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A verse of the Quran refers to the "farthest Mosque":

Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things). Quran 17:1

Some Muslims believe that refers to Al-Aqsa Mosque.

However, wikiIslam claims that this mosque did not exist at the time. (e.g. 610-613 AD.):

Muslims claim that Al-Aqsa mosque is mentioned in the Qur'an as the furthest mosque. Even though there was obviously no mosque in Jerusalem during Muhammad's time.

Did the Al-Aqsa mosque (or any mosque) exist at the time this passage was written?

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So, what is the claim you are doubtful about? –  Oddthinking Aug 10 '12 at 23:13
    
@Oddthinking re-edited the question and made is more subjective –  client9 Aug 11 '12 at 14:23
    
More subjective? That's the last thing I want! I edited it again to focus on the actual competing claims: The Quran describes a Mosque. Some people (who?) think it refers to Al-Aqsa. WikiIslam claims it can't have been. –  Oddthinking Aug 11 '12 at 14:42
    
@Oddthinking I was re-editing at the same time. Looks good to me. –  client9 Aug 11 '12 at 14:43
    
I offer this, without having actually read it completely. islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Contrad/External/aqsa.html I confess, this is too much like Hermeneutics-of-the-Quran.SE to be of much interest to me. –  Oddthinking Aug 11 '12 at 14:45
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1 Answer

It rather depends on what you mean by "exist" and by "mosque".

The 17th chapter of the Koran, called Al-Isra, says Mohammed was taken at night from al-Masjid al-Haram (the sacred mosque or place of worship, in Mecca) to al-Masjid al-Aqsa (the furthest mosque or place of worship, in Jerusalem).

Hadith (Muslim sayings) expands this to say that Mohammed prayed there before visiting the seventh heaven.

So in this sense it existed as a place, and indeed as a place of worship (i.e. a mosque), if you accept the Islamic writings. As the location of the ruins of Herod's temple, it had been a place of worship to the Abrahamic God for much longer. But there was no specificity Muslim building there at the time, either to commemorate Mohammed's visit to heaven, or Abraham's attempted sacrifice of his son, but that did not prevent it being a holy place.

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btw re-edited my question and made it more subjective. –  client9 Aug 11 '12 at 14:23
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