Classical Islam accepts there is a divinely ordained bond between the Jewish People and ‘the Holy Land’, say some scholars.
According to the Hamas charter, Palestine is an Islamic endowment “for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection” which no one may renounce. The Arab-Israeli conflict is seen as not just a political dispute but an implacably religious one. However, there are Islamic scholars who will tell you that this claim has no basis in the Koran: not only that, but the foundation text of Islam, in fact, recognises the special link between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. “You will find very clearly,” says Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al-Husseini, “that the traditional commentators from the eighth and ninth century onwards have uniformly interpreted the Koran to say explicitly that Eretz Yisrael has been given by God to the Jewish people as a perpetual convenant. There is no Islamic counterclaim to the Land anywhere in the traditional corpus of commentary.”
Dr Al-Husseini is a British imam who teaches a course on the Koran as part of interfaith studies at the Leo Baeck College, the Progressive rabbinic college in Finchley, London. One of the texts he has taught is the following verse in the Koran (5:21), “O my people! Enter the Holy Land which God has decreed for you, and turn back on your heels otherwise you will be overturned as losers.” He examines this passage through the eyes of one classic commentator of the Koran, Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (838-923), who says the remark is “a narrative from God… concerning the saying of Moses… to his community from among the children of Israel and his order to them according to the order of God to him, ordering them to enter the holy land.”
Hat tip to Eric Friedland