The Jerusalem Waqf and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs Department, also known as the Jerusalem Waqf, the Jordanian Waqf or simply the Waqf, is the Jordanian-appointed organization responsible for controlling and managing the current Islamic edifices on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, known to Muslims as Al-Aqsa, which includes the Dome of the Rock. The Jerusalem Waqf is guided by a council composed of 18 members and headed by a director, all appointed by Jordan. The current director of the Waqf, since 2005, is Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib.
Name and history
In Islamic law, a waqf (Arabic: وَقْف; [ˈwɑqf]), plural awqaf, is an inalienable endowment – typically a building, plot of land or another property that has been dedicated for Muslim religious or charitable purposes. In Ottoman Turkish law, and later under the British Mandate of Palestine, a waqf was defined as usufruct state land (or property) from which the state revenues were assured to religious foundations. The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem has been administered as a waqf since the Muslim reconquest of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187. By metonymy, the foundation that administers the waqf of Jerusalem has itself come to be known as "the Waqf".
The current version of the Jerusalem Waqf administration was instituted by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan after its conquest and occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the 1948 war. The Jerusalem Waqf remained under Jordanian control after Israel occupied the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War of June 1967, though control over access to the site passed to Israel.
The Jerusalem Waqf is an organ of the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf Islamic Affairs and Holy Places, which is charged with "implementing the Hashemite custodianship over Islamic and Christian holy sites and endowments and consolidating the historical and legal status quo."
The staff members of the Jerusalem Waqf are Jordanian-government employees. It is headed by a director, also picked by the Jordanian government. The current director of the Jerusalem Waqf is Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, appointed in 2005.
An agreement signed in 2013 between the State of Palestine (represented by Mahmoud Abbas) and Jordan's King Abdullah II recognized Jordan's role in managing the Jerusalem holy sites. This agreement replaced a decades-old verbal agreement.
The Jerusalem Waqf is responsible for administrative matters in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Religious authority on the site, on the other hand, is the responsibility of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, appointed by the government of the State of Palestine.
In 2017, Jordan enlarged the Waqf’s council from 11 members to 18. For the first time, Palestinian officials and religious leaders were installed in the body, which had historically been made up of individuals close to the Jordanian monarchy.
- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
- Hashemite custodianship of Jerusalem holy sites
- Status Quo (Jerusalem and Bethlehem)
- "Jordan protests to Israel after envoy blocked from holy site". Arab News. Retrieved 2023-01-18.
- THE ISLAMIC WAQF AND AL-AQSA MOSQUE AFFAIRS, JERUSALEM - 2021, PASSIA, 2021
- PEF Survey of Palestine, 1883, volume III Jerusalem, p.119: "The Jamia el Aksa, or 'distant mosque' (that is, distant from Mecca), is on the south, reaching to the outer wall. The whole enclosure of the Haram is called by Moslem writers Masjid el Aksa, 'praying-place of the Aksa,' from this mosque." Yitzhak Reiter:
Annika Björkdahl and Susanne Buckley-Zistel: "The site is known in Arabic as Haram al-Sharif – the Noble Sanctuary – and colloquially as the Haram or the al-Aqsa compound; while in Hebrew, it is called Har HaBeit – the Temple Mount." Annika Björkdahl; Susanne Buckley-Zistel (1 May 2016). Spatialising Peace and Conflict: Mapping the Production of Places, Sites and Scales of Violence. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 243–. ISBN 978-1-137-55048-4. Mahdi Abdul Hadi:
