In surah 17, we find many historical facts about the Children of Israel including a list of the Ten Commandments. The first seven verses describe the fundamental tenets given to the Children of Israel. It should come as no surprise that the message here, too, was twisted by the religionists.
Those without preconceived ideas will be able to grasp the meaning and the intended purpose of 17:1-2:
Glory be to the One who captivated His servant during one night from the consented sanctions towards the fringes of consented decree which are blessed, in order to manifest to him from Our signs. Indeed He is Hearer and Seer. And We gave Moses the Scripture and We set it as the Guidance for the Children of Israel. You shall not take other than Me as an advocate.
Briefly, the story in 17:1 talks about Moses being captivated by God to make him go to a certain location to witness God’s signs. It must be read together with the subsequent verse 17:2 that starts with a diphthong wa which means and to indicate the continuity from the previous verse 17:1: And We gave Moses the Scripture and We set it as the guidance. When the two verses are read together we see that there were two events. First the manifestation of the signs, the second was the revelation of the Scripture. The words masjidil-Harami and masjidil-aqsa at hand were used at the time of Moses. What are they?
From the consented sanctions (minal-masjidil-Harami) towards the fringes of the consented decree. (ilaa-masjidil-aqsa) is not from one physical mosque to another physical mosque located far away. This is the Arab corruption. We need to realize that the word aqsa does not mean far but the nearby fringes as will be explained shortly.
17:1 says the event happened at night. According to the Reading, Moses was the only man to have an audience with God. No other messenger was given such a privilege. Moses had two audiences during his tenure and both took place at night.
If we read 17:1 together with the subsequent verses we see that it is telling us about the history of the Children of Israel at the time Moses witnessed God’s signs before the revelation proper was revealed to him at a different location. Contrary to the fairy tales invented by the so-called experts (who manipulated this verse to say that the Last Prophet flew up to the seven heavens on a half-human horse that they called buraq) the Reading does not indicate nor advocate such absurdity.
Significant events such as witnessing God’s signs are normally corroborated and expanded upon in other verses spread throughout the Book. As for the fairy tales concerning the ‘heavenly journey’, there is not a single verse in the Reading to substantiate the story. The source of miracles is a pagan remnant that lingered on within the vehicle of the Arab religion. They did this by manipulating the word ‘Asra’ in 17:1 to make it to mean ‘night journey’. This word in found in many places in the Reading to refer to captive when it is used as Usara. Asra simply means captivated.
On the other hand, the history of Moses’ witnessing God’s signs during the night is clearly written in the Book. Therefore, the event in this verse cannot be attributed to any other prophet than Moses.
The first audience:
Has the history of Moses1 come to you? When he saw the fire he said to his family, “Wait here, I saw a fire, maybe I can bring some of it or find some guidance at the fire.” When he came he was called, “O Moses, I am your Lord, so take off your shoes. You are in the sacred valley of Tuwa. And I have chosen you, so listen to what is revealed. I am the One God, there is no god but Me. You shall serve Me and uphold your undertaking to remember Me. The hour is sure to come, I keep it almost hidden, to repay each soul for whatever it did. Therefore, do not be distracted by those who disbelieve therein and follow their opinions, lest you perish.” (20:9-16)
- In 20:17-21, God refers Moses to the stick in his hands and turned it into a serpent – the first ‘sign‘ demonstrated to Moses.
- In 20:22 Moses hands are brightened and God says another ‘Great sign‘ (ayaa-tin-kubror).
- In 20:23 God says He demonstrated from His Great Sign (or min-ayaa-tina-kubror). (The same word from ‘his Lord’s Great sign‘ (min-ayaa-ti-rob-bi-kubror) is mentioned again in 53:18).
- In 20 24-25 God tells Moses to go to Pharaoh.
- In 20:26-37 the conversation continues, but strictly about his assignments.
- In 20:38-40 God tells Moses about his personal history and in the last part of .verse 40 and the following verse God says, ‘You have lived in Midyan for many years and now you have come according to the plan. Moses, I have made you just for Me’. (The big assignment was for him to meet Pharaoh as seen in 20:24.)
