The Golden Gate (also known as Bab ad-Dhahabi) is an ancient historical door carved inside Masjid al-Aqsa’s eastern wall. It has been walled up since medieval times.
- The exact date of construction of the Golden Gate is disputed, with opinions differing between late Byzantine to early Umayyad times.
- It consists of two gates, one to the south (Ar-Rahma – “The Mercy”) and one to the north (At-Tawbah – “The Repentance”). The Mercy Gate was named after the Mercy (ar-Rahmah) graveyard, located in front of it, which contains the graves of two companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), Ubadah bin Samit and Shaddad bin Aus (رضي الله عنهم)
- Imam al-Ghazali is thought to have written part of his ‘Revival of the Religious Sciences’ (Ihya’ Uloom ad-Din) while sitting and teaching above these gates.
- The gate was closed by the Muslims in 810 CE but reopened in 1102 CE after the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem. It was walled up by Salahuddin Ayyubi after regaining Jerusalem in 1187 CE, probably for defensive reasons. The Ottoman sultan Sulaiman the Magnificent rebuilt it together with the city walls, but walled it up in 1541 CE, and it has stayed that way till today.
- Christians believe that Isa (عليه السلام) [Jesus], will enter through this gate on his second coming.
References: HUMA’s Travel guide to Palestine, A guide to Al-Aqsa mosque – passia.org, Wikipedia