For the purpose of worship, the Prophet admonished all Muslims to travel to only three mosques: the Haram in Holy Makkah, the Prophet's
Mosque in Madinah, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Bayt al-Mugaddas. This book relates the true and fascinating story of the creation, installation, destruction, and eventual rebirth of the magnificent pulpit (minbar) of the Al-Aqsa Mosque from which each week the khatib (sermon reciter) would deliver his address. Salah al-Din, the great leader of the counter-crusade, had to wait twenty years before he could enter Jerusalem in 1187 CE and install the minbar of Nur al-Din Zangi in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. And eight hundred years later, Dar al-Islam had to wait almost forty years for a new minbar to replace the original one destroyed by vandalism.
Although East Jerusalem has suffered from a brutal occupation since June 1967 CE, the patient Palestinians have not lost hope that their Al-Aqsa Mosque may soon be liberated and that Muslims the world over will be able to fulfill the Prophet's admonishment to visit it. And then, insha Allah, Muslims from every corner of Dar al-Islam will once again benefit from the Friday and `Eid sermons delivered from the most beautiful minbar.
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