Masjid al-Aqsa is an area of land in Jerusalem that includes the Dome of the Rock and the grey domed masjid, Musallah al-Qibly. The surrounding land and everything within the walls is sacred.
Al-Aqsa Sanctuary in Jerusalem is revered by Muslims for numerous reasons. It is the first Qibla (direction Muslims faced in prayer) and remained so until around 18 months after the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) migrated from Makkah to Medina. It is also the second house of worship built on earth, 40 years after the sacred Kaa’ba. Furthermore, Masjid Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam, preceded only by the two holy mosques in Makkah and Medina.
Muslims respect all of the Prophets revered by Judaism and Christianity, and therefore their venerated places are also central to Islam and protected by it. Historically, it has only ever been under Muslim rule that the Holy City of Jerusalem was made free for followers of all faiths to enter and worship.
The sanctified city of Jerusalem is held dear to Muslims across the world and it is only through a greater awareness of the virtues and significance of the Masjid Al-Aqsa that we can truly understand why the struggle for Palestine is so great to Muslims worldwide.
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