Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as-Sakhra) 26

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 Position of Jerusalem and al-Ḥaram al-Sharīf in Islam 27

Dur­ing the Mi’raj, the Prophet(P) is report­ed to have received from God the com­mand of five dai­ly prayers (salah) that all Mus­lims must per­form. Upon his return to Mec­ca, the Prophet insti­tut­ed these prayers. It is sig­nif­i­cant to note that he made Jerusalem the direc­tion (al-Qiblah) which Mus­lims must face while doing their prayers (nar­rat­ed by al-Bukhari, 41 and by Mus­lim, 525). Jerusalem is thus called Ula al-Qiblatain (the first qiblah). The Prophet (P) and the ear­ly com­mu­ni­ty of Islam wor­shipped towards the direc­tion of Jerusalem dur­ing their stay in Mec­ca. After the Hijra’ (migra­tion), Mus­lims in Med­i­na also con­tin­ued to pray fac­ing Jerusalem for almost sev­en­teen months until God com­mand­ed the Mus­lims to change their direc­tion of prayer from Jerusalem to Mec­ca (Qur’an 2:142 – 150). These estab­lished facts clear­ly sig­ni­fies the impor­tance of Jerusalem in Islam.