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On top of 'the mount”.


The Foundation Stone (Hebrew: ??? ??????, translit. Even haShetiya) or Rock (Arabic: translit. Sakhrah, Hebrew: translit.: Sela) is the name of the rock at the heart of the Dome of the Rock. It is also known as the Pierced Stone due to it having a small hole on the south eastern corner that enters a cavern beneath the rock, known as the Well of Souls.



* 1 Location

* 2 Dimensions

* 3 Jewish significance

o 3.1 Role in the Temple

o 3.2 Commemoration in Jewish law

o 3.3 Liturgical references

* 4 Muslim significance

* 5 See also

* 6 References


The rock is located towards the centre of the Temple Mount, an artificial platform built by Herod the Great on top of vaults over a hill, generally believed to be Mount Moriah. The Rock constitutes the peak of this now hidden hill, which is also the highest in early biblical Jerusalem [citation needed], looming over the City of David, and hence the Rock is one of the highest points of the Old City

There is some controversy among secular scholars about equating Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount and the Foundation Stone as the location where events occurred according to the Biblical narrative; but for Orthodox Jews at least, there is no doubt that all these events occurred in this area.

Early Jewish writings assist in confirming that the Dome of the Rock is the site of the Holy of Holies and therefore the location of the Foundation Stone. Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer [1], a midrashic narrative of the more important events of the Pentateuch believed to have been compiled in Italy shortly after 833 CE, writes: “Rabbi Yishmael said: In the future, the sons of Ishmael (the Arabs) will do fifteen things in the Land of Israel … They will fence in the breaches of the walls of the Temple and construct a building on the site of the sanctuary”.

Religious Jewish scholars have discussed the precise location of the rock. The Radbaz is convinced that “under the dome on the Temple Mount, which the Arabs call El-Sakhrah, without a doubt is the location of the Foundation Stone”. [2] The Travels of Rabbi Petachiah of Ratisbon [3] , c.1180, The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela [4] and The Travels of the Student of the Ramban all equally state that "on the Temple Mount stands a beautiful sanctuary which an Arab king built long ago, over the place of the Temple sanctuary and courtyard”. Rabbi Obadiah ben Abraham who wrote a letter from Jerusalem in 1488 says that “I sought the place of the Foundation Stone where the Ark of the Covenant was placed, and many people told me it is under a tall and beautiful dome which the Arabs built in the Temple precinct".[5]

However, others disagree, citing that if the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount is in fact the one which existed when the Temple was standing, the measurements given in the Talmud do not reconcile [6]. The Holy of Holies ends up being too far north and they therefore locate the Foundation Stone as being directly opposite the current exposed section of the Western Wall, where no building currently stands. This is the view of the Arizal [7] and the Maharsha [8] who state the prophesy that “Zion will become a ploughed field” indicates that no dwelling will be established there until the time of the redemption. It therefore follows that the area of the Temple courtyard and Holy of Holies is situated in the unbuilt area between the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque[1].

Some find it difficult to believe that non-Jews could effectively build a place of worship on the spot of the Holy of Holies. They claim that the tradition that the rock under the dome is the Foundation Stone is only attested to by the fact that the Arabs hold it so sacred. Therefore Jews have no clear tradition or proof of their own confirming the uniqueness of the rock [9]. The Zohar Chadash [10] however, recounts that Rav Zeira saw Rabbi Elazar crying and heard him sighing "holy stone, holy stone…in the future the nations will defile you by placing dead bodies on top of you, sullying the holy place”. It was apparently a local Muslim custom at the turn of the 20th century to place dead bodies on the rock before burial [citation needed].

A further opinion believes the position is north of the Dome of the Rock, opposite the Gate of Mercy, which Rabbi Emmanuel Chai Reiki [11] identifies as the Shushan Gate mentioned in the Talmud. This gate was described as being opposite the opening of the sanctuary [2].

Modern Jewish academics list four possible locations of the Foundation Stone [3]:

1. The stone is located beneath the Ark of the Covenant under the Dome of the Rock [4].

2. The stone is located beneath the Altar under the Dome of the Rock [5].

3. The stone is located beneath the Ark of the Covenant near El Kas fountain to the south of the Dome of the Rock [6].

4. The stone is located beneath the Ark of the Covenant inside the Ghost Dome situated to the north of the Dome of the Rock [7].


