Apparently the mosques in Mecca and Jerusalem were built 40 years apart:

Abu Dhar narrated: I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Which mosque was first built on the surface of the earth?" He said, "Al-Masjid-ul-Haram (in Mecca)." I said, "Which was built next?" He replied "The mosque of Al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem)." I said, "What was the period of construction between the two?" He said, "Forty years." He added, "Wherever (you may be, and) the prayer time becomes due, perform the prayer there, for the best thing is to do so (i.e. to offer the prayers in time)."

Sahih al-Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 55, Hadith Number 585

How can this be? Abraham (who built the Kaabah) and Solomon (who built the temple in Jerusalem) lived hundreds of years apart. What actual events is the Prophet referring to?

5 Answers 5


There's no evidence that Abraham was the first to build the Masjid al-Haram, nor is there proof that Solomon was the first to built the temple. These are merely speculative conclusions.

The word "built" isn't mentioned in the original Arabic hadith. It's a mis-translation of the word وُضِعَ:

يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَىُّ مَسْجِدٍ وُضِعَ فِي الأَرْضِ

وُضِعَ has several meanings, such as placed down, stationed, fabricated, or positioned. It doesn't mean "built."

Also, the word "masjid" means "a place of/to prostrate" and not necessarily a building.

If you look into other books of narrations, particularly Ibn Hisham's Kitab al-Tijan or/and Tafsir of Ibn Abi Hatim, you will find hadith that say Adam was the first to station the two places. Neither of the narrations mention 40 years, or any time period.

  • @Mr.Bultitude No problem, I updated my reply.
    – Sayyid
    Mar 26, 2015 at 14:46
  • @Mr.Bultitude The an/hadathna/akhbarna clarification (i.e. a summary/analysis of the the different modes in which hadith can be transmitted) would probably make an excellent question in its own right.
    – goldPseudo
    Mar 26, 2015 at 16:07
  • @goldPseudo I've given it a shot. Apr 1, 2015 at 4:25

no matter who stationed these mosques, but prophet Ibrahim was the one who built and brought these mosques to glory by making people honour these holy sites he did this job with son prophet Ishmael for masjid haram and with son prophet ishaaque for masjid aqsa he first did this for masjid haram and 40 years later for masjid aqsa asking God fr forgiveness for mistakes Allah only knows best !!!

  • Ibrahim (AS) "rebuit" the Kabah as it was destroyed during the flood. No where is it mentioned that it was he who was the first to built it.
    – Ahmed
    Sep 15, 2019 at 11:26
  • Adding references can help users know the validity of your answer, and will enrich your answer too.
    – Zeina
    Sep 16, 2019 at 9:10

40 years mentioned in symbolic and philosophical way like the hadith of Dajjal where 40 days mentioned for his reign. But Allah knows best.


Assalamu alaykum, Ibrahim built the Ka'ba with his son Ismaa'îl. 40 years later his grandson Ya'qub ibn Ishaaq inn Ibraahim built masjid al 'Aqsa. Years later prophet Sulayman ibn Daawud from the Yehuda ibn Ya' qub tribe expanded the Aqsa. وااله اعلم


@Mr. Bultitude Your question is indeed very reasonable. The answer lies in time being multidimensional?

I would encourage you to read the book "Surah al-Kahf and the modern age" by Sheikh Imran Hosein, in it's chapter one (page 21) the very same question has been asked.

You will find your answer in that chapter.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .