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Khamis, 30 Disember 2010

Al Masjidul Aqsa Site Plan

The importance of al Masjidul Aqsa Haram Sharif and Jerusalem have been central to those who submitted to the will of Allah (Muslims) from time immemorial. According to an authentic narration of Prophet Muhammad (saas), al Masjidul Aqsa was the second house of worship for the Lord on planet earth. Further, this was only built forty years after the first house, the Ka’ba in Makkah.

Allah (swt) through verses in the Holy Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad’s (saas) teachings and his visiting al Masjidul Aqsa during his miraculous journey – al Isra al Mahraj - to the heavens has connected al Masjidul Aqsa and Jerusalem to the believes and respect of present day Muslims.

Al Masjidul Aqsa Haram Sharif besides being the first qibla (direction Muslims faced during Salah prayer) represents one of only three mosques where Muslims are recommended to undertake a journey for sole purpose of praying Salah. The virtues of praying in al Masjidul Haram Sharif are multiplied by a thousand times. The numerous virtues of al Masjidul Aqsa has made to central to Muslims all over the world – i.e. one every fiver person of the world today. The love and affection for al Masjidul Aqsa transcends all national boundaries, languages and colour. Muslims all over the globe through the teachings of Islam hold it dear and venerate it. (See Al Masjidul Aqsa Site Plan below)
Masjid Al Aqsa site plan
Islamic Museum1 . Islamic Museum with Fakhriyyah Minaret
The Museum was established by the supreme Muslim Council in the 1341AH/1923CE. It was first located in the Ribat al-Mansuri which was built in 681AH/1282CE by al-Mansur Qalawun. In 1927 it was transferred to its present site  in the southwest corner of the Noble Sanctuary.
The museum contains exhibits from all periods of Islamic History, including an array of Arabic Kufic inscriptions, dating back to the early  fourth centuary Hijra.  Other important displays include an extensive Qur’an collection and Islamic ceramics, coins and glassware stand together with guns, swords and daggers in the oldest museum in Jerusalem. A unique group of architectural elements help document the history of al Masjidual Aqsa Haram Sharif. The museum also contains many rare manuscripts, including a collection of more than 600 copies of the Qur'an written between the third and twelfth centuries Hijrah. One of the most important pieces is the collection is a hand-written Qur'an whose transcription is attributed to the great, great grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

The entire 1,500 square meter roof and the 450 square meter building, formerly used as a Women's Mosque, has now been completely revitalized by the Technical Office of the Jerusalem Revitalization Program for the Old City (JRP), implemented through a grant of $175,000 from the Arab Fund to Welfare Association.

The low-lying structure is actually a long two-aisled hall that has seen a variety of uses over the last millennium. Some time after Saladin's ousting of the Crusaders and liberation of the city, the building was divided, the eastern half into a Women's Mosque and the western half into an assembly hall for the adjacent Madrasa of Fakhr al-Din Mohammad (today's Islamic Museum), built in the fourteenth century. The Crusader era building has not seen major repair in centuries, and minor repairs which have been carried out have had only cosmetic effects, leaving the interior leaking, and chronically damp and humid. The restoration process of the former mosque will allow the building to serve as the new facility for al-Aqsa Library, currently housed in the cramped quarters of al-Madrasa al-Ashrafiya, also within the Haram.

Bab al-Magribah 2. Bab al-Magribah (Moroccans Gate) – 
This Gate is situated on the south western side of the Noble Sanctuary in the direction of the qibla wall. The name Bab al-Maghariba was given to this gate because of its proximity to the Maghariba Mosque and the Maghariba Quarter
This gate leads to the Magribah quarters. This area was destroyed by Israeli’s in 1967 and its inhabitants made refugees. The area is now accessibale to only Jews, where they have built a plaza.

Bab al-Silsilah (Chain Gate). 3. Bab al-Silsilah ( Gate of the Chain).
4. Bab al-Sakina (Gate of Tranquility or Divine Presence).
These two separate entrances are located adjacent to each other on the western side of the Sanctuary between Maghariba and Ablution Gate. The Northern Gate is Bab al-Sakina and the southern Gate is Bab al-Silsila.
Bab al-Silsila was once called Bab Dawud, in honour of the Prophet David, peace be upon him.