Although the rock is part of the surrounding bedrock, the southern side forms a ledge, with a gap between it and the surrounding ground; a set of steps currently uses this gap to provide access from the Dome of the Rock to the Well of Souls beneath it.

The rock has several human-made cuts in its surface; these are generally attributed to the Crusaders, whose frequent damage to the rock was so severe that the Christian kings of Jerusalem finally put a marble slab over the rock to protect it (the marble slab was later removed by Saladin). More recently, there has been speculation that several man-made features of the rock's surface may substantially predate the Crusaders. Leen Ritmeyer noticed that there are sections of the rock cut completely flat, which north-to-south have a width of 6 cubits, precisely the width that the Mishnah credits to the wall of the Holy of Holies, and hence Ritmeyer proposed that these flat sections constitute foundation trenches on top of which the walls of the original temple were laid. However, according to Josephus there were 31 steps up to the Holy of Holies from the lower level of the Temple Mount, and the Mishnah identifies 29 steps in total, and each step was half a cubit in height (according to the Mishnah); this is a height of at least 22 feet - the height of the Sakhra is 21 feet above the lower level of the Temple Mount, and should therefore have been under the floor.

Nevertheless, taking the flat surface to be the position of the southern wall of a square enclosure, the west and north sides of which are formed by the low clean-cut scarp at these edges of the rock, at the position of the hypothetical centre is a rectangular cut in the rock that is about 2.5 cubits long and 1.5 cubits wide, which are exactly the dimensions of the Ark of the Covenant (according to the Book of Exodus). The bedrock near the Rock shows several signs of having been quarried, and these clean edges and square cuts, could simply have been a result of such activity.

The Mishnah [12] gives the height of the rock as three finger breadths above the ground. Radbaz [13] discusses the apparent contradiction of the Mishnah’s measurements and the actual measurement of the Rock within the Dome of the Rock which he estimates as the “height of two men” above the ground. He concluded that many changes in the natural configuration of the Temple Mount have taken place which can be attributed to excavations made by the various peoples who have occupied Jerusalem throughout the ages.

-Jewish significance

Postcard depicting the Foundation Stone, c1925.

Postcard depicting the Foundation Stone, c1925.

Main article: Temple in Jerusalem

The Roman-Era Midrash Tanchuma [14] sums up the centrality of and holiness of this site in Judaism:

As the navel is set in the centre of the human body,

so is the land of Israel the navel of the world...

situated in the centre of the world,

and Jerusalem in the centre of the land of Israel,

and the sanctuary in the centre of Jerusalem,

and the holy place in the centre of the sanctuary,

and the ark in the centre of the holy place,

and the Foundation Stone before the holy place,

because from it the world was founded.

According to the sages of the Talmud [15] it was from this rock that the world was created, itself being the first part of the Earth to come into existence. In the words of the Zohar [16]: “The world was not created until God took a stone called Even haShetiya and threw it into the depths where it was fixed from above till below, and from it the world expanded. It is the centre point of the world and on this spot stood the Holy of Holies”.

According to the Talmud, it was close to here, on the site of the Altar, that God gathered the earth that was formed into Adam. It was on this rock that Adam - and later Cain, Abel, and Noah - offered sacrifices to God. Jewish sources identify this rock as the place mentioned in the Bible where Abraham fulfilled God's test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, The mountain identified as Moriah in Genesis 22. It is also identified as the rock upon which Jacob dreamt about angels ascending and descending on a ladder and consequently consecrating and offering a sacrifice upon.

When, according to the Bible, King David purchased a threshing floor owned by Araunah the Jebusite [17], it is believed that it was upon this rock that he offered the sacrifice mentioned in the verse. He wanted to construct a permanent Temple there, but as his hands were "bloodied," he was forbidden to do so himself. The task was left to his son Solomon, who completed the Temple in c. 950 BCE.

