The Status of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsaa in Islaam
Allaah has referred to Palestine as ‘The Blessed Land’ in many verses of the Qur’aan. The Prophet Ibraheem, peace be upon him, left Iraaq for this blessed land and it became his adopted home where he would eventually die, in the city of Al-Khaleel, or Hebron. Allaah says that which translates as “And we delivered him [Ibraheem] and Lot to the land which we had blessed for the worlds [i.e., peoples].” (Al-Anbiyaa’: 71).
When Moosaa, peace be upon him, wanted to enter Palestine he addressed the Children of Israel with that which Allaah says which translates as: “O my people, enter the Holy Land [i.e., Palestine] which Allaah has assigned to you and do not turn your back [from fighting in Allaah’s cause] and [thus] become losers.” (Al-Maa’idah: 21). After this, the children of Israel entered this land with Prophet Yoosha’ Ibn Noon, peace be upon him, and the promise of Allaah was fulfilled when they struggled and sacrificed to establish the religion therein. Allaah says that which translates as: “And we caused the people who had been oppressed to inherit the eastern regions of the land and the western ones, which we had blessed, And the good word [i.e., decree] of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel because of what they had patiently endured.” (Al-Anbiyaa’: 137).
The Qur’aan has highlighted the blessings of this land by the statement of Allaah which translates as: “And to Solomon [We subjected] the wind, blowing forcefully, proceeding by his command toward the land which We had blessed.” (Al-Anbiyaa’: 81). These blessings were finally completed when the seal of all the Prophets, Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, went on his journey from Makkah to Al-Aqsaa and led all the Prophets in prayer there. Allaah says that which translates as: “Exalted is He who took His Servant [i.e., Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam] by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsaa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” (Al-Israa’: 71).
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “I rode Al-Buraaq (An extraordinary mule which could travel very long distances in a very short amount of time) until I reached Al-Aqsaa; I tied it to a ring there which all the Prophets tied their animals to and then entered the mosque where I prayed two Rak’ah. Then I was taken to the heavens.”
Al-Aqsaa is one of the only three mosques which people are permitted to set out on a journey for, in order to worship in them (for their virtue which gives them preference over all other mosques.) Regarding this, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “For the purpose of worship, one is only allowed to set out on a journey to the three mosques: Al-Haram (Makkah), my mosque (Madinah) and Al-Aqsaa”.
‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr, narrated that he heard the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam saying: “When Sulaymaan, may Allaah be pleased with him, finished building Al-Aqsaa, he asked Allaah for three things: To grant him judgment on matters which will coincide with the ruling of Allaah; to grant him a kingdom such as will not belong to anyone after him; and to grant him the wish that anyone who comes intending to pray in Masjid Al-Aqsaa would leave it clear of sins just as the day his mother gave birth to him” Then the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “He was granted the first two and I hope that the third was also given.”
Palestine is part of the land of Shaam; which comprises of modern day Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and parts of Iraq and Saudi Arabia. This land was mentioned in many Ahaadeeth that testified to its distinction and special status among the Muslim lands. An example of this is the saying of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam which is narrated by Zayd Ibn Thaabit, may Allah be pleased with him: “Blessed is Shaam, blessed is Shaam” Zayd asked: ‘Why Shaam?’ he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “The angels are spreading their wings over it (a representation of mercy from Allaah).” He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said: “If the people of Shaam become corrupt, then corruption will become widespread among you (Muslims) …”