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The notion of eschatology presupposes religious beliefs regarding the prophecy on the end of the world. The study of Islamic eschatology in the early period reveals the connectivity of Christian beliefs and the prophecy in the Muslim Qur'an. In this context, Jerusalem is the Holy Land for three religions - Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. In the Bible, the attack on this city signals the end of the world, whereas the Qur'an does not mention Jerusalem as the setting of the end of the world. Yet, after the death of prophet Muhammad, the commentators of the Sacred Muslim Book mention Jerusalem as the place beloved by God. Its rebirth after the end of the world initiates the appearance of a new and better life without evil and injustice. Consequently, the mentions of Jerusalem started the early Islamic eschatological tradition and affected its development.
Jerusalem and Early Islamic Eschatology
Apocalyptic ideas are peculiar for each world religion. The inevitability of the end of the world motivates people to confess, be humble, and not commit evil. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have the idea of an apocalypse or the end of the world. The Book of Revelations contains the text, claiming that no one knows a day and an hour when the end of the world will occur. In Islam, there is the notion of the Judgement Day preceding the end of the world. Thus, a new just society, appearing after this day, exists for some time, and the end of the world comes afterward.
The beginnings of Islamic eschatology go back to the death of the prophet Muhammad. Christianity, existing at that time alongside Judaism, professed the belief that the world would come to its end and God's justice would prevail. In the Arab world, life after death was indefinite, and it was associated with fears that transferred to a different perception of paradise as an inaccessible place, whereas Christianity claimed that purification and salvation were possible for everybody. Nevertheless, the similarity in Islamic eschatology allows assuming that the formation of Muslim religion took place under the impact of Christianity and Judaism. The common belief regarding God's justice and the inevitability of death is the basis of all three religions.
The Islamic expansion followed the introduction of Christianity as Muslims intended to establish their empire in the world despite the inevitability of the end of the world. Judaist and Christian ideas affected the formation of Islam. Moreover, Muslims accept Jesus, and their eschatological beliefs state that his return and defeat of false Messiah will establish righteousness. The mentioning of Jerusalem in the context of apocalypse considers the city as the Holy Land. Thus, Jerusalem was the central setting in the apocalyptic ideas, due to which early eschatological traditions in Islam appeared because it was the Holy Land and the only place of peace between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and each religion admitted apocalypse as the defeat of Anti-Messiah and the restoration of Jerusalem so the similarities between eschatological conceptions integrated the three religions within the Sacred City.
The Analysis of Early Islamic Apocalyptic Tradition
Islam, as one of the principal global monotheist religious confessions, admits that morality ensures dedication to the only God. He is fair as he destroys evil and protects the good. God establishes moral justice and, as the Creator of the world, knows the day when the reign of evil will be terminated by the Judgement and the end of the world will come. The part of theology regarding the consideration and interpretation of the end of history is called eschatology.
Eschatological traditions in Islam are vital for creating the basis of the fear of Allah and approving the faith. Although many Muslims sustain conflicts with the Western world regarding eschatological beliefs and destroy the non-believers, who do not confess Islam, early Islamic traditions pay less attention to the eschatological component (Shoemaker, 2014) The rejection of eschatology brought undeniable importance to the conquest and expansion of Muslims to North Africa and Europe. The Osman Empire became most powerful in Medieval times and it seemed impossible that it would ever become weak, which probably was due to the aversion of eschatology. Although the Qur'an raised apocalypse as an urgent issue, the early scholars were reluctant in pursuing eschatological ideas (Shoemaker, 2014). Islam Arabs emerged into Christian society and established the ruling leadership of their ideas. Such actions turned them into the enemies of the Christian world (Shoemaker, 2015). Muslims became the conquerors, intending to build a unified social order.
The establishment of the Muslim power over the Christian world showed a pragmatic rather than apocalyptic perspective. Thus, the practical constituent demonstrated the intention to globalize Islam as the only true confession that determined the social and political order -sharia (Shoemaker, 2014). With their conquering of the word, Muslims intended to eliminate social and economic injustices, the organize Arab movement, and build an empire (Shoemaker, 2014). The unified social order had to precede the Hour, or the time of the Judgement, prepare the community for living the righteous life and avoid punishment.
