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Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif)

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The Noble Sanctuary (Arabic: الحرم الشريف‎, al-Ḥaram al-Šarīf, "the Noble Sanctuary", or الحرم القدسي الشريف, al-Ḥaram al-Qudsī al-Šarīf, "the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem"), is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years. At least four religious traditions are known to have made use of the Temple Mount: Judaism, Christianity, Roman religion, and Islam.

Overview

An ariel view of the Temple Mount, with al-Aqsa to the left, Dome of Rock in the center. Bab al-Rahmah Cemetery can be seen along the eastern wall of the Haram al-Sharif. The present site is a flat plaza surrounded by retaining walls (including the Western Wall) which was built during the reign of Herod the Great for an expansion of the temple. The plaza is dominated by three monumental structures from the early Umayyad period: the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain, as well as four minarets.

According to Jewish tradition and scripture, the First Temple was built by King Solomon on the site. Among Muslims, the Mount is the site of one of the three Sacred Mosques, the holiest sites in Islam. The Temple Mount forms the northern portion of a very narrow spur of hill that slopes sharply downward from north to south. Rising above the Kidron Valley to the east and Tyropoeon Valley to the west, its peak reaches a height of 740 meters (2,428 ft) above sea level.

An ariel view of the Temple Mount.

circa 1500-1700 CE

Temple Mount during Ottoman era

David Robert's impression of life in Jerusalem during Ottoman era (circa 1840 CE), with Dome of Rock in background. The Temple Mount has historical and religious significance for all three of the major Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It has particular religious significance for Judaism and Islam, and the competing claims of these faith communities has made it one of the most contested religious sites in the world. The historic city remained under Ottoman control for about 400 years, from 1500-1900 CE.

Notable Structures

circa 690 CE

Northeast exposure of al-Aqsa Mosque

al-Aqṣā Mosque
Northeast exposure of al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, in the Old City of Jerusalem. Originally built by order of the Umayyad caliph al-Walid (reigned 705–15 CE), al-Aqsa stands on what the Crusaders thought to be the site of the First Temple and what others believe was a marketplace on the edge of the Temple. Located on the southern side of the Haram al-Sharif, it is the 3rd most holiest site in Islam. Originally built in circa 700 CE, it is named after the Muslim's account of the night travel of prophet Muhammad, who according to Islamic tradition was transported from Mecca to Jerusalem.

circa 690 CE

Northeast exposure of al-Aqsa Mosque

Dome of the Rock
Built in the last decade of the seventh century the Dome of Rock is the most iconic structure on the Haram al-Sharif mount. The rock over which the shrine was built is sacred to both Muslims and Jews. The Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, is traditionally believed to have ascended into heaven from the site. In Jewish tradition it is here that Abraham, the progenitor and first patriarch of the Hebrew people, is said to have prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. Dome of the Chain is also partially visible to the right. The large golden dome and an octagon structure, was built by the Umayyad Khalif Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan in 691 CE and named it after Omar.

circa 970-930 BCE

Station of Solomon
The Mausoleum of Suleiman (Station of Solomon) at Temple Mount compound in the old city of Jerusalem. It is located on the eastern flank close to the Golden Gate (Bab al-Rahmah). Currently it is under the use of al-Aqsa waqf as a school of Arabic learning for young children. According to a local Muslim tradition, this is the site where prophet Solomon died while having the temple built by djinns.

circa 100 CE

Wailing Wall
The Wailing Wall is a section of Western Wall and is the holiest site in Judaism. Wailing Wall and the Western Wall plaza as seen from Moroccans' Gate access tunnel. The wall was originally erected as part of the expansion of the Second Jewish Temple begun by Herod the Great, which resulted in the encasement of the natural, steep hill known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount. For Muslims, it is the site where the Islamic Prophet Muhammad tied his steed, al-Buraq, on his night journey to Jerusalem.

circa 1336 CE

Cotton Merchants' Gate
The Cotton Merchant's Gate (باب القطانين) is one of the most beautiful gates of Haram al-Sharif. In total Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) has 20 gates, out of which only 12 are open and functional today, remaining 8 have been either sealed-up or lost. Currently eleven gates are open to the Muslim public. Non-Muslims and tourists are only permitted to enter through the Mughrabi gate.

See Also

Points of Interest

Fountains (Sebils and Cisterns)

Pulpits

Mosques

Burials

Grave of Qadir al-Husseini · Grave of Musa Kazim · Grave of Emir Mohamed Ali · Grave of King Hussein

Mehrabs

Mehrab e Daood · Mehrab e Daud · Mehrab e Suleiman

Tunnels

Others

References

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