Statement of the Fiqh Council of North America
On the Current Escalation of Tension and Aggression on Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem
The Fiqh Council of North America is deeply concerned about the latest crisis in Jerusalem. For a number of days now, there have been multiple aggressions on the premises and prayer halls of Al-Aqsa Mosque and on its worshippers by Israeli forces. Two weeks ago, similar aggressions took place against the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and its peaceful worshippers. Such attacks on peaceful people praying, especially during the sacred month of Ramadan, are a violation of human beings’ right to worship freely without fear of assault.
Places of worship are sanctuaries that must be honored and preserved. As a Muslim organization and on behalf of the Muslim community we follow the Quran’s words: “Were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned” (22:40).
It is therefore a religious duty of Muslims to protect all places of worship. It is also a moral imperative for all that we protect places of worship of all faiths. The despicable act of attacking worshippers in the holy month of Ramadan during their prayers is rife with inhumanity and anti-religious symbolism. It is the duty of the council and all religious and interfaith communities to stop what might be a direct incitement of violence and bloodshed. The Council calls on Muslims and non-Muslims to protest those irresponsible and violent actions.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is one of the most sacred sites in Islam along with the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. It is where Prophet Muhammad led a prayer with other prophets on his blessed miraculous Journey of the Isra’. This journey is mentioned in the Quran: “Glory be to Him Who did take His servant for a journey by night from Al-Haram Mosque to Al-Aqsa Mosque, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, Allah is the Hearing, the Seeing” (17:1). It is therefore an indelible place of worship and a holy site of utmost importance to all Muslims.
The following prophetic traditions illustrate the importance and significance of Al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims:
Abu-Dardaa (ra) relates that the Prophet (saw) said: “A prayer in Al-Aqsa Mosque is worth 500 times more reward than anywhere else”. [Tabarani, Bayhaqi, Suyuti]
Abu Huraira (ra) relates that the Prophet (saw) said: “Only for three mosques may a special journey be undertaken: The Sacred Masjid (Makkah), my Masjid (Madinah) and Masjid of Al-Aqsa (Jerusalem). [Muslim, Bukhari, Abu Dawud]
Abdullah Ibn Umar (ra) relates that the Prophet (saw) told him about Al-Aqsa: “Go and pray there, and if you cannot visit and pray there, then send some oil to be used in its lamps”. [Bukhari]
Abdullah Ibn Umar (ra) also narrates, “We prayed along with the Prophet (saw) facing Al-Quds for 16 or 17 months. Then Allah ordered him to turn his face towards the Ka’bah (in Makkah). [Bukhari]
The Fiqh Council of North America issued on Ramadan 30, 1442/ May 12, 2021