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Is Masjid al-Aqsa Part of The Temple Mount?

Questioner

Mustafa

Reply Date

Jan 15, 2017

Question

Salaamu 'alaykum, I have heard that al-Masjid al-Aqsa is not the Dome of the Rock, but a mosque built next to the Dome of the Rock site. Is this the case? I heard that `Umar refused to build a mosque on the site of the Temple and that is why the Dome of the Rock isn't actually a mosque and the Mosque is actually just next to the site of the temple. Is this true? Is what the Jews call the Temple Mount actually part of al-Masjid al-Aqsa or is al-Masjid al-Aqsa part of the Temple Mount, or are they actually separate bits of land? Thank you very much for your answer.

Consultant

Answer


Is Masjid al-Aqsa Part of The Temple Mount? - About Islam

Asalamu Alaikum Mustafa

Thank you for your question, I will try to answer it point-by-point insha’Allah. 

al-Masjid al-Aqsa

You asked: I have heard that al-Masjid al-Aqsa is not the Dome of the Rock, but a mosque built next to the Dome of the Rock site. Is this the case? 

In fact, al-Masjid-al-Aqsa is not the Dome of the Rock. The Dome of the Rock is the golden domed building actually built over the Rock, from which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him-PBUH) ascended to Heaven on his Night Journey (al-Mi`raj). However, they are both on the same site, which is, Beit-al-Maqdis. 

‘Umar

Then you ask: I heard that `Umar refused to build a mosque on the site of the Temple and that is why the Dome of the Rock isn’t actually a mosque and the Mosque is actually just next to the site of the temple. Is this true? 

Well, there is some confusion here. When `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) accepted the keys of Jerusalem, people asked him to lead the prayer.

He refused to lead the prayer at a place which might consequently be given more importance than existing places of worship. Accordingly, he went a little distance and led the prayer there.

Actually, there is a similar reference in the Jewish traditions as well. 

This place is marked by a small wooden edifice, known as Masjid-i-`Umar. This is the third masjid (mosque) on the site, known as Beit-al-Maqdis.

As for the Temple, in fact, it was completely destroyed. There were no traces then, nor have any been found since. Your comment regarding the Temple amounts only to speculation, I am afraid. 

The Temple Mount

Also, you ask: is what the Jews call the Temple Mount actually part of al-Masjid al-Aqsa or is al-Masjid al-Aqsa part of the Temple Mount, or are they actually separate bits of land? 

Well, Abu Dhar asked Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

‘Which was the first masjid on earth?’ ‘The Sacred Masjid (in Makkah)’, he [the Prophet] replied. ‘And then which?’ Abu Dhar asked. ‘al-Masjid-al-Aqsa,’ he (PBUH) said. Then, Abu Dhar further asked, ‘What was the time span between the two?’ ‘Forty years,’ the Prophet replied. (Narrated in The Collection of Hadiths by Imam Muslim) 

Here you see the importance of Beit-al-Maqdis, as a sacred site. Originally, there were no buildings. The Mount was a feature, created when the earth was formed and Allah Almighty determining it would be a sacred site.

It was the first qibla (direction of prayers for believers). The first Temple of Prophet Solomon was built in Jerusalem (so it is believed), having already been chosen by Allah as a sacred city.

It is worth mentioning here that he (Solomon, PBUH) reigned from 963–923 BCE, some 900 years after the time of Abraham (PBUH). Subsequently, the first Temple of Solomon was completely destroyed in 586 BCE, with the capture of Jerusalem and the exile of the Jews to Babylon.

Later, they were allowed to return and they rebuilt the Temple. However, in the first Jewish revolt, this second Temple was desecrated and totally destroyed between 66 – 70 CE, which is considered the beginning of the Diaspora, or dispersion of Jews.

During the second Jewish revolt 132 – 135 CE, Jerusalem was annihilated and the Jews dispersed. Subsequently, the site fell into disuse. So much so, that when `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) prayed there, he started to collect the rubbish that had accumulated and Muslims helped him to clean up the site. 

To conclude, there is one site, known as Beit-al-Maqdis. Allah Almighty chose it to be a sacred site. It is the second sacred site in Islam and was the first qibla. Prophet Abraham (PBUH) migrated to this land around 1805 BCE. The Quran says:

{But We delivered him and (his nephew) Lut (and directed them) to the land which We have blessed for the nations.} (Quran 21:71

It is worth mentioning that Muslims consider Abraham (PBUH) to be a Muslim prophet, as being Muslim is defined as being in complete and peaceful surrender to God. All prophets are considered bearers of the same message of monotheism and justice.

Thus, any Jewish claim has no base, except in their own interpretation, which cannot be a base for solid positions, according to measures of international law. 

Insha’Allah this answers your three points. 

Thank you again for your question and please keep in touch. 

Walaikum Asalam

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

The Al-Aqsa Mosque Through the Ages

First Qiblah: Towards al-Aqsa When Kabba Had Idols?!

The Night Journey and the Obligation of Prayer

Saladin: A Hero Admired by Muslims & Christians

One Direction, One People, One God




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