Ilya/ Jerusalem:-        

       In Hebrew it is called Yerushalayim. What follows is a short and concise history of the city until the Muhammadan Muslim occupation.

       Around the year 1010 B.C.E., King David defeated the Jebusites in Jerusalem (Ursalim) and decided to make the city his administrative capital. When he brought the Ark of the Covenant to the city, he stripped the Twelve Tribes of the spiritual source of their power and concentrated it in his own hands.

       King David wanted to build a great Temple for God as a permanent resting place for the Ark of the Covenant. According to Jewish tradition, David was not permitted to build the Temple because he had been a warrior, with blood on his hands. The task was to fall to a man of peace, David's son, Solomon. The Temple would become the focus of Israelite and later Jewish veneration from that point to the present.

       After Solomon died in 931 B.C.E., a civil war led to a split in the Israelite nation. Jerusalem became part of the southern Kingdom of Judah, while ten of the northern tribes formed the new Kingdom of Israel. The Kingdom  of Israel lasted until 722 B.C.E., when it was conquered by the Assyrians.

       In 586 BCE, the Babylonians conquered Judea and destroyed the Temple of Solomon, the First Temple, and took most of the Jewish leadership as prisoners of war to Babylon.

       In 66 A.D., after the Roman procurator Florus provoked the Jews through a variety of activities that ranged from stealing silver from the Temple to desecrating the vestments of the High Priest, the Zealots started a revolt. The Jews initially met with success, routing Roman armies in Jerusalem, but the Romans returned with a larger force. The Jews hoped to hold off the Romans in fortified Jerusalem, but they began a fratricidal battle in which the Zealots murdered Jewish leaders who refused to go along with their rebellion.

       The Romans laid siege to the city and in the year 70 A.D. overwhelmed the remaining defenders and destroyed the Second Temple. Some of the Zealots escaped and made their last stand at the fortress of Masada.

       Though the mighty Romans had been held at bay for four years, their ultimate victory was never in doubt and the consequences of the Jews' defeat was devastating. Not only was the Temple destroyed, but perhaps as many as one million Jews were killed and many survivors enslaved.

       After the suppression of the Jewish revolt, relative calm settled on the Holy Land for nearly 60 years. The Emperor Hadrian had even talked at one point of rebuilding the Temple. He did build a temple; however, it was in honour of the pagan god Jupiter rather than the God of the Jews. He also renamed Jerusalem Aelia Capitolina and made it a Roman city.

       This insult, along with other indignities that went along with being Roman subjects, provoked yet another rebellion beginning in 132 A.D., this time under the charismatic leadership of Simeon Bar-Kokhba. It took nearly three years for the Romans to pacify the country and, when they were done, roughly 600,000 Jews were dead (including Bar-Kokhba) and Judea had been devastated.

       The Emperor renamed the entire province Syria- Palaestina, Jerusalem became a pagan city that Jews were forbidden to enter, and the persecution of Jews and their religion became wide-spread. The reason why it was renamed Palestina, was because the Phillistines, were historically among the most oppressive enemies of the Israelites; so, in order to humiliate the rebellious Jews even further, their country, Judea, was called by the name of their worst enemy.

       Justinian, in order to restore the glory of Rome and defeat Germanic armies first bought off the Persian Kings who threatened Syria and Asia Minor.

       In 533 he seized North Africa from the Vandals, but it took 20 years of war for his generals to retrieve Italy from the Ostrogoths and in the process most of the great cities of Italy lay in rubble. He also recovered a small part of Spain.

       With Justinian's death in 565 the greatest period in Byzantine history had ended and the tired empire entered a period of instability lasting from 600 to 900 AD.

       Slavic tribes had invaded the Balkans, a new wave of Asiatic nomads were being kept at the gates of the empire only by paying tribute, and the Persians were well on their way of conquering Syria, Palestine and Egypt.

       But the emperor Heraclius who ruled from 610 to 640 conducted 3 brilliant military campaigns and destroyed the Persian empire and regained Syria, Palestine (March 21, 629), Egypt and the Holy Cross.

