Courage is defined as the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. I would disagree, but only slightly. Courage can also be defined as acting bravely in the face of fear. One can be fearful, yet still act courageously.
Courage isn’t defined by protesting in a free and safe environment like a college campus or a mall. Courage isn’t defined by today’s feminists, or LGBT-rights activists and their infantile “pride” parades. It certainly isn’t defined by the phony Black Lives Matter movement and their schoolyard-bully tactics. True courage is rarely witnessed in a free society where there is no real threat of reprisal.
The last time we saw true courage in America was the real civil rights movement, in which those like Martin Luther King peacefully stood up against the threat of actual retribution and for it, paid the ultimate price.
So in today’s environment, for a Muslim to speak out against his own faith and his faith’s traditions is indeed the definition of courage. But this is exactly what Dr. Youssef Ziedan is doing.
Dr. Ziedan is an Egyptian scholar, a lecturer at the University of Alexandria , best-selling author in the Arab world and an expert in Arabic and Islamic studies. Over the past year, Ziedan has “proposed that Egypt re-evaluate its relationship with the Jewish nation.”As controversial at this may seem, it’s nothing compared to what he’s saying now.
Recently, Ziedan was interviewed by Khairy Ramadan at the CBC studios in Egypt where he broached a rather contentious topic – that of al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and who really has proper claim to it.
In the interview, Ziedan explains that the al-Aqsa Mosque is not the holy site modern-day Islam believes it to be, that the mosque is actually illegitimate and that Al-Quds (Jerusalem) is not a Muslim holy city.
Ziedan tells the interviewer that after Muhammad was harassed into leaving Mecca, he journeyed to the city of Ta’if . “On the road to Ta’if [west of Mecca ] there were two mosques, Al-Adna Mosque (the nearest) and Al-Aqsa Mosque (the farthest).” So, he says, according to early Islamic historians such as al-Waqidi and others, “these two mosques were on the road from Mecca to Ta’if.” Looking at a map it is plain to see that Jerusalem is a no where close to either Mecca or Ta’if.
He explains that the al-Aqsa Mosque did not even exist in Jerusalem at that time, nor was the city ever specifically referenced in the Quran. At that time, Jerusalem was known as Aelia, which was a Christian name, not al-Quds and in fact had no mosques at all. Ziedan then explains that the al-Aqsa Mosque was constructed by the fifth caliph, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, 73 years after the founding of Islam as a purely political tool, “in order to infringe on the prestige of Mecca , which at the time was controlled by his political enemies. Al-Aqsa Mosque was a pawn in a political game, led by ibn Marwan,” said Ziedan. So it could not have been the mosque spoken of in the Quran.
This is why, when the “Farthest Mosque” is referenced in verse 17.1 of the Quran, which depicts Muhammad’s journey out of Mecca, the name Jerusalem is placed in brackets, denoting that the name was added.
And the money quote of this entire two-hour interview came when Ramadan asked the doctor: “So we should just leave al-Aqsa [in Jerusalem ], which has nothing to with us?” Ziedan responded that “neither we nor the Jews have anything to do with it. That’s what I’m saying.” Ramadan then asks: “Where would that lead us?” Ziedan’s answer: “To peace.”
Peace with the Jews? That, my friends, is powerful stuff and something no Islamist wants to hear or wishes for anyone else to hear.
Dr. Youssef Ziedan defines true courage.
See excerpts of Ziedan’s interview: