Al-Masjid al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock
As a Muslim, I am always told that the city of Jerusalem is important to us. But why? I am aware that Prophet Yaqoob built the Aqsa Mosque in it and that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him led the previous Prophets in prayer signifying the unity of the message and all divine revelations; are there any other major reason or is it just because it is that we are dealing with Jews. It seems to me that the Jews have more at stake.?
Praise be to Allah.
Regarding the importance of Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), you should know – may Allah bless you –that the virtues of Bayt al-Maqdis are many:
Allah has described it in the Qur’an as being blessed. He said (interpretation of the meaning): “Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) Who took His slave (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah) to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsaa (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed…” [al-Isra’ 17:1]. Al-Quds is part of the neighbourhood surrounding the mosque and hence it is blessed.
Allah has described it as being holy, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): “[Moosa said:] O my people! Enter the holy land (Palestine) which Allah has assigned to you…” [al-Ma’idah 5:21]
In al-Quds there is al-Masjid al-Aqsa, and one prayer there is equivalent to two hundred and fifty prayers elsewhere.
It was reported that Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: we were discussing, in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), which of them was more virtuous, the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or Bayt al-Maqdis.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: One prayer in my mosque is better than four prayers there, but it is still a good place of prayer. Soon there will come a time when if a man has a spot of land as big as his horse’s rope from which he can see Bayt al-Maqdis, that will be better for him than the whole world.
(Narrated and classed as saheeh by al-Haakim, 4/509. Al-Dhahabi and al-Albaani agreed with him, as stated in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, at the end of the discussion of hadith no. 2902).
One prayer in al-Masjid al-Nabawi is equivalent to one thousand prayers elsewhere, so one prayer in al-Masjid al-Aqsa is equivalent to two hundred and fifty prayers elsewhere.
Regarding the famous hadith which says that prayer in al-Masjid al-Aqsaa is equivalent to five hundred prayers elsewhere, this is da’eef (weak). (See Tamaam al-Minnah [?] by Shaykh al-Albani – may Allah have mercy on him – p. 292).
The one-eyed Dajjaal (“Antichrist”) will not enter it, because of the hadith, “He will prevail over all the earth, apart from al-Haram [in Makkah] and Bayt al-Maqdis.” (Narrated by Ahmad, 19665. Classed as sahih by Ibn Khuzaymah, 2/327, and Ibn Hibbaan, 7/102).
The Dajjaal will be killed close to al-Quds. He will be killed by the Messiah ‘Eesa ibn Maryam (peace be upon him), as was stated in the hadith: “The son of Maryam will kill the Dajjaal at the gates of Ludd.” (Narrated by Muslim, 2937, from the hadeeth of al-Nawwaas ibn Sam’aan). Ludd (Lod) is a place near Bayt al-Maqdis.
The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was taken to Bayt al-Maqdis on his Night Journey (al-Isra’) from al-Masjid al-Haraam to al-Masjid al-Aqsa. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) Who took His slave (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah) to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem) …” [al-Isra’ 17:1].
It (al-Quds) was the first qibla of the Muslims, as was reported by al-Baraa’ (may Allah be pleased with him): the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prayed in the direction of Bayt al-Maqdis for sixteen or seventeen months.
(Narrated by al-Bukhari, 41 – this version was narrated by him – and by Muslim, 525).
It is the place where Wahy (Revelation) came down, and it is the homeland of the Prophets. This is well known.
It is one of the mosques to which people may travel.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “No journey should be made except to three mosques, al-Masjid al-Haram, Masjid al-Rasool (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Masjid al-Aqsaa.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1132. Also narrated by Muslim, 827, from the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri, with the words, “Do not travel except to…”).
The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) led the Prophets in one prayer in al-Aqsa, as reported in the lengthy hadith: “… Then the time for prayer came, and I led them in prayer.” (Narrated by Muslim, 172, from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah).
It is not permissible to travel to any spot-on earth for the purpose of worshipping there, except these three mosques.
The fact that Prophet Ya’qoob (peace be upon him) built al-Masjid al-Aqsa does not mean that the Jews have more right to the mosque than the Muslims, because Ya’qoob was a monotheist, and the Jews are Mushrikin. The fact that their father Ya’qoob built the mosque does not mean that it belongs to them.
He built it for the monotheists to worship in it, even if they were not his children, and he did not allow the Mushrikin to enter it, even if they are his children, because the call of the Prophets has nothing to do with race; it is based on Taqwa (piety, awareness of Allah).
