Al-Aqsa Mosque also known as al-Aqsa, is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. The site on which the silver domed mosque sits, along with the Dome of the Rock, also referred to as al-Haram ash-Sharif or «Noble Sanctuary,» is the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, the place where the Temple is generally accepted to have stood. Muslims believe that Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to al-Aqsa during the Night Journey. Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad led prayers towards this site until the seventeenth month after the emigration, when God directed him to turn towards the Ka'aba.
The al-Aqsa Mosque is believed by Muslims to have been built in ancient times, 40 years after the construction of the Kaabah. In the seventh century its walls were renovated by the Rashidun caliph Umar, who also built a small building to the south. A major rebuilding of the Mosque Compound was commissioned by the Ummayad caliph Abd al-Malik, and included the addition of the basement, gates and other structures such as the Dome of the Rock. The work was completed and finished by his son al-Walid in 705 CE. Other ruling dynasties of the Islamic Caliphate also constructed additions within al-Aqsa Mosque’s enclave, such as its dome, facade, its minbar, minarets and the interior structure. When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099, they used parts of al-Aqsa Mosque as either residences, stables or churches, but its function as a mosque was restored after its recapture by Saladin. More renovations, repairs and additions were undertaken in the later centuries by the Ayyubids, Mamluks, the Supreme Muslim Council, and Jordan. Today, the Old City is under Israeli control, but the mosque remains under the administration of the Palestinian-led Islamic waqf.