The place referred to in historical sources as "the land of Canaan" is found on the land occupied currently by Palestine and Israel. This is a blessed land of many holy sites, a land where many prophets have lived and called on their peoples to believe in God’s existence and unity. For this reason, the land of Canaan is sacred to the peoples of the three divine religions, in other words, Muslims, Jews, and Christians. This sacred place which brings together representatives of the three religions of the book is extremely important in terms of knowing the common elements of their religions and their faith in one God, whereby they love and respect each other.
In the Qur’an, God presents Jews and Christians as People of the Book, as well as explaining to Muslims in detail what their responsibilities towards them are. People of the Book are aware of the sacred and the profane, and base their moral practices on divine inspiration from God. According to the morality preached by the Qur’an, and the practices of our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace), it is required that Muslims treat Jewish people and Christians with love, care, tolerance, and respect. The call of Muslims to Jews and Christians is revealed thus in the Qur’an:
“We believe in what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to you. Our God and your God are one and we submit to Him.” — (Qur’an, 29:46)
This call makes it very clear what Muslims’ point of view towards the People of the Book is: We live according to the moral principles professed by our holy books by respecting the limits made clear by God, by loving and respecting the messengers sent by our Lord, and by having faith in one God. Which is why we are beholden to treat each other with care, understanding, respect, and love.
We All Love and Respect the Same Prophets
Muslims have faith in all of the prophets which have been sent. They believe in the holy books sent to people by prophets in the past. One verse of the Qur’an explains this as follows:
Say, “We believe in God and what has been sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and what Moses and Jesus and all the prophets were given by their Lord. We do not differentiate between any of them. We are Muslims submitted to Him.” — (Qur’an, 3:84)
Prophets Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Aaron, David, Solomon, John, Jesus, and Moses (peace be upon them all) are as important to Muslims as they are to Jews and Christians.
The respect of Jews for Moses (pbuh) who is also a prophet of ours and their close bonds with him over thousands of years are very important to sincere Muslims. The great love of Christians for Jesus (pbuh) and their heartfelt attachment to him is of similar importance to Muslims. Of course those who feel love and respect for Prophets Jacob, Isaac, Ishmael, Abraham, Lot, Ayyub, Moses, Jesus, John and other prophets (peace be upon them all) are highly valued people for whom naturally Muslims will feel love and affection and approach with understanding and compassion. Anything opposing this is not possible.
We Should All Live in Peace in Canaan, the Land of Prophets
All believers desire in their hearts, and reap great joy from this, that the people who believe in the same prophets should live in security, love and peace in the land of Canaan –” and in fact throughout the entire world. The children of the three divine religions –” Prophet Ishmael’s (pbuh) children, the Muslim Arabs, Prophet Moses’ (pbuh) children, the Jews, and Prophet Jesus’ (pbuh) children, the Christians –” should be able to live as they desire in the land of Canaan. Jews, Christians and Muslims should be able to practice their religions as they want there, and should be able to live their lives in peace and comfort there, without any fear. It should be the common ideal for all believers.
The land of Canaan is the land of the ancestors of Christians, Jews and Muslims, the descendants of Prophet Abraham (pbuh). Their ancestors have lived and died on this land. Just as their ancestors did, they have the right to worship, live life, and reside in these lands. In these lands –” as in the rest of the world –” nobody can interfere with them or their worship, limit their movements or place restrictions on them. This is an order from God to all believers in the Qu’ran. All the sacred places and the homes in which the name of God is remembered are under the protection of our Lord. The obligation of the believers is to protect these places where God’s name is remembered and believers worship to gain the pleasure of God. God tells us in the Qu’ran:
Those who were expelled from their homes without any right, merely for saying, “Our Lord is God” (if God had not driven some people back by means of others, monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, where God’s name is mentioned much, would have been pulled down and destroyed. God will certainly help those who help Him –” God is All-Strong, Almighty). — (Qur’an, 22:40)
But the reality is that because of some radical elements among these three religions, attempts to spread clash and chaos, instead of peace and security, in these sacred lands are common and believers are being dismayed. This is not, however, an acceptable situation. Killing people or trying to remove them forceably from their land are actions anathema to the beliefs of Jewish and Muslim people. It is such an attack on the lineage of the prophets that any true person of faith, either Muslim or Jewish, could not accept it. An attempt to wipe out Prophet Jacob’s (pbuh) line is a kind of wrongdoing every truly faithful Muslim would be against. At the same time, attacks whose aim is to wipe out the line of Prophet Ishmael (pbuh) can clearly not be allowed. All true believers must make their attitude known clearly regarding this Dajjal-like (Antichrist-like) game constructed on violence and aggressiveness. It must not be forgotten that Muslims, Jews and Christians should not be fighting against each other, but should be engaged in an intellectual struggle against the threat to all of our societies, irreligion and atheism. All Muslims, Christians and Jews who love God and the prophets should guard against this danger.
With so much strong threat of atheism, materialism and Darwinism in the world today, Jews, with their ties to Prophets Abraham and Moses (peace be upon them), and their faith which has lasted thousands of years, are very precious to Muslims. In the same way, Christians all over the world expressing their faith in God, and their love for Prophets Jesus and John (peace be upon them), are very precious to Muslims. It is a thing of joy for Muslims to see their faith and ties to Jesus (pbuh) over two thousand years. Which is why true Muslims should want from their hearts for Jews and Christians to have stronger faith, and to love God more.
The land of Canaan should not be one where Jews and Palestinian Muslims live in fear and terror. Muslims and Jews should immediately put an end to the cruelty, the politics of terror, the oppression, in short the violence. All believers in the religions of the book should be able to live on these lands in comfort, tranquility, safety and peace and lead prosperous lives. There is no place for enmity in the morality prescribed by God. The answer is to be individually determined on friendship, affection and compassion, seeking God’s good pleasure without any expectation of reward. In the Qu’ran God tells us that superior morality will destroy enmity:
A good action and a bad action are not the same. Repel the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will be like a bosom friend. None will obtain it but those who are truly steadfast. None will obtain it but those who have great good fortune. — (Qur’an, 41:34-35)
The example of the history shows us that in these lands it is possible to re-establish a system open to respect and affection in which every group can live in safety and in freedom such as the one which operated through the vision of the Ottomans. As Muslims, it is one of our greatest desires that the Jews should live and trade freely in the land of their forefathers, cooperate freely with other nations in the political, commercial and artistic fields and be free to worship wherever they wish. In the same way, it is extremely important to provide all the means that the Palestinian Muslims should have freedom of movement in the lands of Israel, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and be able to worship in peace and that they should live in brotherhood with the Jews.
God willing, within a very short time better and brighter days will come when all Christians, Muslims and Jews will live in brotherhood. With the power of sincere faith it will be possible to achieve a world in which peace, security, goodwill and affection hold sway. This is a promise from God to all true believers. Our Lord gives the good news to the faithful in the Qur’an thus:
God has promised those of you who believe and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land as He made those before them successors, and will firmly establish for them their religion with which He is pleased and give them, in place of their fear, security. They worship Me, not associating anything with Me. Any who disbelieve after that, such people are deviators. — (Qur’an, 24:55)