Mosque

A mosque (/mɒsk/; from Arabic: مَـسْـجِـد‎, translit. masjid, lit. place of ritual prostration) is a place of worship for Muslims.[1][2]

Any act of worship that follows the Islamic rules of prayer can be said to create a mosque, whether or not it takes place in a special building.[2] Informal and open-air places of worship are called musalla, while mosques used for communal prayer on Fridays are known as jāmiʿ.[1] Mosque buildings typically contain an ornamental niche (mihrab) set into the wall that indicates the direction of Mecca (qiblah),[1] ablution facilities and minarets from which calls to prayer are issued.[1][2] The pulpit (minbar), from which the Friday sermon (khutba) is delivered, was in earlier times characteristic of the central city mosque, but has since become common in smaller mosques.[3][1] Mosques typically have segregated spaces for men and women.[1] This basic pattern of organization has assumed different forms depending on the region, period and denomination.[2]

Mosques commonly serve as locations for prayer, Ramadan vigils, funeral services, Sufi ceremonies, marriage and business agreements, alms collection and distribution, as well as homeless shelters.[1][3] Historically, mosques were also important centers of elementary education and advanced training in religious sciences. In modern times, they have preserved their role as places of religious instruction and debate, but higher learning now generally takes place in specialized institutions.[1][3] Special importance is accorded to the Great Mosque of Mecca (center of the hajj), Prophet's Mosque in Medina (burial place of Muhammad) and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem (believed to be the site of Muhammad's ascent to heaven).[1] In the past, many mosques in the Muslim world were built over burial places of Sufi saints and other venerated figures, which has turned them into popular pilgrimage destinations.[1][2]

The first mosque was built by Muhammad in Medina. With the spread of Islam, mosques multiplied across the Islamic world. Sometimes churches and other temples were converted into mosques, which influenced Islamic architectural styles.[3] While most pre-modern mosques were funded by charitable endowments, modern states in the Muslim world have attempted to bring mosques under government control.[1] Increasing government regulation of large mosques has been countered by a rise of privately funded mosques of various affiliations and ideologies, many of which serve as bases for different Islamic revivalist currents and social activism.[3] Mosques have played a number of political roles. The rates of mosque attendance vary widely depending on the region.

Mosque
Arabic: مَـسْـجِـدMasjid
After their time in Mina has passed, pilgrims head back to Mecca. - Flickr - Al Jazeera English
2010 Aerial view of the Great Mosque of Mecca (al-Masjid al-Ḥarām), the largest mosque in the world, with the Kaaba in the center
Religion
AffiliationIslam

Etymology

A nomad's mosque in the eastern desert of Jordan
A nomad's mosque orientated towards Mecca, 2013

The word 'mosque' entered the English language from the French word mosquée, probably derived from Italian moschea (a variant of Italian moscheta), from either Middle Armenian մզկիթ (mzkit‘), Medieval Greek: μασγίδιον (masgídion), or Spanish mezquita, from Arabic: مَـسْـجِـد‎, translit. masjid (meaning "site of prostration (in prayer)" and hence a place of worship), either from Nabataean masgĕdhā́ or from Arabic Arabic: سَـجَـدَ‎, translit. sajada (meaning "to bow down in prayer"), probably ultimately from Aramaic sĕghēdh.[4]

History

Sheikh Lotfallah Esfahan
The Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque standing on the eastern side of Naghsh-i Jahan Square, Isfahan, Iran

The first mosque in the world is often considered to be the area around the Ka‘bah (Arabic: كَـعْـبَـة‎, 'Cube') in Mecca, which is now known as Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarâm (Arabic: ٱلْـمَـسْـجِـد الْـحَـرَام‎, the Sacred Mosque).[5] A Hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari states that the Kaaba was the First Mosque on Earth, and the Second Mosque was the Temple in Jerusalem.[6] Since as early as 638 AD, the Sacred Mosque has been expanded on several occasions to accommodate the increasing number of Muslims who either live in the area or make the annual pilgrimage known as Ḥajj (Arabic: حَـجّ‎) to the city.[7] Others regard the first mosque in history to be the Quba Mosque in present-day Medina since it was the first structure built by Muhammad upon his emigration from Mecca in 622,[8] though the Mosque of the Companions in the Eritrean city of Massawa may have been constructed at around the same time.[9]

The Islamic Prophet Muhammad went on to establish another mosque in Medina, which is now known as the Masjid an-Nabawi, or the Prophet's Mosque. Built on the site of his home, Muhammad participated in the construction of the mosque himself and helped pioneer the concept of the mosque as the focal point of the Islamic city.[10] The Masjid al-Nabawi introduced some of the features still common in today's mosques, including the niche at the front of the prayer space known as the mihrab and the tiered pulpit called the minbar.[11] The Masjid al-Nabawi was also constructed with a large courtyard, a motif common among mosques built since then.[10]

Diffusion and evolution

1 great mosque xian 2011
The Great Mosque of Xi'an incorporates traditional elements of Chinese architecture

