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By Media Desk Published on: 23rd June 2018
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It has stood the test of time for more than a thousand years and has been viewed by many historical figures with awe.
Few monuments can boast of being so religiously important to three of the monotheistic Abrahamic religions. It has stood the test of time for more than a thousand years and has been viewed by many historical figures with awe. One of which, the 14th century travel write Ibn Battuta provides us with a fitting description:
“The Dome of the Rock is a building of extraordinary beauty, solidity, elegance, and singularity of shape… Both outside and inside, the decoration is so magnificent and the workmanship so surpassing as to defy description. The greater part is covered with gold so that the eyes of one who gazes on its beauties are dazzled by its brilliance, now glowing like a mass of light, now flashing like lightning.”
Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock, located in Jerusalem, Israel, was constructed by Caliph Abd al-Malik in 691 A.D. The building is the oldest surviving Muslim structure in the world. It was completed less than 75 years after Muhammad founded Islam. According to Islamic tradition, the dome is the place where Muhammad ascended to heaven.
The Dome of the Rock receives it name due to a huge block of limestone rock in the center of its floor. Its shape is that of a Byzantine building whose purpose is to house religious relics. The general location of the dome is at the center of an area many people refer to as the Temple Mount. It is considered a sacred place by the Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions.
It was during the reign of Suleiman (1520 to 1566 A.D.) that the outside of the dome received it layer of Iznik tiles. Covering the building with such tiles took seven total years to complete. In 1993 A.D. the rock received a new gold covering through a gift of more than $8 million dollars given by the king of Jordan. The king sold one of his London, England homes in order to purchase the 176 U.S. pounds of gold needed for the restoration of the dome.
It is believed by some that the building covers the exact location of the rock on Mount Moriah where Abram (Abraham), after being commanded by God, went to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac (Genesis 22:1 - 14). The Dome is also believed to be the location where Jerusalem, during the time of King David, was spared total destruction by the angel of the Lord.
One day King David decided to take a census of the number of fighting men in Israel. This act was a sin because it showed he was beginning to trust more in the strength of men than the power of the Almighty. After the census the king knew that what he did was a sin (2Samuel 24:10).
God told David he could choose one of three ways to receive his punishment for his sin. David chooses three days of plague on the entire land. Seventy thousand people died throughout Israel due to the plague (2Samuel 24:15).
Just before the deadly disease came upon Jerusalem (where David lived) the death angel was commanded to stop. God then commanded David to do something special at the exact spot the killing was halted. He was told, "Go up! Raise up an altar to the Lord in the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite" (2Samuel 24:18, HBFV).
The modern Dome of the Rock is believed by some to sit on the location where King Solomon built Jerusalem's magnificent temple. Although this is a commonly held belief, other research shows the original temple designed by David, built by Solomon, and rebuilt by Herod was actually located on Mount Ophel within the original city of David (which is south of where the temple mount exists today).
Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is a Muslim shrine built in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, the Jewish Temple Mount.
After Muslim armies conquered Jerusalem from the Byzantine Empire, Muslim leaders decided to build a mosque on the site where Herod's Temple stood hundreds of years earlier, the most sacred site in Judaism. It was a tradition to build mosques on what had been other religions' holy sites. Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount in particular, were, and are still, also considered holy by Muslims. Both Jews and Muslims consider Abraham to be a prophet and he is believed to be the ancestor of both Jews and Arabs. According to tradition, the Temple Mount is where Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac. The phrophet Muhammed is also said to have ascendeed to heaven from the mount, so the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque were built on it. Opposition by Jews to the building of the mosque on the Temple Mount was very small because Jews had been exiled from Jerusalem centuries earlier.
A few Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem and worship on the Temple Mount but they were later banned by radical Muslims.
When Christian crusaders captured Jerusalem from the Muslims, the Dome of the Rock became a church and the AL-Aqsa Mosque became a royal stable. When Muslims conquered Jerusalem for a second time, the Dome of the Rock became a Muslim shrine once again.
An image of the Dome of the Rock appears on a one pound banknote, issued in 1939 during the time of the British Mandate for Palestine.
The Golden Gate that was located on the Temple Mount was quickly sealed by Muslims, as it was believed that the Messiah would enter the gate and rebuild the Temple. An Islamic cemetery was built in front of the gate to prevent the Messiah from entering.
Today the area remains a focal point of tensions between Jews and Muslims. Many Jews expect that the Messiah will one day come and rebuild the Temple. Some Radical Muslims claim that the Jewish Temple's never existed in Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock has stood on the Temple Mount since the time of Adam and Eve, although this claim can be easily disproven.
Interesting facts about the Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is a shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.
It was erected by the Muslim ruler Abd el-Malik in 688-691.
The Dome of the Rock is the oldest Islamic monument that stands today and certainly one of the most beautiful.
The rock over which the shrine was built is sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians.
The Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, is traditionally believed to have ascended into heaven from the site.
In the Judeo/Christian tradition it is here that Abraham, the progenitor and first patriarch of the Hebrew people, is said to have prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac.
The Dome of the Rock is situated in the center of the Temple Mount, the site where the Jewish First Temple and Second Temple had stood.
The Dome’s structure and ornamentation are rooted in the Byzantine architectural tradition, yet its construction in the 7th century represents an early stage in the emergence of a distinct Islamic visual style.
The dome, which is approximately 20 meters (66 feet) in diameter and is mounted on an elevated drum, rises above a circle of 16 piers and columns.
Below the dome a portion of the sacred rock is exposed and protected by a railing.The sacred rock is the central focus of the shrine.It is a large, ancient rock that may have once stood in the center of Solomon’s Temple.
The cavity beneath the rock, accessible by a staircase near the south entrance, is known as Bir el-Arwah, the “Well of Souls.” It is said that here the voices of the dead mingle with the falling waters of the lower rivers of paradise as they drop into eternity.
The outer walls also form an octagon, with each of the eight sides being approximately 18 metres (60 feet) wide and 11 meters (36 feet) high.
Arabic religious inscriptions run around the octagonal arcade.
The great golden dome that crowns the Dome of the Rock was originally made of gold, but was replaced with copper and then aluminum. The aluminum is now covered with gold leaf, a donation from the late King Hussein of Jordan.
The dome is topped by a full moon decoration which evokes the familiar crescent moon symbol of Islam. It is aligned so that if you could look through it, you would be looking straight towards Mecca.
The beautiful multicolored Turkish tiles that adorn the shrine’s exterior are faithful copies of the Persian tiles that Suleiman the Magnificent added in 1545 to replace the damaged originals. The lower half of the exterior is white marble.
The interior mosaics are similar in technique to those found in Byzantine churches including San Vitale in Ravenna and Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.The Dome’s mosaics exclude any representations of human or animal forms (Muslim law forbids the representation of living beings in art), instead featuring Arabic script and vegetal patterns intermixed with images of items such as jewels and crowns.
The interior of the great golden dome, features elaborate floral decorations in red and gold, as well as various inscriptions. The main inscription in the cupola commemorates Saladin, who sponsored extenstive restoration work on the building.
The carved ceilings on either side of the inner octagon were not part of the original design they first appeared in the 14th century and have been restored since then. The Mamluk star is the dominant motif.
The columns supporting the inner octagon and the center circle are of different sizes they were recycled from previous structures. The crosses on some show them to have been taken from churches.
The small, flat mihrab (niche showing the direction of Mecca) belongs to the original building, and is the oldest mihrab preserved in the Islamic world.
The Dome of the Rock is not a mosque, but a Muslim shrine. Like the Ka’ba in Mecca, it is built over a sacred stone.
The original function and significance of the Dome of the Rock are uncertain.
Christians and Muslims in the Middle Ages believed the Dome of the Rock to be the Temple of Solomon.