Bab al-Sakina is known by several other names including al-Bab al-Muglaq (Closed Gate) and Bab al-Salaam (Gate of Peace). many scholars are of the view that this is the oldest gate in the Sanctuary.
The Mamluk Sultan Qait Bey commissioned the Ashrafiyya School, which adjoins Bab al-Sakina to the North, in the late 15th centuary CE
Silsilah (Chain) Minarat5. Silsilah (Chain) Minaret. (Manarah al-Silsila).
The Chain Minaret (Manarah al-Silsila), is situated in the western wall of the Sanctuary near Bab al-Sakina and Bab al-Sisila. During the Ottoman era it was also referred to as Al-Mahkama Minaret.
The date of construction appears in an inscription on the eastern side of its base. It reads: "In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. The building of the was ordered by Sultan al-Malik al-Nasir in 730AH"
It is a long standing tradition to assign the best reciter of the adhan, the call to prayer, to this minaret, because the first call to each of the five daily prayers is usually raised from it.

Bab al-Matarah (Ablution Gate). 6. Bab al-Mutarah (The Ablution Gate).
This gate is located on the west side of the Sanctuary between Bab al-Qattanin and Bab al-Silsila. It is also sometimes referred to as Bab al-Mutawada'a because of its close proximity to the main ablution area.
It is an ancient gate about which very little historical information has survived. Mujir al-Din al-Hanbali recorded that it was restored during the Mamluke period by Amir 'Aladin 'Abid Ghadi when he constructed the ablution facilities in 1267CE.

Bab al-Qattanin (Cotton Merchants Gate). 7. Bab al-Qattanin (Cotton Merchants Gate).
 Other Names are Cotton Merchants Gate, Suq al-Qattanin and Khan of Amir Tankiz al-Nasiri, Bab el-Qattanin, Suk el-Kattanin, Bab al Qattanin, Bab al Kattanin.
West entrance to Al-Haram al-Sharif from Suq al Qattanin ('Market of the Cotton')
The monumental gate Bab al-Qattanin that sits on the western border of the precinct of al-Haram al-Sharif ("The Noble Sacred Enclosure") leads to the splendid street market of Suq al-Qattanin "Market of the Cotton Merchants". The complex takes the traveler through a dark vaulted elongated space, with shops on either sides and two public baths (hammam). The market-street dramatically lit by skylight openings, leads from the Haram westward into the fabric of the old city of Jerusalem, ending at Tariq al-Wad street.

The Mamluk market, that according to Creswell was the finest bazaar in Greater Syria, was built by Sultan al-Malik al-Nasir Muhammad in the 14th century to replace an older construction. Its main gate is one of the grandest of the Haram gates, built into the west portico of the Haram. The gate lies under a splendid muqarnas (stalactite) vault. It sits in a trefoil arch that is contained within a significantly larger recess. The larger recess is topped with a semi-dome supported by marvelous muqarnas pendentives, and surrounded by a slightly pointed arch of ablaq construction of alternating red and cream colored stones.

Bab Al Nazer8. Bab al Hadid (Iron Gate).
This gate is situated along the Western Wall, and next to Bab al-Qattanin

9. Bab al-Nadhir / Majlis (Council Gate)
The Awqaf has its office just outside the Bab al-Nadhir along the Western Wall.
   Fountain of Ibrahim al-Rumi 9a - Fountain of Ibrahim al-Rumi
(To be found outside Bab al-Nadhir / Majlis (Council Gate)
Built in 1435 CE for the sole purpose of giving water to the needy and travellers.  It was built during the reign of Sultan al-Malik al-Ashraf. The Fountain is placed in front of Bab al-Nadhir (Majlis) Council Gate)

