The Western Wall, Al-Masjid ul-Aqsa and the Religious Overtones of the Palestine/Israel Conflict

Figure 1A: The grand marja`, Imam Yusuf Sufan Al-Qaddumi (d. 1351 AH)


Fatwa Regarding the Necessity of Preventing the Jews from Prayer at the Halting Place of Al-Buraq

By the Shaikh, the High Ranking Scholar, the Faqih and one of the Authorities of the Hanbalis: Yusuf ibn `Abdullah ibn Sufan Al-Qaddumi (d. 1351 AH),[1] may Allah have mercy upon him

This ruling was read and accepted in Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa, may Allah ennoble the place

The text is as follows:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

The following question was put to the Marja`:

What is your statement regarding when the Jews intend to gather and manifest the peculiar aspects of their religion – in matters such as prayer, raising the voice while reading books – at the halting place of the Noble Buraq[2] that is one of the sections of the Al-Masjid ul-Aqsa along with the shrines of the Muslims?

In addition to this, what is your statement regarding their intent on erecting a temple on the site?

Is this action of the Jews something that can be accepted according to the judgements of the Pure Revealed Law although it annoys or causes harm to the Muslims?

Is it compulsory to prevent them from that area? What are the explicit texts of the scholars of fiqh and what have they specifically said on the topic?

And further to this, what clarification do we have from a scholar of fiqh that is authentic to narrate from and what is the proof? Please benefit us with a detailed answer.

Imam Yusuf Al-Qaddumi (d. 1351 AH) tendered the following reply:

Praise be to Allah Alone.  Dear reader, you should know that this subject is wide indeed in terms of the scope and its means of research are also the same. The origin of this matter returns to the conditions that were set by `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, for the people of covenant after the conquest of Sham and his men in the conquering army followed the same pathway.

`Umar kept them on that path and this was passed down to the Imams of the Religion and the virtuous ones of the Muslims. They noted down these conditions in their books and they are popularly known and well documented with evidence and the speech of the scholars of fiqh – may Allah have mercy upon them – in connection to a decisive word which all judgements are based upon as they are the bearers of the knowledge and narrators of the Religion.

So with this being established, we come to you with some of what was explicitly narrated from the Imams of our Madhhab but at the same time adhering to a very truncated reply as per necessary.



Research on the Words Temple and Prayer Place

Al-Qamus narrates that the Arabic word kanisah meant:

The kanisah is a place taken for worship by the Jews.[3]

In the same work, the word Al-Bi`ah is:

Al-Bi`ah is a place in which Christians have taken it for worship. [4]

The lexicon Al-Misbah mentions:

Al-Bi`ah is for Christians[5] while Al-Kanisah is a temple for the Jews.[6]


Research on the Judgement in Question

Our first source of authority shall be the Imam, the Faqih, Shaikh of the Sunnah, Mufti of the Ummah, Master of the High Ranking Scholars, Imam of the Hadith Scholars, Muwaffaq ud-Din `Abdullah ibn Ahmad Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi As-Salihi Al-Hanbali.

He is a saintly man who avoided the earthly life, author of the works Al-Mughni, Al-Muqni` and was gentle, benevolent and humble. Whoever saw this man, it was as if he saw one of the Companions.

The king of the era, Al-`Aziz ibn Al-`Adil, used to visit this Imam frequently to take benefit and advice. The Imam died on Saturday, 1 Shawwal – corresponding to `Eid ul-Fitr – in the year 620 AH in Damascus. He was buried at the base of Mount Qasiyun, may Allah have mercy upon him.[7]

The Imam mentioned in his book Al-Muqni` under chapter of the judgements of the people of covenant on p. 240:

They should be prevented from publicly preaching their book, manifesting their wrong and building new temples and synagogues. [8]

Our next authority is the Chief Qadi, one of the High Ranking Imams, Shams ud-Din Muhammad ibn Muflih ibn Mufarraj Al-Maqdisi As-Salihi Ad-Dimashqi. He died in the year 763 AH and was buried at the base of Mount Qasiyun. May Allah – Exalted be He – have mercy upon him.[9]

He wrote the text Al-Furu`. This book is from the most noble, beneficial put together that has manifest blessings and it is in a large and noble print. In the said text under the chapter of the Judgements of the People of Covenant:

They are to be prevented in a compulsory fashion from raising voices with reading their books in public. Our Shaikh – meaning Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah – has also said, ‘It is not for the Jews to manifest any of their religion in Dar ul-Islam at all at any time.’

