Jews helped helped build the al Aqsa mosque on the Temple site and prayed there together with Muslims


In 610, the Sassanid Empire drove the Byzantine Empire out of the Middle East, giving the Jews control of Jerusalem for the first time in centuries. The Jews in Palestine were allowed to set up a vassal state under the Sassanid Empire called the Sassanid Jewish Commonwealth which lasted for five years. Jewish rabbis ordered the restart of animal sacrifice for the first time since the time of Second Temple and started to reconstruct the Jewish Temple. Shortly before the Byzantines took the area back five years later in 615, the Persians gave control to the Christian population, who tore down the partially built Jewish Temple edifice and turned it into a garbage dump,[77] which is what it was when the Rashidun Caliph Umar took the city in 637.

In 637 Arabs besieged and captured the city from the Byzantine Empire, which had defeated the Persian forces and their allies, and reconquered the city. There are no contemporary records, but many traditions, about the origin of the main Islamic buildings on the mount.[78][79] A popular account from later centuries is that the Rashidun Caliph Umar was led to the place reluctantly by the Christian patriarch Sophronius.[80] He found it covered with rubbish, but the sacred Rock was found with the help of a converted Jew, Ka’b al-Ahbar.[80] Al-Ahbar advised Umar to build a mosque to the north of the rock, so that worshippers would face both the rock and Mecca, but instead Umar chose to build it to the south of the rock.[80] It became known as the Al-Aqsa Mosque. According to Muslim sources, Jews participated in the construction of the haram, laying the groundwork for both the Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques.[81] The first known eyewitness testimony is that of the pilgrim Arculf who visited about 670. According to Arculf’s account as recorded by Adomnán, he saw a rectangular wooden house of prayer built over some ruins, large enough to hold 3,000 people.[78][82]

In 691 an octagonal Islamic building topped by a dome was built by the Caliph Abd al-Malik around the rock, for a myriad of political, dynastic and religious reasons, built on local and Quranic traditions articulating the site’s holiness, a process in which textual and architectural narratives reinforced one another.[83] The shrine became known as the Dome of the Rock (قبة الصخرة, Qubbat as-Sakhra). (The dome itself was covered in gold in 1920.) In 715 the Umayyads, led by the Caliph al-Walid I, transformed the temple shops Chanuyot nearby into a mosque (see illustrations [3] and detailed drawing [4]), which they named the Aqsa Mosque (المسجد الأقصى, al-Masjid al-Aqsa, lit. “Furthest Mosque”), corresponding to the Islamic belief of Muhammad’s miraculous nocturnal journey as recounted in the Quran and hadith. The term “Noble Sanctuary” or “Haram al-Sharif”, as it was called later by the Mamluks and Ottomans, refers to the whole area that surrounds that Rock.[84][22]

For Muslims, the importance of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque makes Jerusalem the third-holiest city, after Mecca and Medina. The mosque and shrine are currently administered by a Waqf (an Islamic trust). The various inscriptions on the Dome walls and the artistic decorations imply a symbolic eschatological significance of the structure.

Your Comment