THE POSITION OF AL-AQSA MASJID IN ISLAM

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL
BEING THE FIFTH KHUTBAH FOR THE MONTH OF RAJAB 29/RAJAB/1440AH (5/APRIL/2019CE)

THE POSITION OF AL-AQSA MASJID IN ISLAM

Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds Who honoured His prophet, Muhammad with the miracles of Al-Isra and Al-Miraaj, who says:
سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ” {الإسراء :17\1}
Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Q17:1).
We praise and thank Allah, the exalted. We seek help and guidance from Him, we believe in Him and trust Him. And we seek refuge in Him from the evil of our souls and deeds. He that Allah guides is guided, and the one He misleads never will you find for him a protecting guide. I testify there is no god except Allah, and that our master- Muhammad is His servant and messenger. O Allah send peace and blessing on Muhammmad (SAW), his household, companions and those who follow them in righteousness until the Day of Judgment.

O servants of Allaah! I admonish you and myself to fear Allaah the exalted both in the secret and the open for that is the desired goal from all forms of obedience, divine commandments and prohibitions. Allaah says:
” يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ (102
O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him]. (3:102)

Brothers in faith, todays sermon is on the STATUS OF AL-AQSA MASJID IN ISLAM owing to the close affinity of Al-Aqsa to the Islam and Muslims. We discussed Al-Israa Wal-Miraaj and the status of Solat in the last two sermons.
The following evidences set the tone for the status of todays discussion: Allah says:
“سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ (1) {الإسراء :17\1} .
Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Q17:1).
The Prophet said: Do not set out to journey except for three masjids: the holy masjid (in makkah), this masjid of mine, and the Al-Aqsa masjid (Bukhari/Muslim).
The Prophet also said Solat in the holy masjid (in makkah) has preference over other with a hundred thousand, and in my masjid with a thousand, and in the Al-Aqsa masjid with five hundred solats (Ahmad)
Abu Dhar Al-Ghifaariy said: I said to the messenger of Allah: O messenger of Allah, which was the first masjid on earth? He said: The holy masjid (in makkah), I said: then which? He said: Al-Aqsa masjid I said: What (time) was between them? He said: forty years (Bukhari/Muslim)
The Prophet said: A group among my ummah will never cease to be manifest on the truth, victorious over their enemy. Whoever go against them will never harm them, until there comes the decree of Allah, remaining like that. They said: Where are they? He said: At the sacred precinct (in Jerusalem) (Ahmad)
The sacred precinct in Quds- Jerusalem has a non-detachable position in the Islamic belief, unanimously agreed upon by all Muslims, regardless of their affiliations and that account for the collaboration in its defense and honouring of its holy sites.
The following are some of the status Al-Quds occupies in Islam:

Al-Quds as the first qiblah (direction in solat)
Al-Quds- Jerusalem remained the first direction in prayer the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions Muslims faced from the beginning of making solat a religious obligation during the prophets night journey in the tenth year after being commissioned as a prophet. The situation remained till the sixteenth month after hijrah when a revelation to change towards the kaabah was revealed thus:
” وَمِنْ حَيْثُ خَرَجْتَ فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَحَيْثُ مَا كُنْتُمْ فَوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ شَطْرَهُ…” {الْبقرة :2\150}
“And from wherever you go out [for prayer], turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you [believers] may be, turn your faces toward it (2:150)
In Madinah an historic landmark took place whereby Muslims faced both Quds- Jerusalem and Makkah in one prayer. This event enraged the Jews who questioned the change. However, the Quran responded to their claim that all directions belong to Allah and that their submission that all the prayers Muslims had facing Quds is fruitless:
” سَيَقُولُ السُّفَهَاءُ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَا وَلَّاهُمْ عَنْ قِبْلَتِهِمُ الَّتِي كَانُوا عَلَيْهَا قُلْ لِلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ (142) وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الْقِبْلَةَ الَّتِي كُنْتَ عَلَيْهَا إِلَّا لِنَعْلَمَ مَنْ يَتَّبِعُ الرَّسُولَ مِمَّنْ يَنْقَلِبُ عَلَى عَقِبَيْهِ وَإِنْ كَانَتْ لَكَبِيرَةً إِلَّا عَلَى الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّهُ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ (143) ” {البقرة :2\ 142-143} .

