The Significance and Virtue of Al Aqsa Mosque

Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Quds (East Jerusalem) are important places for Islam. Therefore, the caliphs tried to maintain al-Quds in order to remain controlled by Muslims. Caliph Umar bin Khattab was the first leader to conquer al-Quds. The leaders of the Umayyad dynasty also tried to make al-Quds a place of pride for Muslims as well as a means of propaganda for their dynasty.

Caliph Abd al-Malik bin Marwan built Qubbat as-Shakrah in the Complex of Al-Aqsa. The leader of the Ayyubid dynasty, Saladin al-Ayyubi, succeeded in seizing al-Quds from the Crusaders.

Evidence of the virtue of al-Quds is not only contained in the Holy Books. Its significance is also contained in several hadiths of the Prophet. 

In the era of Saladin, there were several books issued explaining the significance of al-Quds specifically. One of them was the book Fadlail al-Quds by Abu al-Faraj Abdurrahman Ibn Ali Ibn al-Jauzi.

Books like those are rare because the manuscripts of the books are only obtained from Princeton University, New Jersey, United States. Ibn al-Jauzi, receiving news of Saladin’s success in conquering al-Quds on 27 Rajab 583 H, asked by al-Quds residents to write a book about the region’s significance. Ibn al-Jauzi was considered competent in understanding hadith, both historically and narrated.

Even so, he never visit al-Quds. If he visited that area, he would have had a wider point of view of al-Quds.

The sources of history obtained by Ibn al-Jauzi came from his teachers directly or quoted from a number of books. For example, in this book, Ibn al-Jauzi obtained a hadith from Abu al-Ma’mar al-Mubar Ibn Ahmad al-Ansari. The total history he obtained from his teacher amounted to 20 narrations.

In the next period, there were many books themed on the significance of al-Quds. For example, Bahauddin Ibn Asakir, a  writer of a book entitled al-Jami’ Al-Mustaqsa fi Fadlail Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa. In addition, Aminuddin Ibn Hibbatullah as-Shafi’i wrote the book al-Unsu fi Fadlail al-Quds.

Meanwhile, Burhanuddin al-Fazari a.k.a Ibn Al-Firkah wrote the book Ba’its an-Nufus ila Ziyarat al-Quds al-Mahrus. He wrote about the significance of al-Quds inspired by the book by Ibn Al-Jauzi, among others, Ibn Fadlulullah al-Umari, and as-Suyuthi.

Ibn al-Jauzi provided daleel explaining the significance of al-Quds in 27 chapters. In the first chapter, he quoted a verse about Firaun chasing Musa and his people. 

Allah says in Surah Al-Maidah verse 21 : “O  my people! Enter the Holy Land which Allah has destined for you ˹to enter˺. And do not turn back or else you will become losers.” The holy land refers to Palestine or al-Quds. According to Az-Zajaj, there are several reasons why Palestine is purified, one of them is, minor sins can be forgiven in that place. 

In addition, al-Quds is free from shirk, so it became a shelter for the previous prophets. Ibn al-Jauzi also conveyed hadith quoted from Abu al-Ma’mar al-Mubarak bin Ahmad al-Ansari about the position of the creation of al-Quds .

The hadith states, the first place Allah created on earth was Mecca. When it was first created, Allah positioned it as a place of honor. Mecca was protected by the angels before Allah created anything for 10 thousand years.

Then, the second was Medina and followed by al-Quds. After creating the three regions, after passing 10 thousand years later, Allah created the universe as a whole.

In his opinion, al-Quds is very special because Allah chose it as the destination of the Prophet’s Isra Mi’raj. “Glory be to the One Who took His servant Muḥammad by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose surroundings We have blessed, so that We may show him some of Our signs. Indeed, He alone is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing (Al-Isra : 1).

The attention given by Allah to al-Quds is not limited to the Isra Mi’raj. In a narration from Ka’ab al-Akhar, it was stated that Allah monitors al-Quds twice a day. (T/ri/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)