Jerusalem (2014)/ Conflicts-Praying in the Al-Aqsa Mosque
Jewish settlements first stepped into Jerusalem more than two thousand years ago. Ever since the first invader took over, it was colonized and re-colonized by powers that mostly banned the original settlers from entering their homeland. Over the years too, however, others built their homes on top of the old city, adding Muslim mosques to the Jewish religious site.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque means “the Farthest Mosque” in Arabic. Being the third important holy site, this is where Muhammad took on a night journey and offered prayer. He was then brought to heaven by angel Jibril. Muslims were told that a prayer in Al-Aqsa Mosque is worth a thousand prayers. This is why for them it is very important that they offer their prayers not in other ordinary mosques but this one in particular.
“the Prophet of God Muhammad said a prayer in the Sacred Mosque (in Mecca) is worth 100,000 prayers; a prayer in my mosque (in Medina) is worth 10,000 prayers; and a prayer in al-Aqsa Mosque is worth 1,000 prayers”
Sahih al-Bukhari quoting Abu Darda
Nowadays, Israel took over this part of Jerusalem, with its ambitious government treating Muslims the way the Jews were once treated. Friday prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque was restricted at times, only people over 45 years old (unmarried man 50) are allowed to enter the heavily armed Israel Palestinian border and into the old city.
Heated argument between the Muslim and Jewish representative on the topic
Essentially this is no longer only a religion issue but also a political one. It is also extending the discussion to one concerning human rights and although Israel government’s action can be explained as one of self-defending nature, it is important to look at both sides of the argument and historical factors before any conclusion could be drawn. As a matter of fact large number of Muslims were forced out of Jerusalem with their houses removed since the Israeli took over, but no doubt the Muslims’ Friday prayers within the Al-Aqsa Mosque were also used as gatherings for plotting violent attacks causing thousands of deaths.