Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
This article takes the akada on a virtual and intellectual journey to al-Quds.
Over the decades, Jewish occupiers have conducted some incursions into al-Masjid al-Aqsa.
Those provocative hostilities have met resistance from Muslims to protect the sanctity of the sacred structure.
Moreover, there have been reports of a tunnel being drilled, by Jewish authorities, under the Masjid with the purpose of causing the collapse of the building.
Jewish extremists have voiced the intention to pull down the Masjid and have arsoned the edifice a few times.
The Masjid, the third sacred location in Islam after al-Masjid al-Haram in Mekkah and al-Masjid an-Nabiy in Medinah, is under siege.
Worse, it is disheartening that discussions on al-Aqsa frequently display images of Qubbah as-Sakhrah (Dome Of The Rock), a nearby mashhad. 
This presents the misconception Qubbah is Al-Aqsa.
As sanctified as Qubbah is, it is not al-Aqsa.
Some historians do connect  Qubbah to the Temple of Sulayman, an indication the former is a reconstruction of the Temple.
By the time Allah took His Messenger on a physical journey at night  from al-Haram to al-Aqsa in the year before Hijrah, the Temple existed only in name.
On the institution of Salah, the Messenger of Allah and fellow Muslims prayed facing the location of al-Aqsa until about sixteen months After Hijrah to Medinah. 
Allah, in response to the Prophet’s supplications, directed Salah towards the Qiblah, al-Haram,  the first place of worship to Allah.
Al-Aqsa is the second structure  constructed for the worship of Allah.
Prophet Ibrahim and his son Isma’eel built al-Haram. Some decades later, Al-Aqsa was constructed.
Here is a concise voyage into history to examine the timeline  of relevant events:
circa 1004 BG: Sulayman Allah’s Prophet constructed the Temple.
586 BG: Bukhtanasar led Babylonians to conquer the city of al-Quds and destroyed the Temple.
Bukhtanasar released  Prophet Aramaya whom the Jewish people had imprisoned for admonishing them to desist from their sinful ways.
515 BG: Uzair rebuilt the Temple.
167 BG: Antiochus IV Epiphanes conducted pagan practices in the Temple.
17 BG to 29: Herod renovated and widened the Temple.
70: Titus completely destroyed the Temple, except part of the western wall, ending a 4-year  Jewish insurgency.
638: Umar received the keys to Al-Quds, following the city’s surrender.
690: Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan reconstructed al-Aqsa, originally a modest structure built by Umar.
Abdul Malik built Qubbah.
Both buildings incorporated  small segments of the western wall.
The two sacred edifices survived the three Crusades, as well as the overlords of Britain and France.
When Jewish people, with the aid of the British and the United States, violently took over Palestine and eventually in 1967, al-Quds, both al-Aqsa and Qubbah had been erect for more than 1300 years, much longer than any Jewish settlement, within the last two millenia, had survived in Palestine.
 Dome Of The Rock. Mashhad – a resting place for pilgrims  Temple Of Jerusalem  Western Wall. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Student and Home Edition. 2010
 Prophet Sulayman  Prophet Aramaya. Imam Ibn Kathir (701 – 774 AH). Stories Of The Prophets. http://www.DivineIslam.com
 Surah al-Israa’ (17): Ayah 1
The Mi’raj, afterwards, transported the Messenger of Allah on an Ascension through the seven Heavens which make up Jannah and unto the Presence of Allah where Allah enjoined Salah on Muslims.
A CRUCIAL NOTE: The Prophet was in the Presence of Allah and spoke directly with Allah. He did not see Allah.
Allah remains in the Unseen until the Day of Judgment, after which the inhabitants of Jannah will receive the extra bonus of seeing Allah.
 Saheeh Bukhari. Vol. 6, Bk 60, Num 13. Vol. 9, Bk 91, Num 358.  Vol. 4, Bk 55, Num 585
 Surah al-Baqarah (2): Ayaat 144/49/50