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Offer: $1 million for Finding "Jerusalem" in the Koran

Reader comment on item: Offer: $1 million for Finding "Jerusalem" in the Koran

Submitted by Clyde Nassif (United States), Jul 29, 2009 at 10:23

The city of Jerusalem is known in Arabic as Al-Quds or Baitul-Maqdis ("The Noble, Sacred Place").. Abdullah Yusuf 'Ali in his introduction to Sura 17 states: "It [Sura 17] opens with the night journey of the Holy Prophet [Mohammed]: he was transported from the sacred mosque (of Makkah) to the Farthest Mosque (of Jerusalem) in a night and shown some of the Signs of Allah. The majority of Commentators take this Night Journey literally. The hadith literature gives details of this Journey and its study helps to elucidate its meaning. The holy Prophet was first transported to the seat of the earlier revelations in Jerusalem, and then taken through the seven heavens even to the Sublime Throne."

Yusuf 'Ali's footnote 2168. "The Farthest Mosque must refer to the site of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem on the hill of Moriah, at or near which stands the Dome of the Rock, called also the Mosque of Hadhrat 'Umar. This and the Mosque known as the Farthest Mosque (Masjid-ul-Aqsa) were completed by the Amir 'Abd-ul-Malik in A.H. 68. … and completely razed to the ground by the Emperor Titus in A.D. 70."

Farooq-i-Azam Malik's translation of Sura 17:1. "Glory be to Him Who took His devotee (Muhammed) one night from Masjid-al-Haram (in Makkah) to Masjid-al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem), whose vicinity We have blessed, so that We may show him some of Our signs; surely He is the One Who is the Hearer, the Observer."

Many times in the English translations of the hadiths say "Jerusalem" when the Arabic is al-Aqsa, meaning "the farthest mosque".

Umar, the companion of Mohammed and leader of all Muslims after caliph Abu Bakr died, knew that Jerusalem was meant in Sura 17, because in 638 A.D. 'Umar read the beginning of Sura 17 right after he entered Jerusalem2.

The majority Muslim view is that Mohammed went to the farthest mosque in Jerusalem in Sura 17.

Qiblah (Qibla or Kiblah) is the direction of the Sacred Mosque of Holy Kaabah (Kaaba) in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, toward which Muslims from all over the world turn five times each day when performing the Salat (daily ritual prayer).
Baitul-Maqdis in Jerusalem was the first Qiblah for Muslims before the announcement of present Qiblah at Sacred Mosque of Holy Kaabah (Kaaba) in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

When Allah (SWT) first ordered Prophet Mohammed (saw) and all Muslims to offer the daily Salat (Salah), they prayed facing Baitul-Maqdis in Jerusalem, Palestine. This was the practice in Makkah and continued in Medina until the seventeenth month after Hijrah (migration).

At the heart of Jerusalem is the Noble Sanctuary or Al-Haram al-Sharif, enclosing over 35 acres of fountains, gardens, buildings and domes. At its southernmost end is Al-Aqsa Mosque and at its center the celebrated Dome of the Rock. The entire area is regarded as Baitul-Maqdis or Al-Qudus and comprises nearly one sixth of the walled city of Jerusalem.

It is clear that Masjid al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as-Sakhra) are two separate buildings, and not synonymous with each other as believed by some Muslims. However, both these buildings are within the enclosure of Al-Haram al-Sharif referred to in Glorious Qur'an as "the Furthest Mosque" in Surah al-Israa (Chapter 17:1).

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