Journey to Jerusalem: The Misplaced Dome

brown and blue dome building under cloudy sky during daytime
Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash

War in the Middle East, Gaza, is not coming to an end. A few months ago I wrote a couple of articles about the history of Jerusalem, particularly close to the era when early Muslims conquered the city from Heraclius, the Caesar of the Roman empire back in those days. One can only hope that peace will follow. Much has happened since then. The whole Gaza strip has almost been destroyed. Rafa has been plundered. All the infrastructure is now ruined with hospitals and schools demolished. Thousands of additional innocent people have been killed since then. My argument in my first article was that the early Muslims, who were largely the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), ceased Jerusalem nor from Christians and neither from Jews, but from the Roman empire. This idea is important for me at least. For a long time I used to think that Muslims took the city from the Jews. Later for the past twelve years at least, I used to believe that the city was taken from the Christians. However, a more recent, profound and careful study of history revealed that not only Muslims took the whole country of Palestine/Israel from the Roman empire, they took almost the entire Middle East from the latter. Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and western Mesopotamia was won from the Roman empire. The eastern Mesopotamia and Persia were acquired from the Persian empire. I am personally against a country invading and conquering another country. But these countries were already occupied by two major world powers of the time and they also quite notorious.

In my second article I wrote that the whole region of Palestine/Israel would be much better off if it were a one-state democratic country overseen by international peace keeping forces and existing under security guarantees. I also wrote that if Jews wished to have homelands of their own, other world powers should get together and provide them with lands in all the major continents. Although this idea may seem fantastic and unrealistic, if Israel can be given billions of US dollars in aid and deadly weaponry to murder Palestinian civilians, why can’t new countries be achieved? It only takes sincerity with the Jewish people.

In the first article, I wrote that acquisition of Jerusalem by the Muslims was a peaceful affair. I wrote that when Sophronius, the Bishop of the church of the Holy Sepulchre, offered the Muslim Caliph offered to pray inside the church, the later refused to do so. His concern was that later generations of Muslims would make it a precedent to convert it into a mosque on the pretext that their Caliph prayed in the church. This is a very touching and an epic story for me about religious tolerance in Islam. I ended the article at this point although the story continued for the rest of the day.

After the prayers, Calpih Umar (RA) went to the temple mount. He was accompanied by Sophronius, and some of the companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). One of the companions was Hazrat Kaab bin Ahbaar (RA). Hazrat Kaab (RA) was a Jewish Rabbi from Yemen before he converted to Islam. He is a key figure for the remains of the day. There he was requested by Sophronius not to settle Jews in the city. Contrary to his request, the Caliph did settled Jews in the city, who had been repeatedly expelled from the Holy land by the Romans for centuries. He then asked Hazrat Kaab (RA) as to where to settle the Jews. Hazrat Kaab (RA) mentioned a place in the west of the temple mount that is known as the Jewish quarter to date. Then he went to the site of the second temple (or the second temple) too. This site is Holy for both Christians and Jews. This is also sacrosanct for Muslims as it is mentioned as Masjid Al-Aqsa in the Holy Quran and it is the place from which the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is mentioned to have ascended to heavens. Caliph Umar (RA) wanted to build a mosque on this site. However, he refrained to do this because of the importance of the place for Jews and Christians. Instead, he chose a spot on the temple mount just south of the old temple. Masjid Al-Aqsa was built on this spot. This is another very epic story for me that raises the image of Caliph Umar (RA) in very high esteem in my view. This makes me quite proud. How much concern he had for the feelings of Jews and Christians that he did not build a mosque on the site of the old temple. This is quite wonderful.

Where did the second temple go then? The dome of rock was built on the site of the second temple. Who built that? Abdul Malik bin Marwan when he became a Caliph. Who was he? Much can be said and must be said about this character and his progeny. In short I would say that these were dynastic politicians who had created an empire on the blood of the descendants of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself. They belonged to the Banu Umayyah clan of the Queresh, who had a generations old rivalry with the family and household of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In the name of God they were conquering the rest of the world that they should not have. Just as in the name of God they were killing the grand children of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that they should not have.

After Abdul Malik, his son Walid bin Abdul Malik became the Caliph; the commander of the faithful. He rebuilt the dome just as he conquered Spain, India and central Asia, and just as he kept martyring more grandsons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). I will write in more detail some day about the conquest of these countries and lands. But today just as educated people hate Islam due to its expansionist past, we have the problem of the dome of the rock. This is built on the second temple, and we have a real problem. Jews, if nobody else need access to it.

By the way, having highlighted the problem of the dome, I would just like to share some thoughts about how to resolve the problem. This is important for peoples of all Abrahamic faiths to understand.

I think that Muslims worldwide should agree to open the dome for people of all faiths. And I expect that people of all faiths to respect it as some reconstruction of the second temple. Construction of the second temple was funded and supported by Cyrus the great after all. So this reconstruction could be considered as a gift by the Muslims. What is bad about this? And people of the world could be saved from a lot of conflict. The Al-Aqsa mosque in the south could be retained by Muslims, and the church of the Holy Speluchre by the Christians. Same status could be maintained for the rest of the Holy sites in the Holy land including all the synagogues. The world could be a happy place again.

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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Journey to Jerusalem: The Misplaced Dome by Psyops Prime is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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