The foolish among the people will say, “What has turned them away from their qiblah, which they used to face?” Say, “To Allah belongs the east and the west. He guides whom He wills to a straight path.” And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you. And We did not make the qiblah which you used to face except that We might make evident who would follow the Messenger from who would turn back on his heels. And indeed, it is difficult except for those whom Allah has guided. And never would Allah have caused you to lose your faith. Indeed Allah is, to the people, Kind and Merciful. (2: 142- 143)

Quds as the land of Al-israi and Miraaj
The making of Quds the end of the terrestrial part of the miraculous journey of the Prophet (pbuh) and the take-off point for the celestial part of the glorious journey was not a mere coincidence. Rather it was a divine plan and wisdom to gather all the prophets and messengers in a place where the seal of the Prophets was made an Imam- a leader, to demonstrate a new world order of change of leadership from the children of Israel to a new nation, a new messenger, … Allah says:
” وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِينَ (107)” {الأبياء :21\107} , ” تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا (1)” {الفرقان :25\1} .

“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds. (21: 107)
Blessed is He who sent down the Criterion upon His Servant that he may be to the worlds a warner (25:1)

Quds as the third of the sacred precincts:
The first is Makkah, the second is Madinah and Quds- Jerusalem is the third honoured with the Al-Aqsa masjid. The Prophet said: Do not set out to journey except to three masjids: the holy masjid (in makkah), this masjid of mine, and the Al-Aqsa masjid (Bukhari/Muslim).
It is not permissible for a Muslim to set out determined to travel to any masjid for solat there except these three mentioned. The prayer in Al-Aqsa is equivalent to five hundred in other masjids other than masjid-Al-haram and the prophet masjid. (hadith)
Al-Quds as the land of Prophethood and blessings:
Al-Quds is part of Palestine being its beginning. The Quran describes this land as land of blessings in five places thus:
1- (الَّذِي بارَكْناَ حَوْلَهُ) “whose surroundings We have blessed…” (17:1)
2- (“وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَلُوطًا إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الَّتِي بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا لِلْعَالَمِينَ (71)” {الأنبياء : 71}) (And We delivered him and Lot to the land which We had blessed for the worlds.) (21:71)
3- (” وَأَوْرَثْنَا الْقَوْمَ الَّذِينَ كَانُوا يُسْتَضْعَفُونَ مَشَارِقَ الْأَرْضِ وَمَغَارِبَهَا الَّتِي بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ الْحُسْنَى عَلَى بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ بِمَا صَبَرُوا …” {الأعْرَافُ : 137}) “And We caused the people who had been oppressed to inherit the eastern regions of the land and the western ones, which We had blessed. And the good word of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel because of what they had patiently endured.” (7:137)
4- (“وَلِسُلَيْمَانَ الرِّيحَ عَاصِفَةً تَجْرِي بِأَمْرِهِ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الَّتِي بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا وَكُنَّا بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَالِمِينَ (81) {الأنْبياء :21\81}) “And to Solomon [We subjected] the wind, blowing forcefully, proceeding by his command toward the land which We had blessed. And We are ever, of all things, Knowing.” (21:81)
5- (” وَجَعَلْنَا بَيْنَهُمْ وَبَيْنَ الْقُرَى الَّتِي بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا قُرًى ظَاهِرَةً وَقَدَّرْنَا فِيهَا السَّيْرَ سِيرُوا فِيهَا لَيَالِيَ وَأَيَّامًا آمِنِينَ (18) {سبأ : 34\18}) “And We placed between them and the cities which We had blessed [many] visible cities. And We determined between them the [distances of] journey, [saying], “Travel between them by night or day in safety.” (34: 18)
Al-Quds as the land of bond and Jihad:
Virtues of Al-aqsa mentioned are of the good news which portent that Islam will conquer and acquire the land, it shall also be the convergence point for Muslims for devotion and prayer. As stated in history, Umar bn Khattab conquered the land. Patriarch Sophronius gave a condition that he will not release the keys of the city to no one except the khalifa. (Patriarch is a title for heads of the Eastern Orthodox Churches in Istanbul and Alexandria and Moscow and Jerusalem)
Umar entered the city on an exciting historical journey, he received the keys and made a historical agreement with the Christian inhabitants known in history as the Umar treaty. The treaty guaranteed for them (the christians) their worship, belief, religious symbols, lives and wealth. Great persons among the companions that witnessed the event of this treaty included: Khaalid bn Al-waleed, Abdur-Rahman bn Awf, Amr bn Al-Aas and Muawiyah bn Abi Sufyaan. (At-tabari)
Allah made the prophet (pbuh) know that this holy land will be occupied by the enemies, with threats of invasion and occupation therefore he charged the Muslim Ummah to station continuous watch, struggle, jihad and defense at this precinct, even if it is still in the hands of enemies. He enjoins them as well to liberate the land whenever they are capable, as was reported in some narrations of a coming battle between Muslims and Jews including assurance of victory for Muslims in the end.
The Prophet said: A group among my ummah will never cease to be manifest on the truth, victorious over their enemy. Whoever confronts them will never be able to harm them, except what they will suffer of injury until there comes the decree of Allah, while they will remain like that. They said: Where are they? He said: At the al-Maqdis (sacred precinct- Jerusalem) and the environs of Jerusalem (Tabraani/ Abdullah bn Ahmad)

