Jerusalem (Temple Mount)
Reply #2 - January 23, 2017, 09:47 PM
The only thing I'd add is that Christians generally looked on the Temple Mount with contempt for a long time. Its ruins were a symbol of the Jews' perverse disobedience and Christ-killing, which God punished by sending the Romans to obliterate Jerusalem and expel the Jews (the Qur'an of course tells that same classic anti-Jewish polemic in Q 17:1-10).
After the Third Roman-Jewish war, there basically was nothing left of Jerusalem. It was made into an uninhabited parking lot, and the Jews were permanently expelled.
Christianity was focused on the spiritual Jerusalem, in heaven. Only with Constantine's building of new Christian monuments in Jerusalem in the 4th century did the idea of a Christian Jerusalem on Earth emerge, and it emerged in very different form, now tied to the specific places of Christ's physical death and resurrection, which is why they left the Temple Mount vacant despite plastering Jerusalem with Christian shrines--- the Temple had been replaced by Christ, and its devastated state was a sign of God's disdain for the Jews and their refusal to accept and obey God's message.
The Qur'an basically inherits the standard late antique Christian view of Jerusalem, except that in quranic theology the most repugnant thing in the world is to imagine that mankind was saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus. So the Muslims basically returned their sacred geography to the Temple Mount, in keeping with their idea of a pure-and-original Abrahamic covenant that was prior to, and superior to, the Jewish and Christian faiths. As always, Islam saw itself as the 'corrected' and 'original' faith. That meant it had to correct the sacred geography of the Holy Land as well.
So strangely enough the Islamic focus on the Temple Mount was probably more of a counter-Christian move, displacing Christian sacred geography by going to the 'source,' than a true Judaism-imitation move.
And this function, to my mind, explains why the Dome of the Rock is so architecturally strange (including being a carbon-clone of the Kathisma church) and why its inscriptions seem addressed primarily at correcting Christians. Its importance was as a counter-Christian declaration.