Minarat of Ghawanimah. & Bab al-Ghawanima (Ghawanima gate) 10. Minarat of Ghawanimah. & Bab al-Ghawanima (Ghawanima gate)
The Ghawanima minaret, almost entirely built of stone, apart from a timber canopy over the muezzin's gallery, is one of the sturdiest and highest constructions in the old city of Jerusalem. Its firm structure has left it nearly untouched by earthquakes, while its varied decoration had lent it a certain elegance as a counterpoint to its solidity.
The minaret is excavated into the naturally occurring layer of bedrock in the northwest corner of the Haram. It is partitioned into several 'stories' by stone molding and muqarnas (stalactite) galleries. The first two stories are wider and directly abut the rock, forming the base of the tower. Additional four stories, including the muezzin's gallery, are surmounted by a circular drum and bulbous dome. The stairway is external on the first two floors, but becomes an internal spiral structure until it reaches the muezzin's gallery, from which the call for prayer was performed.
The Minaret is located in the northwest corner of the sanctuary next to Bab al-Ghawanima. It was built in 1297CE by the architect of Al-Fakhriyya Minaret, Qadi Sharaf al-Din al-Khalili, following an order made by the Mamluk King, Al-Mansur Hussam al-Din Lajin. It was later renewed during the reign of Muhammad ibn Qalawun by Sayf al-Din Tankaz, the builder of Bab al-Silsila. The Minaret marks the most northerly point in the west wall of the Sanctuary. It is nearly 37 meters high. During the time of Mujir al-Din al-Hanbali the name al-Ghawanima was applied to this minaret because of its proximaty to Bab al-Ghawanima. The gate itself was so called after the desendants of Shaykh Ganim ibn ‘Ali ibn Husayn, who was appointed sahykh of the Salahiyya School by Salah al-Din al_ayyubi.
Bab al-Ghawanima is at the northwest entrance to the Noble Sanctuary and is situated north of Bab al-Nadhir. It was renovated by Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qalawun in 707AH/1307CE during the construction of the western wall of the Sanctuary. According to some sources this gate was given its name because it had an archway which led to the Bani Ghanim quarter. It was also known as Bab al-Khalil

Bab al-Atim (Gate of Darkness). 11. Bab al-Atim (Gate of Darkness).
 This is the first entrance along the Northern wall of the al-Aqsa Sanctuary

 Bab al-Hittah (Gate of Remission)12. Bab al-Hittah (Gate of Remission)  This is the second entrance along the Northern Wall of the Haram al-Sharif The al-Aqsa Sanctuary and it is used as the main entrance for people entering al-Aqsa sanctuary from the Northern side of the Old City.

Minarat al-Asbat. 13. Minarat al-Asbat.
 The slender minaret of Bab al-Asbat, elegantly and beautifully proportioned, is built against the westernmost portico of the north border of al-Haram al-Sharif, overlooking the Haram and Bethesda Pool.
A cylindrical stone shaft, apparently Ottoman, springs from a rectangular Mamluk base, on top of a triangulated transition zone. The shaft narrows above a muezzin gallery and ends with a bulbous dome. This upper part was reconstructed after the 1927 earthquake.
In spite of the different stages of construction the minaret resonates a harmonious impression, while the simple decoration on the shaft, of slim moldings and a few circular windows, allow the gallery and the base a distinct expressiveness.
To arrive at the muezzin gallery, one enters on the level of the Haram esplanade, through a door in the south face of the base, preceded by five steps. Passing a vestibule and several stairways one reaches the portico roof and finally can enter the spiral staircase in the interior of the shaft.Around the turn of the 16th century, Mujir al-Din wrote that it is the most graceful in form and beautiful in appearance of all four minarets around the Haram.
Al-Aqsa Minaret is located on the north wall of the Sanctuary, east of North Schools and just west of Bab al-Asbat, the Gate of the Tribes. It was constructed in 769AH/ 1367CE during the reign of Mamluk sultan, Al-Ashraf Sha’ban
Bab al-Asbat (Gate of the Tribes). 14. Bab al-Asbat (Gate of the Tribes).
This is the last entrance on the Northern Wall of the al-Aqsa Sanctuary.

Bab al-Zahabi (Golden Gate)15. Bab al-Zahabi (Golden Gate)
Dating back to the Umayyad times, the Golden Gate’s two vaulted halls lead to the Door of Mercy, Bab ar Rahman, and the Door of Repentance, Bab at Tawba. Imam al Ghazzali is thought to have written his ‘Revivval of the Religious Sciences – ahyal ul Uloom – while sitting and teaching above these gates. The Christians believe Isa’ (as) will on his second coming enter through this gates.

