As the forty-second generation direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, His Majesty King Hussein bears a special responsibility to the promotion of the Islamic faith. Between 1992 and 1994, he continued the Hashemite tradition of restoring the Islamic Holy Sites of Jerusalem by carrying out the restoration of the Dome of the Rock, which was built in the year 691 CE by Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan to commemorate the Prophet Muhammads famous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem. From the rock around which the Dome of the Rock was built, he ascended to heaven. The restoration, which included gilding the dome with 5000 glittering new gold plates, cost $8 million and was widely acclaimed as one of the most ambitious religious restoration jobs in history. It was financed personally by King Hussein.
Other Hashemite restorations in Jerusalem include: Sharif Husseins 1924 restoration of the Dome of the Rock; King Abdullahs restoration of Zakarias mihrab (prayer direction niche) and other surrounding buildings, which suffered structural damage during the 1948 war; the 1959-64 restoration by King Hussein of the Dome of the Rock; and, the 1969 emergency restoration of Salah Eddins minbar (pulpit) in al-Aqsa Mosque, which suffered great damage when it was set on fire by an Australian Jew, Dennis Rohan.
Between 1950 and 1988, Jordan and the West Bank, including Jerusalem, were legally joined, despite the fact that Israel occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem during the 1967 war. When in 1988 Jordan announced the severance of all administrative and legal ties to the West Bank, it provided for the exception of the Hashemites guardianship over the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, which remain today in the care of Jordans Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs. The Jordan-Israel Treaty of Peace also acknowledges Jordans special role in the Muslim Holy Sites in Jerusalem, and When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.
Address on the Occasion of the Unveiling of the Restored Dome of the Rock
April 18, 1994
(Translated from the original Arabic)
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,
Prayers and peace be upon His Faithful Arab Hashemite Prophet and all his companions.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Arabs and Muslims everywhere,
Peace, compassion and blessings be upon all of you from Allah, the Lord.
Praise be to Allah, the Almighty, who sustains the glory of Islam and who, verily, makes the future belong to those who take heed for themselves and follow the straight path. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, who has no compeers, and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the votary and messenger of Allah, who took him on a night journey from the al-Haram Mosque to the al-Aqsa Mosque from where Allah ascended him to the Lote tree (by the Garden of Tranquillity) in the higher heavens.
Also, I praise Allah for all His kindness to me, especially since He blessed me with a special favor to be associated with the first Qiblah and the third sacred mosque. This association goes back to the early days of the first great message when Allah brought the light of Islam to Jerusalem. Ever since then, the Holy City thrived in glory, piety and tolerance. It also goes back to the day when the body of the great al-Hussein bin Ali was finally laid to rest in the sacred grounds of al-Aqsa. It was he who had set an example for historical leaders in seeking a balance between attaining glory of the transient moment and immortality in the life hereafter. It was the very same association that was consolidated when I witnessed Abdullah bin al-Hussein as he fell a martyr on the sacred grounds of al-Aqsa mosque as he stood upright in dignity, like all Hashemites who pass away while still firmly adhering to time-honored principles and determined to attain their goals against all odds. Little wonder that they have been immortalized in the annals of history.
Islam was in point of fact the message of all God's prophets and messengers whose missions had been sealed by that of Muhammad, peace be upon him. Over and above that, my relationship with Jerusalem is similar to that of any Muslim who believes in God, His Angels, Holy Books, His Messengers and the Day of Judgment. Thus, with the patient tiny minority of the faithful, we have been striving with all the means at our disposal to defend the cause of our nation, inspired by what the Holy Qur'an says:
"Remember when you were few and powerless in the land, afraid of despoliation at the hands of men. But then God sheltered and helped you to strength, and provided for you good things that you may perhaps be grateful."
The accomplishment we celebrate today is one of my dearest achievements, namely, the third Hashemite-sponsored renovation of al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Holy Rock. It was by God's grace that I was able to fulfill my obligations seeking only the reward of the exalted Lord.
As I take special pride in and feel happy about this blessing conferred upon me and all Jordanians by the Lord, I must admit that this joyous occasion is soured by the current state of affairs of this nation and the suffering of its peoples, especially the people of Jerusalem and Palestine. At this moment, my memory takes me back to the morning of Thursday the 28th of Rabee' al-Awal of the year 1384 After Hijrah, corresponding to the 6th day of August 1964, when we celebrated in the city of Jerusalem the completion of the first phase of the renovation of al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Holy Rock. May I recall the very same words I addressed to the nation thirty years ago. The appeal I made on that morning in the distant past was quite timely then as it is now, for it was intended to alert the entire nation to the dangers of fragmentation. My exact words then were as follows:
Quote: "As we celebrate today, we look beyond our immediate scope of vision towards the millions of Arabs and Muslims in Asia and Africa who at this moment collectively set their eyes on Palestine. Let me emphasize that the actual renovation of the Mosque and the Dome of the Holy Rock assumes significance far beyond the physical repair work on their actual site to include, in addition to the salvation of the Rock, the preservation of its mosque and the maintenance of its Dome, the complete restoration of our full rights in our usurped land, the dear Arab land (of Palestine)."
