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The Blessed Lands Of Al Quds


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“Glorified is He Who took his servant by night journey from Masjid al Harãm (Makkah) to the Masjid al Aqsa, the precincts of which we have blessed.”

(Surah Isra 17:1)


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We have been commanded by Allah to honour and dignify the Sha’ãir (symbols and distinguishing, salient features) of Islãm. The Masãjid are indeed from among the distinguishing features and great symbols of Islãm.


Moreover, since Masjid Al Aqsa has been bestowed with special status and significance in Islãm, our duty to honour and show reverence towards it increases manifold. Further, to work towards its safety is an incumbent duty upon all Muslims.


It is a fact that the honour and status of Masjidul Harãm and Nabawee are rightly embedded in our hearts. Yet, sadly the love for the third Haram, Masjid Al Aqsa is lacking, either through lack of historical and religious knowledge or for want of ease.


With the present threats to Masjid Al Aqsa it is of paramount importance for Muslims to be abreast of ‘facts on the ground.’


It is only through knowledge will it be possible for us to learn the political crisis in Al Quds is not merely an issue for the local Palestinians but is in fact an issue for the entire Ummah.


With the reference to Masjid Al Aqsa Allah Ta’ãla makes its mention in the first verse of Surah al Isra and informs us of two very important and unique privileges afforded to this Haram Sharif;


1. The miraculous night journey refers to the Noble Prophet’s (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) journey by night from the Masjid Al Haram in Makkatul Mukarrama to Masjid Al Aqsa in Jerusalem. The second stage of this journey (Mi’rãj) from Masjid Al Aqsa to the seven heavens is elaborated in Surah Najm and authentic Ahãdith.


Thus Masjid Al Aqsa forms the link between heavens and the earth. If Allah Ta’ãla had wished then it is in His Power to have raised the Noble Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) straight from Makkah to the heavens via any other place on earth. However, it is the virtue of only Masjid Al Aqsa that Allah Ta’ãla bestowed it with this honour. Thus instilling the love of Muslims for Makkah, the heavens as well as Masjis Al Aqsa.


2. The second privilege the verse informs us of is; ’the surrounding area has been blessed.’

The fact that Allah Ta’ãla chose Masjid Al Aqsa as the desired spot on earth from where he raised the Beloved Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to the heavens and having mentioned Masjid Al Aqsa by name in the Qur’ãn holds great virtue and significance for the Muslim Ummah.


The area of Shãm (which includes present day Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon) has been referred to as the ’Blessed land’ several times in the Noble Qur’ãn.


The Qur’ãn reports Musa (A.S.) telling his people; “O My people! Enter the holy land….” (Surah Al Mã’idah 5:21).


In Surah Al Anbiya 21: 69-71, with references to Ibrahim (A.S.) who migrated from Ur, present day Iraq, to the land of Can’ãn, present day Palestine, around 1805, the Qur’ãn states;


“We said, O fire! Become cool and safety for Ibrahim. Then they planned against him, but We delivered him and (his nephew) Lut (and directed them) to the land which We have blessed for the nations.”


Further the Qur’ãn proclaims; “It was our power that made the violent wind flow (tamely) for Sulaiman. To his order, to the land which We had blessed…” (Surah Al Anbiya 21:81).


The numerous verses of the Qur’ãn exalting the blessedness of Shãm and in particular Jerusalem has motivated Muslims throughout the world and Islãmic history to venerate it.


Allamah Ibn Katheer ® has narrated a Hadith on the authority of Anas bin Mãlik (R.A.) that before the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) proceeded on Mi’rãj, he led all the Messengers of Allah (A.S.) in Salãh.


This event besides further exalting the importance of Masjid Al Aqsa grounds, as the only known place on earth where all the Prophets performed Salãh at one given time and place.


This incident has further sanctified every centimetre of Masjid Al Aqsa Haram Sharif. As we are of the belief that Allah Ta’ãla has sent approximately 124,000 Messengers to earth and they must have covered every centimetre of Al Aqsa Haram Sharif with their blessed foreheads in Sujjood when performing Salãh.


This sole reason is sufficient for the deep love and affection one needs to have for Masjid Al Aqsa.


Muslims in the present political situation must become pro-active with regard to Masjid Al Aqsa and stand firm against any dangers being imposed on it.


We need to stand resolute and affirm that not a single centimetre of the blessed grounds of Masjid Al Aqsa can be negotiated. Every pebble and grass stand is sacred to us and we need not only strive to preserve the buildings and grounds but also ensure it is accessible to all those who wish to go and pray therein.


In bringing the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to Masjid Al Aqsa during Mi’rãj, Allah Ta’ãla besides signifying many other attributes to Masjid Al Aqsa linked the first two houses of Allah into the hearts of the Ummah.


In a Hadith quoted by Sahih Muslim on the authority of Abu Dharr (R.A.) it is stated, “I asked the beloved Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), which was the first Masjid on earth? ‘The sacred Masjid in Makkah,’ he said. And then which, I asked? ‘Masjid Al Aqsa,’ he replied. I further asked, what was the time span between the two? ‘Forty years,’ the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied.


Theologically, we have the right to lay claim to Masjid Al Aqsa as being the second house of Allah, built only forty years after the Ka’bah.


Many scholars have deduced from this that like the Ka’bah, Masjid Al Aqsa was first built by Sayyidinah Adam (A.S.) and only later renovated by Sayyidinah Ebrahim and Dawood (A.S.) and finally completed by Sayyidinah Sulaiman (A.S.).


We as Muslims consider the site of Masjid Al Aqsa as sacred from almost time immemorial. The love we have for it is not only because of the links it has with past Prophets but because Allah Ta’ãla Himself has blessed the area around it—’the precincts of which we have blessed.’



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