In Arabic it is called Qubbat al Sakhra, where in Qubbat means Dome and is derived from the LatinCupola/ Qupola. This is the name given to the small domes atop cathedrals which allow light to enter the sanctuary. The Bedouin Arabs had no knowledge of architecture and had to use native Christian or convert civil engineers and artists to build their mosques and hence subsumed the use of the word to apply as if it were their own.
The followers of Muhammad had hundreds of years during which they created and invented TRADITIONS that were later projected into the past of Arabian history preceding even the time of Muhammad.
One of these INVENTED traditions speculates that the rock in the center of the dome is alleged to be the spot to which Muhammad was brought by night- Night Journey - on the mythical Buraq and from which he ascended through the heavens to Allah.(See Miraj).
Accompanied by the angel Gabriel, he consulted with Moses - who helped him reduce the number of prayers fromFIFTY to FIVE(Bukhari Hadith 1.345)thus unfortunately, saving his cult from oblivion - which became the obligatory Islamic prayers before returning to earth.
A Quranic verse says that Muhammad took a Night Journey (Laylat al Isra)
17: 1 Glory to (Allah) Who did take His Servant for Journey by night [asra] from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose precincts We did Bless in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the one Who heareth and seeth (all things).
17: 2 We gave Moses the Book and made it a Guide to the Children of Israel (commanding): "Take not other than Me as Disposer of (your) affairs."
from the "sacred mosque"(al-Masjid al-Haram; in Mecca) to the "farthest mosque" (al-Masjid al-Aqsa); deliberately and falsely interpreted later on by his followers to mean Jerusalem.
Studying the verse above, one cannot find any indication of the magnitude of the miracle if it were a PHYSICAL transport as alleged later on by the followers of Muhammad. In fact the next verse concerns Moses and adds nothing to the 'miracle' of the 'flight'.
In the tradition of the Jews, the stone is the site where Abraham fulfilled God's test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac.Muhammadans created a fictitious tradition that this event occurred in the desert of Mina where millions of 'Muslims' offer pilgrimage every year and that it was Abraham's elder son Ishmael and not Isaac who was offered for sacrifice.
There is some controversy among secular scholars about equating Mount Moriah (where Isaac's binding occurred [akidah] according to the Biblical narrative), the
Temple Mount and the location where Jacob saw the ladder to heaven. It is also identified as the rock upon which Jacob dreamt about angels ascending and descending on a ladder and consequently offing a sacrifice upon.
Situated inside the Holy of Holies, this was the rock upon which the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the First Temple. During theSecond Temple, the stone was used by High Priest who offered up the incense and sprinkled the blood of the sacrifices on it during the Yom Kippur Service. Other Jewish traditions say it is the spot where the first stone was laid in the building of the world.
In Christianity, it is believed that the spot where the Dome was constructed was where Constantine's mother built a small church, calling it the Church of St. Cyrus and St. John, later on enlarged and called the Church of the Holy Wisdom.
This place of pilgrimage was built (completed 691CE) by the Ummayad Caliph Abd al Malik 685-705 on Jerusalem's Temple Mountand which the Arabs call
The Noble Sanctuary in memory of the Temple of Solomon which is called in HebrewBeit Ha Miqdash (Holy House).
The structure is octagonal and the dome is borne by a double system of pillars and columns. The walls, ceiling, arches, and vaults are decorated with floral images. The dome, on the inside, is covered with coloured and gilded stucco. Abd al-Malik marked the end of the construction with a dedicatory inscription (still visible) which reads:
"This dome was built by the servant of God Abd al-Malik Ibn Marwan, emir of the faithful, in the year seventy-two"
(Hejira 72 in the Muslim calendar is691/692 CE).
Under the Abassid ruler, Caliph al-Mamun (r. 813-833), repairs were carried out, and the caliph also seized the occasion to replace the tiles bearing al-Malik's name with others bearing his own name as the building's founder. However, since he failed to replace the tiles bearing the original date, the ruse was easily discovered.
The Dome of the Rock borrows heavily from pre-existing Christian architectural tradition and hence is very unique and atypical in terms of its own tradition. This is not unusual for great monuments, especially ones that come at the beginnings of new empires which have not yet mastered and created their own architectural 'imprint' and whereby it becomes imperative to borrow.
