Sites - Jerusalem: Dome of the Rock
Haram esh-Sharif (Temple Mount in Jerusalem)
Dome of the Rock in Wikipedia
The Dome of the Rock (Arabic: مسجد قبة الصخرة, translit.: Masjid Qubbat As-Sakhrah, Hebrew: כיפת הסלע,
translit.: Kipat Hasela) is an Islamic shrine and major landmark located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The
site's significance stems from the religious beliefs regarding the rock, known as the Foundation Stone, at its
Location, construction and dimensions
The Dome of the Rock is located at the visual center of a platform known as the Temple Mount, which Muslims
refer to as the "Noble Sanctuary(Bait-ul-Muqaddas)". It was constructed on the site of the Second Jewish
Temple, which was destroyed during the Roman Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. In 637 CE, Jerusalem
was conquered by the Rashidun Caliphate army during the Muslim conquest of Syria.
The Dome of the Rock was erected between 689 and 691 CE. The names of the two engineers in charge of the
project are given as: Yazid Ibn Salam from Jerusalem and Raja Ibn Haywah from Baysan. Umayyad Caliph Abd al-
Malik ibn Marwan who initiated construction of the Dome, hoped that it would “house the Muslims from cold and
heat” and intended the building to serve as a shrine for pilgrims and not as a mosque for public worship.
Print from 1887. (Architect Frederick Catherwood was the first westerner known to have made detailed drawings
of the Dome, which he accomplished during a six-week period in 1833)
Prof. Shlomo Dov Goitein of the Hebrew University states that the Dome of the Rock was intended to compete with
the many fine buildings of worship of other religions. The very form of a rotunda, given to the Qubbat as-
Sakhra, although it was foreign to Islam, attempted to rival the many Christian domes of its
time. A.C. Cresswell in his book Origin of the plan of the Dome of the Rock notes that those who built the
shrine used the measurements of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The diameter of the dome of the shrine is
20.20m and its height 20.48m, while the diameter of the dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is 20.90m and
its height 21.05m.
The structure is basically octagonal. It comprises a wooden dome, approximately 60 feet (20 m) in diameter,
which is mounted on an elevated drum consisting of a circle of 16 piers and columns. Surrounding this circle
is an octagonal arcade of 24 piers and columns. During his travels in Jerusalem, Mark Twain wrote that:
”Every where about the Mosque of Omar are portions of pillars, curiously wrought altars, and fragments of
elegantly carved marble - precious remains of Solomon's Temple. These have been dug from all depths in the soil
and rubbish of Mount Moriah, and the Moslems have always shown a disposition to preserve them with the utmost
The outer side walls are made of porcelain  and mirror the octagonal design. They each measure approximately
60 feet (18 m) wide and 36 feet (11 m) high. Both the dome and the exterior walls contain many windows.
The Dome --
The Dome is in the shape of a Byzantine martyrium, a structure intended for the housing and veneration of
saintly relics, and is an excellent example of middle Byzantine art. During the reign of Suleiman the
Magnificent the exterior of the Dome of the Rock was covered with Iznik tiles. The work took seven years. Haj
Amin Al-Husseini, appointed Grand Mufti by the British, along with Yacoub Al Ghussein implemented restoration
of Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
In 1955 an extensive program of renovation was begun by the government of Jordan, with funds supplied by the
Arab governments and Turkey. The work included replacement of large numbers of tiles dating back to the reign
of Suleiman the Magnificent, which had become dislodged by heavy rain. In 1965, as part of this restoration,
the dome was covered with a durable aluminum and bronze alloy made in Italy, that replaced the lead exterior.
 The restoration was completed in August 1964. In 1993 the golden dome covering was refurbished following a
donation of $8.2 million by King Hussein of Jordan who sold one of his houses in London to fund the 80
kilograms of gold required.
The interior of the dome is lavishly decorated with mosaic, faience and marble, much of which was added several
centuries after its completion. It also contains Qur'anic inscriptions. Sura Ya-Seen is inscribed across the
top of the tile work and was commissioned in the 16th century by Suleiman the Magnificent. Al-Isra is inscribed
According to Goitein, the inscriptions decorating the interior clearly display a spirit of polemic against
Christianity, whilst stressing at the same time the Qur'anic doctrine that Jesus was a true prophet. The
formula la sharika lahu 'God has no companion' is repeated five times, the verses from Sura Maryam 19:35-37,
which strongly reaffirm Jesus' prophethood to God, are quoted together with the prayer: Allahumma salli ala
rasulika wa'abdika 'Isa bin Maryam - "In the name of the One God (Allah) Pray for your Prophet and Servant
Jesus son of Mary". He believes that this shows that rivalry with Christendom, together with the spirit of
Muslim mission to the Christians, was at work at the time of construction....
Dome of the Rock Travel Information
If you’re thinking about taking a tour to the Holy Land, you’ll want to visit sites such as the Dome of the Rock. A shrine in the shape of an octagon, it is Islam’s 3rd most holy site. Though amazing in itself, it covers a piece of black stone that is far more precious—the place where Abraham tried to sacrifice Ishmael (not Isaac as Jews and Christians believe), the site of the temple of Solomon and the location where Mohammed rose up to the sky for “The Night Journey”. The building was completed in 3 years (688-691) and was built to intentionally snub Christian and Jews. The location had openly borrowed parts of Jewish heritage and the building was made to have a larger dome than the Holy Sepulchre’s. At the time, Syrian Christians were forced to lay tiles for mosaics within that contain verses of the Koran that speak of how misguided Christians are in regards to the Trinity. Having been built firmly on rock, The Dome of the Rock has survived natural disasters so far and has only gone renovations. Those who take a trip to Israel now will be able to see the external tiles that were put on in 1963 and the re-gilded dome that was done from 1993-1994. Genesis Chapter 22:1-14
1 After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; and he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the ass; I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place The Lord will provide; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
(America Israel Travel)
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