Dome of Yusuf

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The Dome of Yusuf is located on the southern part of the Dome of the Rock's platform inside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound (al-Haram ash-Sharif). It is specifically located in between the Minbar of Burhan al-Din (Summer Pulpit) and the Dome of Nahawiyah (Grammarian Dome).

File:Jerusalem-2013-Temple Mount-Dome of Yusuf 02.jpg
Dome of Yusuf inside al-Aqsa Mosque compound

The dome was named after Salah a-Din al-Ayyubi (famously known in the West as Saladin) which real name is Yusuf bin Ayyub. It was constructed to preserve an inscription panel from his era which need to be relocated during a renovation by the Ottoman.

The dome has a square foundation with two stone pillars and a wall on the southern side which hold the inscription panel. It is open on the other three sides.

The dome was constructed during the reign of Yusuf Agha, the Governor of al-Quds (Islamicjerusalem) in 1092 H / 1681 M. This is confirmed from a small Arabic and Turkish inscription found on the facade of the dome recognizing him as the renovator. There is another dome inside al-Aqsa Mosque complex bearing his name - Dome of Yusuf Agha.

The Inscription Panel

The inscription panel mark the foundation of the trench around the fortification wall of the old city of Jerusalem during the Ayyubid period. Built four years after the Battle of Hattin (583 H), the trench was made with the aim that it would protect the city from new incursions launched by the Crusaders.

It is probable that the inscription panel was taken to the Haram al-Sharif while repairs to the city walls were being carried out by the Ottoman ruler.

The inscription is laid out in six lines of cursive Ayyubid naskhi script. The text offers an insight into the period of Salah al-Din Ayyubi, founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty, and the defensive techniques employed in order to protect the city from the Crusaders, such as the ditch that was excavated around the citadel following the successful liberation of the city.

The inscription reads as follows:

"In the Name of God the most Beneficent, the most Merciful And Blessings be upon Muhammad, the Prophet and his household. The order to build this and to dig the trench was given by our master, the Victorious Sovereign, the Salvation of this world and religion, Sultan of Islam and the Muslims, Servant of the two holy sanctuaries and this holy abode, Abu al-Muzaffar Yusuf bin Ayyub, Reviver of the State, Commander of the Faithful, May God lengthen his days and support his star in the days of the great Amir, al-Asfahasalar Sayf al-Din Ali bin Ahmad, may God strengthen him in AH 587 [c. 1191]”.

From this inscription, we knew that Al-Asfahsalar Ali bin Ahmad al-Hikkari (d. AH 588 / AD 1192) was the leader supervising the construction of the defensive trench.