Continued from: Who prays at Masjed Al Aqsa
I step into the circular Masjed of the Dome of the Rock……….I cannot still the excitement in the air, there is a feeling in me that if I don’t document all this with my camera it will disappear or I will run out of time…………or worse still I will be asked to leave.
I do not question this urgency in me and as I am photographing the ceiling, walls and half listening to the guide, I remember my etiquette for the Masjed and stand to pray my two rakaat for Tahiyaat e Masjed. It is a strange feeling to be in a circular Masjed with a Dome in the centre and a cave under it.
I see people going down into the cave and I follow them, I put my hand out to steady myself and find it resting on a rock, I am stunned………..this is the rock I think, but can go no further because there are people behind me and people in front of me. On reaching down I hear the guides voice in my mind “This is where Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him was given Imammat to lead the salah of 150, 000 anbiyas. I see the neat rows of musallahs all filled with women perhaps from Malaysia, silently waiting for the adhan.
The Sun is rapidly falling into the city of Jerusalem, and the twilight is ushering in the night to provide sitar for all that has occurred in these walls in disobedience of Allah.
I can see our group they are already through the arches and down the stairs heading towards the Masjed Al Aqsa. I try to hurry but it is difficult to leave the place where he (pbuh) had stood……and yet the urgency to get to the Masjed Al Aqsa persists.
It is a hadith that one salah in Al Aqsa is equivalent to 500 in any other mosque……I do not question the number and suddenly I shift to being left brain and I want to pray some of my Qada e Umri and thus I begin in the women’s section, The veil of night has fallen suddenly, I pray Maghrib en Jamaat and then continue into my Isha Qasar wal jamaa……. and I want to pray more, mentally multiplying by 500. My left brain is in full force and is preventing me from soaking in the atmosphere, the urgency of being the third Haram is taking over my senses and I want to pray more on one hand making up for my past deficiencies .
……………………..and yet I want to listen to what the guide has to say about the Minbar where they are standing, I hurry up to it and catch some phrases………” A fundamentalist Jew set fire to the Minbar which was built by Salahudin. It is a piece of art as the artisan did not use a single nail in it, all joints interlocked in such a manner that the Minbar was built without a single nail.
Who was this crazy man who set fire to it, what sort of hatred he must have in his heart for Muslims or Salahudin?I think to myself ……………”It was an Australian Jew” I hear the guide speak almost as if he had heard my question.
Before I can say something out of the left side of the mosque comes the sweet sound of tilawat, such that you have never heard. I follow it and standing near a pillar I absorb it …….As I peek around the pillar it stops. I see an examination for an Ijaza in Tilawat in progress. I had always been intrigued when I had read about the ijazas (degree in a special branch of Deen) and had wondered what it was like to be examined by five judges and lo behold in front of me were five judges sitting relaxed and listening to the melodious recitation of the Quran in the beautiful voice of this young man who aspires for an ijaza…………..
The melodious sounds of the word of God reverberating in the arches of Al Aqsa calling everyone to once again make this Masjed the pulsating heart of Jerusalem.
It has the haunting quality of a flute being played in the middle of the ruins of a Moorish Castle in Sintra or a Swan Song of the Gray Lady of Grief……….calling to the Believers all over the world, Believers who are glued to their TVs and have hearts filled with fear…….
Abu Darda (r.a.) relates that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “ A prayer in Makkah is worth 100,000 times, a prayer in my Masjid (Madina) is worth 1,000 times, and a prayer in al-Aqsa Sanctuary is worth 500 times more than anywhere else”. [Al-Tabarani, al-Bayhaqi and al-Suyuti]