Temple Mount in Jerusalem
(Courtesy Todd Bolen BiblePlaces.com)
JERUSALEM – Jerusalem and the Temple Mount belong to the Muslims and any Israeli action that “offends” the Mount will be answered by 1.5 billion Muslims, declared the chief of staff for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“Jerusalem is Muslim. The blessed Al Aqsa mosque and Harem Al Sharif (Temple Mount) is 100 percent Muslim. The Israelis are playing with fire when they threaten Al Aqsa with digging that is taking place,” said Abbas’ chief of staff Rafiq Al Husseini.
The Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site.
Husseini was referring to Israeli plans to construct a new bridge from the Western Wall area to the Temple Mount.
The old bridge was damaged two years ago. When Israeli workers tried to repair it, Palestinian leaders claimed the work was threatening the Al Aqsa Mosque, even though the mosque is located hundreds of feet away, the work did not tunnel under any Mount foundation or touch any structure connected to the mosque, and the repair work – which had been pre-approved by Jordan and the Mount’s Muslim custodians – was conducted under the scrutiny of an accessible 24/7 webcam.
“Any hurting of Jerusalem will explode the whole negotiations between us and the Israelis … we must work to strengthen Palestinian ties to Jerusalem,” al-Husseini said.
Israel has been negotiating with Abbas in line with talks started at last November’s U.S.-backed Annapolis Summit, which seeks to create a Palestinian state before the end of the year. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is widely expected to offer the Palestinians most of the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem. The Temple Mount is located in eastern Jerusalem.
Mainstream Palestinian leaders claim the Temple Mount is Muslim in spite of overwhelming archaeological evidence documenting the first and second Jewish temples.
In a WND exclusive interview last year, Taysir Tamimi, chief Palestinian Justice and one of the most influential Muslim leaders in Israel, argued the Jewish Temples never existed, the Western Wall really was a tying post for Muhammad’s horse, the Al Aqsa Mosque was built by angels, and Abraham, Moses and Jesus were prophets for Islam.
Tamimi is considered the second most important Palestinian cleric after Muhammad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.
“Israel started since 1967 making archeological digs to show Jewish signs to prove the relationship between Judaism and the city and they found nothing. There is no Jewish connection to Israel before the Jews invaded in the 1880s,” said Tamimi.
“About these so-called two Temples, they never existed, certainly not at the [Temple Mount],” Tamimi said during a sit-down interview in his eastern Jerusalem office.
The Palestinian cleric denied the validity of dozens of digs verified by experts worldwide revealing Jewish artifacts from the First and Second Temples throughout Jerusalem, including on the Temple Mount itself; excavations revealing Jewish homes and a synagogue in a site in Jerusalem called the City of David; or even the recent discovery of a Second Temple Jewish city in the vicinity of Jerusalem.
Tamimi said descriptions of the Jewish Temples in the Hebrew Tanach, in the Talmud and in Byzantine and Roman writings from the Temple periods were forged, and that the Torah was falsified to claim biblical patriarchs and matriarchs were Jewish when indeed they were prophets for Islam.
“All this is not real. We don’t believe in all your versions. Your Torah was falsified. The text as given to the Muslim prophet Moses never mentions Jerusalem. Maybe Jerusalem was mentioned in the rest of the Torah, which was falsified by the Jews,” said Tamimi.
He said Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus were “prophets for the Israelites sent by Allah as to usher in Islam.”
Asked about the Western Wall, Tamimi said the structure was a tying post for Muhammad’s horse and that it is part of the Al Aqsa Mosque, even though the Wall predates the mosque by over 1,000 years.
“The Western wall is the western wall of the Al Aqsa Mosque. It’s where Prophet Muhammad tied his animal which took him from Mecca to Jerusalem to receive the revelations of Allah.”
The Kotel, or Western Wall, is an outer retaining wall of the Temple Mount that survived the destruction of the Second Temple and still stands today in Jerusalem.
Tamimi went on to claim to WND the Al Aqsa Mosque , which has sprung multiple leaks and has had to be repainted several times, was built by angels.
“Al Aqsa was build by the angels forty years after the building of Al-Haram in Mecca. This we have no doubt is true,” he said.
The First Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.
The Temple was the center of religious worship for ancient Israelites. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God’s presence dwelt. All biblical holidays centered on worship at the Temple. The Temples served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and was the main gathering place for Israelites.
According to the Talmud, the world was created from the foundation stone of the Temple Mount. It’s believed to be the biblical Mount Moriah, the location where Abraham fulfilled God’s test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac.
The Temple Mount has remained a focal point for Jewish services for thousands of years. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition.
The Al Aqsa Mosque was constructed in about 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al Aqsa was meant to mark what Muslims came to believe was the place at which Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven to receive revelations from Allah.
Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible 656 times. Muslims worldwide pray with their backs away from the Temple Mount and toward Mecca.
Islamic tradition states Muhammad took a journey in a single night on a horse from “a sacred mosque” – believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia – to “the farthest mosque” and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque became associated with Jerusalem about 120 years ago.
According to research by Israeli Author Shmuel Berkovits, Islam historically disregarded Jerusalem. Berkovits points out in his new book, “How dreadful is this place!” that Muhammad was said to loathe Jerusalem and what it stood for. He wrote Muhammad made a point of eliminating pagan sites of worship, and sanctifying only one place – the Kaaba in Mecca – to signify the unity of God.
As late as the 14th century, Islamic scholar Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya, whose writings influenced the Wahhabi movement in Arabia, ruled that sacred Islamic sites are to be found only in the Arabian Peninsula, and that “in Jerusalem, there is not a place one calls sacred, and the same holds true for the tombs of Hebron.”
It wasn’t until the late nineteenth century – incidentally when Jews started immigrating to Palestine – that some Muslim scholars began claiming Muhammad tied his horse to the Western Wall and associated Muhammad’s purported night journey with the Temple Mount.
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