Temple Mount

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The Temple Mount (Hebrew: הַר הַבַּיִת‎, Har haBáyith), also known as Mount Moriah and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary (Bait-ul-Muqaddas) (Arabic: الحرم القدسي الشريف‎, al-haram al-qudsī ash-sharīf), is a religious site in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Judaism regards the Temple Mount as the place where God chose the Divine Presence to rest;[citation needed] it was from here the world expanded into its present form and where God gathered the dust used to create the first man, Adam.[citation needed] The site is the location of Abraham's binding of Isaac, and of two Jewish Temples. According to the Bible the site should function as the center of all national life - government, judicial, economical[citation needed] (during the 2nd Temple period), and, of course, religious center. From that location the word of God will come out to all nations, and that is the site where all prayers are focused. According to Jewish tradition and scripture,[citation needed] the first temple was built by Solomon the son of David in 957 BCE and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The second was constructed under the auspices of Zerubbabel in 516 BCE and destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 CE. Jewish tradition maintains it is here the Third and final Temple will also be built. The location is the holiest site in Judaism and is the place Jews turn towards during prayer. Due to its extreme sanctity, many Jews will not walk on the Mount itself, to avoid unintentionally entering the area where the Holy of Holies stood, since according to Rabbinical law, some aspect of the Divine Presence is still present at the site.[citation needed] It was from the Holy of Holies that the High Priest communicated directly with God.

Among Sunni Muslims, the Mount is widely considered to be the third holiest site in Islam . Revered as the Noble Sanctuary(Bait-ul-Muqaddas) and the location of Muhammad's journey to Jerusalem and ascent to heaven, the site is also associated with Jewish biblical prophets who are also venerated in Islam.[citation needed] After the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in 637 CE, Umayyad Caliphs commissioned the construction of the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock on the site.[1] The Dome was completed in 692 CE, making it one of the oldest extant Islamic structures in the world, after the Kaabah. The Al Aqsa Mosque rests on the far southern side of the Mount, facing Mecca. The Dome of the Rock currently sits in the middle, occupying or close to the area where the Bible mandates the Holy Temple be rebuilt.[2]

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