The Golden gate, located at the north section of the east wall of the Haram, with its delightful white-washed double-domes and double arches from both sides, is a source of many traditions.
This place is where Virgin Mary's parents met after an angel had promised her birth, marking the gate as the symbol of Mary's immaculate conception. In Islamic tradition the gate is also the site where some of the events of the Day of Judgment will occur; the entrance of the Isa' (as) to Jerusalem and the entering of the righteousness people through the north gate, the 'Gate of Grace', while the others will enter through the south gate, the 'Gate of Mercy'.

The original date of construction is much debated. There are evidences that the gate was built to replace an older gate. Some traditions associates the gate with Herodian times as being the beautiful gate mentioned in the New Testament that led from the forecourt of the heathens into the Women's forecourt. Many identify the gate as belong to Byzantine times of late 6th century or 7th century. Others suggest that it is the construction of Caliph al-Walid at the beginning of the 8th century.

Bab al Rahma & Bab at Tauba15a. Bab al Rahma (Door of Mercy).

15b. Bab at-Tauba (Door of Repentance).

Cradle of Jesus 16. Cradle of Jesus
 A small niche in the ground at the extreme south-east corner of  al-Aqsa Sanctuary above Mussalla al-Marwani.
The chamber has a roof of stone, supported on marble columns.  The Cradle is of stones, and large enough for a man to make therein his prayers and prostrations. The Cradle is fixed into the ground, so that it cannot be moved. This Cradle is where Jesus is said to have laid during His childhood, and where He held conversations with the people.
The Cradle itself, in this Mosque, has been made the Mihrâb (or oratory); and there is, likewise, on the east side of this Mosque the Mihrâb Maryam (or Oratory of Mary), and another Mihrâb, which is that of Zakariyyâ (Zachariah)—peace be upon him! Above these Mihrâb's are written the verses revealed in the Kurân that relate respectively to Zachariah and to Mary.
They say that Jesus—peace be upon Him!—was born in the place where this chamber now stands. On the shaft of one of the columns there is impressed a mark as though a person had gripped the stone with tow fingers; and they say that Mary, when taken in the pangs of labour, did thus with one hand seize upon the stone, leaving this mark thereon. This Mosque is known by the title of Mahd 'Îsâ (the Cradle of Jesus)—peace be upon Him!—and they have suspended a great number of lamps there of silver and of brass, that are lighted every night.

Al- Mussallah al Marwani (Solomons’ stables)17. Al- Mussallah al Marwani (Solomons’ stables – substructure)
Just below the paved courtyard in the southeast corner of the Sanctuary lies the vast vaulted subterranean area referred mistakenly as Solomon’s Stables. The actual construction is Umayyad dating back to the 8th Century. This area is accessible via a flight of stairs leading down to a recently renovated prayer area.

Al Masjid Al Aqsa (Al Aqsa Mosque)18. Al Masjidul Aqsa -
A Mosque of timber was originally built here by Hazrat Umar (ra) the second Khalifa of Islam in 638 AD. Abdul Malik ibn Marwan after the completion of the Dome of the Rock commissioned an extension to al Aqsa Mosque. His son Al Walid in 705 AD completed the work. The mosque at the time was large enough to accommodate five thousand worshippers. This building called al Aqsa must not be confused with the whole area also known as al Masjidual Aqsa Haram Sharif. It must be emphasised the the whole area is sacred to the Muslims and not even a centimetre is negotiable.

Directly beneath the eastern half of al Aqsa Mosque building is another subterranean area, leading from the courtyard in front of the Mosque to the Double Gate in the southern wall of the Sanctuary. Sealed for hundreds of years, this gate led to the Umayyad palaces which once lay to the south. This area has also been opened by Palestinians, against the wishes of Israelis, for worshipping.

The al Aqsa Mosque has been the centre of learning and worship throughout Islamic history. It has been modified several times to protect it from earthquakes, which sometimes occur in the area and to adopt to the changing needs of the local population.

The form of the present structure has remained essentially the same since it was reconstructed by the Khalifa Al Dhahir in 1033 AD. It is said he did not alter it from the previous architecture except to narrow it on each side.

