Friday, 19 January 2018

Tafsan 

 

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Topic: Al Masjid Al Aqsa: A Great lesson for Mosque Construction and Rehabilitation

 

Al Masjid Al Aqsa has a very special place in the hearts of the entire Muslim community due to its unique and rich history as a place of worship that is so closely intertwined with the lives of many of the Prophets of Islam, as well as for its special status as a Masjid to which travel is recommended and in which reward is increased. It is a special and blessed Masjid of vast size comprising 144,000 square metres in size and with capacity to accommodate in the region of 500,000 worshippers.

 

Al Masjid Aqsa as related to Islam

Al Masjid Al Aqsa was the first qibla in Islam and it has been a significant and important place of worship for the Prophets of Islam. It was built 40 years after Al Masjid Al Haram in Makkah. There is a difference of opinion amongst scholars as to who exactly built Al Masjid Al Aqsa, with some scholars and historians asserting the view that Al Masjid Al Aqsa was built by Prophet Adam (as), and others opin that it was built by Prophet Ibrahim (as). It has also been rebuilt, renovated and expanded many times in the history of Islam.

 

It was a well-known place of worship at the time of Prophet Ibrahim (as) and for his son Prophet Ishaq (as) and grandson Prophet Yaqub (as). When Prophet Yaqub’s son Prophet Yusuf (as) attained a position of power in Egypt, he asked his family to join him and escape the poverty that engulfed Palestine. Biblical sources claim this included his father Prophet Yaqub (as) and Prophet Yusuf’s siblings and their children [Book of Genesis], and that there were 33 in all (Allahu aalam). At this point, as there was no one left amongst Prophet Yaqub’s progeny to look after Al Masjid Al Aqsa (which at the time had the name of “Beteyel” Baitu Llah or “House of God”), care for this blessed place was entrusted to the native population of the land (who were also followers of Prophet Ibrahim (as)), the Palestinians.

 

The Israelites who voluntarily migrated to Egypt seeking a better material life remained there for approximately four centuries and became slaves to the Egyptians. This slavery only ended when Prophet Musa (as) freed them from Fir’aon under the command of Allah. However, the Israelites rejected the orders of Allah to return to Palestine and were thus commanded to live in and wander through the desert of Sinai for 40 years. This ended when a new generation was born, containing within it Prophet Daud (as), who led his generation of believers to Palestine.

 

Prophet Daud (as) established his kingdom in part of Palestine, and controlled Jerusalem. His son Prophet Sulaiman (as) rebuilt Al Masjid Al Aqsa with the help of the local indigenous population and next to it, he built the ruler’s palace. After Prophet Sulaiman’s death, his two sons divided his kingdom amongst themselves with each having its own capital. These kingdoms existed for a very short period of time – approximately two hundred years, with the last king of Jerusalem in this dynasty being dethroned in 586/587BC as he tried to resist the Babylonians (led by King Nebuchadnezzar) but failed due to a crippling siege that the Babylonians had placed on the city.

 Shortly after the Babylonians took control of Jerusalem, Al Masjid Al Aqsa was destroyed again.

 

The Persians overthrew the Babylonians (during which time efforts to rebuild Al Masjid Al Aqsa as a place of worship were renewed), but in the period thereafter ownership changed hands numerous times, and Al Masjid Al Aqsa was destroyed, rebuilt and then destroyed again within a century by the Romans in 70AD after a revolt in the city.

 

By 315-325AD, when the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, the Romans and the people residing in their land (including the Jews) no longer had any regard for Al Masjid Al Aqsa and no longer treated it as a place of sanctity and worship, with the site of Al Masjid Al Aqsa actually being used as a place of waste disposal for the citizens of the city. This is how Al Masjid Al Aqsa remain for the next few hundred years until the Prophet Muhammad (saw) revived once again the spirituality of this blessed place, and his great companion Umar Ibn Al Khattab (ra) liberated the city.

 

 

Importance of Al Masjid Al Aqsa

Al Masjid Al Aqsa had a very unique place in the life of Prophet Muhammad (saw) for many reasons. Firstly, as Al Masjid Al Aqsa was central to the lives of many of his fellow Prophets (as) with whom he shared an exceptional bond (as the Islam taught by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a continuation, completion and perfection of the religion and message of monotheism preached by all the prophets of Allah including Prophet Adam (as), Prophet Nuh (as), Prophet Ibrahim (as) (of whom Prophet Muhammad (saw) was a descendant through his son Ismaeel (as)), Prophet Musa (as), Prophet Daoud (as), Prophet Suleiman (as), and Prophet Isa (as) to name a few)

 

Secondly, Al Masjid Al Aqsa also by definition had a central place in his life and heart. In addition to this, up until the 2nd year of Hijra (623/624AD), the Prophet Muhammad (saw) turned and faced Al Masjid Al Aqsa as the direction for his prayers.

 

Thirdly, the most memorable reason why Al Masjid Al Aqsa has such significance is because it was the place to which prophet Muhammad travelled on the night of Israa, and it was the location from which he made his Miraaj to the Heavens. Allah says: 

 

In the books of Hadith, we learn that the Prophet (saw) went to visit the Ka’bah at night, and fell asleep. The Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) then awoke him and led him to a winged white horse named Al-Buraq. It was on Al-Buraq that the Prophet (saw) then made the journey to Jerusalem (a journey that would typically take 40 days) in just one momentous night.  On reaching Jerusalem, the Prophet (saw) met and led all the previous Prophets in prayer at the site of Al Masjid Al Aqsa, and then embarked on the Miraaj to the Heavens.

 

The journey of Israa was such a momentous occasion that Allah revealed verses relating to this journey in the Holy Quran – “Glorified be He [Allah] Who did take His servant for a journey by night from Al Masjid Al Haram to Al Masjid Al Aqsa, whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of Our Signs. Verily, He is the All Hearing, All Seeing” [17:1].

 

After the death of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), the second khalif of Islam, Umar Ibn Al Khattab, entered and mercifully liberated Jerusalem, accompanied by 40,000 companions on the invitation of the Christian leader at the time, without shedding blood and with the guarantee of protection for the lives, property and places of worship of others within the city who wished to remain there. As Umar’s personality and characteristics closely resembled and matched those of the liberator of Jerusalem foretold within scriptures, the people of the city were quick to embrace and accept his rule.

 

So please make your best effort to visit Al Masjid Al Aqsa and show that this place of worship is blessed and sacred for all Muslims, likewise to everyone who solely build or contribute positively in any way to building of a mosque like the Masjid discussed to be rewarded with incomparable mansion in paradise (Hadith).

 

NASFAT solicits your assistance in this regards, do not relent in contributing your quota in the on-going Aseese Mosque construction, as you do, may Allah answer your call and reward you with a mansion here and hereafter.