The Knights Templar were quartered there following the conquest of Jerusalem by a Crusader army in 1099, and Templar churches in Europe imitated its design.The Dome was used as church until a Muslim army recaptured Jerusalem in 1187.
Since its construction the Dome of the Rock has been modified several times. One significant restoration, ordered by the Ottoman sultan Süleyman I in the 16th century, replaced the exterior mosaics with coloured ceramic tiles.
In the 20th century, damaged interior and exterior ornaments were repaired or replaced, and the dome was given a new gold covering.
The Dome of the Rock has inspired the architecture of a number of buildings. These include the octagonal Church of St. Giacomo in Italy, the Mausoleum of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in Istanbul, the octagonal Moorish Revival style Rumbach Street Synagogue in Budapest, and the New Synagogue in Berlin, Germany.
The Dome of the Rock has been called “Jerusalem’s most recognizable landmark”.
Why is the Stone Sacred?
According to Islamic tradition, the sacred rock marks the spot where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven during the Isra and Mi’raj (known also as the Night Journey). This was a journey taken by the Prophet, who was accompanied by the angel Gabriel, on a creature known as al-Buraq, from Mecca to the ‘farthest mosque’, and then sped through the seven levels of Heaven. It is held that the entire episode occurred within a night.
The Sacred Rock beneath The Dome of the Rock. ( Public Domain)
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.
Background : Historical background of the Dome of the Rock
History repeats itself. The less people know their history, the more inclined they are to repeat it. We find this particularly applicable to the affairs of the Muslim Ummah. For example, we know the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the Muslim world, testament to the glory and magnificence of Islam and a matter of pride for Muslims. It continues to inspire awe in anyone who visits it, be they Muslim, Christian, Jew or of any other religious persuasion or no persuasion at all. It has been so admired and the image so ingrained in the minds of Muslims that some have mistakenly come to believe it is Masjid al-Aqsa.
But a clear link is often not made between the significance of this shrine&rsquos construction and the modern-day usurpers of Muslim lands. To understand this, it is important to ask what purpose the Dome of the Rock served. Why was it built? Are there motives to be found other than the official story? Scholars of Islamic history present different theories but no one has provided convincing evidence to prove one or the other point.
But these answers lie in the historical context at the time of the building&rsquos construction. At that time (around 70ah/690ce), &lsquoAbd al-Malik was king, the fifth of the Umayyad usurpers of power and authority. Although there was opposition throughout the Umayyad reign, most gravely illustrated in the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a) and his followers at Karbala a decade earlier, this time period witnessed a spike in rebellions.
The two largest uprisings were those of al-Mukhtar in al-Kufah and &lsquoAbdullah ibn Zubayr in the Hijaz. During &lsquoAbd al-Malik&rsquos rule, both opposition movements were crushed and their respective leaders killed. But by no means did the discontent and unrest die with them.
Like all illegitimate rulers, &lsquoAbd al-Malik needed a way to consolidate his authority over the Muslims, knowing that force alone would not hold back the Qur&rsquoan-inspired generation. He found a way of doing this by building the Dome of the Rock. By creating an extravagant and spectacular building, claiming it was to commemorate the Prophet&rsquos (pbuh) Night Journey to Heaven, he was able to project a facade of religiosity. Simultaneously, &lsquoAbd al-Malik displayed his power and wealth. He was the force behind this unprecedented and spectacular construction project nothing like it had ever been seen by the simple desert-dwelling Muslims.
Some even argue that &lsquoAbd al-Malik was attempting to create a second holy site to divert pilgrims from going to Makkah which had been under the control of &lsquoAbdullah ibn Zubayr before his opposition movement was brutally suppressed. But knowing that the Muslims were fully aware of a similar scheme by Abraha, the pre-Islamic ruler of Yemen, and would be wary of another such attempt, this would equate to religious and therefore political suicide. Additionally, the Dome of the Rock was not built for circumambulation, making the argument of its rivalry with the Ka&lsquobah highly unlikely.
