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Al Aqsa Moqsue - Real History and Facts

 The Al-Aqsa Mosque (Masjid al-Aqsa, al Aqsa, al aqṣā), or the Farthest Mosque, is a temple that is of great importance for Muslim believers in the world and a Muslim pilgrimage site. It is located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, a city that is holy not only for Muslims but also for Christians and Jews. In the Islamic world, the Al-Aqsa Mosque is considered the third most important shrine after Masjid Al-Haram, located in Mecca, and the Mosque of the Prophet Muhammad, located in Medina.

 

 

 

 

What is the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem 

 

The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is combined into one architectural complex with the Dome of the Rock, sometimes tour guides often make mistakes, pointing to the golden dome and saying that this temple is the third shrine of Islam, but it's a mistake to confuse the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the majestic building decorated with a golden dome, whose name is "Dome of the Rock" - these are two different buildings.

 

The Al Aqsa Mosque(Umar Mosque) has only one minaret and one bronze dome. The Masque cannot accommodate more than five thousand worshipers at a time. The supervision and care of all the Muslim shrines, mosques, and memorial sites of Old City Jerusalem is carried out by Jordan - the agreement was established to avoid religious disputes in 1994.

 

Note that Muslims refer to the entire Temple Mount Compound Al-Aqsa. From ancient times, the Arabs called Jerusalem "al-Quds" (Sanctuary), "Bait al-Maḳdis" or "al-Bait al-Muḳaddas" (Holy House), and its central temple - "al-Maḳsid al-Aqsa"(Farthest Mosque). The term "Holy House" is often applied only to the Jerusalem Temple. All these place names existed in the Arabic language long before the prophecy of Muhammad. There is no doubt that they were part of the spiritual heritage of the prophet Ishmael, from whom many Arab tribes originated (especially in the west and north of Arabia). 

The Night Journey and Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad 

 

 

17:1 Sura Al Isra

 

"Glory be to the One Who took His servant ˹Muḥammad˺ by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose surroundings We have blessed, so that We may show him some of Our signs. Indeed, He alone is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing."

 

The place where the third shrine of Islam was built is sacred - it was to this place that the Prophet Muhammad was miraculously transported from Mecca on the sacred night of Isra around 620. On this miraculous night, Allah resurrected all the prophets who had previously been sent to humanity and appeared before Prophet Muhammad on the Temple Mount, praying behind him. 

 

Before the ascension, the angels split the Prophet's chest and washed his heart, after which he ascended, rising among the angels, and was able to appear before the Almighty, overcoming the seven heavenly spheres. This is called " Al Miraj " or the ascension to heaven of Prophet Muhammad, and since then Al-Aqsa has received its sacred status. It was Al-Aqsa that served as the qibla (orientation point) for a long time, that is, it acted as a reference point to show believers where to turn during prayer. After the qibla was changed towards Mecca, namely the Al-Haram Mosque.

 

Al-Aqsa Temple Complex

 

The modern Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Jerusalem consists of 7 spacious galleries,3 to the east and 3 to the west, and among them, the central gallery stands out. It also has one dome that crowns it, made of lead plates, and the inside of this dome is decorated with beautiful mosaics showing us beautiful Islamic architecture and Mamluc architecture. Inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, there are beautiful marble and stone columns connected by arches. 

 

To get into the Temple Mount complex, you can enter through seven gates, and each of these gates opens the way to one of the seven galleries. The walls of the Al-Aqsa building are covered with white marble from the bottom, and from above they are covered with beautiful mosaics. Other elements in the temple are made of gold.

 

The mosque is part of the same architectural complex as the Dome of the Rock, also called the Temple Mount, and the entire architectural complex is also called the Haram al-Sharif.

 

The Temple Mount is a holy place not only for the Muslim world but also for the Jewish. They believe that here the Great Ark of the Covenant stood as described in the Old Testament. The Jews believe that the creation of the world began from the place where the Temple Mount is located. The Temple Mount is a shrine in its entirety, together with all its attractions and structures located on it. You can only enter the Temple Mount through one gate, called the Mugrabim Gate, and only specific hours.

 

The mosque's interior was supplemented by various rulers, as was its exterior and adjacent territory decorated and improved. The facade of the building, its minaret, and its dome are now presented in the form in which they were made in later years.

Solomon's Stables

 

 

One of the most famous parts of the Al-Aqsa Mosque is Solomon's Stables, that is, a large basement that is famous all over the world for its interesting history. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is now located in the place where the Temple of Solomon used to stand, but this structure was destroyed by the Romans at the dawn of our era. Although the temple was destroyed, the mountain continued to be called the Temple Mount. There is another story about the stables. In 1099, Jerusalem was captured by the Crusaders, and part of the mosque was rebuilt into a Christian church, while the rest of the mosque was given over to the headquarters where the head of the Knights Templar order was located. The knights' equipment and weapons were stored in the "mosque building", and in 10 rooms, stables were built for war horses.

 

Soon, the Crusaders were expelled from Jerusalem by Sultan Salah ad-Din, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque again began to be used as a house of worship for Muslims. Over the centuries, the memory that the Temple of Solomon was once located there, as well as the fact that the Templars had stables in the mosque building, were mixed up and the boundaries of these two stories were erased, that's how the Al Aqsa Mosque received such a famous sight as Solomon's Stables.

