Jerusalem has been called a land of blessing in the Qur’an. There those sacred places are situated where religious people go to find spiritual solace. This status of Jerusalem demands the establishment of peace there on a permanent basis. Without peace Jerusalem cannot retain its spiritual position.
Yet we find that peace has not existed in Jerusalem for a long time. It has become a land of violence instead of a land of peace. This is an extremely grave state of affairs. We are duty bound to discover a formula of peace for Jerusalem, otherwise we shall incur the wrath of God.
The first point to be considered is that the Mecca model or the Vatican model cannot be applied to Jerusalem. The reason being that Mecca and the Vatican are each the sacred site of only one religion. Therefore, it is possible at these places for the adherents of the same religion to establish their rule. Jerusalem, on the contrary, is a junction point of three religions at the same time—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The holy sites of all the three religions exist there. In such a situation, if we attempt to establish the Mecca model or the Vatican model, Jerusalem will remain an eternal battleground. And it will be impossible for the followers of these religions to perform their religious rituals there in a peaceful atmosphere.
Given this state of affairs, the only practicable peace formula is to adopt the delinking policy between religious and political issues, in order that the followers of all religions may find an opportunity on a permanent basis to go there and return to their homes after performing their respective religious rites and rituals in a state of peace.This practicable formula, in two short phrases, is as follows:
Administration by one. Access to all.
This means that in the matter of political power, the policy of statusquoism must be adopted. It is a known fact that political power depends upon historical circumstances. And circumstances keep changing. In consequence, the seat of political power also keeps changing by turns. The same historical law has been described in these words in the Qur’an:
If you have suffered a defeat, so did the enemy. We alternate these vicissitudes among mankind so that Allah may know the true believers and choose martyrs from among you. Allah does not love the unjust. (3:140)
In accordance with this verse, the course to be adopted is that whatever group comes into power as a matter of historical process, must be accepted by the rest as a matter of historical verdict. Those who have been denied a share in political power must accept the verdict of history. They must wait for the time when changes in historical process themselves give their verdict in favor of the concerned group. Besides, so far as religious rites and rituals are concerned, these should be held as belonging to a field completely outside that of political power. From this standpoint, everyone should have total freedom to visit Jerusalem whenever he pleases in order to perform the rituals of his own religion. And he should also have the guarantee of a safe return.
In practice, this peace formula, has been prevalent at least partially in Jerusalem. From the period of the second Islamic Caliph to the beginning of the Crusades, the situation had been the same. Although only one religious group ruled, so far as visits to the sacred sites were concerned, the doors for such visits were equally open to the adherents of all three religions.
Now in present times too this state of affairs is partially maintained, that is, the Christians have, unannounced, adopted this formula without challenging the present political set up; they visit their religious sites the whole year round and return home in peace after performing their religious rites and rituals.
This formula is nothing new. Its origin can be traced back to the religious teachings of the three religions.In ancient times when the political power of this region was taken away from the Jews, they were enjoined according to the Bible:
Say to the King and to the queen mother, "Humble yourselves, sit down, for your rule shall collapse, the crown of your glory." (Jeremiah 13:18)
This means that when, owing to historical process, political power changed hands, the Jews were asked not to try to change the status quo but were instead enjoined to devote themselves to the performance of the religious duty which they owed to God.Similarly, during the times of Jesus Christ Jerusalem was under the rule of non-Israeli people. When Jesus Christ was asked about it, he offered the solution in these words:
"Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s. (Mark 12:17)
This means that the matter of changing the Caesar, that is the ruler, should be left to historical factors, while engaging oneself in one’s duty as imposed by God.
In the case of Islam, exactly the same holds true. According to a Hadith, the Compan