History of Masjid Al Aqsa
The patriarch of all the believers of Allah (God), i.e. Jews, Christians, and Muslims is Prophet Ibrahim إبراهيم a.s (Abraham). He built the Kaba in Makkah with his firstborn son Ismail إسماعيل a.s ( Ishmael) .This was an order from Allah الله (SWT) that Ibrahim and Ismael (PBUT) construct this Holy House of Allah (SWT) as a place of worship for all the believers on earth. Ismael (PBUH) was 17 at the time he and his father built the Kaba. Prophet Muhammad s.aw, a descendent of the Prophet Ismael (PBUH), would come nearly 2,500 years after Kaba was built and repurify it as a holy place of worship according to the teachings of the Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH). As stated in the Torah and in the Holy Quran “all the generations will be blessed through I brahim (PBUH)” (Genesis 12 and 18 Holy Bible, Chp 2 Verses 123-141 Holy Quran).
In Jerusalem, Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) also established a place of worship. This place would later be known as The House Of Allah (God), or Beteyel. Forty years after the construction of Kaba, Prophet Ibrahim expanded this place of worship. Ishaq إسحاق a.s (Isaac), Prophet Ibrahim’s younger son, worshipped in Beteyel, but also made journeys to Kaba in Makkah for Hajj (Pilgrimage) as did Ibrahim (PBUH). Ya’akub يعقوب a.s (Jacob) the second son of Isaac (PBUH), extended Beteyel as a place of worship for all the believers of Allah (God) in the region. The natives of the land, the Palestinians, believers in the teachings of the Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH), also worshipped in Beteyel or The House Of Allah (God). Ibrahim (PBUH), referred to Beteyel as “Masjid Al-Aqsa”, which means the farthest place of worship of the One God. Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH), was stating that Masjid Al-Aqsa was the farthest place of worship west of Kaba in Makkah.
Some years later, Prophet Yusuf يوسف a.s (Joseph), the son of Jacob (PBUH) attained a high position of power in Egypt, he sent for all of his family to come live with him in Egypt away from the poverty of Palestine. There were 33 in all, Jacob (PBUH), his children and his grandchildren (Genesis 46 in the Torah). Because there was no one left from Jacob’s (PBUH) tribe to care for Beteyel, Jacob (PBUH), intrusted care of Beteyel or Masjid Al-Aqsa to the natives of the area, the Palestinians. This was acceptable due to the fact that the natives were also followers of the Patriarch, the Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH). The Israelites remained in Egypt for four hundred years as slaves to the Egyptians with no connection to Palestine, the land from which they immigrated (Genesis 15 Verse 13-17). This choice was not forced on them, they simply chose to leave Palestine for the sake of the wealth and riches in Egypt.
In the time of Prophet Musa موسى a.s (Moses), the Israelites were still slaves to the Egyptians. Allah (God) ordered Moses (PBUH), after freeing the Israelites from bondage, to lead them to Palestine. The Israelites rejected this order from Allah (God), and preferred to live in the desert of Sinai, rather than to sacrifice themselves for the sake of Allah (God). They believed this land belonged to the Palestinians, the natives of the area.
For fourty years, the Israelites wandered in the desert of Sinai. A new generation was born, and from it came forth Prophet Daud داود a.s (David), he would lead this generation of believers to Palestine. Prophet David (PBUH) established his kingdom in part of Palestine, and controlled Jerusalem. His son, Prophet Sulaiman سليمان a.s (Solomon) rebuilt Masjid Al-Aqsa with the help of the natives, and next to it he built the ruler’s palace. After Prophet Solomon’s death, his two sons divided his kingdom amongst themselves. Each son established his own kingdom and each had its own capital. From both of these kingdoms, Allah (God) raised prophets. According to Jewish history, these kingdoms existed for nearly two hundred years.
In 586 B.C., King Je-hoia-chin of Jerusalem, saw that he might lose his kingdom. He was the last Jewish king who tried to resist the Babylonians in Jerusalem. In his struggle, his kingdom was surrounded by the Babylonians who cut off supplies from the outside world. When the inhabitants of Jerusalem ran out of food and water, the king made a tunnel to enable his soldiers to escape and retrieve supplies from the outside world. Part of the tunnel collapsed, the resistance led by King Je-hoia-chin was defeated, and the Babylonians took over Jerusalem. The tunnel used by King Je-hoia-chin, is the same tunnel being excavated today in Jerusalem. After the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem, they took its inhabitants as slaves to Babylon.
The Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed what King Solomon had built in Jerusalem (Kings 2 Chapters 24 and 25 of the Bible). According to the word of God in the Taurat توراة (Torah,) the Israelites were made to be slaves in both the Nile and in the Euphrates.
After seventy years of slavery in Babylon, King Cyrus of Persea gave the Israelites their freedom. At that time very few of the Israelites returned to Palestine. These few Israelites worshipped only in The House Of Allah. For generations, the Israelites took care of Beteyel or Masjid Al-Aqsa. During the period when the Roman Empire was in constant battle with the Persean Empire, the Israelites aided the Perseans, and benefited when the Perseans had control of Jerusalem. Because the Israelites supported the Persean Empire as spies and in other ways, the Romans treated them as enemies of the Roman Empire.
