Replying to a letter-writer inquiring
about the acceptability of visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem even as
it is under Israeli control, Yusuf Qardawi, a leading fundamentalist Islamic
authority, provided the following reply:
"We all yearn to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque. A prayer in it is worth 500 prayers in ordinary mosques. However, we must keep the ember of yearning burning until we can pray in it, God willing, after it is liberated and returned to its natural owners—the Arab and Islamic nation. A Muslim who wishes to double the reward of praying in the Al-Aqsa Mosque can visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina. A prayer in it is worth 1,000 prayers in ordinary mosques; that is, the reward is double than the reward for prayer in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. A Muslim can also, of course, visit the Holy Mosque in Mecca, which is absolutely the best house of God. It was the first mosque established on earth to worship God. Prayer in it is worth 100,000 prayers in other mosques, except the Prophet’s Mosque and the Al-Aqsa Mosque."
This means that one prayer in the Holy Mosque in Mecca is worth 200 prayers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Whoever yearns for the Al-Aqsa Mosque today should quench his thirst by traveling to the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina or the Holy Mosque in Mecca, until God enables the Islamic nation to regain its right and restore the trust to its owners.
Reported by Ibn Warraq