The whole purpose of this building is its alleged association with both the Isra and Mi'raj.
If it were truly a monument for these events then it stupefies the intellect for the total lack of such epitaphs being completely missing from the Quranic verses (calligraphy) written all over it.
All monuments every-where in the world, especially in the Middle East, were inscribed and dedicated to some deity or some glorified event; why not the Dome of the Rock especially since the Isra was allegedly such a monumental event in the 'traditions' of the Muhammadan Arabs?
There are alternatively, four main very practical and logical reasons for its construction:
1It was built in the first instance as a political, religious and economic rival toMecca; as a place of pilgrimage to rival al Ka'ba. He wanted to make Jerusalem the centre of gravity of the new Islamic Empire instead of Mecca or even Medina. At that time, Mecca was under the control of his opponent Ibn al Zubair, and the two were competing for their political and theological struggle as the warring rivals to the Caliphate.
At that moment of history, Mecca had not yet attained its supreme position as far as theHajj is concerned, that it attained later on. The manner in which the Dome was built was not that of a Mosque but actually as a shrine to rival the Ka'ba as the following characteristics of the structure clearly point out:
A.It is built within a huge court so that pilgrims would walk around it (Circum-ambulate).
B.It has no Minaret from which the call for prayers could be announced and hence it cannot be considered as a Masjid (Mosque) in the truest sense.
C.It has no Mihrab to give the direction of prayers towards Mecca; this Qibla wall is one of the fundamental elements in any mosque since it shows the worshipers the direction of prayer and the rectangular interior space which helps to define it.
These elements are a result of the function of the mosque which is to create a place for the community to pray. Prayer is done with rows of worshipers facing one direction (east to Mecca), hence the need for a rectangular plan with one wall marking direction.
The mosque also has a defined frontal orientation and is often arranged around or in relation to a courtyard.
2It was built by mostly Christian architects and artisans - since the Arabs had not then mastered the science of construction - as a rival, in beauty and size, to the Christian Holy Sepulchreon the Mount of Olives and as a testimonial to the ascendancy - both politically and religiously - of the new Islamic polity.
Interestingly, the manner of its architecture - repeated on almost every mosque in the world - was a copy of the Byzantine /Syrian architecture of their cathedrals and churches in the Levant.
The use of mosaics on the exterior of the Dome of the Rock is also not original,
St. Peters old Basilica in Rome (450 C.E.) used mosaics to decorate the exterior of the facade.
Through its construction, the Arab rulers were declaring their religious and political supremacy over the conquered peoples.
3As a point of pilgrimage, it was also meant to become a serious source of trade, income and wealth to rival Mecca.
4The inscriptions on the Dome - with a great amount of repetition - are quotations from the Quran that attest to the unity and supremacy of Allah and repeatedly attack the concept of the Trinity of Christianity.
These inscriptions areseven hundred and thirty four feet long in all, amongst the lengthiest inscriptions in the world.
In fact it acts as an important item of propaganda -both politically and theologically - for the newly formed Arab/Muhammadan polity. It declares the supremacy of 'Islam' over that of its rival Christianity.
The most telling and most remarkable omission in those extremely long inscriptions - 734 feet in length- is the total and unexplainable absence of any references to the only relevant verse/Aya in the Quran, upon which the whole theological explanation for which the Dome was built, is totally missing.
17: 1"Glory to (Allah) Who did take His Servant for Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose precincts We did Bless in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the one Who heareth and seeth (all things)".
The Ayat/ verses on the Dome never mention the Isra, the Masjid al Aqsa,Buraq or the Night Journey; the very unique items that Muhammadan theologians allege it was built for in the first place.
This can only be LOGICALLY explained, if during its construction by the Ummayad Caliph Abd al Malik 685-705, these later INVENTED traditions were not yet CREATED. He did not know about them, otherwise he would have gladly incorporated them in the calligraphy.
The association between the Isra, Mi'raj and the Dome of the Rock was first thought of by Ibn Ishaq (d.767) in his Sira, the biography of Muhammad.
*** The Arab and Muhammadan claims to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem stand on extremely FLIMSY and TENUOUS foundations, that are totally UNSUPPORTED and UNSUBSTANTIATED from the historical and religious realities of the events but remain standing purely on unshakable grounds of 'belief' ***