In the Name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate
The places of worship of all religions have never enjoyed respect and appreciation as they have under the Islamic faith. God says: “For had it not been for Allah’s repelling some men by means of others, cloisters and churches and oratories and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft mentioned, would assuredly have been pulled down. Verily Allah helpeth one who helpeth Him. Lo! Allah is Strong, Almighty.”-Al Haj, Sura 40.
When Abu Bakr Al Siddeeq sent out troops, one of his most important missives was: “Don’t demolish a place of worship; don’t kill an old man, or a woman or a baby and don’t uproot any tree.”
As such, history has not recorded any act of aggression on Christian or Jewish places of worship because Islam granted freedom of belief and worship for all those in Islamic society following other religions.
To offer evidence that the Al Aqsa Mosque is an authentic and sole right of Muslims, we say that first, historical sources demonstrate that the blessed Al Aqsa Mosque was built in the period that the Ka’ba in Mecca was built, with a time difference of 40 years. Imam Bukhari quoted Abi Thar Al Ghafari saying: “I asked the Prophet which mosque was built first? He said, the Holy Mosque. I said, which one? He said the Aqsa Mosque. I said, how many years between them? He said 40 years. And whichever mosque you reach, just pray in it.”
This confirms that the Aqsa Mosque was built before the presence of any mosque, church, or temple, and before any of the tribes of the sons of Israel. This refutes the Jewish claim that the Aqsa Mosque was built on the ruins of the supposed Temple.
Second, nothing in the truthful word of Islam mentions that Solomon built the Aqsa Mosque or any construct on the site of the Aqsa Mosque. The Samaritans, who are one sect of Judaism, believe that the Temple was built on the ruins of Mount Jerazim in Nablus.
In addition, the only knowledge of the Temple is in the scriptures of the sons of Israel. These scriptures rely on images and recollections that do not stand up in the face of documented historical scientific evidence.
Third, God says, “Glorified be He Who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship to the Far Distant Place of Worship the neighborhood whereof We have blessed, that We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He, only He is the Hearer, the Seer.”
Among the matters that are agreed upon is the fact that the Aqsa Mosque is located in the city of Jerusalem in Palestine. Prophet Moses told his people: “My people, enter the Holy Lands.” This is proof that Jerusalem and Palestine were sacred even before the people of Moses. The presence of the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and Palestine was before the coming of the sons of Israel in Palestine and before the prophets of the sons of Israel from whom Jews claim their inheritance.
Fourth, the prophetic texts affirm the benefits of the Aqsa Mosque and the Holy Land. Imam Ahmad quoted Thi Al Asabe’ saying: “Our Prophet, if we are doomed to live after you, where do you order us to stay? He said: You stay in the Holy Land, may you have your offspring there and go to the mosque.”
Prophet Mohammed said, “Those who can make a pilgrimage from the Aqsa Mosque to the Holy Mosque, they will be granted heaven.”
Fifth, the Aqsa Mosque was the first Qibla of Muslims. Prophet Mohammed and his followers prayed for 16 months towards the city of Jerusalem, until the Qibla was changed towards the Ka’ba. The Hanif faith demonstrated the benefits of praying in the Aqsa Mosque when the Prophet said, “Praying in the Holy Mosque is worth 1,000 prayers, and prayer in my mosque is worth 1,000 prayers and praying in the Holy Land is worth 500 prayers.”
Sixth, the ideological status of the Aqsa Mosque in the hearts of Muslims flows from the faith of the masses since the Omari Invasion. This has been evident through the great interest expressed by national scholars in building and establishing sites inside the Aqsa Mosque and on its outskirts. The religious schools growing around the Asqa Mosque are the strongest evidence for the status of the Aqsa Mosque in the hearts of Muslims.
Israeli aggression against holy sites, in particular the Aqsa Mosque, is proof that there is a lack of Jewish respect for other religions and that the various sects of Jews do not agree over the status of the Aqsa Mosque.
For Muslims, Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque is not a claim, but a right granted by God in the Holy Qur’an and the other religious books. Adam built the Aqsa Mosque as a unifier of people. The occurrences of the Isra’ and Mi’raj are evidence enough of Al Aqsa’s great status in the hearts of Muslims.
The Isra’ and Mi’raj are both sections of the Qur’an describing visions of the Prophet Mohammed, in which he was carried from the holy mosque in Jerusalem into the presence of God.
Sheikh Jamil Abdul Rahim Hamami is a lecturer at Al Quds University in Jerusalem.