Dome of the Rock and Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Just as the Christians had churches that they venerated and worshiped in, the Muslims had mosques with a long history. Before talking about the most important church for Christians in Jerusalem, we would do well to take a quick look at the most important mosques in the Holy Land, in order to clarify the importance of places of worship for people of monotheistic religions. God - Glory be to Him, the Most High - has favored places on earth that He has designated for His honor and made them places for His worship, in which He multiplies the reward and increases the rewards.

 the importance of Dome of the Rock

 According to what has been proven in the Sahih books, the three mosques are the best places on Earth, and they are in Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem.

church of the Holy Sepulcher

The Dome of the Rock is a sacred shrine located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, it is considered one of the holiest sites in Islam and is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city.

The Holy House Mosque was built by David and Solomon. God commanded them to build its mosque and erect its temples, and many of the prophets from the descendants of Isaac were buried around it. 

The closest among those mosques sacred to Muslims to the “Church of the Resurrection” is the Mosque of Jerusalem, known as the Mosque of the Holy Rock, because it is historically connected to that church that Christians honor for its historical and religious importance, and for its proximity to Bethlehem, which is the house in which Jesus Christ was born.

 The history of Dome of the Rock


Dome of the Rock

It is one of the oldest surviving Islamic monuments and is considered one of the holiest sites in Islam.

The sources mentioned that the “Mosque of the Holy Rock” was initially built in the days of the Sabians (star worshipers) as a temple for the planet Venus, and they used to offer oil to it in whatever they offered and pour it on the rock that was there, and with the passage of time that structure was destroyed. 

Children of Israel era

When the Children of Israel took control of Jerusalem, they made that rock the qibla (the direction for pray) for their prayers, this is because when Moses brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt to take possession of Jerusalem and they settled in the Land of the Wanderings, God Almighty commanded him to make a dome of acacia wood, and to place in it the Ark of the Covenant, which is the Ark in which the tablets were revealed with the words. 

When the children of Israel took control of the Levant, that qibla remained their qibla and they placed it on the rock in Jerusalem, David wanted to build his mosque on the rock in place of the dome, but that was not accomplished for him, and he entrusted it to his son Solomon, who built it for four years of his reign and five hundred years after the death of Moses. 

He made its columns of copper and made a glass edifice with it, and overlaid its doors and walls with gold. he fashioned its temples, statues, containers, lampstand, and key of gold, and in its back he made a tomb in which to place the Ark of the Covenant, in which were the tablets. 

He was brought from Zion, the country of his father David, and was carried by the tribes and priests until he placed it in the grave. 

The mosque remained until Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it eight hundred years after it was built, he burned the Torah and the staff of Moses, shaped the temples, and scattered the stones. Then, when the Persian kings returned them, Uzair, the prophet of the children of Israel, built it because of his promise to help Bahman, the king of the Persians, and he set limits for them in its construction without the building of Solomon the son of David ( Peace be upon them), then the kings of Greece, Persians, and Romans dealt with them. 

When Herod ruled over Jerusalem, he built the mosque on the basis of Solomon’s building, and he elaborated on it until he completed it in six years, The mosque remained as it was until Titus, the Roman emporor, came and defeated the children of Israel and ruled over them. He destroyed Jerusalem and its mosque and ordered it to be planted in its place. 

 the story of Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Then the Romans adopted the religion of Christ, and then the situation of the Roman emporors differed in adopting the Christian religion at times and abandoning it at other times until Constantine came and his mother, Helena, converted to Christianity and traveled to Jerusalem in search of the gallows on which Jesus Christ was crucified. 

The priests told her that he had thrown his wood on the ground and thrown rubbish on it, so the wood was extracted and the “Church of the Resurrection” was built in place of that rubbish, as if it were on the grave of Jesus, they destroyed what they found of the building of the house, and ordered the dung and rubbish to be thrown onto the rock until it covered it and its place was hidden as punishment for what they had done to the tomb of Christ.

Then, in front of the rubbish, they built Bethlehem, which is the house in which Jesus Ben Maryam was born.

(The Dome of the Rock ) The Islamic era

The matter remained like this until Islam came and Caliph Omar bin Al-Khattab came to receive the keys to Jerusalem in the year 17 AH/638 AD, he asked about the rock and was shown its place, with dung and dirt on top of it, he uncovered it and built a mosque on it on the Bedouin road, and it became known by his name. 

During the reign of Bani Marwan, narratives differed in attributing the construction of religious buildings in Jerusalem to the reign of Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan or to his son Al-Walid. They also differed between the Dome of the Rock Mosque and Al-Aqsa Mosque, which are adjacent to each other, but the statements of some historians suggest that the construction of the Dome of the Rock Mosque went to Abd al-Malik, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque to Al-Walidm, Abdul-Malik built his mosque on the sacred rock, and its construction is attributed to Al-Walid in the courtyard of the Dome of the Rock Mosque, it is a huge building that includes corridors and is decorated with mosaics.

