Did you know that there is a natural cave underneath the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem? Perhaps that is where all the blood from the sacrifices in the First and Second Temples drained away. This building is an archaeological gem. Its decorations are mind-boggling. If you want to see the hidden treasure of the Dome of the Rock, see the Foundation Stone and visit the cave below it, stay right here.
I would love to visit the Dome of the Rock, but unfortunately that is not possible today. Muslims can enter the Temple Mount freely from several gates all day long. Entrance to the Temple Mount is not so simple for non-Muslims. If you are a non-Muslim, you must join the line, immediately to right of the Western Wall (you will see a covered disabled access ramp leading up onto the Dome of the Rock).
The whole Temple Mount is open to visitors of all faiths, however entrance to the Al Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock is prohibited for Jews and other non-Muslims are not normally allowed into the Dome of the Rock or the Al Aqsa Mosque. Non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount is not permitted. The interior of the Dome of the Rock is not accessible to tourists – unless you are Muslim… or can convince someone you are.
You will have to excuse the Intelive reporter for her calling the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat As-Sakhrah) a mosque. This is a very common mistake. Historically the Dome of the Rock was never a mosque. It is often erroneously called the Mosque of Omar, from a tradition that it was built by Caliph Omar I. The truth is that the Dome of the Rock was actually built by Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik. There is a Mosque of Omar in Jerusalem, but it is next to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Judaism holds the Temple Mount to be holy for several reasons.
- It was here that the world expanded into its present form and where G-D gathered the dust used to create the first human, Adam.
- This is the location of Mount Moriah, Abraham’s binding of Isaac, a tradition assimilated by Islam.
- Mount Moriah became a threshing-floor owned by Aravnah, a Jebusite, purchased by King David to be used as a sanctuary.
- Both the First Temple and Second Temple stood at the Temple Mount.
Muslims believe the location of the Dome of the Rock to be the site of the Islamic miracle of the Isra and Miraj. The Night Journey (Shab-e-Me`raj ). The Isra is the part of the journey of Muhammad the Masjid al-Haram in which Buraq, the traditional heavenly steed of the prophets, carries Muhammad to the Masjid Al Aqsa, the “Farthest Mosque”. In the Mi’raj (ladder), Buraq takes Muhammad to the heavens, where G-D instructs hm that Muslims must pray fifty times per day. Moses urges Muhammad to ask for a reduction, until finally it is reduced to five times per day.
For Christianity, the Temple Mount has great significance due to the role the Temple played in the life of Jesus. Luke 2:41-50, Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 13:1-2, John 4:21-24
The octagonal plan of the structure may have been influenced by the Byzantine Chapel of St Mary