Question and answer details
|As-salam `aleikum, I know the importance of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the history associated with it, however can you please tell me the importance of the Dome of the Rock Mosque? I am very concerned that many Muslims believe that the Dome of the Rock is actually al-Asqa Mosque. I think a clear difference needs to be established to help people know the difference. Thank you for your help.|
|AAI Editorial Staff|
Thank you for your question.
Allah has said in the Quran, in Surah Al-Israa' 17:1 :
As Muslims are aware, the reference in the verse is to the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) famous night journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and then on to the furthest limit of the heavens. It is through this momentous event, coupled with `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s - the second Caliph of Islam - clearing of the al-Aqsa sanctuary of debris and refuse, that al-Haram al-Sharif (The Noble Sanctuary) gained its status as the third holiest site in Islam.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
“Set out deliberately on a journey only to three mosques: this mosque of mine [in Madinah], the Sacred Mosque [in Makkah], and al-Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem].” (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim.)
Furthermore, in stressing the value and importance of prayer offered in al-Aqsa Mosque, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
“A prayer in the Sacred Mosque [in Makkah] is worth 100,000 prayers, a prayer in my mosque [in Madinah] is worth 1,000, and a prayer in Jerusalem [al-Aqsa Mosque] is worth 500 prayers more than in any other mosque.” (Reported by Bukhari.)
Prophet Muhammad and his companions were initially ordered by Allah to face Jerusalem/al-Aqsa Mosque in their prayers. This continued until 16 or 17 months after the migration to Madinah, after which time all Muslims were ordered in the Qur’an to face the sacred Ka`bah in Makkah. Nevertheless, the change in qiblah (direction of prayer) did not affect the significance and inviolability of the Noble Sanctuary in Islam.
In answer to your question, the Dome of the Rock Mosque, or Qubbat as-Sakhra, as it is known in Arabic, is the awe-inspiring gold-domed structure in the center of the Noble Sanctuary. The Dome of the Rock was built around 688-691 C.E. (68-72 A.H.) by the Umayyad Caliph al-Walid ibn `Abd al-Malik.
The building itself covers the Holy Rock from which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ascended to the heavens on his night journey. The lower half of the exterior of the Dome of the Rock mosque is covered with marble while the second half is covered with blue qashany squares, gorgeously inscribed with the Qur'anic chapter “Ya Sin,” a work commissioned in the 16th century by the Turkish Caliph Suleiman the Magnificent.
For more details of the mosque, please refer to the following link:
The entire Noble Sanctuary, including both the Dome of the Rock mosque, ‘al-Aqsa’ Mosque, and over one sixth of Jerusalem’s old city, is considered al-Aqsa Mosque. The classical Hanbalite scholar, Mujir ad-Din al-Hanbali explains in his book al-Uns al-Jaleel: