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Reply to Mr. Daniel Pipes

Reader comment on item: Offer: $1 million for Finding "Jerusalem" in the Koran
in response to reader comment: Jerusalem is the second holiest place in Islam, not the third.

Submitted by Issam (Canada), Sep 16, 2007 at 03:36

I'd like to thank you for replying to me.

You said

"Only problem with this theory is that Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was constructed decades after the Koran, in fulfillment of its mention. I fail to see how, given that history, it is made particularly holy by the Koran."

AlAqsa Mosque in 17:1 refers to the whole area of the Noble Sanctuary, not specifically to the southern congregational mosque built by the Umayyad Caliph. The whole area is considered AlAqsa Mosque in Islam.

You are right that the southern congregational mosque was built decades after the Quran (Caliph Omar ordered building the Mosque on the spot that Prophet Muahmmed landed on in his Night Journey), but you do not realize that the Restricted Mosque was only built during the Ottoman rule. At the time of Prophet Muhammed, the Restricted Mosque was just an open space around the Kaaba. It was not a huge compound like you see today. This is logical because the Arabic word "Masjid" at the time refered to any place of prostration or worship. The word Masjid comes from the word Sajad, which means to prostrate. So the word Masjid in the Quran means any place of prostration or worship, not necessarily a mosque like we see today.

To locate AlAqsa, we refer to the Quran. verse 17:1 tells us that AlAqsa Mosque is in a blessed land. Verse 17:7 goes on to exactly specify the location of AlAqsa by telling us that it is holy to the Childern of Israel too.

So AlAqsa Mosque must be;

1. In a Blessed Land = Palestine/Israel

2. A holy place of worship for the Children of Israel too = Temple Mount.

So as we see, the Quran is clear on the location of the holy sites.

I should stress that the location of AlAqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount does not deny the Jews from practicing their worships on the Temple Mount. As I already explained, verse 17:7 acknowledges the Jew's right to the Mount too.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

You are convinced that Al-Aqsa must be in Jerusalem but I have shown at "The Muslim Claim to Jerusalem" that this phrase, the "furthest mosque" was a turn of phrase, not a place in the early 7th century. From my article:

Some early Muslims understood it as metaphorical or as a place in heaven. And if the "furthest mosque" did exist on earth, Palestine would seem an unlikely location, for many reasons. Some of them:

Elsewhere in the Qur'an (30:1), Palestine is called "the closest land" (adna al-ard).

Palestine had not yet been conquered by the Muslims and contained not a single mosque.

The "furthest mosque" was apparently identified with places inside Arabia: either Medina or a town called Ji‘rana, about ten miles from Mecca, which the Prophet visited in 630.

The earliest Muslim accounts of Jerusalem, such as the description of Caliph ‘Umar's reported visit to the city just after the Muslims conquest in 638, nowhere identify the Temple Mount with the "furthest mosque" of the Qur'an.

The Qur'anic inscriptions that make up a 240-meter mosaic frieze inside the Dome of the Rock do not include Qur'an 17:1 and the story of the Night Journey, suggesting that as late as 692 the idea of Jerusalem as the lift-off for the Night Journey had not yet been established. (Indeed, the first extant inscriptions of Qur'an 17:1 in Jerusalem date from the eleventh century.)

Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiya (638-700), a close relative of the Prophet Muhammad, is quoted denigrating the notion that the prophet ever set foot on the Rock in Jerusalem; "these damned Syrians," by which he means the Umayyads, "pretend that God put His foot on the Rock in Jerusalem, though [only] one person ever put his foot on the rock, namely Abraham."

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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