Masjid, Synagogue & Temple
Islam being the Divine Religion it is Divine Oriented. So its name, its origin, its averments, its nitty gritty and all of its injunctions, mandatory or prohibitory and including the world three ‘Islamic Holiest Shrines’ are also Divine. Conversely all other creeds are man oriented and so their manes, origin, averments and fundamentals are also synthetic and all its extract including their shrines are also man-oriented. All the three Islamic Holiest Shrines; (i) ‘Al-Masjid-Al-Haram’ (viz Mosque of Inviolable) or Beth-Allah Sharif at ‘Mecca the Blessed’ - (ii) ‘Al Masjid Al Nabawi’ (viz The Messenger Mosque) at ‘Medina the Radiant - (iii) and ‘Al Masjid Al Aqsa’ or Al-Beth-al-Maqdis or Al-Haram al-Sharif in ‘Al Qods al Sharif’ have been Holiest because Allah Almighty has affirmed them as such and therefore they were built under Allah Almighty Command, primarily by Prophets (PBUT) in accordance therewith.
What I want to bring forth is to find out the answer of a very vital question; whether ‘Al Masjid Al Aqsa’ (the Farthest Mosque viz Al Beth-al-Maqdis) was built as Masjid (Mosque), synagogue or temple right from the inception?
This is something of paramount importance to calm-down the conflict between the contender claimants; Muslims, Jews & Christians.
Jews claiming the site of the ‘Al Masjid al Aqsa’ (the whole of Al Haram al Sharif) as site of ‘Temple Mount’ the site which according to them was purchased by the then King of Bani Israel, King David (viz Prophet Daud) PBUH and the first temple was built over there by King Suleiman (viz Prophet King Suleiman) PBUH and which replaced the Tabernacle. Tabernacle according to the Jewish biblical account was a tent also known as ‘portable sanctuary’ established by Prophet Moses PBUH in which the ‘Ark of the Covenant’ (viz Ark Shekinah) was conveyed. (Exodus 26.31-36, 36.8-38, 37.1-9).
Whereas Christians claims the same site as the proximity of ‘Church of the Holy Sepulture’ which according to them was built over the site in the garden of Joseph of Arimathea where the Jesus (viz Prophet Isa Ibn Maryam viz Jesus son of Mary) PBUH is believed to have been buried in his tomb after the so called crucifixion. And the Roman King, ‘Constantine the great’ built a basilica on the site, which formed an add-on to the circular church of the holy Sepulcher that according to them had been enclosed under Hadrian’s temple.
Muslims account however about the Al Masjid al Aqsa (Al Haram Al Sharif) is highly original, legitimate, exceptional and irrefutable and can be proved even from their holy books; Old Testament and New Testament inspite of distortions.
First, what is meant by Al Masjid Al Aqsa (Al Haram Al Sharif and its Surroundings? Three names are important to be understood. They are ‘Al Qods Al Sharif’ (in Arabic) also known as Yerusalem (in Hebrew) and Jerusalem (in English). At the heart of them lies ‘The Noble Sanctuary’ in English, and which is also mentioned as ‘Al-Haram Al-Sharif’ or ‘Al Beth-al-Maqdis’ in Arabic. ‘Al Qods Al Sharif’ is also referred to in history as ‘Old City’ or ‘Walled City’ or ‘Land of Canaan’. And wherein lies a Masjid (Mosque), known as ‘Al Masjid Al Aqsa’ in the Holy Qur’an and which has been surrounded by other Muslims Holy Entities, will be elaborated afterwards. And therefore Allah Almighty says:
“Glory be to Him Who had His servant (Prophet Mohammad) travel by night from ‘al Masjid al Haram’ (in Mecca) to ‘al Masjid-al-Aqsa’ (in Al Qods Al Sharif) whose surroundings We have blessed, so We might show him some of Our signs! He is the Alert, the Observant!” (Surah Bani Israel - 17.1)
According to some more famous sources this Holy and Sacred ‘Al Haram Al Sharif’ was originated by Prophet King, Daud (viz Prophet Kind David) PBUH and completed by his son, the Prophet King, Suleiman (viz Prophet King Solomon) PBUH round about 3000 year ago. Jews do believe Daud (David) and Suleiman (Solomon) but merely as kings and not as Prophets. While Muslims believe firmly that both Daud and Suleiman were Prophets & Kings, assigned by Allah Almighty. These two magnificent Prophet Kings PBUT were mentioned no fewer than 33 times in the Holy Qur’an.
