The Mosque of Umar

This mosque is located in the old city of Jerusalem in the Christian Quarter, opposite to the eastern gate of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The mosque is attributed to the caliph Umar, and it is linked to the story that says that the Muslim Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab turned down a proposal by the Patriarch Sophronius to pray inside the Holy Sepulcher when the call for prayer was made while he was inside the church, so that Muslims would not do the same and take over the church later on. Regardless of the accuracy of the story, the original mosque that was attributed to Caliph Omar most likely was destroyed during the Franks period (the Crusaders), its original position was not the same as today, since the current eastern entrance of the Resurrection dates back to the Franks era (the Crusaders), not to the period of the Islamic expansions.

In 589 Hijri / 1193 AD, the mosque was rebuilt by Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din Al-Ayyoubi. Al-Afdal’s mosque today consists of: an entrance, an open courtyard, a minaret, a prayer house, and other related facilities, which include toilets and an ablution area, in addition to a minaret that dates back to the period before 870 Hijri / 1466 AD. The presence of this mosque’s minaret in its location, embracing the Khanqah minaret, which is close to the north, represents an example of the Muslim-Christian tolerance and coexistence.