(MENAFN - Jordan Times) HRH Prince Ghazi, Chief Adviser to the King for Religious and Cultural Affairs and the King's Personal Envoy, along with Grand Mufti of Egypt Sheikh Ali Goma, on Wednesday visited the Holy Al Aqsa Mosque, an official statement said.
According to the statement, e-mailed to The Jordan Times, the visit came as an implementation of Prophet Mohammad's teachings, which restricts pilgrimage to only three mosques.
"Do not set out for pilgrimage except to three mosques: Al Masjid Al Haram [the Grand Mosque in Mecca], Al Masjid Al Aqsa [in Jerusalem] and my Mosque [in Madinah]", the statement quoted a Prophet's hadith as saying, listed in the two major Hadith books: Al Bukhari (under No. 1996) and Muslim (No. 1397).
The statement cited a call made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas two weeks ago, urging Muslims everywhere to visit the Al Aqsa Mosque and "revitalise it by filling it with worshippers and pilgrims".
Prince Ghazi and the Grand Mufti performed prayers in several locations within Al Haram Al Sharif compound, the third holiest place for Muslims: the main building of Al Aqsa Mosque (also called Mosque of Omar or al Masjid al Qibli), the Dome of the Rock, the Buraq Mosque, the Marwani Mosque and in the underground Aqsa (also called the Old Aqsa), in addition to the outdoor compound, "thereby emphasising that the entire Al Haram Al Sharif is a single and indivisible unit encompassing all that is above and below the ground", according to the statement.
Prince Ghazi also chose the location where the King Abdullah II Waqf for the Integral Chair for the Study of Al Imam Al Ghazali's Work - established in association with the Royal Aal al Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought (RABIIT) - will be set up: he selected the Golden Gate (Bab Sitna Maryam) as this is where Al Ghazali performed his famed retreat, and wrote his magnum opus 'Ihya Ulum al-Din' almost 900 years ago.
"This trip undertaken by Prince Ghazi and the Grand Mufti of Egypt Sheikh Ali Goma is seen as an effort to encourage Muslims who are able to visit Al Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam's three holiest sites, and Islam's first Qiblah (direction of prayer)," the statement said.
The Prince and the Grand Mufti were received by Head of the Jerusalem Awqaf Council Sheikh Abdul Azim Salhab, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine Sheikh Muhammad Hussein and Director of the Jerusalem Administration Sheikh Azzam Al Khatib.
Prince Ghazi also met with some members of the Jerusalem Awqaf Administration, (which is historically a part of the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf) and listened to a brief about their requirements and the achievements and challenges related to the Hashemite Restorations at Al Haram Al Sharif.
The Palestinian Authority's Religious Endowments Minister Mahmoud Habbash said in a statement on February 28 that Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi should step back from a religious edict prohibiting non-Palestinians from visiting Jerusalem. Habbash said that visiting Jerusalem is an Islamic duty and a political necessity. Habbash added that Muslims visiting Jerusalem under occupation are following the path of the Prophet Mohammad who visited Mecca when it was under occupation, following the signing of the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, a peace deal with the leaders of Mecca.
"No one said that it was normalisation by the Prophet or [his] recognition of the pagans' rule," Habbash was quoted as saying. He added that visits to Jerusalem by Muslims and Christians "represent a challenge to Israeli policies that aim at isolating the Holy City. They also mean moral and financial support for the otherwise isolated people of Jerusalem defending its Muslim and Christian Holy Sites".
"Moreover, Prophet Mohammad came to Jerusalem whilst it was under foreign occupation during the Night Journey of the Isra."
Before visiting Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, Prince Ghazi and Grand Mufti Ali Goma visited the Tomb of the Prophet Moses near Jericho, the statement said, adding that they also visited the Holy City of Jerusalem.
After visiting Al Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock, Prince Ghazi visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and met with His Beatitude Theophilos III, patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem, who accompanied the Prince. The patriarch was quoted as saying that Arab Muslim-Christian unity and the spirit of harmony between the two faiths will remain untouched.
Two weeks ago, Prince Hashem Bin Al Hussein, King Abdullah's youngest brother, visited the Holy Al Aqsa Mosque and prayed in the shrine, accompanied by renowned Yemeni Muslim preacher Al Habib Ali Al Jifri.