What is Masjid Qibly? Some people think it is the actual Masjid al-Aqsa.

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Kind

Short Answer

Masjid al-Qibly is not Masjid al-Aqsa but rather, a part of it. Further, Masjid al-Qibly was established by Sayidina Umar within the area of al-Aqsa. Since Masjid Qibly is within the boundaries of al-Aqsa, it is part of it not all of it.

عُمَرَ بْنَ الْخَطَّابِ يَقُولُ لِكَعْبٍ: أَيْنَ تُرَى أَنْ أُصَلِّيَ؟ فَقَالَ: إِنْ أَخَذْتَ عَنِّي صَلَّيْتَ خَلْفَ الصَّخْرَةِ، فَكَانَتِ الْقُدْسُ كُلُّهَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْكَ، فَقَالَ عُمَرُ: ضَاهَيْتَ الْيَهُودِيَّةَ، لَا، وَلَكِنْ أُصَلِّي حَيْثُ صَلَّى رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَتَقَدَّمَ إِلَى الْقِبْلَةِ فَصَلَّى، ثُمَّ جَاءَ فَبَسَطَ رِدَاءَهُ فَكَنَسَ الْكُنَاسَةَ فِي رِدَائِهِ، وَكَنَسَ النَّاسُ

(Sayidina) Umar bin al-Khattab said to Ka`b: Where do you think I should pray? He said: If you take my view, you will pray behind the rock. Thus, all of al-Quds will be in front of you. (Sayidina) Umar said: You have resembled Judaism. Rather, I shall pray where the Messenger of Allah ﷺ prayed. He went forward towards the Qiblah and prayed. Then he returned and spread his upper garment and swept the garbage into it. The people swept it too. (Musnad Ahmad 261, Hasan).

Sayidina Umar established Masjid al-Qibly

In the authentic narration above, we find that Sayidina Umar prayed in a particular area of al-Masjid al-Aqsa. Furthermore, he said it is where the Messenger of Allah ﷺ prayed. Therefore, that area has special significance. Masjid al-Qibly has been built in that area.

فإن عمر بن الخطاب لما فتح بيت المقدس وكان على الصخرة زبالة عظيمة؛ لأن النصارى كانوا يقصدون إهانتها مقابلة لليهود الذى يصلون إليها، فأمر عمر ـ رضى الله عنه ـ بإزالة النجاسة عنها، وقال لكعب الأحبار: أين ترى أن نبنى مصلى المسلمين؟ فقال: خلف الصخرة. فقال: يا ابن اليهودية! خالطتك يهودية، بل ابنيه أمامها؛ فإن لنا صدور المسجد. (إيثارة الترغيب والتشويق إلى المساجد الثلاثة والبيت العتيق)

When (Sayidina) Umar bin Al-Khattab conquered Jerusalem, there was abundant garbage on the rock. That was because the Christians desecrated it since the Jews were praying facing it. So Umar (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) ordered the removal of the impurity from it. He asked Ka’b al-Ahbar: Where do you think we should build the Muslims’ prayer place? He said: Behind the rock. He (Umar) said: O son of a Jewish woman, Judaism has clouded you. Rather build it in front of it (the rock). For us is the foremost position in the Masjid. (Imam Muhammad bin Ishaq al-Khwarizmi 827H, Itharatu al-Targhib).

وقد قدَّمنا في ذِكر المساجد وَضْعَ عمرَ المسجد قِبلِي بيت المقدس. (مسند الفاروق)

We have already asserted, in the mentioning of mosques, that Umar established the Qibli mosque in Bayt al-Maqdis. (Imam Abu al-Fidaa Ibn Katheer, Musnad al-Faruq).

As seen in the Nusoos (texts) above, Sayidina Umar (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) established Masjid al-Qibly. We also see that although Sayidina Umar did not pray at the rock; he certainly did venerate it. He cleaned it using his own garment.

Best place to pray

One can pray anywhere within the Aqsa compound to receive the extra reward attributed to praying in al-Masjid al-Aqsa. However, the place where Sayidina Umar prayed is considered the best place to pray. This is because the blessed Prophet ﷺ prayed there. Therefore, praying in Masjid al-Qibly is superior to praying in the Dome of the Rock.

ولهذا كان أئمة الأمة إذا دخلوا المسجد قصدوا الصلاة فى المصلى الذى بناه عمر. (إيثارة الترغيب والتشويق إلى المساجد الثلاثة و البيت العتيق)

Thus, when the Imams of the Ummah entered the Masjid they prayed in the Musalla (prayer area) that (Sayidina) Umar built. (Imam Muhammad bin Ishaq al-Khwarizmi 827H, Itharatu al-Targhib).

وقد رُوي: أن عمر – رضي الله عنه – صلى في محراب داود عليه السلام، وأما الصخرة فلم يصلِّ عندها عمر – رضي الله عنه – ولا الصحابة رضي الله عنهم. (تحفة الراكع والساجد بأحكام المساجد)

It was narrated that Umar (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) prayed in the prayer niche of Dawood (peace be upon him). As for the rock, neither Umar (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) nor the Sahabah (May Allah Most High be pleased with them) prayed there. (Imam Abu Bakr bin Zayd al-Hanbali, Tuhfatu al-Raaki).


Lastly, it is correct to say that many Muslims are misinformed regarding al-Masjid al-Aqsa. Countless Muslims think that the Dome of the Rock is Masjid al-Aqsa. Likewise, many others think that Masjid al-Qibli is Masjid al-Aqsa. Despite that, the reality is that the entire area is al-Masjid al-Aqsa. Please see our related answer for images and proofs.

Additionally, we must work to eliminate this confusion that exists within the Ummah regarding al-Aqsa. Not only is this important due to the obligation of clarifying religious errors, it is also important due to potential threats to al-Aqsa.

Recently, a religious scholar for example, was asked if it was feasible for the Jewish community to build a temple in that area. He responded by saying that there is plenty of space for it. As such, it is evident that he was confused regarding al-Masjid al-Aqsa. Further, he seemed not to realise that the entire area is al-Aqsa. Such blunders threaten the stability of the Holy Masjid.

If this is the case with a religious scholar, then we can only imagine how misinformed the less educated may be. If they do not understand what al-Aqsa is, then they cannot defend it or raise their voices in support of it. May Allah Most High alleviate the suffering of the oppressed Muslims wherever they are. And May Allah Most High protect all that we hold sacred and holy.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (17.01.24)