I added: "This country, my dear brethren, has for years been pursuing development efforts at the same time when we were also defending our homeland and nation. The question of Palestine has all along been part and parcel of our national mission. Palestine has always figured prominently in our national construction and defense efforts because Jordan lives for Palestine and for its sake stands ready to sacrifice itself."
This was our plea then which was inspired by historic positions of al-Hussein bin Ali on Palestine and its holy shrines, positions which settled deep in our hearts and came forth on our lips. They were later reinforced by Faisal bin al-Hussein's battle cry, "Let us embrace death, brethren Arabs!" It was also impressively demonstrated by the sincerity of Abdullah bin al-Hussein in safeguarding the holy places and his comprehension of the dynamics of our age. It was indeed his sense of duty which prompted him to accept the supervision of the renovation work at al-Haram al-Sharif under the patronage of the Emir of the Faithful, al-Hussein bin Ali, as clearly documented in the letter addressed to him in 1924 by the late Haj Amin al-Husseini, the then Head of the Supreme Islamic Council, may his soul rest in peace. It was Abdullah bin al-Hussein himself who personally ascended to the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to direct efforts to fight a fire that threatened the structure of the Church in 1949. Later, he offered the funds needed for complete repair of the damage to the Church.
Our position towards all citizens today is no different. It is the same position demonstrated by our soldiers as they put up legendary resistance in defending the walls, alleys and streets of Jerusalem in the face of the June 1967 aggression. They were the same brave servicemen who kept faith as they fought the Karamah Battle as a perpetuation of their struggle for Jerusalem. They were the ones who neither compromised the Arab rights nor wavered in their determination to defend those rights or face up to the oppression of the usurpers.
The rights I have in mind are the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine, including the restoration of peace to al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Ibrahimi Mosque so that no worshipper there would ever be terrorized by a murderer; so that Salah Eddin's pulpit would never be set ablaze by a bigot; so that children would never by sprayed at point blank with gunfire by a usurper.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Children of this noble nation,
Thanks to our firm belief in Allah, the Almighty, and by virtue of faith and determination of the righteous people, we have been able to maintain our resolve. Our martyrs' blood rekindles the light that guides us on our way to Jerusalem, the dear and precious Jerusalem, the symbol of perseverance and the crown of peace. To us, the Hashemites, Jerusalem has been an eternal trust (of religious tolerance we cherish) under al-'Uhdah al-Umariya (Caliph Umar's Covenant), consecrated by Jordanian blood and a symbol of Arab and Muslim struggle. Thus, our association with Jerusalem stands above the fray of political ploys and earthly greed since it has been anchored in faith, prophethood, history and martyrdom. We shall keep our pledge and we shall defend the nation's rights to Jerusalem. Nor shall we spare any effort to ensue the restoration of its Arab and Islamic character in accordance with international law. It is our duty to ensure that all holy places in Jerusalem will be subject exclusively to divine sovereignty while in the name of God, the Almighty, the whole Muslim Ummah will exercise religious jurisdiction in a manner to be determined by consensus. In this fashion, we can safeguard a sound link between the past and the present and preserve Caliph Umar's Covenant as a beacon that guides us in our relationship with Jerusalemthe symbol, the history and the holy shrines. For what trust could be dearer and more precious than our holy places there?
Hence, in the name of the martyrs from Aal-al-Beit (the House of the Prophet) and all our nation's martyrs, especially those who come from this part of the larger Arab and Muslim homeland, we address this appeal to the entire nation to mobilize its resources and rise to the salvation of al-Quds al-Sharif, and to be able to confront all forms of blockade, oppression and territorial loss. This nation is worthy of nothing less than full freedom, dignity and respectful life. Our grandfathers chose to leave al-Hijaz earlier in this century in order to spearhead the Great Arab Revolt which advocated liberty, unity and tolerance. In their faithful pursuit of the goals of the Revolt they rallied behind the Muslims and Christians, Arabs and non-Arabs, under the banner of the Great Revolt. They were united in their quest for the noble goals of defending human rights and human dignity and in securing the rights of the people to self-determination. Al-Hussein bin Ali opposed all forms of colonization and exploitation; and his son, Abdullah bin al-Hussein opposed all forms of disunity and fragmentation. And today, we say no to any proposed solution that does not restore Arab sovereignty to Arab Jerusalem so that the whole city would eventually become a token and symbol of peace for all the faithful children of Abraham, peace be upon him. In the same breath, we say no to any peace formula that does not secure the historical and legitimate rights of the people of Palestine on their sacred national soil. In other words, we say no to any peace that the generations to come do not accept, protect and defend. For durable peace should be based on fairness, justice and human dignity.
