Day 2 in Jerusalem
I have recovered from part of my emotions, yet some how I have tears every time I stand in prayer at the masjid Al-aqsa
We wake up early and reach for pre Dawn prayer walking through centuries of history on marbled streets which have been so worn out they feel more cobbled and brick paved, narrow streets with houses line in geometric distance, corners leading to smaller streets, well laid street shops fill the walls of the old city,
I feel walking in the foot steps of Caliph umar r.a the second caliph after the Prophet pbuh,
Church of the Holy Sepulchre was where he was handed the keys to the city with the muslim conquest of the ancient city,he was offered to pray in the city but he respectfully refused the offer of the patriarch, reason being as he said " if I pray here now Muslims after me will convert this lace to a mosque" so true he was..... he prayed out side the church.... Where a mosque was later built...
How glorious where the Muslims....who treated all equal and with respect...
Caliph Umar r.a agreed on a covenant with the patriarch.....
"In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
This is an assurance of peace and protection given by the servant of Allah Omar, Commander of the Believers to the people of Ilia' (Jerusalem). He gave them an assurance of protection for their lives, property, church and crosses as well as the sick and healthy and all its religious community.
Their churches shall not be occupied, demolished nor taken away wholly or in part. None of their crosses nor property shall be seized. They shall not be coerced in their religion nor shall any of them be injured. None of the Jews shall reside with them in Ilia'.( old name of jerusalem under Romans- (the Christians refused Jews the right to city)
The people of Ilia shall pay Jizia tax (head tax on free non-Muslims living under Muslim rule- because they do not have the obligation of "zakat"-compulsory charity at 2% wealth that for Muslim is a pillar of faith) as inhabitants of cities do. They shall evict all Romans and thieves.
He whoever gets out shall be guaranteed safety for his life and property until he reach his safe haven. He whoever stays shall be (also) safe, in which case he shall pay as much tax as the people of Ilia' do. Should any of the people of Ilia wish to move together with his property along with the Romans and to clear out of their churches and crosses, they shall be safe for their lives, churches and crosses, until they have reached then safe haven. He whoever chooses to stay he may do so and he shall pay as much tax as the people of Ilia' do. He whoever wishes to move along with the Roman, may do so, and whoever wishes to return back home to his kinsfolk, may do so. Nothing shall be taken from them, their crops have been harvested. To the contents of this convent here are given the Covenant of Allah, the guarantees of His Messenger, the Caliphs and the Believers, provided they (the people of Ilia') pay their due Jizia tax.
Witnesses hereto are:
Khalid Ibn al-Waleed Amr Ibn al-Ass Abdul-Rahman Ibn'Auf Mu'awiya Ibn abi-Sifian Made and executed in the year 15 AH.
The above is the text approved by historians, foremost of whom are Imam al-Tabari. The text appears in his book "Tareekh Al Umam wal Molouk" (History of Nations and Kings), Part III, Page 105, printed in Cairo and collected by a team of scholars and printed in English at Brill Printing Press London."
How sad it is the occupied lands are not the same, it is said the Jews where allowed to return to the city under Muslims rule, they had spent most of their existence out side the holy land.
Reaching the old city I came across high israeli security points, we were stopped a number of times by the Israel police, asked of our religion, nationality etc, Raheel our group mate was asked to recite the Quran to prove that he was a Muslim....
Now occupied we go to the mosque five times a day.... We met the people living under occupation, how brave they are that after prayers they pray for current problems in Libya in Syria in Egypt for Muslims but ironically forget their own problems.... I meet the imam and my brothers in Islam, tears in my eyes i tell them how brave they are, I feel ashamed at calling my self their brother for they have not considered what they are going through a big problem... They do believe in the saying of the Prophet pbuh when he said
"strange is the state of the believer, when some thing good happens he says Allhamdullilah (thanks be to Allah) and that is good for him and when a calamity befalls him he is patient and that is also good for him"
Imagine a place where all the prophets of islam prayed...all 124000, where Daud, Sulaiman, Yunus, prayed where Ibrahim, Musa, Eesa (jesus) peace upon them, all prayed while Muhammed pbuh lead the prayer, I close my eyes in prayer and imagine being among them, how humbled I feel.. with tears rolling down I feel thankful to Allah to have brought me here in this life, (in Islam it will be the place of resurrection on day of judgement it will be the place where the glory of Islam will return.....)
In the mosque it self is the place where zakarya Peace be upon him prayed and in Quran Allah grants him Prophet Yahyah ( John the baptist) as son... How can than I not pray there.. I feel as if though the difference of time makes no difference to the holiness of the place it is the feeling that one gets of being in such a place that makes it indescribable
I have been to Mecca the holiest of places in Islam but being in Al-quds brought tears to my eyes which I still have when I think about it. The things so personal there where no more, I cried to my lord to accept our efforts and bring peace to the region where all religions can live side by side.... As they once where in times gone by....
We visit Baitlaham in Arabic which means the house of meat while in Hebrew it is the house of bread " both religiously important foods for religions...
A city currently under Palestinian authority the traffic of which is not allowed to Jewish controlled area,we travel at the base of "prison wall" the wall which separate the Palestinians (Christians and Muslims) from they israeli territory... Passing check points we move towards the city, a sign greets. Us "pray for the freedom of Palestine" inshallah I say....
The next visit is the church of nativity...
(Arabic: كنيسة المهد) in Bethlehem is one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world. The structure is built over the cave that tradition marks as the birthplace of Jesus a.s of Nazareth, and thus it is considered sacred by Christians. The site is also revered by followers of Islam.
We enter through the gate of humility called so because of the low entrance where you have to bow down on getting in.... some mention of the reason was to prevent animals from getting into the church during earlier times whee camels would often enter buildings..
Quran mentions the birth of Eesa a.s. while there is no definite proof of where he was actually born,but according to the Christian tradition the place becomes sacred to islam as well...
We pray our after noon prayer at a mosque opposite the church and than do some souvenir hunting.
Visiting the place of residence of Yunus (Jonah) a.s it relates to the stories we know of him the place of Salman al-Farsi (companion of the prophet) we pray in the old mosques around the town of al-Khalil but unfortunately the couldn't go to the mosque of Ibraheem a.s because if the usual reason......the pleasant Israelis had blocked off the road for their festival.
Allahu mastaán ( Allah is the helper)
Passing though mount if olives for a full view of the city we stop to absorb the city...
We head back to our holy mosque at Al-aqsa pray there while the night falls we have a nice dinner with our sheikh and sleep a comfortable night with sorrow struck we pray to our lord for freedom and peace of Palestine
Panoramic picture taken from Wikipedia
(I will publish my pictures later)