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Masjid Al-Aqsa

Reader comment on item: More on the Muslim Claim to Jerusalem
in response to reader comment: The mosque was not destoyed. it remains till this day !

Submitted by Lactantius Jr (United Kingdom), Feb 19, 2010 at 17:53

To "Al-Aqsa"

Thank you for your response, inviting anyone to prove you wrong in your claim that Masjid al-Aqsa is next to the Dome of the Rock.

Muslims claim that Muhammad's alleged 'night journey' (isra) is mentioned in Surah 17:001 of the Qur'an, which says,

"Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest mosque-------------" (Subhana allathee asra biAAabdihi laylan mina almasjidi alharami ila almasjidi al-aqsa allathee barakna hawlahu linuriyahu min ayatina innahu huwa alssameeAAu albaseeru") and when this Surah was revealed ~621AD, the Sacred Mosque already existed in Mecca, but where was "the farthest mosque?" It was apparently identified with places inside Arabia; either Medina, or a town called Ji'rana, about ten miles from Mecca, which Muhammad visited in 630 AD. Palestine had not yet been conquered by the Muslims, and contained not a single mosque.

Ahmad Muhammad 'Arafa, a columnist for the Egyptian weekly Al-Qahira, which is published by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, published an article on 5th.August 2003, rejecting the established Islamic doctrine that Muhammad's "Night Journey" took him from Mecca to Jerusalem. 'Arafa, presented a new analysis of the Qur'anic text, and the fact that this article was published in a government journal adds to its political significance.

'Arafa concludes that the "Night Journey" was not to Palestine; rather, it was to Medina. It began at the Al-Haram Mosque [in Mecca] after the Prophet had prayed there with his companion, and both of them had left it, and the journey ended at the mosque of As'ad ibn Zurara, in front of the house of Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari, in Medina, where the Prophet built the mosque known as the Mosque of the Prophet.

Al-Qahira (Egypt), August 5, 2003.

cited by http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD56403

Turning to the Sahi Hadith of Bukhari, we read,

Narrated Abu Dhar:

I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Which mosque was first built on the surface of the earth?" He said, "Al-Masjid-ul-Haram (in Mecca)." I said, "Which was built next?" He replied "The mosque of Al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem)." I said, "What was the period of construction between the two?" He said, "Forty years." He added, "Wherever (you may be, and) the prayer time becomes due, perform the prayer there, for the best thing is to do so (i.e. to offer the prayers in time)."

Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 585:

which places the erection of the Kabah at approximately 998 BC., since the construction of the first Temple was not completed by Solomon until BC. 951, refer to 1 Kings 6:1-7:51 at http://www.biblegateway.com/ with the Qur'an claiming that Allah selected Abraham and Ishmael to build the Kaaba,

"And remember Abraham and Isma'il raised the foundations of the House (With this prayer): "Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-knowing."

Surah 2:127

but the most that can be said about when Abraham lived, is that it was sometime in the earlier part of the second millennium before Christ

"Biblical Chronology" http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03731a.htm

The problem with all of this is that the first Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian armies in 587 BC. Furthermore, General Titus and his Roman soldiers leveled the Second Temple in AD. 70, more than five centuries before this alleged night journey to Jerusalem took place. In fact, the building that eventually became Masjid al-Aqsa did not come into existence until AD. 705 when Amir Abd-ul-Malik Marwan's son al-Walid built it, http://www.noblesanctuary.com/AQSAMosque.html, which proves it cannot have been the one visited by Muhammad.

Masjid al-Aqsa contains no early references to the supposed night journey, and this is a strange omission, since Muslims claim that Masjid al-Aqsa was erected in commemoration of Muhammad's alleged 'isra. The inscriptions that do mention the alleged night journey are later additions made by Abdul Hamid II in 1876, nearly eleven hundred years after the alleged event.