 

On Muslim holidays, only Muslims are allowed into the mosque. Non-Muslims cannot visit it even for a fee. Shoes must be removed before entering the mosque, and clothes that are clean and modest should be chosen to visit for Muslim visitors.

Who Built Al-Aqsa Masque?

 

Who Built Al Aqsa

 

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is linked to the history of Jerusalem and also to the Islamic history of Prophet Muhammad and his followers. The history of the Al-Aqsa Mosque began with a small prayer house built in 636 since such an order was given by Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab, thanks to which the Al-Aqsa Mosque has another name - the Umar Mosque. However, the building that was erected in this place originally did not survive, and over time the mosque was repeatedly expanded and rebuilt.

 

In place of the old prayer house building, the great temple was founded by the efforts of Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan and his son Valid. The mosque suffered from many devastating earthquakes, and each time it was restored by the rulers of the Abbas dynasty.

 

The Dome of the Rock was built in 691 by the Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan of the Umayyad dynasty. Regarding the construction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque itself, there are constantly several questions and controversies. The exact answer about the time of its construction was given by Prophet Muhammad himself, who, answering the question of which mosque was built first on earth, replied that the first was Al-Masjid Al-Haram in Mecca, and the second was the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Also, Prophet Muhammad clarified that forty years passed between the construction of the first and second mosques. From his words, the date of construction became known only to a few, but the Sharia texts do not mention anything about the builders of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

 

Scholars also have several doubts about the construction of the Masque in Jerusalem. In his work "Jami lil'ahkam al-Quran", the scholar Qurtubi says that al-Bayt al-Haram was built by Adam. He also claims that maybe it was built by angels. 

Al-Aqsa Mosque facts

 

facts about al aqsa masque

 

1)Several little-known facts about the Al-Aqsa Mosque are often not known to the average tourist and not even Muslims. Some people think that Al-Aqsa is a small mosque in the corner of the architectural complex, but this is the name of the whole territory around which a wall is built and includes Jerusalem Islamic sites such as gates, a vast square, the Al-Qibli Mosque, the Dome of the Rock, Musalla al-Marwani, galleries, terraces, wells, and other attractions. 

 

2)Another little-known fact about the Temple Mount: during the period when the Romans captured these territories, the Temple Mount was turned into a dump, and when the city was liberated by Umar, he went to the Temple Mount and cleared the entire territory of Al-Aqsa from garbage with his own hands. Umar became the one who stopped the constant expulsion of Jewish families from Jerusalem: under his rule, 70 families were given the right to live in Jerusalem.

 

3)The Al-Aqsa Mosque gave the world such a great work of Islamic literature as Ihya Ulum al-Din: its author Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, a great Islamic scholar, wrote this work of art within its walls. 

 

4)Over its centuries-old history, the Al-Aqsa Mosque has been in different "disguises": it was a mosque and a palace, it housed stables, and death sentences were carried out, here the Crusaders massacred Muslims when they took Jerusalem and found Muslims locked inside the mosque walls. Then 80,000 Muslims were killed, and those Muslims who survived this massacre were later crucified on crosses on the sacred territory of the Temple Mount.

 

5)The Al-Aqsa Mosque has a Minbar, whose name and history are shrouded in legends. The Emir of Damascus and Atabek of Aleppo from the Seljuks Nur al-Din Zangi had his special minbar, which was built to install in the Al-Aqsa Mosque after managing to wrest it from the Crusaders, which Zangi did not doubt. It was a beautiful minbar, made without using nails or glue. But Zangi did not live to see the victory over the Crusaders. The student fulfilled the desire of the teacher Zangi Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi: he installed the minbar in the Al-Aqsa Mosque after Jerusalem was liberated. Unfortunately, this minbar has not survived to this day. 

 

6)The Dome of the Rock, which is part of the same architectural complex as the Al-Aqsa Mosque, did not always look like it does today. This dome was built by the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, and in Islamic history, it was the first dome of the complex. Previously it was made of wood, and its top was made of ceramics. A layer of gold was added to it only a thousand years later when the Ottoman caliph Suleiman the Magnificent was in power, ever since the Al-Aqsa Mosque had a bronze Dome.

 

7)Praying at Al-Aqsa - Only Muslims can pray at the Al-Aqsa complex while others can enjoy Al-Aqsa tours without any religious purpose.

 

8) Who owns the Al-Aqsa Mosque? Although Israel owns the compound, the Jerusalem Waqf, an organization of the Jordanian government, is in charge of managing the entire Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

 

Visiting Al Aqsa Mosque Today

 

A visit to the Al-Aqsa compound in the Old City of Jerusalem is a profoundly moving experience for any tourist or pilgrim who wishes to see Jerusalem holy Sites and Islamic Jerusalem sites. As one of the holiest sites in Islam, the mosque emanates a powerful sense of history, religion, and spirituality. Walking across its vast stone courtyards, ornate colonnades, and exquisite golden dome, one cannot help but feel transported back through the centuries.

 

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SLAVA BAZARSKY
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