Mosques had been built in Iraq and North Africa by the end of the 7th century, as Islam spread outside the Arabian Peninsula with early caliphates. The Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala is reportedly one of the oldest mosques in Iraq, although its present form – typical of Persian architecture – only goes back to the 11th century. The shrine, while still operating as a mosque, remains one of the holiest sites for Shia Muslims, as it honors the death of the third Shia imam, and Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Hussein ibn Ali.[12] The Mosque of Amr ibn al-As was reportedly the first mosque in Egypt, serving as a religious and social center for Fustat (present-day Cairo) during its prime. Like the Imam Husayn Shrine, though, nothing of its original structure remains.[13] With the later Shia Fatimid Caliphate, mosques throughout Egypt evolved to include schools (known as madrasas), hospitals, and tombs.[14]

The Great Mosque of Kairouan in present-day Tunisia was reportedly the first mosque built in northwest Africa, with its present form (dating from the 9th century) serving as a model for other Islamic places of worship in the Maghreb. It was the first to incorporate a square minaret (as opposed to the more common circular minaret) and includes naves akin to a basilica.[15][16] Those features can also be found in Andalusian mosques, including the Grand Mosque of Cordoba, as they tended to reflect the architecture of the Moors instead of their Visigoth predecessors.[16] Still, some elements of Visigothic architecture, like horseshoe arches, were infused into the mosque architecture of Spain and the Maghreb.[17]

The first mosque in East Asia was reportedly established in the 8th century in Xi'an. However, the Great Mosque of Xi'an, whose current building dates from the 18th century, does not replicate the features often associated with mosques elsewhere.[18] Indeed, minarets were initially prohibited by the state.[19] Following traditional Chinese architecture, the Great Mosque of Xi'an, like many other mosques in eastern China, resembles a pagoda, with a green roof instead of the yellow roof common on imperial structures in China. Mosques in western China were more likely to incorporate elements, like domes and minarets, traditionally seen in mosques elsewhere.[18]

Masjid-Kampung-Hulu-2364
Kampung Hulu Mosque, the oldest mosque in Malaysia influenced by the Malay, Chinese and Hindu architecture

A similar integration of foreign and local influences could be seen on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java, where mosques, including the Demak Great Mosque, were first established in the 15th century.[20] Early Javanese mosques took design cues from Hindu, Buddhist, and Chinese architectural influences, with tall timber, multi-level roofs similar to the pagodas of Balinese Hindu temples; the ubiquitous Islamic dome did not appear in Indonesia until the 19th century.[19][21] In turn, the Javanese style influenced the styles of mosques in Indonesia's Austronesian neighbors—Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines.[20]

Jama Masjid, Delhi
The Jama Masjid in Delhi is India's largest mosque, and a classic example of the Mughal style of architecture

Muslim empires were instrumental in the evolution and spread of mosques. Although mosques were first established in India during the 7th century, they were not commonplace across the subcontinent until the arrival of the Mughals in the 16th and 17th centuries. Reflecting their Timurid origins, Mughal-style mosques included onion domes, pointed arches, and elaborate circular minarets, features common in the Persian and Central Asian styles.[22] The Jama Masjid in Delhi and the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, built in a similar manner in the mid-17th century,[23] remain two of the largest mosques on the Indian subcontinent.[24]

The Umayyad Caliphate was particularly instrumental in spreading Islam and establishing mosques within the Levant, as the Umayyads constructed among the most revered mosques in the region — Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, and the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.[25] The designs of the Dome of the Rock and the Umayyad Mosque were influenced by Byzantine architecture, a trend that continued with the rise of the Ottoman Empire.[26]

Several of the early mosques in the Ottoman Empire were originally churches or cathedrals from the Byzantine Empire, with the Hagia Sophia (one of those converted cathedrals) informing the architecture of mosques from after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople.[27] Still, the Ottomans developed their own architectural style characterized by large central rotundas (sometimes surrounded by multiple smaller domes), pencil-shaped minarets, and open facades.[28]

Mosques from the Ottoman period are still scattered across Eastern Europe, but the most rapid growth in the number of mosques in Europe has occurred within the past century as more Muslims have migrated to the continent. Many major European cities are home to mosques, like the Grand Mosque of Paris, that incorporate domes, minarets, and other features often found with mosques in Muslim-majority countries.[29] The first mosque in North America was founded by Albanian Americans in 1915, but the continent's oldest surviving mosque, the Mother Mosque of America, was built in 1934.[30] As in Europe, the number of American mosques has rapidly increased in recent decades as Muslim immigrants, particularly from South Asia, have come in the United States. Greater than forty percent of mosques in the United States were constructed after 2000.[31]

Conversion of non-Muslim places of worship

Turkey-3019 - Hagia Sophia (2216460729)
The Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453

According to early Muslim historians, towns that surrendered without resistance and made treaties with the Muslims were allowed to retain their churches and the towns captured by Muslims had many of their churches converted to mosques.[32] One of the earliest examples of these kinds of conversions was in Damascus, Syria, where in 705 Umayyad caliph Al-Walid I bought the church of St. John from the Christians and had it rebuilt as a mosque in exchange for building a number of new churches for the Christians in Damascus. Overall, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (Al-Waleed's father) is said to have transformed 10 churches in Damascus into mosques.[33]