Still, &lsquoAbd al-Malik succeeded in convincing at least some of the more simpleminded Muslims who could not see through his grandiose scheme and the illusion of power that came with it. His reign lasted 20 years, and was followed by nine more Umayyads before they were finally overthrown, though only to be replaced by others that were different only in name.
More than 1,300 years later we find that little has changed in the psyche of tyrants. Today&rsquos Saudis are yesterday&rsquos &lsquoAbd al-Maliks, building similarly extravagant masjids around the world, as if marking their territory and enticing the average Muslim to follow, or at least not oppose, their own illegitimate hold on power. Many of these masjids are based on the very same designs as the Dome of the Rock.
&lsquoAbd al-Malik&rsquos construction was not based on Islamic architecture. Until that time, Muslim buildings were based on the Islamic principles of simplicity, modesty and utilitarianism. A show of wealth and materialism was looked down upon, as illustrated in the life of the Prophet (pbuh) as well as many of his companions, including the Khulafah and in particular the first two and the fourth. Khalifah &lsquoUmar was so humble that upon his entering Jerusalem the Orthodox Patriarch could not believe this man dressed in a simple white robe could be leader of the powerful Islamic domain.
This kind of Islamic behavior is alien to the current usurpers of Arabia who continue to destroy monuments harkening back to the days of simplicity and humility from the time of the Prophet (pbuh) in an attempt to literally bury Islamic history. To add insult to injury, they are constructing monstrosities like steel and concrete high-rises, shopping mall complexes and Arab-only railways that are beginning to make up the characteristic features of the Hijaz. Just as these buildings are modeled on western architecture, the design of the Dome of the Rock was similarly constructed, drawing upon the lavish and intricate art and architecture of the Byzantine superpower of late antiquity.
Another parallel between the Umayyads of the past and Umayyads of the present day is their shameless abuse of Islam. Much like &lsquoAbd al-Malik, the Saudis have the gall to use Islam as justification for their expensive and elaborate buildings. But Muslims who are aware of their history have seen these tricks before and cannot be fooled so easily. These attempts at establishing power by throwing money and manpower at different projects &mdash be they cultural, political or social &mdash is the work of an illegitimate power desperate to project itself as an Islamic force in the Muslim mind.
FAQ :: Does Bible prophecy require that the Dome of the Rock be destroyed?
It is very likely that the Dome of the Rock will still be standing in Jerusalem when the Tribulation Temple is built. One of the biggest obstacles to a Jewish Temple is the unlikelihood that the Muslims would surrender their claim to the area where the Dome of the Rock now stands. Even if by some remote chance the Dome is destroyed, Islamic law requires that all damaged mosques be rebuilt.
According to some leading archaeologists, the Holy of Holies of the First and Second Temples was not located on the spot where the Dome of the Rock now stands. They believe it once stood about 70 yards to the north at a location called the Dome of the Spirits.
Paul&rsquos prophecy of the Antichrist sitting in the Temple and claiming to be God proves that there will be a rebuilt Temple: &ldquo&hellipso that he [the antichrist] takes his seat in the Temple of God, displaying himself as being God&rdquo (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
There is a strong indication that some sort of compromise will be reached between the Arabs and Jews. In Revelation 11, John the Revelator is given a rod and told to measure the Temple of God. He is told not include the outer court because it is given to the Gentiles.
&ldquoAnd there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months&rdquo (Rev. 11:1-2).
The Marriage of the Virgin shows the Temple at Jerusalem depicted in the shape of the Dome of the Rock.
A number of buildings have been designed as copies of the Dome of the Rock. These include the octagonal Church of St. Giacomo in Italy, and the octagonal, Moorish Revival style Rumbach Street synagogue in Budapest. This was done because Dome of the Rock itself was long believed by Christians and Jews to echo the architecture of the Temple in Jerusalem, as can be seen in Raphael's The Marriage of the Virgin and in Perugino's Marriage of the Virgin. ⎜]