Israel's Old War

Thomas Carlyle wrote in his first letter to Emerson, “I am busy constantly studying with my whole might for a Book on the French Revolution. It is part of my creed that the only Poetry is History, could we tell it right.” Earlier in a letter (1833) Carlyle wrote the “right History” of the French Revolution to be the “grand poem of our Time…[The] man who could write the truth of that, were worth all other writers and singers.”  

It is important to note that history is told. A story may be narrated and reported but it is only the telling of the story, rightly so, that becomes Poetry. Carlyle wrote his book The French Revolution as the “grand poem” of his time. Destiny is embedded in history. The correct telling of a story is not merely an account, it also accounts for Destiny. 

The tale of Israel’s war against Hamas today is repulsively ubiquitous and banal. We hear the same narrative; repetitive and cyclic, that is from both sides, Israel’s as well as Palestine’s. Israel’s war on terror, Palestine’s armed struggle for freedom. Utterly mundane from all points of view: political, geopolitical as it has become fashionable, economic, military, and philosophical. The conflict has obstinately persisted as a problem for more than a century without a solution. Nobody has yet attempted to tell the story of the Holy Land, and tell it rightly, except for one man, Sheikh Imran Hosein. In fact, nobody cares anymore to tell the story of the Holy Land in Truth. Reports, narrations, narratives, and analyses have only failed to tell the story of the blessed land correctly. It is that failure that has made both the problem and the solution unidentifiable.  

Sheikh Imran Hosein managed to succeed in telling the story of the Holy Land because he went to the Qur’ān to do that. The Qur’ān mentions that it explains all things; it mentions that it is revealed for a people who think. One therefore cannot go to the Qur’ān and seek the explanation of anything without thinking. Sheikh Imran Hosein wrote that “grand poem” of our time when he published his book, Jerusalem in the Qur’ān, more than twenty years ago. One cannot help but realise while reading the book that he must have spent a long time thinking through the story of the Holy Land revealed in the Qur’ān so that he could tell the story correctly. Neither the Palestinians nor Islamic scholarship in the last hundred years have gone to the Qur’ān to understand and tell the story, and tell it right. Jerusalem in the Qur’ān has stood the test of time.  

Some mocked the Sheikh to be a good storyteller and nothing else, but little did they know that they were inadvertently, because of their poor command over the English language, were ironically using the apt English word, against their own views about him, to describe his true account of the blessed land and the unfolding events recorded in the Divine Writ. Two decades later, their voices have become lost, and his words are being sung. 

Israel’s war today is not a new war. It is an old and mundane one. Israel has utterly failed in preserving her own sovereignty and is desperately trying to prove it, while the Palestinians have utterly failed in preserving their struggle for freedom and are desperately trying to prove their right to self-determination. This is a tale–not a story–of two cities, a tale of two failed states. The two-state solution is a failure, and the United Nations liberal world order is a failure, all the while, since 1993, the two-states existing side-by-side as a political experiment. The climax of the tale was reached in 2006 with the victory of Hamas in a democratic election encouraged, supported and presided over by the US and The Carter Center. Jimmy Carter himself described it as “orderly and peaceful…honest, fair and safe election process.” The tale continued dragging on in its miserably uninteresting climax when the political status of Palestine was upgraded to a Non-member Observer State at the United Nations in November 2012. Afterwards the tale plunged to its end. Now the war has crushed the manuscript and thrown this accursed tale–of the two failed states–out of the window.  

Those who have been educated and drilled in this depressing tale are the ones who now trace the origins of this tale backwards in mundane years all the way up to the Balfour Declaration, or perhaps an intelligent one or two may trace its roots deeper to the First Crusade, but they all track backwards either for or against Israel, or, for or against Palestine. They have now become a broken record, harping on the same chord. 

Those who have read Jerusalem in the Qur’ān must have already read the origins, development, and destiny of the story. They not only can tell the account but can also account for events occurring in the Holy Land. They ought to know, due to their study of the Divine Book, what is happening now and where will it all progress to. It is with this war that Jerusalem in the Qur’ān has now become the grand poem of our time. Those who study it, will be compelled to go to the Qur’ān and will remember never to forget Allah’s Book in attempting to interpret events that unfold in the world today, or to replace Allah’s Book with politics, geopolitics, economics, history and philosophy.         

For those who have not read the book, it is now time, in fact imperative, to sit down, read it and ponder on the story of the Holy Land in the Qur’ān instead of joining demonstrations and watching the bickering of commentators on the Internet and television in the name of discussions over the same wretched, old tale.