The Dome of the Rock is a shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was initially completed in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik during the Second Fitna. The Dome of the Rock is now one of the oldest works of Islamic architecture. It has been called 'Jerusalem's most recognizable landmark'. The octagonal plan of the structure may have been influenced by the Byzantine Chapel of St Mary built between 451 and 458 on the road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The site's significance stems from religious traditions regarding the rock, known as the Foundation Stone, at its heart, which bears great significance for Jews, Christians and Muslims.
The Dome of the Rock is located at the visual center of a platform known in English as the Temple Mount and in Arabic as Al-Haram al-Sharif, or "the Noble Sanctuary". It was constructed on the site of the Second Jewish Temple, which was destroyed during the Roman Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Muslims believe the location of the Dome of the Rock to be the site of the Islamic miracle of the Isra and Mi'raj. Caliph Omar ibn al Khattab (579-644) was advised by his associate, Ka'ab al-Ahbar, a Jewish rabbi who converted to Islam,that The Night Journey (Isra and Mi'raj), which is mentioned in the Quran and specified by the hadiths of being located in Jerusalem, took place at the site of the former Jewish Temples.
Pre-Islam -The Dome of the Rock is situated in the center of the Temple Mount, the site where, it is believed, the Jewish First Temple and Second Temple had stood. The Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans, who built a temple to Jupiter on the site. During the Byzantine era, Jerusalem was primarily Christian, and pilgrims came by the tens of thousands to experience the first church of Christianity and places where Jesus walked. Construction and dimensions.
With the Persian invasion in 614, followed by the Muslim Siege of Jerusalem in 637, the Dome of the Rock was constructed by the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik between 689 and 691 CE. The Temple Mount had by then been left undeveloped for centuries after another Jewish revolt against Roman rule in the fourth century CE.
Crusaders -For centuries Christian pilgrims still were able to come and experience the Temple Mount but escalating violence against pilgrims to Jerusalem (see Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah) instigated the Crusades. The Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 and the Dome of the Rock was given to the Augustinians, who turned it into a church while the Al-Aqsa Mosque became a royal palace. The Knights Templar, who believed the Dome of the Rock was the site of the Temple of Solomon, later set up their headquarters in the Al-Aqsa Mosque adjacent to the Dome for much of the 12th century. The "Templum Domini", as they called the Dome of the Rock, featured on the official seals of the Order's Grand Masters (such as Everard des Barres and Renaud de Vichiers), and soon became the architectural model for Round Templar churches across Europe.
According to some Islamic scholars, the rock is the spot from which the Islamic prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven accompanied by the angel Gabriel. Further, Muhammad was taken here by Gabriel to pray with Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Other Islamic scholars believe that the Prophet ascended to Heaven from the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Foundation Stone and its surroundings is the holiest site in Judaism. Though Muslims now pray towards the Kaaba at Mecca, they once faced the Temple Mount as the Jews do. Muhammad changed the direction of prayer for Muslims after a revelation from Allah. Jews traditionally regarded the location of the stone as the holiest spot on Earth, the site of the Holy of Holies during the Temple Period.