Illuminate the Past: Enrich Your Understanding of Palestine History in Islam with Ijaazah Academy!
The exact details of life in the region that later became known as Palestine are not definitively known. However, archaeological findings on Mount Al-Qafra, south of Nazareth, and near Tiberias indicate a simple way of life dating back to the period between 7500 and 3100 BC. Notably, the founding of Jericho, considered the oldest town in history, took place during this time, with remnants discovered near Ain al-Sultan. In the late fourth millennium BC, the inhabitants of the region began to familiarize themselves with copper and employed it in primitive industries, leading historians to term this era the Copper Stone Age.
Significant human migrations to Palestine began in the early third millennium BC, marked by the movement of the Canaanites, who named the places they settled. Over time, three languages developed: Canaanite, Aramaic, and Arabic, which is the language of Christ. Palestine retained the name “Land of Canaan” until the invasion by the Cretan tribes around 1200 BC.
During the third millennium BC, Abraham migrated from Ur in Iraq to Palestine, where he became the father of Isaac (also known as Israel), forefather of the Israelites.
In this period, Palestine was part of the Egyptian Empire, engaging in active trade, as indicated by the Amarna letters discovered in Upper Egypt.
Origin of the Name “Palestine”:
Palestine experienced invasions by Cretan tribes who settled in Jaffa and Gaza, leading to the region being named Palestine after the invading Cretan tribe that assimilated with the Canaanites. The term “Palestine” eventually prevailed, reflecting the Canaanite Arab identity of the inhabitants.
Due to famine, Jacob’s sons migrated to Egypt seeking trade opportunities, where Joseph, son of Jacob, managed treasuries. The Israelites faced persecution under Ramesses II, prompting Moses to lead them out to the land of Canaan, as recounted in the Holy Qur’an in Surah Yusuf. After forty years in the desert, Joshua succeeded Moses, and David established the kingdom of the children of Israel in Jerusalem after overcoming Goliath.
David, may peace be upon him, took on the role of king, successfully reuniting the Israelites and resolving internal conflicts and wars. He defeated the Jebusites, establishing the Kingdom of Israel with Jerusalem as its capital. Following Solomon’s death in 935 BC, the kingdom split into Judah in Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Israel in Samaria. Disputes and wars erupted between the two, seeking assistance from Egypt or Assyria, ultimately weakening both and leading to renewed disturbances.
Downfall of the Judean and Samarian Kingdoms:
In 920 BC, Sheshenq, the King of Egypt, attacked and occupied the Kingdom of Judah, affiliating it with Egypt. Assyrians invaded both Israel and Judah in 721 BC, imposing tribute. Israel attempted to rebel, but Assyrians suppressed the revolt, leading to the majority of the population being taken to Iraq.
In 597 BC, Nebuchadnezzar of Chaldea attacked Palestine, capturing Jerusalem, exiling its king and leaders to Iraq, and appointing a new king. In 586 BC, a Jewish rebellion against Babylon led to Nebuchadnezzar’s return, resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem. Palestine reverted to a Canaanite Arab identity, receiving Arab migrations from Syria and the Arabian Peninsula.
In 539 BC, Persians invaded and occupied Palestine, affiliating it with the Persian state for two centuries. During this time, remnants of the Judah tribe returned from Babylon to Jerusalem.
Alexander the Great conquered Syria, Gaza, and Jerusalem in 332 BC, annexing them to the Greek Empire. After his death, Palestine came under Ptolemaic rule, later falling to Antiochus III in 198 BC, leading to continuous wars and unrest under various rulers.
The Romans occupied Palestine, making it a Roman state under Rome and later Byzantium until the seventh century AD when Arab Muslims conquered it, becoming part of the Arab state. During Roman rule, Jesus Christ was born in Palestine, but conflicts arose, resulting in his crucifixion in 37 AD.
Upon the request of Patriarch Sophronius, Caliph Omar bin Al-Khattab, may God Almighty be pleased with him, personally assumed control of Jerusalem, then known as “Aelia.” Omar traveled to Palestine and drafted a covenant for the Christians, ensuring the protection of their churches and crosses, while also stipulating the exclusion of Jews from the holy city. Subsequently, Arab tribes from Syria, the Hijaz, Najd, and Yemen migrated to Palestine, leading to the majority of its inhabitants embracing Islam and the dominance of the Arabic language.
