Dome Of The Rock Essay

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The history behind the construction of the Dome of the Rock at its location is not surprising; not only is it located in a city that is significant to Muslims and Jews alike, but it is also built on top of one of the most sacred sites in both Islam and Judaism. The Dome of the Rock is situated in the heart of the old city on the historical site of both Solomon’s Temple and the second Temple--a location labeled by the Jews as Temple Mount (Grabar 38). In early Islamic Jerusalem, the small Jewish population of the city was once permitted to pray at the site (Peters 194). After the construction of the Dome of the Rock, however, the atmosphere of the area changed (Peters 194). Jews who were temporarily allowed to enter the Temple Mount area as …show more content…
As a demonstration of power, Caliph ‘Abd al-Malik commissioned the building in 688 in order to challenge the magnificent churches in Jerusalem by building a great monument there (Armstrong 237). ‘Abd al-Malik declared that Christian buildings in Jerusalem, such as the Dome of the Anastasis and the Church of the Ascension would pale in comparison to the new dome he planned to build (Armstrong 237). In addition to the stand he took against Christianity in Jerusalem, ‘Abd al-Malik built the Dome of the Rock because he wanted to be remembered in the city as “the builder of the most impressive monument on Mount Moriah over the Sacred Rock” (Rabbat 15). Although its construction had highly political motives, the Dome of the Rock effectively “islamized” Jerusalem while reflecting Christian-Byzantine architectural traditions (Grabar …show more content…
Although many Muslims pray inside the Dome of the Rock, it is not a mosque (Hoppe). Today the building is used and functions more as a cult center for the purpose of guarding and protecting the Sacred Rock than as a mosque for prayer (Bahat 92). The Dome of the Rock’s original purpose as a shrine was to establish the superiority of Islam over Christianity and Judaism by proclaiming and representing “the unity of God and the finality of Muhammad’s role as God’s prophet” (Hoppe). With the sacred rock there, Muslims “took up the custom of circumambulating the rock,” similar to how they paced around the Ka’ba in Mecca (Peters 197). Like the Ka’ba in Mecca, the Dome in Jerusalem replicated the motif of the Garden of Eden, which was a significant image in both Islam and Judaism (Armstrong 242). Armstrong argues that the replication of Mecca’s central sanctity and the mythical Garden of Eden is a symbol of the desire and struggle for unity (242). He claims that after the Dome’s completion, both Muslim and Jews eventually considered the Rock to be “the foundation of the Temple, the center of the world, the entrance to the Garden of Eden and the source of fertility” (Armstrong

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