This marble structure is a mihrab (prayer niche) of the Qibly Mosque, which is located in front of Masjid al-Aqsa. Mimbar (pulpit) on the right was donated by the Jordanian government after the original (which was donated by Salahuddin Ayyubi) was destroyed in a fire created by a fanatical Zionist in 1969.
Masjid al-Aqsa is the second house of Allah created on earth: Abu Darr (may Allah be pleased with him) said that he asked the Prophet (PBUH):
“O Prophet of Allah whom Masjid was first built on earth?” Prophet (PBUH) replied: “The sacred mosque of Mecca (Kaaba).” Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) again asked: “What happened next?” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Masjid al-Aqsa.” Abu Darr (may Allah be pleased with him) also asked: “How much time elapsed between the construction of the two Masajids?” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Forty years. In addition, offer your prayers in any place when it is time to pray, although perfection is to pray in these masajids. ” [Sahih al-Bhukari]
When the crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 CE, Masjid al-Aqsa was desecrated. Pigs were installed in the mihrab, and a church was erected in place of one of his oratorios. Imad Eddin (biography of Salahuddin) says that the mosque’s mihrab is full of pigs and excrement.
Around 1119 CE, King Baldwin II of Jerusalem provided one wing to the newly formed Knights Templar Order, and the building became their headquarters.
The original mimbar, considered one of the most beautiful in the world, was made from more than 10,000 interlaced pieces of cedar and other wood, ivory and nacre, attached without a drop of glue or a single nail. After the conquest of Jerusalem, Masjid al-Aqsa was filled with Jumma’s prayers for the first time in 88 years, and people cried with excitement when Qadi of Jerusalem, Muhyi ad-Din al-Qurashi, mounted to a new pulpit.