The virtue and sacredness of Masjid al-Aqsa is well established in the Quran and Sunnah. The divine citations emphasise upon the Muslim Ummah the importance of Masjid al-Aqsa and our responsibility to it.
The Blessed land
“Exalted is He who took His Servant - i.e. Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) by night from Al-Masjid al-Haram to Al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings we have blessed, to show him Our signs. Indeed, He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.” (Surah Al Isra – Verse 1)
Second Masjid on Earth
Hazrat Abu Zarr (RA) reported: I said: O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), which mosque was set up first on the earth? He said: Al-Masjid al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque). I (again) said: Then which was next? He said: It was Al-Masjid al-Aqsa. I (again) said: What was the period of time (between their establishment)? He (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: It was forty years. (Sahih Bukhari)
First Qiblah of Muslims
Hazrat Bara (RA) states: We prayed with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) towards Baitul-Maqdis for sixteen months or seventeen months. Then we were made to change (our direction) towards the Ka'ba. (Sahih Muslim)
Travelling to visit Al Aqsa
Hazrat Abu Hurayrah (RA) narrates that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: Do not undertake a special journey to visit any Masjid, but three (Masjids): This Masjid of mine, the Masjidul Haram (In Makkah) and the Masjid of Aqsa (Bait al-Maqdis). (Sahih Bukhari)
Pray there or send oil for its lamps
Hazrat Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) narrates, I asked Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), “Apostle of Allah, tell us the legal injunction about (visiting) Baytul Maqdis (Jerusalem).” The Apostle of Allah said, “Go and pray there. If you cannot visit it and pray there, then send some oil to be used in the lamps”. (Sahih Bukhari)
Place of Mi’raj
Hazrat Jabir (RA) narrates that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: When the Quraysh did not believe me (concerning the night journey of Isra), I was staying in the Hateem and Allah made visible before me Baitul-Maqdis and I began to narrate to them (the Quraysh of Mecca) its signs while I was in fact looking at it. (Sahih Bukhari)
Salah multiplied manifold
Hazrat Anas ibn Malik (RA) narrates that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, The prayer of a person in his house is a single prayer; his prayer in the Masjid of his locality has the reward of twenty-five prayers; his prayer in the
Masjid in which the Friday prayer is observed has the reward of five hundred; his prayer in the Masjid al-Aqṣa has a reward of five thousand prayers; his prayer in my Masjid (in Madinah Munawwarha) has a reward of fifty thousand prayers; and the prayer in the Sacred Masjid (Ka‘bah) at Makkah has a reward of one hundred thousand prayers. (Tirmizi & Ibn Majah)
Hazrat Abu Dard (RA) narrates that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, A Salah in Makkah (Masjid al-Haram) is worth 100,000 times, a prayer in my Masjid (Madinah Munawwarah) is worth 1,000 times, and a prayer in Masjid al-Aqsa is worth 500 times, more than anywhere else. (Tabarani & Bayhaqi)
Salah in Masjid Al Aqsa erases sins
Hazrat Abullah bin Amr (RA) narrates that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: When Nabi Sulayman bin Dawood (AS) completed building Baitul-Maqdis, he asked Allah for three things: Judgment that was in harmony with His judgment, a dominion that no one after him would have, and that no one should come to this Masjid (Al Aqsa), except with a sincere intention to pray in it, and he would emerge free of sin as the day his mother gave birth to him. (Sunan an-Nasai)
Resting place of Prophet Musa (AS)
When the angle of death was sent to Musa (AS), he asked Allah to bring him close to the Holy Land (Baitul Maqdis), the distance of a stone's throw. (Sahih Bukhari)
Conquering of Baitul-Maqdis is among the signs of Qiyamah
Hazrat Auf bin Malik (RA) narrates that I went to Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) during the Battle of Tabuk while he was sitting in a leather tent. He said, Count six signs that indicate the approach of the Hour: 1. My death, 2. the conquest of Jerusalem…(Sahih Bukhari)
The sun was held back for its conquest
Hazrat Abu Hurayrah (RA) narrates that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: The sun was never held (from setting) for any human except Yusha (AS), on the nights he marched to Jerusalem. (Ahmad)
Dajjal will not enter Al Aqsa
Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said regarding Dajjal: He will enter every place on earth except the Ka’bah, Masjid An-Nabawi, Masjid Al-Aqsa Sanctuary and Mount Sinai. (Ahmad)
It is the individual and collective responsibility of all Muslims to safeguard Masjid al-Aqsa, its sacred precincts and to assist the people who are sacrificing their lives to protect this Holy site. Our responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:
• Regular Dua, seek from the mercy of Allah Ta’ala and turn to sincere repentance and forgiveness. Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: The Dua of a Muslim for his (fellow Muslim) brother in his absence is readily accepted. An angel is appointed to his side. Whenever he makes a beneficial Dua for his brother the appointed angel says, Aameen - and may you also be blessed with the same. (Sahih Muslim).
• To create ongoing education and awareness of the crisis in Palestine and the sanctity of Masjid al-Aqsa.
• Participate in legitimate activities that keep alive the struggle for the land of Palestine and its people.
• Support legitimate causes for Palestine through charity.
• Vigorously engage media in the highlighting the struggle of Palestine as a humanitarian crisis.
• Work with stakeholders, activists and governments to highlight Palestine nationally and internationally.