New Delhi, Dec 7: US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reversing decades of Amercian policy on the territorial conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Jerusalem, holy to all three Abrahamic faiths – Islam, Christianity, Judaism -, is at the heart of the Israel-Arab conflict. Jerusalem holds deep religious significance for Jews, Muslims and Christians as it has the holiest ground in Judaism, the third-holiest shrine in Islam and major Christian sites linked to the life of Jesus. It includes the church (Church of the Holy Sepulchre), the mosque (al-Aqsa Mosque) and the wall (Western Wall).
Islam: Haram esh-Sharif, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, is a hill located in the Old City of Jerusalem and the third-holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina. Muslims believe prophet Muhammed was carried by the angel Gabriel from Mecca to Jerusalem’s Noble Sanctuary, where he prayed with other prophets and ascended to heaven before returning. Jerusalem also includes the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, built on the Temple Mount. It is believed this is where Muhammad ascended into heaven and was given the second pillar of Islam, to pray five times a day. Initially, Muslims used to pray facing in the direction of Jerusalem, making the city the first Qibla (direction of prayer) for believers.
Judaism: The Temple Mount is where the biblical Jewish Temples stood thousands of years ago and is considered the centre of the world by Jews, where God resided, and where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. Jews pray facing Jerusalem and those in Jerusalem face the Temple Mount. The Western Wall, in the heart of the Old City in Jerusalem, is the holiest place for Jews. The wall is the closest place Jews can pray to the Holy of Holies situated in the Holy Temple. The holy city appears in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) 669 times and Zion(which usually means Jerusalem, sometimes the Land of Israel) appears 154 times.
Christianity: Jerusalem has the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, located on a site which is central to the story of Jesus, his death, crucifixion and resurrection. Majority of the Christians believe Jesus was crucified there, on Golgotha, or the hill of Calvary, his tomb is located inside the sepulchre. The city also includes the Garden of Gesthemane, where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before his crucifixion. The site draws Christians from around the world.