Ask us about Al-Aqsa
Who is Sheikh Raed Salah? Why is he called
sheikh of al-Aqsa?
Sheikh Raed Salah is one of the most famous Palestinian
figures for his defiance of Israel’s policies and exposing their conspiracies
to Judaize al-Quds and al-Aqsa mosque. He is a long-time defender of the
Islamic sanctities and endowments in occupied Palestine, especially Masjid
al-Aqsa, until he became known as sheikh al-Aqsa. Sheikh Salah received the
King Faisal Award in 2013 for his efforts in defending al-Aqsa.
Sheikh Raed Salah was born in 1958 for Abu
Shakra’s family in Umm al-Fahm, north of Palestine, to a Palestinian family who
refused to be expelled of their homes following the Zionist occupation of
Palestine in 1948. He completed his secondary education at Umm al-Fahm schools.
He holds a BA in Islamic Law from the Islamic University of Hebron.
Sheikh Salah began his Islamic activism early, where he
embraced the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and was active in the field of
advocacy within the 1948 land of occupied Palestine.
Sheikh Raed was one of the founders of the Islamic Movement
inside Palestine (the 1948 territories) in the early seventies, and he became
one of its senior leaders and the head of its northern wing since 1996.
Sheikh Raed became the mayor of Umm al-Fahm municipality
for three consecutive terms, until he resigned from his position in 2000 to
serve as head of the Al-Aqsa Foundation for the Reconstruction of Islamic Holy
Sites; a non-governmental organization that aims to preserve al-Aqsa mosque.
Defense of Al-Aqsa
Sheikh Raed Salah is one of the
most prominent defenders of al-Aqsa; he’s been famous for his role in
uncovering the excavations carried out by the occupation under the Masjid and
other risks surrounding al-Aqsa, as well as his practical defiance and
confrontation of these practices.
He and his fellow brothers had a prominent role in the
renovation of the Musalla al-Marwani, and reopening its gates and
protecting it from confiscation, in addition to renovating the old Musallah
of al-Aqsa, and cleaning and lighting its courtyards, besides constructing
latrine and ablution units at Bab Huta, al-Asbat, Faisal and al-Majlis.
also worked on the project of “al-Bayariq” march, to facilitate bringing
people to al-Aqsa Mosque, which foiled the occupation plans to empty al-Aqsa
from Muslim worshipers.
participated with his fellow brothers in the revival of the knowledge gatherings
on the historic terraces in al-Aqsa mosque, and he contributed to the
establishment of the al-Aqsa Children Fund project, which sponsors about 16,000
helped to organize the international contest "Beit al-Maqdis in
Danger" and other programs aimed at reviving the cause of al-Aqsa and
activating the role of Palestinians in the 1948 territory to preserve it, such
as "Al-Aqsa in Danger" festivals.
helped to produce several documentaries and books on al-Aqsa mosque, including
“al-Murabiteen,” and “the guide to the first of the two Qiblas” and the
documentary “The blessed Aqsa under siege.”
made him vulner able to the oppression and harassment of the occupation,
starting with banning him from traveling or denying him access to al-Aqsa until
his arrest and the assassination attempts carried against him.
Occupation Targeting him:
· In 1981,
Raed Salah was imprisoned on charges of association with a banned organization,
the “Usrat al-Jihad,” and after his release he was placed under house arrest.
a failed assassination attempt was carried out against Shiekh Salah in the
first days of al-Aqsa’s intifada. He was injured in the head with a bullet.
· In 2002,
the occupation’s High Court of Justice rejected a petition submitted by Sheikh
Raed Salah to annul an order issued by the Minister of the Interior that banned
him from leaving the country. The judiciary decided at the time that public
security comes before the principle of freedom of movement.
· In the
next year, 2003, the occupation arrested him again with the charge that he was
laundering funds for Hamas, in the field of defending Islamic sanctities and endowments, particularly
However, the Sheikh continued to defend the Islamic holy sites in
occupied Palestine until he was prevented from entering al-Quds in 2009. Then
the Israeli court issued a decision to imprison him for nine months. His
response was, “We will defend al-Aqsa mosque even from inside prison.”