The exact timeframes regarding the Judgement were peculiar to early Islamic traditions. Thus, the Muslim literature indicated that the dates when proto-Muslims expected the end of the world were 70/689-690 during the years 100-170. Nevertheless, the apocalypse should not have happened before the death of the Prophet (Cook, 2014). Although the Sacred Muslim Writing mentions the question to Muhammad regarding the Hour, the Prophet never asks it directly. After 632, the perspective of Muslims regarding the Worlds End changed. The similarities regarding monotheism and peaceful preaching of Muhammad stated that bloodshed would not build society, which God would like, on Judgment day. Nevertheless, Muslims maintained the perspective that their faith was the only true version later, although, at the beginnings of eschatological traditions, Christians, Jews, and Muslims held similar views on the apocalypse.
The connection between Christianity and Islam in early eschatology reveals the personality of Jesus. Muslims accept Jesus as a prophet who will defeat Antichrist or false Messiah (Cook 2014). Christianity in the Book of Revelations warns that there will be many false prophets, directing people to the wrongful way. Although Islam rejects the divinity of Christ, the focus on his mission remains higher beyond the Qur'an. In some regards, his exhalation exceeds the meaningfulness of Mohammad, but it does not compromise with objecting to the divine nature and power of Jesus. The Qur'an does not refer to his martyr death for the sake of saving people either (Cook, 2014). Still, the personality of Christ integrates Christianity and Islam regarding eschatology and promotes the development of the principal dogmas of Islam at its early stages.
The mentioning of Jesus from a proto-Muslim perspective is another demonstration of the similarities in Islamic eschatology. Thus, Cook (2014) provides the following citation from the Syrian collection of materials, giving Jesus greater importance than Muhammad and actually describes Annunciation:
Whoever bears witness that there is no god but God alone without any associate and that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger, and that Jesus is the servant of God and the son of His handmaiden (ama), and His Word which he cast upon Mary and a Spirit from Him, that paradise is true and hell, it is obligatory for God to let him enter whichever of the eight gates of paradise he wishes. (p. 82)
Raising the importance of Jesus and the predecessor of the Judgement Day assures that Christianity and Islam are similar. Moreover, eschatological Islamic beliefs emerged from the Christian ones. Such facts make Jerusalem vital for both religions as the setting of the Hour. Its rebirth is analogical to the preach of Christ, where he mentions his resurrection and comprises the reason for his imprisonment and death.
The notions of belief and Islam remain separated as Jesus appears in the confessions of faith fragmentarily. Believers in the early ecumenical groups believed in God and the Last Day, which actually represented early Islamic eschatology (Cook, 2014). Muslims regarded Jesus as Muhammad's early follower, although the cities Mecca and Medina became the place of initiation of Islam only in the 7th century, the time when Muhammad died 700 years later after Christ (Brandes, Schmieder, & Vo?, 2016; Shoemaker, 2015; Shoemaker, 2014; Cook, 2014). As Muhammad came after Jesus, most Muslim beliefs pay much attention to the personality of the latter regarding apocalypse. His role remains central as the setting of the Hour.
Jews, who sentenced Christ to death, also believe in the Last Day but disregard Christ, which creates a difference between Muslim and Christian conceptions. Their eschatological traditions anticipate God that gathers all the good souls in paradise and expels the evil ones (Lassner, 2017). Their objection to the resurrection from the dead is controversial to Christian dogmas, as they do not believe in the resurrection of Christ, which is common to Muslim beliefs.
The role of women in the traditional beliefs in different confessions was associated with fall and sinfulness. The disparity between Jews and Christians is the tradition that most allies of Anti-Messiah are women having demonic origination (Brandes, Schmieder, & Vo? 2016). In Muslim eschatology, the majority of commentators and the Sacred Books Sunni and the Qur'an do not mention the roles of women. General eschatology explains that women will cry for their children and suffer during the Last Day, but later, they will experience the joy of being in the new society. In the Medieval Ages, the religious ideas, on which the development of Islamic eschatology fell, disregarded women for their sinful nature as both Islam and Christianity admitted them to be the first to sin (Brandes, Schmieder, & Vo? 2016). Nevertheless, Muhammad's conception of a woman remained positive as he was married to a beloved woman and her image embodied righteousness, dedication, humbleness, and kindness.
