This is the place where the Caliph Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) performed salah after the conquest of Jerusalem by the Muslims in 638 CE. It is opposite the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
- The Patriarch of Jerusalem was showing Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during which the time for salah occurred. The Patriarch offered a place for him to pray in the church but Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) refused, explaining to the Patriarch, “Had I prayed inside the church, the Muslims coming after me would take possession of it, saying that I had prayed in it.” Tradition has it that he picked up a stone, threw it outside and prayed at the spot it landed. The present Mosque of Umar (or Masjid-e-Umar) was built over this place by Salahuddin Ayyubi’s son Afdhal Ali in 1193 CE.
- At the time when the Muslims first conquered Jerusalem, the Jews had long been banned from Jerusalem and the surrounding areas by the Christian rulers. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) agreed with Sophronius (the Patriarch of Jerusalem) that the Jews would not be permitted to reside but later revoked this arrangement. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) invited 70 Jewish families from Tiberias to settle in Jerusalem, allowing them to also build a synagogue.
- Several eminent Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) also settled in Jerusalem, drawn by the holiness of the city. Ubadah-bin-Samit (may Allah be pleased with him), one of the leading experts in the Quran, became the first qadi (Islamic judge) of Jerusalem.
- A copy of the Covenant which Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) had drawn up giving assurances of safety to the (non-Muslim) people of Jerusalem is displayed outside the mosque.
- This mosque is not to be confused with the Dome of the Rock which is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the Mosque of Umar. There is also a small mosque adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque known as the Mosque of Umar.
- Video of the outside of the mosque:
References: A history of Jerusalem – Karen Armstrong, Wikipedia, The Rough Guide to Jerusalem