Noble Sanctuary Online
Glimpses of History
The Dome of the Rock
The Al-Aqsa Mosque
Other Structures in the Noble Sanctuary
Islam and the Noble Sanctuary
Comments & Questions
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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.
the Dome of the Rock
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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
'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
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