The following are excerpts from an interview with Sheik Muhammad Ali, deputy head of the Palestinian Clerics Association, which aired on Al-Manar TV on August 19, 2005.
Sheik Muhammad Ali: Any land, any piece of land, over which flies the banner of "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger," and which at a certain point belonged to the Muslims - as far as we are concerned, plundering and occupying such land is forbidden, and it is the duty of all Muslims to do what they can to liberate this land, wherever it may be. True, many precious Muslim lands are under occupation today. They have been forgotten, and Andalusia is one example. Nevertheless, it is the duty of the Muslims to liberate them. But since we are discussing Palestine, Gaza, and so on, let us focus on this precious piece of Muslim land, especially since Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque belong to all Muslims, and have become a part of the Muslim faith.
When a piece of Muslim land is occupied, the duty of liberating it falls, first of all, on the local residents, as decreed by the religious rulers. It is, first of all, the duty of the local residents.
Moderator: In the past they were called the people of the frontier.
Sheik Muhammad Ali: True. Very good.
Moderator: The people of a certain frontier fulfill their duty.
Sheik Muhammad Ali: They are the spearhead of the liberation effort. But when they are too few, or they cannot - it is the duty of the next in line to liberate this land.
Moderator: When you say next, you mean those closest geographically?
Sheik Muhammad Ali: Yes. That's what I mean. But if they are unable to do it either, it becomes the duty of all Muslims to do what they can to liberate it. According to the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, not only when an entire homeland is occupied, but when "even an inch of Muslim land is occupied, Jihad is a personal duty, a religious obligation incumbent upon everyone. A wife must go, even without her husband's permission, and a slave must go - if there are slaves, without his master's permission." They must liberate this land - and this is when only an inch is occupied, let alone when it is Palestine, Jerusalem, and Al-Aqsa that are occupied.
Moderator: Honorable sheik, there is a peculiar paradox: the Zionists are afraid of the weapons of the resistance, which are simple weapons, but they are not afraid of the weapons of the Arab regimes. Why is this?
Sheik Muhammad Ali: You know why? Because the weapons of the resistance are free.
Moderator: The decision...
Sheik Muhammad Ali: The decision-making is free.
Moderator: So, they fear the decision-making...
Sheik Muhammad Ali: ... and not any particular type of weapon.
Moderator: They are afraid of the Qassam missiles, which are very simple and basic, while neighboring countries have missiles, planes, and tanks.
Sheik Muhammad Ali: In many countries the missiles and tanks have become rusty.
Moderator: How come (the Zionists) don't demand their disarmament?
Sheik Muhammad Ali: These weapons do not scare them because they know that there is a decision (not to use them). On the other hand, the the weapons of the resistance are the martyrdom seekers - whether men, women, or boys.
Moderator: They are not subject to any political decision.
Sheik Muhammad Ali: None whatsoever.
Sheik Muhammad Ali: The Prophet Muhammad foretold in a hadith that "Judgment Day would come only when the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims would kill the Jews, and the rock and tree would say: 'Oh, Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew' - of course he was referring to the occupying Zionist Jew – 'there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him', except for the Gharqad tree."
Allah willing, we will enter (Palestine) as conquerors and liberators, not through negotiations, but through Jihad and resistance, because the hadith goes: "and the Muslims would kill the Jews" – there is killing involved.
Moderator: This divine prophecy, which appears in the hadith and in Koranic verses, denies the legitimacy of normalization or any agreement, because it is only a matter of time, and the Muslims will eventually liberate Jerusalem and regain Palestine.
Sheik Muhammad Ali: How peculiar it is that the Zionists believe this, while many leaders, regimes and Arabs do not believe this. This is very sad, strange, and puzzling. Of course, I mean the Muslims and Arabs that are misinformed. The Jews acknowledge this because they find it in their forged Torah, in their Talmud.
Today, the Jews plant this tree in large numbers in Palestine, because they acknowledge this.
Moderator: The Ghardaq tree?
Sheik Muhammad Ali: Not Ghardaq, Gharqad.
Since they believe that the Zionist entity will disappear... They are only trying to stall. They are not trying to establish themselves but to delay the fulfillment of the divine prophecy of the liberation of all of Palestine and the wiping out of the Zionist entity. If the Jews and the Zionists were to leave Palestine now, the war would be over, and the Middle East and the entire world could sigh in relief. But the Jews, these Zionists, are against humanity, not just against Muslims.