Dr. Abdul Karim Miqdad
Special juristicrulingsareassociatedwith al-Masjid al-Aqṣāthatareuniqueto it. This is because it wasthefirstqiblah (direction of prayer) fortheMuslims, thesecondhouse of Allah thatwasbuiltforpeople on theearth, andthethirdmosquethatMuslims can undertake a journeytovisit. Furthermore, it wasmentioned in theverses of theQur᾿ānandtheSunnah of theProphet (peace be uponhim). A number of scholarshaveundertakentohighlightthesespecialrulingswhethertheyarespecificto al-Masjid al-Aqṣāortocertainothermosques as well, such as al-Masjid al-Ḥarāmand al-Masjid al-Nabawī. Thisarticle is an attempttobrieflyshedlight on some of theserulings.
First:TheBoundaries of al-Masjid al-Aqṣā
Theboundaries of al-Masjid al-Aqṣāare not limitedtothe Mosque of theQiblahorthe Mosque of theDome of theRock; rather, theyencompasstheentireareathat is containedwithinitswalls. Theauthor of thebook al-Uns al-JalīlbiTarīkh al-Quds wa al-Khalīlsaid: “It is commonlyunderstoodthat al-Aqṣāfromthedirection of theqiblah is thestructurebuilt in thefrontsection of themosque, whichincludesthepulpitandthegrandmihrāb. However, thefact of thematter is that al-Aqṣā is a name denotedtotheentirevicinitysurroundedbythewalls. Thestructurepresent in thefrontsection of themosqueandotherstructuressuch as theDome of theRock, corridorsandotherstructuresareextraneous. In otherwords, what is meantby al-Masjid al-Aqṣā is theentireareasurroundedbythewalls.
Thisarea is estimatedto be 144,000 squaremeters; thelength of itswalls is 491 metersfromthewest, 462 metersfromtheeast, 310 metersfromthenorth, and 281 metersfromthesouth.
Second:TheMerits of al-Masjid al-Aqṣā
Al-Masjid al-Aqṣā has a number of meritsthat can be highlighted in thecontext of explainingthejuristicrulingsuniqueto it. Thesemeritsinclude:
A. Allah willforgivewhoevertravelledto it forthepurpose of praying in it:
AnyMuslimwhotravelledto al-Masjid al-Aqṣāwiththe sole intention of prayingtherewillhaveall his sinsforgiven; he will be as on theday his mothergavebirthtohim. Theevidenceforthis is what is narrated in theMusnad of Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal in whichtheProphet (peace be uponhim) said: “Sulaimān ibn Dāwūdasked Allah forthreethings. He wasgiventwo, andwehopethatthethirdwill be granted as well. He asked Allah forjudgment in harmonywith his judgment, and he wasgiventhat. He asked Allah for a dominionthatnooneafterhimwouldhave, and he wasgiventhat, and he asked Allah thatnoonewouldcometo it, intendingonly to praythere, but that he wouldemerge as freefrom sin as theday his motherborehim. Wehopethat Allah, theMightyandSublime, has grantedhimthat as well” MusnadAḥmad (11/220).
B. Prayer in al-Masjid al-Aqṣā is equalto 500 prayers:
Amongtheblessingsbestoweduponthismosque is thatAlmighty Allah madetherewardforpraying a singleprayer in it equivalentto 500 prayers in anyotherplace. Theevidenceforthis is theḥadīthcollectedby al-Ṭabarānī in whichAbū al-Dardā’ quotedtheProphet (peaceandblessings be uponhim) as saying, “A prayer in al-Masjid al-Ḥarām is equalto 100,000 prayers, a prayer in mymosque is equalto 1,000 prayers, and a prayer in Al-AqṣāSanctuary is equalto 500 prayers” Majmaʻ al-Zawā’idwaManbaʻ al-Fawā’id (4/7).
