(An Autobiography of AL-Aqsa By Sakil Adnan)
I am always in the news all around the world.
But is there anyone who really cares about me? Is there anyone who thinks about me? Is there anyone who listens to the crying of my heart?
Leave that, do you even believe I have also a heart? I can smile, cry, hear and be wounded too?
Do you know I can feel everything just like you?
Do you believe- you can’t ignore me anyhow? It’s my right upon all the people of the world!
Are you ready to hear my story? Aren’t you? So listen…
I am Al-Aqsa speaking…
I do not exactly know how much the age of this world is. That is also not possible for me. But the context is coming because, all the things these are here from the beginning of this world, I am also involved with them by some means.
When the first man and prophet Adam laid down my foundation, when I first came to reality as God’s worship house, there was nothing more on the earth. Yes, maybe there were some trees, animals, and birds. There were a small number of people also. But all was natural; God gifted, free from human touch.
At the very beginning of the existence, I knew that in the middle of the earth, far away from me a house was built just forty years ago. ‘Kabah’, the first house of God built by the angels. And I’m on the land named Palestine today. The first one was in Makkah, on the other end of Arabia.
The foundation of the Kabah was laid down by the hands of ‘Gabriel’- one of the most important and dignified angels of God. At this point of view- I himself was the first temple or the house of God made by human beings.
My Foundation & The Debate
By Allah’s which favorite servant was my foundation laid down firstly, today’s debate market is so dazzling with that. There is no benefit in the debate. It’s better to know the right information. God blessed me with the opportunity to come into existence by the hands of the first human Adam. I have been reconstructed so many times. My reform was also done so many times. Today, my eyes are repeatedly peeping on the colorful pages of history, sitting on the pillar of memory. After Prophet Adam his sons, after worldwide deluge Prophet Noah, after him Prophet David, Ibrahim’s son Ishaq (peace be upon them), Umar bin Khattab, Umayyah caliph Abdul Malik, his son Al Walid. Abbasi caliph Abu Jafar al Mansur, Al Mahdi, Fatimid caliph Ali Aj Jahir, Sultan Salahuddin Aiyubi …God’s favorite and great servants one after another have engaged themselves in constructing my shape, reforming and developing. The list is so long.
Being self-absorbed, how shamelessly I am talking only about my own shape!
I’m a Silent Witness
I am a silent witness to God’s surprising creation- this world, and mankind’s history of thousands of years. The changing world and mortal people may forget their past or passing reality may have forgotten. Having spent thousands of years in the stand, I did not even close my eyes for a single moment. I did not miss anything to see, I also did not forget anything. Thinking me just a stone, people always ignore, I cannot keep away my eyes from the events around me. I cannot forget the unique history of cruel wrong and God’s disobedience or loving him. Today I have become a rock legend with thousands of incidental and accidental unforgettable stories of smiling-crying, worship-disobedience, and love-animosity.
No One else Unhappy & Helpless than Me
Why I am talking only about people’s incidents-accidents. How can I forget the history of respect and love, glory and honor; and ignorance, destruction, and scandal that involved with my own body or outward shape. The wound did not wither yet, It’s going to be rather deeper day by day. The human could talk, smile and cry. We have not these abilities. I can only thank almighty, most gracious God and demand justice to him. In this way, keeping contact with God about myself, the world and mankind, I am standing for so many decades.
This glory, such love, the combination of these so many wrongs and cruelty does not happen in human life. In all- how the feeling, calmness and innumerable blank exists in my body, people of the world could not find its bottom line. Even after all this, today’s reality is- there is no one else in the world unhappy and helpless than me.
Can’t be anyhow…
I’m Al-Aqsa, Listen to My Story
When I was coming into existence with the pieces of stone in this area of sand-soil and rocky land, I had no limit of happiness. Who can imagine the great fortune of being the worship house of God, in the land of God? All the great servants and friends of God, his representatives and angels will worship on my chest- standing and sitting will be sunk in prayers and recitations; and I will be a witness to these- what an infinite glory of mine! Even then, I did not think that there is a matter of opposite reality.
I did not think- I would have to watch the hundred and thousand incidents of scandals against glory, thus- good against evil. I will give shelter to the foreheads falling down in loyalty and concentration, I also will be forced to take poison of disobedience and hate in my chest.
