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Explained: Jerusalem, the Holy City: Why is this city important for Christians, Jews and Muslims

Jerusalem, a city of immense religious and historical significance, unites Jews, Christians, and Muslims in devotion and reverence

Explained Jerusalem, the Holy City: Why is this city important for Christians, Jews and Muslims ATG
First Published Oct 13, 2023, 2:41 PM IST

Jerusalem, the holy city, holds a unique and profound significance for three of the world's major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Its history is a tapestry of faith, conflict, and cultural diversity, dating back thousands of years. This ancient city is a place of spiritual pilgrimage and an epicenter of religious devotion, as well as a crucible of historical events that have shaped the world.


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  1. Importance for Jews: Jerusalem is the holiest city in Judaism, with its origins rooted in biblical accounts. The city is closely linked to the First and Second Temples, the latter of which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, leading to the Jewish diaspora. The Western Wall, a remnant of the Second Temple, is the most sacred site for Jews, where countless worshipers gather to pray and place written prayers within its cracks. For Jews, Jerusalem is not only a spiritual center but also a symbol of the Jewish people's historical connection to their homeland.

  2. Importance for Christians: Jerusalem is a city of profound importance to Christians, as it is associated with the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, within the Old City, is believed to house the site of Christ's crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Christians from various denominations visit the Church to retrace the footsteps of Jesus and participate in religious rituals, especially during the annual Easter celebrations. Moreover, the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus is believed to have walked with the cross, is a significant pilgrimage route for Christians. Jerusalem also holds spiritual significance for Christians as the place where the Last Supper took place, making it a symbol of Christian faith and the life of Jesus.

  3. Importance for Muslims: For Muslims, Jerusalem is known as Al-Quds and is the third holiest city after Mecca and Medina. It is revered as the location of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the farthest mosque, from which Prophet Muhammad is believed to have ascended to heaven during the Night Journey. This event is commemorated annually during the Islamic holiday of Isra and Mi'raj. The Dome of the Rock, with its iconic golden dome, stands atop the Temple Mount and holds great religious significance as the place where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended. Al-Quds also symbolizes the importance of the land of Palestine in Islamic history and remains a focal point for Muslim identity and aspiration.

Jerusalem's historical and religious significance is profound, uniting the Abrahamic faiths in their connection to the city. It has been the site of spiritual inspiration, conflict, and the collective memory of countless generations. The importance of Jerusalem for Jews, Christians, and Muslims transcends mere geography; it represents a sacred space where faith, history, and destiny converge, making it a city like no other in the world.

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