Search WWW Search

Significance of Masjid Al-Aqsa (Jerusalem) to Muslims and Jews


Q:) In what way Al-Masjid al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem) is significant to Muslims and Jews?

A:) he Centrality of Masjid al Aqsa in Islam

To Muslims, Jerusalem houses one of the holiest Mosques, the Masjid-al-Aqsa and represents a place of greatest religious significance. This needs to be appreciated by the West before a sincere bridge of mutual friendship is built.

Muslims' call to rule over Jerusalem is not driven by colonist, nationalist or material motives. The love of every grain in the Holy City is sacred to Muslims. As Muslims' respect all the Prophets revered by Judaism and Christianity and their venerated places are also central to the ethos of Islam.

Therefore, it is only by entrusting the custody of the Holy City to the Muslims can the present Judaisation of Jerusalem come to a halt and morally open the city to all the three faiths.

To quote a few Qur'anic verses and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) with regard to Jerusalem will indicate the importance Masjid al Aqsa and therefore Jerusalem has assumed upon the Muslims hearts.


1. The miraculous journey of the holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) from Makkah to Masjid al Aqsa (al Isra) and his ascension through the heavens (al Ma'araj) has linked Jerusalem to the Muslims hearts and minds. The Holy Qur'an states:

"Glory to Allah who did take His Servant for a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque (in Makkah) to the Al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem) whose precincts We did bless (al-Isra 17: 1)

The Lord Almighty had at in His power to have taken the Prophet Muhammad e from Makkah straight up to the heavens. However, to impress the importance of Jerusalem upon Muslims the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) was first taken to Masjid al Aqsa in Jerusalem.

When in Masjid al Aqsa Haram Shareef the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) led Salaah and was followed by all the previous Prophets Alayhis salaam. Hence the whole of Masjid al Aqsa precincts are unique in that this is the only place on earth where all the Prophets Alayhis salaam performed Salaah in congregation.

2. The Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) Alayhis salaam central to all the three faiths migrated to the land of Canaanite around 1805 BC. The Qur'an states:
"We said, O Fire! Be thou cool and safety for Ibrahim. Then they planned against him, but We made them the greater losers. But We delivered him and (his nephew) Lot (and directed them) to the land which We have blessed for the nations (Al-Anbiyaa 21: 69-71)

3. The sacredness of Jerusalem is emphasised on numerous places in the Holy Qur'an. The Apostles of Allah, Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and also Prophet Musa (Mosses) [Alayhis salaam] alluded to it. The Holy Qur'an reports Prophet Musa [Alayhis salaam] telling his people:

O my people! Enter the holy land... (Al-Maida 5: 21)

Further the Holy Qur'an states:
(It was Our power that made) the violent (unruly) Wind flow (tamely) for Sulaman. To his order, to the land Which We had blessed... (Al-Anbiyaa 21: 81)

4. Masjid al Aqsa and therefore Jerusalem's importance was further emphasised by the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam):
(a) According to Islamic teachings there are only three places to which it is desirable to undertake a journey for the purpose of Salaah. Abu Huraira [ra] is quoted as saying that Allah's Messenger [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] said,
'set out deliberately on a journey only to three mosques: this mosque of mine (in Medina), the Sacred Mosque (in Makkah) and the Masjid al Aqsa (in Jerusalem) (Bukhari & Muslim)

(b) The virtues of praying in Masjid al Aqsa are exalted:
Abu Darda [ra] is quoted as saying that the Prophet of Allah Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said,
a prayer in the Sacred Mosque (in Makkah) is worth 100, 000 prayers, a prayer in my mosque (in Medina) is worth 1, 000 and a prayer in Jerusalem is worth 500 prayers more than in an any other mosque. (Bukhari)

As part of another tradition, on the authority of Maimunah bint Sa'd, it is reported that, upon being asked about a person who is unable to travel to the Masjid al Aqsa, the Messenger of Allah [Alayhis salaam] said, '
He should make a gift of oil to be burnt therein, for He who gives a gift to the Masjid al Aqsa will be like one who has prayed Salaah therein.' (Ahmad & Ibn Majah)

(c) The Masjid al Aqsa is the second house of prayer established on earth: Abu Dhar [ra] is quoted as saying, I asked the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) which was the first mosque on earth? '
The Sacred Mosque (in Makkah),' he said. And then which, I asked? 'Masjid al Aqsa,' he said. I further asked, what was the time span between the two? 'Forty years,' the Prophet [Alayhis salaam] replied. (Muslim)

(d) Abu Umamah al Bahili [ra] reports that the Prophet of Allah [Alayhis salaam] as saying, '
A group of my ummah will remain firm upon the truth, dominating their enemies. They will not be harmed by their opponents until Allah's decree arrives upon them. They asked, 'Oh Prophet of Allah [Alayhis salaam]! Where will they be?' He replied, 'In Bait al Maqdis and its surrounding areas. (Ahmad)

5. The Masjid-al-Aqsa was the First Qibla (the direction to which Muslims faced when praying Salaah):
The centrality, historical and cultural significance of Masjid al Aqsa is further emphasised by the fact that Muslims used to turn towards Jerusalem when they prayed. This was practised until 16 to 17 months after hijra, when Allah I commanded in His wisdom, for the Muslims to face Makkah. The importance of Masjid al Aqsa remained and all the worship performed facing Masjid al Aqsa was good and valid.

6. The resting place of Prophets [Alayhis salaam] and Prophet's companions [ra]:
The land of Palestine has in it some of the noblest souls the earth has seen. The graves of many Prophet's are in Palestine. Including Ibrahim Alayhis salaam, Yakub Alayhis salaam, Ishaq [peace be upon them] and according to some commentators there are over 100 Prophets buried in Palestine.

Palestine also has the bodies of some of the closest companions of the Prophet e and thus the first generation Muslims. Included in these are the graves of Ubada ibn al Samit, Shaddad ibn Aws ibn Thabit al Ansari and Tamim al Dari [ra].

7. Merits of Performing Haj or Umrah from Masjid al Aqsa:
Umm Salamah [ra] narrates that she heard the Prophet [Alayhis salaam] saying, '
whosoever starts his Umrah or Haj from Masjid al Aqsa his wrong actions will be forgiven, both past and future.' In another version, he is reported to have said that Paradise would be his reward. (Targheeb)

8. Freedom of the Holy City.
After the battle of Yarmuk the Muslim forces under the command of Abu Ubaydahr alay siege to Jerusalem. The inhabitants consented to surrender on condition the Khalifa, Umar ibn al Khattab (ra) came in person. Umar [ra]
travelled to Palestine and formally received the keys to the city in 637 AC. On his arrival, he concluded the famous peace treaty with the people of Holy City. This opened the doors to the Jews, who were denied access for thousands of years and for the first time Jerusalem under Muslim rule became truly an OPEN CITY to all the three faiths. Throughout Muslim rule of over one thousand two hundred years of Jerusalem, members of Jewish, Christianity and Islam found a heaven to prosper from. Muslim rule enabled the city to live up to its rightful title of 'The Holy City' as it encompassed all the believers in One God to go about their business without hindrance.

Published by: Friends of Al-Aqsa

Article taken (with Thanks) from

  This site requires:- Macromedia's Flash 7 Player & 1024x768 Screen Resolution  
Copyright 2005-2006 Central-Mosque All rights reserved. Comments and suggestions to