Palestine and Israel from the perspective of collective consciousness, 5th essay

This is the final essay in my series of essays that aim to bring peace to Palestine and Israel. Like in my previous few essays, I wanted to title it differently but to maintain continuity I shall call it “5th essay”; I had considered “From Moshe to Moosa” or “From Moosa to Moshe”[1] after the inscription on Rambam’s tomb which reads “From Moses to Moses arose none like Moses”[2], a testament to wisdom and intelligence. In this essay I shall try and make an appeal to both emotion and reason, simultaneously, and show why peace is better for both Moshe and Moosa. As is the spirit of this series of essays, I shall handle the subject with sensitivity. If I inadvertently say something insensitive, I apologise from the beginning.

Throughout my essays I have used the lens of collective consciousness to posit that the way forward is peace. In my original essay on collective consciousness, titled ‘Collective Consciousness’, I explain how one is a part of the consciousness of humanity, and how the consciousness of humanity is made up of the consciousnesses of everyone. I also explain how events shape the individual, and collective consciousness. What remained implicit was that emotions, as both the result and cause of events, too, shape consciousnesses.

Let us begin by critiquing my previous essays and calling them hyperrational. I use the word ‘hyperrational’ very consciously because what I have written may be perceived as my asking people on either side to forget whatever is in their consciousnesses, as individuals, and as people of a nation, given my arguments, to work towards peace because that is objectively the better option. To add to the criticism, I wrote in the opening lines of the first essay that I am observing the crisis unfold from a distance and, therefore, carry the credibility of an armchair critic; I am far from hearing a rocket or a bomb explode, or losing a member of my family to this crisis. Although I have tried to defend my position in the second essay, the “if this, then that” approach may seem to be a pure appeal to reason. The classical elements of persuasion suggest that an appeal be made either using the credibility of the speaker, to the emotions of the audience, or to their ability to reason. Much to my dismay, I have the credibility of an armchair critic appealing to the two nations’ ability to reason in an emotionally charged crisis.

In my defense I posit that, using the teachings of Rambam and Ibn ‘Abbas, I shall establish my credibility, and that an appeal can be made to both emotion and reason simultaneously, within the framework of collective consciousness.

Let’s start with a thought experiment. Take a moment to pause and ask yourself what you’d like to be remembered for. Perhaps you’d like to be remembered for your values, for your vocation, for your contributions to a cause you consider worthy, or one of the myriad other things. Your emotions, stemming from your conception of the answer, would lead you in pursuit of bringing it to reality. In other words, your desire to be become an indelible part of humanity’s consciousness would lead you in pursuit of events that bring it to bear. A generalization of this is that the nations of the world would like to be an eternal part of humanity’s consciousness.

We’ll find similar ideas among the medieval Muslim philosophers. They speak of humans as having multiple souls; one vegetal or animal soul, capable only of growth and reproduction without rational thought,[3] and one rational soul.[4] While the former perishes with death, the latter can hope to live on. The true form of the human is, therefore, intellect whereas the body just becomes a conduit for the activation of human potential. The realisation of human potentiality allows one to survive after death, and comes from one’s understanding that these separate souls do not reside in matter. When one contemplates these separate souls, and grasps them, then one is united with them, and becomes eternal. This unification is the closest a human can come to becoming divine, and therefore, is the completion of human perfection, and guarantees immortality, and eternal reward. Ibn Sina, known more popularly as Avicenna, writes about eternal reward, and the felicity of the soul after death in his Kitab al-Najat, The Book of Deliverance, which is a treatise on the soul. He writes that the divine philosphers desire to attain the felicity gained from the unification of the souls than corporeal felicity.[5] He then writes about the difficulties of grasping such a pleasure by giving the example of a eunuch who does not crave the pleasure of intimacy because he has never experienced it, and does not know what it is. This, Ibn Sena writes, is our situation regarding the pleasure whose existence we know but cannot concieve.[6]

Take a moment and pause on the similarity of looking at yourself, and others, from the perspective of many consciousnesses, and that of many souls. I’ll borrow the idea of the felicity of the soul, and propose a felicity of the consciousness that applies to individual, and collective consciousness. I posit that, unlike what Ibn Sena writes, it is indeed possible to experience such bliss. In the context of these essays, however, I shall look at the felicity of the nations of Moshe, and Moosa.

Like in my previous essay, I shall draw upon the sayings of Rambam, beginning with his self-perception. He describes himself to one of his students by saying “You know well how humbly I behave towards everyone, and that I put myself on a par with everyone, no matter how small he may be.” The approach that he had towards his students, and followers was of gentleness, and pragmatism.[7] In my previous essay I had mentioned that Rambam was a polymath who had studied medicine, and astronomy. He considered that the science of astronomy is the hallmark of a civilized nation. In Dalalat al-Ha’irin, The Guide for the Perplexed, in the context of astronomy, he writes that “our nation is a nation that is full of knowledge and is perfect (milla ‘alima kamila), as He, may He be exalted, has made it clear through the intermediary of the Master who made us perfect, saying: ‘Surely, this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’”[8] I’d like to extrapolate from this, with utmost sensitivity, respect, gentleness, and pragmatism, that Rambam considered the Jewish nation as the one of wise and understanding people. The felicity of the nation shall be found, therefore, in his sayings. To contrast this with Ibn Sena’s saying, what Rambam says is both conceivable, and achievable.

