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Saudi Scholar: Al-Aqsa Mosque Built on Remnants of Jewish Temple
Aerial SE exposure of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City, November 15, 2013. (Andrew Shiva/Creative Commons)

Saudi Scholar: Al-Aqsa Mosque Built on Remnants of Jewish Temple

Makor Rishon, Israel, November 22

The Arab and Islamic worlds are still soaring and roaring over the subversive article penned by Saudi commentator Osama Yamani in the Saudi newspaper Okaz, headlined “Where is Al-Aqsa Mosque?” In the article, Yamani suggests that, contrary to the belief of millions of Muslims, the Holy Mosque was actually built on the way to Mecca, and not in Jerusalem. He further notes that at the time of the Prophet Muhammad, Jerusalem was not called Jerusalem at all but Elya – not after the Roman name for the city, Aelia Capitolina, but after a Hebrew biblical figure by the name of Elya son of Shem son of Noah (the intention seems to be to Elam, Shem’s son according to the Book of Genesis). The article agitating the Muslim world was perceived as subversive but there are those who believe it is true. One of them is Abd Al-Razek Kamusi, a Saudi writer specializing in the languages and history of the Semitic peoples. In my conversation with him this week, he laid out his doctrine regarding Al-Aqsa Mosque and the connection of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount to Judaism and Islam. He explained that the present-day Al-Aqsa Mosque was built on the ruins of the Temple constructed by King Solomon. The Caliph Omar ibn Al-Khattab, founder of the Muslim Empire, fought against the Byzantines and conquered Israel and Jerusalem, and ordered the construction of Al-Aqsa Mosque on the ruins of an entire temple. This fact was written by great Muslim writers such as Omar ibn Khatir and in the book by Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, The History of the Prophets and Kings. In our conversation, he explained this. There was no possibility that the Prophet Muhammad prayed at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on his nocturnal journey because the mosque did not yet exist in 638. Al-Kamusi noted that in the name of their national cause, the Palestinians were waging a war of hatred against historical records. He claimed that there must be a solution for the management of Al-Aqsa Mosque to prevent Palestinians from attacking worshippers who are going there to pray. This is true for Jewish worshippers and other worshippers who come to pray at the mosque, whether from the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia. The Saudi author also added that attitudes toward Jews and Israel in general on the Temple Mount must change. Until 1991, when contacts between Israel and the Palestinians began, the Arab media used to automatically call Israel the “Zionist enemy.” Now the attitude toward Israel has changed. Asked whether the normalization of relations between the Gulf states and Israel depends on the identity of the person sitting in the White House, Al-Kamusi was hopeful that the emerging relations … will continue to grow closer in years to come. – Asaf Gibor (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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