C.Therecommendationtoundertake a journeytovisit it:
Muslimscholarshaverecommendedjourneyingtotheblessed Masjid al-Aqṣātovisit it. This is based on thenarration in Ṣaḥīḥ al-BukhārīandṢaḥīḥMuslimthattheProphet (peaceandblessings be uponhim) said, “No journeyshould be undertakentovisitanymosqueotherthanthefollowingthree: al-Masjid al-Ḥarām, the Mosque of theProphet (peaceandblessingsuponhim) and al-Masjid al-Aqṣā.” Thescholarsalsorecommendedcompletingtherecitation of theQur᾿ān in al-Masjid al-Aqṣā. In thisregard, Al-JarāʻītransmittedthatSaʻīd ibn Manṣūrnarrated in his Sunan thatAbūMajlazsaid, “Thescholarsrecommendedthatanyonewhovisitsany of thethreemosquescompletetherecitation of theQur᾿ānbeforeleavingthem.”
D.It is recommendedtogiftoilforitslamps:
TheProphet’sencouragement in recommendingtheprovision of oilto al-Masjid al-Aqṣāwasveryclear. Oil can be regarded as a metaphorforthevariousforms of supportthatarerecommendedto be providedbytheMuslims in everyagetotheblessed al-Masjid al-Aqṣā. Suchsupportwillbecomemandatoryif it is provided in ordertoprotect al-Masjid al-AqṣāfromitsjudaizationandcontrolbytheZionistoccupation. ImāmAḥmadnarratedthatMaymunahreported: I said, “Messenger of Allah, tell us aboutBait al-Maqdis.” He said, “It is theland of theresurrectionandthegathering. Comeandpray in it, foroneprayer in it is likeonethousandprayerselsewhere.” “Whatifonecannotgothere?” I asked. He replied, “Sendoilforitslamps; forwhoeverdoesso, it is as ifthey had gonethere” MusnadImāmAḥmad, (45/597).
E.It is recommendedto start talibyahforhajjorumrahfrom al-Masjid al-Aqṣāto al-Masjid al-Ḥarām:
TheShafiʻīandḤanbalī Schools are of theopinionthat it is recommendedto start talibyahforHajjandumrahfrom al-Masjid al-Aqṣā. Theiropinion is based on thenarration of UmmSalamah, thewife of theProphet, thatthe Messenger of Allah said: “WhoeverbeginsthetalbiyahforumrahfromBait al-Maqdis, thatwill be an expiationforall his previoussins” Sunan IbnMājah (2/999). In anothernarrationbyAbūDāwūd, “Ifanyoneputs on iḥrāmforḥajjorumrahfrom al-Masjid al-AqṣāandthenproceedstotheSacred Masjid, his pastandfuturesinswill be forgiven,” or “he will be guaranteedParadise” Sunan AbūDāwūd (2/144).
In thisregard, it is importanttomentionsomethingthat has becomewidespreadamongpeoplethat can be termed as “taqdīs al-ḥajj”, whereby a pilgrimwillsanctify his ḥajjbyvisiting al-Masjid al-Aqṣā, which is somethingthat has nobasis. However, as mentionedearlier, some of thescholars of thesalafrecommendedvisitingthethreemosques in a singlejourneybased on theevidenceconcerningthecommencement of talbiyahforḥajjorumrahfrom al-Masjid al-Aqṣā.
F.Multiplyingthereward of thosewhostaysteadfast in al-Masjid al-Aqṣā:
Theprotection of Muslimlandsandtheirdefenseagainstaggressors is one of thegreatestdeedslovedby Allah, andtherearemanyḥadīthsthatmentionthevirtues of guardingtheborders. Amongthem is what is reportedbyMuslim in his Ṣaḥiḥ in whichtheProphetpeace be uponhimsaid, “Keepingwatchfor a dayandnight is betterthanfastingandperformingnight-prayerfor a month. And ifonedieswhiledoingso, he willgo on receiving his rewardfor his deedsperpetually, he willreceive his provision, and he will be savedfromthetribulation [of thegrave]” [ṢaḥiḥMuslim, 3/1520].
Rewardswill be multiplieddepending on thevirtue of theplaceoneguards. Therefore, standingguard in al-Masjid al-Aqṣā is one of thegreatestdeedsthroughwhichthepleasure of Allah is sought in light of therepeatedattemptsbytheZionistoccupationtocontrolandjudaize it.
