Why Do Iran and Hizbullah Crave Jerusalem?

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Pinhas Inbari - "Save the Al-Aqsa Mosque!" is the battle cry of radical Islam and is featured in all the war slogans of Hamas, Hizbullah, and Iran. The passion for Jerusalem by Hizbullah and Iran is puzzling because the Shiite religion does not attribute any significance to Jerusalem. According to the Shi'ite book of traditions Bihar al-Anwar, the Prophet Muhammad forbade pilgrimages to Jerusalem. Even the Isra (night journey) and the Mi'raj (journey to Heaven), according to the Shiite religion, did not happen in Jerusalem but in a "distant mosque" in Heaven. After the bloody Sunni-Shia war between Iraq and Iran, the ayatollahs decided to emphasize the liberation of Jerusalem, so that the Sunnis would look west to Jerusalem and not east to Tehran. As far as the Shi'a are concerned, "saving Al-Aqsa" is a political slogan, not a religious value. At this historic crossroads, moderate Sunni forces see Israel as the only force that can curb the extremists' efforts to turn the "liberation of Al-Aqsa" into an engine for the Shiite takeover of the Arab and Muslim world. The writer, a veteran Arab affairs correspondent, is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center.

2024-02-29 00:00:00

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