The Hashemite Royal Family’s leadership in conserving the holy places of Islam is deeply rooted in its origins and its role in Arab and Islamic history. The Hashemites ruled over parts of the Hijaz region of Arabia from 967 to 1925 AD. King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein’s branch of the Hashemite Family ruled the holy city of Mecca from 1201 until 1925 AD. Today, King Abdullah II heads a family which represents over a thousand years of rule in the region, with a long history as guardians of the Islamic faith.
In the centre of the Old City of Jerusalem sits a sprawling compound known as Al Haram Al Sharif (The Noble Sanctuary). The compound contains two mosques, many shrines and public fountains, as well as the tombs of Muslim saints, is both holy and dear to Muslims worldwide. Al Haram Al Sharif is described as the first qibla (direction to which Muslims turn in prayer) and is Islam’s third holiest shrine, after Mecca and Medina.
At the centre of the area lies the golden Dome of the Rock which was completed in 691 AD by Caliph Abdul Malik Bin Marwan. The Dome of the Rock was built to commemorate the famous night journey (Isra Waal Miraj) of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) in the year 620 AD, when he was transported from Mecca to Jerusalem in a mystical flight. From the rock around which the shrine was later built, he ascended to heaven. Muslims celebrate this event on the 27th day of the hijiri month of Rajab every year.
The second mosque in Al Haram Al Sharif, at the end of a walkway connecting it to the Dome of the Rock, is Al Aqsa Mosque (the farthest mosque). It is so named in reference to the Quranic verse citing Jerusalem as “the farthest place of worship.” Al Aqsa Mosque was completed in 715 AD and is distinguished by its silver dome, rising slightly higher than the Dome of the Rock.