He also mentioned at another point in the text under the chapter of the Judgements of Temples, Churches and Fire Temples of the Parsis:

They are to be forbidden from erecting new temples/synagogues, churches as was mentioned by our shaikh, who also said, ‘This ruling is Consensus.’ [10]

The Imam continued on in another place:

Destroying synagogues in the lands which were conquered like in the case of Egypt, Sham is permitted when there is no open harm that will come.[11] The same ruling holds for when they are forbidden from building these structures after they have fallen into ruin and the remains that they possess are no longer their property.

Rather the remains of these structures are property for us. When the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, conquered Khaibar the remains of the buildings were still in the hands of the people present there at the time.

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to them, ‘We leave to your disposal what we so choose to do.’ Then when `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, was declared khalifah he expelled them from Khaibar.

The people of covenant are also forbidden from entrance into the masjids that are occupied and in use. This is the statement of `Umar and `Ali, may Allah be pleased with both of them. The reason for this is that the Muslim is forbidden from remaining in the masjid when he or she is in a state of major hadath – like in the case of the monthly cycle or junub.

Now then, rejecting faith in Allah, Exalted be He, is a better reason to be prevented from entrance into the masjid. Imam Ibn Al-Jawzi, may Allah be pleased with him, said in his commentary: ‘It is compulsory to forbid them from entrance into the masjid.’ [12]

Our next authority is the Shaikh of the Madhhab, `Ala’ ud-Din `Ali ibn Sulaiman ibn Ahmad As-Sa`di As-Salihi – who is popularly known as Al-Mardawi – and he is the Imam.

He is also the high ranking scholar of many sciences – both of religion and plenary – one of the wonders of the time, the expounder of the sciences, author of many superior and splendid works. This includes books such as Al-Insaf, At-Tanqih, At-Tahrir fil-Usul.

The senior scholars and outstanding jurists would set out to visit and take benefit from the Imam, who died in the year 885 of the Hijrah in the Salihiyyah district of Damascus. He was buried at the foot of Mount Qasiyoun, may Allah have mercy upon him.[13]

In one of his works, Tashih ul-Furu`, he has mentioned their being prohibited from the masjid in use:

That is indeed the correct position. So in the case of the Muslim being prevented from remaining in the masjid due to his state, then to prevent the people of covenant from entrance into the masjid is more abstentious and more befitting. It is also allowed in cases of dire necessity for them to enter when it poses a clear benefit and rectification. [14]

We now want to source a quote from the Imam, Possessor of the Clear and Forbearing Religion, the well-grounded in knowledge, Sharaf ud-Din Abun-Naja Musa ibn Ahmad ibn Musa Al-Maqdisi As-Salihi Ad-Dimishqi – popularly known as Al-Hajjawi – and he is the high ranking and zealous scholar, the Mufti of the Hanbalis in Damascus.

The said Imam is depended upon in fiqh, the author of many works that the people have come to meet with acceptance due to his good effort and pure intention. One of these works is Al-Iqna`.

The Imam died in the year 968 and was buried at the foot of Mount Qasiyoun, may Allah have mercy upon him.[15]

In the text Al-Iqna` on pp. 716-717 under the chapter of the People of the Covenant, the Imam remarks:

They are prevented from manifesting their religion publicly and it is also forbidden for them to use or transact with Muslims with wealth they would use for synagogues.  [16]

Imam Al-Hajjawi goes on to say on page 719 in the said work above:

They are prevented from building a new church or synagogue in Dar ul-Islam. They are also to be prevented from building monk cloisters, widening them or building extensions as this has the same meaning as renewing, consecrating or building.

They are also to be prevented from renewing, rebuilding what was destroyed as it is like building a synagogue in Dar ul-Islam so they are forbidden from that just the same as they would be prevented from beginning to build a new synagogue.

Furthermore, they are prevented from raising voices with the recitation of their books as this was mentioned in the conditions set by Ibn Ghanam when he said: ‘…and we do solemnly pledge not to raise our voices in the prayer in the synagogue, nor reading hymns in our churches in places where Muslim neighbours are present. We will neither display in public any cross nor book among the Muslims in public.’ [17]

There is another quote from the said Imam on p. 726 on the topic:

It is not for them to be given entrance into a masjid in use even if by permission of a Muslim. [18]

This ruling is clear and explicit in that it is forbidden to sell to them or trade with them in what would be used for a synagogue. This means further that it is forbidden for the man to sell them land that they would use for a synagogue. They are likewise forbidden from building a synagogue on land which is set aside as an endowment for the generality of the Muslims and this is even more emphasised.