        It is important that the reader is made aware of the following historical facts:

614       Jerusalem fell to the Persians.

629     Byzantine Emperor, Heraclius marched into Jerusalem in triumph over the Persians

633        The Islamic conquest of Palestine started and was the beginning of a 1,300-year span during which more than ten different empires, governments, and dynasties were to rule in the Holy Land prior to the British occupation after World War I.

638    The Jews in Palestine assisted the Muslim forces in defeating the Byzantines who had reneged on an agreement to protect them and allow them to resettle in Jerusalem. As a reward for their assistance, the Muslims permitted the Jews to return to Jerusalem and to guard the Temple Mount.        

       At the time of Muhammad, Jerusalem was called by the name imposed upon her by her Roman destroyers  - Ilyia (Aelia Capitolina).

       This was its name since 135CE, that is for almost 500 years before Muhammad and his Quran.  The name  Jerusalem is not mentioned at all in the Quran; not even once. It is a verifiable historical fact that when the Arab Empire expanded, Damascus, Cairo and Baghdad became centres of gravity but NEVER Jerusalem.

       Not once during the entire Arab and/or 'Muslim' period of rule in the Middle East, was Jerusalem ever the capital or seat of power of the empire. Under ALL the Caliphs, their most important religious role was to protect the TWO holiest cities of Mecca and Madina. Jerusalem was never considered to be important enough to even be mentioned.

        In all the Ahadith the name Jerusalem is not mentioned but is addressed as Ilya or Bait al Maqdis. The Arab and 'Muslim' claims are historically untrue andtotally mendacious.

       It was entirely for political and religious reasons that the Ummayads who controlled what was then Palestinia/Palestine, were intent on glorifying Jerusalem as a holy territory to rival Mecca. The Dome of the Rock was built by Abd al Malik in 691 -on top of the Jerusalem Temple - for the specific reason to divert the Muslim pilgrims from going to Mecca where his rival, ibn al Zubair had his power base.

       Another indication that Jerusalem was not considered of great importance to the Muslim armies is the fact that it was one of last cities taken by the Syrian Muslims after the death of Muhammed. It was conquered by a mediocre commander, and not by Umar himself.

       The Arabs initially called the city Ilya (Aelia Capitolina) rather than Beit el-Maqdas (the holy house). An early Muslim proverb says,

"One prayer in Mecca is valued as ten thousand prayers; a prayer in Medina is valued at one thousand prayers; and a prayer in Jerusalem at five hundred prayers."

       While the name Jerusalem is mentioned 667 times in the Hebrew Bible and 1436 times in the Talmud, it was not mentioned even one single time in the Quran.

       In the Bible moreover, the name of Jerusalem was almost invariably associated with the following words: Holy Jerusalem; Holy mountain Jerusalem; Holy mount at Jerusalem; Jerusalem called Holy; Jerusalem the holy city etc., in the Quran this association is totally missing.

       In the traditions of the Jews, Jerusalem was always called by its name and never alluded to under any guise such as 'the holy' by itself without any reference to its name. The Quran mentions one single instance to the expression 'the holy city' and its Arab interpreters insist that this singular instance is referring to Jerusalem.

       In fact, Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo were invariably the centres of power and learning. Never Jerusalem. This is diametrically opposite to the Jewish historical record whereby it was always their centre of both political and religious power.

       Muhammad chose Jerusalem - and especially the site of Solomon's Temple - as the scene of his alleged ascension so that he could emphasise his claim that he had been recognised as a prophet by his predecessors, Abraham, Moses and Jesus.

       The Muhammadan historical records prove clearly the falsity of their claims as shown in the few following examples:

1        The Quran - unlike the Hebrew Bible - is not the history of the Arab peoples but is only a record of stories pertaining to a group of individuals within a larger environment.