Whereas according to some renowned Muslim Historians, the third Holiest Muslim Shrine; ‘Al Masjid Al Aqsa’ was constructed, some say refurbished in the first instance by Prophet Ibrahim PBUH after 40 years of reconstructing and refurbishing the first Islamic Holiest Shrine; ‘Al Masjid Al Haram’ in ‘Mecca the Blessed’. And this view also gains inference from the Holy Qur’an for, Allah Almighty discloses in the Holy Qur’an the blessedness of the Holy Land round about 600 years before the era of Prophet Moses PBUH and round about 1000 years before the era of Prophets Kings Suleiman and Daud PBUT. And this is the era which is tallied to the era of Prophet Ibrahim PBUH that is round about 4000 years ago from today. Allah Almighty says:
“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-Anbiya 21: 69-71)
This means that Land of Al Qods Al Sharif was blessed by Allah Almighty long before than the era of Prophets Kings Da’ud & Suleiman PBUT.
And Allah Almighty also refers to the command of Prophet Moses to Bani Israel: “O my people! Go into the holy land which Allah hath ordained for you. Turn not in flight, for surely ye turn back as losers.” (Al-Maida 5: 21)
This also implies that Land of Al Qods Al Sharif was blessed by Allah Almighty long before than the era of Prophet Moses PBUH.
And there are holy saying to this effect as well: “Abu Dhar (RA) is quoted as saying, I asked the beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), which was the first Masjid (Mosque) on earth? ‘The Sacred Masjid’ (Mosque) in Mecca,’ 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 (peace be upon him) replied”. (Muslim)
Which implies that Prophet Ibrahim PBUH was the first who built Al Masjid Al Aqsa in Al Qods Al Sharif’ after 40 years of building the ‘Al Masjid Al Haram’ in ‘Mecca the Blessed’.
In the holy bibles too it is admitted that after having been settled in the ‘Land of Canaan’ (Al Qods) the Prophet Ibrahim PBUH pitched his tent towards east of the ‘House of God’ (‘Bethel’ in Hebrew, means House Of Allah Almighty), e.g. And he removed from thence unto the mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Aion the east; and he builded there an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. (Genesis - 12. 8).
This verse of the Genesis also implies that site of ‘Al Beth al Maqdis’ was somehow present over there knowingly at the time of Prophet Ibrahim migration thereto and so after building the Altar in the name of Allah Almighty, he might have refurbished the ‘Beth-el’ (viz House of Allah Almighty) as he did in ‘Mecca the Blessed’ in case of the First Islamic Holiest Shrine; Al Masjid Al Haram. And this is why that Allah Almighty has been referring to the blessedness of the city in the Holy Qur’an long before the era of Prophet Moses and Prophet Suleiman PBUT.
Well, then in Prophet Daud PBUH era after discovering first the Holy Site of the third Muslim Holiest Shrine, the Prophet King Daud PBUH purchased the same for the construction of Al Masjid Al Aqsa and which was practically completed by his son, Prophet King Suleiman PBUH after his succession.
At present and since long the third Muslim Holiest Shrine, ‘Al Haram Al Sharif’ (Al Masjid Al Aqsa) enclosing over 35 acres, comprising of ‘Al Mosque Al Aqsa’ - ‘Al Mosque Al Omar’ - ‘Al Qubbat Al Sakhrah’ (viz Dome of Rock) - ‘Al Qubbat Al Silsilah’ (viz Dome of Chain), David wells, Al Boraq Wall, Islamic Museum, fountains, gardens, buildings, domes, Church of Sepulture and many other numerous sacred entities is known as Al-Haram Al-Sharif or Al Beit Al Maqdis as a whole.
This is the locale which is claimed as ‘Temple Mount’ by Jews and is mentioned as ‘Solomon’s Temple’ by Christian authors. This Muslim Sacred City namely ‘Al Qods’ is situated in a historical region known as Palestine, corruption of the name; Filistin and which is also known by so many other names; The Promised Land’ - ‘The Land of the Book’ - ‘The Land of Canaan’ and Al Ard Maqdis (The Holy Land) etc. And almost all this land of Palestinians is now the territory of Jewish State of Israel.
