Why is Masjid Al-Aqsa so special?
Masjid Al-Aqsa is an important holy site in Islam, located in the Old City of Jerusalem in Palestine. It’s name translates literally as ‘the Farthest Mosque’. The wider compound includes the Dome of the Rock, seventeen gates and four minarets, and is usually referred to as al-Haram ash-Sharif, which means ‘the Noble Sanctuary’.
What makes Masjid Al-Aqsa important?
Masjid Al-Aqsa is important in Islam because Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺwas transported from the Scared Mosque in Mecca to Al-Aqsa during the Night Journey, and then on to heaven. It is also believed that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ led prayers towards this site until Allah directed him to turn towards the Kaaba.
It was the second place of worship build in Islam, 40 years after the Kaaba, and is mentioned in the Qur’an as being ‘holy’ and ‘blessed’ in numerous extracts.
“Glorified be He [Allah] Who did take His servant for a journey by night from Al Masjid Al Haram to Al Masjid Al Aqsa, whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of our Signs. Verily He is the All Hearing, All Seeing.” Surah Isra (17:1)
According to Islamic scriptures, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ taught followers that they should undertake a special journey to one of three important mosques: Masjid Al-Haram in Mecca, Al Masjid An-Nabawi in Madinah, and Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem. Prayers in these special mosques will generate amazing blessings and worshipers will receive at least 500 times the reward of Salaah performed in another location.
Responding to the US President recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel Omar Suleiman said here:
“Your recognition means nothing to us.
Your maps mean nothing to us.
Your embassy is as illegitimate as the occupation it seeks to legitimize.
Our land is our land.
Our dignity is our dignity.
Our determination is our determination.
Our boycott is our boycott.
Our Aqsa is our Aqsa.
Our Palestine is our Palestine.
We never had any expectations of tyrants, dictators, or stooges.
We bow our heads only to One.
We will continue to insist on our freedom, even if the world has ceased to acknowledge it.”
Here Omar Suleiman provides a detailed historical overview on the significance of Jerusalem and its Masjid Al Aqsa.