The Mishnah in tractate Yoma [18] mentions a stone situated in the Holy of Holies that was called Shetiya and had been revealed by the early prophets, (i.e. David and Samuel [19])

An early Christian source noting Jewish attachment to the rock may be found in the Bordeaux Pilgrim, written between 333-334 CE when Jerusalem was under Roman rule, which describes a “…perforated stone to which the Jews come every year and anoint it, bewail themselves with groans, rend their garments, and so depart.” [8]

-Role in the Temple

Situated inside the Holy of Holies, this was the rock upon which the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the First Temple [20]. During the Second Temple period when the Ark of the Covenant had been hidden, the stone was used by High Priest who offered up the incense and sprinkled the blood of the sacrifices on it during the Yom Kippur Service.

It has also been argued that the rock instead marks the position of the original temple's altar[citation needed], with the hole in the rock being used for draining away the blood from sacrifices. However, since it is now known that the Well of Souls (the cavern into which the hole opens) has no outlet, this view is seen as somewhat implausible since blood being poured into the hole would simply fill an ever increasing pool until it overflowed.

-Commemoration in Jewish law

The Jerusalem Talmud [21] states:

"????? ????? ??? ???????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ???? – ??? ???? ??? ?????"

"Women are accustomed not to prepare or attach warp threads to a weaving loom [22] from Rosh Chodesh Av onwards (till after Tisha B'Av), because during the month of Av the Foundation Stone (and the Temple) was destroyed" [23].

Citing this, the Mishnah Berurah [24] rules that not only are women not to prepare or attach warp threads to a weaving loom, but it is forbidden for anyone to make, buy or wear new clothes or shoes from the beginning of the week in which Tisha B'av falls until after the fast, and that people should ideally not do so from the beginning of Av.

In further commemoration of the Foundation Stone, it is also forbidden to eat meat or drink wine from the beginning of the week in which Tisha B'av falls until after the fast. Some have the custom to refrain from these foodstuffs from Rosh Chodesh Av, while others do so from the Seventeenth of Tammuz [25].

-Liturgical references

In the days when Selichot are recited, in the days leading up to Rosh Hashana until Yom Kippur, the supplications include the following references:

?????? ??? ??? ??????, ?????? ?? ??? ??????

You carried us and placed us on the [Holy] City’s height, You settled us on the Patriarch’s rocky peak [26].

????? ???? ??? ???? ??????...??? ???? ???? ???? ???????

Upon it lying the stone from which the foundation was hewn…Who gives ear from which the waters flow (i.e. the foundation stone "from which flow all the waters of the world") [27].

During Sukkot the following references to the Foundation Stone are mentioned in the Hoshanot recital:

??????! – ??? ???? – ??????

Please save! – Foundation Stone – Please save!

??????! – ?????? ???? ????? – ??????

Please save! – Adorn us with the elevated Stone – Please save!

-Muslim significance

Main article: Isra and Mi'raj

According to Islamic belief, angels visited the rock 2,000 years before Adam was created. All the prophets of God prior to Muhammad were believed to have prayed at the rock which is surrounded daily by 70,000 angels. It is here that Israfil will blow the last trumpet on the Resurrection Day when the dead rise from their graves. [9]

In Islamic tradition, the rock is said to be the location where Muhammad ascended to heaven, and during this ascension, the rock itself tried to join Muhammad (starting to rise at the southern end, hence the gap) but was held down by the Archangel Gabriel; in connection with this belief some marks on the western side of the rock are said to be the fingerprints of Gabriel. It is also said that the hoof print of Muhammad’s steed, El Burak from which he was propelled to heaven on, can be seen imprinted in the rock.

-See also

* Black Stone

* Navel of the World


Moriah (Hebrew: ?????, Moriya = "ordained/considered by YHWH") is the name given to a mountain range by the book of Genesis, in which context it is given as the location of the near sacrifice of Isaac. Traditionally Moriah has been interpreted as the name of the specific mountain at which this occurred, rather than just the name of the range. The exact location referred to is currently a matter of some debate.

In the book of Chronicles it is reported that the location of Araunah's threshing floor is "in mount Moriah" and that the Temple of Solomon was built over Araunah's threshing floor. This has led to the classical rabbinical supposition that this is at the peak of Moriah; a later Islamic tradition recounts that Moriah is the same location as the Foundation Stone, which Jewish tradition holds to be the former location of the Temple of Solomon. However, this tradition is not reported by the centuries earlier Books of Samuel, and biblical scholars view the tradition as somewhat implausible; according to a Biblical passage concerning Melchizedek, Jerusalem was already a city with a priest at the time of Abraham, and thus is unlikely to have been founded after this, at the site of a sacrifice made by Abraham in the wilderness.[1]

An alternative tradition, regarded as similarly dubious by biblical scholars (again due to the Melchizedek narrative), is that Moriah refers to the highest peak of the mountainous ridge on which Jerusalem is built, which would place the location not at the Temple Mount, nor the hill now called Zion, but at the hill of Golgotha (777m elevation).

