How did the Rabat movement develop in al-Aqsa Mosque?

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The second uprising – Al-Aqsa Intifada- has broken out in 2000 AD after the Zionist prime minister Ariel Sharon stormed al-Aqsa Mosque. Subsequently, the Islamic movement in 1948 occupied lands under the leadership of Sheikh Raed Salah, began to think about the need to protect al-Aqsa Mosque and facilitate the arrival of worshipers all the time to resist the autocratic control by the Israeli occupation forces. Then they have launched what was known as the “March of the Flags (Biarik)” and “Travelling Convoys”, to transport the worshipers daily by buses from Galilee, Triangle (al-Muthallath), Negev and the coast area (al-Sahel) to al-Aqsa Mosque which had direct and positive influence on the revival of al-Aqsa Mosque and the development of the economic life of the Old City of Jerusalem.

The second phase of Ribat in al-Aqsa was the establishment of the “Science Terraces” (Masatib al-Elm) learning groups (halaqat). Thus, in 2008, the Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied lands sponsored the establishing of 36 learning groups (halaqa) inside the mosque, teaching the Islamic studies such as; Quranic studies, fiqhsunnah and the prophet’s (pbuh) biography through scientific methodological courses which meet the needs of the learners of all ages. Gradually, these halaqat have been increased until the number of their members reached to 1200 students in 2011.  They formed permanent halaqat and showed high interest to attend them for the learning and the ribat inside the mosque. Besides, they defend the mosque, confront the attackers and try to expel them.

2015, was the year of the declared Israeli war on the Murabiteen and Murabitat. On August 23, 2015, the ‘Israeli Intelligence’ issued a list of about 20 women (Murabitat) from Jerusalem. The list increased to include 55 names and it was known among the activists as the “Golden List”, which bans all the listed women from their rights to enter al-Aqsa Mosque and pray there. In the same month, the Zionist war minister, Moshe Ya’alon, issued a decision to designate the Murabiteen and Murabitat as an illegal organization based on the recommendation of the ‘Israeli police’ and the ‘General Security Service’. “Considering them as a major factor in creating tension and violence … and undermining the Israeli sovereignty over al-Aqsa Mosque!” This reflects the arrogance of the Israeli occupation and imposing the status quo despite its contrary to the logic. According to the decision, the presence of Muslim worshipers in their mosque is a factor of tension and violence, while storming al-Aqsa Mosque by the soldiers and extremists is not!

Despite the prohibition and criminalization of ribat by the occupation, the Murabiteen and Murabitat did not stop their ribat and their continuous presence at the gates of al-Aqsa. In July 2017, they played a significant role in the uprising of the ‘Tribes Gate’ (Bab al-Asbat). They led and guided the demonstrators during the sit-ins at the gates of al-Aqsa. So, the concept of ribat expanded until thousands of people from Jerusalem and the 1948 occupied areas joined them. The sit-in succeeded in breaking the will of the occupation and restoring the situation in al-Aqsa as it was before, and they achieved victory by entering al- Aqsa together with all Muslims without passing through the electronic gates (Metal Sensors) that the occupation wanted to enforce at the gates of al-Aqsa as a new practice to impose its control over al-Aqsa Mosque.

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