|Sayyidina Abu Bakr RA
|Sayyidina Umar RA
During his lifetime, the Messenger of Allah SAW foretold of the liberation of al Quds, and even informed his companions of the roles they would take up there, thereby strengthening their affiliation with the Holy Land.
Sayyidina Shadad Ibn Aws RA reports that the Prophet (saw) said, “Shaam will be conquered and Al-Quds (Jerusalem) will be conquered and you or your sons will be Imams there, if Allah will” [Tabarani]
The Sahabah RA had total conviction in this promise of Nabi Muhammad SAW, even though they were – at the time these prophecies were being made – still not dominant, even in Arabia. Sayyidina Tamim al Dari RA once asked the Prophet SAW to grant him an area around al Khalil(Hebron) once the Muslims liberated Palestine. The Prophet SAW signed a document granting Tamim an area around al Khalil as waqf, with the condition that this land could not be sold to anyone.
The Sahabah RA sought to be part of the prophesized Islamic re-entry into al Quds.
Sayyidina Awf Ibn Malik RA relates, “I went to the Prophet (saw) during the battle of Tabuk while he was sitting in a leather tent. He said, ‘Awf, Count six signs, between now and the approach of the Hour (Qiyamah/Doomsday): my death, the conquest of Al-Quds (Jerusalem); a plague that will afflict you (and kill you in great numbers) as the plague that afflicts sheep; the increase of wealth to such an extent that even if one is given 100 hundred Dinars (Arabian currency), he will not be satisfied; then an affliction which no Arab house will escape; and then a truce between you and Banu Asfar (i.e. Byzantines) who will betray you and attack you under eighty flags. Under each flag will be twelve thousand soldiers”[Bukhari]
Narrations point to the eagerness of the Sahaba and Ahlul Bayt RA to enquire about the specialities of Bayt al Maqdis and their responsibilities towards it.
Sayyidatina Maymuna RA – the wife of the Prophet SAW – reported: I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah[SAW], tell us about Jerusalem’. He said: ‘It is the place of Judgement Day where everyone will be called. Come and pray in it, for one prayer in it is like one thousand prayers elsewhere’. ‘What is one cannot go there?’I asked. He replied, ‘Send oil for its lamps; for whoever does so, it is as if they went there’” (Ibn Majah)
Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn Umar (ra) relates, I asked the Prophet (saw), “Apostle of Allah, tell us the legal injunction about (visiting) Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem).” The Apostle of Allah (saw) said, ” Go and pray there. If you cannot visit it and pray there, then send some oil to be used in the lamps”. [Bukhari]
The Messenger of Allah SAW personally instructed certain Sahabah RA to choose the blessed land of Shaam as a residence were they to be faced with that choice.
Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Hawalah RA reports that he said, “O Messenger of Allah, choose for me a place where I should be, for if I were to know that you are staying I would not have chosen any place over you.” He SAW said three times, “You must go to al-Sham.” When He SAW noticed Ibn Hawalah’s indifference towards it, he said, “Do you know what Allah says about al-Sham? Allah said, ‘O Sham! You are the quintessence of My lands (safwati min biladi) and I shall inhabit you with the chosen ones among My servants.’” (Al-Tabarani)
Sayyidina Ibn Umar RA reports that the Prophet SAW said: “A huge fire will issue from the direction of the Sea of Hadramaut before the Day of Resurrection, which will cause a great movement of people”. The companions asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what do you order us to do at that time?” He SAW replied, “You must go to Shaam” (Tirmidhi)
Sayyidina Abu Umamah RA reports that the Prophet SAW said: “The Hour will not come before the best of people of Iraq first go to al Shaam and the worst of the people of al Shaam go to Iraq”. The Prophet SAW further said, “You must go to al Shaam” (Ahmad)
Sayyidina Muawiyah ibn Haydah RA reports that he asked the Prophet SAW, “Messenger of Allah, where do you order me to go”. “There,” and he SAW gestured with his hand towards Shaam”(Tirmidhi)
The fourth Khalif, Sayyidina Ali RA stated: “Glad tidings for the residents of Bayt al Maqdis when trials appear. The one who remains there will be considered a fighter in the way of Allah. A time will come upon the people when one of them will say, “I wish I were a blade of straw between the bricks of Bayt al Maqdis”
Through various battles and expeditions undertaken during the life of the Messenger SAW and those of his two immediate successors, the Sahabah RA were involved in removing the obstacles in the way of reaffirming a Muslim presence in Al Quds.
