On Monday, a court of the Israeli occupation passed a verdict providing for the closure of Bab al-Rahma, the Mercy Gate — the eastern gate of al-Aqsa Mosque and an entrance to al-Quds (Jerusalem).
In a statement, the Jordan-run Islamic Endowments Authority said it has received a letter from the Israeli Police Directorate informing it of the court’s decision to seal the gate shut.
The verdict naturally triggered a large wave of condemnation among Palestinians, who promise to challenge the verdict and thwart it the way they did in 2017, when the gate was subjected to closure in another act of Israeli aggressing against the Palestinian holy sites.
Here are a few of the historic facts that explain why the gate is religiously, spiritually and politically of importance to Palestinian people:
First, it is important to mention that the word Bab and its English equivalent gate are a bit misleading, for the gate is actually a small building used by the Umayyads as an entrance to al-Aqsa Mosque.
In terms of location, the building, one of the most famous, beautiful and largest gates, is part of the al-Aqsa Mosque’s eastern wall. At the same time, it constitutes a portion of the Old City’s surrounding wall.
The building has two large gates, at the center of which a stone-built column stands, separating Bab al-Rhama in the south and its twin construction on the north, also called Bab al-Rahma.
The building is an example of the mastery and the skills of its builders, thought to have been carved out of the same stone, while it continues to be a symbol of its era’s flourishing architectural fashion.
Throughout history, the gate was known with several names, such as the eternal gate, the Touma gate and the Judgment gate, in addition to al-Rahma and al-Touba. Westerners, for their part, call it the Golden gate. East of the gate, a cemetery is built, where renowned Islamic figures are buried.
The gate’s adjacent building, located on the side of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, is used as a hall for prayer and supplication. It is said that Imam Al-Ghazali, may God have mercy on him, retired to the building’s corner, above Bab al-Rahma, when he lived in Jerusalem to teach in the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Islamic Heritage Committee renovated the gate and its hall and used it as center for its advocacy activities within the al-Aqsa Mosque since 1992, until the Zionist occupation authorities dissolved the committee in 2003.
The gate has been closed several times, for it was destroyed and restored in parallel with the wars witnessed by the city. Hercules, it is believed, entered through the gate after he vanquished the Persians in 628 AD. Allegedly, Omar bin Al-Khattab ordered its closure, while the current construction confirms that the one who ordered its building is the Caliph Marwan bin Abdulmalik and was renovated during the reign of Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi.
Jewish believes are extensively projected on the building, both old and new, as they believe that Jesus Christ has entered through the gate and that he is the one to reopen it in the future. For this reason, they refer to it as the Golden Gate.
The Zionists have recently claimed that this gate belongs to them, and that Solomon, peace be upon him, was the one who built it and granted it its great construction.
In the 1967 war, the Zionist terrorist, Moshe Dayan, tried to open it and failed. An attempt was made to storm it and thwarted in 2002, when a Zionist sought to open the Tomb of the Mevlevi, adjacent to the gate’s external wall, to dig a tunnel under it that leads to al-Aqsa Mosque.
Source: The information included in the article are taken from al-Aqsa Archive.