The era of the Crusader invasion 

The Crusaders changed its features when they occupied Jerusalem, they also built a church on the sacred rock that they venerated and were proud to have built. 

The matter remained like this until Saladin bin Ayoub became king of Egypt and the Levant, he marched to the Levant and fought the Franks there until he defeated them in Jerusalem, for about 580 AH/1184 AD, He demolished that church, exposed the rock, and built the mosque.

Returning to the “Church of the Resurrection” during the era of the Fatimids, specifically the time of Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, Al-Dhahabi mentions in “Countries of Islam” and Ibn Katheer confirmed it in “The Beginning and the End” that the Church of the Resurrection was demolished by order of the Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, in the year 398 AH/10, and it became the traceable after trace, as witnessed by Yahya bin Saeed Al-Antaki in his history. 

The reason for the demolition of the church was that the Christians were exaggerating in displaying their rituals, committing evil in the presence of Muslims, and deceiving the people that the light of heaven was falling into the church. 

The tolerance of the Fatimids towards Christians

However, this Fatimid tolerance towards the Christians of Palestine was considered by some to be tantamount to the Franks’ protection over the lands of Palestine, If that was the case, then the question arises:

 How long did the Franks’ protection over Palestine last? 

Barthold answers this question by quoting Bryher, the French church historian, by saying: 

“The end of this protection was the demolition of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the year 400 AH/1009 AD based on the order of the ruler, the Fatimid Caliph.” Barthold added: “The rebuilding of the temple (the church) at the expense of the Byzantine emperor was considered the beginning of Byzantine protection instead of Frankish protection''.

It is clear from the above, and based on the opinions of historians, that what Al-Hakim did by God’s command was nothing but a service to the Fatimid Caliphate to remain far from any foreign tutelage or authority. 

This policy, in the opinion of the people of his time, reflects the personality of a vigilant statesman who is jealous of the interests of his state and nation, and there is no bias or fanaticism in his work as much as it is cutting off the hand of ecupation that penetrates with this soft policy under the guise of religion, and under the pretext of protecting the holy places, which are in fact somewhat safe, it lasted under the protection of Islam and Muslims. 

On the other hand, Al-Hakim, was fully prepared to remove any force that stood in the way of his political decisions and positions, and according to the testimony of Antioch and Kurd Ali, when Al-Mufarrej bin Al-Jarrah created the conditions conducive to rebuilding “the Church of the Resurrection and restoring places according to his ability and power,” Al-Hakim considered this work to be a challenge. For his decisions, and an explicit rejection of the record he issued regarding the church. 

It also means Al-Mufarrej’s complicity in the issue of restoring foreign protection to Palestine, these positions made Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah a stubborn opponent against the presence of the Bani Al-Jarrah in Ramla, through their policy, they approached the enemies of the state and contributed to the restoration of foreign privileges to the land of Palestine. 

Then the ruler was determined to remove the emirate of Banu al-Jarrah from Ramla at any cost, and regardless of the circumstances and difficulties, for this reason, he sent a military campaign to Palestine led by Ali bin Jaafar bin Falah to fight the Banu al-Jarrah al-Ta’i, and at the same time he worked in secret to kill the leader of Banu Tai, al-Mufarraj bin The wounds were poisoned, and what he wanted was achieved in the year 404 AH/1013 AD. 

After Al-Hakim, the Romans tried, according to the history of Antioch, to rebuild the church officially, with the support and consent of some of the Fatimid caliphs, and on this basis negotiations began between the Fatimid Caliph Al-Zahir Izzaz, and the Byzantine king Romanos III, to conclude peace between the two countries on the basis of rebuilding all the destroyed churches, recognizing the emporor’s right to restore the Church of the Holy Sepulcher at his own expense. 

It seems that these relations continued in this manner, and this was confirmed by Asad Rustam in his book “The Romans and Their Connections with the Arabs” that in the year 427 AH/1036 AD, a treaty was signed on this basis between Michael IV and Caliph Al-Mustadhir Billah, and the church returned to its previous era, in the year 429 AH/1037 AD.

The traveler Nasir Khusraw was also an eyewitness to this event, when he visited Jerusalem in the year 439 AH/1047 AD, he saw the church with his own eyes. 

The Church returned to Jerusalem officially and was recognized by the Fatimid Caliphs, the Byzantine protectorate was declared over the lands of Palestine instead of the Frankish protectorate. 























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