Al-Aqsa Mosque

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Located in Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque sits on land that is associated with miracles involving both Muhammad and Abraham. It is therefore regarded as holy land to both Muslims and Jews.AFP/Getty Images.

Al-Aqsa Mosque (Jerusalem)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is the most holy site for Muslims in Jerusalem and one of the most holy of places for all Islam. Its origin relates to a famous supernatural event in Muhammad’s life, the so-called Night Journey or Al-Isra wa Al-Miraj. One evening he was visited by the angel Gabriel (from whom he was receiving the Qur’an). He led Muhammad to a spirit horse (buraq), which carried him to Jerusalem. Here he met, among others, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. In their presence, he offered a prayer to Allah.

While in the city, he had three dishes placed in front of him that contained, respectively, water, wine, and milk. Muhammad refused the water, knowing that if he chose it the Muslims would drown, and he declined the wine as it would mean Islam would leave the true path. He instead chose the milk, indicating the Muslim community would follow Allah’s true religion. Gabriel confirmed his choice. Muhammad next visited heaven, where he met and talked with Allah before returning to Mecca.

The meeting with the prophets, the prayer, and the drinking of milk are all believed to have occurred on Temple Mount in Jerusalem at the spot currently occupied by the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Muhammad’s presence in this place is further confirmed by the hoof print his horse left in a rock as it lifted Muhammad to heaven. Additionally, some believe the rock attempted to go to heaven with Muhammad and was pushed back into place by Gabriel, who left a handprint in it.

Following the capture of Jerusalem by the Caliph Omar in 638 CE, attention was immediately focused on the Temple Mount. The first spot marked by a building was the rock from which Muhammad was believed to have been lifted to heaven. That same rock, in the center of what is known as the Dome of the Rock, is also believed to be the axis of the world, the spot from which creation began and at which the final trumpet, ending history as we know it, will sound.

The original building on the site where Muhammad offered prayer was completed by Omar soon after the Dome of the Rock was dedicated. It was then rebuilt in the eighth century by the Caliph El-Walid.

Muslim presence in Jerusalem grew slowly, and in the eleventh century the Muslim rulers decided to Islamize the city by pushing the Christians out. In the process, a number of Christian churches were destroyed. Christian crusaders took thecity in 1099, and those Muslims who survived the attacks were sold into slavery. Muslims were largely denied access to the Temple Mount until 1187, when Saladin (1138–1193) retook the city. Jerusalem then remained in Muslim hands (except for a few years in the thirteenth century) until 1917, when the British took control.

The Temple Mount is now surrounded by a wall that predates Muslim presence in the city but essentially marks its most sacred area. This area of the city is off-limits to non-Muslims on Fridays and major Muslim holidays. The major conflict is with Jewish believers who believe the rock in the center of the Dome of the Rock is the place where Abraham bound Isaac and prepared to sacrifice him (Genesis 22). The major Christian sites are close by, but outside the wall.

Sources:

Cragg, Kenneth. The Dome and the Rock, Jerusalem Studies in Islam. London: SPCK, 1964.
Graber, Oleg. The Shape of the Holy: Early Islamic Jerusalem. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.
Landay, Jerry M., and the Editors of the Newsweek Book Division. The Dome of the Rock. New York: Newsweek, 1976.
Peters, F. E. Jerusalem and Mecca: The Typology of the Holy City in the Near East. New York: New York University Press, 1986.
References in periodicals archive ?
He also called for countering the Israeli adamant rejection of all regional and international initiatives seeking regional peace and hailed the Palestinian people's courage and resistance in defending the Al Aqsa Mosque and insisting on their rights to practicing religious rites without supervision or restraints.
Sisi interfered to stop Israel violations: Palestinian FM By: Egypt Today staff CAIRO -- 27 July 2017: Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said Thursday that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi interfered 'effectively' in the latest escalations against Al Aqsa mosque "stopping Israel's violent actions.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Jordan's Minister of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs Ayman Safadi underscored the importance of immediate and complete re-opening of Al Aqsa Mosque for worshippers.
Hundreds of Palestinians went to Al Fajr prayer at Al Aqsa Mosque, but the occupation prevented them from entering to continue to close it completely and put barriers at its entrances and the entrances of the Old City.
JERUSALEM, July 17, 2017 (WAFA) -- Dozens of Palestinian worshippers Monday prayed in the alleys of the Old City of Jerusalem leading to Al Aqsa Mosque after they refused to enter the Muslim holy place going through metal detector gates recently placed at the mosque entrances by Israeli police.
Abbas expressed his strong rejection and condemnation of the fatal shootout that took place near Al Aqsa mosque, as well as his .
The organizations marched last night in the old town and in front of the gates of al Aqsa mosque in which they chanted phrases encouraging the killing of all Arabs and Muslims.
Ramallah: Hundreds of Israeli ultra-orthodox colonists led by the Netanyahu government's Minister for Agriculture Uri Ariel raided Al Aqsa mosque on Sunday seeking to carry out Tisha B'Av rituals.
Amman, March 16 (Petra) -- Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs on Monday censured radical Zionists settlers' daily acts of desecrating the Al-Aqsa Mosque while escorted by occupation troops which incited the feelings of Muslims and worshipers at the Al Aqsa Mosque.
KUDE[pounds sterling]S (CyHAN)- As Israeli police lifted age bar that limited the access of Palestinian Muslims to the al Aqsa mosque, more than 40 thousand worshippers flocked into the holy place to perform Friday prayers together.
The UAE-based Human Appeal International (HAI) has prepared 150,000 iftar (fast breaking) and suhoor (pre dawn) meals for worshippers who spend the holy month of Ramadan at Al Aqsa Mosque in Occupied Jerusalem.
The Iranian foreign ministry's reaction came after a report, leaked by the Al Aqsa Foundation, revealed that the Israeli authorities have a plan to divide the Al Aqsa mosque compound.