For centuries, al-Masjid al-Aqsa referred not only to the mosque, but to the entire sacred sanctuary, while al-Jami' al-Aqsa referred to the specific site of the mosque. early 16th century to 1917) when the sanctuary complex came to be known as al-Haram al-Sharif.
Al-Aqsa Mosque as a whole is confused with a particular building within it, the Al-Qibli Chapel (al-Jami' al-Aqsa or al-Qibli, or Masjid al-Jumah or al-Mughata).
Al-Masjid al-Aqsa translates from Arabic into English as "the farthest mosque".
A second earthquake damaged most of al-Mansur's repairs, excluding those made in the southern portion in 774.
It was once thought that Emperor Justinian's "Nea Ekklesia of the Theotokos", or the New Church of the God-Bearer, dedicated to the God-bearing Virgin Mary, consecrated in 543 and commonly known as the Nea Church, was situated where al-Aqsa Mosque was later constructed.
However, remains identified as those of the Nea Church were uncovered in the south part of the Jewish Quarter in 1973.
In 2012, it was reported that Robert Hamilton, an archaeologist who worked on the Temple Mount after the 1927 Jericho earthquake, had discovered remains under al-Aqsa mosque that he did not publish in his book on the excavations. Creswell, referring to a testimony by Arculf, a Gallic monk, during his pilgrimage to Palestine in 679–82, notes the possibility that the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate, Umar ibn al-Khattab, erected a primitive quadrangular building for a capacity of 3,000 worshipers somewhere on the Haram ash-Sharif.
These included a mosaic like those used in Byzantine churches, and a Jewish mikveh from the Second Temple period. However, Arculf visited Palestine during the reign of Mu'awiyah I, and it is possible that Mu'awiyah ordered the construction, not Umar.