Post-classical history

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Document 8 MUHAMMAD IBN AHMAD AL-WASITI (FL. 1019): EXTRACTS FROM THE MERITS OF JERUSALEM

Although written nearly 80 years before the arrival of the First Crusade in the Levant, al-Wasiti’s Fada’il al-Bayt al-Muqaddas (Merits of Jerusalem) was a popular text among Muslim proponents of the jihad propaganda campaigns of the late twelfth century. Both Ibn ‘Asakir (1105–76) and Ibn al-Jawzi (1126–1200) made use of this work in their preaching and writings.

The Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him salvation, said, ‘You are only compelled to travel to three mosques: the Mosque of the Haram [in Mecca], my mosque here [the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina] and the Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem].’

Maymuna asked the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him salvation, about Jerusalem. He said, ‘How happy is the one who dwells in Jerusalem! Whoever performs one ritual prayer there performs the equivalent of 1,000 prayers elsewhere.’ She asked, ‘What about the person who is not able to do that?’ He replied, ‘Let him make a donation of oil to it [for the mosque lamps].’

The Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him salvation, said, ‘When I was taken by night to Jerusalem, Gabriel led me [first] to the tomb of Abraham [in Hebron], may God bless him and grant him salvation. Gabriel said, “Dismount [from al-Buraq, the Prophet’s supernal steed] and pray two prayer-cycles here, for this is the tomb of your father Abraham.” Then he led me to Bethlehem and said, “Dismount and pray two prayer-cycles here, for this is where your brother Jesus, may God bless him, was born.” Then he brought me to the Rock [in Jerusalem] and said, “From here your Lord ascended to the heavens [after the creation],” and God, be He glorified and exalted, inspired me to say, “We are at the place from which my Lord ascended to the heavens.” So I prayed with the prophets and then Gabriel took me up to the heavens.’

‘Abdiyya reported to us on the authority of her father, who said, ‘On the Day of Resurrection the Ka‘ba will be brought to Jerusalem, in procession like a bride, with those who were performing the hajj there clinging to it. The Rock will say, “Welcome to the guest and the one who is visited [by pilgrims].” ’

Source: Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Wasiti. (1979) Fada’il al-Bayt al-Muqaddas. Ed. Isaac Hasson. Max Schloessinger Memorial Series 3. Jerusalem: The Hebrew University, pp. 4, 24–5, 72 and 93.

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