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THE FURTHEST MOSQUE

Rebuilding The Second Temple
The Burning Of Al-Aqsa
Harrassment And The Israeli Army In The Noble Sanctuary
Jewish Condominium Fortresses And The Intifada
The Furthest Mosque


 

Rebuilding The Second Temple

With the capture of East Jerusalem all of the elements seemed to be in place for the realization of the Jewish national dream, the rebuilding of the Second Temple, for which virtually every practicing Jew had been praying, "that in our days may the Temple be rebuilt'.' for the past 1,900 years.

Only according to the Halachah, the Jewish code of law and doctrine, the most critical requirement for rebuilding the Temple, the coming of the Messiah, had yet to be fulfilled.

But the requirements of Judaic Law had never deterred the Secular Zionists before. Especially when it involved prohibiting something they desired, like a fantastic symbol of Jewish nationalism right in the middle of Jerusalem, to replace the glaring reminder of the Muslims still in their midst. A Second Temple would do very well indeed, just as it had before its destruction, as an object of worship for the Jews.

A model of the temple already existed, built on the grounds of the Holy Land Hotel in West Jerusalem before the Six Days' War. The only obstructions to the realization of the Zionists' architectural dreams:

- international recognition of the Muslim right to, and ownership of, the Haram ash-Sharif,

- the existence of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock,

- and the vigilance of 600 million Muslims who call this site the third holiest in Islam.

Seeking to establish the principle of the Noble Sanctuary as a place of Jewish worship, extremist groups began performing Jewish prayer services in the area of the Sanctuary, despite the prohibition by the Chief Rabbinate of Jews of even setting foot in it for fear of violating its sanctity according to Judaic law.

Fearing retribution from the Muslim World the Israeli Attorney General banned such acts in the Spring of 1969.

The Burning Of Al-Aqsa

Four months later the entire south wing of the Al-Aqsa Mosque was destroyed by fire. Fire fighters from Jerusalem and the West Bank answered the alarm, but not soon enough to prevent damage that would take more than twenty years of concerted effort to repair.

When the fire was finally extinguished, the Qibla wall, mihrab and dome were destroyed and with them the mimbar commissioned by Nuradeen over 700 years earlier; the mimbar installed by Salahudeen when the Crusaders were driven out in the twelfth century.

An Australian visitor at a coastal kibbutz was arrested that night for setting the blaze.

Reaction from the Muslim countries was strong and swift. A protest strike and demonstration was called in Jerusalem. Others followed throughout the Muslim world.

An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was called, and Israel's control of Jerusalem put into question. The Israeli representative to the council put Israel's position about rebuilding the Temple on public record: "according to the Halachah, the Temple will be rebuilt when the Messiah appears. It is therefore inconceivable that we ourselves should make any plans for rebuilding the Temple."

Despite his disarmingly rational courtroom demeanor, and evidence that he may have worked with others, an Israeli court ruled that the Australian could not be held responsible for his actions due to mental imbalance. After treatment in Israel he returned to Australia.

Two decades later, work on the restoration of the damage caused by this fire continues. Supported by Muslims throughout the world, and winning international awards for excellence, the restoration has nonetheless disrupted worship in al-Aqsa since 1969, with no immediate end in sight.

Attempts to establish Jewish prayer services within the Sanctuary continued. In 1976 Israeli Central Courts passed a law permitting them. Two weeks of demonstrations by Muslim Law students and the subsequent resignation of members of the municipal courts in the West Bank resulted in their repeal. Other attempts to establish these services were renewed two years later.

In September of 1979, fifteen extremist Jews blocked the way to one of the Sanctuary's gates on the day of the Friday congregational prayer, pointing a gun at one of the Muslim security guards.

In May of 1981 the Adhan was prohibited from the minaret overlooking the West Wall because of Jewish celebrations. The following month the Hakarn of the Wailing Wall petitioned the Minister of Religious Affairs in Jerusalem for permission to pray in al-Aqsa.

Harrassment And The Israeli Army In The Noble Sanctuary

Harassment and acts of sabotage escalated in 1981. In August an Israeli helicopter hovered at low altitude over Masjid al-Aqsa preventing worshipers inside from hearing the Khutba. That same month a tunnel dug by workers from the Ministry of Religious Affairs was uncovered in the Sanctuary leading to the Western Wall. The government immediately ordered the tunnel sealed because of the political sensitivity of the issue.

