Al-Quds and Jerusalem: One City or Two?

15 October, 2016
Q Salam respected scholars. What is the difference between Al-Quds, the Old City, and Jerusalem as a whole, and the significance of the Old City and Al-Buraq Wall?


Salam Dear Sister,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Jerusalem is another name for the city of Al-Quds. The English name is probably taken from the Hebrew name of the city Yerushalyim, while the Arabic name of the city was always Al-Quds (the Abode of Holiness).

Probably the Hebrew name was taken from Semitic origin s-l-m which refers to peace, so it has got a relation with peace in a sense, may be meaning “the city of peace” or something similar to that, since it is a holy city according to the three Abrahamic faiths.


The Old City, or Al-Quds, or Jerusalem has, by the lapse of time, grown in space and therefore, the modern Al-Quds or Jerusalem does include the Old City which of course includes the holy places; Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock Mosque, the Church of Nativity and many other holy sites.

Modern Jerusalem also includes the expanded city and the new buildings. Yet, what remains as very vital and important is the Old City due to its religious significance. Therefore, we can say the Arabic word Al-Quds is a reference to the whole city, including the Old City (Al-Madinah Al-Qadimah) and its expansion.

The wall of Al-Buraq is of course in the Old City. It is, according to Islamic teachings, the wall where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) tied celestial mount Al-Buraq before he entered Al-Aqsa mosque to lead all prophets and messengers in Prayer and then he moved from there to the seventh heaven in his Night Journey and Ascension event.

This wall is part of Al-Aqsa mosque, in addition to being a very important and essential Islamic monument that proves the Muslim history in the holy city of Jerusalem. The Old City contains, in addition to Al-Buraq wall, the Aqsa Mosque, and the mosque of the Dome of the Rock. These are all holy Islamic sites which Zionists have been trying to steal ever since they occupied the holy city.

Historical records, even from unbiased Israeli sources, prove that the wall of Al-Buraq has never been a place of importance or Prayer for the Jews until the beginning of the 19th century.

This was when they started to claim that it is the only wall remaining from the Temple of Solomon and they started to pray close to it. Later on, when they placed their grip on the whole city, they started to use it as a place for regular congregational prayer.

In any case, the whole of Al-Quds, being part of the land of Palestine, is a part of the Muslim lands that have been occupied. Therefore, it is not allowed for any Muslim to give it up.

The whole land of Jerusalem and Palestine does not belong to a specific individual, president, prince, king, minister, or even a group of people. Rather, it belongs to all the generations of the Muslim Ummah (worldwide community) and it is incumbent upon Muslims to bear this in mind and work for its liberation.

From an Islamic stance, it is unlawful to sell or give away any piece of land from the land of the Muslim community, let alone the land of Palestine and the holy city of Al-Quds. Being the first qiblah (direction of Prayer for Muslims), Al-Aqsa Mosque remains as the place that witnessed the Prophet’s leadership of all other prophets and messengers and witnessed their pledge to him being the final prophet and messenger.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the place mentioned in the Quran as a place of blessings and Divine gifts. Almighty Allah (God) says what means:

{Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing.} (Al-Israa 17:1)

When Jerusalem was occupied by the Crusaders in the old days, Muslims, Arabs, and non-Arabs worked for its liberation. The march of liberation started by the Muslim leader Imad ad-Din Zngi culminated in a great victory at the hands of Saladin.

Nowadays, the issue of Al-Quds is the main issue of the worldwide Muslim community, and the stagnation in finding a solution for this issue has been causing great controversy all over the world.

Yet, the historical, religious, and logical evidence all prove that this land belongs to Muslims and they are the natural heirs of it. Almighty Allah says:

{And certainly We wrote in the Book after the reminder that (as for) the land, My righteous servants shall inherit it.} (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:105)

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.