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With Reverence for the WordMedieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam$
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Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Barry D. Walfish, and Joseph W. Goering

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195137279

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137279.001.0001

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From the Sacred Mosque to the Remote Temple: Sūrat al-Isrāʼ between Text and Commentary

From the Sacred Mosque to the Remote Temple: Sūrat al-Isrāʼ between Text and Commentary

Chapter:
(p.376) 25 From the Sacred Mosque to the Remote Temple: Sūrat al-Isrāʼ between Text and Commentary
Source:
With Reverence for the Word
Author(s):

Angelika Neuwirth

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137279.003.0025

Three honorary titles are assigned to Jerusalem in Islam: It is “the first of the two directions of prayer”, the “second of the two sanctuaries (for temples)”, and the “third [important sacred site] after the two places of pilgrimage”. These three honorifics summarize the ambivalent position of Jerusalem in Islam, and the sequence of the titles marks a process of successive demotions of Jerusalem from its inherited primacy as a central place of monotheistic worship. The problem of the relevance of Jerusalem as the nucleus of significant religious institutions developed in the two older “book religions” is in no way solved. By reconsidering some hadīth evidence, this chapter examines the significance of the initial orientation toward Jerusalem and provides the background of its later abrogation in favor of a qibla toward Mecca. It also discusses the verse Q 17:1 and its exegesis, as well as the corpus of sūra 17 (Q 17:2–111) as a commentary on Q 17:1.

Keywords:   Jerusalem, Islam, qibla, Mecca, exegesis, sūra, sanctuaries, pilgrimage, monotheistic worship, hadīth

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