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Coordination between Palestinian and Israeli authorities had improved at the checkpoint this year, the photographer said, making access to Jerusalem easier.

This was largely due to Israel opening a new crossing at the site in February that is designed to reduce friction at one of the largest crossing points between the West Bank and Jerusalem. Israeli restrictions on Palestinians from the West Bank are eased during the month of Ramadan, which began on Monday. Men over the age of 40 and children under 12 will be allowed to enter the city on Fridays during Ramadan, while there are no restrictions on women, the Israeli army announced.

Israel views the whole of Jerusalem as its capital while the Palestinians see the eastern part as the capital of their future state. Muslim worshipers pray in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound at Jerusalem's Temple Mount on May 10, on the first Friday prayers of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. It is recommended to go habitually to mosques, for the Holy Prophet S is reported to have said:.

Whoever goes to any of the mosques of Allah walking, Allah shall record for him ten rewards, erase ten of his evildoings, and raise him ten ranks for each step he makes until he returns home.

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It is recommended to build a mosque, which brings about a great reward. Whoever builds a mosque in this world, Almighty Allah shall give him a city of gold, silver, pearl, and aquamarine that is too vast to be traversed with forty thousand years of walking for each hand span of that mosque.

Whoever builds a mosque, Almighty Allah shall build a house in Paradise for him. It is forbidden to defile a mosque. However, if a mosque becomes unclean, it is then obligatory upon those managing it to remove the impurity as immediately as possible.

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It is also forbidden to introduce things into the mosque that violate its sanctity. It is recommended for true believing men to take the lead in presenting themselves in mosques and to stay there for as long a period as possible, lagging behind the others while leaving. It is recommended to offer services to mosques, such as lighting lamps, cleaning up, sweeping, and dusting.

It is recommended to offer a two-unit prayer in the mosque immediately after entering it. However, to offer the obligatory, supererogatory, or other recommended prayers substitutes for this prayer. Most surely, the first house appointed for men is the one at Bakkah, blessed and guidance for the nations. In it are clear signs; for example the standing-place of Abraham.

And whoever enters it shall be secure. And pilgrimage to the House is incumbent upon men for the sake of Allah, upon every one who is able to undertake the journey to it. Inside this mosque, there lies the standing-place of Prophet Abraham S , where the Holy Qur'an has ordered everyone visiting it to pray, saying:. Therefore, the Sacred Mosque is the earliest place of worship known by humanity throughout history.

On many occasions, the Holy Qur'an has referred to this mosque as al-masjid al-haram the Sacred Mosque.

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Moreover, other issues like the Hajj Pilgrimage are also related to the Sacred Mosque, since all these deeds are practiced therein. Other traditions have confirmed that the place of this house was the first thing created by Almighty Allah on this globe. Then, He, the Almighty, spread the earth from beneath it. From other traditions, we can conclude that the design of the Holy House and the rite of circumambulating it had been determined since the issuance of the divine decree to create Adam 11 about which the Holy Qur'an reads:.

As some other traditions hold that the borders of the Sacred Mosque extended between Safa and Marwah, this means that it was more expansive than its current building. At the time of the Quraysh, it was expanded to eighteen cubits, and to twenty-seven cubits in the time of al-Hajjaj. It was encircled because it was discommended to tread on the graves within. Other validly reported traditions indicate that the Black Stone was in Paradise, but it was Almighty Allah Who put it in its current place after He had made a covenant with all the creatures. On the Day of Resurrection, this stone shall testify to those who kept this covenant and fulfilled their pledge to the Lord.

Accordingly, a pilgrim, when kissing the Black Stone, is required to say the following supplication:. O Allah, I have fulfilled my trust and I have performed my covenant so that You may witness for me that I have fulfilled it. Later, they changed their opinion and paid high regard to it. There is no tyrant that intends evil to these places but that Almighty Allah shall shatter him. The Holy House and its interests precede all other interests in Makkah because of this special sacredness, as maintained by some traditions.

Almighty Allah has forbidden the polytheists from entering the Sacred Mosque. As declared by the Holy Qur'an:. O you who believe, surely the idolaters are unclean, so they shall not approach the Sacred Mosque after this year. To take a look at it is a sort of devotional act. Verily, Almighty Allah has decreed one hundred and twenty mercies to surround His Holy House; sixty for those who circumambulate it, forty for those who offer prayers there, and twenty for those who look at it. Whoever performs an obligatory prayer in the Sacred Mosque, Almighty Allah shall determine admissible all the prayers he had performed since the time prayers were made obligatory upon him to perform and the prayers he will perform up to his death time.

