For 14 years in row, the Israeli occupation authorities have been shutting down the Gate of Rahma at Aqsa Mosque, and had recently legitimized this action, by completely closing it, following an Israeli court decision.
The Israeli police recently asked the so-called Magistrate Court in occupied Jerusalem to close the former headquarters of the Heritage Committee at the Gate of Rahma inside Aqsa Mosque, amid condemnation by the Islamic Waqf.
It has been revealed that the Inspector General of the Israeli Police, Roni Sheikh, asked the Israeli court to issue an order to close the building of the Gate of Rahma at Aqsa Mosque completely.
History and heritage
The Gate of Rahma is located at the eastern wall of Aqsa Mosque inside a high building that could be accessed through stairs from Aqsa Mosque. It is an old and large gate that consists of two adjacent gates; the Gate of Rahma to the south and the Gate of Tawba to the north. The height of the Gate is 11.5 meters. An adjacent cemetery was named after the gate, in which the graves of the Prophet’s companions, Shaddad bin Aws and Aubada Bin Samit, could be found.
Archaeologists note that this gate was built during the Umayyad Era. It is said that Imam al-Ghazali used to observe Ramadan there when he lived in Jerusalem, where he also studied and finished writing his famous book Revival of the Religious Sciences. It is widely believed that Saladin closed it down when he opened Jerusalem, in order to protect the city and Aqsa from any future aggression. The King Abdullah II Endowment established a chair to study the book of Imam al-Ghazali in 2012 in this place
Regulation of closure
Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, the head of the Supreme Islamic Committee, told the PIC reporter: “The building of the Gate of Rahma is big and has a large hall. The Jerusalem endowment used the hall for celebrations and public meetings until 2003, when the Israeli police closed it at the pretext that the Committee is engaged in political activities.”
Sabri added, “Since then, the Gate is closed, and in order to try to legalize its actions, the Israeli police resorted to Israeli courts and decided to close it indefinitely.”
Sheikh Sabri confirms that this means the Islamic Waqf cannot use half of the Gate of Rahma, and it means the Israeli police will further have more influence over Aqsa Mosque.
He pointed out that the occupation police want to drag the Islamic Waqf to an Israeli court, but the Waqf refuse to appear before it, because it does not recognize the Israeli occupation state, explaining that the Supreme Islamic Council and religious institutions had issued a statement denouncing the closure, and refused to stand before Israeli courts.
Withdrawal of Waqf powers
Sheikh Sabri described the decision of the occupation government as a blatant interference in the affairs of Aqsa that would restrict Islamic Waqf’s powers and prevent it from having full control over Aqsa. “We will meet next Thursday to discuss this issue,” he said.
The Islamic Waqf asserts that the Heritage Committee no longer exists and that the Gate of Rahma building is affiliated with the Waqf Department, which does not allow societies to operate inside Aqsa.(PIC)