The Jewish State of Israel which was founded in 1948 is nothing more than the grabbed land of historical region of Palestine. Notoriously known as the Balfour Declaration, was an instrument prepared in March 1916 and issued in November 1917, during World War I, by the British writer Arthur James Balfour, who was the then foreign secretary in the cabinet of Prime Minister David Lloyd George and whereby explicitly expressed the British government's approval of Zionism with “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
The wall that has enclosed the aforementioned Al Haram Al Shareef was also constructed by Muslim Ottoman Emperor Suleiman the first, during his reign in 1538 AC or according to some sources in 1542 AC.
Given this sacredness, when Al Qods Al Sharif was captured by Islamic Forces, the second Caliph, Omar ibn al-Khattāb viz ‘Farooq the Great’ accepted the request of his presence in person had been made by the Christians for the peaceful surrender of Jerusalem and so on that occasion he (Allah be pleased with him) executed a covenant; “Covenant of Omar” with the then Christians Patriarch Sophronius in the year 637 A.C. In the covenant between the second Caliph and the Patriarch of Jerusalem, a specific proviso had also been incorporated thereto that ‘no Jews shall reside with them i.e. Christians. And since then this third Muslim Holiest Shrine continued to be in Arab Muslims hands for nearly 900 years and in Muslims hands for nearly 1,300 years, with a break for more than one thousand years when Al Qods (Jerusalem) was in the hands of the Crusaders. This is also worth mentioning that since its origination or renovation also this third Muslim Holy Shrine remained in possession and charge of Prophets Kings Daud and Suleiman PBUT and thereafter in possession and charge of their PBUT Muslim successors for many years.
According to Al Qur’an Al Sharif and other authentic historical sources as well David & Solomon were both Prophets and Kings consigned by God Almighty. Allah Almighty therefore reveals in His Holy Qur’an:
“So they routed them by Allah's leave and David slew Goliath; and Allah gave him the kingdom and wisdom, and taught him of that which He willeth. And if Allah had not repelled some men by others the earth would have been corrupted. But Allah is a Lord of Kindness to (His) creatures”. (Surah Al Baqarah 2.251)
“And thy Lord is Best Aware of all who are in the heavens and the earth. And we preferred some of the prophets above others, and unto David We gave the Psalms”.
(Surah Bani Israel - 17.55)
“And We bestowed upon him Isaac and Jacob; each of them We guided; and Noah did We guide aforetime; and of his seed (We guided) David and Solomon and Job and Joseph and Moses and Aaron. Thus do We reward the good”. (Surah Al An’am 6.084)
“Lo! We inspire thee as We inspired Noah and the prophets after him, as We inspired Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and as We imparted unto David the Psalms” (Surah An-Nisa – 4.163)
“And We verily gave knowledge unto David and Solomon, and they said: Praise be to Allah, Who hath preferred us above many of His believing slaves! (Surah An -Naml -27.15)
“And Solomon was David's heir. And he said: O mankind! Lo! we have been taught the language of birds, and have been given (abundance) of all things. This surely is evident favour”. (Surah An -Naml -27.16)
“We gave David bounty from Ourself: "O mountains, echo back [God's praises] along with him! And [so may] the birds." We softened iron for him: "Make suits of armor and measure out the links in mail, and act honorably; I am Observant of anything you do." (Surah Saba - 34.10)
“Solomon possessed the wind; it would blow for a month in one direction and then blow back for [another] month. We melted down a font of brass for him. There were some sprites who worked in front of him by his Lord's permission, and We let any of them who wavered from Our command taste torment from the Blaze. They worked away for him just as he wished on shrines and images, bowls as big as troughs and built-in cauldrons: "Give thanks, O House of David!" Yet few of My servants are grateful”. (Surah Saba 34.12-13)
“Those of the Children of Israel who went astray were cursed by the tongue of David, and of Jesus, son of Mary. That was because they rebelled and used to transgress”. (Surah Al Ma’idah - 5.78)
As a matter of fact there is no room for doubt in respect of the Prophethood of Prophets David & Solomon PBUT – hence no question of doubt can be arisen that Prophets David & Solomon PBUT would have built anything else than a Mosque, viz ‘House of God’ on the Holy Site. Similarly is the case, in case, Prophet Ibrahim PBUH is supposed the first builder of al Masjid Al Aqsa. For, the Prophets PBUT could not be supposed by any stretch of imagination to build cloister, church, synagogue. And this is why that Allah Almighty has used the term “al Masjid-al Aqsa” for the third Islamic Holiest Shrine, in the Holy Qur’an and not as cloister, church, synagogue or ‘the first temple’ as are being misbelieved by Jews. Occasionally this ‘Islamic Holy Shrine’ has been in occupation of Jews & Christians but this does not connote that the ‘Al Masjid Al Aqsa’ converted into their cloister, church, synagogue or temple. As ‘Al -Masjid-Al-Haram’ at ‘Mecca the Blessed’ had also been in the occupation of nonbelievers intermittently but that did not denote the conversion of the ‘Al -Masjid-Al-Haram’ into cloister, church, synagogue.
