Category Archives: History

Importance of Bait al Muqaddas, Al Aqsa & Jerusalem

This article provides some basic information on an important subject of Jerusalem, Bait al Muqaddas and Qibla e Awwal Al Aqsa Mosque and how these are Holy for All Muslims Jews & Christians.

Being a student myself I am also learning; so please highlight any error or omission you may find.

Old City of Jerusalem
Old City of Jerusalem

Jerusalem / Al Quds / Bait Al Muqaddas

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and considered to be the most sacred for all three monotheist religions of book i.e. Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The last two originated or centred around this area.

The city is also referred to as Al Quds (Holy one) & Bait al Muqaddas sometimes.

A large number of Prophets either originated from this area or lived here such as Ibrahim AS, Loot AS, Haroon AS, Eisa AS (Jesus),  Dawood AS (David) & Suleiman AS (Solomon).

Musa AS lead the Jews (Bani Israeel) from Egypt, away from Firaown to Senai desert. He AS was ordered to take Israeels to Jerusalem but due to their misbehave they had to wander around the area for 40 years. Musa AS passed away, and later on Jews entered this city/area.

This is the city where Jews were organised as a nation by Dawood AS.

This is the city where young Eisa grew and interacted with Jews of the time and foundation of Christianity were laid.

Prophet Muhammad SAW passed through this city on his journey of Israa wal Mairaage. Allah Ta’ala says:

“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 Al Isra (17:01)

No wonder you will be struck by strong spiritual feelings while visiting this Blessed city of Prophets.

Jerusalem is under Israel’s authority currently.

Old city of Jerusalem is surrounded by walls and divided into four quarters: Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian. The most sacred sites (1 to 6 mentioned below) are located within the old city.

Temple Mount / Harm Sharif (in blue)
Temple Mount / Harm Sharif (in blue)

 

1. Harm Sharif / Temple Mount:

There is a flat area of approx. 488 m long and 315 m wide on a mountain in the old part of Jerusalem. This area is surrounded by Walls & is referred to as Harm Sharif or Temple Mount.

It is considered to be the Holiest of the holies by all. Sacred sites 2 to 5 are situated within the Haram Sharif.

Jews believe that Ibrahim AS offered to sacrifice his son Ismail AS here. Though Muslims believe this incident happened in Makkah.

Al Aqsa Mosque
Al Aqsa Mosque

 

2. Masjid Al Aqsa:

Sometimes referred to as Masjid al Quds, it is the 3rd Holiest Place in Islam. It is situated inside Harm Sharif along the Southern wall.

Masjid Al Aqsa was the first Qibla for Muslims. It was changed to Ka’aba after 16 or 17 months.

It is narrated in Bukhari by Abū Hurairah (RA) that:

“Muslims are not allowed to travel the earth with the intention of worship except to three places; Masjid Al Hraam (Ka’aba), Masjid Nabvi & Masjid Al-Aqsa.”

The current building was built by Umar RA upon conquering the area.

3. Dome of Rock / Quba tul Sakhra Mosque: The big prominent, the most beautiful Golden Dome in the middle of Harm Sharif is called

The big prominent, the most beautiful Golden Dome in the middle of Harm Sharif is called Quba tul Sakhra or Dome of Rock. It was built by Umayyad Khalifa Abbdul Mulk bin Marwan.

NOTE: Usually this Dome is confused with Masjid Al Aqsa. Please Mark the Difference between Masjid Al Aqsa and Masjid Al Sakhra.

Dome of Rock / Al Sakhra Masjid
Dome of Rock / Al Sakhra Masjid

 

4. First Temple / Haikal e Suleimani

Hazrat Dawood AS (King David) ruled this area for many years. He AS gathered the Jews and established them as a nation. Dawood AS wished to build to a Temple here.

His son Hazrat Suleiman AS (King Solomon) fulfilled his wish by building a temple somewhere on or around the Temple Mount (Harm Sharif) approximately 1000 years BC. It was destroyed after 480 years approximately.

On Destruction of the original temple, the 2nd temple was built here (sometimes referred to as Herod’s Temple). But it was also destroyed around 70 BC.

Jews used to visit the temples for Pilgrimage but it stopped after the destruction.

