Al-aqsa is one of the locations that most people wonder about. If you want to know about where it is exactly, it is in the Old City, east of Jerusalem. The area also known as the Hill of the Temples or Morya. The area of this area is approximately 144 acres and it has many works of art, the number of which reaches two hundred.
So when the Masjid al-Aqsa began to rise? It starts with prophet David. However, Allah states that the temple will be built by the prophet Solomon. Thereupon, David tells his son Solomon about the situation and orders him to build the temple, and delivers all the materials and elements related to the construction of the temple to him.
The stone and timber necessary for the temple were met from the mountains of Lebanon, and King Hiram of Sur used them for the workers sent by the prophet Solomon and his own men for the construction. He prepared it to be used and sent it to Jerusalem. Because it is stated that neither the hammer nor the sound of a hammer was heard during the construction of the temple.
There are different opinions about the location of the first temple. According to some, the highest part of the Harem, where Kubbetü’s-sahre is located today, corresponds to its innermost place called “Kudsü’l-akdes” or the part where its altar is located.
According to the “Ahd-i Atîk”, construction began in the 480th year of the Israelites’ exit from Egypt and in the fourth year of the reign of the prophet Solomon, in the second month of the Jewish calendar, in the month of “ziv” (April-May) and lasted for seven years. “Ahd-i Atik” states that the length of the temple is 60 cubits, its width is 20 and its height is 30 cubits.
After the Prophet Solomon, it was exposed to looting and destruction from time to time by invaders. The greatest destruction occurred during the third invasion of Jerusalem by Babylonian Ruler Nebuchadnezzar II.
The city was completely destroyed, the golden reliefs that he removed from the doors and walls of the destroyed temple and other valuables were removed from the city. Zerubbabel and his friends, who returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, which started in this way, ended with the conquest of Babylon by the Persians, rebuilt the temple and this construction lasted for twenty-five years.
Afterwards, Jerusalem was invaded several times and among these, the Seleucid King Antiochos IV. During the occupation of Epiphanes, the Maccabean revolts started when Greek god statues were placed in the temple. After four years, the Maccabees, who expelled the invaders, cleared the temple of them. However, in 63 BC, it was invaded by the Roman armies. They was under the command of Pompeus and then Crassus. Jerusalem was rebuilt by enlarging the temple when it was captured by era of Herod I.
This construction started about twenty years before the birth of the prophet Jesus and continued in his time. The wailing wall, in front of which Jews pray today, thinking that it is a part of the first Temple of Solomon, is the remnant of the western part of the surrounding wall of this temple.
During the occupation of the Roman army under the command of Titus in 70 AD, the temple was destroyed along with Jerusalem, which was almost completely burned, and the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus was built in its place while the city was reconstructed in the time of Hadrian. It is thought that this temple was destroyed after Constantine’s conversion to Christianity.
Capture of Jerusalem by Muslims
Caliph Omar left Medina in the 15th year of the Hijrah and reached Jerusalem, promising to protect the inhabitants of the city, and wrote an edict called the “Omar Testament”. Meanwhile, Patriarch Safranius was accompanying him. Omar, who came to the Church of the Resurrection in the company of the Patriarch, passed to Masjid al-Aqsa from there.
Caliph Omar ordered that a mosque be built in the southern part of the Aksa Harem, on the area where the Qibla Masjid would later be built. In the time of Omar, this masjid consisted of a wooden structure that could accommodate about 1000 people. This structure was built by the Umayyad caliph Muaviye b. It was preserved until the reign of Abi Sufyan.
With the Umayyad State in the 41st year of the Hijra, they attempted to renovate the Qibla Masjid that Caliph Omar had built in Masjid al-Aqsa. They used stone as a building material and expanded the new mosque. Thus, it began to accommodate 3000 people. Some Muslim historians say that the biggest renewal work in Masjid al-Aqsa was conducted in 685 A.D.
In a way that can be evaluated in this process, Walid b. Abdulmelik started the construction of the Dome of the Rock in 715 A.D. The Dome of the Rock consists of a golden dome built on the rock, which is the highest point of the hill, in the center of the Masjid al-Aqsa, and a structure that carries this dome.
Earthquakes and Reconstruction
Al-aqsa earthquakes happened in time too. Therefore its reconstructed from time to time. In 746, Masjid al-Aqsa was exposed to an earthquake. This caused it to collapse to a large extent. 4 years later with the Abbasid State in 750 A.D., caliphate Abu Cafer al-Mansur, wanted to rebuild Masjid al-Aqsa. The rebuilding activity ended in 771 AD.
However, another earthquake in 774 destroyed most of Mansur’s rebuilt sections. An exception to this is a section in the northern part of Masjid al-Aqsa. In 780, Caliph Muhammad al-Mahdi ordered the building to be rebuilt, increasing the length of the building and shortening it in length. In 985, the geographer al-Mukaddesi reports that the mosque, whose renovation was completed, contained 15 porticoes and 15 gates.
Another earthquake in 1033 caused widespread destruction in the Masjid. During the Fatimid caliph al-Zahir, these destructions were removed and the Masjid was renewed between 1034 and 1036. During this renovation, the number of cloisters in the Masjid was reduced from fifteen to seven.