You’re saying that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) led the previous Prophets in prayer to signify the unity of the message and all divine revelations is correct from the point of view of the origin of the religion and ‘Aqedah (belief) of the Prophets.
All of the Prophets received their Message from one source, which was the Wahy (Revelation), and they all had the same ‘Aqedah, which was the belief in Tawhid (absolute unity of Allah) and the worship of Allah Alone, even though there were differences in the details of their laws. This was confirmed by our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when he said:
“I am the closest of mankind to ‘Eesa ibn Maryam=Jesus’ son of Mary in this world and in the Hereafter. The Prophets are brothers although they have different mothers, and their religion is one.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 3259; Muslim, 2365).
The phrase “brothers although they have different mothers” means brothers who have the same father but different mothers, i.e., they are the children of co-wives.
Here we would caution readers against believing that the Jews, Christians, and Muslims are following the same principles nowadays, because the Jews have changed the religion of their Prophet. Indeed, part of the religion of their Prophet is that they should follow our Prophet and not reject him, but they disbelieve in the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and associate others in worship with Allah.
The Jews do not have any stake in al-Quds, because even though they may have lived in the land previously, that land now belongs to the Muslims from two points of view:
1.The Jews disbelieved and are no longer following the religion of the believers among the Children of Israel who followed and supported Moosa and ‘Eesaa (peace be upon them).
2.We Muslims have more right to it than them, because land does not belong to the people who lived there first, but to those who establish the laws of Allah therein. Allah created the land, and He created people to worship Allah in the land and to establish therein the religion, laws, and rulings of Allah. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, the earth is Allah’s. He gives it as a heritage to whom He wills of His slaves; and the (blessed) end is for the Muttaqoon (the pious).” [al-A’raaf 7:128]
Hence if some Arabs came who were not followers of Islam and they ruled the land with kufr, they would have to be fought until they submitted to the rule of Islam or were killed.
It is not the matter of race or ethnicity; it is the matter of Tawhid=Oneness of God and Islam.
Here it is useful to quote the words of one of the researchers:
“History tells us that the first people to settle in Palestine were the Canaanites, six thousand years BCE. They were an Arab tribe who came to Palestine from the Arabian Peninsula, and after their arrival, Palestine was named after them [i.e., Canaan].”
(al-Suhyooniyyah, Nash’atuhaa, Tanzeemaatuhaa, Inshitatuhaa, by Ahmad al-‘Awadi, p. 7).
“As for the Jews, the first time they entered Palestine was approximately six hundred years after Ibraheem had entered the land, i.e., they entered it approximately 1400 years BCE. So, the Canaanites entered Palestine and lived there approximately 4500 years before the Jews.”
(Ibid., p. 8)
Hence it is clear that the Jews have no right to the land, whether according to religious law or in terms of who lived there first and possessed the land. They are aggressors who are seizing the land by force. We ask Allah to rid Bayt al-Maqdis of them sooner rather than later, for He is Able to do that, and He is Most Generous in answering. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
Al-Masjid al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock
I have recently received an Email advising me of the status of the Masjid al Aqsa and differentiating it from the doom of the rock.
Can you please clarify the situation and advise, if the Masjid e Aqsa is different from the Doom of the Rock, why do we see its picture representing Masjid e Aqsa at all Islamic places, and I (and many other Muslims) were completely unaware of the difference.
Praise be to Allah.
Al-Masjid al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem) was the first of the two qiblas and is one of the three mosques to which people may travel for the purpose of worship. And it was said that it was built by Sulaymaan (peace be upon him), as stated in Sunan al-Nasaa’i (693) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Sahih al-Nasaa’i.
And it was said that it existed before Sulaymaan (peace be upon him) and that Sulaymaan rebuilt it; this is based on the evidence narrated in al-Saheehayn from Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:
“I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, which mosque was built on earth first?’ He said, ‘Al-Masjid al-Haraam [in Makkah].’ I said, ‘Then which?’ He said, ‘Al-Masjid al-Aqsa.’ I said, ‘How much time was there between them?’ He said, ‘Forty years. So, wherever you are when the time for prayer comes, pray, for that is the best thing to do.’”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3366; Muslim, 520.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was taken on the Night Journey (isra’) to Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), where he led the Prophets in prayer in this blessed mosque.
