Masjid Al-Aqsa has always been dear to the hearts of Muslims, but how much do we know about Islam’s third holiest site and its history?
The Prophet Peace Be Upon Him advised:
None of you are a true believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for him self. – Bukhari & Muslim
Abu Hurairah also quotes another hadeeth:
The believer is a brother of a believer, he safe guards his property for him, and defends him from behind.
So while the connection of brotherhood in Islam is essential and most of us are aware of it, let us also recall the bounty of the mi”raj, that is the salah.
This bounty connects us to Masjid Al Aqsa
Unfortunately at present both the Muslims and Masjid Al Aqsa are under great occupation.
We should also remember the guidance of the holy Quran and of the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him . Allah mentions whoever revers the signs of Allah he has the piety in his heart.
This is mentioned several times in the holy Quran
Signs could be:
The Quran is imploring us to get close to the Sign of Allah, so that we may become conscious of Allah.All of these symbols strengths peoples Imaan and attachment to Allah.This straight and love that is required of us is not relics or its not about events on its own. But its more to trying to find a path of aṣ-Ṣirāṭ al-mustaqīm so that we may stay steadfast.
This is why Muslims now and in history have had great affection and affinity to the
Water of Zam Zam
City of the Prophet Madinah
These are all signs of symbols of Allah, and we must be very close to them.One of the greatest symbols of Allah, unfortunately that is under occupation today is Masjid Al Aqsa, we need to build our ties to this great symbol of Islam.
The verse I am referring to is in Surah hajj 22:32 That he whoever honors the symbols of Allah – indeed, it is from the piety of hearts.
Someone shows respect and honor by taking care of the symbols of Allah is indicative of his inner piety, it shows that he’s possessed of some degree of taqwa, which prompts him or her to server Allah’s symbols.
My brothers and sisters it is with great pain that we have to recall that the greatest symbol of Islam today is under occupation and we have to become aware of it.
Why Masjid Al Aqsa is a symbol of Islam
Al Aqsa also know as Al Haram as Sharif. The holiest site in Jerusalem, which Muslims refer to as Al Quds. It has been used as a Place of Worship Residence Meditation By many prophets and past individuals.
It is a site blessed by Allah made to be one of the most holiest areas on earth Where angels descended with Allah’s message to chosen prophets.Masjid Al Aqsa is the site of the most fantastic and incredible journey undertaken by the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him, during the night of Al-Isra’, al-Mi^rajWhen he was taken up to the heavens by the command of Allah.
This revered site of Al Aqsa Sanctuary was also the first Qibla of Islam.Before Allah inspired the Prophet Peace be upon him to change it towards the Holy masjid in Makah.
The holy Sanctuary of Al Aqsa saw the second house of Allah being built on planet earth by prophet Adam after the Kabah in Makkah.
This was also the place where prophet Ibrahim(peace be upon him) migrated and lived for most of his life.Here Ibrahim(peace be upon him) lived, traded, taught the Tawheed of Allah and rebuilt Masjid Al Aqsa within the Sanctuary of Al Aqsa, and finally passed away.The grave of Prophet Ibrahim(peace be upon him) is near Al Aqsa sanctuary called Al-Khalil, which is approximately half an hour drive from Al Quds.
This is Masjid Al Aqsa and its surround and Jerusalem, where also Yakub (peace be upon him) raised his 12 sons.It is from here where Yusuf (peace be upon him) was taken and sold in Egypt as a slave.
A few centuries later Musa (peace be upon him) was directed by Allah to migrate back towards Jerusalem.After the flight from pharaoh, Musa (peace be upon him) travelled across the desert with his people and prayed to Almighty Allah that he would prefer to be at a place near Masjid Al Aqsa when death overtakes him.
Dawud (peace be upon him) was also from the people of Musa (peace be upon him), and after conquering the city of Jerusalem he spent a great deal of time in the AlAqsa Sanctuary, mediating, and reciting the words of Allah.The holy Quran reminds us that the very hills in which Dawud (peace be upon him) recited the words of Allah and that they resonated his voices is in and around Masjid Al Aqsa.