Innumerable texts also report the merits of this city, the merits of doing devotional acts and righteous deeds there, and the merits of living in its vicinity.

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Also, painful chastisement is reported to be the share of anyone who commits sins therein. Whoever shall incline therein to wrong unjustly, We will make him taste a painful chastisement. Besides, Almighty Allah has decided Makkah to be a safe haven for every one who enters there up to the Day of Resurrection. It is also impermissible to hunt on land and to uproot trees of this city except in a few cases.

It is also inadvisable to carry weapons openly or to frighten people therein. Moreover, many regulations have been instituted with regard to this holy city. Some of these rites have been cited in the previous chapter on the rites of the Hajj Pilgrimage. However, the readers are advised to acquaint themselves with the other laws, etiquettes, and recommended acts found in books on the Hajj Pilgrimage.

As has been cited, to offer one prayer in this mosque is equal in reward to one thousand prayers that are offered in other mosques. According to other traditions, a single prayer is even equal in reward to ten thousand prayers offered in other mosques. If you enter from that door, the wall would hit your left shoulder if it was still there. A single prayer that is offered in my mosque is equal to one thousand prayers that are offered in other mosques except the Sacred Mosque, which is more meritorious than my mosque.

It extends from the column that is situated near the head of the tomb to the two columns lying behind the minbar to the right side of the kiblah direction. Behind the minbar, there was a narrow way in which a sheep could pass but a man must pass aslant. The yard of the mosque extended from the court to the patio. When you accomplish your prayers near the tomb of the Holy Prophet S , you may come to the minbar, pass your hand over it, hold the two lower pommels, and then rub your face and eyes, for this act brings about eye healing. You may then offer prayers there, praise and thank Almighty Allah, and implore Him for settling your needs.

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One of the other places regarded special is Maqam Jibra'il the Standing-place of Archangel Gabriel where the Archangel would stop to gain permission from the Holy Prophet S to enter. You may come to the standing-place of Gabriel, which is under a drainpipe, because at this very place, Archangel Gabriel used to stop to seek permission from the Holy Prophet S before he would visit him.

You may say these words at this place:. O All-magnanimous!

O All-generous! O Nigh! O Remote! I beseech You to send blessings upon Muhammad and his Household and to grant me this blessing of Yours over again. These certain rites and recommended acts have been mentioned by Shaykh al-Kulayni in al-Kafi and Shaykh al-Tusi in Tahdhib al-Ahkam with many traditions of valid chains of authority.

While residing in Madinah for three days, you may observe fasting for three days beginning with Wednesday. You may spend Wednesday thereat. The next night and day i. Thursday , you may offer prayers near the next column, which is situated behind the Holy Prophet's S standing-place. Fasting on Thursday, you may spend the next night and day i. Friday at the next column, offering prayers and sitting there. You may then fast on Friday.

If possible, you should abstain from talking except when necessary. Do not leave the mosque except for an urgent need, and do not sleep at all as long as you are there. If you do all that, you will gain much reward. Then, pray to Him to grant you your requests.

Include these words with your prayer:. Settle all my needs for me, be they insignificant or great. If you do all that, then you will deserve to have your requests granted, Allah willing. In the holy city of al-Madinah, there are other mosques that have the honor to be places where the Holy Prophet S offered prayers, or which he himself ordered to be built. Certainly, a mosque founded on piety from the very first day is more deserving that you should stand in it. In it are men who love that they should be purified, and Allah loves those who purify themselves. In this place too, the Holy Prophet S offered prayers.

Chapter 3: Mosques And Holy Places

We have been informed that the Holy Prophet S , whenever visiting the graves of the martyrs, would say:. O He Who aids the aggrieved! O He Who responds to the supplication of the distressed! O He Who helps the depressed! Please do remove my distress, my grief, my anguish, and my dejection in the same way You relieved the grief of Your Prophet—peace be upon him and his Household—and saved him from the horror of his enemies at this very place.

You should start with Quba Mosque where you should offer as many prayers as you can, for this place is the first mosque of this area in which the Holy Prophet S offered prayers. You may then go to al-Fadhikh Mosque and offer a prayer therein, for your Prophet S offered a prayer therein. After visiting all the sites at this side, you may move to the other side of Mount Uhud and start with the mosque that is situated on the side of al-Hirah wherein you may offer a prayer.