In the previous article, I wrote about the Al-Aqsa Mosque which sits within the bigger Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Within the complex, a few other iconic sites and mosques are also located.
Of course many would know the famous Dome of the Rock.
A magnificent structure in its art and architecture, the Dome of Rock has its own history and significance to both Muslims and Jews. For Muslims, it is where the rock where Nabi Muhammad S.A.W is said to have ascended into heaven during Isra’ Mikraj.
Until today, the gleaming Dome of the Rock remains as Al-Aqsa’s and Jerusalem’s iconic symbol.
Be extra careful when reading about the rock inside the Dome of the Rock. We were reminded that some of the versions of the story (i.e. floating rock) are either myth or simply legends surrounding the existence of the Rock. Wallahualam.
Today the Dome of Rock is also a masjid and Alhamdulillah we were able to also pray here during our visit.
At the south-west corner of the al-Aqsa compound, the Masjid Al-Buraq is a structure that reminded us of al-Buraq, the winged riding animal which Nabi Muhammad S.A.W rode during Isra’ and Mikraj.
There are stories that claimed that al-Buraq was tied somewhere near the Al-Buraq Mosque’s western wall, which is actually on the other side of the wall Jews refer to as the “Wailing Wall”. We saw this loop as a symbolic reminder on the stories of al-Buraq being tied. Wallahualam.
From the Al-Buraq Mosque, we went to an area right next to the Al-Aqsa mosque which houses an entrance that will lead visitors to the underground Old Al-Aqsa Mosque.,
Also known as the Al-Aqsa al-Qadimah, this unique area has its own set of histories. Currently a section of this area is also being used as a library as we observed local ladies taking turns reading the Quran in the area.
The old Al-Aqsa Mosque is not the only praying area located below ground level. Our last stop was the equally impressive Marwani Prayer Area / Marwani Mosque still located within the same compound. I would never expect that a humble set of stairs led us to a massive subterranean area where thousands can actually pray. One section just leads to another and it is said that during Ramadan this area is filled up during tarrawikh and late night prayers.
Interestingly this same area use to be stables for thousands of horses.
There is also a version of history which stated that the overall structure of Marwani Mosque closely resembles that of the Roman Ramla reservoir with stone pillars and junctions.
Within the same area is a room known as Chamber of Maryam (upon her be peace). This is said to be where Maryam (upon her be peace) raised her son, Nabi Isa A.S. Wallahualam.
The whole Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is full with history and I suggest for anyone visiting to try as much as possible perform your five prayers here. Also to come during different times of the day and you will see how peaceful and unique the feeling is.
The “sun clock”
In my next post, i’ll be zooming in to the 4 quarters within the Old City of Jerusalem.