In 70 A.D., the Romans destroyed (burned) Beteyel, and converted it into a place of Roman idol worship (Jupitor,etc.). In 315 A.D., when the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, the Romans had no regard for Beteyel. It became a place were the inhabitants of Jerusalem, including the Jews threw their garbage. The Jews no longer considered Beteyel a Holy Shrine.
The Persean Empire defeated the Romans in 614 A.D., the Jews were now able to worship where they wished, but chose not to worship in Beteyel or Masjid Al-Aqsa. The Perseans controlled Jerusalem until 624 A.D. The Jews, who were in a position of power during this period, tortured the Arab Christians. Jerusalem was in need of a just ruler. Both the Christians and the Jews had suffered under different empires, and both knew that the Holy Scriptures promised the coming of a ruler to save them from all this unjust torture and aggression.
The Israelites were awaiting the coming of the Messiah, who would be king and ruler, and would defeat all the evil empires, as promised by Allah (God). The only Prophet in history to have accomplished this task, was Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his followers defeated all the empires of the time, establishing the Kingdom Of God (Islamic State) throughout the region. This included Jerusalem as promised by Allah to the Muslims (Daniel 2 Verse 44 and Mathew 21 Verse 43). The Israelites had tried to fulfill this prophecy in 165 B.C., under the leadership of Judah Makabi. Within three years, he was defeated by the Romans, who regained complete control of Jerusalem. Prophet Isa عيسى a.s (Jesus), was also unable to accomplish this task mentioned in the Holy Scriptures. It was the Prophet from Arabia, Prophet Muhammad محمد s.a.w who fulfilled this prophecy.
In 621 A.D., the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ascended to the heavens in the night known as Israk and Mikraj الإسراء والمعراج to the Muslims (Malachi 3 Verse 1-14). In that night, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) led all the Prophets of Allah (PBUT) in prayer in the Holy Mosque (Masjid Al-Aqsa). For this reason, Masjid Al-Aqsa is a holy place of worship for the Muslims, along with Kaba in Makkah and The Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque in Medina. These are the three most important Mosques to the Muslims.
In 637 A.D., the Christian leader of Jerusalem, Snaifors, realized through the holy Scriptures (Zeckariah 9 Verses 9 and 10), that the second leader of the Islamic State, Umar ibn Al-Khatab عمر بن الخطاب, fits the description of the one who would open Jerusalem and free it from the evil empires. Snaifors surrendered peacefully. Umar ibn Al-Khatab and the Muslims, after securing Jerusalem, again established Masjid Al-Aqsa as a holy place of worship. Both the Christians and the Jews were pleased with the arrival of Umar and the Muslims, and with the just rule under the Islamic State.
In the eleventh century, the European Christians in the crusades, tortured the Jews and the Muslims. They burned the Jews in the their Temples and they burned the Muslims in Masjid Al-Aqsa. The European Christians even tortured the Arab Christians and destroyed their churches. The Jews fled to Indulis (Spain), to receive protection under Islamic rule or a Muslim society. In 1189 A.D., the leader of the Muslim army, Salah Aldeen Al-Ayobi expelled the European Christians from Jerusalem, and returned Jerusalem to Islamic rule. The Christian, Jews, and Muslims lived in harmony under Islamic rule.
In 1948, with the help of the western powers, the Jews were able to fulfill the promise of the British foreign minister, Bill Ford. This promise was made in 1917 regarding the Jews’ return to the holy land, Palestine. In the time of Moses (PBUH), when ordered by Allah (God) to return to Palestine, the Israelites disobeyed the will of Allah (God). Once the Jews again controlled Jerusalem, they expelled and tortured the natives of Palestine from their land, and the area returned to a state of unrest (Haggie 2 Verse 7-9).
In the 1980’s, the Israelis started an archaeological project in the area of the Dome of the Rock (Masjid Al-Aqsa). They began excavation claiming that they were searching for the Temple Of King Solomon. They were unable to locate the Temple Of King Solomon, but in the process discover ed the tunnel of King Je-hoia-chin. The Israelis claimed that the search was a success only because they discovered the collapsed tunnel of King Je-hoia-chin, which is in no way related to the Temple of King Solomon. This tunnel has no religious significance, it only has historical significance. The entrance was then sealed and today has been reopened without justification. The significance to the Muslims is well understood, they fear for Masjid Al-Aqsa and its foundation, and that in some way this excavation can damage the Holy Mosque. The significance of this dig to the Jews is not yet understood, clearly there is no religious significance. Prime Minister Netanyahu has said this openly is his news conference at the White House. The question thus remains, why if this archaeological dig can lead to so much unrest, do the Israelis insist that it remain open?
- First – all the children of Israel left Jerusalem in the time of Jacob by their own will.
- Second – they were unwilling to support Moses (PBUH) and return to the holy land for the sake of Allah (God).
- Third – King Je-hoia-chin’s tunnel has no religious significance to the Jews, it is merely a historical site. The Israelis continued excavation of the tunnel, may result in damage to Masjid Al-Aqsa.
- Fourth – the Israelites abandoned Beteyel in 614 A.D., while under Persean rule.
- Fifth – they took Palestine by force and aggression in 1948, and subsequently tortured many Palestinians in the process.
- Finally – the Jews do not appreciate all the just treatment that they received from the Muslims throughout history, and as we see today, the Israelis have little concern for the Muslim people, their places of worship, and their property.
References – The Old Testament , The New Testament, and The Glorious Quran
by Kais Al-Kalby with Emad J. Meerza