Two questions in this regard are of vital importance;
firstly, what was the name of ‘Al Masjid Al Aqsa’ (The Farthest Mosque) (viz Beth-al- Maqdis) when Jerusalem was captured in result of a very stern military action by Romans and the same was destroyed by the Roman Commander, Titus, son of the then Roman emperor, ‘Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus’ in 70 AC? And,
secondly, what was the name of the ‘Al Masjid Al Aqsa’ (The Farthest Mosque) when the same was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II, King of Babylonia in 587 BCE?
Allah Almighty says in Holy Qur’an:
“Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque (al-Masjid al-Haram) to the farthest Mosque, (al-Masjid al-Aqsa) whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of Our Signs for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).” (Surah Bani Israel/Al Isra - 17:1)
Whereas in Holy Verse No: 7 of the same Surah, Allah Almighty covers the two times destruction of this Holy Place of Muslim worship; ‘Al Aqsa Mosque’ (The Farthest Mosque) (viz Al Beth al Maqdis) at two different occasions; once in 70 AC and secondly in 587 BC in the words:
To elaborate my point I produce Verse No: 7 of Surah Bani Israel in Arabic as below:
إِنْ أَحْسَنتُمْ أَحْسَنتُمْ لِأَنفُسِكُمْ وَإِنْ أَسَأْتُمْ فَلَهَا فَإِذَا جَاء وَعْدُ الآخِرَةِ لِيَسُوؤُواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَلِيَدْخُلُواْ الْمَسْجِدَ كَمَا دَخَلُوهُ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَلِيُتَبِّرُواْ مَا عَلَوْاْ تَتْبِيراً
Now its transliteration for convenience of those who can’t read Arabic:
“In ahsantum ahsantum li-anfusikum wa-in asa/tum falaha fa-itha jaa waAAdu al-akhirati liyasoo-oo wujoohakum waliyadkhuloo almasjida kama dakhaloohu awwala marratin waliyutabbiroo ma AAalaw tatbeeran”.
“If ye did well, ye did well for yourselves; if ye did evil, (ye did it) against yourselves. So when the second of the warnings came to pass, (We Permitted your enemies) to disfigure your faces, and to enter your Masjid (viz Al Beth al Maqdis) - As they had entered it before (in 587 BC), and to visit with destruction all that fell into their power.” (Surah Bani Israel - 17.7).
Here in both of these Holy Verses, Allah Almighty has disclosed the fact that status of the Holy Place of worship referred to above was that of a ‘Masjid’ right from the outset. Gold can’t be altered by putting it in the dirt. Putting idols or other unholy things in such Holy Places in odd times of Muslims does not mean alteration of their original rank.
The following are the various English translations of the respective scholars - (the underlining of one particular word in each translation is mine):
Translation by learned Maulana Shakir:
“If you do good, you will do good for your own souls, and if you do evil, it shall be for them. So when the second promise came (We raised another people) that they may bring you to grief and that they may enter the Mosque as they entered it the first time, and that they might destroy whatever they gained ascendancy over with utter destruction.”
Translation by learned Muhsin Khan:
(And We said): "If you do good, you do good for your own selves, and if you do evil (you do it) against yourselves." Then, when the second promise came to pass, (We permitted your enemies) to make your faces sorrowful and to enter the Mosque (of Jerusalem) as they had entered it before, and to destroy with utter destruction all that fell in their hands.
