There was a time when every Muslim student instinctively knew about the significance of Masjid al-Aqsa (al-Quds), the first Qiblah of Muslims.
It was from there that the Noble Messenger SAW went on his Mi‘raj in the twelfth year of his prophetic mission. Al-Quds (Jerusalem), where Masjid al-Aqsa is located (and we must be clear that the Golden Dome we see in most pictures in not Masjid al-Aqsa; that is Dome of the Rock built many years later), was liberated by the Muslims in the year 15 AH (638 CE) during the Khilafah of ‘Umar (d). With the Muslims in charge of the body politic, al-Quds remained free except for a short interlude from 1099–1187 CE when the crusaders occupied it. During the Crusades’ occupation of al-Quds, no Arabian ruler had the courage or dignity to struggle for the liberation of Masjid al-Aqsa. It took Salahuddin al-Ayubi, a Kurd, to march against the Crusaders and banish them from al-Quds as well as liberate Masjid al-Aqsa in 1187 CE. Palestine remained free for people of all religious persuasions until the modern-day British/French crusaders arrived on the scene and occupied Palestine as well as al-Quds in 1918. The neo-crusaders knew they could not continue their occupation of the holy lands indefinitely so they planted their agents in the form of Arabian nationalist rulers in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Their emergence facilitated the creation of Zionist Israel and its ultimate occupation of al-Quds in the June 1967 war. The Jordanian army abandoned al-Quds without firing a shot. This is precisely what the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan was created for: to serve Zionist-western interests in return for being allowed to remain in power.
The Zionists have sunk their claws deep into Masjid al-Aqsa undermining its foundations while the Arabian rulers continue to conspire with them against any Islamic assertion to liberate the first Qiblah of Muslims. The regimes surrounding Palestine are all working in tandem with the Zionists to undermine the Islamic resistance in Palestine. The Saudis have secularized the Harams in Makkah and Madinah; it is forbidden to mention Masjid al-Aqsa or the oppression to which the people of Palestine are subjected. Muslims are told to indulge in empty rituals without raising their voices much less a finger against zulm, oppression and tyranny.
Yet not all Muslims swallow the Saudi line to remain docile. Every year, millions of Muslims participate in Quds rallies, during the last Friday of the Holy Month of Ramadhan, as called for by Imam Khomeini SA over three decades ago to raise awareness about the continued Zionist occupation of Masjid al-Aqsa as well as Palestine. While such rallies scare the illegitimate Arabian rulers and their western-Zionist masters, they give hope to oppressed people everywhere. Clearly, not every Muslim is as detached from the affairs of Muslims as the Saudi-Egyptian-Jordanian and other Arabian rulers want them to be. Even as Islamic resistance fighters in Palestine and Lebanon continue to struggle against Zionist vandalism and oppression, Muslims and other freedom-loving people elsewhere must continue to raise voices in their support.
Keeping the issue of Masjid al-Aqsa alive is a sacred duty in which every Muslim must participate to the utmost of his ability.