Despite warnings by Israeli archeologists against digging beneath the Sanctuary, and UN resolutions against them, excavations continued, leading to dangerous cracks to buildings adjoining the Western Wall. Engineers and archeologists were prohibited by Israeli authorities from revealing anything about their digs beneath al-Aqsa.

In September Arab students entering one of these tunnels to seal it off were injured in an encounter with a group of Israelis. A general strike was called by the Supreme Muslim Council to protest the excavations. Muslims were prevented by Israeli Security Forces from entering Jerusalem the following Friday for fear of large demonstrations.

The following spring armed Israel religious students clashed with Muslim security guards. This time the Minister of Defence was petitioned for permission to perform Jewish services at Al-Aqsa

Excavations beneath al-Aqsa continued with Israeli archeologists claiming the discovery of Jewish ruins under the Mosque. In April of 1982 a parcel with fake bomb and threats signed by Jewish extremists was discovered at one of the gates leading to the Sanctuary. Two day later Muslims mobilized a large demonstration in al-Aqsa to protest attacks o holy places.

The following day an ex-Israeli army regular opened fire with his military assault rifle, killing two Muslims and filling the interior and exterior of the Dome of the Rock with bullet holes. The West Bank and Gaza rioted in protest.

Less than a month later shots were fired into the Sanctuary by a sniper on the rooftop on the Madrassa Arnriyya, and a group of Israelis tried to enter the Sanctuary with leaflets inciting Jews to take over the mosque. In nearby Khalil, armed members of Kryat Arba entered the Ibrahimi Mosque and performed prayer services with the support of the Military.

In June the Awqaf received a letter from Jewish extremist groups confirming their intention to continue in their attempts to establish Jewish services in the Sanctuary - and to blow up al-Aqsa.

A month later an Israeli was arrested for the attempted bombing of the Sanctuary.

In January of 1983 the Temple Mount Fund was established in Israel and America to raise funds for rebuilding the Second Temple on the site of al-Aqsa.

In February the Awqaf received a letter from Europe warning that this Fund was trying to buy up waqf property adjacent to the Sanctuary.

In March Muslim security guards discovered explosives in the entrance to the Sanctuary on the day of the Friday prayer, four armed Israelis were discovered attempting to enter the Sanctuary through Soloman's Stables, and arms and plans for rebuilding the temple were found in the house of an extremist group leader.

The same month a group of Jewish fanatics armed with Uzi's and M-16's and carrying a cache of explosives were caught attempting to enter the Sanctuary. Radio Israel reported that they were prepared for a prolonged siege. Six months later they were acquitted in Israeli courts.

In January of 1984 a group of Jewish terrorists carrying ladders and explosives were stopped in the Sanctuary by Muslim security guards in the middle of the night. Four days later time bombs were discovered at one of its gates. They were detonated by explosive experts.

By the Spring of '84 armed Israeli guards were patrolling the Sanctuary twenty-four hours a day, their presence and behavior inimical to the sanctity of the Mosque. The Supreme Muslim Council petitioned the Israeli Prime Minister repeatedly to withdraw the soldiers but to no effect. With no response forthcoming from the Israelis, the Supreme Muslim Council petitioned the UN in May of 1984 to pressure Israel to withdraw its troops from Al-Aqsa

Despite continued demands for their withdrawal, Israeli soldiers continue to patrol the Sanctuary on the pretense of protecting it from attack. In reality it is the Muslim-run Aqsa Security force - underpaid, understaffed, am unarmed- whose vigilance has provided the only protection for the Noble Sanctuary in virtually all the acts of terrorism against it.

The UN Security Council has passed more than 20 resolutions condemning Israel's annexation of old Jerusalem and its military occupation of the West Bank. Repeated violations of human rights led directly to the Intifada, the Palestinian Uprising, in the winter of 1987.

Recognizing the Intifada's roots in the revival of Islam, the Israelis increased their attacks on places of worship throughout Palestine. On June 15th, 1988 Israeli troops stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque, firing tear gas into groups of worshipers. A month later the discovery of new excavations adjacent to the Sanctuary led to more civil disorder.