Umayyad Era (661 – 750):
During the Umayyad era, Palestine was under the rule of Suleiman bin Abdul Malik, who oversaw significant constructions such as the Dome of the Rock, built by Abdul Malik bin Marwan. The Al-Aqsa Mosque, completed by Al-Walid bin Abd, and the city of Ramla, where a palace and the White Mosque were constructed, stand as enduring monuments from this period.
Abbasid Era (750 – 1258):
Following the Umayyad rule, Palestine became part of the Abbasid state. Caliphs Al-Ma’mun and his son Al-Mahdi visited the region, contributing to increased Arabization and the emergence of new generations resulting from intermarriage between Arab conquerors and the local population.
Tulunids and Qarmatians:
In the third century AH, the Tulunids gained control over various parts of Palestine due to the weakening grip of the Abbasid state. The Qarmatians, causing political turmoil in the fourth century AH, invaded the Levant, occupying and devastating Palestine. Subsequently, the region witnessed rule under various regimes, including the Ikhshidids, Seljuks, and Fatimids, leading to a century of chaos.
Crusader Occupation (1095-1291):
In the late eleventh century AD, foreign occupation returned to Palestine with the Crusades initiated by Pope Urban II. The Crusaders, symbolized by the cross, led campaigns, establishing the Latin Kingdom in Jerusalem. Nur al-Din Zengi and Saladin al-Ayyubi later regained control in the Battle of Hattin (1187), with the final cleansing conducted by Khalil bin Qalawun in 1291, liberating Palestine from Crusader rule.
Following the Ottoman victory over the Mamluks in 1516, Palestine remained under Ottoman rule for four centuries.
Napoleon’s Campaign (1799):
Napoleon’s attempt to invade Palestine in 1799 was thwarted, as his forces failed to conquer Acre due to its fortifications and the valiant defense led by Ahmed Pasha.
Muhammad Ali’s Rule (1838):
In 1838, Muhammad Ali, the governor of Egypt, expanded his kingdom by conquering parts of the Levant. His son Ibrahim Pasha captured various cities, but Muhammad Ali’s rule in the Levant lasted only ten years before returning to Ottoman rule.
British Occupation (1917):
After British forces defeated Turkey in World War I, Palestine came under British Mandate in 1917, lasting until 1948. The British withdrawal paved the way for the establishment of Israel by Jewish forces, supported by Britain and the United States.
Division of Palestine:
Efforts to address unrest led to the British proposal of partition in 1947. The United Nations General Assembly formed an international commission of inquiry, but the Arab rejection and Jewish opposition delayed its implementation. Subsequent British-American initiatives aimed to convince the Arabs of the partition idea, ultimately shifting the focus to the United Nations. Britain’s decision to abandon the mandate in 1947 marked a turning point, leading to the formation of an international commission to address the Palestinian issue.
Four months following the dispatch of the committee to Palestine, its findings mirrored those of the British Royal Commission. The recommendations emphasized the preservation of the religious essence of all sacred sites and advocated for peaceful means in endorsing any proposed resolution. A pivotal suggestion outlined in this presentation was the partitioning of Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state. The delineation of borders for the Arab state encompassed Western Galilee, mountainous Nablus, the coastal plain from Ashdod to the Egyptian border, including the Hebron region, Mount Jerusalem, and the southern Jordan Valley, constituting an area of 12 thousand square kilometers.
On the other hand, the Jewish region incorporated Eastern Galilee, Marj Ben Amer, the predominant section of the coastal plain, and the Beersheba and Negev regions. Spanning 14,200 square kilometers, this region represented the most fertile Palestinian land. Concerning the holy places, notably the city of Jerusalem and its environs, they were slated for international trusteeship. The United Nations Trusteeship Council would appoint a non-Arab and non-Jewish overseer for this area.
During a United Nations session on September 23, 1947, the project was delegated to a special committee comprising representatives from all member states, including a Jewish representative and a Palestinian representative. The Palestinian delegate rejected the proposal after a comprehensive historical review of the roots of the Palestinian issue, while the Jewish delegate expressed approval. On November 29, 1947, the partition project underwent a vote, securing majority approval with 33 votes in favor, 13 against, and ten countries abstaining. Britain, on March 15, 1948, declared the termination of the Mandate over Palestine, announced the planned evacuation in August of the same year, and affirmed its decision to relinquish any administrative or military authority.