why is jerusalem important to judaism christianity and islam

Jerusalem - its name resonates in the hearts of Christians, Jews and Muslims alike and echoes through centuries of shared and disputed history. Known in Hebrew as Yerushalayim and in Arabic as al-Quds, it is one of the oldest cities in the world. It has been conquered, destroyed and rebuilt time and again, and every layer of its earth reveals a different piece of the past. While it has often been the focus of stories of division and conflict among people of different religions, they are united in their reverence for this holy ground. At its core is the Old City, a maze of narrow alleyways and historic architecture that characterises its four quarters - Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Armenian. It is surrounded by a fortress-like stone wall and home to some of the holiest sites in the world. Each quarter represents its own population. The Christians have two, because Armenians are also Christians, and their quarter, the smallest of the four, is one of the oldest Armenian centres in the world. It is unique in that their community has preserved its own particular culture and civilisation inside the St James Church and monastery, which comprises most of their section. Inside the Christian Quarter is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a significant focus for Christians all over the world. It is located on a site which is central to the story of Jesus, his death, crucifixion and resurrection. According to most Christian traditions, Jesus was crucified there, on Golgotha, or the hill of Calvary, his tomb is located inside the sepulchre and this was also the site of his resurrection. The church is managed jointly by representatives of different Christian denominations, mainly the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, Franciscan friars from the Roman Catholic Church and the Armenian Patriarchate, but also by the Ethiopians, Coptics and Syrian Orthodox Church. It is one of the main pilgrimage destinations for millions of Christians worldwide who visit the empty tomb of Jesus and seek solace and redemption in prayer at the site.


The Muslim Quarter is the largest of the four and contains the shrine of the Dome of Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque on a plateau known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary. The mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and is under the administration of an Islamic trust called the Waqf. Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad travelled here from Mecca during his night journey and prayed with the souls of all the prophets. A few steps away, the shrine of the Dome of the Rock holds the foundation stone, where Muslims believe Muhammad then ascended to heaven. Muslims visit the holy site all year round, but every Friday during the holy month of Ramadan, hundreds of thousands of Muslims come to pray at the mosque. The Jewish Quarter is home to the Kotel, or the Western Wall, a remnant of the retaining wall of the mount on which the Holy Temple once stood. Inside the temple was the Holy of Holies, the most sacred site in Judaism. Jews believe that this was the location of the foundation stone from which the world was created, and where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. Many Jews believe the Dome of the Rock is the site of the Holy of Holies. Today, the Western Wall is the closest place Jews can pray to the Holy of Holies. It is managed by the Rabbi of the Western Wall and every year hosts millions of visitors. Jewish people from all over the world visit this place to pray and connect to their heritage, especially during the High Holidays. Video and production by Avi Halfon and Alon Farago
The matter of Israel s capital city has long been a source of dispute. б Although all foreign embassies in Israel are located in Tel Aviv, the countryб considersб б to be its capital. Jerusalem, which is one of the oldest cities in the world, has been formally divided between Israel and Palestine for nearly 70 years, yet changed hands many other times throughout the course of its over 5,000-year history. Israel and PalestineБs dueling claims to the city are steeped in decades of conflict, during which Jewish settlers pushed Muslim Arabs out of their homes and established the on their land in the middle of the 20th century.


But the claims are also tied to the religions of Judaism and Islam, both of which recognize Jerusalem as a holy place. On December 6, President Donald Trump broke with previous U. S. foreign policy and that the U. S. would recognize Jerusalem as IsraelБs capital, effectively endorsing Israeli control of the city. Jerusalem seen through a door with the shape of the star of David. U. S. officials say President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Israel s capital Wednesday, Dec. 6, and instruct the State Department to begin the multi-year process of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city. (Credit: Oded Balilty/AP Photo) Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are strongly tied to the ancient city, and followers of each of these religions have controlled all or part of the city over the past few thousand years. In 1,000 B. C. E. , King David established Jewish control over Jerusalem. The city fell in and out of other hands during the next couple of millenia; particularly during the crusades, when Christian crusaders fought competing Christian and Muslim factions for control of the city. And between 1517 and 1917, the Ottoman EmpireБwhose official religion was IslamБruled the city. Jerusalem features prominently in the Hebrew Bible. In the Jewish tradition, it is the place where Abraham, the first Patriarch of Judaism, sacrificed his son Isaac to God thousands of years ago. Later, AbrahamБs grandson Jacob (who took the name БIsraelБ) learned that Jerusalem is Бthe site that the Lord your God will choose from among all your tribes, as a place established in His name,Б to the Book of Deuteronomy. Religious Jewish men praying at The Western Wall, Judaism s holiest site, ahead of the Sabbath, 2005. (Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) Jerusalem was the capital of King DavidБs Israel in the Hebrew Bible, as well as the city where DavidБs son Solomon built his temple.


In biblical times, Jewish people who could not make a pilgrimage to the city were supposed to pray in the direction of it. According to the Quran, Jerusalem was also the last place the Prophet Muhammad visited before he to the and talked to God in the seventh century. Before that, he was flown from Mecca to Jerusalem overnight by a mythical creature. Both this miraculous night journey and his communion with God are important events in Islam. During the night journey, Muhammad was purified in preparation for his meeting with God. Once in heaven, God told Muhammad that he should recite the salat, or ritual prayer, 50 times each day. However, Muhammad begged God to reduce the number to five times a day, which is the current standard for Muslim prayer. TURKEY APRIL 08: Walls of Constantinople (first half of the 5th century AD) and the city, Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images) Muhammad saw his mission as an extension of the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism and Christianity. Therefore, the first Qibla, or direction in which Muslims should pray, was Jerusalem (today, Muslims bow towards Mecca). In addition, Islamic tradition predicts that Jerusalem will play an important role in the future, naming it as one of the cities where the end of the world will play out. Though the world doesnБt appear to be ending there right now, TrumpБs announcement is definitely increasing tensions. The presidentБs decision to recognize Jerusalem as IsraelБs capital drew praise from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and condemnation from Palestinian allies who worried that this move would make it more difficult to negotiate a long-sought peace treaty between the states. And in fact, hours before TrumpБs announcement, the Palestinian general delegate to the U. K. stated that if the U. S. president recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he would effectively be

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