If we link up 20:21-23 with 17:1 we see clearly that the event was for the purpose of ‘manifesting to him from Our Signs’ (li-nuriyahu min ayatina). The crux of the message is to ‘manifest the signs‘. It appears that God has only manifested His signs to Moses by turning a stick into a serpent and miraculously brightening his hand. This is the only evidence from the Reading about the manifestation of God’s signs at night. The intention was obvious: the man who saw the sign was to undertake an assignment. Moses’ first encounter with the Supreme God indicates the beginning of his office as a messenger to free the Children of Israel from the oppressive Pharaoh. During the first audience, only the signs were manifested accompanied by some instructions. That is all. The Scripture was not revealed to him.
Therefore 17:1 refers to the history of Moses and it is consistent with the passages in 20:9-48. But the religionists created a long story about Muhammad’s journey from a non-existent mosque in Mecca to another non-existent mosque in Jerusalem, and then expanded it by saying Muhammad was taken up to the ‘seventh heaven’ to negotiate with God about the ‘ritual prayers’.
There is no evidence in the Reading that the Last Prophet witnessed any sign from God during the day or night other than receiving the Reading and recited it to the people (29:51)
The masjidil-Harami and the masjidil-aqsa (which are associated with God’s decrees) existed as part of God’s system long before the time of the Last Prophet. When the Reading was revealed, the story of the manifestation of God’s signs was obvious to him in that it referred to a previous event of someone who saw them during the night.
There is nothing mysterious about Moses being captivated to witness God’s signs during the night once we check with other verses in the Reading to identify the persons who actually saw them. Moreover, at the time when the Reading was revealed there was no such thing as a sacred mosque anywhere – either in Jerusalem or in Mecca.
Let us examine the verse and read it in conjunction with the transliterated rendition:
minal masjidil-Harami from the consented sanctions
ilaa Masjidil-aqsa toward the fringes of the consented decree
al-lazi barak-na which We have blessed
haw-lahu around it
linuri-yahu to manifest to him
min-ayaa-tina from Our signs
The verse unambiguously talks about a premeditated event with no intention other than to witness a manifestation of God’s Signs which is only part of God’s consented decrees intented for Moses. We must read the complete verse to realize the objective of the event before examining the circumstances surrounding it. Here we see that the event was not meant for praying or worship, but to witness God’s signs. We see that Moses was the only person who was made to see what he was supposed to see so that it strengthens his heart to do a job. During the audience, God told him, “O Moses, I have made you just for me” 20:41. He could have decided at that time whether to accept or not to accept to believe in God after witnessing the signs. Whatever he was about to do were only the fringes of God’s consented decrees and the Reading uses the word masjidil-aqsa. It was only a small part of his duty within the whole framework of God’s consented decrees that he had to commit. The word masjidil-Harami is used in the Reading to refer to the sanctions encompassing the whole concept of God’s consented decrees.
When Moses saw the fire, he was attracted to it and decided to leave his wife on the roadside not far from the valley of Tuwa. The distance was short and the meeting was very brief. The religionists did not try to relate the concurrence of Moses experience of this event in 20:9-47 with 17:1. Instead, they manipulate the passage to propagate the famous Isra’ and Mi’raj fairy tales to dupe people into performing the five daily ritual prayers.
Before explaining the misunderstanding about the meaning of the word aqsa’, let us not overlook the history of the previous people. During the time of Moses – or even after his office – there was no such thing as the physical ‘sacred mosque‘ or the physical ‘faraway mosque‘ or any physical mosque at all.
Traditionally, aqsa has been understood to mean far or faraway. If we look at other passages in the Reading we see that it means around the same area. Let us see how the Reading is written when the word far is applied in some verses. Each time the word far is mentioned it uses the word ba’id from the verb ba’uda to denote a distance, for example:
lau-kana a’rothon qoriban wa-safaran khor-sidon la-taba’uka walakin ba’udat alaihim shu-qortu wa-sayah-lif (9:42)
If there is a quick gain, or a short journey, surely they will follow you. And if it is far upon them the distance they will swear. (9:42)
In 9:42 the word ba’uda is used to describe a far distance. For other similar meanings of far the Reading uses the word ba’id to describe something very far.
fa-in tawal-lau fa-qul aa-zantukum a’la-sawa-e wa-ain-adri aqor-ribun am-ba’idan ma-tu’adun (21:109)
If they turn away, then say, “I have announced to you the same. And I have no idea whether it is near or far that which you are threatened.” (21:109)
The word aqsa is derived from the root word qasa to mean nearby or the fringes of a certain location. This word is also used for imperatives or ‘mood’.