2        The whole significance and importance of the Hebrew Bible resodes in the fact that it is the recorded  history of the relationship between a single people - the Israelites - and their decendants with their God confined to a particular land in a geographical actuality.

3        The Ummayad Muawiyah, who was proclaimed Caliph at Jerusalem, made Damascus instead as the seat of his empire.

4        Sulayman who followed him, during the three years of his rule, built himself a new capital at Ramleh instead of choosing Jerusalem.

5        Jerusalem was never a Muhammadan capital.

6        As the crusaders were approaching Jerusalem in 1098, the Abbasids did not lift a finger and were unmoved by the appeals of their fellow 'Muslims' for assistance.

7        Al Kamil, the Ayyubi caliph exchanged Jerusalem for a treaty of alliance against his 'brother Muslims' in Damascus with the 'infidel' Fredrick II.

8        In the thirteenth century, on two occasions when the Christians captured Damietta, both al Kamil and his successor al Salih were prepared to exchange this port for the 'holy city' of Jerusalem.

9        While Jerusalem is the ONLY holy city to the Jews, it is the THIRD holy city to the Muhammadans

10        While the ties between the Jews and Jerusalem are incredibly deep historically, religiously and politically, to the Muhammadans, its value had been and is entirely political and superficial.

11        It was the Muhammadans in the final analysis that allowed the land of Israel to turn into a fallow desert through their mismanagement, indifference, stupidity, and neglect.

       It was not until the State of Israel was established that all of a sudden, the Arabs started their extremely belated but very effective demands that it was their third holiest place. The fact that for the Jews, it was and is the one and only Holy city does not deter them from pressing their false, unsubstantiated and outrageous claims.

      Isra is the name of the Sura which is also called Bani Isra'il (The Children of Israel). It is the  alleged Night Journey from  Mecca to the Farthest Mosque mentioned in

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)"

       The reader should be made aware that the pre-Islamic pagan Arabs, had no tradition or knowledge of Jerusalem. Sura 17:1 is a single verse which does not describe a miraculous journey at all since if it were so, then it would have given us much greater details of such a wondrous and unusual event. In fact, the next verse 17:2, discusses Moses, and the subsequent verses other subjects; all of which, have absolutely no relevance to the alleged momentous and miraculous event.

       It was the Muhammadan (Muslim) interpreters of the Quran, who decades after Muhammad's death, expressed the erroneous, falsified and unsubstantiated opinion, and later the dogma, that he was transported physically to Jerusalem.

        Furthermore, the Muhammadan exegetes explained, that the 'Furthest Mosque' is at Jerusalem, since it is far away from Mecca. It is unfortunate, that the same scholars either missed, or deliberately chose to ignore verse 30:2 which clearly states, that the land of Palestine, under the Byzantines, is a 'land close by'. It should hence be clear to any reader, that the same geographical point, cannot possibly be BOTH 'furthest' AND
'close by', at the same time.

30: 2 The Roman Empire [Byzantine Empire] has been defeated 3 In a land close by; but they (even) after (this) defeat of theirs will soon be victorious

         # 3505 The remarkable defeats of the Roman Empire under Heraclius and the straits to which it was reduced are reviewed in Appendix No. 6 (to follow this Sura). It was not merely isolated defeats; the Roman Empire lost most of its Asiatic territory and was hemmed in on all sides at its capital, Constantinople. The defeat, "in a land close by" must refer to Syria and Palestine, Jerusalem was lost in 614-15 A.D., shortly before this Sura was revealed#

       Even the interpreter, inadvertently agrees that 'in a land close by' can only be Syria and Palestine. In fact, Syria is geographically further from Mecca and Arabia than Palestine.

       The two events mentioned above occurred in the lifetime of Muhammad as reflected in the contents of the verse: first, Byzantine defeat, followed by triumph.

       Considering all the points above, and the fact that it was Muhammad's own 'revelation' which asserts the nearness of Palestine to Arabia, there can be no more doubt as to the fact, that Jerusalem could not have been what Muhammad had in mind in 17:1; otherwise, the Quranic verses are irreconcilable.

