interesting facts about al aqsa mosque in jerusalem

7 Interesting Facts about Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

Al-Aqsa Mosque – al-Masjid al-ʾAqṣā- is located in the Old City of Jerusalem and is the third holiest site in Islam. The mosque dates to the early seventh century when Umar, the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate built the mosque on top of the Temple Mount, aka Al Aqsa Compound or Haram esh-Sharif. With complex early Islamic architectural design and careful restoration, this is a beautiful building. Ready to learn more? Here are some of the most interesting facts about Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

7 Interesting Facts about Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

1. Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam

Al-Aqsa Mosque is called “the Farthest Mosque”, and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is the third holiest site in Islam after The Kaaba in Mecca and The Mosque of the Prophet in Medina, both in Saudi Arabia. Muslims consider it the third holiest mosque in the world after the Al-Haram and the Al-Nabawi mosque. Today, the Old City is under Israeli control, but the mosque remains under the administration of the Jordanian/Palestinian-led Islamic Waqf.

2. Al-Aqsa Mosque is on Temple Mount

Many people confuse the Al-Aqsa Mosque with the Temple Mount. They are two different things. The mosque is the building located on the Temple Mount which is a hill in the Old City of Jerusalem. Muslims today call the Temple Mount the “Haram al-Sharif” (“Noble Sanctuary”). Temple Mount has for thousands of years been a sacred site in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

3. Al-Aqsa Mosque dates from the 7th-century

Umar, the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate, erected the original mosque on the Temple Mount in the early 7th-century – several years after the Prophet Muhammad’s death. Over the centuries, many different people carried out repairs and expansions on the mosque, for instance, by the Ayyubids, Mamluks, Ottomans, the Supreme Muslim Council, and Jordan.

4. Al-Masjid al-ʾAqṣā means ‘the farthest mosque’

As mentioned, Al-Aqsa means ‘the farthest mosque’ or the farthest sanctuary, so-called because of the journey of the night of the Prophet Muhammad. Modern Muslims believe that a winged creature known as Burqa transported Muhammad from the Great Mosque of Mecca to the Temple Mount during the Night Journey. Muhammad led prayers towards this site until Allah told him to instead turn towards the Kaaba in Mecca. This is why, nowadays, Muslims face the direction of the Kaaba during prayer.

interesting facts about al aqsa mosque in jerusalem

5. The Al Aqsa Compound is home to the Dome of the Rock

The Temple Mount not only hosts al-Aqsa Mosque, but also the Dome of the Rock, a seventh-century structure believed to be where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. The Al-Aqsa complex is also home to the Gates of the Temple Mount. The Noble Sanctuary covers 14.4 hectares (36 acres), although the mosque itself covers about 12 acres (5 ha) and can hold up to 5,000 worshippers. It is 83 meters (272 ft) long and 56 meters (184 ft) wide.

6. Al-Aqsa Mosque is of early Islamic style

The Dome of the Rock reflects classical Byzantine architecture, but the Al-Aqsa Mosque is characteristic of early Islamic architecture. It features a concrete dome covered with lead which is in front of the mihrab and the interior of the dome is painted with 14th-century-era decorations. Workers constructed the facade of the mosque in 1065 CE on the orders of the Fatimid caliph al-Mustansir Billah. The facade features fourteen stone arches and inside the mosque are 121 stained glass windows, 33 white marble columns and 12 stone columns.

7. Masjid-Al-Aqsa houses the graves of noble Muslims

There are many graves of noble Muslims present in the complex of Masjid-Al-Aqsa, such as the grave of Prophet Suleiman. The Mausoleum of Prophet Sulaiman is within the compound and is said to be the place where he passed away while leaning on his staff.

interesting facts about al aqsa mosque in jerusalem

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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