al-Masd̲j̲id al-Ạkṣā
(1,722 words)

, literally, “the remotest sanctuary.” There are three meanings to these words.

1. The words occur in Ḳurʾān, XVII, 1: “Praise Him who made His servant journey in the night ( asrā ) from the sacred sanctuary ( al-masd̲j̲id al-ḥarām ) to the remotest sanctuary ( al-masd̲j̲id al-aḳṣa ), which we have surrounded with blessings to show him of our signs.” This verse, usually considered to have been revealed during the Prophet’s last year in Mecca before the Hid̲j̲ra, is very difficult to explain within the context of the time. There is no doubt that al-masd̲j̲id al-ḥarām is the then pagan sanct…

Cite this page
Grabar, O., “al-Masd̲j̲id al-Ạkṣā”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 12 December 2018 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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