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 and for contacting Ask About Islam.
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.
“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 (peace be upon him) 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 (peace be upon him) 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 Quran 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.
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 Quranic chapter “Ya Sin,” a work commissioned in the 16th century by the Turkish Caliph Suleiman the Magnificent.
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:
“It is common among people that al-Aqsa is the one located towards the qiblah, the mosque constructed in the foremost area including the pulpit and the big mihraab (prayer niche), while the truth is that al-Aqsa is the name of all what is within its compound inside the walls, the building in the foremost area and others, the Dome of the Rock Mosque, the corridors, etc.; al-Aqsa means all that is within the walls.”
The entire enclosed area is considered al-Aqsa Mosque, and thus, prayer anywhere within the enclosed sanctuary will be weighed 500 times more than prayer in a regular mosque, as the above-mentioned hadith explains. And Allah knows best.
They desperately want Muslims from every country of the world to visit the mosque for the sake of Allah. Al-Aqsa Mosque belongs to every Muslim – Malaysian, African, Turkish, American, Arab, Bosnian, Indian, Persian, etc.
Similar to Hajj or any other righteous deed in Islam, if we are not able to go ourselves yet, then we should at least be yearning to undertake this auspicious journey for the sake of ziyara (visiting for the sake of Allah) to the third holiest site in Islam, when God permits.