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Upon the Names of the Masjidu-l-Aksá, and its Marvels,
and the supreme merit of visiting it.
Know that there are many names, all expressive of the Glory of the place in question. Thus, to use the words of the author of the 'Descriptive Characters of the Mosques,' for forming a judgment upon mosques—"I have collected seventeen names of this Temple, all bearing upon the precious privileges (and pre-eminence) attached to the Masjidul-Aksá. It is called Al Aksá, because it is the most distant mosque towards which pilgrimage is directed. It is said that beyond it there is no place for adoration, and nothing after it but filth and impurity. It is reported that Abdallah Ibn Salam said to the prophet of God, (upon him be the peace and blessing of God !) when his discourse appeared in the course of conversation to bear upon the mosque Al Aksá, and the reason why it was called Al
Aksá; It is, because it is the middle of the
of Sanctification, because in him is purification found.
“Thus, therefore, the meaning of the Holy or Consecrated House is, a place whereby we may obtain purification from sin. It is also called the Upraised Place, uncontaminated by Paganism : moreover, it is called the Consecrated House, (Baitu-l-Mukaddas,) with a damma over the mim, and a fatha over the dal, which has teshdid, signifying a pure place, sacred from idols. It is called also Bait-Al-Mukdus, with damma over the dal, and sukin (gesma) over the two syllables. It is also called Salem, on account of the abundance of mercy of the angels therein, as says Ibn Bari. Also it is called Shallam; the initial letter being shin, with the diacritical marks : this shin is foreign: (in Arabic it is sin :) the lam following this shin has teshdid. It is a synonyme of the Holy House. It is also said to be written without the diacritical points, and with a kasra under the lam (Sallam). This is Arabic; and in Arabic its meaning is, The Holy House. Again, it is called Ushalim, with a damma over the hamza, a fatha over the shin, and the short kasra under the lam. But we are told by Abu Obeidah, in addressing himself to Omar-Ibn-Al-Umthari, that many spell the word with a fatha over both the shin and the lam. It is still further named Kurat Elya (i. e. Civitas Elia) and Salem, and Bait Ayyil, and Sion,
may be spelt either (بیت المقدس) Mukaddas
and Kashboth and Kasrùt, with sad plain, and tha with the three points; also Baboosh, or Babús, being shin, or sin ; also Kúr Shalah, or Kúr Shallum, and Ariel and Salim, or Salúz. From the Muther Alfaram we learn, that the words Baitu-l
() with long or short vowels, and the last word may have a gesma, or be moved. It is also called the Holy Land, and the Mosque Al Akúr, and Ilya and Elia, and Shallum with teshdid, and Oor Shalem, or The Lord's House, and Sihym, the sad having a kasra beneath it. The Consecrated House is surnamed · The Place of Olives,' but is not called The Venerable.'
Now, with respect to its marvels :-truly, they can never be computed nor defined, nor attained to by human intelligence. First, we will mention these circumstances, bearing upon its preeminent Dignity, which are to be found in the book of God. This is his word :
his word : “ Praise be to him, who brought his servant by night from the Baitu-l-Haram Masjidu-l-Aksá; which place we have blessed to all succeeding generations by our signs!” (verses of the Koran.) Truly, God is the all-hearing and all-seeing; and if the Temple was remarkable for nothing besides these verses, it would be supremely eminent, and be most highly blessed, -on account also of the visit of Burák to its precincts. Thus it hath a double
blessing; for God, when he wished to raise
his prophet Muhammad (upon whom be God's
peace and blessing !) to heaven, brought him by this glorious road, in order to glorify this city, and in order that the glory and dignity of both cities might centre in him; and associated the journey from Mecca to heaven in equal honour with the journey from Jerusalem to heaven. Also it is said, “Praised then be God, who preserved him safe from evil!” i. e. Praise God by saying the word Praise ! Also, “There are two mosques, the Venerable mosque and the
mosque Al Aksá; and in these two fell down the perspicuity of the glorious Signs; and we have blessed its precincts. God shall cause rivers to flow around the Baitu-l-Mukaddas, and cause fruits there to ripen, and display its blessedness, and display also most blessed companies of persons: there shall gently walk the firm in the right” (firm of purpose). The meaning of this is, that God shall bless the constant in good from his own bounty and by his own treasures.
Thus may this house be said to be exalted and holy in dignity and grandeur for all future time and all eternity. Thus again we hear from Khalid Ibn Házím as follows: Al Zoheiri was standing in the Holy House, whilst I was performing a procession in that place and praying therein. I said therefore to him, Is there no Shaikh here, who will recite from the Hidden Book the