Sunday, September 06, 2009

Jerusalem Doors: al-Haram ash-Sharif

al 'Aqsa
This is just one of he doors of al 'Aqsa Mosque, the second oldest mosque and the third holiest site in Islam. al 'Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic shrine, The Dome of the Rock, make up the "Sacred noble Sancuary, or al-Haram ash-Sharif. Islamic tradition holds that the prophet Muhammad, after his miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, made his ascension to heaven from the rock which is now covered by the a golden dome.
The al-Haram ash-Sharif is one is one of the most sensitive sites in Jerusalem as this Islamic compound is built on what Jews believe to be the Temple Mount or the site of the second temple; the site of the Dome of the Rock is considered by some to be the traditional site of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac and the Holy of Holies of the Jewish temple. Jews are forbidden from praying on the compound and instead pray at the Western Wall, which borders the west side of al-Haram ash-Sharif.

An interesting bit of Jordanian and Al 'Aqsa history:
On July 20 1951, King Abdallah I of Jordan was assassinated while attending Friday prayers at Al' Aqsa. As the story goes, King Abdallah traveled to Jerusalem with his grandson, Hussein, but when they arrived it was discovered that Hussein had left his military uniform in Amman so King Abdallah insisted it be sent for. (Jerusalem is only about 45 miles from Amman but modern day border crossings make the trip take about three to five hours.) When King Abdallah was shot, Hussein who was at his side was also hit but the bullet deflected off a military medal he was wearing, one which had been worn at his grandfather's insistence. Hussein was enthroned as the monarch of Jordan in 1953 and reigned until his death in 1999.

Dome of the Rock

An interesting bit of Jordanian and Dome of the Rock History:
The gold leaf which covers the now aluminum dome--it was once all gold--was donated by the late King Hussein of Jordan.

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