Of course, some of the learned translators have been translating the word ‘almasjida’ (viz Al-Masjid) in Holy Verse No: 7 of Surah Bani Israel into the word temple:
Translation by learned Abdullah Yousuf Ali:
“If ye did well, ye did well for yourselves; if ye did evil, (ye did it) against yourselves. So when the second of the warnings came to pass, (We permitted your enemies) to disfigure your faces, and to enter your Temple as they had entered it before, and to visit with destruction all that fell into their power”.
Translation by learned Marmadduki Pickthall:
“(Saying): If ye do good, ye do good for your own souls, and if ye do evil, it is for them (in like manner). So, when the time for the second (of the judgments) came (We roused against you others of Our slaves) to ravage you, and to enter the Temple even as they entered it the first time, and to lay waste all that they conquered with an utter wasting.”
Translation by learned Arthur J. Arberry:
“If you do good, it is your own souls you do good to, and if you do evil it is to them likewise.’ Then, when the promise of the second came to pass, We sent against you Our servants to discountenance you, and to enter the Temple, as they entered it the first time, and to destroy utterly that which they ascended to.”
Translation by learned Mohammad Assad:
[And We said:] "If you persevere in doing good, you will but be doing good to yourselves; and if you do evil, it will be [done] to yourselves." And so, when the prediction of the second [period of your iniquity] came true, [We raised new enemies against you, and allowed them] to disgrace you utterly, and to enter the Temple as [their forerunners] had entered it once before, and to destroy with utter destruction all that they had conquered”.
Bona fide Blunder:
This is a bona fide blunder, for as the name of Allah can’t be translation into God, ‘Rasul’ can’t be translated into messenger and similarly a Masjid cannot be translated into synagogue or temple.
Synagogue or temple would mean the worship place of Jews or Christians, for both of them have been using the words; synagogue or temple and never a Masjid (Mosque). Whereas by using the original word ‘almasjida’ in the Holy Verse of Qur’an, Allah Almighty means to disclose that the status of ‘Al Masjid Al Aqsa’ - ‘Al Beth al Maqdis’(Al Haram Al Sharif) was almasjida (Al-Masjid) viz Mosque and never a ‘temple’ or something else. Allah Almighty has mentioned the worship places of Monks, Christians and Jews as sawamiAAun (viz cloisters), biyaAAun, (viz churches) salawatun, (viz synagogues), whereas the name; Masjid or Masajidu has only been given to Muslims worship places. As the following holy Verse amongst other would reveal:
الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلَّا أَن يَقُولُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيراً وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِي
“Those who have been wronged are permitted to fight (back) - since Allah is Able to support them - any who have been driven from their homes unjustly, merely because they say: "Our Lord is Allah [Alone]." If it were not because God repels some men by means of others, cloisters, churches, synagogues and masajid (Mosques), where God's name is mentioned frequently would have been demolished.” (Surah Al Hajj 22.40)
All the above mentioned three Grandest and the Holiest Religious Shrines in the world has also mentioned as Mosques by the Prophet Mohammad PBUH. Abu Huraira [RA] is quoted as saying that Allah’s Messenger [peace be upon him] 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).
Thus we the Muslims being the lone heir of the ‘Farthest Mosque’ - (al-Masjid al-Aqsa) whose precincts Allah Almighty did bless - that is to say the whole Al-Qods Al Sharif is owned by Muslims alone exclusively and no other nonbeliever nation has anything to do with the whole Al-Qods Al Shareef whatsoever, save some easements as had been granted by the second Caliph, Omar ‘Farooq the Great’ (may Allah be pleased with him). So I want my all the learned scholars and translators to make sure the correction pointed out above.
