Property Name: Al-Aqsa Mosque, Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa, Al-Haram Ash-Sharif
Inventory No: 972-2-1
Date of infill of the inventory form: 2020-07-13
Country (State party): Palestine
Province: Al Quds/Jerusalem
Town: Old town
Geographic coordinates: 31°46’38.97″N
Style: Early Islamic
Original Use: Mosque
Current Use: Mosque
Within its existence is related to the night journey of the Prophet Muhammad’s (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascent to Heaven, the mosque, after than Mecca and Medina, is considered as the holiest place of prayer in the Muslim world. It is one of the most significant buildings constructed in the Early Muslim Period as well as being the earliest in Palestine. Al-Aqsa is also one of the largest and most important mosques in the Muslim world. According to Islamic belief, Al Aqsa Mosque is also the first Qibla and the second mosque built on earth after the Ka’aba in Mecca.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is located in the southeast corner of the Old City of Jerusalem, covering one-sixth of its area. Al-Aqsa Mosque, also referred to as Al-Haram Ash-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), comprises the entire area within the compound walls (a total area of 144,000 m2) – including all the mosques, prayer rooms, buildings, platforms and open courtyards located above or under the grounds – and exceeds 200 historical monuments pertaining to various Islamic eras. According to Islamic creed and jurisprudence, all these buildings and courtyards enjoy the same degree of sacredness since they are built on Al-Aqsa’s holy grounds. This sacredness is not exclusive to the physical structures allocated for prayer, like the Dome of the Rock or Al-Qibly Mosque (the mosque with the large silver dome), or to the buildings located on the surface of Al-Aqsa’s premises. Thus, a worshiper receives the same reward for praying anywhere within the Mosque including the open courtyards.
Al-Aqsa Mosque has the following four different levels:
• An underground level containing wells and water canals, and some buildings that are currently filled with dirt.
• A subterranean level, including the Marwani prayer hall in the southeastern corner, the Ancient “Aqsa” (actually two massive corridors leading to the Umayyad palaces, below the current Al-Qibly Mosque), the Buraq prayer hall (below the Moroccans’ Gate in the west), the Golden Gate (called in Arabic Bab Al-Rahmah and Bab Al-Tawbah, in the east), and the closed gates: the single, the double, the triple, the Buraq’s Gate, and the lower Gate of the Chain.
• The Southern Qibly Mosque and the expansive middle courtyard that includes open gates, corridors, platforms, trees, etc.
• The Dome of the Rock and its surroundings, including the decorative domes that adorn the highest plateau within Al-Aqsa Mosque.
iii. to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared
iv. to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history
vi. to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance
State of Preservation
The monument had gone under many restorations throughout its history. When Salah al-Din liberated the city of Jerusalem, he restored the mosque in 538 AH / 1187 CE, and it was restored in several later ages such as the Mamluk and Ottoman eras and at the beginning of the British occupation. The first scientific restoration had taken place in 1922 by the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock Restoration Committee.
After the fall of Jerusalem under the Zionist occupation, the mosque was exposed to hundreds of attacks, the worst fire in 1389 AH / 21 August 1969 was the worst. The building is daily taken care of by the Islamic ًWaqf Department in Jerusalem. The excavations and tunnels carried out by the Zionist occupation threaten its foundations, as it extends under most of the southern wall of the Mosque and under the foundations of the entire Al-Qibli mosque. Despite the decision of UNESCO to consider the Al-Aqsa Mosque as a purely Islamic one, it continues to be invaded by settlers and to try to partition it temporarily and spatially.
ed. Auld, Sylvia and Hillenbrand, Robert; arch. survey by Yusuf Natsheh. Ottoman Jerusalem: the living city: 1517-1917. London: Altajir World of Islam Trust, 2000.
Al-Quds, A Historical Document. Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Bahat, Dan. Carta’s Historical Atlas of Jerusalem, 1983
Burgoyne, Michael H. 1976. A Chronological Index to the Muslim Monuments of Jerusalem. In The Architecture of Islamic Jerusalem. Jerusalem: The British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem.
Burgoyne, Michael Hamilton. Mamluk Jerusalem, an architectural study. Scorpion Publishing Ltd., Essex, England 1987
Creswell, K.A.C. A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture. Penguin Books, Harmondswoth, 1958.
Duncan, Alistair, The Noble sanctuary: portrait of a holy place in Arab Jerusalem. London: Longman, 1972.
Elad, Amikam. Medieval Jerusalem and Islamic Holy Places, Ceremonies, Pilgrimage. |Brill Leiden, Netherlands, 1995.
Grabar, Oleg. Jerusalem, Constructing the Study of Islamic Art, Volume IV. Ashgate Publishing Company, Hampshire, 2005.
Grabar, Oleg. The Dome of the Rock. Thames and Hudson Ltd., London, 1996.
Ed. Hattstein, Markus, Delius. Peter. Islam Art and Architecture. Könemann Verlagsgesellshaft mbH, France, 2000.
Kroyanker, David. Jerusalem Architecture. Tauris Parke Books, London, 1994.
Najm, Raip Yusuf, The Treasures of Jerusalem. Arabic Cities Organization, Al-Beti Establishment, 1983.
Osman, Colin. Jerusalem Caught in Time. The American University in Cairo Press.1999.
Sha’th, Shawqi. Al-Quds Al-Shareef. ISESCO, Rabat,1995.
Wilson, Colonel Sir Charles W. Jerusalem, The Holy City. Ariel Publishing House, Jerusalem.
Flood, F.B. 1997. “Umayyad Survivals and Mamluk Revivals: Qalawunid Architecture and the Great Mosque of Damascus.” In Muqarnas XIV: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World. Gülru Necipoglu (ed). Leiden: E.J. Brill
Grabar, Oleg. The Haram al-Sharif: An Essay in Interpretation, BRIIFS vol.2 no.2 Autumn 2000.
Grafman, Rafi and Myriam Rosen-Ayalon. 1999. “The Two Great Syrian Umayyad Mosques: Jerusalem and Damascus”. Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World, XVI
Leisten, Thomas, 1996. “Mashhad al-Nasr: Monuments of War and Victory in Medieval Islamic Art” Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World, XIII
Rosen-Ayalon, Myrian. 1989. “The Early Islamic Monuments of Al-Haram al-Sharif: An Iconographic study”. Jerusalem: Qedem.
Serageldin, Ismaïl(ed.). “The Restoration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque”. Space for Freedom. 1989, London: Butterworth Architecture.
Vernoit, Stephen. 1997. “The Rise of Islamic Archaeology.” Muqarnas XIV: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World. Gülru Necipoglu (ed). Leiden: E.J. Brill
Yavuz, Yildirim. 1996. The Restoration Project of the Masjid al-Aqsa by Mimar Kemalettin (1922-26). Muqarnas Volume XIII: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World. Gülru Necipoglu (ed.). Leiden: E.J. Brill.
UNESCO, (1995) General Conference Twenty-eighth Session Report
Archnet website: http://archnet.org
Abdul Hadi, M. 2013. Al-Aqsa Mosque Al-Haram Ash-Sharif. PASSIA © 1st edition, August 2013.