We also understand that the private chamber of Dawud (peace be upon him) mentioned n the holy Quran was within the Al Aqsa sanctuary.The son of Dawud (peace be upon him), Suliaman also resided in Al Quds and was granted the great kingdom their due to his riotousness.The wind that was made subject to him enabling him to fly above and beyond Al Quds.Sulaiman (peace be upon him) (peace be upon him) Completed the building of Al Aqsa, within Haram al-Sharif, which his farther Dawud (peace be upon him) had began.
There are many other prophets who resided in and around masjid Al Aqsa, and it is there in later times that Zakariyah (peace be upon him) (peace be upon him) was an imam of masjid Al Aqsa.It is here that Zakariyah (peace be upon him) (peace be upon him) supplicated to Allah for a son as mentioned in the holy Quran.There did Zakariyah (peace be upon him) (peace be upon him) pray to his Lord, saying my Lord grand me a child who is pure.
The very sanctuary of Al Aqsa is where Maryam, the mother of Isa, was mediating, and this is the very place where angels came to her and provided her with the news of a miraculous conception of the birth of Isa .
These are some of the money incidents that took place around Masjid Al Aqsa sanctuary, and showed its high and lofty status in the hearts of Muslims throughout the century.
To reflect their devotion, Muslims of previous generations have constructed the most fantastic places of worship within Al Aqsa sanctuary.They have maintained it by investing their Wealth Energy Resources Lives To protect Al Aqsa sanctuary
The holy city of Al Quds – Jerusalem is referred to by several names
Bayt Al-Maqdis (house of purity)
Al Quds (Purest Place)
Therefore the city of Quds now extends to something like 45 Square KM, Within the city of Al Quds is the old city, where major historical events took place, and within the old city on the southern eastern corner is an area referred to as Al Haram al-Sharif.
The Aqsa sanctuary covers an area of approximately 35 acres, and this is a very big place.Within this area the southern end is a black dome Masjid called Masjid Al Aqsa.At the center of Al Haram al-Sharif is the golden dome masjid called Qubbat as-Sakhra (dome of the rock)
There are within the Al Aqsa sanctuary 42 other monuments and buildings, its has become a common practice to refer to the whole area as Al Aqsa sanctuary or Al Haram al-Sharif, and the black dome masjid as masjid Al Aqsa.
It is very important for us to make a distinction between Al Aqsa sanctuary and masjid Al Aqsa.
It is extremely important to appreciate that it is the land of Al Haram al-Sharif is the most precious and blessed.When the holy Quran in Surat Al-‘Isrā’ refers to Masjid Al Aqsa, meaning a place of prostration, it is this land of Al Aqsa sanctuary that is implied, and not any of the buildings.
Although the buildings within it are of course are extremely important, and they have a historical connotation, both the Dome of the Rock and the black Dome Masjid (the Masjid Al Aqsa) are of great historical significance.
But one must understand that it is the land that we are referring to, when we talk about the Al Aqsa sanctuary.
The glorious dome of the rock known as Qubbat as-Sakhra, captivates the landscape of Al Aqsa sanctuary, and has done so for 100’s of years.This is a testimony of Muslims devotion to Al Aqsa sanctuary,
The great and beautiful black dome masjid, called masjid Al Aqsa can house over 5000 worshipers
In recent years the reopening of Muslee al Marwaan, has maintained the tradition of looking after masjid Al Aqsa even in adversity and under occupation.The love and the sacrifice of the pious predecessors indicates the importance and centrality of Al Aqsa sanctuary.
However there are healthy debates within the Muslim ummah, whether the Al Aqsa sanctuary can be referred to as the haram or not.The various views includes Al Shafi’i (R.A) and Al-Shawkani (R.A) who regard the Al Aqsa sanctuary an Al Haram, but others think only Makah and Madinahare haramain.Yet others consider only Makkah to be the Haram, regardless of its status. As Haram or not, no one can dispute the great virtues and blessings and holiness of Al Aqsa sanctuary.
