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“All of Palestine is holy Muslim Waqf Land”: A myth and its roots

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explains that the Hamas concept is a novel politically-oriented myth, rooted neither in Islamic legal texts nor in historical practice. This myth aims to explain why Palestinians (or Muslims in general) should not cede a single inch of land to Israel or to the Zionist Jews. The chapter first traces the legal grounding of the Hamas contention that Palestine is a waqf land and follows the sources and authorities that Hamas uses to endorse its new interpretation. Then, it demonstrates that, contrary to Hamas’ claims, lands conquered by Islam, including Palestine, were categorized as fayʾ lands rather than as waqf lands. The chapter also deals with the practice of land tenure during medieval and Ottoman times. Finally, it explains how the general public, including those considered political rivals of the Islamists, accepts the new radical Islamic religious-based legal innovations.

Keywords: Hamas concept; holy Muslim waqf land; Palestine; politically-oriented myth; radical Islamic religious-based legal innovations



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