       Another remarkable point to add to the falsity of 'Muslim' claims to Jerusalem, are the following Ahadith that were written at least two hundred years after Muhammad. They relate, that in the days of Muhammad, Jerusalem was not called by that name among the Arabs, but was recognised as Ilya. This name is derived from (Ilia Capitolina), the name of the new city (c.135AD) that was built over the destoyed Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman Empire.

NOTE: The details of the Night Journey, should be looked at under its title in  the Definitions Section.

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 1.6        Narrated byAbdullah bin Abbas
Abu Sufyan bin Harb informed me that Heraclius had sent a messenger to him while he had been accompanying a caravan from Quraish. They were merchants doing business in Sham (Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan), at the time when Allah's Apostle had truce with Abu Sufyan and Quraish infidels. So Abu Sufyan and his companions went to Heraclius at Ilya (Jerusalem). Heraclius called them in the court and he had all the senior Roman dignitaries around him. He called for his translator who, translating Heraclius's question said to them, "Who amongst you is closely related to that man who claims to be a Prophet?" Abu Sufyan replied, "I am the nearest relative to him (amongst the group)…..The sub narrator adds, "Ibn An-Natur was the Governor of Ilya' (Jerusalem) and Heraclius was the head of the Christians of Sham. Ibn An-Natur narrates that once while Heraclius was visiting
Ilya' (Jerusalem), he got up in the morning with a ……

       *** The reader should note that within this single Hadith, the name Jerusalem is NOT mentioned in the document but alluded to (between brackets) while the only name given for the city is ILYA repeated THREE
times ***

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 1.147        Narrated byAbdullah bin Umar
People say, "Whenever you sit for answering the call of nature, you should not face the Qibla or Baitul-Maqdis (Jerusalem)." I told them, "Once I went up the roof of our house and I saw Allah's Apostle answering the call of nature while sitting on two bricks facing Baitul-Maqdis (Jerusalem) (but there was a screen covering him.)" (Fateh-al-Bari, Page 258, Vol. 1).

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 2.281        Narrated byQuzaa
I heard Abu Said saying four words. He said, "I heard the Prophet (saying the following narrative)." He had participated in twelve holy battles with the Prophet.
Narrated Abu Huraira:   The Prophet said, "Do not set out on a journey except for three Mosques, i.e. Al-Masjid-Al-Haram, the Mosque of Allah's Apostle , and the Mosque of Al-Aqsa (Mosque of Jerusalem)."

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 2.468        Narrated bySamura bin Jundab
Whenever the Prophet finished the (morning) prayer, he would face us and ask, "Who amongst you had a dream last night?" So if anyone had seen a dream he would narrate it. The Prophet would say: "Ma sha'a-llah" (An Arabic maxim meaning literally, "What Allah wished," and it indicates a good omen.) One day, he asked us whether anyone of us had seen a dream. We replied in the negative. The Prophet said, "But I had seen (a dream) last night that two men came to me, caught hold of my hands, and took me to the Sacred Land (Jerusalem). There, I saw a person sitting and another standing with an iron hook in his hand pushing it inside the mouth of the former till it reached the jawbone, and then tore off one side of his cheek, and then did the same with the other side; in the meantime the first side of his cheek became normal again and then he repeated the same operation again. I said, 'What is this?' ….

       *** The sacred land is not a city but the Land of Israel, the
Promised Land***        

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 3.215        Narrated byAbu Said Al Khudri  & 3.87 by Quzaa
(who fought in twelve Ghazawat in the company of the Prophet). I heard four things from the Prophet and they won my admiration. He said;
1.        "No lady should travel on a journey of two days except with her husband or a Dhi-Mahram;
2.        "No fasting is permissible on the two days of Id-ul-Fitr and 'Id-ul-Adha;
3.        "No prayer (may be offered) after the morning compulsory prayer until the sun rises; and no prayer after the 'Asr prayer till the sun sets;
4.        "One should travel only for visiting three Masjid (Mosques): Masjid-al-Haram (Mecca), Masjid-al-Aqsa (Jerusalem), and this (my) Mosque (at Medina)."

