The Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as-Sakhra) 1

The Dome of the Rock (Qub­bat as-Sakhra)

The most uni­ver­sal­ly rec­og­nized sym­bol of Jerusalem is not a Jew­ish or Chris­t­ian holy place but a Mus­lim one : the Dome of the Rock, or Qub­bat as-Sakhra as it is known in Ara­bic. When peo­ple see its gold­en dome ris­ing above the open expanse of Haram as-Sha­reef, they think of only one place in the world. The Dome of the Rock is undoubt­ed­ly one of the most cel­e­brat­ed and most remark­able mon­u­ments of ear­ly Islam, vis­it­ed every year by thou­sands of pil­grims and tourists. It is Jerusalem’s answer to Paris’ Eif­fel Tow­er, Rome’s St. Peter’s Square, Lon­don’s Big Ben and Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas twin tow­ers ; daz­zling the minds of Mus­lims and non-Mus­lims alike. The Dome of the Rock is Jerusalem.

The Dome of the Rock was built around 688 – 691 C.E. (6872 A.H.) by the Umayyad Caliphal-Walid ibn Abd al-Malik. This build­ing is locat­ed in the mid­dle of the Haram as-Sha­reef com­plex and the dome itself cov­ers the Holy Rock, locat­ed direct­ly under the dome, from which Prophet Muham­mad ascend­ed to heav­en on his night jour­ney. The Holy Rock itself is a huge irreg­u­lar rock mea­sur­ing 17.7 metres north-south, 13.5 metres east-west, and 1.5 metres in height.

The build­ing had under­went sev­er­al restora­tions that main­tained the orig­i­nal plan and design. It sym­bol­izes the excel­lence of Islam­ic archi­tec­ture and more than just an exam­ple of a typ­i­cal mosque, it is also a reflec­tion of its his­tor­i­cal con­text. This includes the attempt to rival the Islam­ic empire’s pre­de­ces­sor in the area, the Byzan­tine-Chris­t­ian empire, as well as to estab­lish a mon­u­ment over a holy site.Alia F. Hasan, The Dome of the Rock : the Atyp­i­cal Mosque [Online Document]

The gold­en dome stretch­es 20 metres across the Noble Rock, ris­ing to an apex more than 35 metres above it. Half of the low­er part is cov­ered with mar­ble while the sec­ond half is cov­ered with blue qashany squares inscribed with the Qur’an­ic chap­ter Ya Sin’, a work com­mis­sioned in the 16th cen­tu­ry by Suleiman the Magnificent :

Ya Sin
By the wise Qur’an
Sure­ly you are among those sent on a straight path
A rev­e­la­tion of the Mighty, the Compassionate
That you might warn a peo­ple whose fathers were nev­er warned, so they are heedless
(Qur’an 36:1 – 6)The Dome of the Rock, Noble Sanc­tu­ary Online Guide [Online Document]

The Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as-Sakhra) 2
A par­tial view of the exte­ri­or of the Dome with Qur’an­ic inscrip­tions on blue qashany squares

The Dome of the Rock is an octa­gon ; four of its sides face the 4 direc­tions, and the Rock is in the cen­ter and is about 1.5 metres high. It mea­sures 18 metres long by 13 metres wide, cov­ered by a cir­cu­lar dome con­sist­ing of four cir­cu­lar fringes cov­ered with mar­ble squares with three mar­ble columns between every two of them. They also car­ry 16 arch­es cov­ered with white and black mar­ble. The upper cir­cu­lar part of the Dome is cov­ered with mosa­ic dec­o­ra­tions of plants in har­mo­nious colours, main­ly green, blue and gold. The neck has some shells with 16 win­dows, made inter­nal­ly of glaze and exter­nal­ly of chi­na or qashany blocks dec­o­rat­ed with cir­cu­lar vents. The ceil­ing of the mid­dle and exter­nal porch­es is flat and cov­ered with wood­en dec­o­ra­tions lean­ing toward the exter­nal octa­gon and cov­ered with lead sheets, but they are cov­ered with sil­ver alu­minum sheets. The neck is cov­ered with qashany dec­o­ra­tions out­side with a strip con­tain­ing Sura’ al-Isra’a (The Night Jour­ney), which was made in the 15th cen­tu­ry. The neck had been cov­ered with mosaics dec­o­rat­ed with plant images. There are 40 columns, and 4 large exter­nal doors, name­ly David’s door or Isra’­fil, the Par­adise door, al-Aqsa door and the west door fac­ing Bab al-Qat­ta­neen.Al-Aqsa Mosque Under Israeli Occu­pa­tion, Pales­tine Info [Online Document]

That this Mus­lim shrine has become the sym­bol of Jerusalem because of its mag­nif­i­cent gold­en dome dom­i­nat­ing the sky­line of Jerusalem is well rec­og­nized. Writ­ing in about 985 C.E., Al-Muqaddas?the famous Mus­lim trav­el­er born in Jerusalem, wrote that

At the dawn, when the light of the sun first strikes on the cupo­la and the drum catch­es the rays, then is this edi­fice a mar­velous site to behold and one such that in all Islam I have nev­er seen its equal ; nei­ther have I heard tell of aught built in pagan times that could rival in grace this Dome of the Rock.As cit­ed by Solomon Steck­oll, The Tem­ple Mount (Tom Stacey, Ltd., Lon­don, 1972), p. 31

