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Temple Mount

Question and answer details
Mustafa
2012/06/12
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.
Daud Matthews
Answer
Salaam Mustafa,

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

You ask: 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) ascended to Heaven on his Night Journey (
al-Mi`raj). However, they are both on the same site, which is, Beit-al-Maqdis.

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, subsequently, 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.

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 (peace be upon him): ‘Which was the first
masjid on earth?’ ‘The Sacred Masjid (in Makkah)’, he replied. ‘And then which?’ Abu Dhar asked. ‘al-Masjid-al-Aqsa,’ he (peace be upon him) said. Then, Abu Dhar further asked, ‘What was the time span between the two?’ ‘Forty years,’ the Prophet (peace be upon him) 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 (swt) determined 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 (Sulaiman, peace be upon him) reigned from 963 – 923 BCE, some 900 years after the time of Abraham (Ibrahim, peace be upon him).

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 (
swt) chose it to be a sacred site. It is the second sacred site and was the first qibla. Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) migrated to this land around 1805 BCE. The Qur’an says:

But We delivered him and (his nephew) Lut (and directed them) to the land which We have blessed for the nations.

Surah 21 Verse 71

Remember Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) was neither a Jew nor a Christian. Prophet Moses (Musa, peace be upon him) was not sent until the 13th century BCE. As for Prophet David (Daud, peace be upon him) he moved his capital to Jerusalem in 995 BCE while his son, Prophet Solomon (Sulaiman, peace be upon him) ruled from 963 – 923 BCE.

Then, in 586 BCE came the destruction of the Temple of Solomon and the captivity of the Jews in Babylon. They were then allowed to return some 45 years later and they rebuilt the Temple of Solomon (known as the Second Temple). The Romans destroyed this Second Temple, during the first Jewish revolt 66 -70. It is not until the conquest of Jerusalem in 636 CE by the Muslims, when `Umar led the prayer at this site. Subsequently, al-Masjid al-Aqsa, the Dome of the Rock and Masjid-i-`Umar are all erected on the sacred site of Beit-al-Maqdis. Everyone praying on this site follows the
imam (leader in prayer), who is leading the prayer in al-Masjid-al-Aqsa.

Orthodox Jews now call for the destruction of the Mosques, built on the site to rebuild the Temple. However, there is no proof that the Temple, mentioned above, was built on that very same site. In fact, archeology has provided no evidence for that either. Even if this is ever to be proven, it does not give any legacy to destroy the Mosques, as Muslims never destroyed any sacred place, in order to build these Mosques!


Muslims ruled the city of Jerusalem with justice and gave freedom of faith and pilgrimage to all faiths. It was only during the Crusades that the city witnessed brutal violation of such rights, by the Crusaders, who killed many Arab Christians as well!


After the establishment of the Zionist state of Israel, Jews’ myths about them being the chosen people, the land being theirs and the story of the Temple was revived. This was in order to claim right over the whole of Jerusalem, when they started planning to destroy the Muslim sites there.


It is worth mentioning that Muslims consider Abraham to be a Muslim prophet, as Islam is defined as submission 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.

Salaam
.

Useful Links:


Confusion About al-Aqsa Mosque


Jews Have No Legitimate Claim to al-Buraq Wall

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