Religious significance of Jerusalem

Religious significance of Jerusalem

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The city of Jerusalem, located in modern-day Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, is significant in a number of religious traditions, including Abrahamic religions Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, and Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, which consider it a holy city.

In Judaism



Jerusalem has been the holiest city
Four Holy Cities
The Four Holy Cities , is the collective term in Jewish tradition applied to the cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, Tiberias, and Safed: "Since the sixteenth century the holiness of Palestine, especially for burial, has been almost wholly transferred to four cities—Jerusalem, Hebron, Tiberias, and...

 in Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people since the 10th century BCE.

The city of Jerusalem is given special status in Jewish religious law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

. In particular, Jews outside Jerusalem pray facing its direction, and the maaser sheni
Maaser Sheni
The second tithe is a tithe mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and continued in Orthodox Judaism. It is distinguished from the first tithe , the poor tithe, and the terumat ma'aser...

, revai
Orlah
Orlah is the tenth tractate of Seder Zeraim of the Mishnah and of the Talmud. It discusses the laws pertaining to any fruit bearing tree, whose fruits cannot be eaten during the first three years the tree produces fruit...

 and First Fruits
First Fruits
First Fruits are a religious offering of the first agricultural produce of the harvest. In classical Greek, Roman, Hebrew and Christian religions, the first fruits were offered to the temple or church. First Fruits were often a primary source of income to maintain the religious leaders and the...

 must be eaten in Jerusalem. Any expansion of the city for these purposes must be approved by the Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin was an assembly of twenty-three judges appointed in every city in the Biblical Land of Israel.The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme court of ancient Israel made of 71 members...

. Also, when the Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

 was standing, Jerusalem observed special laws regarding the Four Species
Four Species
The four species are four plants mentioned in the Torah as being relevant to Sukkot. Karaite Jews build their Sukkot out of branches from the four specified plants , while Talmudic Jews take three types of branches and one type of fruit which are held together and waved in a special ceremony...

 on Sukkot
Sukkot
Sukkot is a Biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei . It is one of the three biblically mandated festivals Shalosh regalim on which Hebrews were commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.The holiday lasts seven days...

, and the Shofar
Shofar
A shofar is a horn, traditionally that of a ram, used for Jewish religious purposes. Shofar-blowing is incorporated in synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.Shofar come in a variety of sizes.- Bible and rabbinic literature :...

 on Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah , , is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora'im which occur in the autumn...

.
Jerusalem has long been embedded into Jewish religious consciousness. Jews have studied and personalized the struggle by King David to capture Jerusalem and his desire to build the Jewish temple
Jewish temple
Jewish temple:*Jewish temple or The Jewish Temple, may refer to the original two ancient Jewish Temples in Jerusalem.**The First Temple was destroyed by the ancient Babylonians in 586 BCE.**The Second Temple was destroyed by Rome in 70 CE....

 there, as described in the Book of Samuel and the Book of Psalms. Many of King David's yearnings about Jerusalem have been adapted into popular prayers and songs.

Jerusalem appears in the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 (Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

) 669 times and Zion
Zion
Zion is a place name often used as a synonym for Jerusalem. The word is first found in Samuel II, 5:7 dating to c.630-540 BCE...

 (which usually means Jerusalem, sometimes the Land of Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

) appears 154 times. The first section, the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, only mentions Moriah
Moriah
Moriah is the name given to a mountain range by the Book of Genesis, in which context it is giv. the location of the sacrifice of Isaac. Traditionally Moriah has been interpreted as the name of the specific mountain at which this occurred, rather than just the name of the range...

, the mountain range believed to be the location of the binding of Isaac
Binding of Isaac
The Binding of Isaac Akedah or Akeidat Yitzchak in Hebrew and Dhabih in Arabic, is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah...

 and the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

 in Jerusalem, and in later parts of the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 the city is written explicitly. The Tanakh (or Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

), is a text sacred to both Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. In Judaism it is considered the Written Law, the basis for the Oral Law
Oral law
An oral law is a code of conduct in use in a given culture, religion or community application, by which a body of rules of human behaviour is transmitted by oral tradition and effectively respected, or the single rule that is orally transmitted....