In consequence of these traditions, Classical Rabbinical Literature theorised that the name was a (linguistically corrupted) reference to the Temple, suggesting translations like the teaching-place (referring to the Sanhedrin that met there), the place of fear (referring to the supposed fear that non-Israelites would have at the Temple), the place of myrrh (referring to the spices burnt as incense).[2] Targum Pseudo-Jonathan interprets the name as land of worship, while the Samaritan Targum regards it as being land of vision.[2]

Most modern biblical scholars, however, regard the name as a reference to the Amorites, losing the initial a via aphesis; the name is thus interpreted as meaning land of the Amorites. This also agrees with the biblical text as it appears in the Syriac Peshitta - where the near-sacrifice occurs at the land of the Amorites, and in the Septuagint, where, for example, 2 Chronicles 3:1 refers to the location as ?????? - Amoria. This would give it the same etymological root as Hamor, a person's name in the narrative at Genesis 34 which concerns Shechem.[2] Some scholars also identify it with Moreh, the location near Shechem at which Abraham built an altar, according to Genesis 12:6. Hence a number of scholars believe that Moriah refers to a hill near Shechem, supporting the Samaritan belief that the near-sacrifice of Isaac occurred on Mount Gerizim - a location near Shechem.[2]

-See also

* Binding of Isaac

-Notes and citations

1. ^ Peake's commentary on the Bible

2. ^ a b c d This article incorporates text from the 1901–1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, a publication now in the public domain.

This entry incorporates text from the public domain Easton's Bible Dictionary, originally published in 1897.

-External links

* Araunah

* Mount Moriah video presents Christian claim that Christ's crucifixion occurred on this mountain.

Retrieved from ""

Categories: History of Jerusalem | Tabernacle and Jerusalem Temples | Hebrew Bible mountains | Temple Mount | Sacred mountains


The Dome of the Rock (Arabic: ???? ??? ??????, translit.: Masjid Qubbat As-Sakhrah, Hebrew: ???? ????, translit.: Kipat Hasela, Turkish: Kubbetüs Sahra) is an Islamic prayer house, — which Jews and Christians call Har ha-Bayit (Hebrew: ?? ????) or the Temple Mount — it remains one of the more popularly known landmarks of Jerusalem. It was built between 687 and 691 by the 9th Caliph, Abd al-Malik making it the oldest extant Islamic building in the world. The Rock under the Dome was the first praying direction for Muslims before Mecca. Next to the Dome of the Rock lies the congregation building of Al-Aqsa Mosque both lie within the vicinity of the Temple Mount.[1][2]



* 1 Religious significance

* 2 Construction

* 3 Time periods

o 3.1 Crusaders

o 3.2 Ayyubids and Mamluks

o 3.3 Ottoman Empire

o 3.4 British Mandate

o 3.5 Today

* 4 Restrictions on entrance to the Dome of the Rock

* 5 See also

* 6 Notes

* 7 References

* 8 External links

* 9 Gallery

-Religious significance

Main article: Foundation Stone

According to Islamic tradition, the rock in the center of the dome is the spot from which Muhammad ascended for a night-long journey to Heaven in AD 621, accompanied by the angel Gabriel. There he met many prophets like Abraham and Moses and was given the (now obligatory) Islamic prayers before returning to Earth (See Isra and Mi'raj). A Qur'anic verse says that Muhammad took an instantaneous night journey on Buraq from al-Masjid al-Haram ("the sacred mosque", interpreted as being in Mecca) to al-Masjid al-Aqsa ("the farthest mosque", interpreted as being in Jerusalem).[3]

In Judaism the stone is the site where Abraham fulfilled God's test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac (See Genesis 22:1-19). (Muslims believe that this event involved Abraham's other son Ishmael and occurred in the desert of Mina (where millions of Muslims offer pilgrimage every year). There is some controversy among secular scholars about equating Mount Moriah (where Isaac's binding occurred according to the Biblical narrative), the Temple Mount, and the rock where Jacob dreamed about angels ascending and descending on a ladder to heaven (See Genesis 28:10-19); but for Orthodox Jews, there is no doubt that all these events occurred on this spot.