Writ­ing of the sub­lime­ly beau­ti­ful struc­ture with its heav­en­ly dome, the British author­i­ty on Mus­lim archi­tec­ture, K. A. C. Creswell, exclaimed :

Under a scheme where­by the size of every part is relat­ed to every oth­er part in some def­i­nite proportion.…the build­ing instead of being a col­lec­tion of odd notes becomes a har­mo­nious chord in stones, a sort of liv­ing crys­tal ; and after all it real­ly is not strange that har­monies of this sort should appeal to us through our sight, just as chords in music appeal to our hear­ing. Some of the ratios involved.…are fun­da­men­tal in time and space, they go right down to the very basis of our nature, and of the phys­i­cal uni­verse in which we live and move.As cit­ed by Dome of the Rock, Sacred Sites [Online Document]

From the Mus­lim point of view, the Dome of the Rock was an answer to Chris­tian­i­ty and its doc­trines, pro­vid­ing Mus­lims with argu­ments to be used against Chris­t­ian the­ol­o­gy. The inscrip­tions are sev­en hun­dred and thir­ty-four feet long in all, amongst the length­i­est inscrip­tions in the world. There is a great amount of rep­e­ti­tion and many quo­ta­tions from the Qur’an The fol­low­ing extracts are as follows :

    Inner Face : South Wall. In the name of Allah the Mer­ci­ful the Com­pas­sion­ate. There is no God but Allah alone ; He has no co-part­ner. He is the King­ship and His the praise. He giveth life and He causeth to die, and He hath pow­er over everything.

    South-East Wall. Ver­i­ly Allah and His angels pro­nounce bless­ing upon the Prophet. O ye who have pro­nounced bless­ings upon Him and give Him the salu­ta­tion of peace. O, Peo­ple of the Book, do not go beyond the bounds in your reli­gion and do not say about Allah any­thing but the truth. The Mes­si­ah, Jesus, son of Mary, is but a mes­sen­ger of Allah and His word which He cast upon Mary and a spir­it from Him. So believe only in Allah and of His mes­sen­ger, but do not say Three” (Trin­i­ty) and it will be bet­ter for you. Allah is only one God. Far be it from His glo­ry that He should have a son.

    North Wall. The Mes­si­ah will not deign to be in the ser­vice of Allah nor will the angels who stand in his pres­ence. O Allah ; pray upon Thy mes­sen­ger the ser­vant Jesus — (N‑W Wall) the son of Mary and peace be upon him the day of his birth, the day of his death and the day of his being raised alive. That is Jesus, son of Mary — a state­ment con­cern­ing which you are in doubt. It is not for Allah to take for Him­self any off­spring, glo­ry be to Him.

    West Wall. Allah bears wit­ness that there is no God but Him, like­wise the angels and the peo­ple pos­sessed of knowl­edge (S‑W Wall) — Uphold­ing jus­tice. There is no God but He, the Almighty and All Wise. Ver­i­ly, the reli­gion in Allah’s sight is Islam.

    Out­er Face : West and North-West Walls. In the name of Allah the Mer­ci­ful and Com­pas­sion­ate. There is no God but Allah alone. Praise be to Allah who hath not tak­en to him­self off­spring. To Him there has nev­er been any per­son in the sov­er­eign­ty. Muham­mad is the mes­sen­ger of Allah, may God pray upon him and accept his inter­ces­sion. Praise be God who has not tak­en unto Him­self a son and who has no part­ner in sov­er­eign­ty nor has He any pro­tec­tor on account of weakness.

In the last 1300 years, with only one excep­tionOn July 15, 1099 Jerusalem was tak­en from the Mus­lims by the Cru­saders from Europe. The Cru­saders slaugh­tered the inhab­i­tants of Jerusalem in an unjus­ti­fied car­nage. The Dome of the Rock was con­vert­ed into a Chris­t­ian church called the Tem­plum Domi­ni, Tem­ple of our Lord.”, the Dome of the Rock had always been in the hands of Mus­lims. The Dome of the Rock will always be sacred to Mus­lims and will remain there for as long as the Zion­ists do not attempt to destroy this Mus­lim shrine that has already been syn­ony­mous with the holy city of Jerusalem or deny Mus­lim access to the holy city.It is unfor­tu­nate that the Zion­ists and Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ar­ies try to deny the sig­nif­i­cance of Jerusalem in Islam. Refer to The Posi­tion of Jerusalem and Haram As-Sha­reef In Islam.

And only God knows best. The Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as-Sakhra) 3Endmark

Cite this arti­cle as : Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi, The Dome of the Rock (Qub­bat as-Sakhra),” in Bis­mi­ka Allahu­ma, Octo­ber 15, 2005, last accessed May 29, 2024, https://​bis​mikaal​lahu​ma​.org/​h​i​s​t​o​r​y​/​j​e​r​u​s​a​l​e​m​/​t​h​e​-​d​o​m​e​-​o​f​-​t​h​e​-​r​o​ck/

1 Comment

  1. nizzzzzz it pro­vide a lot of information

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