The Jewish origination of Antichrist, or Dajj? l is one of the key beliefs in Islamic eschatology. General disregard towards Jews is a possible reason for their difference from Christian and Muslim convictions (Brandes, Schmieder, & Vo? 2016). Their attitude to women and society is peculiar, and the Holy Writings prove this fact. Even nowadays, women comprise the temptation by men, so they must wear long clothes, covering their bodies. Their sinfulness, enrooted from eschatological traditions, has acquired dress-code limitations.
The analysis of Islamic eschatology demonstrates that Muslim beliefs, Judaism, and Christianity have many common features. Monotheism is the principal doctrine for all three religions. Jesus is a key personality in Islamic and Christian beliefs, both general and eschatological ones. The Jewish origination of Anti-Messiah separates Judaism as a religion. The divergent feature in eschatology is the representation of women as the allies of Dajjal? l in Judaism and the objection of Christ's divinity by Muslims. However, Jerusalem remains the central location and the place of pilgrimage for all three religions, miraculously united.
The Role of Jerusalem in Early Islamic Eschatology
Jerusalem in Israel is a Holy Land within the country, the neighbors of which are in the conditions of the constant war with the former. Thus, the religious background in the unsetting military events creates the forethought of the Hour and the Last Day. Such events maintain the anticipation of Judgement Day and make most Christians and Muslims address the issue of eschatology.
The beginnings of a newer understanding of the city of Jerusalem started in Medieval times. Its importance lies in the glorification of the Holy Land. This eschatological element is vital for the halo of sanctity, attached to Jerusalem. The initial Muslim victories in the Crusades and the conquest of Byzantium helped them acquire Jerusalem and reign it (Lassner, 2017; Livne-Kafri, 2016). Numerous mentions of Jerusalem regarding the Last Day make the city especially important in regards to power.
The political context also found its implementation regarding Jerusalem. Mu? will, the first Umayyad caliph, addressed the Iranian delegation as follows: You have come to the best caliph, and the Holy Land and the land of gathering (resurrection) and you have to come to the land wherein which are the graves of the prophets (Livne-Kafri, 2016, p. 387). The Rock in eschatology is the place of resurrection, the final drama of humanity, and the last judgment. The Temple built on the Rock is relevant for the narratives about the caliph by Abd al-Malik. The son of Kabs wife N? f al-Bakk? l? is engaged in one of the traditions as he enumerates the merits to Jerusalem (Livne-Kafri, 2016). The Rock will have special attention in the Hour as it will be the place where All? h sets his foot.
The Rock in Jerusalem is a peculiar place for Muslim eschatology as it has allusions to Christianity. The Rock comes in the meaning of a mountain, peculiarly the Mount of Olives, where Christ prays to God and names Peter to be the head of the church. The name Peter means stone or rock, so Jesus uses this word to show the meaningfulness of the basis for the formation of Christianity. Islam eschatological traditions consider the Rock as the place, closest to paradise (Livne-Kafri, 2016). It also separates hell from paradise, so during Judgement Day, the Rock will be the assembling place where righteous souls will earn paradise and sinners will go to hell. The paradise will appear from the mosque of Jerusalem, whereas the hell is in the Valley of Josaphat, which sounds in Arabic as w?d??Jahannam (the valley of hell) (Livne-Kafri, 2016, p 390). Such a drastic setting makes Jerusalem vital and helps understand the motivation for the rein over the city for Muslims in the Medieval ages.
The place, from which one is permitted to pray, is disputable in the traditions of eschatology. However, it might seem sinful to pray from the Valley of Josaphat, even though churches are there. Thus, Christians retain the tradition to deliver prayers in the churches regardless of their location (Livne-Kafri, 2016). However, Muslim eschatological traditions are similar in these regards. The later writing includes the notion of the Gate of Mercy in Jerusalems Valley of Josaphat, where the believers ask All? h of paradise and shelter from hell. Giving such a role to different places in Jerusalem makes the city the place of pilgrimage, according to the traditions, implied by Qur'an.