According to some Jewish scholars it was this rock which was situated inside the Holy of Holies and upon which the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the First Temple.[4] During the Second Temple, the stone was used by High Priest who offered up the incense and sprinkled the blood of the sacrifices on it during the Yom Kippur Service. Rabbinic legend also alleges that the entire world was created from this stone, hence the name ??? ??????, Foundation Stone.

Diagram showing the position of the Stone within the structure

Diagram showing the position of the Stone within the structure

In Christianity, in addition to Jesus's actions in the temple, it is believed that during the time of the Byzantine Empire, the spot where the Dome was later constructed was where Constantine's mother built a small church, calling it the Church of St. Cyrus and St. John, later on enlarged and called the Church of the Holy Wisdom.[5] On the walls of the Dome of the Rock is an inscription in a mosaic frieze that includes the following words:

"Bless your envoy and your servant Jesus son of Mary and peace upon him on the day of birth and on the day of death and on the day he is raised up again. It is a word of truth in which they doubt. It is not for God to take a son. Glory be to him when he decrees a thing he only says be and it is."[1]

This appears to be the earliest extant citation from the Qur'an, with the date recorded as 72 after the Hijra (or 691-692 AD), which historians view as the year of the Dome's construction.[1]


In 630, long before the Dome of the Rock was erected, `Umar ibn al-Khatta-b helped by Kaab al-Ahbar and other Muslims recovered the Rock and dug it out of the dust and cleansed the area which had been abandoned for hundreds of years since the Roman destruction[citation needed] . Ibn Asakir[6] mentions that Umar never built any Muslim house of worship on that spot but rather chose to erect a mosque in the southern area of the Haram es Sharif with the Rock behind to the north. He did this to make clear that the qibla of prayer was south, towards the Kaabah in Mecca and that Muslims never dispute the correct direction of prayer, resulting in them possibly praying towards the Rock, as the Jews were doing, and as the Muslims had originally done. The Rock area remained uncovered until the time of Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan who started construction in 685, completing it in 691. The Muslim scholar al-Wasiti reports this incidence:

“ When Abd al-Malik intended to construct the Dome of the Rock, he came from Damascus to Jerusalem. He wrote, "Abd al-Malik intends to build a dome (qubba) over the Rock to house the Muslims from cold and heat, and to construct the masjid. But before he starts he wants to know his subjects' opinion." With their approval, the deputies wrote back, "May Allah permit the completion of this enterprise, and may He count the building of the dome and the masjid a good deed for Abd al-Malik and his predecessors." He then gathered craftsmen from all his dominions and asked them to provide him with the description and form of the planned dome before he engaged in its construction. So, it was marked for him in the sahn of the masjid. He then ordered the building of the treasury (bayt al-mal) to the east of the Rock, which is on the edge of the Rock, and filled it with money. He then appointed Raja' ibn Hayweh and Yazid ibn Salam to supervise the construction and ordered them to spend generously on its construction. He then returned to Damascus. When the two men satisfactorily completed the house, they wrote to Abd al-Malik to inform him that they had completed the construction of the dome and al-Masjid al-Aqsa. They said to him "There is nothing in the building that leaves room for criticism." They wrote him that a hundred thousand dinars was left from the budget he allocated. He offered the money to them as a reward, but they declined, indicating that they had already been generously compensated. Abd al-Malik orders the gold coins to be melted and cast on the Dome's exterior, which at the time had a strong glitter that no eye could look straight at it. ”

—Abu-Bakr al-Wasiti, Fada'il Bayt al-Maqdis, pp. 80-81, vol 136.[7]

The two engineers Yazid ibn Salam, a Jerusalemite, and Raja' ibn Hayweh, from Baysan, were ordered to spend generously on the construction. In his Book of the Geography, al-Maqdisi reported that seven times the revenue of Egypt was used to build the Dome. During a discussion with his uncle on why the Caliph spent lavishly on building the mosques in Jerusalem and Damascus, al-Maqdisi writes:

Cross section of the edifice

Cross section of the edifice

“ O my little son, thou has no understanding. Verily he was right, and he was prompted to a worthy work. For he beheld Syria to be a country that had long been occupied by the Christians, and he noted there are beautiful churches still belonging to them, so enchantingly fair, and so renowned for their splendour, as are the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the churches of Lydda and Edessa. So he sought to build for the Muslims a mosque that should be unique and a wonder to the world. And in like manner is it not evident that Caliph Abd al-Malik, seeing the greatness of the martyrium of the Holy Sepulchre and its magnificence was moved lest it should dazzle the minds of Muslims and hence erected above the Rock the dome which is now seen there. ”

—Shams al-Din al-Maqdisi, Ahsan al-Taqasim fi Mar'rifat al-Aqalim, 2nd ed. (Leiden, 1967) pp. 159-171.

Mr A.C. Cresswell in his book Origin of the plan of the Dome of the Rock writes that those who built the mosque made use of the measurements of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The diameter of the dome of the mosque is 20m 20cm and its height 20m 48cm, while the diameter of the dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is 20m 90cm and its height 21m 5cm.

In his study The Historication background of the erection of the Dome of the Rock, Prof. Shlomo Dov Goitein of the Hebrew University mentions:

“ In a well-known passage of his Book of Geography,[8] al-Maqdisi tells us how his uncle excused Abd al-Malik and Al-Walid I for spending so much good Muslims money on buildings: They intended to remove the fitna, the 'annoyance,' constituted by the existence of the many fine buildings of worship of other religions. The very form of a rotunda, given to the Qubbat as-Sakhra, although it was foreign to Islam, was destined to rival the many Christian domes. The inscriptions decorating the interior clearly display a spirit of polemic against Christianity, while stressing at the same time the Qur'anic doctrine that Jesus Christ was a true prophet. The formula la sharika lahu 'God has no companion' is repeated five times, the verses from sura Maryam 16:34-37, which strongly deny Jesus' sonship to God, are quoted together with the remarkable prayer:

Allahumma salli (with ya; read salli without ya) ala rasulika wa'abdika 'Isa bin Maryam - "In the name of the One God (Allah) Pray for your Prophet and Servant Jesus son of Mary".

All this shows that rivalry with Christendom, together with the spirit of Islamic mission to the Christians, was at the work at the creation of the famous Dome.

—Shlomo Dov Goitein, The Historication background of the erection of the Dome of the Rock, Journal of American Oriental Society, Vol. 70, No. 2, 1950.

The Dome is in the shape of a Byzantine martyrium, a structure intended for the housing and veneration of saintly relics and is an excellent example of middle Byzantine art. Haj Amin Al-Husseini, appointed Grand Mufti by the British, along with Yacoub Al Ghussein implemented restoration of Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. He had the Dome gold-plated for the first time.[citation needed] The gold-plated dome stretches 20 metres across the Noble Rock, rising to an apex more than 35 metres above it. The facade is made of porcelain[9] The Qur'anic sura, or chapter,[10] is inscribed across the top in the tile work commissioned in the 16th century by Suleiman the Magnificent. The sura al-Isra (The Night Journey), is inscribed above Ya-Seen.

During his travels in Jerusalem, Mark Twain wrote that parts of the Dome of the Rock used stones excavated from the Temple Mount and which were a part of the Jewish Temple that was destroyed by the Romans in 70CE:

“ Every where about the Mosque of Omar are portions of pillars, curiously wrought altars, and fragments of elegantly carved marble - precious remains of Solomon's Temple. These have been dug from all depths in the soil and rubbish of Mount Moriah, and the Moslems have always shown a disposition to preserve them with the utmost care. — Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, Chapter LIV ”

Architect Frederick Catherwood was the first westerner known to have made detailed drawings of the Dome of the Rock, which he accomplished during a six-week period in 1833.[11]



During the Crusades the Dome of the Rock was given to the Augustinians, who turned it into a church, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque became the royal palace of Baldwin I of Jerusalem in 1104. The Knights Templar, who believed the Dome of the Rock was the site of the Temple of Solomon, set up their headquarters in the Al-Aqsa Mosque adjacent to the Dome for much of the 12th century. The "Templum Domini," as they called it, was featured on the official seals of the Order's Grand Masters (such as Evrard de Barres and Regnaud de Vichier), and it became the architectural model for Templar churches across Europe.

