Temple Mount/ Mosque of Omar/ Christians/ Dome of the Rock

“In insult towards the sons of Israel” the Greeks had converted the unhewn stone into a dunghill. The zealous Caliph, to whom this Rock was “the very first corner that was created of the whole earth,” set the example in cleansing it. He scooped up the filth, and carried it away in his robe. In this act he was warmly imitated by his officers. Then employing the “nabadhæi of Palestine,” the order was removed to the neighboring valley, outside the city, and the sacred site purified and sanctified. Around this rock ‘Omar built his mosque, the Mosque of ‘Omar, which later gave way to its celebrated successor, the present Dome of the Rock.

“On this spot where the Temple once stood, near the eastern wall, the Saracens have now erected a square house of prayer, in a rough manner, by raising beams and planks upon some remains of old ruins; this is their place of worship, and it is said it will hold some three thousand men.”

Source: Jacob de Haas. History of Palestine: The Last Two Thousand Years. (p. 133); This is the first description of ‘Omar’s mosque, written by Bishop Arculf, who visited Jerusalem in the reign of Mu’awiya (657–705).