The understanding of the role of Jerusalem in Islamic eschatology anticipates the presence of both earthly and heavenly Holy Land. The most important Muslim traditions speak of the Temple in Heaven, directed to the earthly one (Livne-Kafri, 2016). The interpretation of such a concept reflects the dualistic nature of the human soul, incorporating earthly material desires, imperfection, sinful nature, and spiritual aspirations, mercy, virtues, and morale. The conception of heavenly Jerusalem comes from the Jewish interpretation, associated with the heavenly sanctum opposite the Kaaba in Mecca. The common allusions regarding Jerusalem allow assuming that Judaism, Islam, and Christianity appeared together but proved to be different interpretations of the same traditions.
The bride motif, present in the Book of Revelation, saying of the End of the World is different in Islamic eschatology. According to traditions, All? h will gather all the churches where His name is mentioned to Jerusalem so they will surround it like riders who want to take the bride to her new family (Livne-Kafri, 2016). Kaba is the reservation of a bride's image. On the Last Day, one will conduct Kaba like a bride to husband, and it will intercede for the pilgrims, coming to pay to it (Livne-Kafri, 2016). The bridal motifs and precious stones, applied as metaphors to towns, also constitute eschatological Islamic traditions, but they do not refer to Jerusalem. This trait remains peculiar for Christian eschatology only. The city is unique as Jerusalem is the only sanctum, where all landmark events from Christ's life take place.
When considering the signs of the Last Day, the Qur'an does not mention Jerusalem. Nevertheless, it has the appearance of Gog and Magog, trials or fitan, wars regarding warfare, with eschatological connotations and those against infidels, in particular, early Christians in Byzantine (Livne-Kafri, 2016). Another sign is the conquest of Jerusalem and the death of the Prophet. Thus, finding the context in the history of the people confessing some faith will help interpret the foretelling of the last day. The death of Muhammad initiated a new era for the development of Islam and the expansion of the Osman Empire. The conquest of Jerusalem is present in Christian and Jewish eschatology. Damascus will be the shelter of Muslims, which is the central basis for Islam (Livne-Kafri, 2016). Other sanctuaries are Jerusalem, particularly the Mountain. After the devastation, coming from Gog and Magog, the sacred places will remain strong. Knowing the signs and understanding their historical context will create a distinct picture of eschatology in Islam regarding modernity and the future. Therefore, Jerusalem is vital regarding Islamic eschatology. Its presence in all religions and their apocalyptic traditions makes it a valuable place of prayer and showing religious dedication. The integrating function of the Holy Land is a powerful background for salvation and preservation of all religions in harmonic unity and peace.
Eschatology in Islam is abundant for images, allusions, and beliefs, using which the religion has formed since Medieval times. Apart from monotheism, other similarities between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity help interpret the events, foretold for the Last Day, better and more clearly. The allusions, explanation in eschatological traditions using facts, confirm the presence of similar signs, combining three various religions.
Jesus is the key personality in Islamic eschatology. Muslims consider him to be a prophet and admit his birth from the Word of God, which shows the similarity to Christian doctrines. In Muslim apocalyptic traditions, his return will initiate the Judgement Day and he will defeat Anti-Messiah, which distinguishes Christ more than Muhammad. Jews do not pertain to belief in the resurrection. The Jewish origination of Anti-Messiah creates prejudice regarding people and religion, which looks different in many aspects.
Lowering the role of women is peculiar for all religions because a woman is the first to sin. Muslim eschatology does not mention women in any of its texts, whereas Jewish traditions maintain the belief that Antichrist has many women as allies and give them a demonic origin. Such visions are one of the reasons, separating Judaism from other religions. At the same time, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have many similar beliefs and exist together harmoniously within the Holy City.
The Holy Land and Jerusalem deserve peculiar attention in apocalyptic traditions and beliefs as foretold by Cristian and Islamic prophets. Picturing the city with metaphors, as it is the central setting and shelter for those experiencing the Last Day, makes it especially important in showing faith and dedication to religion. Its rebuilding makes the thinking of believers direct towards righteousness, mercy, and kindness as well as keeping the peace of the world, avoiding and eradicating conflicts.