Is Masjid al-Aqsa a Haram?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Kind

Short Answer

No, Masjid al-Aqsa is not a Haram (sacred place). Although it is common for people to refer to Masjid al-Aqsa as a Haram (sacred place), it is not correct.

اللهُمَّ إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَرَّمَ مَكَّةَ فَجَعَلَهَا حَرَمًا، وَإِنِّي حَرَّمْتُ الْمَدِينَةَ حَرَامًا

The Prophet ﷺ said: O Allah, indeed Ibrahim declared Mecca a Haram (sacred) and made it a Haram. I declare Madinah a Haram. (Sahih Muslim, 1374 – 475).

No evidence

In the Hadith above, we find proof for the Masjid in Mecca being a Haram. We also find evidence for the Masjid in Madinah. However, there is no evidence in this Hadith or elsewhere to consider Masjid al-Aqsa a Haram (sacred place). It is not permitted to speak about matters of the religion without evidence.

وليس ببيت المقدس مكان يسمى حرمًا. (تحفة الراكع والساجد)

There is no place in Bayt al-Maqdis that is called a Haram. (Imam Abu Bakr bin Zayd, Tuhfatu al-Sajid).

In the Nass (text) above, we find the negation of Masjid al-Aqsa being a Haram (sacred place) without much discussion. Imam Abu Bakr did not see a need for much discussion since there is no proof whatsoever to consider it a Haram. Even if allusive, and not direct, proof was available then the Imam would have been obliged to address it.

Furthermore, there is no evidence to consider Masjid al-Aqsa a Haram and it is not permitted to establish religious matters without evidence. As such, anyone calling or considering Masjid al-Aqsa a Haram (sacred place) would have to present clear evidence to substantiate it and it such evidence is not available. As a result, people must stop making such claims.

Not only is it common for people to refer to Masjid al-Aqsa as a Haram (sacred place). They often specify further and say it is the third Haram. As such, this has led to this misconception becoming widespread. However, it is important for Muslims to understand that something being widespread does not make it a religious fact. Furthermore, there are many religious errors that are prevalent in our communities.

What is a Haram

A Haram is a place or area that has specific rulings. For example, it is not permitted to hunt in the Haram area in Makkah. The word Haram is often translated as sacred. This is because additional sanctity is applicable to a Haram area as it has additional prohibitions.

As for Masjid al-Aqsa, it is not a Haram because there are no additional rulings applicable to it. Rather, the standard rules of a Masjid are applicable. Nevertheless, it is considered superior or holier than other Masjids because it has received specific praise in Quran and Sunnah. Therefore, our reverence for Masjid al-Aqsa will be significantly greater than a standard Masjid.

Concluding remarks

Unfortunately, many Muslims hold to prevalent misconceptions, like Masjd al-Aqsa being a Haram (sacred place), simply because misconceptions are prevalent. If you point out the error, they retort with, ‘But everyone says it. How could everyone be wrong?’ This manner of learning Islam is incredibly flawed and will inevitably lead to being misguided.

Rather, the religion is taken from Quran and Sunnah, not from ‘what people say.’ This is why it is important to ask people for proof when they speak about the religion of Allah (Most High). Without proof and reference to the classical scholars of Islam, anyone can make anything up and present it as religious fact.

Sadly, the presence of baseless statements are rife in our communities. This is because even so-called knowledgeable people repeat baseless statements since they are rarely asked to provide evidence. Therefore, such people have little motivation to verify what they are teaching. Usually, piety and adhering to the Sunnah would be sufficient motivation to verify. However, this has been lost in our time.

Furthermore, many religious teachers will simply repeat what they heard from other religious teachers, believing this to be the correct methodology. They forget that the role of a religious teacher is to verify what they are teaching. They should not simply repeat what they hear. In such a case what is the difference between them and an unregulated Google search.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (26.02.24)