My husband and I had always wanted to visit Palestine and Alhamdulillah we were given the chance to do so last year. We had no regrets coming there. It’s one of the best destinations for every Muslim! Here’s why.
1) Praying in Masjidil Aqsa
In a hadith, Abu Hurayrah (ra) relates that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “You should not undertake a special journey to visit any place other than the following three Masjids with the expectations of getting greater reward: the Sacred Masjid of Makkah (Ka’bah), this Masjid of mine (the Prophet’s Masjid in Madinah), and Masjid Al-Aqsa (of Jerusalem).” (Muslim, Bukhari, Abu Dawud)
As a Muslim, it is our duty to travel to these 3 blessed places and Masjidil Aqsa is one of them. Al-Aqsa Mosque holds a special place in every Muslim and it is also mentioned many times in the hadith. It is the first Qiblah of the Muslims and Allah (swt) calls it a ‘blessed place’ in the Qur’an (Al-Isra: verse 1).
And it was reported that Abu Dharr said: we were discussing, in the presence of the Prophet (ﷺ), which of them was more virtuous, the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) or Bayt al-Maqdis. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: One prayer in my mosque is better than four prayers there, but it is still a good place of prayer. Soon there will come a time when if a man has a spot of land as big as his horse’s rope from which he can see Bayt al-Maqdis, that will be better for him than the whole world. (Narrated and classed as saheeh by al-Haakim, 4/509. Al-Dhahabi and al-Albaani agreed with him, as stated in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, at the end of the discussion of hadeeth no. 2902).
So every prayer in Masjidil Aqsa is 250 times better than praying one prayer in our home! Imagine if we were to pray 1 day worth of sunat and fardhu prayers in Masjidil Aqsa, it is equivalent to 250 days of sunat and fardhu prayers in our own home! Masya Allah! Imagine that! This is the best chance to grab this opportunity when we are there.
2) Isra’ and Mi’raj
As we all know our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) travelled from Makkah to Baitul Maqdis and ascended to Loh Mahfuz in one night with Angel Jibreel (ra) riding the Buraq. Masjidil Aqsa was said to be the place where our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) prayed with all the Nabi.
We have to remember during the time of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) the compound was not as grand as we see it now. It was uneven and surrounded with hills. The compound that we see now was actually built during the Ottoman Empire. They flattened some areas, hence we can see that the original Masjidil Aqsa and Masjid Buraq was at the lower level and we have to climb down the stairs to get to the Masjids.
Nearby the Masjidil Aqsa is the famous Dome of the Rock. During Prophet Muhammad’s (ﷺ) time, this was the highest point on the hill. It was said Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) ascended to the seven Heavens there. But now we see that compound is surrounded by the structure with a golden dome on top. We also managed to visit Masjid Al-Buraq, where it was told that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) had harnessed the Buraq to one of stones there.
3) Land of Prophets
Baitul Maqdis is a sacred holy land rich in History of our Prophets. Just to name a few, there’s Nabi Isa (as), Nabi Ibrahim (as), Nabi Sulaiman (as) whose maqam is below the compounds of Al-Aqsa itself and Nabi Musa (as).
It is surreal when we stood at the place so filled with history – to be at the heart of the stories we grew up with. We visited many shrines and learned that it isn’t truly known if they were the resting places of the said prophets. That’s why we hear of a few maqams being built for the same Nabi. However we can be sure that each maqam is a place where the prophets had once been. The only confirmed maqam is of Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) in Madinah.
4) Witness How the Palestinians Are Living in Palestine
Prior going to Baitul Maqdis, I have seen countless footage of the living conditions of Palestinians in Palestine in the internet and all I feel is helplessness – on how unfair they were treated and the injustice they have to face everyday. It is known, there’s no denying. Although we were not allowed to enter the Palestinian’s homes, we can see their housings from afar. We saw the walls that were built. We saw the checkpoints with heavily-padded and heavily-armoured soldiers. Our tour guide, who is a Muslim Palestinian, would tell us stories about living there – how he was stuck at the checkpoint for 2 hours, every time he enters Jerusalem. Or how the water ration tank comes by to his housing once a week, how they have a segregated road system, etc, etc.. But these Palestinians, they are made of stronger stuff. They do not need pity from us. They are patient and believe that Allah will protect them and give them success in this life and the next. Amin.
Abdullah Ibn Umar (ra) relates, I asked the Prophet (saw), “Apostle of Allah, tell us the legal injunction about (visiting) Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem).” The Apostle of Allah (saw) said, “Go and pray there. If you cannot visit it and pray there, then send some oil to be used in the lamps.” (Bukhari)
Based on the hadith, it is the duty of every Muslim to offer help and assistance (physically, financially, spiritually) to Baitul Maqdis.
5) The Place for Major Events in the End of Time
Baitul Maqdis is a unique place for Muslims, Christians and Jews alike. Other than all the historic places that we have visited pertaining to all the prophets, as a Muslim, we have to believe that Baitul Maqdis is a site for the major events during the End of Times. We are hesitant to end this post on a serious note but knowing this makes Baitul Maqdis all the more interesting and magnificent because of its significance.
Mujamma Ibn Al-Harith (ra) narrates that the Prophet (saw) said, “Ibn Maryam (Jesus) will kill Al-Dajjal (the Anti-Christ) at the door of Ludd (a town in Palestine).” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)