"This article deals with the employment of religious symbols for national identities and national narratives by using the sacred compound in Jerusalem (The Temple Mount/al-Aqsa) as a case study. The narrative of The Holy Land involves three concentric circles, each encompassing the other, with each side having its own names for each circle. These are: Palestine/Eretz Israel (i.e., the Land of Israel); Jerusalem/al-Quds and finally The Temple Mount/al-Aqsa compound...Within the struggle over public awareness of Jerusalem's importance, one particular site is at the eye of the storm—the Temple Mount and its Western Wall—the Jewish Kotel—or, in Muslim terminology, the al-Aqsa compound (alternatively: al-Haram al-Sharif) including the al-Buraq Wall... "Al-Aqsa" for the Palestinian-Arab-Muslim side is not merely a mosque mentioned in the Quran within the context of the Prophet Muhammad's miraculous Night Journey to al-Aqsa which, according to tradition, concluded with his ascension to heaven (and prayer with all of the prophets and the Jewish and Christian religious figures who preceded him); rather, it also constitutes a unique symbol of identity, one around which various political objectives may be formulated, plans of action drawn up and masses mobilized for their realization", "Narratives of Jerusalem and its Sacred Compound", Israel Studies 18(2):115-132 (July 2013)
Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs; Tim Marshall: "Many people believe that the mosque depicted is called the Al-Aqsa; however, a visit to one of Palestine's most eminent intellectuals, Mahdi F. Abdul Hadi, clarified the issue. Hadi is chairman of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, based in East Jerusalem. His offices are a treasure trove of old photographs, documents, and symbols. He was kind enough to spend several hours with me. He spread out maps of Jerusalem's Old City on a huge desk and homed in on the Al-Aqsa compound, which sits above the Western Wall. "The mosque in the Al- Aqsa [Brigades] flag is the Dome of the Rock. Everyone takes it for granted that it is the Al-Aqsa mosque, but no, the whole compound is Al-Aqsa, and on it are two mosques, the Qibla mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and on the flags of both Al-Aqsa Brigades and the Qassam Brigades, it is the Dome of the Rock shown," he said. Tim Marshall (4 July 2017). A Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of National Symbols. Simon and Schuster. pp. 151–. ISBN 978-1-5011-6833-8. USA Today: "A view of the Al-Aqsa compound (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem's Old City"  Al Jazeera: "Israeli Deputy Minister Tzipi Hotovely referred to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as 'the centre of Israeli sovereignty, the capital of Israel'... In response, Netanyahu's office later that night put out a statement saying that 'non-Muslims visit the Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa compound]' but are not permitted to pray there.'" 
"Al-Aqsa Mosque, also referred to as Al-Haram Ash-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), comprises the entire area within the compound walls (a total area of 144,000 m2) - including all the mosques, prayer rooms, buildings, platforms and open courtyards located above or under the grounds - and exceeds 200 historical monuments pertaining to various Islamic eras. According to Islamic creed and jurisprudence, all these buildings and courtyards enjoy the same degree of sacredness since they are built on Al-Aqsa's holy grounds. This sacredness is not exclusive to the physical structures allocated for prayer, like the Dome of the Rock or Al-Qibly Mosque (the mosque with the large silver dome)" Mahdi Abdul Hadi Archived 2020-02-16 at the Wayback Machine
- "Arab states neglect Al-Aqsa says head of Jerusalem Waqf". Al-Monitor. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
- Jerusalem Institute. "The eroding status quo" (PDF).
- "What is Waqf". Awqaf SA. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
- A Survey of Palestine (Prepared in December 1945 and January 1946 for the information of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry), chapter 8, section 1, British Mandate Government of Palestine: Jerusalem 1946, pp. 226–228
- Sachar, Howard M. (2013). A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (2nd ed.). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8041-5049-1. Retrieved 2016-03-20.
- Fischer, N. (2019), "Religious Ritual, Injustice, and Resistance: Praying Politically in Israel/Palestine.", in Moyaert, Marianne (ed.), Interreligious Relations and the Negotiation of Ritual Boundaries, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 61–82, doi:10.1007/978-3-030-05701-5_4, ISBN 978-3-030-05700-8, S2CID 201363247
- Ministry name according to its official homepage. Accessed 10 May 2022.
- Jordan: We don't accept instructions from Israel on Temple Mount guards, Khaled Abu Toameh for The Jerusalem Post, 10 May 2022 (accessed the same day).
- Reiter, Yitzhak (1996). Islamic Endowments in Jerusalem Under British Mandate (First ed.). Routledge. p. 272. ISBN 0714643424. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
- "Jerusalem deal boosts Jordan in Holy City: analysts". The Daily Star. Lebanon. AFP. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2021.