Let us see how this word is applied to other subjects:
Iz-antum bil-u’dwan donya wahum bil-u’dwan qus-wa war-rokbu asfala min kum (8:42)
When you were at the valley area and they were at the valley’s fringe, and the base was down from you. (8:42)
8:42 describes the presence of two groups of people in the same area. Bil u’dwan means in the valley and the word qus-wa (a derivative generated from the same root word qasa) means around the same area. Hence the verse implies that the enemies were in the nearby area and they were not far.
Let us take another example:
wajaa-a rojulon min-aqsal madinatu yash’a, qorla ya-musaa in-nal mala-aa ya-tamiru na-bika liyak-tuluka (28:20)
And a man came from the fringe of the city rushing, he said, “O Moses! Surely the rulers are planning to prosecute you.” (28:20)
The word aqsal madinah is not ‘a city that is far‘. The man who came rushing to warn Moses did not come from another city. He came running around the same area. According to the history from the Reading, Moses had killed a man and he was wanted by the authorities to face trial. The news became known to a man who came rushing from within the nearby area within the city to tell Moses that the authorities were planning to prosecute him.
Therefore, the word masjidil-aqsa does not refer to a physical building located somewhere very far. The term masjid used in the Reading is not a new word to refer to a physical building but it is always used to refer to the the consented decree from God; besides, from Abraham onwards there had been no such thing as a house of worship called a mosque. Moses did not call his people to build any houses of worship. It was the later Jews who put up synagogues. They did not call them mosques. Jesus, the son of Mary, went to Jerusalem to demolish the religious system practised in the synagogues. The high priest ordered his crucifixion. Then his followers put up churches. Moses did not know anything about synagogues. Jesus did not know anything about churches. Similarly, Muhammad did not know anything about mosques. Masjidil-aqsa simply means the ‘fringes of God’s consented decree‘ intended for Moses in consenting his responsibilities to God’s decrees.
The second audience:
Wa-iz wa’adna Musaa Arba’eina lai-latan (2:51)
And when We appointed Moses forty nights. (2:51)
Wa-wa’adna Musaa salasina lai-lata waatmum-naha bi-a’sri fatama miqorta rob-bihi ar-ba’ina lai-lata (7:142)
And We summoned Moses for thirty nights and We fulfilled it with ten. Therefore, the appointment of his Lord is forty nights. (7:142)
The history of Moses occupies a prominent place in the Reading. Besides witnessing the signs during the first audience, his second meeting with God is repeated in two verses and then it is again mentioned in 53:1-18 to confirm that what he saw was from the Great signs of his Lord (min-ayaa-ti-rob-bi-kubror the same wording in 20:23). Many people have mistaken 53:1-18 for an event pertaining to the Last Prophet. He did not have any sign manifested to him throughout his life other than the Reading.
Anyone reading the Reading for the first time is confronted with a statement that will surprise him. Given to the religionists, in the Arab tongue, it is surprising now that the Reading gives such eminence to the people of another race – the Jews. Muhammad was a gentile, and in all probability wondered why so much of the book was addressed to another race. Early on we read:
Ya Bani-Israel, laz-kuru ni’amatal-lati an-amtu alaikum wa-u-qu bi-‘ahdi ufi-bi’adikum-wa-iya-ya-farhabun (2:40)
O Children of Israel, remember the blessing I have bestowed upon you. And fulfil the covenant to Me. I will fulfil My covenant to you. And be apprehensive towards Me. (2:40)
Wa-aminu bima anzalta musod-dikhon lima ma’akum wala takunu aw-wala kafiri bihi wala tash-taru bi-ayaati samanan qorlilan wa-iya-ya fat-taqun. (2:41)
And believe what I have revealed confirming with what you have, and do not be the first to reject it, and do not trade My revelations for a small price and prepare for your meeting with Me. Do not confound the truth with falsehood nor shall you conceal the truth knowingly. And observe your commitment and maintain it pure and humble yourselves with those who are humble. (2:41-43)
This is amazing: the Children of Israel do not belong to the Arab race, yet they are addressed as the intended recipients of this Scripture.