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 4.191        Narrated byAbdullah bin Abbas
Allah's Apostle wrote to Caesar and invited him to Islam and sent him his letter with Dihya Al-Kalbi whom Allah's Apostle ordered to hand it over to the Governor of Busra who would forward it to Caesar. Caesar as a sign of gratitude to Allah, had walked from Hims to
Ilya (i.e. Jerusalem) when Allah had granted Him victory over the Persian forces. So, when the letter of Allah's Apostle reached Caesar, he said after reading it, "Seek for me any one of his people (Arabs of Quraish tribe), if present here, in order to ask him about Allah's Apostle." At that time Abu Sufyan bin Harb was in Sham with some men from Quraish who had come (to Sham) as merchants during the truce that had been concluded between Allah's Apostle; and the infidels of Quraish.
Abu Sufyan said, "Caesar's messenger found us somewhere in Sham so he took me and my companions to Ilya and we were admitted into Ceasar's court to find him sitting in his royal court wearing a crown and surrounded by the senior dignitaries of the Byzantine. He said to his translator, 'Ask them who amongst them is a close relation to the man who claims to be a prophet……"

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 4.221        Narrated byIbn Abbas
Abu Sufyan said, "Heraclius sent for me when I was in 'llya' (i.e. Jerusalem). Then he asked for the letter of Allah's Apostle and when he had finished its reading there was a great hue and cry around him and the voices grew louder and we were asked to quit the place. When we were turned out, I said to my companions, 'The cause of Ibn Abi Kabsha has become conspicuous as the King of Bani Al-Asfar is afraid of him.' "

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 4.636 / 585        Narrated byAbu Dhaar
I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Which mosque was built first?" He replied, "Al-Masjid-ul-Haram." I asked, "Which (was built) next?" He replied, "Al-Masjid-ul-Aqs-a (i.e. Jerusalem)." I asked, "What was the period in between them?" He replied, "Forty (years)." He then added, "Wherever the time for the prayer comes upon you, perform the prayer, for all the earth is a place of worshipping for you."                                                         

        *** According to the learned Muhammad, only 40 years separated the building of Solomon's Temple (c. 960BCE)  and the building of the Ka'ba
(c. 1800BCE) instead of almost 900 years ***                                                 

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 5.226        Narrated byJabir bin Abdullah
That he heard Allah's Apostle saying, "When the people of Quraish did not believe me (i.e. the story of my Night Journey), I stood up in Al-Hijr and Allah displayed Jerusalem in front of me, and I began describing it to them while I was looking at it."

       *** In this version, he was describing Jerusalem, a whole city. In other versions he was only describing the none existant Temple at Jerusalem
(as following) ***

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 5.228        Narrated byIbn Abbas
Regarding the Statement of Allah"
"And We granted the vision (ascension to the heavens) which We made you see (as an actual eye witness) was only made as a trial for the people."  (17.60)
Ibn Abbas added: The sights which Allah's Apostle was shown on the Night Journey when he was taken to Bait-ul-Maqdis (i.e. Jerusalem) were actual sights, (not dreams). And the Cursed Tree (mentioned) in the Qur'an is the tree of Zaqqum (itself).

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 6.13/39        Narrated byAl Bara
The Prophet prayed facing Bait-ul Maqdis (i.e. Jerusalem) for sixteen or seventeen months but he wished that his Qibla would be the Ka'ba (at Mecca). (So Allah revealed (2.144) and he offered 'Asr prayers (in his Mosque facing Ka'ba at Mecca) and some people prayed with him. A man from among those who had prayed with him, went out and passed by some people offering prayer in another mosque, and they were in the state of bowing. He said, "I, (swearing by Allah,) testify that I have prayed with the Prophet facing Mecca." Hearing that, they turned their faces to the Ka'ba while they were still bowing. Some men had died before the Qibla was changed towards the Ka'ba. They had been killed and we did not know what to say about them (i.e. whether their prayers towards Jerusalem were accepted or not). So Allah revealed:  "And Allah would never make your faith (i.e. prayer) to be lost (i.e. your prayers offered (towards Jerusalem). Truly Allah is Full of Pity, Most Merciful towards mankind." (2.143)

