Return to 31 July 2000 Jerusalem: Capital for Jews and Arabs?
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat says that Jerusalem can be the capitals for both the Israeli and Palestinian states. Jews claim Jerusalem as its ancient holy city almost two millenia ago. On the other hand Arabs have been the majority population for many hundreds of years. The argument that Jerusalem is Islam's third holiest city is also a perception of many Muslims.
However Muhammad changed the Qiblah, direction in which Muslims pray quite early in the piece from Jerusalem to Mecca. Also Muslim modernists believe the Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem was a dream of Muhammad. The alternative literalist belief is that in 620 CE Muhammad was transported by a white, winged, horse-like animal called Buraq guided by Archangel Gabriel from Mecca to the "Furthest Mosque:" Here in Sulaimen's mosque (Solomon's Temple) he met and drank (milk) with Muslim prophets such as Moses, Abraham and Jesus, and climbed a ladder of light to meet Allah.
However in 638 CE when Caliph Umar took Jerusalem he describes the Temple Mount as a "dung heap" -(Omar had a way with words.) It is not likely that "the Furthest Mosque" disappeared in just 18 years. (It was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.) The Al-Aqsa Mosque was not built until 691 CE, 59 years after Muhammad's death.