Third: What Is DislikedorProhibited in al-Masjid al-Aqṣā
Thescholarsidentifiedcertainactionsordeedsthataredisliked in regardsto al-Masjid al-Aqṣā
A. Itsdustandsoilshould not be takenaway:
TheShafiʻīsandotherscholarswhoagreedwiththemare of theopinionthat it is prohibitedtotakeanyamount of soilorpebblesorstonesfrom al-Masjid al-Aqṣā. Al-Suyūtīsaid, “It is prohibitedtotakeany of itsparts, includingitspebbles, stones, soil, oilandcandles” al-Ashbāhwa al-Naẓāʾir (p. 421).
In addition, otherthingsthatareprohibited in othermosquesarealsoprohibited in al-Masjid al-Aqṣā, such as theprohibition of menstruatingwomenfromstaying in it. However, contemporaryscholarshavemade an exceptiontothisruling, takingintoaccountthespecificity of al-Masjid al-Aqṣāandtheneedforpeopleto be present in it at alltimesprovidedthatnoimpuritywilltaint it (ContemporaryFatāwāConcerningtheBlessed al-Masjid al-Aqṣā, p. 41).
B. Al-Masjid al-Aqṣā is not a sanctuary in theterminological sense:
Ḥaramfromtheterminologicalperspective is a placewhere it is prohibitedtohuntorcuttreesorplants, in additiontoseveralotherrulingsspecialto it and not toothermosques. This is thecaseforthesanctuaries of MeccaandMadinah. Fromthisperspective, it would be prohibitedtousesuchterminologywhenreferringtotheblessed al-Masjid al-Aqṣā, since lostitemsfound in itspremisesare not prohibitediftheyareproperlyidentifiedandnoownerclaimsthem in accordancewiththerulings of lostitems. Furthermore, it is not prohibitedtohuntanimalsorcutplantswithinitspremises. However, based on thelinguisticmeaning of what a sanctuary is, whichreferstoanythingthat is not allowedto be violatedordesecratedandmust be defendedandprotected, which is alsocommonlyusedtoreferto a wifeor a sisteror a universityandotherthings, thensuch a usagewill not raise an issue.
Afatwāissuedbythe general directorate of Islamicaffairs in the UAE states, “A sanctuary (ḥaram) in thejuristic sense has specialrulingsthatareapplicabletothesanctuaries of MeccaandMadinahandnootherplace. In recenttimes, theterm (al-ḥaram al-qudsī) wasusedtorefertothearea of al-Masjid al-AqṣāandtheDome of theRock. There is nothingwrong in makingsuch a referencefrom a metaphoricalperspective, since al-Masjid al-Aqṣā is thesecondmasjidbuilt on earth, thefirstqiblahfortheMuslimsandthethirdmasjidtowhich a journey can be undertaken; and Allah knowsbest.”
C.It is not permissibletorubitswallsandcirclearound it:
It is not permissibleforthevisitor of al-Masjid al-Aqṣātorub, kissorcirclearounditsbuildings. What has beenreported in regardstotheacts of somepeoplewhocircle it orstand in thecourtyard of al-Aqṣā in theday of ʻArafaharedeviationsthatareimpermissible. This is becauseṭawāf can only be performedaroundtheKaʻbah. Based on this, Imām Malik dislikedjourneyingtoBait al-Maqdistoarrive in a specific time such as theseason of pilgrimage, duringwhichsomepeoplegotheretostand in itscourtyard on theday of ʻArafahtoimitatestanding at ʻArafah, andtheyslaughtersacrificestoimitatetheslaughtering of sacrificesbythepilgrims in Mina. TheProphet (peaceandblessings be uponhim) did not do such a thing in anyplaceormosqueduring his life.
D.Lack of evidenceforglorifyingtherockforbeingthefirstqiblahfortheMuslims:
TherearenonarrationsattributedtotheProphet (maypeace be uponhim) orone of his companionsconcerningtheglorification of therock. However, someJewishandChristiansdidglorify it. As fortheclaimsthattheimprint of theProphet’sfeet, traces of his turban orotherthings can be found in theDome of theRock, thesearepureliesandfabrications.
Theabovewas a collection of thejuristicrulingsconcerningtheblessed Masjid al-Aqṣā. Weimplore Allah toliberate it fromthehands of itsusurpers, return it tothepeople of Islam, andenable us topray in it.