Jews believe they can only come up to western Wall. They are not allowed to go on the Temple Mount to avoid accidentally walking on their original temple (explained below) and disrespecting it.

Jews believe that Messiah (same as Muslims & Christians believe Eissa AS) will come back and build their temple again. Some of the Jews believe in not waiting for Messiah and want to go ahead & build the temple now.

5. Western Wall: Also known as Wailing Wall, Dewar e Girya, Wall of Weeping & Burraq Wall.

Also known as Wailing Wall, Dewar e Girya, Wall of Weeping & Burraq Wall.

It is believed that remains of temples are buried near Western wall. So this Wall is considered to be the Holiest place for Jews.

They cry here to remember the destruction of the Temples and pray here regularly.

6. Church of the Holy Sepulchre: The holiest church in Christianity; Orthodox & Catholic Christians believe Jesus (Eisa AS) was crucified here and this is where his body disappeared to heavens. Some Christians disagree on the

The holiest church in Christianity; Orthodox & Catholic Christians believe Jesus (Eisa AS) was crucified here and this is where his body disappeared to heavens. Some Christians disagree on the location though.

Umayyad Power Struggle and Shia Sunni Divide

Read Part 1 Here

Quraish Logo

Download Urdu Extract Here

Abu Suffian (RA) Family & Syria:

Abu Suffian RA family remained in power in Syria from 18 Hijrah (year 638) onward. This area became the power source for them. This is where the era of Ummayad Khilafat originated in 41 Hijrah (661).

We need to keep in mind that there are many people in Umayyad who were named Muawiah & Yazeed. Abu Suffian had two sons called Muawiah (RA) & Yazeed (RA). Then Muawiah (RA) had a son called Yazeed. He was the one involved in the incident of Karbalah where Imam Hussain RA was martyred (underlined & marked with Red arrow in the chart below).

Initial Khaleefahs & No Relatives Policy:

Abu Bakar (RA) was from Bani Taiyam and Umar (RA) was from Bani Adi; so first two khaleefs were neither Hashimi nor Umayyad. Then Usman (RA) from Bani Ummayyiah came into power. Neither Muhammad (SAW) nor any of the first two khaleefs appointed anyone from their family.

But Usman RA reversed this policy and appointed a lot of his close relatives at high positions in his Government. This is when the Ummayiah- Hashimi rivalry started surfacing again.

Umayyad in Power under Usman (RA)

Usman (RA) sincerely believed that He is appointing a suitable person for the job and that Allah Ta’ala has commanded Muslims to be kind to their close relatives.

As Usman RA appointed many people from Umayyad, they became very strong during his era. There were good Umayyad people appointed who served the state in great ways but there were some doubtful appointments such as:

Waleed bin Uqaba: Usman’s (RA) Step Brother. He was appointed an Ammal (Tax collector) by Prophet (SAW). But he lied to prophet when sent to Bani Mustaliq’s and hence was  removed from his appointment. Usman RA appointed him as Governor of Kufa replacing Saad bin Waqas (RA) (Ashra-e-Mubashra). Waleed prayed 4 Rakah in Fajar under the influence of alcohol. He was then removed & punished by Usman RA.

Abdullah bin Saad bin Sarh: Usman’s (RA) Razai Brother (suckled milk from same woman). He was one of the worst enemies of Islam. At Fatah Makkah Prophet (SAW) ordered to kill him (& 7 others) even if they hold Ka’aba’s Cover (Ghulaaf). But he was saved by Usman (RA). He accepted Islam, then Rejected, & then accepted again.

Usman appointed him as Governor of Egypt.

Marwan bin Hakam: Hakam was uncle of Usman (RA). He was exiled by Prophet SAW from Madina due to anti state activities. He & his son Marwan remained in exile till the time of Usman (RA). Abu Bakar & Umar RA did not allow them to return. But Usman RA brought them back to Madina. As stated by Usman RA, he took permission from Rasul Allah (SAW).

Marwan was appointed as State Secretary by Usman (RA). He held the official seal of the Khalifah but he abused his powers many times. It was one such incident which eventually led to the death of Usman RA. Marwan was the killer of Abu Talha RA (Ashra Mubashra sahabi) during the battle of Jammal. He also confiscated the Oasis of Fadak (Khyber) which was kept by Rasul Allah (SAW) for his family.

