Q. “I am told that ‘al-Masjid-al-Aqsa mentioned in Surah Bani Isra’il of the Holy Qur’an refers to a plot of land only, and there was no built mosque on that plot in the days of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam). Is this correct? Is the present Masjid built on the same plot? And who had built it first?
(A.S. Naviwala Karachi)
A. This is not correct. What we call it al-Masjid al-Aqsa today was originally built by Sayyidna Dawood by Sayyidna Sulaiman . It was in the form of a mosque even in the days of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam). Imam Baghawri reports that when the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam) informed the infidels of Makkah that he has been taken by Allah to al-Masjid-al-Aqsa, they did not believe it and started asking him about the details of the building of the mosque, and the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam) gave then full account of the building. They asked him about the minute details of the structure of the mosque and the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam)gave all their answers correctly. (See al-Tafsir al-Mazhari v.5 p.402)
It is thus clear that al-Masjid al-Aqsa was not merely a vacant plot of land. There was a mosque built over it. As mentioned earlier, the Masjid was originally erected in the days of Dawood and Sulaiman Then, it has been renovated several times. According to some reports this Masjid was distracted when Sayyidna ‘Umar took its charge. He build it again, then Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan was the first Muslim ruler who had renovated it after Sayyidna Umar