WHY Al-Aqsa Mosque IS SO ImportaNT To Israel & Palestine

11 OCT, 2023

Ayaan Paul Chowdhury

Photo: visitmasjidalaqsa

Al-Aqsa was originally a silver-domed mosque located within the 35-acre compound known as al-Haram al-Sharif to Muslims, and the Temple Mount to Jews.

the mosque

Photo: AFP

The compound is situated in the Old City of Jerusalem, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and holds great religious importance for Islam, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity.


Photo: visitmasjidalaqsa

The conflict surrounding this site dates back well before the establishment of Israel and has been a contentious issue since Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

longstanding conflict

Photo: visitmasjidalaqsa

Al-Aqsa means "the farthest mosque" and is an essential part of Haram al-Sharif, including the Dome of the Rock, minarets, historic gates, and the mosque itself.

what it means

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The Quran references Al-Aqsa in Sura 17, verse 1, linking it to the story of Muhammad's "Isra", his night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem.

the night journey

Photo: visitmasjidalaqsa

It is believed that Muhammad ascended to heaven from the site, which is marked by the Dome of the Rock.

the dome

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The mosque's history dates back to the 7th century and has undergone multiple constructions, destructions, and renovations.

multiple do-overs

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In 1947, the UN partitioned historical Palestine into two states, with Jerusalem designated as an international city due to its significance to all Abrahamic faiths.

un and jerusalem

Photo: Getty Images

The first Arab-Israeli war erupted in 1948, leading to Israel's declaration of statehood and its capture of a significant portion of the land.


Photo: visitmasjidalaqsa

Israel's control over East Jerusalem, including the Old City and Al-Aqsa, has been a subject of international dispute and violates principles of international law.

israeli control

Photo: Getty Images

For Muslims, the Noble Sanctuary houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site, and the Dome of the Rock.

a holy site

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Jews consider the compound to be the location of the Biblical Jewish temples but are forbidden from praying there.

jewish temple

Photo: Getty Images

Control of the compound is divided, with the Waqf overseeing internal matters and Israel responsible for external security.


Photo: Twitter/Cool_Ustaz

Rising Temple movements in Israel challenge the ban on Jewish entry to the compound and aim to rebuild the Third Jewish Temple there.

challenging the ban

Video: Twitter/MuhammadSmiry

Ongoing tensions and conflicts in and around Al-Aqsa continue to be a focal point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, leading to significant unrest and international attention.

escalating tensions

Photo: Getty Images

Al-Aqsa holds deep religious and political significance and remains a critical factor in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

critical importance