All the three Grandest and Holiest Religious Shrines in the world i.e. (i) ‘Al-Masjid-Al-Haram’ (viz Mosque of Inviolable) or “Beth Allah Sharif” at ‘Mecca-Al-Mukkaramah’ (viz Mecca the Blessed), (ii) ‘Mosque of Prophet’ at ‘Medinah-Al-Munawwara’ (viz Medinah the Radiant) (iii) and the ‘Al Masjid Al Aqsa’ or ‘Al Beth Al Maqdis’ or ‘Al-Haram Al-Sharif’ were built by Prophets (PBUT) primarily. Being so Prophets PBUT were not supposed to built cloisters, churches, synagogues. ‘Al-Masjid-Al-Haram’ (viz Mosque of Inviolable) or “Beth Allah Sharif” at ‘Mecca Al-Mukkaramah’ was built by the first human being & Prophet, Adam PBUH in the first instance. And afterwards the most authentic Book, Al Qur’an Al Sharif and other record shows it was reconstructed & refurbished by Prophet Ibrahim PBUH and there was no question of Judaism or Christianity at that time!!! Allah Almighty reveals and endorses in the Holy Qur’an the highest positions of Prophets Adam, Noah, Ibrahim and Imran and their family PBUT.
“Lo! Allah preferred Adam and Noah and the Family of Abraham and the Family of 'Imran above (all His) creatures. They were descendants one of another. Allah is Hearer, Knower.”
(Al Qur’an 3.33-34)
Whereas the ‘Dome of the Rock’ (viz Qubbat As-Sakhrah in Arabic) is the integral part of the ‘Noble Sanctuary’ - ‘Al Haram Al Shareef’ - the ‘Third Holiest Islamic Shrine’ situated in Jerusalem (viz Al Qods Al Sharif) Palestine. The 9th Caliph, Abd al-Malik built the ‘Dome of the Rock’ in 72 AH or between 687 and 691CE by the Byzantine craftsmen from Constantinople sent to the Caliph by the then Byzantine Emperor.
The ‘Al Aqsa Mosque’ - ‘Al Haram As Sharif’ or ‘Al Beit al Maqdis’ was originated by Prophet Daud (viz Prophet David) PBUH and completed by Prophet Suleiman (viz Prophet Solomon) PBUH. There is a ‘Noble Sanctuary’ or ‘Bethel Maqdis’ or ‘Al-Haram Al-Sharif’ at the heart of Jerusalem enclosing over 35 acres of fountains, wells, mihrabs, gardens, buildings domes and gates. The Holy ‘Al-Aqsa Mosque’ is situated in the southernmost part and the much celebrated ‘Dome of the Rock’ (viz Qubbat As-Sakhrah) is located somewhat in the centre towards the northern part of the Noble Sanctuary’ abovementioned. Whereas on the left of the ‘Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque’ lies the famous ‘Holy Omar Mosque’ which was built by the second rightly guided Caliph, Omar, namely, ‘Farooq the Great’ (may Allah be pleased with him) in the ‘Baithul Maqdis’ also known as ‘Al-Haram Al-Shareef,’ in 637 AC after conquering the Jerusalem. The entire area or the ‘Noble Sanctuary’ is regarded as a Mosque and comprises nearly one sixth of the walled city of Jerusalem (viz Al-Qods Al Sharif). It is also worth mentioning that the ‘Rock’(viz As-Sakhrah) was fixed inside the Dome (viz Qubbat), by the 5th Caliph, Abd al-Malik during building the ‘Dome of Rock’ (viz Qubbat As-Sakhrah) in 72 Hijra (viz 691 AC) - and that is the ‘Rock’ which is believed by Muslims to be the spot from which Prophet Muhammad PBUH ascended through the heavens to Allah Almighty while accompanied by the archangel, Gabriel during his ‘Miraculous Night Journey’ referred to in holy verse 17-1, Surah Bani Israel.
The ‘Al -Masjid-Al-Haram’ was also cleaned out of idols by Prophet Mohammad PBUH immediately after the victorious entry in the ‘Mecca the Blessed’. All the world’s three holiest shrines are ‘Divine’ means pertaining to Allah Almighty and ‘Islamic’ which signifies, pertaining to Islam, and were originated and built by Prophets PBUT of Islam originally hence they are legacy of Islam & Prophets PBUT of Islam and thus Muslims are the only legal, legitimate and exclusive successors & heirs in re thereof . For all Prophets PBUT right from the first Prophet Adam PBUH to the last Prophet Mohammad PBUH were Muslims and preaching nothing but Islam. And thus the converts from Islam e.g. Jews or other nonbelievers have nothing to do with the legacy of Islam & Prophets PBUT of Islam, for none of them (viz world three holiest shrines) had ever been built as temple. How Prophets PBUT of Allah Almighty could be supposed to built temples or synagogues?
Aftab Alam Advocate (High Court)