What is the status of this hadith?
عَلَيْكَ بِبَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ، فَلَعَلَّهُ أَنْ يَنْشَأَ لَكَ ذُرِّيَّةٌ يَغْدُونَ إِلَى ذَلِكَ الْمَسْجِدِ وَيَرُوحُونَ
“Go to Bait al-Maqdis, hopefully, your offspring are those who go to the mosque and return from it.”
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The significance of al-Aqsa Mosque according to the Quran and hadith are:
- It is the first qibla before it is commanded to face the Kaaba.
- The place where the Isra’ and Mi’raj took place.
- The prayer in an al-Aqsa is 500 times prioritized than a prayer in any other place except al-Haram Mosque and al-Nabawi Mosque.
Answering the above question, there is a hadith from Imam Ahmad, narrated by a companion of the Prophet PBUH named Dzu al-Asabi’, he said:
يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ، إِنْ ابْتُلِينَا بَعْدَكَ بِالْبَقَاءِ أَيْنَ تَأْمُرُنَا؟ قَالَ: عَلَيْكَ بِبَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ، فَلَعَلَّهُ أَنْ يَنْشَأَ لَكَ ذُرِّيَّةٌ يَغْدُونَ إِلَى ذَلِكَ الْمَسْجِدِ وَيَرُوحُونَ
“O Rasulullah! If we are tested with longevity after your death, where do you want us to be? The Prophet PBUH said: Go to Bait al-Maqdis, hopefully, your offspring are those who go to the mosque and return from it.”
Musnad Ahmad (16632)
Syeikh Syu’aib al-Arna’outh said that the sanad of this hadith is weak for the narrator Uthman bin ‘Atha’ who is also known as Ibn Abi Muslim al-Khurasani is a weak narrator. However, scholars have differing opinions regarding the status of the narrator. Other narrators for this hadith are thiqah (trustworthy) with the exception of Abu ‘Imran and he is al-Ansari al-Syami mawla to Ummu al-Darda’. Hence, here we state that the hadith is weak because one of the narrators in the sanad is weak by scholars, which is Uthman bin ‘Atha’.
To conclude, al-Aqsa mosque is one of the mosques which is highly regarded in Islam. Furthermore, al-Aqsa mosque is one of the places of which we are encouraged to travel to. This is in accordance with an authentic hadith:
- From Abu Hurairah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
لاَ تُشَدُّ الرِّحَالُ إِلَّا إِلَى ثَلاَثَةِ مَسَاجِدَ: المَسْجِدِ الحَرَامِ، وَمَسْجِدِ الرَّسُولِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَ
“Do not set out on a journey except for three Mosques i.e. Al-Masjid-AI-Haram, the Mosque of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ), and the Mosque of Al-Aqsa, (Mosque of Jerusalem).”
Sahih Muslim (1189)
Lastly, may Allah SWT bless us with the opportunity to perform the prayer in the honoured places, which includes al-Aqsa mosque. Amin.