Fakhriya Minarat19. Al-Fakhriyya Minarat.  This minarat is located in the southwest corner of the Noble Sanctuary. It is also known as the Bab al-Maghariba minaret and was built in 677AH/1278CE, during the time of Al-Malik al-Mansur Hussam al-Din Lajin.
The minaret was built in the traditional Syrian style. The shaft is square and divided by mouldings into three floors above which two lines of muqarnas decorate the mu'adhin's platform, the place from which the call to prayer is broadcast. The niche is sarounded by a square chamber that ends in a lead-covered stone dome.

Dome of Yusuf agha20. Dome of Yusuf Agha.
 Positioned along the line of the entrance to the Masjid al-Aqsa half-way between the Western Wall and the Masjid al-Aqsa

Masjid Al Buraq and Station of Buraq21. Masjid Al Buraq and Station of Buraq.

Al Buraq Mosque is situated at the south end of the western Portico, between the courtyards of the Sanctuary and the Western wall. It used to lead to the Old gate in the Maghriba Quarter known as Bab- al Buraq (gate of Buraq) and also Bab al_Nabi (Gate of the Prophet). Al Buraq Mosque is where some believe the Prophet (SAW) tied Al-Buraq, the white winged creature "whose each stride stetched as far as the eye could see," that carried him from Makkah to Jerusalem on the miraculous Night Journey and ascension.

(Next to Al Maghriba - Morroccon - Gate  )

 Al-Kas (The Cup) – The place of abulation22. Al-Kas (The Cup) – The place of abulation.
The place of ablution, situated between Masjid al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock

Mimbar of Buran ad-Din 23. Mimbar of Buran ad-Din –
Originally built in the 7th century, this open air pulpit is named after the 14th century Qadi of Jerusalem.
 The elaborate structure of Minbar Burhan al-Din, known also as the Summer Pulpit, stands immediately adjacent to the southern colonnade of the Dome of the Rock terrace. The first stage to be built, of which the foundation date is unknown, is a two-tiered structure built of beautifully carved stone. This initial stage was composed of an hexagonal domed pavilion superimposed on a sculptured base, with open lobbed arches on all four sides. This part was almost entirely composed by a Crusader sculpture. At this stage the structure was known as Qubbat al-Mizan (the Dome of Balance). Later, the southern arch was blocked by a buttressed wall, and the northern arch was concealed by the stone staircase added in the 14th century by Burhan al-Din to replace the wheeled wooden staircase. In addition, a mihrab, covered with marble plates, was built immediately to the east of the Summer Pulpit.

Dome of Yusuf 24. Dome of Yusuf – A dome built to commemorate the Prophet Yusuf (as).
The freestanding structure of Qubbat Yusuf ascends from the southern wall of the Dome of the Rock terrace between Qubbat Nahwiyya and Minbar burhan al-Din. Its founder is referred to in the foundation inscriptions as Yusuf Agha, which was identified either as a eunuch of the imperial palace in Istanbul (Van Berchem) or suggested to be identified as the Governor of Jerusalem (Natsheh). The function is unknown but most probably it was built as a commemorative dome for the good deeds of its founder.
The dome of Qubbat Yusuf, a semi-enclosed rectangular structure, is supported by three pointed open arches and a solid stone wall. Its exterior is covered with lead sheeting, and its interior is decorated with a ribbed pattern. Stone carvings and a marble-faced blind-niche decorate the northern face of the southern wall. Its lower half displays an Ayyubid inscription plaque, which mislead some researches to believe that Qubbat Yusuf was built during the Ayyubid period. An inscription that commemorates Salah al-Din's construction of a wall and a bridge over the ditch in 1191 shows otherwise.

Dome of Al-Nahawiyyah 25. Dome of Al-Nahawiyyah (School of Literature) – Built in 1207
The southwest corner of the Dome of the Rock terrace is marked by Qubbat al-Nahwiyya (the Dome of the School of Grammar), a long rectangular building with one dome at each end and a richly decorated door entrance. The stone structure incorporates many elements of Crusader spolia, such as the marble spiral columns and the caveto moulding on a series of corbels, which later influenced Mamluk architecture in the Haram al-Sharif.
This school was built in 604AH/1207CE by al Muazzam Isa as a school of literature during the Ayyubid period. It is located at the south edge of the Dome of the Rock plarform and extends to the west. The name al-Nahawiyya, (which refers to the subject of grammar) was given to it because a significant percentage of its syllabuses were devoted to the teaching of Arabic.
It currently serves as the office of the Qadi al-Quda, the Chief Judge of Court. Prior to 1956 the school was used as a library for the Supreme Islamic Judicial Council.

