Islam rediscovered Jerusalem 50 years after Muhammad’s death. In 682 CE, ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr rebelled against the Islamic rulers in Damascus, conquered Mecca and prevented pilgrims from reaching Mecca for the Hajj. ‘Abd al-Malik, the Umayyad Caliph, then needed an alternative site for the pilgrimage and settled on Jerusalem which was at that time under his control. To justify this choice, a verse from the Koran was chosen (17,1 = sura 17, verse 1) which states (trans. by Majid Fakhri):
“Glory to Him who caused His servant to travel by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We have blessed, in order to show him some of Our Signs, He is indeed the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.”
The meaning ascribed to this verse (see the commentary in al-Jallalayn) is that “the furthest mosque” (al-masgid al-aqsa) is in Jerusalem, and that Muhammad was conveyed there one night (although by camel the journey took three days), on the back of al-Buraq, a magical horse with the head of a woman, wings of an eagle, the tail of a peacock, and hoofs reaching to the horizon. He tethered the horse to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount and from there ascended to the seventh heaven together with the angel Gabriel. On his way, he met the prophets of other religions who are the guardians of the Seven Heavens: Adam, Jesus, St. John, Joseph, Idris (=Seth?), Aaron, Moses and Abraham — who all accompanied him on his way to Allah and accepted him as their master.
Islam tries in this way to gain legitimacy over other, older religions: It creates a scene in which the former prophets agree to Muhammad’s mastery, and make him Khatam al-Anbiya’ (“the Seal of the Prophets”).
According to this legend, Islam came to the world to replace Judaism and Christianity, not to live side by side with them.
Ironically, this miraculous account contradicts a number of the tenets of Islam: How can a living man of flesh and blood ascend to heaven? How can a mythical creature carry a mortal to a real destination? Questions such as these have caused orthodox Muslim thinkers to conclude that the nocturnal journey was a dream of Muhammad’s. The journey and the ascent serve Islam to “go one better” than the Bible: Moses “only” went up to Mt. Sinai, in the middle of nowhere, and drew close to heaven, whereas Muhammad went all the way up to Allah from Jerusalem itself.
There are difficulties, however, with the belief that the al-Aqsa mosque described in Islamic tradition is located in Jerusalem:
For one, the people of Mecca, who knew Muhammad well, did not believe this story. Only Abu Bakr (later the first Caliph), believed him and was therefore called al-Siddiq (“the Believer”).
A second difficulty is that Islamic tradition tells us that the al-Aqsa mosque is near Mecca on the Arabian peninsula. This was unequivocally stated in “Kitab al-Maghazi” (Oxford University Press, 1966, vol. 3, pp. 958-9), a book by the Muslim historian and geographer al-Waqidi.
According to al-Waqidi, there were two “masjeds” (places of prayer) in al-Gi’irranah, a village between Mecca and Ta’if, one was “the closer mosque” (al-masjid al-adna) and the other was “the farther mosque” (al-masjid al-aqsa), where Muhammad would pray when he went out of town. This description by al-Waqidi, however, supported by a chain of authorities (isnad), was not “convenient” for the Islamic propaganda of the 7th century.
To establish a basis for the “holiness” of Jerusalem in Islam, the Caliphs of the Ummayad dynasty invented “traditions” upholding the value of Jerusalem (known as “fadha’il bayt al-Maqdis”), and which would justify a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the faithful Muslims. Thus was “the farther mosque,” al-Masjid al-Aqsa, “transported” to Jerusalem.
Saladin also adopted the myth of al-Aqsa and these “traditions” to recruit and inflame the Muslim warriors against the Crusaders in the 12th century.
Another aim of the Islamization of Jerusalem was to undermine the legitimacy of the older religions, Judaism and Christianity, which consider Jerusalem to be a holy city. As Jews and Christians had changed and distorted (“ghyyarou wa-baddalou”) the Word of God, each in their turn, Islam is presented as the only legitimate religion, destined to replace the other two.
“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).
don’t believe the http://xrl.us/Deception
Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil -Thomas Mann
I suggest people look up Mohammad Amin al-Husayni before debating further. Ask yourself does Fatah recognize the Holocaust? and why not? the answer is because the root of the creation of the so called Palestinian people is part of the “Final Solution”. The Holocaust against the Jews never stopped, it merely changed it’s language and created a fictional identity. Jerusalem is not a holy city in the works of Mohammad. In fact there was never a Mosque in Jerusalem during his lifetime. This is historical fact. The entire recreation of history is merely an attack on Jews. Since http://xrl.us/Islamic doctrine has more violence in it then the works of Adolf Hitler this is not a surprise that they would revision such things.