The Holy City of Jerusalem has several names, one of which is al-Quds, meaning “the purest place”. This is the most popular name used today by Arabs.
The city extends to an area of 45 square km and within this is the ‘Old City’ where a number of major historical events took place. Within the Old City is the al-Aqsa Sanctuary – an area of around 35 acres.
At the southern end is the dark-domed al-Aqsa mosque, and in the centre is the golden-domed mosque known as the Dome of the Rock. There are also a number of other monuments and buildings contained within the same area.
The entire area, containing these buildings is known collectively as the al-Aqsa Sanctuary.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not solely the al Aqsa mosque building, nor the Dome of the Rock alone that are sanctified to Muslims, but in fact it is the entire land of the al-Aqsa Sanctuary.
The buildings which exist today have not always been there and in prophetic times, the area would have looked very different. The buildings within the Sanctuary are significant historically to Muslims, and that is why the entire area and all that it contains are revered.
Excavations by Israeli archeologists have been taking place for some time now beneath the al-Aqsa Sanctuary and this has lead to reports of cracks in some walls, weakening of the foundations and a part of the ground caving in. Despite protests against this, Israel continues to dismiss and ignore calls to respect these holy and sanctified buildings.
The Night Journey (Al-Isra’ wa al-Mi’raj)
Within Islamic history, the sanctity of al-Aqsa Sanctuary centres on a particular incident which occurred during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him), when he was taken to al-Quds on the miraculous Night Journey. Here, he led all the prophets of God in prayer. This was followed by his ascension through the heavens. This miraculous journey is an important incident in the Islamic tradition.
The Holy Qur’an relates:
“Glory to Allah who did take His servant for a journey bynight from the Sacred Mosque (in Makkah) to the Al-Aqsa(in Jerusalem) whose precincts we did bless.”
The fact that the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) was taken to al-Quds, impresses upon the Muslims the importance of this noble city and God mentions in the Qur’an that this is a blessed land.
The Sacred City
Not only is the sanctity of al-Quds emphasised in numerous places in the Holy Qur’an, but numerous prophets have visited and even lived in the city, giving Jerusalem a high standing in the hearts of Muslims around the world.
Prophet Yaqub (Jacob) raised his twelve sons in this city and from here Yusuf (Joseph) was taken and sold as a slave in Egypt. Some centuries later, Musa (Moses) was directed by God to migrate from Egypt back to al-Quds and even prayed to God that he be near al-Aqsa at the time of his death. Both Dawud and Sulayman (David and Soloman) lived and ruled over Jerusalem after the city was conquered by Dawud.
Later, Zakariyyah (Zacharias) was the imam of al-Aqsa mosque where he prayed earnestly to God. Maryam (Mary) mother of Isa (Jesus) spent a great deal of time in the mosque meditating and praying to God and it was here that the angel Gabriel brought her the good news of the impending birth of Isa.
Prophets and companions of prophets, spanning many ages, have been buried there. These include Ibrahim (Abraham), Yaqub, Ishaq (Isaac) and up to a hundred others. May God’s peace and blessing be upon them all.
Al-Quds has been home to numerous prophets, messengers and righteous people. It is a city of honour and faith and as such is held in high esteem by Muslims world-wide.
Israel consistently attempts to lay claim to Jerusalem as its own and calls it the ‘Jewish capital’ of Israel. In fact the international community does not recognise it to be the capital and to do so would be to entirely disregard the historic rights of the Palestinian people. Since Jerusalem is of such central importance to Muslims, Christians and Jews, the city must be accessible to people of all faiths who must be allowed toworship freely therein. Israel’s discriminatory policies and lack of respect towards worshippers in al-Aqsa already shows the state’s inability to act equitably between different communities.
The land of Palestine is steeped in history, religious traditions and the sacrifice of its people.
From Jericho, one of the oldest cities in the world, to Jerusalem, one of the most holy, Palestine offers every visitor a glance into the amazing expanse of human existence that has flourished on these lands.
Although any trip to Palestine is likely to be marred by the occupation, it also promises adventure and a trip not to be forgotten.
The hospitality of the Palestinian people, their culture and traditions, and their innate friendly nature makes every trip one to treasure.
Join us on this remarkable journey through the rich tapestry of history and civilization in Huma’s Travel Guide to Plaestine.
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Madina to Jerusalem: Encounters with the Byzantine Empire traces one of the most energetic and dynamic episodes in the history of Islam, that follows immediately after the passing away of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It charts the course of Muslim history from 8-15 AH/629-637 CE when the great expansion into al-Sham (Syria, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon) took place.
This book attempts not only to recount the military battles that led to the Muslims liberating Jerusalem from the Byzantines but also to understand the reasons why the Byzantine confederates of al-Sham abandoned their former masters for Islam.
Ismail Patel attempts to address the Islamic expansion from a wider perspective with both the Muslim and non-Muslim readers in mind. It will hopefully assist the non-Muslims to shake off the prejudices created by the Orientalists and help Muslims to have a better understanding of how the first generation of Muslims challenged the superpower of the time.
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The Night Journey (al-Isra’) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and was followed by the Heavenly Ascent (al-Mi‘raj) which took the Prophet e through the seven Heavens and brought him to the All Mighty Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. It was one of the most incredible events in the history of humanity and occurred at a time when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was going through the most difficult phase in his life.
The Night Journey raised many controversies which challenged Islam and questioned the faith of the believers. This book takes the reader through the incredible and fascinating voyage in a chronological order. It details the physical features of the Journey and encompasses the spiritual dimension which has significance for every believer for all time to come.
This incredible journey undertaken by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through the power of Allah the All Mighty ensured that his faith remained unbending and enabled him to face the vast challenges to come during his Prophethood. This book will instil in the believer a greater understandingof the significance of the Night Journey, the high rank of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and realisation of the Greatness of Allah The All Mighty’s power.
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Virtues of Jerusalem is a much awaited book detailing the sacredness of Jerusalem in Islamic history, theology and future prophesies. Classical sources have been used to present a wide range of information which explains why past and present Muslims revere this blessed city.
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The Prophets in Palestine series aims to provide children with a better understanding of the importance of Jerusalem and Masjid al-Aqsa in Islam. It focuses on several of the prophets who lived in Palestine who felt a deep connection to the blessed land. With beautiful full colour illustrations this series is the ideal introduction to Palestine for children aged 5+.
Titles available to purchase are
Prophet Dawud (as)
Prophet Ibrahim (as)
Prophet Isa (as)
Prophet Muhammad (saw)
Prophet Musa (as)
Prophet Sulayman (as)
Prophet Yusuf (as)
Full Set of 7 books
To purchase either the full set or single book please click the link below