Al-Aqsa means the ‘farthest mosque’ and it was called Masjid Al-Aqsa because it was the farthest most mosque from Mecca at that time. Another commonly referred term for the mosque is “Bait-ul-Maqdis” meaning the Holy House which is pure and sanctified.
When was it built?
A hadith mentions a very important fact about its inception. In Sahih Bukhari, it s stated that Abu Dharr al-Ghifari asked the prophet (P.B.U.H), “O Messenger of Allah which mosque was built the first?” on which prophet Muhammad (PBUH) replied, “Masjid-ul-Haram”. He asked again, “which was the next?”. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) replied, “Masjid-ul-Aqsa”.
Abu Dharr al-Ghafari asked, “what was the time period between the building of Kaaba and building up Masjid Al Aqsa?”. “40 years”, Prophet (PBUH) responded.
What are the blessings of Al Aqsa?
Allah Subhana Wata’Allah says in Quran that this is a land that is blessed for all nations. It was the mosque Al-Aqsa from which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) traveled his way to heaven on the night of Meraj. Our prophet bowed down in prayers facing Masjid Al-Aqsa until he was asked to pray towards Kaaba.
It is known from Islamic scriptures and other sacred excerpts that the believers were told to make their sacred journeys to one of the mosques; Masjid-ul-Haram in Mecca, Masjid-ul-Nabawi in Madina, and Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.
Umm Salamah (R.A) relates that Prophet (PBUH) mentioned the greatest reward for the person who wears ehraam from Bait al-Makdis before departing for Kaaba to earn his paradise
Muslims, all around the world worship at the sacred mosque, and tons of donations are being generated to maintain the infrastructure of the mosque. Despite any worldly conflict, the Al Aqsa mosque has been sacred and protected by the angels of Allah throughout the centuries.