There are some 26 elevated platforms within the Masjid al Aqsa compound. Many of these, have at their boundary a simple niche facing the Qiblah. In the past, these platforms were used for Salaah, as well as scholarly gatherings and learning circles. Students of a particular mathab would typically gather at a particular platform. Among the famous Ulama who taught at Masjid al Aqsa through the ages were Mujir Ad Din Al Hanbali, author of the Al Uns al Jalil fi Tarikh Al Quds wal Khalil(The Glorious History of Jerusalem and Hebron); Sheikh Ya’qub al Budeiri who taught Ulum ud Din, Murad Affandi al Masri who taught Arabic calligraphy; and Abu al Faraj Abd al Wahid ibn Ahmad al Shirazi – also known as Al Maqdidi who would teach fiqh. Most of these platforms date back to the Mamluk and Ottoman eras. Today, many continue to serve as hubs of religious learning.