My Dear Fellow Arabs,
Today, we celebrate the completion of renovation work at the Mosque of the Dome of the Holy Rock, and our brethren in Jerusalem are observing the same occasion. We are one and the same family. This event is just another reminder of a long history of common heritage marked by patience, cherished memories and satisfaction. I pray to Allah to enable us to fulfill our satisfaction. I pray to Allah to enable us to fulfill our obligation to the cause of Islam. To this end, we have started construction work on the mausoleums of the Prophet's companions, may Allah be pleased with them, since they were the first Muslims to set foot on this land and elsewhere in the Muslim world. More so, because they were either from the House of the Prophet or his associates. This honor will include the other mujahideen who followed in their steps. These mausoleums should be designed and constructed as architectural masterpieces that display to the generation to come the splendor of their achievements as well as to serve as a source of inspiration to them. For this land was the gate to Islamic conquest through Mu'ta and Yarmouk, and the passage to Muslim cavalier battalions to Hittin and Ein Jalout. To advance the Islamic agenda, we also initiated work to establish the Aal-al-Beit University which will be the gift of all members of the House of the Prophet, peace be upon him, to the entire Islamic Ummah. The institution is conceived to be an Islamic forum that encompasses the glorious past history while it seeks to cope with the challenges of the present and the future. Our ultimate goal is to meet the Lord's wish that this nation will remain "the most favored among communities raised on this earth."
In the same vein, we have reached out to our brethren in the newly-independent Islamic republics. A selected team of our experts are engaged now in providing assistance to those republics in a number of areas, including education, construction and culture. We intended to help in the restoration of the Mausoleum of al-Qatham bin al-Abbass in Samarkand to its original magnificence, splendor and beauty. We have also commissioned the restoration of the splendid pulpit of Salah Eddin at its original site in al-Aqsa Mosque. If anything, this is our concrete response to the malicious bigots who set it ablaze. We have engaged ourselves in this exercise secure in our knowledge that the pulse of history will do justice to this nation. It was Noor Eddin Zinki, the renowned Muslim martyr, who ordered the artisans of Aleppo to perfect its manufacture. And Salah Eddin himself moved it to Jerusalem twenty years after it had been built. It is my fervent hope now to see it back in place one day and attend a sermon there in which a preacher would congratulate the nation on restoring freedom and dignity to our Jerusalem.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The current plight of our nation is a very severe one and the prognosis is grim indeed. I can see no salvation except by ensuring genuine freedoms and making sacrifices, in addition to enlightenment and clear vision. Only then can we comprehend the evolution of history with a fresh outlook which would enable us to instill into the younger generation a sense of new hope to attain rejuvenation, revival, scientific know-how and strength. This path would also help us in shaking ourselves loose from the sins of the current epoch of weakness and inertia which are due chiefly to colonial designs, the oil curse and oppressive practices. Down this road, we would perhaps see an end to our senseless hostilities and to the meaningless loss of our resources and blood which are given away in the service of foreign interests. And at the end of the tunnel, the whole nation would emerge free of ethnic intolerance, religious extremism and cultural introversion.
To Jerusalem, the omnipresent city in our minds and hearts, we send our greetings. Without Jerusalem, our lives will always be lacking in harmony.
For Jerusalem represents our collective memory and common faith. It stands for our epicenter of knowledge, vision and religious tolerance (as exemplified in the Covenant of Umar). It is the focal point of our cherished freedom and dignified peace.
We will continue to warn against and resist all attempts at tampering with our Islamic holy shrines, especially at the first Qiblah cum the third holy mosque, and generally throughout the Islamic world. We shall oppose any change in the physical features of these shrines that might be effected under false pretexts of repair, expansion or renovation or under any other smoke screen. For such attempts might strip the nation of its historical legacy to safeguard and maintain them. Our opposition to such endeavors will be mounted on behalf of and in coordination with the entire Islamic Ummah with a view to ensuring the preservation of its sacred common heritage. I must underscore that the appropriate channels for the repair of our holy shrines in Jerusalem are well established. Namely, the competent agencies in charge of those holy places, i.e. the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf and the Commission on the Renovation of al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Holy Rock. In point of fact, these two institutions have been fulfilling their mandates without any interruption for many decades.