We shall now take a look at some of the verses from the Quran, and the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) to see what would bring felicity to the Muslim consciousness. I am going to focus on those verses, and sayings which find common ground with what has been mentioned above, while also trying to convey the overall picture of the Islamic faith. I shall cherrypick some verses from the Quran, but it is my sincere belief that they shall be within their context. A chapter of the Quran is called “Surah” or “Surat”, and I shall use that to maintain fluency of sentences. The first two verses comes from Surat An-Nisa verse 36 and 37 and state what it means to be a Muslim. They read as follows “Worship Allah ˹alone˺ and associate none with Him. And be kind to parents, relatives, orphans, the poor, near and distant neighbours, close friends, ˹needy˺ travellers, and those ˹bondspeople˺ in your possession. Surely Allah does not like whoever is arrogant, boastful, those who are stingy, promote stinginess among people, and withhold Allah’s bounties. We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment.” The verses of the Quran are usually studied in conjunction with the Seerah, the life of the Prophet (pbuh), as his sayings expound on what has been revealed in the verse. One can find many of his sayings about the rights of parents, neighbors, orphans, etc. and on charity, and it is a condition of the Islamic faith, for those who are capable, to donate a percentage of their excess wealth every lunar year, the Zakat. The second verse comes from Surat Ta-Ha, verse 114 and reads “Exalted is Allah, the True King! Do not rush to recite ˹a revelation of˺ the Quran ˹O Prophet˺ before it is ˹properly˺ conveyed to you, and pray, “My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”” While both a minor admonition, and an advise to the Prophet (pbuh), one can glean the wisdom in asking Allah for increasing one’s knowledge. Finally, I’ll quote hadith 224 from Ibn Majah, a saying of Prophet (pbuh), which says that “Seeking knowledge is an obligation on every Muslim.” The felicity of the nation shall be found, therefore, in what has been revealed to, and said by the Prophet (pbuh). To contrast this with Ibn Sena’s saying, what is mentioned in the Quran and the hadith is both conceivable, and achievable.

Having mentioned the two verses, and the hadith, it is clear that there is a thread that ties the consciousness of the two faiths and that is the one of humility, gratitude, and pursuit of knowledge.

I shall now return to the original premise of the essay and that was to establish my credibility, and to simultaneously make an appeal to reason and emotion. To address the first, I shall merely repeat the sayings of Rambam and Ibn ‘Abbas and that is to take the truth, and by extension wisdom, wherever it comes from. I make no claims to be wise, but I do make a claim to have spoken the truth. Having quoted Rambam, the Quran, and the Prophet (pbuh), I have made an appeal to the emotions of the two nations. Having borrowed from Ibn Sena, I have tried to state that felicity of consciousness, a state of emotion, is achieveable. It, therefore, stands to reason that we make an attempt to attain that which was stated. In the light of the unfolding crisis in the world of Moshe and Moosa, the only path forward to bring this to reality is peace. As I have stated in my previous essays, it is a difficult walk, but what lies at the end makes it worth it.[10]

I’ll end my essays by quoting the last part of Khutbat-ul-Haajah, Sermon of Necessities, that Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) would use as the opening to his sermons. These are two verses from the Quran, one after the other, that exhort the believers to speak the truth, and to remember to follow Allah and his Prophet (pbuh). The verses of Surat Ahzab verse 70-71 are as follows.

“O believers! Be mindful of Allah, and say what is right. He will bless your deeds for you, and forgive your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, has truly achieved a great triumph.”

I hope and pray that as a believing Muslim I have spoken that which is right, and kept my duties to Allah and his Prophet (pbuh).

Amma B’ad. After that.

Footnotes and References

[1] Page 153, Stroumsa S. Maimonides in his world: Portrait of a Mediterranean Thinker. Princeton University Press; 2011.
[2] Wikipedia contributors. Maimonides - Wikipedia [Internet]. 2024. Available from:
[3] APA Dictionary of Psychology [Internet]. Available from:
[4] Page 153, Stroumsa S. Maimonides in his world: Portrait of a Mediterranean Thinker. Princeton University Press; 2011.
[5] Page 154, Stroumsa S. Maimonides in his world: Portrait of a Mediterranean Thinker. Princeton University Press; 2011.
[6] Page 155, Stroumsa S. Maimonides in his world: Portrait of a Mediterranean Thinker. Princeton University Press; 2011.
[7] Page 113, Stroumsa S. Maimonides in his world: Portrait of a Mediterranean Thinker. Princeton University Press; 2011.
[8] Page 113, Stroumsa S. Maimonides in his world: Portrait of a Mediterranean Thinker. Princeton University Press; 2011.
[9] The translation of the Quran is from The Clear Quran by Dr. Mustafa Khattab. The text was copied from
[10] Perhaps if this essay were any shorter I would have written about the story of Yusuf (Joseph), the son of Yaqub (Jacob, Israel), as it exemplifies patience, grace, forgiveness, and provides an additional thread that the two nations together. It is the 12th chapter of the Quran, and I highly recommend you, the reader, to read the translation as you listen to the original recitation. Writing about it would have allowed me to provide one more example through which I could make an appeal to emotion, and reason, simultaneously, to show that path forward is in peace.