Dome of Moses 26. Dome of Moses - A dome built to commemorate the Prophet Moses (as)
Qubbat Musa is one of many constructions built during the Ayyubid period on al-Haram al-Sharif. It was built in 647AH/1249-50CE on the west esplande in close proximity to Bab al-Silsila, the main entrance to the Haram. The simple square building sits on a stone base and is crowned with an octagonal drum that forms the zone of transition to a rounded, slightly elongated stone dome. A semi-circular mihrab at the south wall is expressed on the exterior facade, between two rectangular windows.
Fountain of Qasim Basha27. The Fountain of Qasim Pasha.
 Built by Qasim Pasha, the Governor of Jerusalem in 932AH/1526CE, during the reign of Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent. Located on the southern edge of the Pool of Raranj near Bab al-Silsila, it was the first Ottoman structure to be built in the Sanctuary.
Sabil Qasim Pasha (Fountain of Qasim Pasha), also known as Sabil Bab al-Mahkama (Fountain of the Court House) and Sabil Bab al-Naranj (Fountain of the Bitter Orange) is the first Ottoman public building to be built in Jerusalem. Earlier works were not new buildings but the restoration of the wall and transformation of the citadel of Jerusalem to Masjid al-Nabi Da'ud (Mosque of David the Prophet). The function of Sabil Qasim Pasha, like other sabils, was to supply fresh water to the general public for drinking and for ablution. Accounts exist that the sabil was in use until the late 1940's.
It is an octagonal building over a cistern, around which is a wooden shelter that protects worshippers from the sun and the rain while performing ablution. Around the fountain there are eight water taps, one on each side of the octagon, which are still used for ablution.

The sabil structure, enclosing a cistern, is sunk about 1m below the platform of the Haram. The structure is preceded by a square shallow pool, with marble paving and a modern fountain in its center. Its dome rests on an octagonal drum. During the 1920's restoration work a wooden colonnade was added to shelter the benches and steps surrounding the sabil from rain and especially from the hot summer sun. The Dome was rebuilt during the restoration in the 1920's by the Supreme Muslim Council, and covered with lead panels that bestowed upon it a pointed shallower profile. In the recent restoration, in 1998, the lead sheeting was removed and a handsome finely crafted stone-dome was exposed.

Pool of Raranj28. Pool of Raranj.
 The Pool of Raranj is seven meters square. It was restored during the reign of Sultan al-Ashraf Qait Bey and again in the Ottoman period when the Qasim Pasha fountain was being built. In 1922 the Supreme Muslim Council reconstructed the pool, paved it with marble and encircled it with banisters.

Fountain of Qayt Bay 29. Fountain of Qayt Bay ( Sabil Qait Bey)

Originally built in 860AH/1455CE by the Mamluk Sultan Inal, this fountain was rebuilt in 1482CE by Sultan Qait Bey. It is situated between Bab al-Silsila and Bab al-Qattanin, about 50 metres from the western wall of the sanctuary.

This fountain is one of the most famous in Jerusalem. It consists of a simple square room, sarrounded by a transition zone and dome, covered with arabesque carving in low relief. The building is 13 metres high and is crowned by a bronze crescent, which, unlike other crescents in the sanctuary, faces east and west.

Large window with metal grills are found on three sides of the building. There are four steps leading up to the windows on the north and the west side, and a large stone bench beneath the south facing window.

On the east wall of the fountain four semi-circular steps lead up to the entrance door. The inscription on the building contains Qur'anic verses and gives details of the building and renovation of the fountain.

Beneath the building is the large underground reservoir. Before the coming of the British Mandate most fountains in the Sanctuary were supplied with water from the main channel at Bab al-Silsila. After this they became more dependant on rainwater and springs. At this time water was collected in the reservoir beneath the building and then pulled up to the fountain itself.

