The temple of Jerusalem is honoured in the Koran (17:1) as al-majid al-Aqsa (lit. the remote mosque). The sacredness of Jerusalem is emphasized on numerous places. Abraham migrated to the land of Canaanite around 1805 BC. The Koran states: “And We made them the greater losers. But We delivered him and (his nephew) Lot (and directed them) to the land which We have blessed for the nations” (21: 69-71). The Koran reports Moses telling his people: “O my people! Enter the holy land, which God has prescribed for you” (5: 21). It is further stated: “(It was Our power that made) the violent (unruly) wind flown (tamely) for Solomon. To his order, to the land which We had blessed…” (21: 81). Jerusalem is the resting place of the prophets including Abraham, Jacob, Isaac and according to the commentators, there are over hundred prophets buried in its soil. It was the first qibla of the Muslims. This practice continued until 16-17 months after hijra. To Muslims, Jerusalem houses one of the holiest mosques, the masjid al-Aqsa and represents a place of greatest religious significance.
Masjid I Haram
The Kaba stands in the center of a parallelogram whose dimensions are as follows: North-west side 545 feet, south-east side 553 feet, north-east side 360 feet and south-west side 364 feet. This are is known as al-Masjid al-Haram, or the Sacred Mosque, the famous mosque in Mecca. In the Koran this name occurs in revelations of the early Meccan period, as in 17:1. The area of the Sacred Mosque contains, besides the Kaba, the Maqam Ibrahim and the Zamzam buildings. The term Baitullah (House of God) is applied to the whole enclosure, although it more specially denotes the Kaba itself. Masjid-i Haram means the Sacred Mosque. It is the first house of the worship of God that was ever built on the earth (3:96). The tradition has it that it was built by Adam, then rebuilt by Abraham and his son Ismael on the same site as it had been damaged by the Deluge. After the completion of the Kaba, Abraham prayed to God: “Our Lord! Send amongs them an Apostle of their own, who shall rehearse Your signs to them and instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom, and sanctify them, for You are the Exalted in Might, the Wise” (2:129). The Sacred Mosque was the center of all administrative activities before Islam, as within it was situated the Dar al-Nadwa (the Council Hall), where important matters regarding the weal or woe of the people were settled. After the advent of Islam, the Sacred Mosque has been the pivot of the intellectual activities of Mecca, and the whole Muslim world looks upon it as its central point.