Allah, the Exalted, says concerning Al-Aqsa Mosque: Whereof We have blessed: meaning Jerusalem. Jerusalem’s geographic location is 35º longitude and 31º latitude.
Courtesy of Visual Dhikr
The Inside View Of The Al-Aqsa. Move your cursor on the picture to see more.
Jerusalem is one of the most ancient cities in the world; dating back to 3000 B.C. Located in Jerusalem is Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the second ancient mosque after the Sacred Mosque in Mecca. Al-Bukhari and other narrators of Hadith reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked: “Which mosque was built first on earth?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “The Sacred Mosque (in Mecca).” He was asked again: “Then which mosque comes next?” He replied: “Al-Aqsa Mosque.” He was then asked: “How long was the period between their construction?” He replied: “Forty years.”
Islam entered Jerusalem after the defeat of the Romans at Al-Yarmuk Battle that paved the way to Jerusalem. `Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah (may Allah be pleased with him) asked the Caliph `Umar bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) to come to Jerusalem because its people refused to give in the city to anyone other than the Caliph in person. In 636A.D./15A.H., `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) went to Jerusalem and guaranteed their safety and security. He pledged to safeguard their lives, properties and Churches, and to ban the Jews from living among them. `Umar granted Jerusalem inmates freedom of religion in exchange of paying Jizyah (tribute). He refused to observe prayer in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher so that Muslims may not follow his deed. He then went to the place of Al-Aqsa Mosque, cleaned the Rock and built a mosque at the southern corner.
Al-Aqsa Mosque enjoys a great status in Islam. It is the first of the two Qiblas (direction faced in Prayer). The Prophet (peace be upon him) faced Al-Aqsa Mosque in Prayer for 17 months, then Allah ordered him to face the Sacred Mosque.
From Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Prophet (peace be upon him) ascended to heaven after he was taken in a night journey from the Sacred Mosque to Al-Aqsa Mosque and after he led all the Prophets in Prayer.
Throughout Islamic history, Muslim Caliphs and leaders assigned great interest to this blessed city. In 691A.D./72A.H., and under the reign of the Umayyads, Abdul-Malik bin Marwan built the Dome of the Rock. A few years later, Al-Walid bin Abdul-Malik restored Al-Aqsa Mosque. Abbasids preserved this concern till the phase of decline of the Muslim State. For almost 100 year, crusaders occupied Al-Aqsa Mosque till Salah Al-Din Al-Aiyubi freed it.
Under the shade of the Ottomans, Jerusalem was well taken care of. It remained secure till the downfall of the Ottomans and the Muslim Caliphate. The Jews occupied Jerusalem, and till now, it remains under Zionist occupation.