Jerusalem is considered the third holiest city in Islam, after Medina and Mecca. There are three primary reasons for this: It is strongly associated with Prophets of Islam – in particular, David, Solomon, and Jesus; it was the first qibla (direction of prayer) in Islam, before the Kaaba in Mecca;
And prophet Muhammad is believed to have been taken by the flying steed Buraq to visit Jerusalem, where he prayed, and then to visit heaven, in a single night in the year 620. Many Muslims celebrate the anniversary of this event, the Isra and Miraj, on Rajab 27 with dhikr, gatherings and feasting.
According to sound hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad) Jerusalem was the site of the second mosque built on earth, forty years after Mecca, and is one of only three cities to which pilgrimage is permissible, along with Mecca and Medina. Its conquest is described as one of the signs of the approach of the Hour (that is, the Day of Judgement). Some hadith, whose authenticity is not considered as certain, also specify Jerusalem (Bayt al-Maqdis) as the place where all mankind will be gathered on the Day of Judgement.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Arabic Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa meaning the farthest mosque, is part of the complex of religious buildings in Jerusalem known as Al-Haram al-Sharif and the third holy site (the Noble Sanctuary). It is located in the Old City of Jerusalem and considered to be the largest mosque in Jerusalem, it can accommodate about 5,000 people worshipping in and around it. The mosque was originally built between 709 – 715 AD by Caliph Waleed Bin Abdul Malik.
| Al-Aqsa Mosque | Dome of the Rock | Church of the Nativity | The Mosque of Omar | Belal’s Mosque | Nabi Mousa | Nebi Samwil | Haram Ibrahimi | Great Omari Mosque
Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey
Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem was the place where during the Al-Israa wal-Miiraj (Al-Israa is the geographical journey and Al-Mi’raj is the dimensional one), the prophet Mohammad headed prayer with all the prophets, and five was decreed as the number of times daily prayers were to be said. The place then became an important destination for Muslim pilgrims.
Al Hajj Routes
Muslim pilgrims used to go from Jerusalem to Mecca through Hebron, which was religiously connected with Jerusalem. The pilgrims passed through Bethlehem, Solomon pools, Artas, Halhool, and Saer following 40 km of historic mountain road. This road was also used by other religious pilgrims and was an important trade route.