The Significance Of Al-aqsa Mosque For Muslims
Al-Aqsa Mosque is one of the many important places for the Muslim community. It is considered the third holiest site in Islam. It is a silver-domed mosque located in the Old City of Jerusalem in Palestine, built on the Temple Mount and surrounded by a 35-acre compound referred to as al-Haram al-Sharif or a noble sanctuary. This large compound consists of seventeen gates and four minarets and the Dome of the Rock.
The word Al-Aqsa means “the Farthest Mosque.” The place has been designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Masjids of Mecca to this place during the Night Journey and then went to heaven. The belief says that the Prophet Muhammad led prayers towards this site until Allah directed him to turn towards Kaaba.
After the Masjid Al-Haram in Mecca and Al-Masjid An-Nabawi in Madina, it is the most sacred place for Muslims. As the scriptures mention, Prophet Muhammad taught his followers that they should undertake an extraordinary journey to one of these three mosques once in their life.
Muslims believe that these mosques are a blessing and worshippers get 500 times more rewarded when compared to the prayers done at any other place. Al-Aqsa was the second worship place built after Kaaba, so the Quran has stated it holy in several excerpts.
The first construction of the mosque was a small prayer house by the second caliph of Rashidun Caliphate. In 705, its construction was expanded by Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malic and later on by his son al-Walid. But in 746, an earthquake eradicated it, and the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur rebuilt it in 754. Again an earthquake destroyed it in 1033. Then, it was repaired by Fatimid caliph Ali az-Zahir in the form of a new mosque.
Currently, the mosque is under the Jordanian and Palestinian Islamic Waqf administration, which is a religious trust dedicated to Islamic sites in Jerusalem.
Why is Al-Aqsa Important for the Islamic Community?
The first Qibla
We can understand the historical significance of Al-Aqsa by the fact that it was the first direction in which Muslims would pray for a period of 16 or 17 months after migration from Medina in 624. Qibla stands for order, and Al-Aqsa remained the Qibla until the 18th month after the Hijra.
Second Masjid built on the earth
Forty years after the construction of Kaaba, the first Masjid of the world, AL-Aqsa, was built and became the second mosque ever built. It was built by the Prophet Muhammad, who travelled to Jerusalem and made it.
After the first construction (a small prayer house), it was destroyed by several natural calamities and then rebuilt by different renowned preachers and got its current form. Belief says that there is not a single inch where the Prophet Muhammed has not kept his feet.
The third holiest site of the Islamic community
After Mecca and Medina, Al-Aqsa is the holiest place in Islam. Prophet Muhammed mentioned it several times and asked his followers to worship there. It is the only Masjid besides Kaaba whose name has been mentioned in the Quran.
The place of Ascension
The Quran and Islamic traditions state that Masjid Al-Aqsa is where Prophet Muhammad went on a miraculous night journey of Isra and Miraj. During this journey, the Prophet rode on Burqa, who took him from Mecca to al-Aqsa.
Then, Prophet Muhammad tethered Burqa to the Western Wall and prayed at al-Aqsa Mosque, and after he finished his prayers, he ascended to heaven, where he met several other prophets and led them in prayer.
It fulfils all the wishes
Al-Aqsa is the pilgrimage site of Muslims; they believe that the mosque fulfils all their wishes and nurtures them. Abu Darda relates that the Prophet said, praying in Al-Aqsa sanctuary gives 500 times more rewards than any other place. Here, you can find a great crowd, especially in the month of Ramadan.
A place of comfort and hope
It is said that Al-Aqsa fulfils all the desires but also gives hope and comfort to lost and unmotivated ones. People of every kind, from healthy to hungry, rich to poor, come to this spiritual sanctuary to seek comfort and hope.
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