In light of all this "Al-Aqsa," I ask you the following questions:

  • What mosque did Muhammad visit, enter and pray at before ascending to heaven?
  • With the Qur'an mentioning an alleged journey to a mosque that didn't exist during Muhammad's lifetime, how can you consider the Qur'an to be the word of Allah?
  • With both the Quran and Sahi Bukhari containing historical error, how can you trust either of them to provide you with reliable information about the life of Muhammad ?
  • Is your confidence in the Qur'an undermined by the Quran claiming to mention a mosque which was visited by Muhammad who died in 632AD, when the mosque was not completed until AD 705, proving it cannot have been the one visited by Muhammad.
  • If you cannot find an answer to this historical problem within the Qur'an, why do you remain a Muslim?

Turning now to your claim that the Bible and Torah are sacred books to Muslims, and you are not saying they are wrong, I'm glad you're not, because the Qur'an gives massive support to the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, The Qur'an repeatedly says that it confirms the previous Scriptures, for example Sura 3:3 says that Allah:-

"-----------sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Torah and the Gospels."

There are many, many Qur'anic references to the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures, and the Qur'an gives them such noble titles as:-

"the book of Allah" " the word of Allah"

"a light and guidance to man" "a decision for all matters"

"a guidance and a mercy" "the lucid book"

"the illumination (al-furqan)"

"the gospel with its guidance and light confirming the preceding law"

"a guidance and warning to those who fear Allah"

Typical of every mention of the Torah and Gospels "Al-Aqsa," there is no word about textual corruption. Sura's 2:97, 2:285; 3:3,7,23,48,65,84,93,184,199; 4:44,47,51,136,162-164 5:15,46,68-69; 6:91&92,154; 10:37; 11:17; 16:43; 17:2; 20:133; 21:7; 23:49; 26:196; 32:23; 35:31; 41:45; 46:10-12; 54:43; 57:25&27; and 87:18-19 all confirm, rather than repudiate or "complete" the Torah and Gospels, with the texts often being referred to as "inspired."

The Qur'an uses, for example, the following words:-

"musadiqalima mahum" (confirming what is with them)

"musadiqalima baina yadih" (confirming what is between their hands)

"musadiqalima makum" (confirming that which is with them)

Sura's 2:41,89; 3:3; 4:47; 5:48; 35:31 and so on.

Sura 5:43-49 for example, starts by saying:-

"But why do they come to thee for decision, when they have the Torah before them? Therein is the plain command of Allah, yet even after that they would turn away

Christians are told to look into their own Scriptures to find Allah's revelation for them:-

"Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by the light of what Allah hath revealed, they are no better than those who rebel."

Sura 5:47

and even Muhammad himself at one point, is exhorted to test the truthfulness of his own message, against the contents of the previous Divine revelations to Jews and Christians:-

"If thou wert in doubt as to what we have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee, the truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord, so be in no wise of those in doubt."

Sura 10:94

I quote the massive Qur'anic support of the Old and New Testaments, not because the Qur'an is authoritative for me, it isn't, but as a Muslim you are bound by it, and must accept what it says about the Bible, which you say is sacred to you as a Muslim, and thus gives you the responsibility to carefully read the Bible and accept what it says, and I conclude by quoting a Qur'anic Surah, from the translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, an Egyptian born, al-Azhar and Cambridge Universities educated hafiz Qur'an.

Abdel Haleem has taught Arabic at Cambridge and London Universities since 1966, including courses in advanced practical translation and the Qur'an. He is now (2005), Professor of Islamic Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Here is how he translates Surah 5:46

"So let the followers of the Gospel judge according to what Allah has sent down in it. Those who do not judge according to what Allah has revealed are lawbreakers."

Surah 5:47

I do judge by it "Al-Aqsa," and I look forward to reading your response about "the farthest mosque" that Muhammad allegedly visited on his "night journey," and showing you from the Old and New Testaments which are sacred to you as a Muslim, just what the God of the Bible has done to deal with your past, to work in your present, and to guarantee your future, should you accept His loving care of you.

With kind regards and best wishes

Lactantius Jr


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