the children og Ismail (as). We by the way believe both Ishaq (as) and Ismail (as) to be prophets. Then, we do not believe that the Psalms (nor the Torah nor the Gospel) is in our hands as it was revealed – we believe the current texsts to be corrupted by man. Thus, whatever to be found in it cannot be held as a religious proof for muslims. Last, your argument that Muhammad (saw) was not yet a Prophet and thus Sulaiman (as) could not have believed in him and thus were not a muslim, it is invalid as i’ve explained: What makes you a muslim is believing in what God have revealed, including not denying the Prophethood of the Prophets, the sacredness of the revelations and so forth – and of course, when Muhammad’s (saw) was not even born, Sulaiman (as) did not have to believe in his Prophethood in order to be a muslim. JUST LIKE there was no sin in drinking alcohol before the prohibition was revealed.

    But zaki, i view this conversation as pointless. You have serious issues that you should help yourself get the rid of, before you are emotionally capable of entering such discussions. Please note that i in my original post prayed for both palestinians and israelis, while you wished something cruel to happen to me i assume, as you wrote: “May the experiences that my family had experienced be fall on you on day”.

    The only way i can understand that is that you are blinded by a wrath that burns inside you, the fire being lit by some of the losses you have suffered. I hope God will bring you through it. It is not like i grew up with a silver-spoon in my mouth, i was born in Alexandria in the 60’s, and i have myself lost family members in our various wars with Israel. It is a struggle to not let your anger blind you in that way – needless to say, i was once blinded by the same wrath that burned inside me against those evil zionists that killed my uncle, against their “so-called Israel”, and against their protectors (the US). And trust me – it’s hard to let it go. I know. But it is not impossible.

  24. abuskander Says:

    liat: Yes i understand you. I guess i get the same when Shiites claim Shiism for great personalities like Al-Hassan bin Ali, his father, his mother and his brother. These are related to the holy Prophet (saw), his mother being Fatimat al-Zahraa, daughter of our noble prophet (saw), his father being Ali one of the most important of all the companions (ra), himself being a muslim caliph loved by the prophet, and his brother Al-Hussain being one of the most famous martyrs.

    But with the globalization, i guess we’ll all have to deal with that kind of things. As long as you understand that it is a part of our faith to believe that all the Prophets (peace be upon them) where infallible and thus of course followed the religion of God (naturally, that is Islam according to a muslim).

  25. zaki Says:

    I agree the conversation is pointless. You make some ourageous claims without any foundations. And there is a tendency that we have to beleive anything you say. You are a delusional in your thoughts about ancient history, because you are ignorant of history, or you do not want to accept the facts because they irritate you and make you uncomfortable about beliefs.

    I do not know how old you are (old people know this parable, I am not sure the young generation of muslims know about it) but I am going to tell you this parable that Arabs tell sometimes to explain your evasive position when you are confronted with undeniable facts: The parable goes like this:

    Q: “What would the cunning and hungry fox say when he cannot reach a bundle of succulent and juicy grapes too high for him to reach in the grapevine?”

    A: “They are unripe and bitter”.

    Your evasiveness is well supported by your belief that David can only and only be a muslim. You cannot fool rational people by simply dictating what they should think and accept it as this. You have to provide proof. Maybe there is no proof thus making the conversation pointless. You might be able to convince crudelous uneducated folks by your revelations and claims that are groundless.
    We know that David wrote the Pslams (Zabor in Arabic), now in which language it was written? We have proof that it was in Hebrew, then translated in other languages. Now if you do not want to accept that as proof that David was Jewish, then you are either irrational or delusional. Unless you provide proof that he was muslim, then it is pointeless to continue this debate. Because you have no proof but you were able to find all the excuses in the world to evade the issue like: “all the books have have tempered with and corrupted.” As if the Coran is the final revelation and it the most untempered with book in the whole history of human civilization. I am not going to start another debate as to when and how the souras of the Koran were compiled. I have the premonition that you are not going to accept the agreed version of El-Bukhri and El-tabari on how it was all done. Anyway it is goes to show that evasiveness and denial is the best weapon to avoid controversy for some people. And this happens a lot even in matter relating to creation, revelation and even non-religious trivial matters.

