Palestine by another name will not smell the same

روى أحمد وأبو ليلى حديثا من سمى المدينة يثرب فليستغفر الله، وهي طابة وفي رواية فليستغفر الله ثلاثا . 

Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “He who calls al-Madīnah Yathrib should seek Allāh’s forgiveness. Indeed she is Ṭābah (the Pure City).” [Aḥmad]

Another narration says, “He should seek Allāh’s forgiveness thrice.”


The colonisation of the lands of Islam is an undeniable fact. What few wish to acknowledge is that colonialism was so thorough that even the religious amongst us need to examine if our minds belong to Allāh or do we automatically fall into the paradigm which the colonial masters have set? For example, let’s discuss the issue of substance versus terminology. A great proportion of Muslims would feel more at ease paraphrasing Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet rather than referring to Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه وسلم . They nod as if they are sages of the era and exclaim, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Case closed.

There are two problems with this:
1.      That a Kāfir’s words should be our primary point of reference is indeed horrifying, even if the words be true. Do we not realise that we have displaced Allāh and His Rasūl صلى الله عليه وسلم from our minds? Are we not slaves of Allāh – body, mindand soul?
2.      There is indeed a principle in Islāmic law that substance overweighs terminology, but this is not all-encompassing. The above Ḥadīth is one of several in which Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه وسلم  indicates that reality is influenced by terminology. Otherwise why the offence at “Yathrib” versus “al-Madīnah”?

The offence he felt at the term, “Yathrib” is further demonstrated by the narration of al-Ḥākim in his Ta’rīkh, “The recompense for one who calls al-Madīnah Yathrib is that he says, ‘al-Madīnah’ ten times.”

So important is correct terminology that Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه وسلم  was not shy to change a term he himself had previously used. He said, “If they knew what is in ‘Atmah and Ṣubḥ they would come to them even if they had to crawl.” [Muslim] Yet we were later prohibited from using that term ‘Atmah as a lowly term of the Bedouins for their time of milking their camels. We are to use the word ‘Ishā’ [Muslim]

The Kuffār understand the importance of correct terminology having an effect on reality. Note the vicious dispute between Greece and Macedonia over the latter’s name. Greece only recognises Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia NOT Macedonia!

By ignoring the teachings of Rasūlullāh صلى الله عليه وسلم  we have allowed our enemies to dictate the terms of dialogue unto us, until we have lost the plot. Listening to Prof ‘Abdul ‘Azīz ‘Amr who had been imprisoned and tortured for 12 years, I noted his avoidance of the term, “Israel.” How can he use the term which Allāh had conferred upon His Nabī Ya‘qūb ‘alayhis salām in reference to those “Zionist criminals” as he called them, who had so viciously tortured him and still keep him from his home and family (in Baytul Muqaddas NOT Jerusalem)? The professor used the term, “Zionist entity” when referring to the illegal occupation of ALL Palestine.

This was the attitude of Muslims for a long period after 1948. Today one even hears a Muslim radio station mention, “Temple Mount,” instead of al-Ḥaram ash-Sharīf. So brainwashed are we that our words give the sacred Masjid away to become a Jewish temple.
 Yes, the treatment of our brethren is of great concern – whether in Palestine or elsewhere. Yes, confiscation of Muslim lands is of concern – whether in Palestine or elsewhere. However, by dropping terms of protest such as, “Zionist entity” we have allowed the enemy to dictate unto us the terms of discussion. We have lost the plot and express outrage at the uprooting of olive trees. How darethey?!!!

O slaves of Allāh! That is not the point! Were they to leave every tree alone, not arrest any Palestinian, not break a single bone of a single child we are still obliged to heed the original issue – Palestine belongs to Islām and the illegitimate terrorist entity has no place there, not even in the eyes of honest Jews and Christians who have always been welcome in the lands of Islām.  They already dominate the media, so they deny these atrocities even exist. By making the atrocities the sole topic of debate, the Muslims have helped end the debate.

Palestine – or a more beautiful term I prefer is Masran Nabī (the land where the Nabī صلى الله عليه وسلم  made his Isrā’) will be liberated, but first the tongues and minds of Muslim need liberation. 


سليمان الكندي

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One response

  1. […] words we use help create perceptions and ultimately new realities. See for example, my article on calling Palestine, “Israel”. Yet with the copy-and-paste attitude of Muslim media, one sadly notes Muslims calling al-Ḥaram […]

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