It was eventually during the era of Sayyidina Umar ibn al Khattab RA in the year 15AH(636/637 CE) that the companions were able to realise the dream of re-establishing a Muslim identity in al Quds, by conquering it on behalf of the Ummah.
It was during this peaceful conquest, presided over, in person by Sayyidina Umar RA, that the Muezzin of the Messenger of Allah SAW, Sayyidina Bilaal ibn Rabaah RA, called out the Athaan – something he had hardly done since the Prophet SAW’s demise. When the companions heard his iconic voice, memories of the Prophetic era came flowing back, and many burst into tears.
It is also highly illustrative of his fondness for Masjid al Aqsa, that Sayyidina Umar ibn al Khattab RA, upon liberating al Quds, took it upon himself to personally clean the grounds of Masjid al Aqsa, which the Byzantines had used a rubbish dump.
He said, “O People! Do what I am doing”. He knelt down in the midst of the rubbish and gathered the dirt by the handful into the lower part of his cloak. The Sahaba RA joined him in this act of servitude until the site was entirely clean.
Sayyidina Umar RA then inaugurated the construction of a Masjid at the Southern end of the Masjid al Aqsa compound.
As mentioned above, Sayyidina Tamim al Dari RA was granted a portion of land as waqf by the Prophet SAW during his lifetime. Upon liberation of Masjid al Aqsa, Sayyidina Tamim presented evidence of this agreement to Umar RA, who thereupon granted him the promised area around al Khalil(Hebron). Tamim RA was also said to be appointed a governor of al Quds later on.
Narrations indicate that the Sahabah RA were regular visitors to Masjid al Aqsa, post liberation.
Sayyidina Shaddad ibn Aws RA relates: “I came to Muawiyah in al Quds, he led us in Friday prayer. I saw that most of the people in the Masjid were the Companions of the Prophet SAW” (Abu Dawood)
Sahabah RA who were known to have visited Masjid al Aqsa include: Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Salaam RA, Abdur Rahmaan ibn Awf RA, Abu Darda RA, Abu Dharr Ghifari RA, Abu Mas’ud al Ansari RA, Abu Ubaydah ibn al Jarrah RA, Alqamah RA, Awf ibn Malik RA, Habib ibn Siba RA, Jund ibn Junadah RA, Ka’b al Ahbar RA, Khalid ibn Sa’id RA, Khalid ibn Walid RA, Mas’ud ibn Aws RA, Muadh ibn Jabal RA, Salman al Farisi RA, Uqbah ibn Amir RA and Yazid ibn Abu Sufyaan RA.
Cognisant of the virtues mentioned by their teacher, Sayyidina Muhammad SAW, regarding setting off for the journey of Hajj and Umrah from Masjid al Aqsa, many Sahabah RA took relish in practicing upon this meritorious deed after the liberation of Jerusalem.
Those who had donned their Ihraam from Masjid al Aqsa included: Sayyidina Umar ibn al Khattab RA, Sa’d ibn abi Waqqaas RA, Abdullah ibn Umar RA, Tamim al Dari RA, Amr ibn al Aas RA, Abu Hurairah RA and Abdullah ibn Abbas RA.
Graves of the Sahabah RA can be found in abundance throughout Palestine and Shaam. Two Ashaab, Shaddad ibn Aws RA and Ubadah ibn Samit RA are buried in the immediate environs of Masjid al Aqsa.