The debate in no way undemands the eminence and the deep central position of Al Aqsa sanctuary has carved within the society of the Muslim Ummah and forms the nucleus of one of the most holiest sites on earth.
This great symbol of Islam that is within us and its position in history and its position today, and we hope through our efforts and understanding it will empower us and hopefully try and assist in coming to the rescue of Masjid Al Aqsa.
Because it is today under occupation, and it is all our responsibility to do what ever we can for masjid Al Aqsa
Limitless is He (Allah) Who took His servant for a journey by night from the Sacred Masjid (in Makkah) to al-Aqsa Masjid (in Jerusalem), whose precincts We have blessed, in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who hears and sees (all things).[Quraan, Al-Isra 17:1]
The land of Sham (modern day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine) has a very rich Islamic History. Many prophets have lived in these areas and are also buried there. In the life of the prophet (peace be upon him) and also after the demise of the prophet (peace be upon him) many great events and battles took place in the land of Sham. In these battles many companions became martyrs, and after the battles many companions started to reside in the land of Sham. The land of Sham has also been home to many great scholars such as the great Imam Shafi`i, who was born in Gaza, Palestine.
In the lands of Sham there is a city that is the focal point for individuals of the three Abrahamic faiths, it has withstood attacks from many leaders and it is till today a city that wins over the hearts of thousands of individuals. This great city is none other than Al-quds or better known as Jerusalem.
Jerusalem extends to an area of 45 square km and within that lies the historic al-Aqsa sanctuary. The al-Aqsa sanctuary stretches to an area of approximately 35 acres, and within it is the al-Aqsa mosque, Dome of the rock and many other monuments and buildings.
Many people wrongly believe that it is only the Al-Aqsa mosque (dark dome) or the Dome of the rock (gold dome) that is sanctified. In reality the entire land of the Al-Aqsa sanctuary is a blessed land.
The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) visited the al-Aqsa mosque when he was taken on a miraculous journey to the heavens. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) led all the other prophets in prayer on this blessed land. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) being taken to Jerusalem signifies the importance of masjid Al-Aqsa to all Muslims. The city of Jerusalem was also home to many prophets and righteous people like Yaqub (Jacob), Dawood (David), Sulayman (Solomon) and also Zakariyyah (Zacharias) who was also the Imam of the Al-Aqsa mosque (Peace be on them all). Jerusalem is a city which is held in high esteem by Muslims worldwide as the al-Aqsa mosque is situated within it.
A FEW FACTS REGARDING MASJID AL-AQSA:
- Masjid Al-Aqsa is situated in Jerusalem which is considered one of the oldest cities in the world.
- Masjid Al-Aqsa was the first Qiblah for the Muslims (the direction to which Muslims must pray). The Muslims prayed facing Al Aqsa until around 18 months after the prophet migrated to Madeenah.
- Masjid Al-Aqsa was the second masjid built on earth approximately 40 years after the Ka`bah was built in Makkah.
- Masjid Al-Aqsa is one of the most holiest sites for Muslims proceeded only by the two mosques in Makkah and Madeenah
- Masjid al-Aqsa and its surrounding areas are very blessed lands as stated in the Quran in Surah Isra.
- Masjid Al-Aqsa marks the spot where the prophet (peace be upon him) was first taken when he went for Mi`raaj. (ascended to the heaves)
- Masjid Al-Aqsa is the only place where all the prophets read salaah together.
Jerusalem is a city that is sacred to Muslims, Jews and also Christians and should be accessible to all.
WHAT CAN WE DO FOR PALESTINE AND MASJID AL-AQSA?
- As Muslims it is very important that we educate ourselves regarding Palestine and the challenges the Palestinians and Masjid al-Aqsa is facing.
- It is very important that we visit masjid Al-Aqsa and show the world how sacred masjid Al-Aqsa is to us Muslims.
- Create awareness regarding the situation in Palestine (by contacting MPs, boycotting and becoming ambassadors for the Palestinian cause)
- Make dua for Masjid Al-Aqsa and the Palestinians