Masjid Al-Aqsa is often confused with Masjid Al-Qubba (As-Sakhra) but they are two totally different Masjids. The Zionists have managed to mislead the world community, unfortunately some Muslims too, into thinking Masjid Al-Qubba as Masjid Al-Aqsa.
Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa is the one that Allah (SWT) refers to in the first verses of Surat Al-Israa (Sura 17):
Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa is the second Masjid ever to be built for the sole worship of Allah (SWT). Throughout the ages it suffered many transformations and destruction. When Omar Ibn Al- Khattab (RA) entered Bayt Al-Maqdis in 15 AH (636 AD) he ordered that the area, where he believed the Masjid location has been, to be cleared to start the building of the initial structure of the Masjid.
The actual building started in 18 AH (639 AD) and the Masjid was made out of timber. Abd Al-Malik Ibn Marwan (RahA) began the construction of Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa in its new shape and structure but it was his son Al-Walid (RahA) who completed it in 90 AH (708 AD).
The present structure has remained essentially intact since it was last reconstructed in 424 AH (1033 AD) by Al-Khalifa Ath-Thaahir who did not alter it from its previous architecture; he only narrowed it on each of its east and west sides.
Masjid Al-Aqsa has existed long before Masjid Al-Qubba but in a more primitive form and only assumed its current look after Masjid Al-Qubba was completed. Masjid Al-Qubba is a Masjid that was built by Al-Khalifa Al-Umawi Abd Al-Malik Ibn Marwan 65 AH (685 AD) to commemorate the great journey of the Prophet (SAW). It was started in the year 67 AH (687 AD) and was completed in 71 AH (691 AD).
The Masjid consists of an octagonal base structure that encloses two concentric octagonal hallways, which in turn surround a central circular area that contains the rock (As-Sakhra) that is believed to be the one that the Prophet (SAW) climbed upon before ascending to heaven to meet Allah (SWT).
Above the octagonal base and immediately above the circle that encloses the rock rests a double-shelled dome (Al-Qubba) that is about 18 to 20 meters in diameter and about 23 meters high. Thus, the name of this Masjid is derived from the fact that its dome impressively dominates its whole structure. The inside as well as the outside walls of the octagonal base are dominated by verses from Al-Qur'an Al-Karim, all in all the writing covers more than 210 meters of the walls spaces.
The fact that Masjid Al-Qubba does not have a minaret should not be surprising when one considers the fact that minarets were not a Masjid feature during the Umawi (Umeyyad) period, they are more of a Abbassi (Abbaside) feature.
This is Masjid Al-Qubba or Dome of Rock Mosque