Ameer Muawwiah RA: Usman RA extended Ameer Muawiah’s RA rule to the whole Syria including Jordan & Palestine. He remained as Governor here for about 23 years. A long tenure at one place turned out to be lethal and led to worst power struggle Muslims ever saw plus the killing of thousands of Muslims including Imam Husaain (RA).

Hashimi & Umayyad Family Tree
Hashimi & Umayyad Family Tree

 

Bani Ummayyad vs Ahl-e-Bait (Family of Rasul Allah SAW)

After the death of Usman RA, Ali RA was appointed as 4th Khalifah. He was from Bani Hashim. Ameer Muawiah RA, the governor of Syria at the time, refused to give his allegiance to Ali RA. As a result a sad battle of Saffain was fought between them and thousands of Muslims lost their lives. Ali’s RA whole tenure of Khilafat was wasted due to fighting among Muslims. People were so deprived of peace.

Ali (RA) shifted Dar Al-khilafah, the Capital of Government from Madina to Kufa so that people of Madina could get some peace from power struggles and focus more on knowledge.

After the sad death of Ali RA, Hazrat Hassan RA was appointed as Khaleefa. But Ameer Muawwiah RA continued his efforts to become the ruler of all the Muslims so the internal fights continued. Imam Hassan RA was very kind hearted; he did not like to further the spillage of ordinary Muslims blood. Hassan RA stepped down and Amir Muawwiah became the Khaleefa of all Muslims world of the time.

This act was disliked by the Banu Hashim and the Rivalry turned into “Umayyad vs Ahl-e-Bait” (Family of Prophet SAW). A large group of supporters of Ahl-e-Bait emerged called Shia (discussed below).

Era of Umayyad Khilafat (661 – 749):

Ameer Muawiah RA taking Khalifah’s office was the foundation of Umayyad Khilafat. He RA apparently took good care of the Ahl-e-Bait.

Muawwiah RA nominated his son Yazeed as khaleefah after his death. This was the first & worst example of Monarchy (Malookiat, Inherited Family based Government). People generally rejected it but some people accepted it out of fear because Umayyad had power in their hands. Some accepted it just to keep unity. But people with high morals from Quraish and especially Ahl-e-Bait opposed it.

At the forefront of opposition were Imam Hussain & Abdullah bin Zubair bin Awam RA. Imam Hussain RA was martyred along other Ahl-e-Bait at Karbala.

Muttalib Family

Yazeed died after few years and his appointed son Muawiah (son of Yazeed) stepped down within few days of taking the power. And this brought an end to ruling in Amir Muawiah RA family. Khalafat continued in Bani Umayyad though till 749. It was then taken over by the Bani Abbas (decedents of Abbas RA, uncle of Rasul Allah SAW).

The 92 years of monarchy based Umayyad era was full of oppression & killings among Muslims. Although they mainly focused on gaining & maintaining power and Islam was not their main agenda, yet they largely implemented Islam as a system to look after the collective affairs of Muslims. This is in full contrast to the present days Muslim rulers; they are not only illegal but also run our affairs with 100% non-Islamic system.

The Big Split:

It is evident the Umayyad Hashmi Rivalry created a big rift in Muslims form very early days. It later transformed into Umayyad vs Ahl-e-Bait (Family of Rasul Allah SAW). The dispute was largely around power or leadership of the nation (or, may we say Political). People were largely divided into 3 groups, plus two small opportunist Groups (4 & 5, which are not discussed here):

  1. Umayyad & their Supporters
  2. Ahl-e-Bait & their Supporters known as Shia’a
  3. Neutrals: These stayed away from fighting either out of fear or to avoid fitna (dispute)
  4. Sabaai: A group started by a munaafiq Abdulla bin Sabaa, a former Jew who had religious grudge against Muslims. They spread a lot of bad rumours, wrong beliefs, propaganda and misinformation to spoil the situation, especially among new Muslims. They are extinct now but the intellectual damage caused by them will be with us forever.
  5. Khawaraj: They took verses of Quran literally (word by word meaning) and declared most Muslims kaafir (out of Islam). They were responsible for a large number of killings. They are also extinct now.

