The Road to Jerusalem — Holy Land (Al Aqsa)

Let’s start from the beginning. I’m not a journalist, nor an activist. I’m an engineer and I work in nuclear safety. I was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. What you see before you is not the Red Sea. This is the port city of Jaffa, now known
as Tel Aviv. The seed for visiting Jerusalem was implanted
in my mind when I saw a dream four years ago during Ramadan. It was night time and I was standing before
the dome of the rock. This was a period of much reflection and spiritual
awakening in my life. This short film is about our trip, Sawitri,
my wife, and myself visiting the Holy Land and narrating our experiences. Perhaps it may encourage you to visit and discuss what
we saw with your friends and family. On the surface, Jaffa is a whole lot like
Jeddah city and were both once under Ottoman control The Brits did try to hold back the terror
militias of the day but history bears witness to the aftermath. Jaffa is now under the State of Israel. We’ve decided to go and pray at some of
the old Ottoman era mosques in the neighbourhood. Over the course of this short film we’ll
be visiting Jerusalem, Khalil-Hebron, Halhoul Bethlehem, and Ramallah. Let’s first head to Jerusalem where my dream
of standing before the Dome of the Rock at night time has now come to pass. Descending on the Mount of Olives you can
see the Dome of the Rock The beautiful golden shining dome behind the walls of the old city of Jerusalem This is Damascus Gate Although the Haram Al-Shareef, or Aqsa Sanctury is known for its famous buildings, it is the entire land that is Holy and Blessed. [This segment has been recorded on Friday as we head for the congregational prayer] This Buraq Masjid commemorates the place where the Prophet entered the mountain with his Buraq. [The Wall now covers the entrance] [The Prophet entered with Gabriel and the Buraq from here] Here he tied his Buraq and prayed two rakaats out of gratitude Then he met all the Prophets here and led
them in prayer. The Dome of the Rock is built over the rock from where the Prophet ascended with the Buraq to heaven [to meet his Lord]. You can even go down below the rock and pray. We are now heading back to Jerusalem. where according to Gnostic tradition, Simon of Cyrene was substituted for Jesus Most Christians believe that Jesus was crucified. Muslims believe that Jesus was raised to heaven
without being put on the cross and God transformed another person to appear exactly like Jesus,
who was crucified instead. Muslims believe Jesus ascended bodily into heaven there to remain until the second coming in the end days. 40 years after the ascension of Jesus, his
prophecy about the destruction of Herod’s temple, which stood on the site of Solomon
and earlier Abraham’s temple, came to pass and the Romans destroyed the temple. The Qur’an also talks about this event in
Surah Isra, Chapter 17. After the destruction of the temple, Jews
were banned from Jerusalem for the next 600 years This ban was reinforced further after Constantine converted to Christianity. Around 614 AD, the Persians managed to take over Jerusalem and Jews were given administrative control During this period, Christians were banished from the city and the Church of the Resurrection was not spared. After Heraclius beat the Persian army in Jerusalem Jews were once again banished from the city and massacres followed throughout the empire. Following Muslim conquest of Jerusalem by Khalif Omar, Jews were permitted to resettle in Jerusalem. In 1981 tunnels were discovered under the
Haram Al Sharif, the Aqsa Sanctuary. world condemnation followed. These tunnels weaken the foundation of the buildings within the Haram al Shareef and there’s a real fear that the Masjid Al Aqsa
will collapse due to its weakened foundations. Excavations continue to this day and archeologists
believe that the tunnels have weakened the building structures within the noble sanctuary. It is believed that a slight earth tremor,
which this area is prone to, will cause Al Aqsa Sanctuary to collapse. When Khalif Omar’s troops liberated Jerusalem
