Jerusalem (Al Quds)  
   

The city of Jerusalem is known in Arabic as Al-Quds or Baitul-Maqdis ("The Noble, Sacred Place"). Jerusalem is perhaps the only city in the world that is considered historically and spiritually significant to Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. Perhaps you are wondering why Jerusalem is considered a holy city in Islam? Why is this place so important to Muslims?

 Jerusalem is known as the land of many prophets, peace be upon them all. Muslims revere all of the "Biblical" prophets, such as Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus - peace be upon them all. They all taught the Oneness of God.

 First Qiblah for Muslims

Jerusalem was the first Qiblah for Muslims - the place toward which Muslims turn in prayer. It was many years into the Islamic mission (16 months after the Hijrah), that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was instructed to change the Qibla from Jerusalem to Mecca (Qur'an 2:142-144). It is reported that the Prophet Muhammad said, "There are only three mosques to which you should embark on a journey: the sacred mosque (Mecca, Saudi Arabia), this mosque of mine (Madinah, Saudi Arabia), and the mosque of Al-Aqsa (Jerusalem)."

 

Site of Night Journey and Ascension

It is Jerusalem that Muhammad (peace be upon him) visited during his night journey and ascension (called Isra' and Mi'raj). In one evening, the angel Gabriel miraculously took the Prophet from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to the Furthest Mosque (Al-Aqsa) in Jerusalem. He was then taken up to the heavens to be shown the signs of God. The Prophet met with previous prophets and led them in prayer. He was then taken back to Mecca. The whole experience (which Muslim commentators take literally and Muslims believe as a miracle) lasted a few hours of a night. The event of Isra' and Mi'raj is mentioned in the Qur’an, in the first verse of Chapter 17 entitled 'The Children of Israel.’

 Glory to Allah, Who did take His servant for a journey by night, from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless - in order that We might show him some of Our signs. For He is the One who hears and knows all things." (Qur'an 17:1)

This night journey further reinforced the link between Mecca and Jerusalem as holy cities, and serves as an example of every Muslim's deep devotion and spiritual connection with Jerusalem.

It is the hope of every Muslim that the Holy Land will be restored to a land of peace.

 

Timeline of significant events for Al-Quds (Jerusalem)

 5th millennium BC: The "Canaanites" (or Yevusites, Jebusites) conquer the site. Who Are the Jebusites?

Historical mention of Jerusalem predates the city's appearance in Jewish history. Ancient texts such as the Egyptian execration texts (2000-1900 B.C.E.) refer to the city as Rushalimum. The word Jerusalem becomes more recognizable in a series of letters from around 1400 B.C.E. attributed to scribes acting on behalf of King Abdi-Hepa of Urusalim. The Jebusites inhabited the ancient site of Jerusalem, perhaps as early as 3200 B.C.E., but there is reference to Yabusu, an old form of Jebus, on a contract tablet that dates from 2200 B.C.E.

 15th century BC: The area is conquered by  Egypt.

About 990 BC: The Hebrew king David conquers Yevus, including Zion and renames it Jerusalem, Yerushalayim or city of peace. He makes it his capital, and the Ark of the Covenant is brought to Jerusalem.

10th century BC: King Solomon builds the temple and  has a wall built around the city

 c.920 BC: Jerusalem is sacked by the army of Egyptian pharaoh Sheshonk 1.

 c.785 BC: Joash, king of Israel sacks Jerusalem.

 c.701 BC: Unsuccessful siege of Senacharib, king of Assyria. According to some sources, Jerusalem is nonetheless forced to pay tribute.

 c.612 BC: Assyria yields its supremacy over Judea to Babylonia.

c.604 BC: Jerusalem is pillaged by the Babylonians, and the king Jehoiakim and his court are captured and transferred to Babylon.

c.587 BC: The Temple of Jerusalem is destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem are deported to Babylonia.

 c.538 BC: The Persians defeat Babylon, and allow the Jews to return to Judea.

 c.515 BC: Second temple is built under the patronage of Cyrus, king of Persia.

 333 BC: Jerusalem is part of Alexander's empire or sphere of influence.

 320's BC: Jerusalem comes under control of Hellenistic Egypt, ruled by Ptolemy 1 Soter.

198 BC: Jerusalem is transferred to Seleucus 1 Nicator, of Antioch.

 167 BC: Repressive measures spark a rebellion led by the family known as the Maccabees. They manage to drive the Selucids out of Jerusalem and Judea. Roman Senate recognizes Judah Maccabee as a "friend of the Roman people and senate, and places Judea under its protection.

63 BC: Jerusalem conquered by Pompey of Rome, after he was invited to adjudicate a dispute regarding the priesthood.

 70 BC: Vespasian lays siege to Jerusalem; his son Titus conquers Jerusalem and razes the city, destroying the Jewish temple.

47 BC: Herod the Edomite becomes king of the Roman province of Judea.

 c.132 AD: After Romans under Caesar Hadrianus outlaw circumcision, a Jewish rebellion is staged by Simon Bar Kochba. The rebellion is crushed by 135 and large numbers of Jews are killed or exiled. With the advent of Christianity, Jerusalem becomes the center of that religion for a time, under the Church of St. James.