According to the Reading, the Last Prophet and those around him belonged to a gentile race, which means they had no knowledge of God’s Scripture. The religionists, however, came up with a ridiculous interpretation of the word ummyin. It is used to describe the Prophet and the Arabs. They said that it meant that he and they were illiterate. The Reading clearly says that the Prophet was able to write since in 25:5, the pagans accused him of writing tales of the past which they said were dictated to him day and night. In 25:6, he was commanded to declare to the non-believing Arabs that whatever he wrote was revealed by the One who knows the secrets of the heavens and earth. The religionists have conveniently ignored this simple fact.
Huwal-lazi ba’a-sha fil-ummi-yin rosulan min-hum yatlu alaihim ayaatihi wayuzak-kihim wayu’alimuhumul kitaba walhikmata wa-inkaanu minqoblu lafithola-lin mubin (62:2)
He, who sent in the midst of the gentiles (ummyin), a messenger from among themselves to recite to them the revelations and to purify them and to teach them the Scripture and wisdom. And, indeed, from before there were in total loss. (62:2)
The above verse confirms that the revelation was given to a gentile prophet. As far as the Jews and the Christians around the same area were concerned this was something out of the ordinary.
It is not inconceivable that at the time when the Prophet tried to talk to them, their immediate reaction was to question the relevance of the Reading being given to the Arab race.
The people of the previous Scripture (the Jews and the Christians) raised their objection about God’s revelation being revealed to an Arab. They asserted that to be guided by God one had to be a Jew or a Christian.
They say, “You have to be Jewish or Nazarene to be guided.” (1st part of 2:135)
The Reading retorts:
Tell them, “We follow the principle of Abraham the sincere, he never was an idol-worshipper.” (2nd part of 2:135)
True servants of God only follow the example of Abraham. From this reply we can positively say the Jews and the Christians are amongst the idol-worshippers until and unless they follow the principle of Abraham the monotheist. The fundamental belief of God’s servant will testify the following statement to their faith:
Tell them, “We believe in God and what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the patriarchs, and what was revealed to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We do not make any distinction between any of them. To Him we are at peace (Muslims).” (2:136)
This is the perfect concept of a person who is at peace as far as the teaching of the Reading is concerned. He must believe in God, His revelations, and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the patriarchs, and what was revealed to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. Nobody should make any distinction between any of them. Therefore, anyone who truly believes the above is considered a Muslim or those who are peace with God.
Unfortunately, all the ‘monotheistic’ religions today pick one prophet and disregard the rest. The Jews concentrate on Moses. The Christians can relate to Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Moses and the other prophets only insofar as they have a bearing on Jesus. And the religionists, it has been demonstrated, have formulated their own religion around a tribally-biased illusory historical depiction of Muhammad, and it is this invention which is the source of the fanaticism, terrorism, extremism and ignorance in the Arab religion.
According to the Reading, the true rejecters are those who make a distinction between the messengers of God – and that is exactly what we find in all religions:
Those who disbelieve in God and His messengers, and make a distinction among God and His messengers, and say, “We believe in some, and reject some,” and try to follow an in-between path. These are the true disbelievers, and We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating retribution. (4:150-151)
As for those who believe in God and His messengers, they make no distinction among any of them. God will recompense them. God is Forgiver and Merciful. (4:152)
The people of the previous Scriptures were told that the Reading was revealed in Arabic as a test for them to distinguish between those who would sincerely follow God’s Messenger from those who would turn on their heels. Here we see God’s Scripture does not necessarily need to be revealed to a specific community. The racial origin of God’s prophet is not important; the message is. When mankind refuses to consent to God’s message it is not the prophets or the messengers that they reject, but rather God’s revelations.
We realise that you are saddened by what they say. However, it is not you that they reject, but it is God’s revelations that the wicked disregard. The messengers before you have been similarly rejected, but they steadfastly persevered in the face of their rejection, and they were persecuted until our victory came to them. And this will always be the case; God’s tradition is unchangeable. (6:33-34)
1 The history of Moses occupies a prominent place in the Quran. He was set as a good example for those who wish to take a challenge in the cause of God. He did not promote extremism, but persevered with his trust in the unseen God.