Jerusalem is a holy city with critical importance for the Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The city has a diverse heritage due to its long-standing history in the world. It has been home to numerous prophets and is considered as the center of religious learning. The city has various holy cites present in it from which Al-Aqsa Mosque has the utmost significance in monotheistic religions. The Holy Prophet (SAW) led prayers towards its direction until the 17th month after migration.
The city of Jerusalem came under Islamic dominance during the rule of the second caliph of Islam, Hazrat Umar (RA). The conquest of Jerusalem is a proper example of Islam being a peaceful religion. In Islam, the city has critical importance due to the presence of Baitul Muqaddas in it. During the era of the Holy Prophet (SAW), the Byzantine empire had shown the ambition to eliminate Islam. For this purpose, Ghazwa Tabook was also fought between both the armies. However, Muslims did not get the political control of the Jerusalem until the reign of Hazrat Umar (RA).
2. The Conquest of Jerusalem & Baitul Muqqadas
Rashidun Caliphate expanded towards the northwards into the Byzantine land after 634 AD. Hazrat Umar (RA) selected some of its best Muslim Generals, such as Hazrat Khalid Bin Waleed (RA) and Hazrat Amr ibn al-‘As (RA) to fight against the Byzantine army. Muslim armies defeated the Byzantine empire in the major battle of Yarmouk and other similar wars. By 637, Muslim armies marched towards Jerusalem and conquested the city. However, Patriarch Sophronius who was the head of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, demanded that he will only surrender if the caliph himself comes to Jerusalem.
3. Acceptance of Surrender
Hazrat Umar (RA) departed from the medina and accepted the surrender. After that, He (RA) visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where He (RA) was invited to offer to Salah in the church. However, Hazrat Umar (RA) refused to offer Salah in the Church as He (RA) showed concern that Muslims in the future may capture the Christian site due to this. Hence, a peaceful tradition was set right from the start by the caliph itself for the upcoming generations. Therefore, He (RA) offered prayer a few steps away from the church in the eastern direction. At the moment, there is an Islamic mosque on the name of Hazrat Umar (RA) exactly where He (RA) offered prayer.
4. Treaty of Umar (RA)
The conquest of Jerusalem shows the basic concept of Jihad in Islam which is to propagate religion. The Treaty of Umar gave the right and privileges to Christians present in the city. The Baitul Muqqadas history shows that whenever non-muslims have conquered it, a general massacre was ordered. It can be seen in the Byzantine conquest of Jerusalem and Christian dominance in the city in the 12th century. However, Islam did not allow any persecution of people, rather it gave all the rights to the non-muslims present in its domain. For example, Jews were allowed to worship at the temple of the mount which was earlier restricted by the Byzantine empire. Due to this, Muslim armies were welcomed everywhere when they expanded in Arab and other regions. The propagation of Islam was a major aim that was fulfilled in an emphatic manner.
5. Aftermath and Islamic Governance
The aftermath of the event observed the revitalization of Jerusalem city. Hazrat Umar (RA) cleared the temple mount which was field by garbage by Jews. Similarly, He (RA) added the Dome of Rock to the Bait ul Muqqadas and various other religious sites and public institutions in the city. Therefore, Jerusalem became the center of religious pilgrimage and trade in the following years. Besides this, the Islamic caliphate allowed religious independence to minorities present in the city. It was done according to the order of Allah and its Last prophet (SAW). Allah Almighty says in the Quran that,
“There is no compulsion in religion” (Al Baqarah, 256).
The conquest of Jerusalem under Hazrat Umar (RA) is an important event in the Bait ul Muqqadas history. It is the guidance not only for Muslims but for all major powers of the world. Currently, Islam is categorized as the religion which supports terrorism in the world. However, in reality, it has always been the religion that promotes peace and belief that there is no God but Allah. The historical event of the conquest of Jerusalem is a landmark for the Muslims due to the significance of the Jerusalem and history of Baitul Muqqadas.