       *** Wherever the expression Beit al Maqdis (Jerusaem) appears, it is a false interpretation since Beit al Maqdis is the transliteration from the Hebrew of Bet ha Miqdash denoting only the Temple of Solomon and NOT Jerusalem, the city.

       Most important of all for the reader to be aware of is the fact that Muhammad turned his first Qibla towards Jerusalem out of his great respect for it as the centre of the religion of the Jews as well as where the Temple of Solomon was erected as the House of God.

       It is a fact that neither Allah nor Gabriel INSTRUCTED Muhammad to do so. He chose this Qibla all by himself because he knew very well that Jerusalem was HOLIER than the Pagan Ka'ba.

       It was only after he realised that the Jews of Medina were not going to follow his version of Islam that he turned the Qibla towards the still very
Pagan Ka'ba out of spite and anger at the Jews.

       As usual with Muhammad, he had to explain this 'about face' to his followers by 'revealing' the usual MADE to ORDER verses justifying and explaining  it away in a manner implying that he ALWAYS preferred the Qibla to have been towards Mecca.

       No one of course among his gullible and mostly illiterate and unlearned followers had the intelligence to ask the right question:

       " But Muhammad, you did not have any 'revelation' commanding you to have the Qibla towards Jerusalem in the first place" ***

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 6.16        Narrated byAnas
None remains of those who prayed facing both Qiblas (that is, Jerusalem and Mecca) except myself.

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 6.21/20/18/17        Narrated byIbn Umar
While some people were offering Fajr prayer at Quba mosque, someone came to them and said, "Qur'anic literature" has been revealed to Allah's Apostle tonight, and he has been ordered to face the Ka'ba (of Mecca) so you too, should turn your faces towards it. Their faces were then towards Sham (Jerusalem), so they turned towards the Qibla (i.e. Ka'ba of Mecca)."

       *** The SHAM was invariably the name given to SYRIA and never to Jerusalem ***

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 6.233        Narrated byJabir bin Abdullah
The Prophet said, "When the Quraish disbelieved me (concerning my night journey), I stood up in Al-Hijr (the unroofed portion of the Ka'ba) and Allah displayed Bait-ul-Maqdis before me, and I started to inform them (Quraish) about its signs while looking at it."

       *** Muhammad could not possibly have been shown Bait-ul-Maqdis in Jerusalem since it had already been destroyed at least 500 years earlier ***

Sunan of Abu-DawoodHadith 457        Narrated byMaymunah ibn Sa'd
I said: Apostle of Allah, tell us the legal injunction about (visiting) Bayt al-Muqaddas (the dome of the Rock at Jerusalem). The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said: go and pray there. All the cities at that time were effected by war. If you cannot visit it and pray there, then send some oil to be used in the lamps.

Al-Muwatta Hadith   Hadith 5.17
Yahya related to me from Malik from Yazid ibn Abdullah ibn al-Had from Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Harith at-Taymi from Abu Salama ibn Abd ar-Rahman ibn Awf that ….
Abu Hurayra continued, "I met Basra ibn Abi Basra al-Ghiffari and he said, 'Where have you come from?' I said, 'From at-Tur.' He said, 'If I had seen you before you left, you would not have gone. I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, "Only make a special journey to three mosques:  the mosque of the Haram (Makka), this mosque (Madina), and the mosque of Ilya or the Bait al-Maqdis (two names of Jerusalem)." (He was not sure which expression was used.)….

