Noble Sanctuary Online Guide


Glimpses of History

Muslim Jerusalem

The Dome of the Rock

The Al-Aqsa Mosque

Other Structures in the Noble Sanctuary


Islam and the Noble Sanctuary

Contents

Comments & Questions

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Muslim Jerusalem

In 638, just a few years after the death of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, an army of his followers surrounded Jerusalem. The city Patriarch, Sophronius, handed over the city after a brief siege. There was only one condition; that the terms of their surrender be negotiated directly with 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second Khalif of Islam.
'Umar entered Jerusalem on foot. There was no bloodshed. There were no massacres. Those who wanted to leave were allowed to, with all their possessions. Those who wanted to stay were guaranteed protection for their lives, their property, and their places of worship in the 'Umariyya Covenant.



The 'Umariyya Covenant

For the first time in its long history, Jerusalem had been spared a bloodbath.
It is said that 'Umar accompanied Sophronious to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and that he was offered a place to pray in it. 'Umar declined, fearing it might establish a precedent which would threaten the church's continued use as a Christian house of worship. He prayed instead to the south of the church, now the site of the Mosque of 'Umar in Jerusalem.

'Umar then asked to be taken to the site of Al Aqsa Mosque. Accompanied by hundreds of Muslims, he found the area covered in dust and debris and immediately initiated its clearing.
A huge timber mosque which held three thousand worshippers was erected on this site in the time of 'Umar, at the southernmost wall of the Noble Sanctuary.

Map of Jerusalem at the time of 'Umar

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