The Story

About Masjid Al-Aqsa

The name ‘Masjid Al-Aqsa’ translates as ‘the Farthest Masjid’ because it was a place of worship in the farthest West known to Arabs in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH); and is the 3rd most holy place in Islam. It was here that in around 621 CE the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) came on the Night Journey from Makkah riding on the Buraq. Masjid Al-Aqsa is not only the Qibly Masjid (with the silver/grey dome) or the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat As-Sakhrah). It is in fact the whole region within the fortified walls in the sacred sanctuary (Haram Shareef) and is also known as Bayt Al-Maqdis or Bayt al-Muqaddas (House of the Holiness).

There are multiple Masjids on the site that we know as Masjid Al-Aqsa. We think of Masjid Al-Aqsa as the building at the southernmost corner of the Masjid. In actual fact, that is the Qibly Masjid – so called because it is the closest to the Qibla. The whole mount is Masjid Al-Aqsa and is sometimes referred to the Haram Al-Sharif to prevent confusion.

The region of Palestine holds the resting places 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 (AS), Yakub (AS), Ishaq [AS] and according to some commentators there are over 100 Prophets buried in Palestine.

Greater Virtue of praying in Masjid Al-Aqsa

Abu Darda (ra) relates that the Prophet (saw) said, “A prayer in Makkah (Ka’bah) is worth 100,000 times (reward), a prayer in my Masjid (Madinah) is worth 1,000 times and a prayer in Al-Aqsa Sanctuary is worth 500 times more reward than anywhere else”. (Tabarani, Bayhaqi, Suyuti)

Masjid Al-Aqsa was the first Qiblah in Islam. When the Prophet (SAW) moved from Makkah to Madina, the salaah direction changed from Masjid Al-Aqsa to the Qibla direction we know today in Makkah.

Masjid Al-Aqsa – The Second House of Allah (SWT) on Earth

Abu Dharr (ra) reported that he asked the Prophet (saw), “O Messenger of Allah, which Masjid was built first on earth”? The Prophet (saw) replied, “The Sacred Masjid of Makkah”. Abu Dharr (ra) again asked, “Which was next”? The Prophet (saw) said, “Masjid Al-Aqsa”. Abu Dharr (ra) further asked, “How long was the period between the building of the two Masjids”? The Prophet (saw) said, “40 years”. Apart from these, offer your prayer anywhere when it is time to pray, although excellence is in praying in these Masjids”. (Bukhari)

The Importance of Visiting Masjid Al-Aqsa

Abu Hurayrah (ra) relates that the Prophet (saw) said, “You should not undertake a special journey to visit any place other than the following three Masjids with the expectations of getting greater reward: the Sacred Masjid of Makkah (Ka’bah), this Masjid of mine (the Prophet’s Masjid in Madinah), and Masjid Al-Aqsa (of Jerusalem)”. In another narration the words are, “For three Masjids a special journey may be undertaken: The Sacred Masjid (Ka’bah), my Masjid and Masjid of Jerusalem (Al-Aqsa). (Muslim, Bukhari, Abu Dawud)

Al-Aqsa the Ist Qibla in Islam

Did You Know

  • Masjid Al-Aqsa is the 2nd House of Allah to be built on Earth.
  • It is the 1st Qiblah in Islam.
  • The station of both Al-Isra and Al-Mi’raj.
  • The Masjid is a place where miracles were shown by Allah’s will.
  • Allah (SWT) Himself calls Masjid Al-Aqsa a ‘blessed place’.
  • The dome of the Masjid, which is likely to be the 1st dome in the history of Islam, was built by Umayyad Caliph Abdul Malik ibn Marwan around 690 CE.