Less than one year later soldiers were forced from the precincts of Noble Sanctuary by the more than 20,000 Muslims who gathered in Al-Aqsa the first Friday prayer in Ramadan. Roadblocks were set up around Jerusalem the following week and Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza were barred from the Mosque.

Jewish Condominium Fortresses And The Intifada

In the meantime, the aspiration rebuild a Jewish Temple on the site the Dome of the Rock has become m and more open, despite the Judaic junctions against it. In July of 1984 was reported in the International He Tribune that the "yearning to remove mosques and build a Jewish temple there has begun to spread from a few religious fanatics into more established rightist political groups."

A recent article on rebuilding the Temple appearing in one of Israel's major colour supplements, The Nation, explores such obtuse questions as the location of toilets, parking spaces, and gift shops - and whether or not to air condition -while pondering the more serious implications of the multibillion dollar projected annual income generated by their anticipated monopoly on the Jewish pilgrim trade.

A visit to the Institute of the Temple overlooking the Wailing Wall, and the Sanctuary itself, reveals just how busy some have been in making preparations for what they feel may be a forthcoming event. A scale model of the Second Temple is on display, together with diagrams of various other aspects of the Temple based on descriptions of their original counterparts recorded in the Mishna, and a miniature version of the Arc of the Covenant, thought to be buried somewhere under Al-Aqsa Major expenditures in time and money have already been made to reproduce what are thought to be exact replicas of the myriad utensils necessary for the performance of the complex Jewish rituals to take place within the Temple.

A recent debate in Jerusalem between Muslim, Jews and Christians televised in Britain included the serious suggestion by an Israeli participant that the Dome of the Rock could be relocated, as the Temples of Ramses the Second were in the Aswan Dam project, to make way for the new Jewish temple. If the Israeli's enthusiasm for moving Arabs out of their houses is anything to go by, not to mention their history of blowing them up, then the Muslims had better keep an eye on Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock.

Harassment and acts of terrorism against Muslims living adjacent to the Sanctuary, while officially not condoned, are part of an ongoing policy to drive them from this area. The eventual bulldozing and replacement of their houses with Jewish condominium for tress complexes can only be a harbinger of things to come.

The Israelis seem busy preparing for a war while creating the desperation, injustice and despair necessary to provoke one. Where can it possibly lead?

To the West Bank and Gaza. To the Intifada and a people who have had enough of the insatiable greed and thoughtlessness of an unconscionable occupation.

The Furthest Mosque

And to Al-Aqsa, to the Furthest Mosque not to the idol that the Temple became, where prophets were slaughtered and the pure religion of Abraham was abandoned but to the site from where the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, made his journey through the heavens to his Lord.

Regarding his ascent the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, related in the last section of the hadith reported by Thabit al Bunani, on the authority of Anas:

".....I found Abraham leaning his back against the frequented house which is entered daily by seventy thousand angels who do not return to it.

I was then taken up to the lote-tree of the furthest boundary whose leaves are like elephants ears and whose fruits are like earthen vessels. When what God commands over-shadows it, it changes, and none of God creatures can describe it because of its beauty. God revealed to me what He revealed made obligatory fifty prayers every day and night.

I then came down to Moses who asked what my Lord had made obligatory for my people. When I told him He had prescribed fifty prayers every day and night he said,

"Go back to your Lord and ask Him to lighten them, for your people are not capable of that. I have tested Bani Israel and have experience."

I went back to my Lord and said, "O my Lord, make things lighter for my people"., so he relieved me of five.

When I returned to Moses and told him He had relieved me of five he said,

"Your people are not capable of that, so go back to your Lord and ask Him to make things still lighter."

I then kept going back and forth between my Lord and Moses till He said,

"Muhammad, there are five prayers every day and night. Each will count as ten, making fifty times of prayer. He who intends to do a good action but does not do it, will have one good action recorded for him. If he does do it, it will be recorded for him ten times. He who intends to do a wrong action but does not do it, will have nothing recorded against him. If he does do it, only one wrong action will be recorded against him.

I then came down. When I came to Moses and told him he said, "Go back to your Lord and ask Him to make things lighter."

God's messenger said that he replied,

'I have gone back to my Lord until I am ashamed before Him."'

Muslim transmitted it.


Last updated 1 January 2000 Written and   Designed  By Rafic Adnan  El-saleh
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(C)Copyright 1998 Palestine Oasis. All rights reserved.