World Religions

Places of Worship – Dome of the Rock


Location: Jerusalem, The Holy Land 

Belief: Islam, Judaism & Christianity

Date Opened: 691 CE 

The Dome of the Rock has been a political flashpoint in recent years because the site holds significance for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. It holds significance for Muslims and dates back to around 691 CE, not long after Jerusalem was surrendered by the Byzantine Empire in 638 CE to the Muslims. [1] At the time, the site was abandoned and covered in refuse. The Caliph Umar (ra) ordered the site to be cleared and offered a prayer there. [2] Built under Caliph Abd al-Malik in 691 CE, the Dome of the Rock was the first major Islamic monument, completed just 60 years after the death of the Prophet (sa). [3]

The rock itself is thought to be in the place where the Prophet Muhammad (as) ascended to heaven in a vision during isra (Night Journey). Originally, Muslims prayed in the direction of this site in Jerusalem, until it was later revealed to the Holy Prophet (sa) that Muslims should turn to face the Ka‘bah in Makkah, Arabia. 

The complex is an ancient religious site which also includes the old Second Temple of Judaism (destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE), and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, completed in 715 CE. For Jews at the time, the site of the rock was also thought to be the place where Abraham (as) had been willing to sacrifice his son, and the where the grave of Adam (as) was located. [4]

The dome is octagonal in shape, with the walls covered in mosaics and marble, giving the structure it’s unique glow. The outside is covered in Kufic-style inscriptions from the Qur’an about Jesus (as). [5] The dome itself is covered in gold from a restoration in the 1990s, though the original was covered in brass and iron.  

The three Abrahamic faiths share a common heritage and common prophets, and it is hoped that one day, this site will unite the faiths in peaceful coexistence. 


[1] Chris Johns, The Holy Land – Crossroads of Faith and Conflict (USA: National Geographic Special Issue, 2009), 24-25.

[2] Cyril Glassé, The Concise Encyclopaedia of Islam (UK: Stacey International, 1999), 102.

[3] Karen Armstrong, Islam – A Short History (UK: Phoenix Press, 2000), 38.

[4] David Nicolle, The Historical Atlas of the Islamic World (UK: Mercury Books, 2004), 54.

[5] Cyril Glassé, The Concise Encyclopaedia of Islam (UK: Stacey International, 1999), 102.