The History Of Jerusalem In the Umayyad era
The Umayyads took over the Caliphate after the Companions. This was after more than 20 years of the liberation of Jerusalem by Omar bin Al-Khattab. In their time, the city thrived and witnessed the spread of knowledge and culture, and a great civilization was established.
The Umayyad Era’s Duration
This period of time lasted for 92 years (40 AH. – 132 AH.). It started with the building of Al-Aqsa Mosque, under the supervision of the Umayyad Caliph Abdul Malik bin Marwan. Yet, he died before getting the job done. His son, Al-Waleed, completed what his father had begun.
The Umayyad Era
After the death of Al-Waleed bin Abdul Malik, his brother Suleiman became the Caliph. He started building cities and helping them to thrive. Buildings rose up and civilization emerged differently and greatly. He gave Jerusalem a great status, in the Islamic Nation and worldwide.
The Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque
In 747 (129 AH.), an earthquake hit Al-Aqsa Mosque, weakening it and its landmarks. Muslims restored all the destroyed parts, but it was basic and temporary fixing.
Abdul Malik Bin Marwan and Building the Dome of the Rock
Abdul Malik bin Marwan was known for his great respect for Arabism and Islam. He Arabized the public bureaucracies and minted money. It is said that he gave orders to construct a great compound in Al-Aqsa Mosque, in a way that shows the sacredness, greatness, and importance of the mosque.
At that time, Abdul Malik bin Marwan was informed that people were infatuated by the vastness, greatness, and height of the dome on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. So, he gathered his workers and announced his intentions to build a dome greater and more beautiful; one that shows the power and glory of Islam, and so he did.
The Reason Behind Building the Dome on the Rock
Archeological studies have shown that Abdul Malik bin Marwan built the dome above the Rock for many reasons; the most important of them are the following:
-To honor and maximize the status of the Holy Rock
-He wanted this Dome to serve as THE dome of Al-Aqsa Mosque, because it was difficult for the Umayyad State to cover all of the Aqsa area, since it is large.
The Characteristics of the Dome of the Rock in the Umayyad Era
The Dome of the rock was built with 8 sides on8 huge pillars
On its western side, there were 3 neighboring niches, as reminders of thet 3 sacred places in Islam; Mecca, Madinah, and Jerusalem
On its western side, there were 7 niches, representing the seven firmaments
Anyone enters the Dome of the Rock notices that there are 5 pillars at its front side; they represent the 5 prayers
The Islamic Umayyad Mosaic ornament that the Dome of the Rock was famous for. These ornaments included the shapes of all the fruit mentioned in the Holy Qur’an
They built 4 pillars around the Rock, which represent and remind people of the 4seasons. Between these huge pillars, there area 12small colored marble pillars, representing the months of the year
The Dispute over the Builder of the Dome
It is important to know that there were people who don’t agree to the universal and Islamic unanimity in admitting that Abdullah bin Abdul Malik. Few historians and scholars said that the builder of the Dome was Al-Waleed bin Abdul Malik, and this is totally inaccurate.
Al-Waleed bin Abdul Malik and Al-Qibli Mosque
When the building of the Dome of the Rock was completed, preparations have been made to build Al-Qibli Mosque. They started by building the southern subfloor, that extends from the east to the west. This subfloor has many sections; the most important of them are:
The eastern section: it is what’s called now Al-Marwani Prayer Hall, which was originally built to serve as a basement below the to-be-built Qibli Mosque
The southwestern section: it was turned into wells, to preserve water
It is worth mentioning that Abdul Malik bin Marwan die during the building of Al-Qibli Mosque, and his son Al-Waleed continued his work
The Umayyad Palaces
The Umayyad Palaces, that extend on the southern area outside Al-Aqsa Mosque, were built in the same time that Al-Qibli Mosque was being built. They have strategic positions and unique shapes.