The people of God will give their lives across my chest and body to invite others to the path of religion, some people will also be drowned in killing and dying upon my body. I will see, hear, accept and tolerate all. There will be nothing left to do for me without only looking toward the Formless God. I had to face all the realities, slowly, over the years. Like the game of hiding-seeking of sunshine and rain- sometimes I was glad about great happiness, satisfied with receiving; sometimes I was wounded being ignored, shattered getting troubled, grinded in hate. The time was passing in this way. I do not have anything to do. Not even today.
Here’s What You Should Know About Me
My position across the one-sixth part of the old Jerusalem, approximately 144,000 square meters. The main building is 83 meters in length, 56 meters in width. Five thousand people can pray here together, including mosques and courtyards. Only 40 years after the establishment of the mosque in Makkah, my foundation-stone was laid down. Although some wise scholars and historians have some disagreement over this. Some say that the foundation stone was laid down by the hands of Prophet Adam (peace be upon him). Some say- by the hands of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). In fact, due to repeated reforms and rebuilding, there has been an opportunity for a different opinion to come to light.
I came into existence when Adam came to earth. But after coming to existence, I got an opportunity for the first time to come up with a great deal of discussion at the time of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). My reputation spreads all around the world. After Prophet Abraham his son Ishaq and also during the time of his grandson Prophet Jacob (peace be upon him), the trend continued and my splendor was growing. Then, when the Prophet Joseph, son of Prophet Jacob- was in the power of Egypt, he called the family of Prophet Jacob to Egypt, who was plagued by poverty.
The duty of my take care was handled to the Prophet Abraham’s followers. For the first time, my responsibility was entrusted to the general followers, from the hands of the Prophets or these were done, as the wish of Almighty Allah.
Israeli communities (along with the family of Prophet Jacob) who came to Egypt with the hope of a better life, stayed there for four hundred years; but with the time they had become slaves.
Prophet Moses, Pharaoh & Israelis
When the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) rescued them from the seizing of Pharaoh, they were freed from the worst slavery. When Almighty Allah ordered these Israelis to return to Palestine, these crazy and wretched people refused that. As a punishment, God confused them and turned around- like distracted people in the Valley of Sinai for 40 years.
This punishment was over when their new generation had fallen on the earth under the influence of Prophet David (peace be upon him) and he led them to the path of Palestine.
Prophet David & His Kingdom
Prophet David (peace be upon him) established his kingdom in a part of Palestine and started ruling the Jerusalem. He is himself the original architect of Jerusalem City. Under the influence of his son, the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him), a great reformation and development took place in my outward shape by the physical labor of his followers and a group of genes. Later it became the office of the rulers. After the death of Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him), his leadership divided between his two sons.
Everyone used to govern their cities by establishing the capital as their own advantage. But their governance did not last more than two hundred years. They failed to protect the country in front of the Babylonian invasion. In the year 586-587 BC, under the leadership of Babylonian Sovereign Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonians take over the whole of Palestine. Immediately after the Babylonian occupation of Palestine,
I faced destruction once more. The disobedient servants of God were engaged in brutal mischief of destroying my existence in the cruelest way.
After defeating the Babylonians, when the righteous Persians took possession of Palestine; my construction and reform was accomplished once again. But after them, the power shift was repeated in Palestine. Coming under the new rulers, sometimes I was destroyed brutally and sometimes reconstructed and reformed with sincerity and love. These were happening in 70 CE, through revolting under the Romans in the city.
When Roman ruler Constantine was converted to Christianity in 315-332 AD, none of the Romans and the other nations under the Romans, even the Jews, were respected towards me. As a house of worship and prayer, I have no more place or importance in their minds. Instead, I became a part of the city’s garbage dump. If you keep a routine product out of use for some time, it affected by rust, losing its own form and color, It became graceless, even Ineligible to use; my situation was similar to that of an unimportant object. I am the place of kind worshiping by pious slaves of God and with most pride by recitations and prayers by them every day, was turned into a lonely, unimportant and almost banned area.
This unpardonable condition remained unchanged until the presence of the Last Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in Makkah. He came as the savior of mankind, As a protector and rescuer of me too.
For many reasons, I have been proven as a significant place in the life of Prophet Muhammad again and again. First of all, I was the abode of countless prophets of his previous. He stepped on the earth as their successor. Islam is not a new religion. It is rather than the latest version of all the religions coming step by step from the beginning of this earth as a path of Almighty Allah. Islam is the latest version of that religion, in campaigning and promoting that-
hundreds and thousands of prophets, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus were ordered and sacrificed their lives. Besides that, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was born in the Bloodline of Prophet Ismaeel (peace be upon him), son of the Prophet Abraham. For the first two years of the Prophet’s emigration (Hijrah in the Arabic language), I was the direct center of the prayers of Muslims, I mean Qiblah. The first Qiblah of Islam.