There is a long history but in the end we are left with Shia group on one side & the rest of Muslims as Sunni on the other side. This is the biggest divide we see up to today in Muslim nation. Politicians have exploited this situation cleverly to keep this divide alive and to make both groups fight each other.

Divide upon Divided upon Divide:

The initial divide was focused on political side only; no one cared about Fiqh or Madhab. But later on this divide was turned into a Fiqhi (Madhabi, religious) Division of Shia vs Sunni Fiqh. It was (& still is) fully abused by clever politicians to keep us divided along these lines. Currently we are divided on Fiqh as well as politically (based on colour, area, race, language, etc., etc.). We have more than 50 Muslim countries and many more so called ‘nations’ which are further divided on Jaafria Fiqh & Sunni Fiqh which is then further divided into (Hanafi, Shaafai, Maaliki & Hanbali) plus Ahl-e-Hadees – endless.

Fiqhi divide is fine as long as it is based on just Islam and is not used to discriminate & fight with each other. But the political division is outright bad; we are one Ummah (nation) so we really should be under one Government. Soon Eesa (AS) will be arriving in Syria insha Allah. Which passport will he have? Will he need visa to visit Iran, Saudi or Pakistan? Think!!

shia sunny cartoon

Shia’an:

Literal meaning of Shia is a group, supporters or followers. There were a number of supporters of Ahl-e-Bait at around that time. Main groups were:

Shia’an Ali: Supporters of Ali RA. They were divided after his death as below.

Shia’an Fatimi: Supporters of Ali’s RA children from Fatima RA. After the martyr of Imam Hussain RA, Imam Zain al Abideen was the main person in his lineage. He stayed away from power struggle and focused on the knowledge.

Shia’an Alvi: Followers of Ali’s RA children from other wives. Muhammad ibin Hanfiyya (son of Ali RA but named after his mother Hanafiyah RA) became the main leader of Ahl-e-Bait after the martyr of Hussain RA.

Abu Hashim bin Muhammad Hanafia (grandson of Ali RA) handed over imamat of Ahl-e-Bait to Muhammad bin Ali, the grandson of Abbas RA (uncle of Rasul Allah SAW). Over time, Abbasi family gained enough power to overturn the Umayyad Government. Hence the Abbasi Khilafat was born which lasted for 500 years.

Later in history shia were subdivided further into sects such as Kaysaania, Zaydia, Immamia, Ismaeelia, isna Asharia (majority now) & few other groups.

System Still Islam:

Although Umayyad rulers were selected via Monarchy; they implemented Islam as a system throughout. Umayyad rulers implemented Islam mostly but broke some of its rules. BUT leaders throughout Muslim world today implement non-Islamic systems with some Islamic flavour to it.

I am sure the Muslim divisions will cease to exist and we will be one united Nation again once Islam is implemented as a Whole, as a way of Life insha Allah….

no sunny no shia

Quraish Tribe: A Profound Impact on Muslim History

Quraish Poster

Tribe Quraish & Muslims Division Today

NOTE: The below article is based on the famous books “Tareekh-e-Islam” by Moeen ud Din Nadvi and “Khilafat aur Malookiat” by Maulana Modudi. The article is intended as a historical discussion.

All Sahaba are respectable to us. However, they made errors of judgement at times because they were humans. Still we respect them as Rasool Allah (SAW) has praised them at different occasions.

Objective of discussion here is not to prove someone right or wrong rather learn. And I am learning myself so if you find anything missing or wrong, kindly guide me on it.

Read the Urdu Extract Here (Download the PDF File)

Significance of Quraish Tribe:

Tribe of Quraish has a special significance in Islam; our beloved prophet Muhammad (SAW) belongs to it. Allah Ta’ala mentions Quraish in Quran (Surah Al-Quraish) as He blessed them with favours. Muhammad (SAW) talked about their importance in different hadeeth. Understanding Quraish’s origins and its structure will help us understand the nature of initial struggle for establishing Islam. More importantly the roots of the biggest divide that Muslims have, originated from the very structure of Quraishi tribe; i.e. the Shia Sunni Divide.