from the Romans a massacre did not follow. This was a first for Jerusalem. A peaceful transfer of power took place. The Bishop, Sephronius even gave Omar a tour of Jerusalem. When the time for prayer approached, the Bishop offered Omar the opportunity to perform his salah in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Omar declined with humilty and said that he feared that if he were to offer his prayer at the Church, then future generations would take it. Omar threw a stone across from the Church and he prayed at that site. This is the site where Omar prayed. An agreement was made with the Bishop whereby security and safety was guaranteed for Jerusalem’s residents The Bishop added a clause that Jews would not be permitted to enter Jerusalem. To this Omar made an exception and permitted Jews to settle, guaranteeing freedom of worship for all in Jerusalem. We are on a quest to find the room where Salahudin would perform seclusion and meditate during his time in Jerusalem. This is a rare shot adjacent to the Church
of Sepulchre. In fact, this shot was taken on top of the
church. Salaheddin and
his troops were disciples of the Sufi shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, who was from Baghdad. Many of Salahuddin’s troops, who died in
Jerusalem are buried in the Maminila cemetery. This is the tomb of Mother Mary. This is the site where Jesus ascended. During his time in Jerusalem, Salahuddin left his mark in the revival of Tasawwuf, Islamic Mysticism in Jerusalem, to counter the influence
of the crusaders and other religious rivals. Many Sufi lodges were set up and He encouraged them to settle fom all across the Muslim heartland. This is a sufi lodge right next to the chapel
of ascension. This is a stone’s throw from the chapel
of ascension. It is the site where Rabia al Adawiyya, the
famous female Muslim mystic is buried. One of her devotions goes, This is a Naqshbandi Zawiya (lodge). Sawitri and I did perform our Asr prayer here on two occasions. This is the base of the cross where crusaders would execute Muslims within the Holy Aqsa Sanctuary This is another Zawiya, but within the Aqsa Sanctuary. We are now visiting the mosque where Prophet Dawud is buried and adjacent to it is the site of the last Supper. This whole complex has now been turned into
a Jewish centre by the Israeli authorities. A Muslim cemetery is still present within
the complex. [locked doors] It was strange seeing a poster for Kabala
rituals posted outside the Muslim cemetery. [Non Muslim] Visitors have thrown broken chairs and trash into the cemetery. We asked for access to the locked cemetery to help clean the site but were declined by the information centre employees. Muslim seminaries in the area have been turned into schools for teaching the Torah Muslim motifs have also been replaced by a politicized version of the Star of David We are now heading to the mosque of Khalil-Hebron where Abraham is buried along with his wife Sarah And Ishaq is buried with his wife Rifqa. Prophet Yaqub is also buried here. We could not access the entire mosque as Jewish
settlers prevent Muslims from access and have seized a sizable area. Khalil – Hebron is where the worst of settler
attrocities continue to occur. In 1994 Jewish-American settler Baruch Goldstein massacred the worshipers in the mosque, after which the Israeli army
siezed the mosque. The mosque along with Hebron continues to be under Siege by ultra right wing settlers. Even though we arrived 30 minutes before the prayer, we did not make it in time because Israeli personnel subject all Muslim worshipers to a fairly humiliating treatment at the checkpoint deliberately delaying them from prayers everyday. It is very dehumanizing and
is meant to break the Palestinian spirit. We are now heading to the town of Halhul were
Prophet Yunus stayed for a year. He is buried in Lebanon. Ma’manilla cemetary was the largest Muslim cemetary in Jerusalem and all of Palestine, it has been reduced to a shadow of its former self. This cemetary has been in use for 14 centuries by Muslims. The Israeli’s have bulldozed most of the
cemetery and have built a museum, shopping centres and other night life entertainment
areas over the cemetary. It is quite hurtful for Palestinian and Muslim
visitors alike. This is the cemetery where Salahuddin’s
troops were buried. And some disciples of Prophet Muhammad. Every day women and children are subjected to humiliating treatment by the Israeli forces Houses in East Jerusalem are being demolished. Entire neighbourhoods are being threatened.


  1. Love this short film. May God give us all the guidance and opportunity to visit the third holiest site in Islam. Well done, Amin and Sawitri.

  2. Masha'Allah!Surely , it was a trip of a lifetime!May Allah take us all for zyarat to this sacred land, insha'Allah!

  3. I never realised how culturally and religeously diverse and rich Palistine was before watching this. I knew it, but hadn't really thought of it.

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