lying at the southern end of the Temple Mount within walking distance of the Dome of the Rock is the Al qsa Mosque, also known as the Bayt al-Muqaddas and is considered the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. It is here that The Islamic Prophet Mohammed made his flight from mecca to jerusalem and then to heaven and the mosque was built by the Caliph Umar of the Rashidun Caliphate and completed by his son Al walid in 705 AD. It was built facing Mecca and only Muslim Worshippers Are allowed to enter the Mosque while the whole of Temple Mount is open to all except during Friday Prayers.
according to wikipedia:
The rectangular al-Aqsa Mosque and its precincts are 144,000 square metres (1,550,000 sq ft), although the mosque itself is about 35,000 square metres (380,000 sq ft) and could hold up to 5,000 worshippers. It is 272 feet (83 m) long, 184 feet (56 m) wide.
At The southern end of Temple mound is the gray domed The Al-Aksa Mosque (Arabic Masjid Al-Aksa, "Distant Mosque" - also spelled El-Aksa) is an important mosque in Jerusalem. It is part of the complex of religious buildings known as the Haram esh-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) to Muslims and the Temple Mount to Jews, and is accepted as the third holiest site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina.
Distance refers to the fact that it was the most distant sanctuary visited by Mohammed. It is also the place where Mohammed experienced the "night journey," which is why it is considered the third holiest Islamic shrine after Mecca and Medina.
The mosque has a capacity of 12000 prayers.
Technically the Al-Aqsa Mosque (The Furthest Mosque) encompasses the entire area of Temple Mount, but most people think only of the smaller, greyer mosque that sits in the shadow of the Dome of the Rock. It is a religious site of great importance to Islam, the third holiest site in the Islamic world, and believed to be the mosque which Mohammad travelled to on his last night on earth before ascending to heaven.
Because the Al-Aqsa mosque, and the entire Noble Sanctuary that it stands in, was built upon what the Jews believe is the location of their Temple ruins, where a Third Temple will one day be built and herald in the coming of their Messiah. It has been the center of much controversy. Some Jewish people want to remove the mosque and rebuild the temple themselves. Michael Dennis Rohan, an evangelical Christian who also believed the building of the temple would herald in the second coming, tried to burn the mosque down in 1969.
When Ariel Sharon visited in 2000, it is said to have provoked the "Al-Aqsa Intifada", a violent uprising from the Palestinians which resulted in thousands dead on both sides. This intifada spawned the infamous Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, who were responsible for dozens of suicide bomb attacks in the last six years. After Sharon's visit it was closed to non-Muslims for some time, but is now open again during limited hours.
There are conflicting opinions as to the origins of the El Aqsa Mosque. Some believe it dates back to the 6th century and started off as a St Marys a Crusader Church, which was later converted to a Mosque. Others, mainly Muslims maintain it was not built until the 10th century and has always been a Mosque.
It is the countries largest Mosque and has had to be restored on a number of occasions due to fire & earthquakes, so hardly anything of the original remains.
the site marks the spot where the prophet Mohammad flew from Mecca to Jerusalem on a journey the Koran describes as the furthest -thus the word Al Aqsa.