Quraish Tree

Origins:

The tribe Quraish links back to our spiritual father & Prophet Ibrahim AS who moved to the place now known as Makkah and built the first house of God known as Ka’ba. The tribe’s foundation was laid by one of his decedents called Fahr whose Laqab (nick name) was Quraish. His decedents were called Quraishi. With the passage of time they subdivided into small tribes or branches as listed below:

  1. Bani Hashim, 2. Bani Ummaiyah, 3. Bani Nofil, 4. Bani Abd al Dar, 5. Bani Asad, 6. Bani Taim, 7. Bani Makhzoom, 8. Bani Adi, 9. Bani Jamha, 10. Bani Sahm

Organisation:

Quraish’s organised social life & political structure was formed by Qasi who was born in the 5th generation after Fahr. Three main areas of Administration were:

  1. Army: Organising Army, Battles, Relations with other nations. This was the responsibility of Bani Ummaiyah
  2. Courts: Decision making via Collective Council, Disputes Solving, and
  3. Religious Affairs: Looking after Ka’aba & Haaji visitors. Responsibility of Bani Hashim

Quraish’s main profession was trade. They would travel far & wide for it. Allah Ta’ala granted them two gifts as mentioned in Quran (surah Quraish) i.e. Rizq (Food) and Peace. The 3rd and biggest gift is Ka’aba, the House of the Lord. People from all over the world would come to visit it. So, Quraish had a lot of respect, prominence & power at the time.

Two Key Tribes:

Bani Hashim and Bani Ummaiyah were the strongest and most prominent tribes. These very tribes shaped the Muslim history in coming years.

  1. Bani Hashim were respected the most as they were in-charge of the Religious affairs i.e. looking after Ka’aba, Pilgrims & the related matters. Muhammad Rasul Allah (SAW) descended in this tribe
  2. Bani Ummaiyah (Umayyads) were most powerful; they were rich and bigger in number. Bani Ummaiyah were in-charge of Army.

Hashim Ummayad chart

Relations & Rivalry:

Both Hashimis and Umayyads were descendants of same grandfather Abd Munaf hence were close relatives. But there was always a sense of rivalry present among them. Because both tribes were more or less equally strong in terms of wealth & honour so matter of competition was not major. The ties were further strengthened through intermarriages…..Until Hashimis were granted the Prophet-hood.

Muhammad (SAW) becoming prophet took Hashimis to prominence; feud & power struggle grew apparent. Umayyads had nothing personal against Hashimis. They were against Hashimis as were the other Quraishi tribes. It was their Leading role that was at stake.. Being the strongest militarily & financially, Umayyads would have acted the same way against any other tribe in such a situation.

The relations between two tribes remained even after the arrival of Islam. Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) daughters were married to Usman (RA) & Abu Al-Aas, both Umayyad, and Prophet’s wife Um-e-Habiba (RA) was the daughter of Aub Sufian (RA), the head of Quraishi Army at the time.

Unity under Islam:

Fatah Makkah (conquer of Makkah) crushed the power of Quraish. Banu Ummaiyah, like many other tribes accepted Islam. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) honoured them significantly, especially Abu Suffiyan (RA) & his family. He was granted special privileges. His son Ameer Muawiah (RA) was appointed as Katib-e-Wahi (writer of Revelations). Suitable people from Ummayiah were given leadership roles. Umayyads returned that honour with great dignity; Abu Sufian (RA) fought battles taking his whole families along. Usman (RA) spent all of his wealth in the way of Islam.

So Umayyad remained prominent even after the arrival of Islam. And the tradition continued after the passing away of Muhammad (SAW).

Conquer of Syria:

Abu Bakar (RA) sent an army to conquer Syria. Abu Sufian (RA) participated in this war with all of his family. Uazeed (Son of Abu Sufian RA) was appointed as in-charge of a small army section that went to Damascus (Damishq). Damascus was eventually conquered in Umar’s (RA) time. Umar (RA), the 2nd Khaleefa-e-Rasihda appointed Ameer Muawiah bin Abu Suffian (RA) as Ruler here.

The action of appointing Muawaiah RA in Syria laid the foundations of the biggest divide in Muslim nation and changed the course of Muslim history forever.

Read 2nd Part Here