The reason for this is that a Muslim possesses a right to seek prevention of this happening and in the same respect these people are to be prevented from erecting a new synagogue. So in the same respect we are forbidden from selling them land for the purpose and they are forbidden from building synagogues on what lands they possess.

We also have the words of the high ranking scholar of fundamental principles, the Faqih, the Shaikh, known as Mansur ibn Yunus Al-Buhuti. He was one of the mountains of knowledge in his time.

This scholar has numerous commentaries that are beneficial indeed. One of them is the commentary on Al-Iqna`. The Shaikh died in Egypt in the mid-morning of Friday 10 Rabi` ul-Awwal in the year 1051 and was buried near his native people, may Allah have mercy upon him.[19]

The Imam gave a ruling similar to what we have heard above when he said:

The reason for this ruling of prohibition is that the great conqueror, `Abdur-Rahman ibn Ghanam made a number of conditions upon the people of the Palestinian territory and his letter to the people was explicit and had the following: ‘If we should renege, break the condition we made against ourselves and the agreement of security, then there is no covenant for us. When this happens, it then becomes valid for you to do with us what is permitted with the people of opposition and enmity.’ `Umar then commanded him to make sure they marked the covenant for them and they accept it.  [20]

And the disputation and contradiction taking place today in Palestine at the hands of the Jews is the very essence of stubbornness, dissension and they are both violations of what they agreed in the beginning with the Muslims.

The judgement made at the time was one and unified and the condition is one. This specific ruling is compulsory on the land and whoever should have the authority, namely that any ruler should not affirm or allow them their rebellion and sectarianism.

Any ruler or judge in this case should take firm hold of the truth and keep the right of the trust established.

Imam Shams ud-Din Ibn Muflih Al-Maqdisi said in Al-Furu` under the chapter of What Nullifies the Covenant:

The covenant would be nullified by manifesting what they had agreed as a condition to keep hidden of their religion. Ibn Shihab and others besides him mentioned: ‘The people of covenant are obligated to adhere to what was mentioned in the conditions laid out by `Umar.’ This was also discussed by Ibn Rizin but Ibn Shihab also made the following inquiry: ‘If some of the people of covenant are resident in the cities of Sham in general, should they be made to adhere to these conditions or not?’[21]

Consider also the statement of the Imam, high ranking scholar, the Shaikh of the Madhhab, Shihab ud-Din, the Faqih of the fundamental principles, Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn `Abdul `Aziz Al-Futuhi Al-Masri.

This high ranking scholar was given leadership of the madhhab of Imam Ahmad and then died around the year 980 in Egypt, may Allah be pleased with him.[22]

The Imam mentioned in his work, Al-Muntaha:

They are to be prevented from erecting new synagogues, temples and places where they would gather for prayer in any portion of the lands of the Muslims. This ruling holds whether it is an urban development of the Muslims – like Baghdad, Al-Basrah and Wasit – or what has been conquered – like in the case of Egypt and Sham – and it is not permitted to make a treaty with them on the condition of their erecting a synagogue or temple in the land of the Muslims. [23]

Then he went on to say:

It is not permitted to build in these lands gathering places for kufr and likewise erecting new cloisters as per the statement of `Abdur-Rahman ibn Ghanam regarding the people of treaty: ‘…We will not erect a midrash school nor a cloister for a monk…’ And they are to be prevented from manifesting any evil and from reciting the book publicly among the Muslims. [24]

The Imam then summed up by saying the following:

It is not for an unbeliever to enter a masjid even if it is with the permission of a Muslim who is inside. This is based upon the hadith of Abu Musa when he came to `Umar and he had with him a letter bearing his judgement. `Umar said to Abu Musa, ‘Call the one who wrote it to read the decree out to the people and part of it is that one of them is not to enter the masjid.’

Abu Musa asked, ‘Why is he refused entry?’ `Umar replied, ‘He is a Christian man.’ This is explicit proof of their agreement on that the unbeliever is not to enter the masjid.  [25]

These are the explicit texts of the scholars of fiqh, may Allah – Exalted be He –  have mercy upon them, that are clear in calling to the prevention of the Jews from having a presence at the Noble Halting Place of Al-Buraq which follows the wall going around Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa.

They are likewise to be prevented from gathering there, manifesting the particulars of their religion or erecting a synagogue for themselves there. In fact, it is not permitted for a Muslim to sell his land to them for that purpose. And even if the said Muslim is selling the land in terms of trade, then this is still impermissible.

