HalalBooking guide to halal-friendly holidays in Jerusalem
Jerusalem is the epicentre for the three major abrahamic religions. In a region where Islam, Judaism and Christianity all have their roots, many of the prophets all trod the same ground that is in the Holy Land today.
With a number of prophets also buried here, not only will you feel spiritually enlightened, but your knowledge of Islam will deepen and improve amongst the beautiful olive trees, the Dome of the Rock and the labyrinth of alleyways in the old town. East Jerusalem Muslims amaze with the love and pride they have for their home and the precious knowledge they are always willing to share. Their warm hospitality will leave an impression on your halal holiday in Jerusalem.
Practical information before visiting Jerusalem
Flights to Tel Aviv Airport are available from most international airports around the world. Transfers can be arranged through the hotel or taxis to the old city. Buses are also available. Israel only grants visas on arrival, there is no way to obtain a visa in advance, so be prepared to comply with various security checks.
Summers in Jerusalem are long, hot, and humid, and winters are cold. Spring and autumn are less crowded, which means that flight and hotel prices can be cheaper. Prices are more expensive on religious holidays such as Passover and Easter. Many Muslim tourists choose to visit Jerusalem during Ramadan - the tranquility and ambiance of this holy month are unmatched, and the Tarawih nights (particularly the last 10) instil a sense of spirituality that you will not find anywhere else than in the great Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Islamic history and Jerusalem for the halal-conscious traveller
Jerusalem is surrounded by walls nearly 4 kilometres long and 12 metres high, which have been an iconic part of the city for 1,500 years. The current walls were rebuilt by the Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent in 1535 and, together with the old city, are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city can be entered through any of the 7 gates. Because Jerusalem contains holy sites dear to Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike, Jerusalem has been conquered over 40 times, meaning that there is a lot of history to discover.
Jerusalem is undoubtedly a place dear to the hearts of Muslims. As the third holiest site in Islam there is so much knowledge to be gained by visiting the area and the benefits of a visit are more than rewarding. There is no easy way to describe visiting the city of Jerusalem and the atmosphere of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa. The revered city is loved as the original site of the Qibla before it was the Kaaba. Many Muslims prefer to look towards Jerusalem as it is the place where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) set out on the night journey Isra and Mi'raj at Al Aqsa Mosque, where the Buraq was bound and all the other Prophets prayed in congregation behind him.
You will see many Muslims from all over the world united in prayer, shopping in the Muslim Quarter and praying together with the same goal - to fulfill their duty to learn, pray and count the blessings of Almighty Allah (SWT). A special mention must be given to the local Muslims of East Jerusalem who have a deep love for Masjid Al Aqsa and devote their efforts to preserving this beautiful site. During Ramadan, there is a serene feeling to sit in the courtyard of the holy mosque and watch families eat together and get ready for prayer. Your time in Jerusalem will be like no other - it is unique, every corner you pass has a special story and meaning that will leave a longing deep within you.
Sites to visit in Jerusalem
The old part of the city of Jerusalem is known for its cobbled streets and winding alleys. As one of the oldest cities in the world, a stroll through the walled city will leave you bewildered as it shares its secrets with you. Especially in the evening, the old town shines in a special glow when you stroll through the streets.
The Damascus Gate is an iconic structure in Palestinian history and a symbol of Palestinian culture. The gate got its name because it connected the city to a highway that led to Nablus and historically to the Syrian capital of Damascus. In addition to being a gateway for the people of Palestine, the gate finds its way into artwork depicting local people selling coffee and other products in the square. It has also been mentioned in various Palestinian literatures as it holds a heartwarming role for anyone of Palestinian descent.
Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa
The majestic Al-Aqsa Mosque and surrounding land is the third holiest site in Islam and was once the Qiblah in front of the Kaaba. It was the second mosque built in Islam and many prophets had lived near these holy lands. Every Muslim loves Al-Aqsa Mosque at heart and for that reason alone it should be visited at least once in a Muslim's life. Not only that, the mosque is beautifully constructed and the powerful architecture can be appreciated.
West Bank Barrier, Bethlehem
The city of Bethlehem is only 10 km from Jerusalem but is worth a visit to see the Separation Wall. While most of the wall is a minor eyesore, the Bethlehem area is a public work of art. The area is famous for the Banksy artwork and street artists have left fascinating works of art depicting their feelings towards the conflicts and a visit to the area can make them feel their voices are being heard. There are even shops nearby that sell graffiti supplies for anyone wanting to add their own artwork to the wall.
A visit to Jerusalem is incomplete without visiting the three markets: the Butcher market, the spice/perfume market and the jewellery market. The most famous markets in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City are packed with stalls and a visit will help give back to the city's local businesses, which in itself is a rewarding experience. Stroll through the alleys that connect the streets and visit Olive Press Street, the street where they all meet.
Not far from Jerusalem, tours to the Dead Sea are offered daily. The salt lake is known for its beneficial properties for the skin, but is most important to Muslims for the role it played in the story of Lut (PBUH) as the ancient city of Sodom. While there is speculation as to whether Muslims can actually enter the Dead Sea (it is highly recommended to research before visiting), it is a good reminder of the Islamic stories and prophets such as Lut and his righteousness and his good character.
Halal food and restaurants in Jerusalem
Food in Jerusalem is known for being delicious and flavourful. Enjoy taking advantage of the many street vendors and sidewalk cafes that bring Jerusalem's notorious bustling street life to life. Local cuisine including falafel, hummus and shawarma are just a few of the many dishes that will delight your taste buds. Be sure to try the national dish of Palestine, maqluba, layers of delicious meat, rice and vegetables. The flavours are aromatic and leave you wanting more. Tourists who have visited have often attempted to prepare the tasty dish themselves as an ode to Palestinian cuisine. As in all Muslim countries, the food in Jerusalem is halal, giving you one less thing to worry about on your halal holiday.
End your meal with a sweet treat. Perhaps one of the delicacies that Jerusalem is best known for is the kunafa nabulsi - This delicious cheese-based dessert is out of this world, and there is no better place to eat it than in a city where it is a specialty. During your walks after Maghrib or Isha prayers, visit the stalls selling fresh ice cream, juice, mint tea and sweets. Take home some Palestinian dates and fresh olives as a souvenir for your loved ones.
Halal-friendly properties in Jerusalem
HalalBooking offers over 90 properties in Jerusalem alone! During a spiritual holiday in Jerusalem, many might think that the hotel doesn't matter because you might be on your feet all day. However, at HalalBooking we think the opposite. When you come home after a long day of touring, your cosy bed and room with all the amenities you need will be waiting for you and make your stay perfect. Most Jerusalem properties now available at HalalBooking have ‘Free Cancellation’ and ‘Book Now, Pay Later’ options, giving you the flexibility you need. Enjoy your holiday with a view of the Dome of the Rock, stay in alcohol-free rooms or properties with halal food on site or nearby. While luxurious amenities may not be on your must-have list when visiting Jerusalem, HalalBooking offers you the choice of pools and spa facilities. Use our halal-friendly filters to find the perfect property for your trip to Jerusalem.