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) [above all that (evil) they associate with Him]
Who took His slave (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah) to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad) of Our Ayaat (proofs, evidence, lessons, signs, etc.)? Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer”
The Dome of the Rock was built by the caliph ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan in 72 AH.
It says in al-Mawsoo Ah al-Filasteeniyyah (4/203): “The name al-Masjid al-Aqsa was historically applied to the entire sanctuary (al-Haram al-Sharif) and the buildings in it, the most important of which is the Dome of the Rock which was built by ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan in 72 AH/691 CE, which is regarded as one of the greatest Islamic historical buildings. But today the name is applied to the great mosque which is situated in the southern part of the sanctuary plateau.”
It also says in al-Mawsoo Ah (3/23): “The Dome of the Rock is situated in the middle of the plateau of al-Masjid al-Aqsa, which is in the southeastern part of the city of al-Quds (Jerusalem). It is a spacious rectangular plateau which measures 480 meters from north to south, and 300 meters from east to west. This plateau occupies approximately one-fifth of the area of the Old City of Jerusalem.
The mosque which is the place of prayer is not the Dome of the Rock, but because pictures of the Dome are so widespread, many Muslims think when they see it that this is the mosque. This is not in fact the case. The Mosque is situated in the southern portion of the plateau, and the Dome is built on the raised rock that is situated in the middle of the plateau.
We have already seen above that the name of the mosque was historically applied to the whole plateau.
This is supported by the words of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) in Majmoo’at al-Rasaa’il al-Kubra, 2/61: “Al-Masjid al-Aqsa is the name for the whole of the place of worship built by Sulayman (peace be upon him).
Some people started to give the name of al-Aqsa to the prayer-place which was built by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab in front of it. Praying in this prayer-place which ‘Umar built for the Muslims is better than praying in the rest of the mosque, because when ‘Umar conquered Jerusalem there was a huge garbage dump on the rock, since the Christians wanted to show their scorn for the place towards which the Jews used to pray.
So ‘Umar issued orders that the filth be removed, and he said to Ka’b: ‘Where do you think we should build a place of prayer for the Muslims?’ He said, ‘Behind the rock.’ He said, ‘O you son of a Jewish woman! Are influenced by your Jewish ideas! Rather I will build it in front of it.’
Hence when the imams of this ummah entered the mosque, they would go and pray in the prayer-place that was built by ‘Umar. With regard to the Rock, neither ‘Umar nor any of the Ṣahābah=Companions of Prophet Muhammed prayed there, and there was no dome over it during the time of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs.
It was open to the sky during the caliphate of ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Muaawiyah, Yazid and Marwan… The scholars among the Ṣahābah=Companions of Prophet Muhammed and those who followed them in truth did not venerate the rock because it was an abrogated Qiblah… rather it was venerated by the Jews and some of the Christians.”
‘Umar denounced Ka’b al-Ahbaar and called him the son of a Jewish woman because Ka’b had been a Jewish scholar and rabbi, so when he suggested to ‘Umar that he should build the mosque behind the rock, that was out of respect for the rock so that the Muslims would face it when praying, and veneration of the rock was part of the religion of the Jews, not the religion of the Muslims.
The Muslims’ fondness for the picture of the Dome may be because of the beauty of this building, but this does not excuse them from the resulting mistake of not distinguishing between the Mosque and the buildings that surround it.
This may be one of the plots and tricks of the Jews, because of their veneration for the rock and their facing it in prayer. Or may be in order to give importance to the Rock so that they can fulfil their desire to build the so-called Temple of Solomon on the ruins of al-Masjid al-Aqsa.
This is by making the Muslims think that al-Masjid al-Aqsa is the Dome of the Rock, so that if the Jews start to destroy al-Masjid al-Aqsa and the Muslims denounce them for that, they will tell them, “Al-Masjid al-Aqsa is fine,” and will show them a picture of the Dome of the Rock. Thus, they will achieve their aims and be safe from the Muslims’ criticism.
We ask Allah to restore the Muslims’ power and glory, and to cleanse al-Masjid al-Aqsa of the brothers of the monkeys and pigs, “for Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not” chapter Yousuf Quran (12:21).
Allah knows best.
Almighty Allah is the highest and most knowledgeable, and the attribution of knowledge to him is the safest.
Right from Almighty Allah and wrong from me and Satan
Prepared by Mohamad Mostafa Nassar- Australia.
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Arrogance is not only a sign of insecurity, but also a sign of immaturity. Mature and fully realised persons can get their points across, even emphatically without demeaning or intimidating others.