      *** The Arabic Bait al Maqdis is of course plagiarised - like almost every other concept, precept, thought or idea of value in the Quran - from the Hebrew original for the Temple of Solomon, BEIT HA MIQDASH, meaning the
HOLY HOUSE (of God) ***

Al-Muwatta Hadith    Hadith 20.26
Where People Should Enter Ihram.
Yahya related to me from Malik from a reliable source that Abdullah ibn Umar once entered ihram at Ilya (Jerusalem).

Sahih Muslim HadithHadith 328        Narrated byAbuHurayrah
The Messenger of Allah, (peace be upon him) said: I found myself in Hijr and the Quraysh were asking me about my night journey. I was asked about things pertaining to Bayt al-Maqdis, which I could not preserve (in my mind). I was very much vexed, so vexed as I had never been before. Then Allah raised it (Bayt al-Maqdis) before my eyes. I looked towards it, and I gave them the information about whatever they questioned me.  I also saw myself among the group of apostles. I saw Moses saying a prayer and found him to be a well-built man as if he were a man of the tribe of Shanu'ah. I saw Jesus, son of Mary, (peace be upon him) offering prayer; of all men he had the closet resemblance to Urwah ibn Mas'ud ath-Thaqafi. I saw Ibrahim (peace be upon him) offering prayer; he had the closet resemblance to your companion (the Prophet himself) amongst people.  When the time of prayer came I led them. When I completed the prayer, someone said: Here is Malik, the keeper of the Hell; give him salutation. I turned to him, but he preceded me in salutation.                                                   

Fiqh-us-Sunnah  Fiqh 2.70a
Three most excellent mosques
Jabir reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "Prayer in the inviolable mosque [in Makkah] is like 100,000 prayers [elsewhere]. And prayers in my mosque [in Medinah] is like one thousand prayers [elsewhere]. And a prayer in Bait al-Maqdis [in Jerusalem] is like five hundred prayers [elsewhere]. This is related by alBaihaqi, and as-Sayuti says it is hasan.
Ahmad records that the Messenger of Allah said: "Offering salah in my mosque is better than one thousand prayers elsewhere, save for those offered in the inviolable mosque. And salah in the inviolable mosque is better than salah in my mosque by one hundred prayers."
The Prophet said: "One should not undertake a journey, save to three mosques: the inviolable mosque [in Makkah], my mosque here [in Medinah], and Masjid al-Aqsa [in Jerusalem]." This is related by the group.

Fiqh-us-Sunnah  Fiqh 5.65
Is There Any Other Sanctuary Besides Makkah and Madinah?
Ibn Taimiyyah said, "There is no other sanctuary in the whole world besides these two, not even the Al-Aqsa Mosque of Jerusalem, nor any other, even though some ignorant people call them Haram al-Maqdis and Haram al-Khalil. By consensus Haram Makkah is the only Haram (sanctuary). About Madinah there is no such consensus. A majority of scholars, however, hold that Madinah is also a sanctuary, as mentioned in ahadith on this subject.
Muslim scholars disagree about a third sanctuary, namely, Wuja, a valley of Al-Ta'if. Ash-Shafi'i regards it a sanctuary. Ash-Shawkani agrees with him, but the majority of the scholars disagree and do not consider it a sanctuary."

       *** The question that should be asked by the inquiring mind of the reader is, why did the Arabs, in the days of Muhammad (c. 640 AD), refer to it in such a manner (Ilya) and NOT Jerusalem?

       Once more, these 'unimportant' tit bits of information turn out to be
GEMS that consolidate the fact that NEVER was Jerusalem of importance to the Muhammadan Arabs except, that it represented the city which had the Temple of Solomon, the holiest site for the Jews.

       Since these are the facts, then one must come to the only logical conclusion, that the Furthest Mosque could only have meant, the Mosque in Heaven, by Allah's Throne in replication of Jewish traditions, regarding the
Temple of Solomon.

       Arab and Muhammadan claims for Jerusalem are not based on actual religious requirements, but are entirely POLITICAL and IMPERIALISTIC in nature and bereft of any historical or theological foundations ***