The main reason behind increasing my importance in the life of the last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the ‘Night of Miraj’. On that glorious night, he was the leader of special prayers of all the Prophets on my chest and he was blessed getting the ‘Didar’ (direct meeting) of Allah and by the visiting of seven skies, the heaven and hell.
Even then the early period of Islam is going on. On one night in Mecca, the Prophet Muhammad went to the Kabah. At the end of the prayer and recitation, he fell asleep while taking some rest. The Supreme angel Gabriel (peace be upon him) came and took him to the way of Jerusalem. The normal distance between Kabah and me, like that time- was of at least forty days. Then he performed the prayer along with everyone and started flying towards the skies.
On this journey, his transportation medium was Rafraf and Borak- two special animals, blessed from God. Their speed and movement were unimaginable. The journey of Miraj was so glorious that Allah Almighty described it in the Holy Quran. In spite of being a common object, my name also achieved the good fortune of being written in the golden letters of the Holy Qur’an, forever. Allah himself has narrated the story in the surah- named ‘Bani Israel’-
‘Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings we have blessed, to show him of our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.’
(Surah number 17: Al-Isra or Bani Israel, Al-Quran)
Shortly after the death of Prophet Muhammad, Umar- the second caliph of Islam has been able to take Jerusalem City peacefully and without any bloodshed. Forty thousand great companions (peace be upon them) were present at Jerusalem. They came here through Syria, to rescue Jerusalem, especially me.
When the Christian pastor pledged to surrender in the presence of Umar on the terms of safety of their lives, property, and the city, Umar accepted it. Without any bloodshed, he rescued Jerusalem and me as well. The outward structure and personality of Umar were so influential that when they saw him, the whole of the people accepted his leadership and the rule of Islam in the city. Since the first day of my birth, I was waiting for achieving a good fortune and I was ecstatic by receiving the guarantee of that good news on the night of Miraj.
After all- that great day came to my door. Coming under the rule of Islam and becoming the memorial and the worship house of the followers of the last and best Prophet (peace be upon him), my dream was fulfilled completely. After the holy Kabah and the Masjid An-Nabawi, as the third establishment- I became an infinite fortune angel.
When Umar came to Jerusalem in 637-638, there was no place or system to pray in spite of my existence. He found me as a place that was abandoned as a pile of dirt, in the displeasure of the Romans and ignorance and negligence of local Jews and Christians. When he saw the bad situation of me, a mosque that built by the command of Allah and a mosque that holds the memory of thousands of prophets, he took up the broom in his own hands. With the help of the present companions of Prophet, he cleaned my surroundings. Then, taking the opinion of the wise companions, he stood to lead the prayer, exactly where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had prayed on the night of Miraj.
He recited Surah Saad with his high tone and manly voice, the recitation with pride, reverence, fear, and love, I never heard like that again. There was a small incident during this time. Funny, but significant too. A new Muslim who came to Islam from jews of Madina, He also came with the companions. Umar was discussing me- were to make the place for prayers, that man named as ‘Kab al-Ahbar said, it would be better to follow the main body of the stone. The whole of Jerusalem will be in front of you.
Umar Immediately caught the wrong. With little angry he said – have you come here to follow your Jewish doctrine? He said it, because, if the mosque built in this way- I will be just in front of the worshipers at the time of prayer and Kabah will be after me. There was a matter of accepting both of us (Me and Kabah) as a Qibla, which was unrealistic and unacceptable. Qibla is the only one in Islam. So he ordered to make the mosque in such a way that only the Kabah been and remained the original and only Qibla. I myself was silent and as well as glorious witnesses of these. Both Jews and Christians living around me were greeted by the advent of Umar and Muslims and in the teachings of Islam. Islam became the release certificate for them too.
In 691-692, Muslim Caliph Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan started the construction of Dome of the Rock. Since coming into existence, that was the biggest and most important addition to my body so far. Most attractive also… Many people mistakenly think of this golden dome structure as the main Aqsa mosque. The dome of the rock was built in the place, where Prophet Muhammad-Umar prayed, and the place from where the sky-traveling of Prophet- I mean the Miraj was started.
It was built by mixing of precious stones, metals, and gold-silver. It’s a matter of fact, it is not very important that when on which stone or by whom hands it was built. There is no special significance since it was built in a certain area, so it is also a part of mine. The main part made by the mild ash and black stone, and the other attractive part made of golden color; Masjid-Al Aqsa exists today including these two parts.
