[ سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آَيَاتِنَا إِنَّه هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ ]
In the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful
Glorified (and Exalted) is He (Allah) [above all that (evil) they associate with Him] Who took His slave (Muhammad P.U.H.) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid- al-Haram (at Makkah) to the Al-Masjed-al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad P.U.H.) of Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.
Al-Aqsa Mosque ((المسجد الاقصى, Al-Masjid al-Aqṣa, also known as Al-Aqsa and Bayt al-Muqaddas, is the third holiest site in Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. The site on which the silver domed mosque sits, along with the Dome of the Rock, also referred to as Al-Haram Al-Sharif or “Noble Sanctuary,” is the holiest site in Judaism. Muslims believe that Muhammad P.U.H. was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to Al-Aqsa during the Night Journey. Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad P.U.H. led prayers towards this site until the seventeenth month after the emigration, when Allah directed him to turn towards the Kaaba.
The mosque was originally a small prayer house built by Khalipha Umar, but was rebuilt and expanded by the Umayyad Khalipha Abd al-Malik and finished by his son Al-Walid in 705 CE.
More renovations, repairs and additions were undertaken in the later centuries by the Ayyubids, Mamluks, Ottomans, the Supreme Muslim Council, and Jordan.
Today, the mosque is under the administration of the Jordanian/Palestinian-led Islamic Waqf.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is seen on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary الحرم الشريف The grand mosques in Mecca and Medina, the two holiest in Islam, draw millions of pilgrims annually. Al-Aqsa, the last of the three sacred sites the Prophet Mohammad P.U.H. urged Muslims to visit, sees only a few thousand foreign worshippers a year. The difference is political, not religious. The first two mosques are in Saudi Arabia, a proudly Muslim king-dom, while Al-Aqsa stands on Israeli-controlled land that may be the most disputed religious spot on earth.
Dome of the Rock
قبة الصخرة المشرفة
The Dome of the Rock Originally a “Mashhad”, a shrine for pilgrims. Chalipha Abd El-Malik in 685 AD commenced work on The Dome of The Rock and placed the monument on the Haram Al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary, in order to enshrine the sacred rock from which, Muslims believe, Prophet Muhammad P.U.H. made “Al-Israa”, the night Journey and ascended to visit Allah in heaven (Sura Al Israa).
Al Aqsa Mosque from the Dome of the Roc
The Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, known as “The Taqdis” is the final destination of the main pilgrimage “Hajji” allowing Muslims to commemorate the significance of the city to their faith. Jerusalem became known as Al-Quds,“The Holy”. Many of the Prophet’s Companions travelled to worship at the blessed spot to which Muhammad P.U.H., was brought by night and from which he ascended through the heavens to Allah. According to the authenticated tradition of the Prophet, travel for the sake of worship is undertaken to only three mosques; The Sacred Mosque in Makkah, The Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and “Al-Aqsa Mosque” in Jerusalem. The Dome of The Rock remains one of the world’s most beautiful and enduring architectural treasures.
The building became known as Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa, Al-Aqsa Mosque, although in reality the whole area of the Noble Sanctuary is considered Al-Aqsa Mosque, the entire precincts inviolable according to Islamic law. Every Friday prayer, the Al-Aqsa Mosque building overflows, with thousands of worshippers who mustmake their prayers outside in the courtyards of the vast open expanse of the Noble Sanctuary.
While The Dome of the Rock was constructed as a mosque to commemorate the Prophet’s Night Journey, the building known as Al-Aqsa Mosque became a center of worship and learning, attracting great teachers from all over the world.