When one first arrives in the Old City of Hebron and goes to visit the Ibrahim mosque, they are amazed by the extent of its beauty. It is a great historical artifact and representation of the culture and traditions of Hebron. It has traces of the challenges for all the years that the prophet Ibrahim had lived. Indeed, the years has only increased the Ibrahimi mosque’s beauty to show its solid grim beauty.
The Ibrahim Mosque was built over the cave which contains the tombs of Ibrahim and his wife Sarah and their children, Isaac and Jacob, peace be upon them. The Ibrahim Mosque is one of the oldest historic buildings that exist in the world in terms of its seniority and its sacredness. Its walls have witnessed important events in the history of mankind throughout more than two thousand years. Studies indicate that it was built during the reign of Herod in the last decade of B.C.
Despite the historical events and successive civilizations, the building had preserved its composition and beauty of architecture until the arrival of the Umayyads (660 – 750 A.D.). It set up a mosque inside what we called "Al-Heer". Many visitors from Islamic countries came to the city because of the Ibrahimi mosque's religious importance as one of the most significant mosques in the Muslim world.
In 1099, the Crusaders conquered the city and turned the mosque into a church, until the arrival of the Islamic leader Salahaldin in 1187. He restored the country and the mosque so it was under Islamic rule once again.
With the arrival of the Mamluk period (1250 – 1517 A.D.), there was an increase in the importance of the city where it attracted pilgrims and mystics from across the Muslim world. During this period, they expanded the facilities of the mosque through several architectural and construction work without compromising its original features to accommodate the large numbers of visitors from around the world. Then, during the Ottoman period from 1517 – 1917 A.D., the Ottomans were careful in protecting the building and maintaining the great qualities of the mosque without adding new significant things that could change its features.
In 1917, the British took control of the city and the ability of Muslims to take care of their city became weak. This had a significant impact on the people and structures such as the Ibrahimi mosque. In 1948 and after the end of the British Mandate in Palestine, Jordan was in control of managing the West Bank. Jordan was keen on expanding spaces around the Ibrahimi Mosque to highlight the beauty of its architecture and also wanted to create open spaces around it. In 1967, the city fell into the hands of the Israeli occupation. The Israelis created checkpoints around the Ibrahimi mosque which ed who can visit it. Moreover, the settlers attacks started almost daily to visitors of the mosque and the Israeli occupation army put many restrictions on anyone who wanted to enter.
In 1994, the Jewish settler Baruch Goldstein created a massacre in the Ibrahimi mosque where dozens of Palestinians were killed inside the mosque during the early Muslim prayer. The impact of the attack was the Israeli army closed some rooms and parts of the mosque which belonged to the Muslims and transformed these rooms into special places for Jews. The Ibrahimi mosque was divided into both a mosque and a synagogue.
Despite the struggles of the city, the Ibrahimi Mosque is in the heart of the people in the city who have witnessed and understand its religious and historical significance from thousands of years ago.