Masjid-ul-Aqsa: Its virtues and significance 

researched & written by Riyaaz Seedat, Brisbane Australia

Masjid ul Aqsa is:
• The first Qiblah of the Muslims
• The station of Isra and Miraj
• The second house of Allah Ta'ala built on earth
• The place where hundreds of Messengers of Allah Ta'alaare buried
• The place where many Companions (RA) are buried
• The place where miracles were shown by Allah Ta'ala's Will
• A place which Allah Ta'ala himself calls a 'blessed place'
• Referred to directly and indirectly, seventy times in the Noble Quran
• The place where angels have descended with Allah Ta'ala's message
• The only place on earth where all the Messengers of Allah prayed at the same time, led by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
• The only Masjid mentioned by name in the Noble Quran, apart from the Kabah
Musjid ul Aqsa- The second house of Allah:
Abu Dhar (RA) reported that he asked the Prophet (SAW)
"O Prophet of Allah (SAW), Which Masjid was built 1st on earth"?
The Prophet (SAW) replied, "The Sacred Masjid of Makkah".
Abu Dhar (RA) again asked, "Which was next" ?
The Prophet (SAW) said, "The Masjid Aqsa".
Abu Dharr (RA) further asked "How long was the period between the building of two Masajid "?
The Prophet (SAW) said, "40 years. Apart from these, offer your prayers anywhere when it is time to pray, although excellence is in praying in these Masajid".
Sahih al Bukhari

The importance of visiting Masjid al-Aqsa:
Abu Hurairah (RA)relates that the Prophet (SAW)said,
"You should not undertake a special journey to visit any place other than the following three Masajid, with the expectation of getting greater reward : the Sacred Masjid of Makkah, this Musjid of mine (SAW), and Masjid al-Aqsa (of Jerusalem)".
In another narration the words are, "For three Masajid, a special journey may be undertaken: The Sacred Masjid (Ka'bah), my Masjid (SAW), and the Masjid of al-Quds (Jerusalem)".

Sahih al Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, and Sunan Abu Dawd
Greater virtue of praying in Masjid al-Aqsa:
Anas ibn Malik (RA) relates that the Prophet (SAW)said
"The prayer of a person in his house is a single prayer; his prayer in the masjid of his tribe has the reward of 25 prayers; his prayer in the Masjid in which the Friday prayer is observed has the reward of 500; his prayer in Masjid al-Aqsa (i.e al-Aqsa Sanctuary) has a reward of 5,000 prayers; his prayer in my Masjid (SAW)(Madinah) has a reward of 50,000 prayers; and the prayer in the Sacred Masjid (Ka'bah) at Makkah has a reward of 100,000 prayers".

Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah
The importance of donating to Masjid al-Aqsa:
Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) relates, I asked the Prophet (SAW),"Apostle of Allah, tell us the legal injunction about (visiting) Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem)."
The Apostle of Allah (SAW)said, "Go and pray there. If you cannot visit it and pray there,then send some oil to be used in the lamps". Sahih al Bukhari

