The Three-Cornered Nature of the Problem
A. Historical Preview
The problem of Israel confronting the Muslim World today has neither precedent nor parallel in Islamic history. The Muslim World has tended to regard it as another instance of Modern colonialism, or at best, as a repetition of the Crusades. The difference is not that Israel is neither one of these; but that it is both and more, much more. Unfortunately, there is no Islamic literature on the subject. The need for this analysis of the problem is, therefore, as great as the present moment which calls upon the Arab World in particular and the Muslim World in general to accept Israel as an integral member of a world-of Muslim-nations in Asia-Africa.
The “Problem of Israel” is a three-cornered affair, involving the Muslim World, Western Christendom and the Jews. The first two have been locked in struggle ever since the rise of the Islamic state in Madinah in 622. Indeed, even earlier. Christian commercial interest had pushed Abyssinia into launching a colonialist venture in South Arabia in 560 A. C. and an attempt to destroy the power of Makkah in the “Year of the Elephant,” or 570 A. C., the year of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam). Even as early as that time, Western Christendom saw fit to use the religious zeal of Eastern Christians in order to exploit both them and the pre-Islamic Arabs for commercial profit.
Pre-Islamic Arabia was a religious vacuum at the time, and the Christians of the West who held the reins of power in their hand were not concerned with preaching the faith. Rather, they were immersed in political struggles on the internal front, and economic and military struggle on the external. Arabia had no significance for them except as a trade route. When the new Islamic state began to raise its head following the integration of Makkah and most of the tribes of Western and South Arabia, Byzantium saw fit to mobilize its puppet armies in South Palestine and Jordan, a move which brought about the first military encounter between Islam and Christendom, the Campaign of Mu’tah (9 A.H./631 A. C.).