 (Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

, Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 and Shulkhan Arukh) studied, practiced and treasured by Jews and Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 for three millennia. The Talmud elaborates in great depth the Jewish connection with the city.

In Christianity


For Christians
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, Jerusalem's place in the life of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 gives it great importance, in addition to its place in the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

, the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, as described above.
Jerusalem is the place where Jesus was brought as a child, to be 'presented' at the Temple
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

 (Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 2:22) and to attend festivals (Luke 2:41). According to the Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

s, Jesus preached and healed in Jerusalem, especially in the Temple courts. There is also an account of Jesus' 'cleansing' of the Temple, chasing various traders out of the sacred precincts (Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

 11:15). At the end of each of the Gospels, there are accounts of Jesus' Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

 in an 'upper room' in Jerusalem, his arrest in Gethsemane
Gethsemane
Gethsemane is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem most famous as the place where, according to Biblical texts, Jesus and his disciples are said to have prayed the night before Jesus' crucifixion.- Etymology :...

, his trial, his crucifixion at Golgotha, his burial nearby and his resurrection
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

 and ascension.

In Christianity, the Jewish connection with the city is considered as the account of God's relationship with His chosen people
Chosen people
Throughout history and even today various groups of people have considered themselves as chosen by a deity for some purpose such as to act as the deity's agent on earth. In monotheistic faiths, like Abrahamic religions, references to God are used in constructs such as "God's Chosen People"...

 - the original covenant
Covenant (biblical)
A biblical covenant is an agreement found in the Bible between God and His people in which God makes specific promises and demands. It is the customary word used to translate the Hebrew word berith. It it is used in the Tanakh 286 times . All Abrahamic religions consider the Biblical covenant...

 - and the essential prelude to the events narrated in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, including both universal commandments (e.g. the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

) and obsolete
Supersessionism
Supersessionism is a term for the dominant Christian view of the Old Covenant, also called fulfillment theology and replacement theology, though the latter term is disputed...

 or Judaism-specific ones, see Biblical law in Christianity
Biblical law in Christianity
Christian views of the Old Covenant have been central to Christian theology and practice since the circumcision controversy in Early Christianity. There are differing views about the applicability of the Old Covenant among Christian denominations...

 for details.

In medieval times Christians thought Jerusalem was the center of the world (Latin: umbilicus mundi, Greek: Omphalos), and was so represented in the so-called T and O map
T and O map
A T and O map or O-T or T-O map , is a type of medieval world map, sometimes also called a Beatine map or a Beatus map because one of the earliest known representations of this sort is attributed to Beatus of Liébana, an 8th-century Spanish monk...

s. Byzantine hymns speak of the Cross being "planted in the center of the earth," and the imagery is tied to the concept of the Death and resurrection of Jesus
Death and Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

 being for the benefit of all mankind. Medieval maps of Europe usually placed the east ("orient")—Jerusalem—at the top, and this arrangement led to the use of the term "to orient" to mean to align a map with actual compass directions.

In Islam



Jerusalem is considered a sacred site in Sunni Islamic tradition, along with Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 and Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

. Islamic tradition holds that previous prophets were associated with the city, and that the Islamic prophet Muhammad visited the city on a nocturnal journey. Due to such significance it was the first Qibla (direction of prayer) for Muslims and the prophet Muhammad designated the Al-Aqsa for pilgrimage.

Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 is believed to have been taken by the miraculous steed Buraq
Buraq
Al-Burāq is a mythological steed, described as a creature from the heavens which transported the prophets. The most commonly told story is how in the 7th century, Al-Buraq carried the Islamic prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem and back during the Isra and Mi'raj or "Night Journey", which is...

 to visit Jerusalem, where he prayed, and then to visit heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

, in a single night in the year 610. Jerusalem is not directly mentioned by name in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 nor is it mentioned by its Arabic translation, "Al Quds". However the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

ic verse (17
Al-Isra
Sura Al-Isra , also called Sura Bani Isra'il , is the 17th chapter of the Qur'an, with 111 verses.-Content:...

:1) is interpreted by Islamic tafsir
Tafsir
Tafseer is the Arabic word for exegesis or commentary, usually of the Qur'an. Ta'wīl is a subset of tafsir and refers to esoteric or mystical interpretation. An author of tafsir is a mufassir .- Etymology :...

s (commentaries) as referring to this journey, with the term "the farthest Mosque" (al-masjid al-Aqsa
Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque also known as al-Aqsa, is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem...

) referring to the Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem, where the mosque stands. There he meets other prophets, Abraham, Moses and Jesus in particular.

Part of Jerusalem's significance and holiness to Muslims derives from its strong association with Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

, David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

, Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

, and Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

. They are all regarded as Prophets of Islam
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

 and their stories are mentioned in the Qur'an.

Jerusalem served as the first qibla
Qibla
The Qiblah , also transliterated as Qibla, Kiblah or Kibla, is the direction that should be faced when a Muslim prays during salah...

 (direction of prayer) for Muslims. Whilst Muslims were in Mecca, and also for 17–18 months in Medina, Muslim prayed towards Jerusalem. Early mosques in Medina were built to face Jerusalem. In 625, The qibla was changed to the Kaaba
Kaaba
The Kaaba is a cuboid-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam. The Qur'an states that the Kaaba was constructed by Abraham, or Ibraheem, in Arabic, and his son Ishmael, or Ismaeel, as said in Arabic, after he had settled in Arabia. The building has a mosque...

 in Mecca.

After Muhammad, many of his Companions
Sahaba
In Islam, the ' were the companions, disciples, scribes and family of the Islamic prophet...

 lived in Jerusalem, and upon their death they were buried there.

In Mandaeism



In Mandaeism
Mandaeism
Mandaeism or Mandaeanism is a Gnostic religion with a strongly dualistic worldview. Its adherents, the Mandaeans, revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Noah, Shem, Aram and especially John the Baptist...

 (an ancient Gnostic-like non-Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 religion, once significant in numbers but now a small group found primarily in parts of southern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

) Jerusalem is considered a city of wickedness, dedicated to the god of Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, whom they call Adunay (Adonai) or Yurba (possibly YHWH) and consider to be an evil spirit. According to Sidra d-Yahia 54, Jerusalem is "the stronghold that Adunay built ... [he] brought to it falsehood in plenty, and it meant persecution against my tarmidia (Manda d-Hiia's disciples)." In the Ginza Rba
Ginza Rba
Ginza Rba or Siddra Rba, "The Great Book" is the largest of the many holy scriptures of the Mandaean religion...

 (15.11), it is said to have come into being as a result of the incestuous union of the seven planet
Planet
A planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

s with their evil mother Ruha d-Qudsha
Ruha d-Qudsha
In Aramaic, Ruha d-Qudsha means "the spirit of holiness"...

, who "left lewdness, perversion
Perversion
Perversion is a concept describing those types of human behavior that are a serious deviation from what is considered to be orthodox or normal. Although it can refer to varying forms of deviation, it is most often used to describe sexual behaviors that are seen by an individual as abnormal,...

, and fornication
Fornication
Fornication typically refers to consensual sexual intercourse between two people not married to each other. For many people, the term carries a moral or religious association, but the significance of sexual acts to which the term is applied varies between religions, societies and cultures. The...

 in it. They said: 'Whoever lives in the city of Jerusalem will not mention the name of God.'" (Elsewhere, however, it more prosaically says the city was built by Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

.) However, Yahya
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

(John the Baptist), an important figure in the religion, is said to have been born there.