The virtues of wearing Ihram from Masjid al-Aqsa:
Umm al-Mu'minin, Umm Salmah (RA), relates that the Prophet (SAW) said,
"If anyone puts ihram for Haj or Umrah from Masjid al-Aqsa and then proceeds to the sacred Masjid, his former and latter sins will be forgiven or he will be guaranteed Paradise".
The narrator Abdullah (RA) was not certain which of these words were said
Sunan Abu Dawud
The blessed land of Masjid al-Aqsa:
Zaid ibn Thabit (RA) reports that the Prophet (SAW) said,
"How blessed is Sham"!
The companions (RA) around asked: "Why is that"?
The Messenger (SAW) replied, "I see the angels of Allah Ta'ala spreading their wings over Sham".
Ibn Abbas (RA) added. "And the Prophets of Allah (AS) lived there. There is not a single inch in al-Quds (Jerusalem) where a prophet (AS)has not prayed or an angel not stood". 
Tirmidhi and Imaam Ahmed
Masjid al-Aqsa – The 1st Qibla:
Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) narrates, "We prayed with the Prophet (SAW)facing 
al-Quds (Jerusalem) for sixteen or seventeen months. Then Allah Ta'alaordered him to turn his face towards the Ka'bah (in Makkah)". 
Sahih al Bukhari,
Masjid al-Aqsa – The place for major events near Qiyamah:
1. Mujamma ibn al-Harith (RA)narrates that the Prophet (SAW)said,
"Ibn Maryam (Isa) (AS) will kill Dajjal (the Anti-Christ) at the door of Ludd (a town in Palestine)".
Tirmidhi and Imaam Ahmed
2. Nahik ibn Suraym al-Sakuni (RA) relates that the Prophet (SAW)said,
"You will fight the Pagans until the remnant of you fights on the River Jordan, you to the east of it (present day Jordan) and they to the west of it (occupied Palestine)".
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani
3. Maymunah bint Sa'ad (RA) reports that she asked the Prophet (SAW) ,
"Oh Messenger of Allah (SAW), give us a pronouncement about al-Quds (Jerusalem)".
The Prophet (SAW) replied, "It is the land were they (mankind) will be raised (Hashar) and gathered (Mahshar)".
Imaam Ahmed and al-Tabarani
4. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) stated regarding the inhabitants of the blessed land,
"they and their wives, children, and slaves (men and women) are in Ribat (guardians,literally a fort) in the cause of Allah Ta'ala". Al-Tabrani

1. Ummamah al-Bahil (RA)reports that the Prophet (SAW)said,

"A group of my community will remain on truth,they will vanquish their enemy and those with them will not be able to harm them until Allah Ta'ala commands".
"Where are these people"? The companions (RA) asked.
The Prophet (SAW)replied, "In and around al-Quds (Jerusalem)". 
Immam Ahmed

1. Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (RA)relates that the Prophet (SAW) said,
"There is a group among my followers who will continue to be openly on the truth. No one who opposes them will harm them, until the coming of the Hour".
The companions (RA) asked, "Where will they be"?
The Prophet (SAW) replied, " They will be in and around Bayt al-Maqdis".
Immam Ahmed

1. Abu Hurairah (RA)relates that the Prophet (SAW)said, 
"A group of my community will not cease to fight at the gates of Damascus and at the gates of al-Quds (Jerusalem) and its surroundings. The betrayal of whoever deserts them will not harm them in the least. They will remain victorious,standing for truth, until the Final Hour rises".
Masjid al-Aqsa – The best place of residence:

Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) reports that the Prophet (SAW)said,
"There will be migration upon migration. The best of the inhabitants of the earth will reside where Prophet Ibrahim (AS) migrated ( ie. Jerusalem)".
Sunan Abu Dawud
Masjid al-Aqsa – Liberation of Masjid al-Aqsa Prophesied:

Shaddad ibn Aws (RA) reports that the Prophet (SAW) said,
"Al-Sham will be conquered and al-Quds (Jerusalem) will be conquered and you or your sons will be Imaams there, if Allah Ta'alawills".
Masjid al-Aqsa – The site for the future Caliphate:
Abdullah ibn Hawwala al Azdi (RA)reported,
The Prophet (SAW)put his hand on my head and said, " Ibn Hawwala (RA), if you see that the Caliphate has taken abode in the Holy Land, then earthquakes, tribulations and great events are at hand. The last hour on that day will be closer to people than my hand is to your head".
Imaam Ahmed and Sunan Abu Dawud

Abd al-Rahman ibn abi Umayra al-Muzani (RA) reports that the Prophet (SAW) said,
"There will be an oath of allegiance according to guidance in al-Quds (Jerusalem)".
Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim
Masjid al-Aqsa – Mention by name in the Holy Qur'an:
A'isha (RA)reports that the Prophet (SAW)used to recite Surah Isra every night in his prayer
سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آَيَاتِنَا إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ
Glory be to Allah, who did take his servant on a journey by night, from the Sacred Masjid
(in Makkah) to the Masjid of al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem), whose precincts we did bless, that we may show him some of Our signs. Indeed He alone is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.
Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibn Hanbal

Researched and written by
Riyaaz Seedat
Masjid Al Farooq