During the first crusade, in 1099, my control went away from the hands of Muslims to the hands of European Crusaders. What will I say about that day? Has the world watched ever thus brutal killings or the Holee game with blood? Will it be possible for the History to forget in which cruel way and how much Muslims were killed that day by the hands of Christians besides me- the holy house of God! I am dropping the outside situations avoiding the details – once they gathered thousands of Muslims in the mosque by announcing. This is my courtyard which spreads over a vast part of Jerusalem when they declared that they will not arrest or torture any of the common Muslims – so in this square of my courtyard, thousands of Muslims gathered including children, women, and men, seeking of shelter. Without any hesitation, without caring about the fear of God at all; they killed those innocent children, women, and men in my holy courtyard. My whole courtyard floats in blood. The day of this brutality did not come in my life ever.
After this horrific assassination, I became just a palace, which the king or the bishop used for their special needs. Changing the name of my main part, they kept it as Solomon’s Temple, which the Prophet Solomon himself (peace be upon him) did not keep. The name of the dome of the rock was ‘Templum Dumini’ or the house of the Lord. This mosque built by Abdul Malik Bin Marwan, they turned it into a Christian church. Some parts of the square were turned into stables of horses. Later, it was converted to the headquarter of brutal Knight Templars. Has such a tragedy with the worship house of God ever happened? I had to spend the last 88 years like this. What I had to do without it! Finally, God sent his special servant.
The hero Salahuddin Aiyubi has saved me from this extreme humiliation just after ninety-nine years. With that, he released Jerusalem also from the oppressors. He rescued Jerusalem just after three centuries of Jerusalem’s victory by Umar (peace be upon him), without hurting any ordinary person, without any bloodshed, without taking any revenge. although before some decades, the land of Jerusalem was flowing with the blood of his brothers. But he followed the Sunnah (ideology) of the Ancestors. He showed the identity of a genuine God-fearful believer. He established humanity along with its real dignity, keeping stones on the heart. He did the same special job as Umar for me. He cleaned the dirty compound and inner parts by his own hands. He removed the toilets and food warehouses from my courtyard made by the Crusaders and Night Templars. He covered my inner floor with the expensive carpet. He sprinkled the holy and fragrant rose-water across my whole existence by his own hands. I have sunk once again with the blessings of God and by the surprising love of his favorite servant.
Taking control of the city of Jerusalem after Caliph Umar, the Muslim community turned me into a rare center of security, peace, justice, and progress once again. I started to be considered as a bright example of both education and the unique bond of brotherhood. People from all over the world came running to make me and Jerusalem- the pure homeland of the Prophets, blessed, as the early followers of the Holy Book of one time- Jews and Christians, got perfect dignity and security like Muslims of the whole world. I did not get such continuous respect and importance of eight centuries never in the past, nor Jerusalem.
The Umayyad caliphs kept me and Jerusalem amazed and respected throughout the whole regime. Muslims have always kept this in their minds as the city’s director. They have kept my door open for Jews and Christians too, just because of their dignity and goodwill. However, it is not possible to finish the stories of a good time. It’s true that- the period of glory ends quickly, leaving countless memories and endless sorrow. It did not differ in my case too.
Everything changes once. The genre is changed. Bad times come after a good time, like a dark night after a sunny day. My good fortune began to revolve around one day when the Zionist Movement or the Jewish Movement of Europe demanded that they will establish a new Jewish state in Muslim Palestine. They were nothing, but they have unconditional Western Support. Especially support of the British, who can give up the religion for the sake of the country, who can throw other nations towards the hell, for their own needs. In the context of World War I, the Zionist movement became strong against the defeat of the Umayyad caliphate. After eight centuries, the British mandate issued in Palestine instead of Muslim rule. The Jews got the chance to be sunk on new dreams. In 1917, they started jointly a mission to establish a separate Jewish state in Palestine, a country with 90 percent of Arabs and only 56 thousand Jewish people. In the British-ruled Jerusalem, they approved the control of Muslims only on me. After a few years, the responsibility of my care and safety was granted to the King of Jordan, with some conditions.
