The Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhra) is an octagonal structure on an elevated platform in the middle of the Temple Mount area in Jerusalem. It is revered by most Muslims as the spot from which the Prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven. Since its construction, the Dome has been for Muslims more than a mere structure. It stands as a symbol of the triumph of Islam and, more importantly, is a reminder of humanity’s unique connections to God through the many sacred events that unfolded on that spot since the time of creation. Over the centuries, Muslims have cherished the Dome for its many religious symbolisms, which, alongside the religious symbolisms of other sites on the Temple Mount and the city of Jerusalem, gave rise to a genre of literature called Fadaʾil al-Quds (religious merits of Jerusalem). The Dome, with its location and inscription, also provides some of the earliest dated evidence of the emergence of Islam and how early Muslims shaped their religious identity, internally as well as vis-à-vis their monotheist cousins, the Jews and Christians.
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