lding in Jerusalem which drew Muslims to worship in that city rather than travel to the more established Islamic centres in Mecca and Medina and Arabia. From this perspective, then, it is possible to view the construction of the famous Dome of the Rock as an attempt within the Islamic movement itself to shift the centre of Islamic power from Arabia to the ancient and holy city of Jerusalem.
The building of the Dome of the Rock marks a significant point in the history of Jerusalem. The advance of Islam across the lands of Palestine and Syria was something of a surprise to Jewish and Christian inhabitants, and it is possible to see the construction of the Dome of the Rock as another step, along with the enforced adoption of a new non-figurative coinage, marking the aggression of Abd Al Malik towards other faiths. It is the oldest surviving Islamic monument in the world, and in terms of design it owes much to the example of existing Christian monuments in the surrounding region.
Some scholars, on the other hand see the Dome of the Rock as “as symbol of the unity of the three Abrahamic religions” (Garaudy 1). The provision of four entrances, marking the major points of the compass, emphasizes its usage as a place of pilgrimage, where believers can walk around the central point, reflecting on the significance of this spot and the religious events which took place there many years ago. This design supports the view that it was meant to serve as a focus and pilgrimage point for Muslim believers.
Abd Al Malik’s decision to construct this holy place for Muslims undoubtedly had both religious and temporal significance, however. Inside the building there is an ancient rock, which is said to be the very rock where Abraham was about to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, before being instructed by God to let the boy go and sacrifice a ram instead (McAulay, 1). The location is also connected with the ancient Jewish kings David and Solomon, and its transformation into an