Jerusalem, the third most holy site of Islam?

So fractured was the Muslim Ummah in the late 7th century that the
Damascus Umayyads started discouraging their subjects from going on the
hajj pilgrimage. It is said that while in Mecca, the Syrian pilgrims would be
infl uenced by the oratory of Caliph Ibn al-Zubayr and give their oath of
allegiance to the Meccan caliph. Abd al-Malik feared that returning pilgrims
would challenge his political as well as religious authority. Many historians
report that Abd al-Malik was so frustrated by his inability to capture Mecca
and to lead the hajj that he built the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem as an
alternative to the Ka’aba in Mecca. Before Abd al-Malik, there is no record
of Muslims going to pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but after he built the Dome
of the Rock, this site became a venue for Syrians to visit instead of Mecca
and Medina.

Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, by Tarek Fatah (2008, Wiley, p 169)


Don said…
So what is the signficance of Sura 17:1 relative to this?
Abu Daoud said…
There is no mention of Jerusalem there in the Arabic. It just says 'the further-most mosque'. It is a question of tradition what that refers to.
Jeff said…
Two questions.

What is the basis of the tradition identifying it with Jerusalem? Is it in the ahadith or the sira or somewhere else? How authoritative is it, in other words?

And...what is the theme of this book? What is it about? And is the author a Muslim? Of what persuasion: liberal? orthodox?
Abu Daoud said…
The point of the book is that Islam should be seen as a religion--something internal, spiritual, and personal. And that it originally did not (and now should not) have anything to do with politics and law.

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