1. Al Masjid Al Aqsa
The name “Al Masjid Al Aqsa” refers to the entire sanctuary (144,000 sq metres) and all the buildings in it.
Nowadays, the name Al Masjid Al Aqsa is ALSO used to refer specifically to the building with the silver dome which is located at the southern end of the sanctuary. This silver domed building also has other names such as “Al Jamia Al Aqsa” and “Al Masjid Al Qibli”, and it is preferable to use these names when referring to the silver domed building to avoid any confusion.
To summarise the above, Al Masjid Al Aqsa is actually the entire area of the sanctuary, even though in modern times the name has unfortunately been mistakenly used to refer to just the silver domed building.
The entire sanctuary of Al Masjid Al Aqsa is also known by two other Arabic names: “Bayt Al Maqdis” (House of the Holy) and “Al Haram Al Sharif” (the Noble Sanctuary).
2. The Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock (which is also known by its Arabic names Masjid As-Sakhrah and Qubbat As-Sakhrah) is the most well-known building in the sanctuary of Al Masjid Al Aqsa due to its iconic design and gold dome. It is situated in the middle of the plateau of Al Masjid Al Aqsa, and was built in 72AH by Abd Al Malik ibn Marwaan. It is a part of Al Masjid Al Aqsa and is not separate or distinct to it.
Al Masjid Al Aqsa is the entire area that comprises both what is today called Al Masjid Al Aqsa (the silver domed building at the southern end of the sanctuary), the Dome of the Rock (in the middle of the sanctuary), and everything else that is on the plateau (including Masjid Burak, Masjid Marwani etc) and within the walls of the sanctuary. The size of the sanctuary is 144,000 square metres.