SECOND KHUTBAH
All praises are due to Allah the lord of the worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad (pbuh) his household, companions and all believers till the day of accountability.
Dear honoured Muslims, this Friday is the last in Rajab, possibly shabaan could start tomorrow, thus we wish to focus in brief on the virtues and duties in Shabaan.
Duties in Shabaan:
Firstly- Fasting in Shabaan
Imam Ahmad narrated from hadith of Usama Ibn Zayd that he asked the Messenger of Allah (pbuh): He said: I have not seen you fast in other months what you fast in Shaabaan He said: That (Shaabaan) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan forgotten by people, it is a month where deeds are presented before the lord of the worlds (the exalted) and I love that my deeds are present while I am fasting

The question of Usama demonstrates the importance the companions attached to the Sunnah and its practice. Practically, the Prophet- pbuh- fasts Shabaan except a little, as stated in the hadith:
Narrated ‘A’isha, (Allah be pleased with her), she said: “I did not see the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) completing the fast of a month, but that of Ramadan, and I did not see him fasting more in any other month than that of Sha’ban. Bukhari added: He used to fast all Shabaan. In Muslims narration: “He used to observe fast in Shabaan except a little.
These are the sunnah of the prophet- peace be upon him- it is expected of us to follow his sunnah so that we would not be among the forgetful. Fasting in Shabaan, without doubt is a gradual preparation of the mind for Ramadan. Shabaan is the month to prepare for Ramadan with all vigour and strength. It is the month to execute Ramadan projects for individuals, mosque, and Islamic organisations. Whoever fails to execute his Ramadan projects in Shabaan may not be able to execute it in Ramadan. May Allah guide us aright.

O Allah destroy the cunnings of the enemies of Muslims. O Allah invalidate their plots and tricks. O Allah extinguish the flame of their evil. O Allah cast the round of consequence on every unjust impostor, and render destruction and shame on whoever tries to ruin the country. O Allah protect the blood of the people, their properties, and their dignity. O Allah set free all Muslim captives and prisoners. O Allah, protect them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and from above them.

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