The following is an excerpt taken from a Friday sermon by Shaykh Al 'Uthaymeen, rahimahullah, entitled: ‘What occurred during the history of Masjid Al Aqsa’
It is the Masjid in the holy blessed land, the residence of the father of the Prophets, Ibrahim Al Khaleel, and the residence of his sons with the exception of Ismaa'eel. It is the residence of Ishaaq and Yaqub, until Yaqub and his sons left and went to Egypt to his son Yusuf. They remained there (in Egypt) until they became a nation alongside the Copts, meaning the Pharaohs; those who severely punished them. This was until Musa, peace be upon him, took them out fleeing from the people of Pharaoh. And Allah the Exalted mentioned the children of Israel with this great blessing. He said:
And (remember) when We delivered you from Pharaoh’s people, who were afflicting you with a horrible torment, killing your sons and sparing your women, and therein was a mighty trial from your Lord. (Soorah Al Baqarah 2:49) And their prophet Musa, peace be upon him, reminded them as Allah narrates from him in the statement of the Exalted:
And [mention, O Muhammad], when Moses said to his people, "O my people, remember the favor of Allah upon you when He appointed among you prophets and made you kings and gave you that which He had not given anyone among the worlds. (Soorah Al Maidah 5:20) This means during their era. And he commanded them to fight the tyrants who had seized the holy land and he gave them glad tidings of victory when Musa, peace be upon him, said to them, as his Lord informed us in His statement:
"O my people! Enter the holy land (Palestine) which Allah has assigned to you, and turn not back (in flight) for then you will be returned as losers." (Soorah Al Maidah 5:21) Allah only assigned it for them because during that time they were the most deserving people of it; as they were the people of Imaan, rectification and an upright legislation. Allah the Exalted said:
And We have already written in the Psalms after the [previous] mention, that the land is inherited by My righteous servants. Verily, in this (the Quran) there is a plain Message for people who worship Allah. (Soorah Al Anbiya 21:105-106). But the children of Israel cowardly decline to make Jihad and they said to Musa, peace be upon him—as Allah has informed us:
They said: "O Musa (Moses)! In it (this holy land) are a people of great strength, and we shall never enter it, till they leave it; when they leave, then we will enter." (Soorah Al Maidah 5:22) And Allah the Exalted informed us that they said to Musa, peace be upon him:
So go you and your Lord and fight you two, we are sitting right here." (Soorah Al Maidah 5:24) They cowardly refused Jihad and facing their enemy and they dismissed their Messenger with this evil speech.
When they did this Allah made the holy land forbidden for them, thus they wandered throughout the land between Egypt and Sham for forty years not being guided to a right path until most of them or all of them died except those born in the wilderness. And then Harun and Musa, peace be upon them, died in the wilderness. After them came Yusha, among those who remained from the new generation of the children of Israel. And Allah opened for them the holy land and they remained there until the affair was passed down to Dawud and Sulayman, peace be upon them.
Consequently, Baitul Muqaddas was rebuilt, and Yaqub had built it before that. When the children of Israel insolently disobeyed the command of their Lord and disobeyed their Messengers, Allah sent against them a king from Persia called Nebuchadnezzar. He destroyed their land and spread amongst them killing, enslavement, and displacement. And he destroyed Baitul Muqaddas for the first time. Then by the wisdom of Allah the Exalted, after His retaliation upon the children of Israel, He decreed for them to return to the holy land and bring about a new generation. As Allah the Exalted said:
Then We gave you once again, a return of victory over them. And We helped you with wealth and children and made you more numerous in manpower. (Soorah Al Isra 17:6) Then they forgot what they had gone through and they disbelieved in Allah and His Messengers. Allah the Exalted said:
Verily, We took the covenant of the Children of Israel and sent them Messengers. Whenever there came to them a Messenger with what they themselves desired not - a group of them they called liars, and others among them they killed. (Soorah Al Maidah 5:70) Therefore, Allah sent against them some kings from Persia or Rome for a second time, thus they occupied their land and tormented them and destroyed Baitul Muqaddas. As Allah the Exalted said:
Then indeed, it is forbidden to them for forty years [in which] they will wander throughout the land. (Soorah Al Maidah 5:26)
