Grand Mufti of Jerusalem

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The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem is the Sunni Muslim cleric in charge of Jerusalem's Islamic holy places, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque.[1] The position has since 2006 been held by Muhammad Hussein.


Ottoman era[edit]

The first Qadi, Mohammed Tahir al-Husayni, was appointed by the Ottoman Empire, which ruled the Middle East, including the territory known as Palestine, from the 16th century to the early 20th century.

When Tahir al-Husayni died in 1908, his son Kamil al-Husayni succeeded him and served with approval of the British authorities once the British conquered Jerusalem in December 1917. However, during World War I, the Ottoman Empire claimed that al-Husayni was a British stooge and that As'ad Shuqeiri-who was appointed by the Ottoman Empire as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem 1914-1918-was the rightful Grand Mufti. Shuqeiri was the father of Ahmad Shukeiri (1908–1980), the first leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

British Mandate[edit]

When Palestine was under British Mandate, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was a position appointed by the British Mandate authorities.

When Kamil al-Husayni died in 1921, the British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel appointed Mohammad Amin al-Husayni to the position. Amin al-Husayni, a member of the al-Husayni clan of Jerusalem, was an Arab nationalist and Muslim leader in the British Mandate of Palestine. As Grand Mufti, as well as the other influential positions that he held during this period, al-Husayni played a key role in violent opposition to Zionism and closely allied himself with the Nazi regime.[citation needed] In 1948, after Jordan occupied Jerusalem, Abdullah I of Jordan officially removed al-Husayni from the post, banned him from entering Jerusalem, and appointed Hussam Al-din Jarallah as Grand Mufti. When Jarallah died in 1954, no Grand Mufti was appointed until 1993.[citation needed]

Palestinian Authority[edit]

In 1993, with the transfer of increased control of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem from Israel to the Palestinians, Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat appointed Sulaiman Ja'abari as Grand Mufti. When he died in 1994, Arafat appointed Ekrima Sa'id Sabri. Sabri was removed in 2006 by Palestinian National Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, who was concerned that Sabri was involved too heavily in political matters.[2] Abbas appointed Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, who was perceived as a political moderate. However, shortly after his appointment, Hussein made comments which suggested that suicide bombing was an acceptable tactic for Palestinians to use against Israel.[2]

List of Qadi and Mufti of Jerusalem[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Friedman, Robert I. (2001-12-06). "And Darkness Covered the Land". The Nation. Retrieved 2007-09-13. 
  2. ^ a b Yaniv Berman, "Top Palestinian Muslim Cleric Okays Suicide Bombings", Media Line, 23 October 2006.
  3. ^ Abdul-Karim Rafeq (2000). "6: Ottoman Jerusalem in the writings of Arab travelers". In Sylvia Auld and Robert Natsheh. Ottoman Jerusalem, The Living City: 1517–1917 I. London: Altajir World of Islam Trust. pp. 63–72. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Kamal J al-'Asali (2000). "18: The cemeteries of Ottoman Jerusalem". In Sylvia Auld and Robert Natsheh. Ottoman Jerusalem, The Living City: 1517–1917 I. London: Altajir World of Islam Trust. pp. 279–284. 
  5. ^ For details see David Kushner, Palestine in the late Ottoman period: political, social, and economic transformation, BRILL, 1986. passim
  6. ^ 1921 to 1936 Jewish Virtual Library