Introduction about Masjid-e-Aqsa: –
The holy mosque of Al Aqsa holds a special place in every Muslim’s heart. Every Muslim knows where is Masjid-e- Aqsa. After the holy mosques of Makkah and Madinah, it is Masjid-e-Aqsa that is the most revered mosque for Muslims. The importance of Madinah is paramount for Muslims. However, Jerusalem also holds great significance as the holy city in Islam. The masjid covers approximately 14,000 square meters of land and can easily accommodate 500,000 worshippers. Its four minarets are reminiscent of the Mamluk period. The grand mosque has as many as 200 different landmarks that have their religious significance. The dome of the splendid mosque has two layers. Intricate mosaic decorations adorn the interior layer of the dome while the exterior features copper plates with gold coating.
Al-Aqsa mosque history: –
It is unclear as to who built the al-Aqsa Mosque. Some scholars maintain that Hazrat Adam (AS) built it.
However, some assert that Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) laid its foundation. Nevertheless, the mosque went through modifications and refurbishments many times since its creation. About Masjid-e-Aqsa, scholars agree that it was built after Masjid-al-Haram in Madinah.
Though it is unclear that Masjid al-Aqsa was built by whom, Allah entrusted the Holy mosque with his prophets from time to time. From Hazrat Ibrahim to Hazrat Suleiman (AS) the prophets have protected and preserved the sanctity of Masjid-al-Aqsa. After Hazrat Suleiman’s demise, the holy mosque lost its sanctity and worth for a long period, until the arrival of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Then Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) reinforced the importance of Masjid-al-Aqsa to the believers. When Hazrat Omer became the Caliph, he freed the holy city of Jerusalem from Christians in the most peaceful manner. He was utterly disappointed about Masjid-e-Aqsa when he arrived to discover a barren land of rubble and garbage. He took the responsibility of rehabilitating the holy mosque. His character and benevolence impressed non-Muslims greatly as he allowed them to profess their religion freely.
For another long period, deadly wars took place between Muslims and the Crusaders to gain ownership of Jerusalem. It was the army of Salauddin Ayubi that conquered the holy city back after about 88 years.
Just as Hazrat Omer was just and benevolent with people of other religions, Salauddin Ayubi allowed people belonging to other faiths to live peacefully in the holy city.
About Masjid-e-Aqsa, the Ottoman Caliphs accomplished great work during their reign. Not only did they undertake the work of preservation and renovation of the mosque but they also ensured that the administration was just for all, fully establishing Islamic rule.
Importance of Masjid-e-Aqsa for Muslims: –
Thinking about Masjid-e-Aqsa, every Muslim gets teary-eyed. Such is the love and reverence for this mosque. Before Kabah, it was this mosque that was the Qibla for Muslims.
On the night of Ascension, the Prophet Muhammad embarked the holy journey from Makkah to Jerusalem with Hazrat Jibreel. At Masjid-al-Aqsa, he led the congregational prayers for all the prophets.
From the Dome of the Rock, which is a part of the mosque, he ascended to the heavens to see the marvels of Allah. Many prophets and messengers of Allah lived around and worshipped in Masjid-e-Aqsa. Hazrat Dawood, Hazrat Suleiman, Hazrat Zakariya, Hazrat Maryam, and Hazrat Isa (AS) all spent a significant part of their life by Masjid-e-Aqsa.
Duties of Muslims towards Masjid-e-Aqsa: –
Given the great significance of Al-Aqsa, every Muslim must know about Majid-e-Aqsa and its sanctity to the best. Allah and his Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) have commanded Muslims to protect the honor of this holy mosque. Muslims all over the world are ordered by their religion to unite and strive for the protection of Masjid-al-Aqsa. Islam encourages Muslims to pay a visit to the holy mosque. Unfortunately due to the present situation, it might not be possible for foreign Muslims to visit the mosque. Only an authorized tour company can make arrangements to visit Masjid-al-Aqsa. However, even in their homes while praying, Muslims are supposed to make a special prayer for the protection of Masjid-al-Aqsa.
About Masjid-e-Aqsa, the duties of Muslims are to the extent that one must strive, physically, financially, verbally, and through writing to protect its honor. Muslims are commanded in Islam to take its ownership. Such is the importance of this holy mosque in Islam.