Then, when the second promise came to pass, (We permitted your enemies) to make your faces sorrowful and to enter the mosque (of Jerusalem) as they had entered it before, and to destroy with utter destruction all that fell in their hands. (Soorah Al Isra 17:7) All of this was the result of the sins they committed and their disbelief in Allah the Exalted and disbelief in His Messengers. Allah the Exalted said:
And thus will We make some of the wrongdoers allies of others for what they used to earn. (Soorah Al An’am 6:129) Then Masjid Al Aqsa remained in the hands of the Christians and Rome before the advent of the Prophet, peace be upon him—for about three hundred years. This was until Allah the Exalted rescued it from their hands by the Islamic conquest at the hand of the rightly guided Khalifah, Umar ibn Al Khattab—may Allah be pleased with him—in the fifteenth year after the migration. Thus, Masjid Al Aqsa was placed in the hands of those rightly deserving of it, the rightly inheritors, and they are the Muslims. As Allah the Exalted said:
Allah has promised those who have believed among you and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession [to authority] upon the earth just as He granted it to those before them and that He will surely establish for them [therein] their religion which He has preferred for them and that He will surely substitute for them, after their fear, security, [for] they worship Me, not associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that - then those are the defiantly disobedient. (Soorah An Noor 24:55)
It remained in the hands of the Muslims until it was seized by the Christians from amongst the Europeans during the days of the Christian Crusades on the 23rd of Sha’ban 492H. They entered the holy land with about one million fighters and they killed the Muslims, rather they killed around sixty thousand Muslims. And they entered the Masjid and seized everything in it from the gold and silver, and it was a difficult day upon the Muslims. The Christians displayed their rituals in Masjid Al Aqsa, hanging up the cross, and striking the church bell. And in the Masjid they proselytized the Aqeedah that Allah is the third of the trinity, and the Aqeedah that Allah is the Messiah the son of Mary and the Aqeedah that the Messiah is the son of Allah. By Allah this was the greatest tribulation. The Christians occupied Masjid Al Aqsa for more than ninety years until Allah the Exalted saved it at the hands of Salah Ad Deen Al Ayyubi Yusuf ibn Ayyub—may Allah have mercy upon him—during the 27th of Rajab in the year 583H. It was a manifest victory and a memorable great day. This day the honor was returned to Masjid Al Aqsa, the crosses were broken, and the worship of one religion was proclaimed. Then the Christians tried again against the Muslims by exerting pressure against Al Malik Al Kamil, the nephew of Salah Ad Deen. Consequently he made an agreement with them to return to them Baitul Muqaddas while they would vacate the country between them and the other country. And that was in Rabi’ al-Thani in the year 626H. So the crusader states return to Masjid Al Aqsa another time and the Christians remained therein. As Allah the Exalted said:
And the Commandment of Allah is always executed. (Soorah An Nisa 4:47) This was until it was recovered from them by Al Malik As Salih Ayyub in the year 644H and it remained in the hands of the Muslims. And during Rabi’ al-Thani in the year 1378H the Jews—the enemies of Allah and His Messenger—occupied Baitul Muqaddas with the help of their enemies the Christians. And it continues to be in their hands and beneath their rule; and it will not be taken away from them except by a real Islamic conquest. According to what was relayed to us the head of state during that time said: ‘It may be possible for Israel to relinquish Tel Aviv, but it is not possible to relinquish Jerusalem.’ Yes, the Jews will not relinquish Jerusalem except by force, and there is no force except by the aid of Allah the Exalted. And there is no help from Allah unless we help His cause. Allah the Exalted said:
O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm. (Soorah Muhammad 47:7) The victory is not by glossy boastful speech and rhetoric which turn the issue into a political issue and a material territorial defeat. Victory is not possible except if we establish the religion of Allah in the manner in which He is pleased for us; such that we rule by the legislation of Allah, and we enjoin the good and from forbid the evil as Allah the Exalted has commanded us in His statement:
[And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of [all] matters. (Soorah Al Hajj 22:41) We ask Allah the Exalted in this place, that He return the Muslims to their Lord with the best possible return, and that they judge by the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him; and that they fight to make the statement of Allah the highest, not to aid nationalism, or to aid territorial claims; but rather to make the statement of Allah the highest.
By Shaykh Muhammad Salih Al 'Uthaymeen—may Allah have mercy upon him
Translated by Rasheed ibn Estes Barbee