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Al-Aqsa: The Blessed Land: Part 1

Mar 08, 2021

Aqsa Week 6th – 12th March 2021

Aqsa Week will coincide with al-Isra wal-Miraj to bring the love of Al-Aqsa to the global community under the banner of #LoveAqsa.

Aqsa Week is about creating conversations on why we #LoveAqsa

The aim is to deliver an exciting educational week in order to bring a global focus to Al-Aqsa and the Palestinian people.

Aqsa Week brings to fore the centrality of Al-Aqsa and the plight of the Palestinians. The highlight of the campaign is to teach Muslims and non-Muslims of the great heritage of Masjid Al-Aqsa and how to support the occupied people around the world.

In order to gain a complete understanding of Al Aqsa, the first thing we need to understand is “What is Masjid Al Aqsa?”

A Blessed and Holy Land

THE “BLESSED LAND” under the Islamic ethos means land associated with barakah – the land over which Allah has endowed spiritual and physical blessings from which all of humanity can derive benefit. The barakah also extends to the people who reside within this land, on condition that they conform to the commands of Allah, i.e., practise Islam.

Al-Aqṣā Sanctuary has been honoured and glorified by Allah and showered with His divine blessings for the benefit, enlightenment and guidance of all mankind. The Qur’ān states that the blessings of this land are for “al- ‘Ālamīn” – which means for all the world’s creatures until eternity. It implies that the blessings are not restricted to any specific group of people or species, rather encompassing all living and non-living things.

The boundaries of this “blessed land” are not clear and there are differences of opinion about its exact extent. Some classical Islamic scholars of the Qur’ān and aḥādīth, including Ibn Kathīr, al-Qurṭubī and Ibn al-Jawzī, consider the whole area of al-Shām (modern-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine) as blessed. Other interpreters believe that the blessed land is contiguous from the Ḥijāz (Saudi Arabia) through al-Shām to Egypt. A further, and maybe a more logical opinion, is that within the area of the modern Middle East, there are pockets of “blessed land” like the compound of al-Aqṣā Sanctuary, the Prophet’s ﷺ Masjid in Madinah and the Holy Masjid in Makkah. However, in all the opinions on the extent of the “blessed land”, al-Aqṣā Sanctuary is included. The blessings of al-Aqṣā Sanctuary in particular and alShām area in general is expounded in the Holy Qur’ān and the traditions of the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ:

Al Aqsa in the Holy Quraan

Prophet Ibrāhīm (AS) and his immediate family were deported by his clansmen from the city of his birth, Ur, in a country called Sumer (modern-day Iraq), for preaching the tawḥīdof Allah. The Qur’ān informs us that Ibrāhīm (AS) was delivered by Allah to the land which Allah has “blessed for the nations”. This land, which Allah eloquently refers to as “blessed for the nations”, is the glorious land of Palestine. Prophet Ibrāhīm (AS) is believed to have re-constructed the Masjid alAqṣā in al-Quds (Jerusalem) with his son Isḥāq (AS).

وَنَجَّيْنَٰهُ وَلُوطًا إِلَى ٱلْأَرْضِ ٱلَّتِى بَٰرَكْنَا فِيهَا لِلْعَٰلَمِينَ

And We saved him and Lot and brought him to the land upon which We had bestowed Our blessings for all the people of the world. [Sūrah al-Anbiyā’ 21: 71]

The verses of the Holy Qur’ān indicate that unlike any other place on earth, Allah has blessed the land of Palestine. Allah has blessed and honoured this area prior to any event or incident through His Great Mercy and through the subsequent events that took place there are further reasons by which the followers built their love and affection for this area. No doubt the presence of Prophets (AS) and the historical link to them builds a bond, but it is Allah through His Great Mercy and Wisdom, who has chosen the area around al-Aqṣā Sanctuary to be blessed.

Al Aqsa in the Ahadith

The Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ is reported to have said, “Allah has blessed what lies between al-Arish (in Egypt) and the Euphrates and has made Palestine particularly holy”. [Kanz al-‘Ummāl]

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