How could it be allowed to erect a synagogue on a land set aside as an endowment for all the Muslims? When this is known, it is even more important to prevent them and a greater level of impermissibility in this subject in the purest and most explicit sense.

This is said as every individual from among the Muslims has a right to repel and prevent and seek to stop the Jews from doing these actions in the land set aside as an endowment for them.

The Imam, Muhammad ibn Jarir At-Tabari narrated with his chain of transmission all the way to Abu `Ubaidah ibn Al-Jarrah, may Allah – Exalted be He – be pleased with him, who was the esteemed leader in the march of the conquest of Sham.

One of the general directives to Abu `Ubaidah from the Leader of the Believers, `Umar regarding the Christians of Jerusalem was that: “No Jew should live among them in their neighbourhoods but separate.”[26]

Whoever should declare such a thing permitted while knowing of the prohibition discussed above and what is transpiring in the land, then such an individual has committed kufr as he is assisting in giving life to the particular and special attributes of kufr, strengthening it and showing opposition to the True Religion and the vast swathes of Muslims.

So it is due to these causes that it is specifically necessary for the leader of affairs for the Muslims that he not make it possible for them to have entrance into this holy place and that he prevent them from gathering there as it is a blameworthy and wrong action.

It is also specifically necessary for the Muslims in their general numbers wherever they are found to fight against this series of events, oppose them as long as it is present and to fight it. This is required as doing this is giving life to the peculiar and particular outcomes of the Religion.

And with that being said, the honour and might belongs to Allah, His Messenger and the believers in whole. And Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, knows best.

This was written by the destitute servant of the knowledge of Revealed Law in Nablus,

Yusuf Sufan Al-Hanbali

And may Allah pardon him


[1] AD 1932

[2] Trans note: the Jews refer to this and the adjoining section of the wall as the Ha-Kotel or the “Western Wall.” English speakers refer to this as “The Wailing Wall.” Orthodox Jews believe this wall represents the last portion of their temple that once stood until destruction in the year AD 70 by Roman troops who conquered and devastated Jerusalem.  Cf. Concise Companion to the Jewish Religion by Louis Jacobs, pp. 294-295

[3] Al-Qamus ul-Muhit by Al-Fairuzabadi, pp. 570-571

[4] Al-Qamus ul-Muhit by Al-Fairuzabadi, pp. 703-705

[5] Al-Misbah by Al-Fayyumi, vol.1, pp. 66-69

[6] Al-Misbah by Al-Fayyumi, vol.2, pp. 540-542

[7] cf. Tabaqat ul-Hanabilah, vol.3, pp. 105-118

[8] cf. Imam Ibn Muflih’s Al-Mubdi`: Sharh ul-Muqni`, vol.3, pp. 378-379

[9] cf. As-Suhub ul-Wabilah `ala Dara’il il-Hanabilah, vol.3, pp. 1089-1094

[10] Al-Furu`, vol.10, pp. 336-338

[11] Trans. note: this refers to when they are not in use. This point is cited two pages after the relevant quote.

[12] Al-Furu`, vol.10, pp. 336-338

[13] cf. As-Suhub ul-Wabilah `ala Dara’ih il-Hanabilah, vol.2, pp. 739-743

[14] Tashih ul-Furu`, vol.10, pp. 342-343

[15] cf. As-Suhub ul-Wabilah `ala Dara’ih il-Hanabilah, vol.3, pp. 1134-1136

[16] Al-Iqna`, vol.2, pp. 48-49

[17] Al-Iqna`, vol.2, pp. 49-51; Kash-shaf ul-Qina` `an Matn il-Iqna`, vol.3, pp. 132-133

[18] Al-Iqna`, vol.1, pp. 322-323

[19] cf. As-Suhub ul-Wabilah `ala Dara’ih il-Hanabilah, vol.3, pp. 1131-1133

[20] Kash-shaf ul-Qina` `an Matn il-Iqna`, vol.3, pp. 142-143

[21] Al-Furu`, vol.10, pp. 353-354

[22] cf. As-Suhub ul-Wabilah `ala Dara’ih il-Hanabilah, vol.2, pp. 854-858

[23] Sharh Muntaha al-Iradat, vol.1, pp. 665-667

[24] Sharh Muntaha al-Iradat, vol.1, pp. 665-667

[25] Sharh Muntaha al-Iradat, vol.1, pp. 665-667

[26] At-Tarikh ul-Kabir, vol.3, pp. 608-609

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