-Ayyubids and Mamluks

Jerusalem was recaptured by Salah al-Din on Friday, 2 October 1187 and the Haram was reconsecrated as a Muslim sanctuary. The cross on top of the Dome of the Rock was replaced by a golden crescent and a wooden screen was placed around the rock below. Salah al-Din's nephew al-Malik al-Mu'azzam Isa (615-24/1218-27) carried out other restorations within the Haram and added the porch to the Aqsa mosque.

The Haram was the focus of extensive royal patronage by the sultans during the Mamluk period, which lasted from 1250 until 1510.

-Ottoman Empire

During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent the exterior of the Dome of the Rock was covered with Iznik tiles. The work took seven years.

Large-scale renovation was undertaken during the reign of Mahmud II in 1817.

-British Mandate

The Dome of the Rock was badly shaken during an earthquake in Palestine on Monday, 11 July 1927 rendering useless many of the repairs that had taken place over previous years.


In 1955 an extensive programme of renovation was begun by the government of Jordan, with funds supplied by the Arab governments and Turkey. The work included replacement of large numbers of tiles dating back to the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, which had become dislodged by heavy rain. In 1960, as part of this restoration, the dome was covered with a durable aluminium and bronze alloy made in Italy. The restoration was completed in August 1964.

Under Jordanian rule of Jerusalem, Jews were forbidden from entering the Old City. Israel took control of the Dome of Rock during its victory in the Six Day War in 1967. According to a posthumously-published interview with Haaretz, General Uzi Narkiss reported that on June 7, 1967, a few hours after East Jerusalem fell into Israeli hands, Rabbi Shlomo Goren had told him "Now is the time to put 100 kilograms of explosives into the Mosque of Omar so that we may rid ourselves of it once and for all." His request was denied; according to Goren's aide Menahem Hacohen, he had not suggested blowing up the mosque, but had merely stated that "if, during the course of the war a bomb had fallen on the mosque and it would have – you know – disappeared – that would have been a good thing." Later that year, in a speech to a military convention, he added: "Certainly we should have blown it up. It is a tragedy for generations that we did not do so. […] I myself would have gone up there and wiped it off the ground completely so that there was no trace that there was ever a Mosque of Omar there."[12] Shlomo Goren also entered the Dome of the Rock with a Torah book and the shofar.[13] A few hours after the Israeli flag was hoisted over the Dome of the Rock in 1967, at the conclusion of the Six-Day War, Israelis lowered it on the orders of General Moshe Dayan, and invested the Muslim Waqf (religious trust) with the authority to manage the Temple Mount-Haram al-Sharif in order to "keep the peace".[14] Groups such as the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement wish to relocate the Dome to Mecca and replace it with a Third Temple. Since Muslims consider the ground under the Dome to be sacred this would be a highly contentious move, and would provoke violence. The majority of Israelis also do not share the movement's wishes. Most religious Jews feel that the Temple should only be rebuilt in the messianic era, and it is their belief that it would be presumptuous of people to force God's hand. However, Evangelical Christians consider this a prerequisite to Armageddon and the Second Coming, and actively encourage the rebuilding of the Temple in place of the Dome of the Rock.

In 1998 the golden dome covering was refurbished following a donation of $8.2 million by King Hussein of Jordan who sold one of his houses in London to fund the 80 kilograms of gold required.

-Restrictions on entrance to the Dome of the Rock

Sign at visitors entrance to Temple Mount.

Sign at visitors entrance to Temple Mount.

Until the mid-nineteenth century, non-Muslims were barred from the area. Since 1967, non-Muslims have been allowed some entry, but non-Muslim prayers on the Temple Mount are not allowed.[15]

After Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in 2000, in what was considered by some a provocative gesture that set off Muslim rioting, non-Muslims were forbidden to enter the Temple compound.[16]

In 2006, the compound was reopened to non-Muslim visitors free of charge, except on Fridays and Muslim holidays, between 7-10 a.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. Entry is through a covered wooden walkway next to the security entrance to the Western Wall known as the Mugrabi or Maimonides Gate. Entry to the mosques themselves is prohibited to non-Muslims, as is access to the Temple Mount through the Cotton Market. Visitors undergo strict security screening, and items such as Hebrew prayerbooks or musical instruments are not allowed.

