Dar al-Hadith (Kursi Sulaiman) or Station of Solomon
Dar al-Hadith is located within al-Masjid al-Aqsa, which supports its eastern wall. This is most likely a memorial that was probably built to commemorate the Prophet Sulaiman. Kursi means chair, is an odd name for a building and possibly relates to the spur of the Rock against which it is erected. The building itself is undated but is clearly a mid-16th century foundation, as the shape of the two shallow domes covering the building is associated with the Ottoman period (Al-Natsheh, 2000). The building is presently used as an institute for Hadith.
A marble slab inspects over the main northern entrance to the structure reads the first verse of Surah Isra mentioning the Night Journey of Prophet Muhammad. The building has a large hall divided into different areas, one of which is the prayer area with a mihrab. It is surmounted by two shallow domes. The hall also includes a symbolic tomb that might allude to the tomb of Sulaiman or his throne.
Structure of the monument
The three facades are made of fine dressed stone. The entrance portal is in the northern facade. It is 1.1 m wide and 2 m high. The lintel above the entrance is surmounted by a relieving arch made up of three joggled stones. Surrounding the portal are three identically sized rectangular windows. The third window is located east of the eastern window. All three windows are provided with metal grills of similar designs. A rectangular sunken stone panel, which measures 75 cm x 50 cm, is placed four stone-courses above the lintels of the windows. Above this panel is an elongated window measuring 25 cm x 90 cm. The facade ends with a stone frame or cornice which projects slightly from the façade and which extends over to the western and southern facades. The western section of the building is crowned by two shallow domes; and while the western and southern facades resemble the northern facade in terms of the fabric of the building, they are different from it in the arrangement of the windows.
The features of the interior of the building
The interior is composed of a large hall with a rectangular ground plan, divided by means of two tapered arches into two divisions: western and eastern. The two arches are supported by a central pillar at one end, and by one of the walls of the building from which the arches emerge, at the other end. The western section of the hall is a prayer area (a mosque). It extends from north to south and is composed of two spaces each covered by a shallow dome without a zone of transition. On the southern wall of the western section is a mihrab of 1 m wide and 50 cm deep. It is crowned by a tapered arch with a semi-domed ceiling decorated with vegetal stucco motifs. The eastern section of the hall has a barrel vault that is supported on the west side by the two arches – which divide the hall into two sections – and from the east, by the east wall of the building. An imposing stone shrine (tomb), 9.5 m long and 2 m high lies in this section. It is likely that this shrine was originally a rock and that two dressed stones were added to both ends of it in order to create a symbolic tomb (each with a diameter of 50 cm) of the Prophet Sulayman. On the east side of the shrine, there is a rectangular panel upon which a Qur'anic verse is inscribed from the chapter “al-Naml” (“the Ants”, 27: 30–33). “Indeed, it is from Solomon, and indeed, it reads: 'In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful”.
Al-Natsheh, Yusuf, "Kursi Sulaiman (after 1017/1608)," in Auld S. & R. Hillenbrand, Ottoman Jerusalem. The Living City 1517-1917, Part II, 2000, pp. 953-957.