I have thought that Masjid Aqsa is the building that is in grey and the Dome of the Rock is the building with the golden dome, but someone has told me that the whole Haram ash-Sharif is considered Masjid Aqsa. Is this true?
Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
Masjid al-Aqsa was built by Ibrahim (alayhi as-Salam). This is the grey Masjid, which is infront of the dome. It was also in this Masjid that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), on the night of Mi’raj, led all the other Prophets in prayer.
However, due to the increase of the population of Muslims, the Masjid had to be extended. The Masjid ultimately had to been extended, and went beyond the Dome of the Rock. Thus, in our present day, the dome of the rock too is included in the Masjid. However, the original Masjid built by Ibrahim (alayhi wa-Salam) did not include the dome of the rock. Hence, the full 35 acres is now regarded as the Masjid.
Since we refer to it as a Haram by taking the literal meaning (sacred place), the entire Masjid will be considered as the Haram in that sense.
And Allaah Ta’aala knows best
Ismail Moosa (Mufti)
This answer was collected from Fatwaa.com which is an excellent Q&A site managed by Mufti Ismail Moosa from South Africa. .