In 1948, the British government released the fate of Palestine to the United Nations. Arab Palestinians (including Christians and Muslims) rejected it when less than 6 percent of the people of the land proposed to establish a separate Jewish state by distributing 54 percent of the land in the name of the Jews. But the palace conspiracy was started long ago. During that year, the Jews themselves announced to establish a state named Israel for them by the forced occupation of 78 percent of the land through the chance of the Western conspiracy, the terrorist activities of the Jews, even their suicidal attacks and by imposed war. They captured about 85 percent of the land in the city of Jerusalem. The control of the rest of Arabs under the leadership of the Jordan was only in the West Bank, just 11 percent of East Jerusalem was under their control – Old Jerusalem and I also included in it.
In 1967, Israel also occupied East Jerusalem by the opportunity of another war. Increasing Israel’s borders further, they proclaimed Jerusalem and Me as the part of Israel. Despite all the restrictions and international sanctions, Israel has not yet withdrawn from this bizarre demand. In the context of this occupation of Jerusalem, facing international condemnation and resistance to local Arab Muslims, the Israeli government was forced to leave only my control, at least on paper.
After all, when they tried to build a worship house for the Jews in my courtyard, they failed facing a strong protest by the local Muslims. The international community became bound to pass a law that the Israeli government cannot establish any Jewish establishment within my prescribed courtyard. However, Jewish and international tourists can only enter through the Western Gate. Since 1967, the Israeli leaders have tried to arrange the worship for the Jews on my courtyard again and again. The national and international organizations on behalf of Israel are continuously trying to promote their demands and make public opinion in favor of building a Jewish worship house in a part of mine.
In 1969, in the fuel of the fundamentalist Jews, a Mimbar of mine was burnt by the firing of Dennis Michael Rohan. He was a Christian in religion. Later, he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. It was said about his purpose that- he believed that by the burning of Al-Aqsa, that was built and reformed by the hands of the Muslims, the return of the Prophet Jesus would accelerate. Jews can build religious centers or places of worship according to their beliefs so that the dispute of Jerusalem will be finished, etc. etc.. Whoever the person, whatever his religion and however the type of fire, the Jews were involved with that from the beginning, this truth became clear as daylight in the following years. However, that special Mimbar was built by the caliph Sultan Salahuddin Aiyubi. It was one of the finest beauties of the world with unique creativity. It was made without the use of a drop of gum or one cup of cement by more than ten thousand pieces of rare timber pieces including cedar, ivory, and mussels. It was rare in the whole world. Even though it was not the same, it took 20 years to repair, because of the lack of necessary equipment and Israel’s barrier. Despite the full denial of the firing, they made clear their dialectical and self-centered position by creating an obstruction in reconstruction.
In1987, throughout the horrific incident of killing four Palestinians, Intifada (the sudden mass uprising without any pre-planning) began in all around Palestine including Jerusalem. This was the first Intifada in the history of Palestine. The purpose was one and only- releasing Me. Releasing Palestine.
In 2000, Israeli President of that time, Ariel Sharon appeared in my courtyard with one thousand security guards and police force. The second Intifada started in the context of it. Like the first time, the Palestinians have fallen under a lot of restrictions – the withdrawal of work permit, the barrier to the supply of food etc… all inhuman oppression. But the hardest thing was then all these – to stop their prayers and worship around my courtyard and surroundings. Especially 18 to 50-year-old Palestinians were banned from entering my premises. Although the announcement was of certain moments of day and night, that was for all time actually and it is practiced in an undeclared way, even today.
On November 2013, a bill was passed in the Israeli parliament, where the permission was given to the jews people to worship in my courtyard as well as Muslims and the Israeli government took the responsibility to manage. This bill was a clear result of the strongest lobbying of fundamentalist Jews since 1967. Then in October 2014, they suddenly closed all my gates. Although they were forced to withdraw from this position, facing heavy resistance from the Palestinian people and the world’s Muslims. But their attempts did not stop even today.
Earlier in March 2013, Jordan King II Abdullah signed a special agreement with the Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas to take up the responsibility of Jerusalem’s holy structures, especially my property, reform, and supervision. Yet the responsibility is in their hands and they are trying hard to do it with enough sincerity.
Through a complex equation, the world is now walking to the path to the future. My situation is so similar. In the past, all things were open. Love was easy to identify as love, as well as hatred. Nowadays it cannot be possible. There is nothing pure straightforward anywhere, not in National-international politics, neither in domestic matters. It is very difficult to visualize -what is true, which one is wrong; what is real, which one is acting. I just understand that I’m not under the real lovers of God. There are mystery games around me every moment. None of these are in favor of me, neither the devout servants of Allah. I need a real guardian for me and Jerusalem, a daring fighter. One thousand years have passed.
How many years will I wait for a Umar? a Salahuddin Aiyubi? How many…?