On May 31 2010, Sheikh Raed Salah participated in the Freedom
Flotilla aimed at lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip. The Flotilla was exposed
to piracy in international water of Israeli warships. Nine activists were
martyred and more than 38 were wounded. Sheikh Salah was arrested after an
attempt to assassinate him, when the Flotilla was forcibly taken to Ashdod
As part of the occupation’s campaign to target al-Aqsa and the
movement of Ribat in it, the Israeli occupation government banned the
Islamic movement headed by Sheikh Salah, in November 2015, under the pretext
that its activities were inciting against “Israel,” because it was a major
player in the reconstruction and protection of al-Aqsa.
In 2016, the Sheikh was sentenced to nine months in prison, in a
case known as “Wadi al-Jawz,” which began in 2007 after a Friday sermon
on February 6, 2007 in Wadi al-Joz neighborhood in occupied al-Quds,
following the occupation forces’ prevention of worshipers from entering al-Aqsa
mosque for Friday prayers, and the demolitions that reached al-Mughrabi
Gate (باب المغاربة)that
leads to al-Aqsa.
The General Prosecutor's Office attributed to Sheikh Salah saying
in this speech: “The Israeli establishment wants to build the temple to be used
as a [Jewish] house of prayer to God, how shameless and falsified [those clams
are]. There cannot be built a house of prayer to God while our blood is still
on the clothes, doors, food and drinks of terrorist [military] generals.”
Sheikh Raed Salah walked to the prison to spend his sentence
accompanied by a popular procession of large crowds from the city of Umm
al-Fahm. The Sheikh said before entering prison: “This is not a farewell
moment, but rather a renewal of our covenant and commitment to our Arab and
Palestinian principles. Our great joy will be achieved by ending the occupation
of al-Aqsa mosque.”
On January 17, 2016, Sheikh Raed Salah was released after being
detained for nine months. However, he was subject to restrictions on his
movement, including travel bans and the prohibition of entering occupied
al-Quds and al-Aqsa mosque before he was arrested again.
After the victory of the Maqdisis (المقدسيين) (Jerusalemites) in al-Asbat
uprising, which forced the Zionists to dismantle the electronic gates installed
at al-Aqsa’s entrance gates, “Israel” sought revenge on the leaders and symbols
of the uprising.
On August 15, 2017, Sheikh Salah was arrested from his home in the
city of Umm al-Fahm. He was taken to interrogations and his detention was
extended several times. The court decided to extend his detention until the end
of the proceedings against him. On February 15, 2018, the Central Military
Court extended his detention in solitary confinement, for six months, at the
request of the Prison Authority.
Sheikh Raed Salah, who has long been calling to remind the nation
that “al-Aqsa is in danger,” remains the pioneer leader in defense of al-Quds
and the protector of the blessed al-Aqsa mosque.
Who are the Murabiteen? What is the significance of their role?
The Murabiteen and
Murabitat, or Murabitoun, or Murabito Al-Aqsa are groups or individuals from Al-Quds city
(Jerusalem) and its surroundings, and [Palestinian] Muslim citizens of the occupied
lands in 1948. They devoted themselves and their time to stay at Al Aqsa Mosque
to guard its gates and protect it from attacks by “Israeli” soldiers, Jewish extremists and
radical settlers. The Murabiteen represent different generations and various political and
cultural backgrounds, their illimitable love of al-Aqsa unites them all
together; elderly people, young men and women
besides the students who memorize and recite the holy Quran and attend the Sharia
lessons on al-Aqsa terraces.
Significance and role of Murabiteen
Basically, the importance of Ribat is not
leaving al-Aqsa Mosque empty of worshipers and visitors, especially in the
morning and afternoon or during the Jewish festivals, where the number of
intruders and their aggressions increases, and also the number of their attempts
to perform Jewish rituals in al-Aqsa. At this time, the role of Murabiteen
clearly demonstrates to stop and confront the Jewish intruders and to prevent
the imposition of the temporal and spatial division of al-Aqsa Mosque which the
occupation seeks to impose it as the status quo in al-Aqsa, just as it happened
previously in al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron city. Therefore, the Murabiteen are
the frontline defense on behalf of millions of Arabs and Muslims to guard and
defend al-Aqsa Mosque.
Ribat in al-Aqsa aims to achieve a permanent
Islamic presence to defend and protect it, and to show respect to its holy
status. The murabiteen therefore are compelled to leave their jobs and devote
themselves to this mission. Some of them make ribat as their permanent