The Sacred Masjid Was Built First
On the authority of Abu Dharr (ra) who said, ’I said, “O Messenger of Allah, which masjid was built first?”
He said, “The Sacred Masjid (al-Masjid al-Haram in Makkah)“.
I said, “And then which one?”
He said, “And then the Furthest Masjid (al-Masjid al-Aqsa in al-Quds)“.
I said, “What was the period between them?”
He said, “Forty (years)“. He then said, “Wherever the time for the prayer comes upon you, then pray, for the earth is a place of prostration (masjid) for you”’. [Bukhari]
The above conversation reveals a little-known historical fact: Masjid Al-Haram and Masjid Al-Aqsa are the two oldest masjids on earth. They are also the only two masjids named in the Qur’an; once, Allah (swt) even refers to them in the same ayah, saying: ‘Glory be to the One Who took His servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed…’ [The Noble Qur’an, 17:1]