The efforts of Salah Ad-Din رحمة الله عليه to revive Islam in Aqsa lives on today, in the spirit of the Muslims there. Muslim presence in Aqsa continues to grow stronger as time elapses. When we visited 4 years ago, at Fajr there were 3 or 4 rows of Musallis in attendance. We went again only a few days ago but this time, we saw 10 rows of Musallis in attendance. We met with local citizens, Tableeghi Jamat brothers and Muslims from all over world; The atmosphere and spirit in Masjid Al Aqsa was truly remarkable. The locals are regular in Salah and they have a strong bond with the Qur’an, which undoubtedly attracts Allah’s mercy and divine assistance.
We came across a young man who would go to Aqsa to make a hot drink called Sahlab for the Musallis. The azaan was made for Isha Salah which was followed by a talk. When the talk started, this young man left the gathering and approached a group of youngsters in a corner of the Masjid. He invited them to attend the talk and they eventually agreed. He did not give them a long lecture, he simply gave them Sahlab and cake, whilst sharing a word or two of wisdom. And that was his personal dawah. At times a simple word or two coupled with a kind gesture can go a long way. That night, he exemplified that through his manners and service to the others in the Masjid.
We met another brother in Aqsa who is a bus driver. After his shift ends at sunset, he goes to Masjid Al Aqsa to pray Maghrib Salah. He stays in the Masjid reciting the Qur’an until Isha. After Isha he goes home and that is his daily timetable. At times, people of knowledge look down on bus drivers or those in similar workforces. Whereas Islam recommends and respects the one who earns a halal income, even if it is via public services because faith is determined by our actions not our occupations.
We met another man who told us that he comes to Aqsa but his mother does not know. Otherwise she will worry in case they get locked inside. He said, “In my opinion it is more important for Muslims to pray in Aqsa than Makkah Mukarramah because everyone goes there. It is safe and secure. Whereas Aqsa, if it is not visited regularly, it will slowly be stolen from us.”
Compared to Makkah Mukarramah and Madinah Munawwarah, Aqsa is like a forgotten haram. Being the third holiest site in Islam, it deserves our reverence. It is important for us to all make an effort to visit Aqsa and support their local businesses. He told us that Muslims from four countries visit regularly, namely; Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey and South Africa. He asked us if South Africa was a Muslim country and he was shocked to hear that it is not. Then he asked us, “Is it a majority-Muslim country?” He found it hard to believe that Muslims only make up 2% of the population.
From our visit it was clear that Aqsa is not a dangerous, no-go zone as many assume. There is much to be learnt from the resilience, piety and unflinching faith of the Muslims there, therefore, make an effort to visit Aqsa. Because ultimately, Aqsa does not need us, we need Aqsa. May Allah take us all to the forgotten land and continue to strengthen the spirit of Islam there, Aameen.
— Hazrat Ml. Dawood Seedat حفظه الله
Above is an extract from Hazrat’s talk on 15/01/18 in Masjid-ut-Taqwa, Pietermaritzburg. To listen to the full talk, please click here.