This fountain was one of the several in the sanctuary to benefit from a recent renovation project sponsored by Muslims throughout the world
Fountain of Qayt Bay 30. Muezzin’s Dome.
 If you enter the Al-Aqsa Sactuary from the Bab al-Matarah (Ablution Gate) and proceed to the Dome of the Rock,to the right of the flight of stairs is the Muezzin's Dome

Dome of The Chain (Silsila)31. Dome of The Chain (Silsila)–
Immediately to the east of the Dome of the Rock lies an enigmatic building known as the Dome of the Chain. The Dome of the Chain was built by Abdul Malik ibn Marwan and marks the exact centre of the sanctuary.
It is one of the most ancient buildings on the Haram and was either built during the Umayyad period or, some think, prior to Islamic rule in Jerusalem. Reasons given for its construction and its date are varied. Different theories based on comments in medieval sources echoes in the work of contemporary scholars.
Most researchers assign the building to Abd al-Malik who built the Dome of the Rock and may have started to build the mosque of al-Aqsa. It is interesting to indicate that the mihrab in the mosque of al-Aqsa is located exactly in the middle of the qibla wall of the Haram on north-south axis with the Dome of the Chain. Some scholars and travelers in past and present conceived the Dome of the Chain as bayt al-mal, the treasury for the local Muslim community. But the completely open shape of the building seems to defy this theory. The building is usually pictured in Islamic tradition as the spot where the Final Judgment will occur in the end of days and where a chain will stop the sinful and let the just pass through.

The unusual shape of the structure is a composition of a domed hexagon with open arches surrounded by an eleven-sided polygon with eleven open arches. It is the third largest building on the Haram after the mosque of al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock with a diameter of 14 meters.
The presence of a mihrab, a prayer niche, indicates that the Dome of the Chain was certainly used as a place of prayer, as it continues to be today.

Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al sakhra)32. Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al sakhra)–
Jerusalem became known as al Quds (The Holy). Many of Prophet’s Companions travelled to worship at the blessed precincts from which area the Prophet Muhammad (saas) was brought by night and from where he ascended through the seven heavens to his Lord.

In 690’s (72AH) the Umayyad Khalifa Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan commissioned the work to built the Dome over the rock. Essentially unchanged for more than fourteen centuries, the Dome of the Rock remains one of the world’s most beautiful enduring architectural treasures.

The gold Dome stretches 20m across the rock, rising to an apex of more than 35m above it. The Qur’aniv sura “Ya’sin” is inscribed across the top in the dazzling tile work commissioned in the 16th century by Suleiman the Magnificent. The interior is exquisitely decorated, the two most important decorative elements are the glass mosaics and the carved marbles.

You can download the 12 page Full colour booklet on The Magnificent Dome of the Rock from here. Download (1.00 MB)

Dome of the Prophet 33. Dome of the Prophet - (Qubbat al-Nabi)
A dome built to commemorate the Prophet Muhammad (saas). Restored in 1620CE by Farruk Bey, the Governor of Jerusalem.
Qubbat al-Nabi, was completed during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Sulayman al-Qanuni.
Several writers including al-Suyuti reported that this is the spot where the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, led the prophets and the angels in prayer on the night of the al-isra' wa al-mi`raj before ascending to the sky. This event took place during his extraordinary journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, to the seven heavens and back in a single night  Endowment documents from the Ottoman period indicate that a portion of the endowment of the mosque of al-Aqsa was dedicated to maintain the lighting of an oil-lamp in the Dome of the Prophet each night.

The Dome of the Prophet, located in close proximity to the Dome of the Rock, is one of three Ottoman free-standing qubbas (small domed structures) on the Dome of the Rock terrace. These qubbas are all single-unit buildings, their domes supported by six or eight open arches, their mihrab is embedded in the floor, and they are all undated. Each of these domes commemorates either an important person or an important event that is related to al-Haram al-Sharif ("The Noble Sacred Enclosure", the sacred area in Jerusalem that includes the Dome of the Rock, the mosque of al-Aqsa and many other subsidiary smaller structures of religious and public functions). Two additional freestanding Ottoman qubbas in the precinct of the Haram, though different in style from the three mentioned above, are Qubbat Yusuf and Qubbat Yusuf Agha.

The structure is octagonal, its hemispherical dome supported on colorful pointed arches of red, black and white stones above columns of gray marble. The ancient mihrab is made of a white marble slab embedded in the floor and surrounded by red stones and subsequently delimited by a low wall, that opens in the north to allow entrance to the believers heading southward to Mecca in their prayers.

