Dome of al-Khidr

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Location

The Dome of al-Khidr is located in the northwest corner of the nave of the Dome of the Rock.

This small dome’s location refers to 65-82 verses of Surah Kahf in Qur’an, in which the anecdote of Prophet Moses and Khidr. So, although there is not authentic source about it, it is believed that the location of this dome is the place where Prophet Moses and Khidr stayed for prayer.

On the other hand, the place mentioned as “Musalla al-Hidr” by some scholars who lived before the Ottoman period, such as ibn Al Faqih, is completely different location than the current one because Musalla al-Hidr was referred as the center of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and was locating in front of the Dome of the Chain.

History

Dome of al-Khidr (Qubba al-Khadr, Dome of the Khadr, Qubbat al-Khidr, or, Qubbat al-Khadr ) was built in 16th century, in the Ottoman period of Jerusalem, but the exact date is not known. There are also some claims that the first construction of the dome dates back to the Mamluk or Ayyubid period. For example, al-Jallad refers to what Ibn Fadlallah al-Omari, who lived in the Mamluk period, says about the area: “It is a mastaba topped with a dome on which the congregation pray in the five daily prayers in northwest corner”. He also refers to what Shams al-Din al-Suyuti (1480) says in describing the area: “… there are only two domes in Al-Aqsa Mosque behind the dome of Al-Miraj today, one of which is on the edge of the surface of the rock from the west side…” Thus, al-Jallad argues that the description of Al-Omari and Al-Suyuti defines the Dome of al-Khidr even if its name is not clearly mentioned, and this demonstrates the presence of this Dome in the Mamluk period. On the other hand, it is known that the Dome of al-Khidr was extensively renovated during Ottoman era in the sixteenth century.

Architecture

The dome rests on six marble columns connected to each other by stone arches. The dome is circular from the inside and hexagonal from the outside. There are red stones showing the qibla in the form of a mihrab under the dome.

Dome of al-Khidr is the smallest and most elegant of the maqams in al-Aqsa Enclave. It sits on a 1.50 x 1.50 m platform with steps in the east. Its some features reflect the local architectural style rather than the Ottoman one. On the floor, there is a kind of stone “prayer rug” with an arch in the direction of the qibla.

There is a structure built in the Ottoman era as known “Maqam al-Khidr” under the Dome, was also known a zawiyah. This zawiyah’s shape like rectangular hall, and it is covered by a barrel vault. There is a simple mihrab on the southern wall of the vault. The zawiyah is located opposite Bab al-Hadid in the west. We know that at least three geographers in 10th century, namely Ibn al-Faqih in 903, Ibn Abd Rabbuh in 913 and al-Maqdisi in 985, mentioned the prayer place of al-Khidr. In 15th century, Ibn Urwah ibn Zaknun al-Mashriqi who died in 1434, called this place as “the Zawiyah of Khidr”.

REFERENCES

  • I. Al-Jallad, “معالم المسجد الأقصى تحت المجهر (Al-Aqsa Mosque landmarks under the microscope)”, Baytul Maqdis Center for Literature, 2017.
  • Necįpoğlu,Gülru, ‘The Dome of the Rock as Palimpsest: ʻAbd Al-Malik's Grand Narratives and Sultan Sülayman’s Glosses’, in Muqarnas, Vol. 25, Frontiers of Islamic Art and Architecture: Essays in Celebration of Oleg Grabar’s Eightieth Birthday, (Brill, 2008)
  • Hamilton, Michael, The Development of al-Haram ai-Sharif during Ottoman Rule http://isamveri.org/pdfdrg/D224748/2012/2012_HAMILTONM.pdf
  • Kaplony, Andreas, The Ḥaram of Jerusalem (324-1099): Temple, Friday Mosque, Area of Spiritual Power. Freiburger Islamstudien, vol. 22. Stuttgart: Steiner, 2002
  • https://www.archnet.org/sites/3063
  • https://madainproject.com/domes_of_haram_as_sharif#dome-of-khidr
  • M. B. Tanman And A. V. Çobanoğlu, "Osmanlı Döneminde Kudüs: Kent Dokusu, Mimarlık ve Çini Sanatına İlişkin Bir Araştırmanın İlk Sonuçları-Mimarlık," Ortadoğu'da Osmanlı Dönemi Kültür İzleri Uluslararası Bilgi Şöleni Bildirileri , vol.2, Hatay, Turkey, pp.515-531, 2000
  • Ghushah, Muhammad (2005) Guide to the Masjid al-Aqsa : an architectural and historical guide to the Islamic monuments in the Masjid al-Aqsa. Jerusalem: Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs
  • Aykaç, Fettah, Beytülmakdis’in Önemli İslami Yapıları, in Huzur Bekleyen Şehir Kudüs, İlim Yayma Vakfı Yayınları, İstanbul, 2022, pp. 272-333.