Jerusalem. In other words, the common cause of all Muslims. But what is the first step to being able to serve this noble cause? Getting to know it, of course! Then another question arises. What can I do to increase my knowledge of Jerusalem? Unfortunately, the scarcity of resources or the inability to rely on the existing ones may complicate the task a bit. The good news is, you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Because there is now Al-Quds Guide (Kudüs Rehberi): the ultimate guide to Jerusalem. I interviewed dear Mehmet Esmer: the creator of the application which presents all kinds of information about Jerusalem in detail. Enjoy reading.
To begin with can you introduce yourself? Who is Mehmet Esmer?
I was born in Şanlıurfa in 1976. After completing my primary and secondary education in Şanlıurfa, I went to Damascus for university education. After staying in Damascus for more than 10 years, I completed my education at the Faculty of Islamic Sciences in Beirut and returned home in 2006. During my years in Damascus and Beirut, while trying to improve my theoretical knowledge about Jerusalem, I had the opportunity to receive practical training from the masters of the subject for a long time. After turning back to my hometown, I worked voluntarily in Non-Governmental Organizations serving the cause of Al-Quds Al-Sharif for three years. I have been carrying the title of “Jerusalem Guide” with an official license for nearly 10 years.
We are trying to give seminars on Masjid Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem and lectures called “Masjid Al-Aqsa Step by Step” to private groups at many universities in both Turkey and abroad. We are also working on training Jerusalem Guides abroad, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia.
What is Al-Quds Guide?
Al-Quds Guide is a mobile application that invites you to explore Jerusalem: one of the ancient cities of Islam. It literally means Al-Quds Guide. I can presume that you will not be able to take your eyes -and hopefully your heart- off the app for both its user-friendly interface and practicality. You can find detailed information and images containing all kinds of details about Jerusalem in the application.
Al-Quds Guide includes comprehensive information and images on many subjects, ranging from its history to its geographical structure, ethnic characteristics, and cultural heritage. Thus it introduces a detailed understanding of the city which is home to holy buildings, areas, and memories of important personalities. Some of the categories are The history of Jerusalem, the ethnic structure of Jerusalem, the geographical features of Jerusalem, the social structure of Jerusalem, and the traces of Muslims in Jerusalem.
Why did you feel the necessity of making such an application? What has driven you to take action?
I have been a licensed guide in Jerusalem for more than 10 years, trying to help tens of thousands of people. During these travels, I noticed that the people who came to Jerusalem complained about not having access to many resources. Even if they did, they were unsure of the accuracy of the information that is found on the internet. This is the most important factor that has driven me. I and my co-workers who are in the team: Cause Jerusalem have started a new initiative together. The studies started with websites, and are still continuing with social media accounts and phone applications. Realizing that our efforts were filling the great gap has kept us motivated and determined to keep working.
What does the application have to offer its users? What features and information can be found?
By using the application, you can access locations, events, and information on historical characters in various categories. Let’s take the section ‘History and Archives of Jerusalem’ as an example. In this category that brings together the history, the information, documents, and archived pictures of Jerusalem, you can easily access reliable and robust information. The content is compiled from many domestic and foreign sources. From the categories of ‘Mosques/Masjids’ and ‘Madrasa/Schools’, you can explore the holy places of both Islam and other religions in Jerusalem. You can also explore the heritage of different societies that inhabited the city, view their location, and access their original photos. Moreover, you can easily access detailed information on the places where the opinion leaders in the history of Jerusalem served, and locate their tombs.
Apart from these, you can also use Al-Quds Guide as a travel guide. From the first moment you arrive in Jerusalem, you can view travel routes, practical tips, and tourist attractions with one click, instantly spotting their locations. In case you want to elaborate your knowledge on what you have seen on the app, all the domestic and foreign resources we utilized are gathered in one section. Along with this, you can express your wishes, suggestions, and complaints by contacting us through the same section.
As a final word, what would you like to say to the readers about Jerusalem?
As our dearest faith values suggest; Jerusalem is pure, fertile, and under divine protection. For this reason, it doesn’t really matter if we act for Jerusalem. Those who served Jerusalem served nobody but themselves.
Making a case for Jerusalem purifies people, entitles them for forgiveness, and grants the opportunity to join Al-Firqa Naajiyah (the group that will attain salvation), as heralded in the hadiths of the prophet (PBUH). In order not to miss these opportunities, I invite all brothers and sisters to bear the burden of this blessed cause.