There are many reasons why Muslims should make a sincere intention and their best efforts to visit Al Masjid Al Aqsa – and inshAllah below are 3 of the most important:
1. Islamic: Status of Al Aqsa and its associated reward
Prophet Muhammad (saw) taught us that we should only undertake a special journey to one of three masaajid; Al Masjid Al Haram in Makkah, Al Masjid An-Nabawi in Madinah, and Al Masjid Al Aqsa in Jerusalem. In addition – prayer in each of these blessed masaajid are multiplied in virtue, with one salaah in Al Masjid Al Aqsa receiving at least 500 times the reward of salaah elsewhere.
Al Masjid Al Aqsa has a very special status for Muslims because of its own unique history, including being:
- The first qibla in Islam;
- The second place of worship built in Islam (built 40 years after Kaaba);
- The place where the Prophet Muhammad (saw) travelled to on the night of Isra;
- The place where the Prophet Muhammad (saw) led all the other Prophets in prayer;
- The place where the Prophet Muhammad (saw) ascended during the Miraj;
Surah Isra (17:1): “Glorified be He [Allah] Who did take His servant for a journey by night from Al Masjid Al Haram to Al Masjid Al Aqsa, whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of our Signs. Verily He is the All Hearing, All Seeing”
Surah Maidah (5:21): “Remember Musa said to his people: “O my people! Call in remembrance the favour of God unto you, when He produced Prophets among you, made you kings and gave you what He had not given to any other among the peoples. O my people! Enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will you be overthrown, to your own ruin”
Surah Al Anbiyya (21:69-71): “We said, O Fire! Be thou cool and [a means of] safety for Ibrahim. Then they planned against him, but We made them the greater losers. But we delivered him and Lot (and directed them) to the land which We have blessed for the nations”
One final point relating to reward is that some shayukh have said that if one remembers Allah at a time when others forget, then inshAllah the reward is greater because it is harder to do so. So imagine the reward one will get for visiting Al Masjid Al Aqsa if one embarks on that journey at a time when the rest of the Muslims are neglectful and / or forgotten to visit this blessed place.
2. Social: Support the Ummah and the Palestinians
We have all heard about the inhumane, immoral and apartheid conditions which the Israeli authorities force upon our Palestinian brothers and sisters to live under. Many experience conditions of poverty that we can scarcely imagine, and are subjected to daily harassment, humiliation, physical abuse and prejudice.
Now ask yourselves the question – why do they stay in this land and endure such hardships each day, when there are many Zionist organisations that are willing to pay them unimaginable sums of money for their property?
The reason is because the Palestinians realise that this land is blessed and is sacred for the Muslims! They make such sacrifices to protect Al Masjid Al Aqsa so that it remains an Islamic place of worship, and so that all of us, and our families and future generations can visit and offer our salaah there. They sacrifice themselves to please Allah by protecting Al Masjid Al Aqsa for the Muslims.
So with this in mind, the very least we should try and do is visit and show them that we as an Ummah have not forgotten about them, and that we as an Ummah are united in our support for them. One thing that always touches me on visiting Palestine is how often the locals tell me just how much it means for them to see foreigners visit, and how it gives them hope and renewed determination to continue their struggle because it reminds them that their struggle is for the Ummah, and that the Ummah is behind them.
3. Economic: Give Sadaqa
Visiting Al Masjid Al Aqsa and Palestine provides an amazing and unique opportunity to gain huge reward by giving sadaqa.
The reason for this is that the Israeli authorities have imposed such strict restrictions on the free movement of Palestinians and their ability to engage in trade and business, that it is v difficult for them to build an economy independently.
Therefore if you visit Al Masjid Al Aqsa and intend that all the money you spend will be to support the Ummah (and especially those within the Ummah who need it and have sacrificed themselves for the deen) – then inshAllah all the money you spend will be sadaqa for you!
Below are a few lovely hadith and ayaat on the virtues of sadaqa:
- “Sadaqa extinshuishes sin as water extinguishes fire” [Ahmad, Tirmidhi]
- “Sadaqah (charity) does not decrease wealth.” [Muslim]
- “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his Sadaqah.” [Ahmad]
- “Every act of goodness is sadaqa” [Bukhari].
- “The likeness of those who spend for Allah’s sake is as the likeness of a grain of corn, it grows seven ears, every single ear has a hundred grains, and Allah multiplies (increases the reward of) for whom He wills, and Allah is sufficient for His creatures needs, All-Knowing.” [Quran 2:261]
So please take up this amazing opportunity to gain massive amounts of reward and increase in your closeness to Allah by visiting this Blessed Masjid!!