In addition to these restrictions put in place by the Muslim Council, most Orthodox rabbis regard entry to the compound as a violation of Jewish law. This restriction is based on the belief that even though the Temple was destroyed centuries ago, the precise location of the Holy of Holies, the sanctuary that was only entered by the High Priest, is not known. Hence the restriction is applied to the entire compound. However, some rabbis believe that modern archeological and other evidence have enabled them to identify areas that can be safely entered without violating Jewish law. [17]

-See also

* Al-Aqsa Mosque

* Temple Mount

* Temple in Jerusalem

* Destruction of Jerusalem

* Western Wall

* Well of Souls

* Islamic architecture

* Dispensational Christian end times views regarding the Dome of the Rock

* Knights Templar

* Holiest sites in Islam


1. ^ a b c Rizwi Faizer (1998). The Shape of the Holy: Early Islamic Jerusalem. Rizwi's Bibliography for Medieval Islam. Retrieved on 07.14.2007.

2. ^ The Gallic bishop Arculf who visited Jerusalem in 670 A.D. describes the new mosque that was founded right after the capture of Jerusalem by Umar as a rectangular wooden structure, built over ruins and capable of accommodating 3000 worshipers.[citation needed]

3. ^ Other locations, however, have been put forward as the intended destination, including a possible reference to Heaven, Medina or Jirana; al-Waqidi, Kitab al-Maghazi (Oxford UP 1966, vol.3, pg.958-59). See Location of the “farthest mosque” in Al-Aqsa Mosque.

4. ^ See Maimonides, Beis HaBechirah 4:1

5. ^ Wilkinson, Jerusalem Pilgrims Before the Crusades, page 204

6. ^ Ibn Asakir, Tarikh Madinat Dimashq 1, pg. 176.

7. ^ Nasser Rabbat,The Dome of the Rock Revisited: Some Remarks on al-Wasiti's Accounts, Muqaranas, Vol. 10, Essays in Honor of Oleg Grabar, pp. 66-75, 1993

8. ^ Book of Geography (Second edition), al-Maqdisi, pg.159, (4-11)

9. ^ Dome of the Rock, The. Glass Steel and Stone.

10. ^ "Ya-Seen"

11. ^ "Drawings of Islamic Buildings: Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem." (html). Victoria and Albert Museum. “Until 1833 the Dome of the Rock had not been measured or drawn; according to Victor von Hagen, ‘no architect had ever sketched its architecture, no antiquarian had traced its interior design…’ On 13 November in that year, however, Frederick Catherwood dressed up as an Egyptian officer and accompanied by an Egyptian servant ‘of great courage and assurance’, entered the buildings of the mosque with his drawing materials … ‘During six weeks, I continued to investigate every part of the mosque and its precincts.’ Thus, Catherwood made the first complete survey of the Dome of the Rock, and paved the way for many other artists in subsequent years, such as Harvey [William Harvey], Richmond [Ernest Richmond] and Werner [Carl Friedrich Heinrich Werner].”

12. ^ The Political Role Of The Israeli Chief Rabbinate In The Temple Mount Question by Yoel Cohen

13. ^ Photo of Shlomo Goren inside the Dome

14. ^ Letter from Jerusalem: A Fight Over Sacred Turf by Sandra Scham

15. ^ Jerusalem's Holy Places and the Peace Process Marshall J. Breger and Thomas A. Idinopulos

16. ^ Eyewitness: Inside al-Aqsa (BBC) March 20, 2002

17. ^


External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Dome of the Rock

* Dome of the Rock Sacred Destinations - includes photo tour

* Dome of the Rock AutoCAD release 14, CAD drawing, 1995

* Dome of the Rock Bible places

* Dome of the Rock Interior picture

* Dome of the Rock Sacred sites

* Re-envisioning the Dome of the Rock The Hope

* Dome of the Rock from Jerusalem photos portal

* 16X zoomable panoramic view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

* Site surrounding the controversy over the excavations made by the Waqf


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