    Have a good day and this is my final entry to your blog. You do not need people like me to challenge you about what you claim as truth. You need advocates like Jeff who can praise your insights and moderate outlook on Islam. I am saying moderate because if it was a hardline muslim fundamentalist he would have branded me an infidel and unbeliever in the word of Allah and curse me to hell wife for the rest of my life. I am glad that our small conversation has not reached that point. Despite our difference I respect your willingness to discuss things but regret your denial of facts and self-righteous. Good luck and thanks for your blog.

    Zaki the Arab Lebanese Greek Orthodox Christian. (this might explain why I do not beleive in Allah and his prophete).

  26. liat Says:

    That’s very interesting about the difference between the two main sects of Islam. I didn’t realize that it was such a contentious issue. Thanks for the insight.

  27. Halalhippie Says:

    Very interesting discussion, indeed.

  28. Abdollah Says:

    zaki do youw kno anything about Tarikh al-Tabari, how it is used and ho it as compiled and for hich porpose it was compiled? If you have this knowledge, you will realize that is is just a history book and not a bible.

  29. Ahmad Al Safawi Says:

    Sorry guys, just been busy with work.

    Zaki: First of all, i do not NEED neither you or Jeff or anyone else. I do not write this blog because i need peoples accept – in fact i knew i was going to meet heavy critique before i started this blog, and this was the very reason for starting it. To share my thoughts with others, and let others share theirs with me. THus i am really sorry that you will not write here anyone. You do not have to stop talking only because someone disagree with you.

    Second, i never stated that i want others to believe that they are muslims! After all, very very few independent sources (if any!) are aviable to us about these persons (May peace be upon them), all sources i would wring forward to proove my belief will be muslim one, and all you will bring forward will be christian/jewish ones or secondary sources ultimatively based upon those.

    Now what i say is that it is NECESSARY for a muslim to believe in all the Prophets (as) to be muslim – Allah (tt) says in the Qoran that Ibrahim (as) was neither a christian or a jew, but was a haneef (that is a pre-islamic monotheist, ultimatively a muslim), and the same is in fact the case with all previous Prophets (as), from Adam (as) to Jesus (as). And yes – i believe that the Quran is from god and untampered.

    And how do writing a book in hebrew proove one to be jewish? Hebrew was his Mothertongue, why would he write a book in another language? Many parts of the New Testament was originally written in Greek, following that logic, Platon and Socrates would be christian! Or every time you write a letter to your friend in Arabic, you would be muslim. Is that really what you believe?

    I cannot say for sure that i will accept all the reports from Ibn Jarir al-Tabari’s history books, as it contains many forgeries and weak repports. That is no secret, all muslims agree on that. Still, it is one of the most important history-books for all muslims, because it was written early and contain many, many reports, and Ibn Jarir (rh) was completely objective in his selection of historical accounts. He states that in his foreword.

    But i can assure you that as an orthodox sunni muslim, i belive that every narration in Imam Bukhari’s hadith collection is Trustworthy. However, i might disagrere with your interpretation of these, as i have not the knowledge required for interpreting ahadith on my own, so i tend to follow the sharh of the ulema, in this case it is Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani’s brilliant work, Fath al-Bari.

    Regarding Zulqarnayn (as), i will write more later In Sha Allah.

  30. Slaven Abdi Says:

    and Ibn Jarir (rh) was completely objective in his selection of historical accounts. He states that in his foreword

    /The Quran comes from Allah, because it is stated in the Quran
    /Ibn Jarir is completely objective becuse he states that in his forword.

    However, i might disagrere with your interpretation of these, as i have not the knowledge required for interpreting ahadith on my own
    /No one has the knowledge to interpret ahadiths – no guarentee – why
    not just give them the same fate as the library of Alexandria. Suitable.

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