Mosque of Umar inscription

Mosque of Umar inscription

The United Nations’ effort to erase Jerusalem’s history and deny any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount has been dealt another setback with the publishing of a new archaeological artifact from an ancient mosque near Hebron.

The Mosque of Umar, located in the village of Nuba, about 16 miles south of Jerusalem, is believed by locals to have been built by Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab, under whose rule Arab armies conquered Jerusalem and the rest of Byzantine Palestine in the mid-7th century, reported the Times of Israel. His successor, Abd al-Malik, the fifth caliph, built the better-known Dome of the Rock atop the Temple Mount in A.D. 691.

A recently studied limestone dedicatory plaque in the Nuba mosque describes the village as an endowment for the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, but what is notable is it refers to the Dome of the Rock as “the rock of the Bayt al-Maqdis” – “Holy Temple” – the literal translation of the Hebrew term used by early Muslims for the city of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount’s gold-dome shrine.

The stone bearing the inscription sits above the mosque’s niche that faces toward Mecca.

It reads: “In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, this territory, Nuba, and all its boundaries and its entire area, is an endowment to the Rock of Bayt al-Maqdis and the al-Aqsa Mosque, as it was dedicated by the Commander of the Faithful, Umar ibn al-Khattab for the glory of Allah.”

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Israeli scholars have dated the inscription to the 9th or 10th centuries, based on the script and comparable dedicatory inscriptions in other mosques within Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The distinction made between the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, “together with the Hadith tradition and [Arabic] literature praising Jerusalem [from the 11th century], leads us to posit that the term Bayt al-Maqdis as it appears in the Nuba inscription … alludes directly to the Dome of the Rock,” wrote Assaf Avraham and Peretz Reuven, who published the study.

Their findings certainly fit with what is already known about how the conquering Muslims viewed the ancient site. Avraham and Rueven cite medieval Islamic traditions that repeatedly “identified the mount again and again with David and Solomon’s temples,” and viewed the Dome of the Rock as “the ancient temple rebuilt, the Quran is the true faith and the Muslims the true Children of Israel.”

“Rites imitating activities performed in the Jewish temple were held in and around the Dome of the Rock in the Ummayad period,” Avraham and Reuven wrote. “Performers of those rituals purified themselves, changed clothes, burned incense, anointed the stone with oil, opened and closed drapes and lit oil lamps.”

“In effect, the Muslims saw themselves as the ones continuing the biblical tradition of the temple,” Avraham said. In their view, the Dome of the Rock was the third Temple.

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As late as 1925, a guide to the Temple Mount by the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem listed the location as Jewish and as the site of Solomon’s temple. The Temple Institute acquired a copy of the official 1925 “Guide Book to Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” which states on page 4: “Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which David ‘built there an altar unto the Lord.'”

With the formation of the Jewish state in 1948 and the capture of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount by Israel in 1968, the Waqf – the Muslim authority over the site – has increasingly tried to erase Israel’s connection to it. Unauthorized excavations have destroyed evidence of ancient Israel’s earlier sovereignty and Jews have been prevented from ascending the mount or, when allowed, praying. All historical connections by Jews to the Temple Mount are now denied

Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible 656 times.

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.

“As WND reported, The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO – the U.N.’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – adopted a resolution that ignored Jews’ connection to the Temple Mount by a 10-2 vote, with eight abstentions. The resolution accused of Israel of endangering the holy site and referred to it only as Haram al-Sharif, the name used by Muslims. An earlier draft even attempted to eradicate the Jewish connection to the Western Wall by identifying it by its Islamic name and using dismissive quotation marks around it’s better known Jewish name.

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