The Noble Sanctuary Jerusalem
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Noble Sanctuary, a guide to the Al-Haram al-Sharif
The significance of the Noble Sanctuary, Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
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At the heart of Jerusalem is the Noble Sanctuary, Al-Haram al-Sharif, enclosing over 35 acres of fountains, gardens, buildings and domes. At its southernmost end is Al-Aqsa Mosque and at its centre the celebrated Dome of the Rock. The entire area is regarded as a mosque and comprises nearly one sixth of the walled city of Jerusalem.
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"Jerusalem, all of gold; Jerusalem, bronze and light. Within my heart, I shall treasure your song and sight."
"Yerushalayim Shel Zahav" (Jerusalem of Gold) by Naomi Shemer
Known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, it is also the site of two major Muslim religious shrines, the Dome of the Rock (built c. 690) and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Islam and the Noble Sanctuary
The Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem attracts thousands of visitors of all faiths every year. Many believe it was the site of the Temple of Solomon, peace be upon him, destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC, or the site of the Second Temple, completely destroyed by the Romans in 70AD.
For Muslims the area has a special significance, as the site of the Prophet Muhammad's Night Journey, peace and blessings be upon him, and as the first qibla (direction of prayer) for Islam.
In 1969, after 2 years of Israeli occupation, a fanatic Jew set fire to the covered area for the first time in its history. Repairing the damage from the fire still continues. Among the numerous sad losses was the beautiful handmade pulpit from Aleppo. It was a gift from Salahuddin Al-Ayyoubi and stood near the Mihrab (niche) in Al-Aqsa Mosque. This Pulpit, considered one of the most beautiful in the World, was made of over 10,000 interlocking pieces of Cedar and other wood, Ivory and mother of pearl affixed without a drop of glue or a single nail. A remaining section of this Pulpit is among the various artifacts on display at the Islamic Museum, in the southern corner of the Noble Sanctuary.
The Noble Sanctuary is a quadrilateal resembles a trapezoid. The dimensions of this quadrilateral seem to differ from one source to another but the lowest values mentioned are about 280 Meters along the south, about 310 Meters along the north, about 460 Meters along the East, and about 480 along the West. The average height above sea level on the platform is about 730 meters above sea level
Al-Aqsa Mosque (The Farthest Mosque), commonly refers to the southern congregational mosque that is part of the complex of religious buildings in Jerusalem known as Al-Haram al-Qudsi al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) to Muslims, although the whole area of the Noble Sanctuary is considered Al-Aqsa Mosque according to Islamic law. It is known as Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) to Jews and Christians. It is located in East Jerusalem, which was acquired by Israel in 1967 but is still claimed as the capital of the future State of Palestine.
HARAM AL-SHARIF: This is the Arabic name for the Noble Sanctuary, which is known to much of the world as the Temple Mount.