First Qibla - Bayt al-Maqdis (Al-Aqsa):

Jerusalem (al-Quds) is a city that could embrace all faiths. The part of the city that houses holy sites of Muslims, Christians and Jews is nearly 1000 square kilometers walled in the picture below. Al-Aqsa Mosque (or Masjid Al-Aqsa) is a mosque which is only for Muslims! It is 144 square meters (one sixth of the old walled city of Jerusalem).

al-Quds

Bayt al-Maqdis (Al-Aqsa) literally means the holy/sacred house. It is basically a reference to the the compound of Al-Aqsa Mosque (or Masjid Al-Aqsa). Al-Aqsa Mosque is the entire piece of land surrounded by the walls. Part of the Mosque's western wall (al-Buraq wall) was confiscated by Israel in 1967 and called Wailing Wall of Jewish shrine. The Mosque's plateau is largely an open-air area with limited structures including the main prayer building at southern side (Qibla direction) of the compound and the golden dome at its central rock.

Jerusalem
  • Most scholars are of the opinion that Masjid Al Aqsa was first built by Prophet Adam.

  • Ibrahim (as) rebuilt the Masjid Al Aqsa in Jerusalem as he and Ismail rebuilt the Ka'ba in Makkah.

  • Prophet Daud (as) began the rebuilding of Masjid Al Aqsa.

  • It was Prophet Sulayman (as) who finally completed the building of Masjid Al Aqsa.

  • Masjid Al Aqsa built by Sulayman (as) was destroyed in 587 BC by Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon.

  • The Jews call this same Masjid Al Aqsa built by Sulayman as their Temple.

  • The Jews re-built their Temple on the same site in 167 BC but was destroyed in 70 CE and Jews were banished from Jerusalem.

  • The site of Masjid Al Aqsa remained barren and was used as a rubbish tip for nearly 600 years until the Great Khalifah Umar bin Khattab liberated Jerusalem in 637/638 CE.

  • The Khalifah Umar bin Khattab began the foundation of Masjid Al Aqsa and a timber mosque was built.

  • The Umayyad Khalifah, Abd' al Malik ibn Marwan in 691/692 CE [72/73 AH] began the construction of Dome of the Rock - today this is the Golden Domed building.

  • The al Buraq wall or Western Wall where Prophet Muhammad tied his animal (the Buraq) on the night journey of al Isra is what the Jews call the wailing wall.

  • To Muslims it is the whole compound of Bail al-Maqdis which is most holy and important.

  • The sacred area of Bayt al-Maqdis (Al-Aqsa) has within it the Main Prayer Hall of Masjid Al Aqsa [Black Domed Building] and Dome of the Rock Building [the Golden Dome Building].

  • Israel occupied Bayt al-Maqdis (Al-Aqsa) in 1967 CE.

  • The Zionist Jews have made 100's of attempts to destroy Al Aqsa since 1967 when they occupied it. A fire in 1967 started by their help and destroyed the 900 year old Mimbar installed by Salahudeen Ayyubi, the Great Muslim Hero.
  In the picture below, Al-Aqsa compound shows five major structures identified by colors:
Dome of the Rock  The Dome of the Rock
Al-Madrasah Al-Nahwiyah  Al-Madrasah Al-Nahwiyah
Prayer Hall of Al-Aqsa  Main Prayer Hall of Al-Aqsa
Al Musalla Al-Marwani  Al Musalla Al-Marwani (Underground)
Nisaa' Musalla  Nisaa' Musalla

al-Aqsa Compound
Click on any picture below to see full size.
Dome of the Rock
Al-Madrasah Al-Nahwiyah was built in 603 AH (1206 CE) and as its Arabic name suggests, it is The School of Grammar. Currently, it serves as a library and the workspace of Bayt al-Maqdis Mufti. Al-Madrasah Al-Nahwiyah
Masjid Aqsa
Al-Musalla Al-Marwani is an underground structure built around the same period that Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa was built. The Prayer Hall was bulit by the Islamic Umayyad Khalifa, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan. Al-Musalla Al-Marwani
Arial Photo Al-Aqsa
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