Palestine has every right to insist on gaining its liberty and safe life. Vigilance is in order to ensure, God willing, victory. To all our martyrs there, beginning with Izz Eddin al-Qassam to the most recent worshippers at al-Ibrahimi Mosque, we invoke Allah's mercy and compassion. We shall always hold them in glowing memory and we shall forever remain faithful to the cause for which they gave their lives.
To our dear friends who maintain their steadfastness on the land of Palestine, to our fellow brothers in Iraq who are courageously facing up to the blockade, to the Yemenis who are defending the unity, people and national identity of dear Yemen, and to all other Arabs and Muslims everywhere,
Let me seize this moment to renew the pledge initially undertaken by our forefathers that they will bow their heads in submission to no one except to Allah, the Almighty. They committed themselves to combat injustice and oppression in a manner that behooves their lineage to Hamzah of Uhud, Ja'afar of Mu'ta and al-Hussein of Karbala.
Many a Hashemite martyr uttered in soliloquy: "Oh Lord, I have control over none but myself which I offer in duty to Thy cause." And many of them swore on oath to each other that they would fight till death rather than retreat, surrender or disgrace themselves. No wonder that their tombs are still recognized throughout the larger homeland and their names are held in high esteem by the Ummah. Their memories are associated with holy events and places which are subject to no authority other than that of the one united Ummah. Their souls seek no permission for prayer at this mosque or that. After all, they were the ones who in their deeds demonstrated to the world the real difference between freedom and bondage, between justice and oppression, between dignity and submission. In the face of a severe crisis, their reaction has always been: "Overwhelming stress demands overwhelming determination." That is because their consuming dream was to see one united nation living in justice and dignity. A nation that draws its strength from its glorious past, despite all obstacles on the road, the severe limitations and the dim prospects. Since our sense of purpose and challenge will never wane, we shall remain loyal to their mission until the nation gains victory or we meet our Lord, the Creator, as martyrs, for martyrdom would make up for victory in the life hereafter if we failed to achieve it in our life.
If the response of the nation to the challenge on hand appeared sometimes to be weak or limited, or if destruction, fragmentation, poverty and hunger seemed to be spreading out of control, then we should not feel despondent. Rather, we should respond with resolve and determination to rise to the challenge in order to develop a modern Islamic discourse and an integrated model for civilized communal life which revives hope that the whole nation could indeed be reinvented from within in terms of its thinking, orientation, vision and way of life bearing always in mind the need to safeguard freedoms, the pursuit of knowledge, tolerance and justice.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
From this platform in Amman, which stands for the Arab cause, freedom and steadfastness, I say: peace be upon Jerusalem and greetings of peace Jordanians send to their kinsfolk there. These are the Jordanians who never failed to respond to the call of duty dictated by blood ties and their sense of morality. These are the Jordanians who never lost vision of al-Aqsa Mosque with all the sentiments of worship, martyrdom and pride it evokes in their souls.
Peace be upon Jerusalem of al-Farouk (Caliph Umar), of Salah Eddin and of al-Hussein bin Ali.
Peace be upon its Rock, and the first Qiblah, the site of the Prophet's night journey and his ascension therefrom to heaven.
Peace be upon the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Let us hope that peace will bring back to Jerusalem its old days of joy and glory.
These words of peace emanate from Jordan, where dignity and pride have become its hallmark, where the pursuit of the Islamic and Arab agenda is a passion, and where the safeguard of freedoms is a major concern.
These sentiments of peace are sent by the Jordanians who lost not their hearts in this era of regression, nor did they knuckle under siege or lose focus in the darkest nights.
We send greetings of peace to the jewel of all the cities of the Ummah. We pray for the rest of souls of all martyrs who fell on its soil, of all worshippers who said their prayers in its mosques and churches, of all scholars who went through its schools. We salute all its inhabitants who are enduring the oppression of the occupier while struggling for its freedom and glory.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In closing, let me salute all of you and welcome once again our guests who came from several places in the larger homeland of our Ummah. I should also like to pay tribute to all those who contributed to the renovation effort, especially the supervisors, designers, builders and artisans. I pray to Allah, the Almighty, to guide us all along the right path to win His satisfaction. Amen.
May Allah bring upon you one and all peace, compassion and blessings.
The Unveiling of the Restored Dome of the Rock
April 18, 1994