Dome of the Miraj 34. Dome of the Ascension - (The Qubbat al-Miraj) -
A dome built to commemorate the Prophet Muhammad’s (saas) ascension through the heavens to his Lord, which took place about 622CE, near the end of the Makkan period of revelation.
Restored in 1200CE

Dome of al-Khalili 35. Dome of al-Khalili (Hebronite)
An early 18th century building dedicated to Shaykh Muhammad al Khalili.

Mihrab Ali Pasha36. Mihrab Ali Pasha.
The Mihrab lies between Bab al-Hadid (Iron Gate) and Bab al-Qattanin (Cotton Merchant's Gate) along the Western Wall.

Dome of Al-Khidr 37. Dome of Al-Khidr
The elongated commemorative structure of Qubbat al-Khadr ('The Dome of al-Khadr') stands isolated from any close neighbors on the northwest corner of the Dome of the Rock terrace. Its pointed dome rests on six open arches carried by six tall and slender columns. The direction of prayer, the qibla, is marked by marble paving in the shape of a pointed arc on the ground. The building, which is partly blocked by the wall that supports it from north and west, is elevated about 50cm from terrace level and consequently is not easily accessible.

Al-Khadr (also known as al-Khidr), to whom the building is devoted, is an important figure in the Islamic tradition, mainly in the context of Jerusalem and the Haram. Al-Khadr, who is identified with the Christian St. George, is mentioned in the Koran as the companion of The prophet Moses (Peace be on him). He is known to have the merit of protection hence many people pray to him in times of crisis. According to tradition he used to live in Jerusalem and was frequently seen praying at al-Haram al-Sharif.

Dome of the Spirits (Ruh) 38. Dome of the Spirits (Ruh, Souls,Winds, Qubbat al Arwah)
Slightly to the left of Dome of al-Khidr as you face Masjid al-Aqsa. This dome is supported by 8 pillars and is frequented regularly by Sufis for dhikr.
The building of Qubbat al-Arwah (The Dome of the Soul), situated in front of the North-West Qanatir (colonnade) on the Dome of the Rock terrace, commemorates the Day of Judgment, which according to Islamic tradition will take place in Jerusalem. The name al-Arwah (The spirits) marks the site of the building as the place where the souls of the believers would be summoned to after their resurrection.

The centrally planned freestanding building is placed on a single-piece slab of natural white rock of an irregular shape that approximates the area of the structure. The building, in the shape of an octagon, is surrounded by 8 open arches resting on eight slender columns. A single course of masonry above the arches supports a stepped cornice. Immediately above it rests the heavy hemispherical dome. Another course of masonry delineated the octagonal floor space, and breaks outward to the south to form a semicircular mihrab.

The exact date of construction and the identity of the founder of Qubbat al-Arwah are unknown. It might be a deliberate anonymous donation of a member of the ruling elite or a local initiative of the community. The first time the dome is mentioned in texts is in the year 1628 in the waqfiyya (endowment document) of Muhammad Agha. The donor specified funds to cover the costs of oil and to pay a man to maintain the lighting the oil-lamp inside the building.

Fountain of Sha’lan 39. Fountain of Sha’lan
 Just to the right of the steps to the esplanade facing the Western Wall is an old brick structure, which was once used to supply water for the visitors

Solomon’s Dome 40. Solomon’s Dome - (Qubbat Suleyman)
A dome built to commemorate the Prophet Suleman (as), built most probably during the Ayyubid era. This dome lies to the right , as you enter al-Haram al-Sharif via the Bab al-Atim (Gate of Darkness)

Dome of the Lovers of the Prophets41. Dome of the Lovers of the Prophets.
 A solid structure with large arches open on all sides. The Dome lies to the left as you enterthe al-Aqsa Sanctuary via the Bab al-Atim (Gate of Drkness)

Fountain of Sultan Solomon.42. Fountain of Sultan Solomon.
 A rectangular column set in the ground just before the Dome of the Lovers, again as you enter al-AQsa Sanctuary via the Gate of Darkness (Bal al-Atim)

 43. Solomon’s Throne
 Facing the Golden Gate, Sulayman's Throne is on the left along the Eastern Wall.

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