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Al-Aqsa Mosque - Dome of the Rock Mosque
For more than fourteen hundred years Al Aqsa has been venerated throughout the Muslim world as the third holiest site of Islam. It was to this that the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, made his Night Journey from the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. It was from this site that he, peace and blessings be upon him, ascended on the Mi\'raj, his journey through the heavens to his Lord.
For fourteen hundred years Al-Aqsa has dominated the skyline and the life of the Holy City. For more than fourteen centuries it was a centre of pilgrimage for Muslims from all over the world. For the past sixty years, its very existence has been threatened.
In 638 Jerusalem\'s thousand years of recurrent religious persecution, intolerance and oppression, were brought to an abrupt halt: Omar ibn al-Khattab, the Second Khalif of Islam, entered al-Quds.
Eager to be rid of their Byzantine overlords and aware of their shared heritage with the Arabs, the descendants of Ishmael, as well as the Muslims\' reputation for mercy and compassion in victory - the people of Jerusalem handed over the city after a brief siege.
They made only one condition: That the terms of their surrender be negotiated directly with the Khalif Omar in person.
Omar entered Jerusalem on foot . There was no bloodshed. There were no massacres.
Those who wanted to leave were allowed to, with all their goods. Those who wanted to stay were guarantee protection for their lives, their property and places of worship.
It is related that Omar asked Sophronius, the city patriarch, to take him to the sanctuary of David, as soon as he was through writing the terms of surrender. They were joined by four thousand of the Companions of the Prophet.