Middle Eastern affairs professor Nissim Dana spoke to Arutz Sheva Monday about his upcoming book, To Whom Does This Land Belong?: New Insights into the Koran, and revealed that Islam absolutely does not have a claim to the Land of Israel – even by its own standards.
The Professor explained that the new book, published by the Bialik Institute and Ariel University, reveals several more insights into the Koran that remain unknown to the average Muslim and even some Muslim religious leaders.
Dana noted that top Islamic figures, such as Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi, have embarked on a fierce campaign to separate the Jewish people from their rightful homeland and claim that Muslims have a sacred right to the Land of Israel.
However, Professor Dana noted, Al Qaradawi’s efforts defy the Koran itself. Israel is mentioned eight times, according to the Professor, and there is not a single mention that it belongs to Arabs or Muslims. “Whenever there is a reference to the Land of Israel and to whom it belongs, the Koran points to the Jewish people,” Professor Dana explained.
Dana pointed to Koran 7:7, where G-d Himself bequeaths the Land of Israel to the Jews, as a nation who thought themselves weak, and blesses them with goodness. The “weakness,” according to Dana, is a reference to the Torah’s incident with the Spies in Bamidbar (Numbers), where Israel’s representatives hesitate to go into the land out of fear.
As for the argument that the Land of Israel was originally intended for the Jews, but G-d switched allegiances to Islam, Dana notes that there is no source in the Koran for such a statement. He adds a source in the fifth chapter of the Islamic holy text whereby Mohammed says on his deathbed that returning to the Land of Israel is impossible in and of itself, because G-d placed in Moses’s mouth the declaration that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.
He backs up his argument with proof from one of the greatest and well-known commentators on the Koran who sought to determine where Israel’s borders are for the Jewish people on the basis of the Koran and determined that, according to Islam, the Jewish people are privy to land between the Nile and the Euphrates.
Dana noted that his book took over ten years to write and was compiled with the help of Arabic-speaking students who knew the language and its sources well. Most Muslims do not have deep knowledge of the Koran itself, he noted, and thus their beliefs about the Jewish people and the Land of Israel are dependent mostly on their leaders.