 336AD: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is built over the ground where Jesus was buried according to tradition.

 Mid 4th century AD: Large immigration of Christians to Jerusalem, and Christian pilgrimage becomes popular. The relatively small city of Jerusalem was soon turned into a Christian city.

 6th century AD: The Armenian church establishes its patriarchate in Jerusalem.

 614 AD: Jerusalem was briefly conquered by the Sassanid Persian king Khosrau 2. Many of Jerusalem's inhabitants are massacred, and the churches destroyed.

 628 AD: Jerusalem is  reconquered by the Byzantines.

c.637 AD: Jerusalem is conquered by the Arab Muslims.

 c.688 AD:  Caliph Abd al Malik builds the holy Al Aqsa Mosque. After completion of the Dome of the Rock, construction began at the site of the original timber mosque built in the time of 'Umar. A vast congregational mosque rose up, accommodating more than five thousand worshippers. Originally commissioned by 'Abdul Malik ibn Marwan, it was apparently completed by his son Al-Walid in 705AD. It is the place where the Muslims claim that Prophet Muhammad had ascended to heaven. The building became known as Masjid al-Aqsa, Al-Aqsa Mosque, although in reality the whole area of the Noble Sanctuary is considered Al-Aqsa Mosque, the entire precincts inviolable according to Islamic law. Every Friday prayer, the Al-Aqsa Mosque building overflows, with thousands of worshippers who must make their prayers outside in the courtyards of the vast open expanse of the Noble Sanctuary, which includes the Dome of the Rock.

 10th century: The current al-Aqsa mosque is built next to the Dome of the Rock.

969: Jerusalem comes under the rule of the Fatimids of Egypt.

 11th century: New city walls are erected.

1071: Seljuq Turks conquer Jerusalem.

1098: Jerusalem is recaptured by the Egyptians.

1099: European crusaders  conquer Jerusalem, murdering about 70,000 and expelling all the Jews.  The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem is established.

 1149: The new Church of the Holy Sepulchre is consecrated.

1187: Jerusalem is reconquered by the Muslims under Salah-eddin (Saladin). The "Kingdom of Jerusalem" continues to exist as a small state limited to the coast of Palestine.

1192: Richard the Lion hearted fails to retake Jerusalem.

1229: The crusaders resume control of Jerusalem under a treaty between German Emperor Frederick II and the Egyptian Sultan al-Kamil.

1244: Jerusalem is conquered by the Tatars.

1247: Jerusalem conquered by Egyptian Mameluks. The only Christians remaining in town were Greek Orthodox and some eastern churches. Jews were allowed to return.

 1259: Jerusalem is sacked by the Mongols.

 1517: Jerusalem conquered by Ottoman Empire under Sultan Selim.

 1535-8: Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilds city ramparts and wall around Jerusalem.

 1556: Earthquake in Jerusalem.

 1831: Jerusalem is conquered by Egyptian troops of Mohamed Ali.

 1840: The Ottomans  conquer Jerusalem.

 1847: The Latin Patriarchate (Roman Catholic Church) is reestablished in Jerusalem.

 1887: A municipality is established for Jerusalem.

 1917: British troops take control of Jerusalem, following the defeat of the Ottomans in the World War I.

1920: Arab riots against the growing wave of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe.

 1921: Arab riots continue

 1922: Jerusalem becomes part of the British Mandate for Palestine.

1920s: Hajj Amin Al Husseini, Grand Mufti, solicits funds from Arab countries to renovate Muslim holy places.

1929: Arabs riot in Jerusalem and Hebron.

1936: Arabs riot in Jerusalem as part of the "Great Arab Revolt”. British authorities lose control of the city for a while, but regain it.

 

November 29, 1947: UN General Assembly Resolution 181 designates Jerusalem as an international enclave following the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian states. Arab states refuse to recognize internationalization.

 December 1948: Arab riots break out in Jerusalem immediately following the partition resolution.

 April 9, 1948: Irgun and Lehi raid the Arab village of Deir Yassin, at the entrance to Jerusalem, and massacred over 250 civilians.

 1948: Israeli forces take control of western Jerusalem, as well as a corridor from the coastal regions. Arabs are expelled. Jordan legion conquers the old city of Jerusalem and eastern areas, ensuring that Palestinians would not be relocated, or massacred as what happened in the western part of Palestine.

 1950: West Jerusalem is declared capital of Israel. East Jerusalem becomes part of Jordan, when the West Bank is annexed by Jordan.

 June 5-77, 1967:  Israel occupies all of Jerusalem as well as all land on the western side of Jordan River in the Six day war.

 1980: United Jerusalem is declared the eternal capital of Israel. This is received with protests from much of international community.

1981: The Old City of Jerusalem is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site

1996: Palestinians protest against the construction of an illegal pedestrian tunnel from the Via Dolorosa to the Western Wall. They feared that it would undermine the Muslim sanctuaries Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque. More than 70 people die in the riots.

2000: Ariel Sharon visits the area of the temple mount, and the 2nd Intifada erupts.

 

 

 

 

 

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