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Al Aqsa Mosque

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Background

The Al Aqsa Mosque is considered the third most important holy site in Islam.

 

Al-Masjid El-Aqsa is an Arabic name which means the Farthest Mosque. It is the second oldest mosque in Islam and the third holiest to that religion after Mecca and Median. Though today's Muslems use Mecca as the direction of their prayers there was a period that Musims used referred to this Jerusalem mosque as the proper direction of their prayer.

 

Ten years after the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) received his first revelation, he made a miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and to the Seven Heavens on a white flying horse called Al-Buraq El-Sharif. During his interval in Jerusalem, the Prophet stopped to pray at the rock (now covered by the golden Dome), and was given the commandment to pray five times a day.

 

During his lifetime Mohammad told Muslims to visit the mosque where  in Mecca as well as the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, situated 2000 kilometers north.

 

The structure lies on 35 acres and is situated within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. It can hold up to 400,000 people at one time and during Ramadan the area is often filled, particularly on the holiest day, 27th day of Ramadan.

 

Tips

 

Muslims and tourists alike are permitted to enter Al-Aqsa with shoes. Shows must be removed to enter the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa's enclosed area as a sign of cleanliness and respect. Cameras are permitted in Al-Aqsa Mosque, but not inside any building. Modest clothing, including head covering and proper dress covering the shoulders and knees is required.

 

Nearby Places of Interest

 

The Western Wall

The Western Wall Tunnels

City of David

The Arab Shuk

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