The process of turning churches into mosques were especially intensive in the villages where most of the inhabitants converted to Islam. The Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun turned many churches into mosques. Ottoman Turks converted nearly all churches, monasteries, and chapels in Constantinople, including the famous Hagia Sophia, into mosques immediately after capturing the city in 1453. In some instances mosques have been established on the places of Jewish or Christian sanctuaries associated with Biblical personalities who were also recognized by Islam.[34]

Mosques have also been converted for use by other religions, notably in southern Spain, following the conquest of the Moors in 1492.[35] The most prominent of them is the Great Mosque of Cordoba, itself constructed on the site of a church demolished during the period of Muslim rule. Outside of the Iberian Peninsula, such instances also occurred in southeastern Europe once regions were no longer under Muslim rule.

Religious functions

The masjid jāmi‘ (Arabic: مَـسـجِـد جَـامِـع‎), a central mosque, can play a role in religious activities such as teaching the Quran and educating future imams.

Prayers

There are two holidays (Eids) in the Islamic calendar: ʻĪd al-Fiṭr (Arabic: عِـيـد الْـفِـطْـر‎) and ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā (Arabic: عِـيـد الْأَضْـحَى‎), during which there are special prayers held at mosques in the morning. These Eid prayers are supposed to be offered in large groups, and so, in the absence of an outdoor Eidgah (Urdu: عید گاہ‎), a large mosque will normally host them for their congregants as well as the congregants of smaller local mosques. Some mosques will even rent convention centers or other large public buildings to hold the large number of Muslims who attend. Mosques, especially those in countries where Muslims are the majority, will also host Eid prayers outside in courtyards, town squares or on the outskirts of town in an Eidgah.[36][37]

Ramadan

Islam's holiest month, Ramaḍān (Arabic: رَمَـضَـان‎), is observed through many events. As Muslims must fast during the day during Ramadan, mosques will host Ifṭār (Arabic: إِفْـطَـار‎) dinners after sunset and the fourth required prayer of the day, that is Maghrib (Arabic: مَـغْـرِب‎). Food is provided, at least in part, by members of the community, thereby creating daily potluck dinners. Because of the community contribution necessary to serve iftar dinners, mosques with smaller congregations may not be able to host the iftar dinners daily. Some mosques will also hold Suḥūr (Arabic: سُـحُـور‎) meals before dawn to congregants attending the first required prayer of the day, Fajr (Arabic: فَـجْـر‎). As with iftar dinners, congregants usually provide the food for suhoor, although able mosques may provide food instead. Mosques will often invite poorer members of the Muslim community to share in beginning and breaking the fasts, as providing charity during Ramadan is regarded in Islam as especially honorable.[38]

Following the last obligatory daily prayer (‘Ishâ’ (Arabic: عِـشَـاء‎)) special, optional Ṫarâwîḥ (Arabic: تَـرَاوِيـح‎) prayers are offered in larger mosques. During each night of prayers, which can last for up to two hours each night, usually one member of the community who has memorized the entire Quran (a Hafiz) will recite a segment of the book.[39] Sometimes, several such people (not necessarily of the local community) take turns to do this. During the last ten days of Ramadan, larger mosques will host all-night programs to observe Laylat al-Qadr, the night Muslims believe that Muhammad first received Quranic revelations.[39] On that night, between sunset and sunrise, mosques employ speakers to educate congregants in attendance about Islam. Mosques or the community usually provide meals periodically throughout the night

Nasr ol Molk mosque vault ceiling
Nasir al-Mulk Mosque vault ceiling Shiraz, Iran

During the last ten days of Ramadan, larger mosques within the Muslim community will host I‘ṫikāf (Arabic: إِعْـتِـكَـاف‎), a practice in which at least one Muslim man from the community must participate. Muslims performing itikaf are required to stay within the mosque for ten consecutive days, often in worship or learning about Islam. As a result, the rest of the Muslim community is responsible for providing the participants with food, drinks, and whatever else they need during their stay.[39]

Charity

The third of the Five Pillars of Islam states that Muslims are required to give approximately one-fortieth of their wealth to charity as Zakâṫ (Arabic: زَكَـاة‎).[40] Since mosques form the center of Muslim communities, they are where Muslims go to both give zakat and, if necessary, collect it. Before the holiday of Eid ul-Fitr, mosques also collect a special zakat that is supposed to assist in helping poor Muslims attend the prayers and celebrations associated with the holiday.

Frequency of attendance

Centro Islâmico de Campinas
Islamic Center of Campinas, Brazil

The frequency by which Muslims attend mosque services vary greatly around the world. In some countries, weekly attendance at religious services are common among Muslims while in others, attendance is rare.

In the United States in particular, it has been shown in a study done by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding that Muslim Americans who regularly attend mosques are more likely to work with their neighbors to solve community problems (49 vs. 30 percent), be registered to vote (74 vs. 49 percent), and plan to vote (92 vs. 81 percent). Overall, “there is no correlation between Muslim attitudes toward violence and their frequency of mosque attendance.” [41]

When it comes to mosque attendance, data shows that American Muslim women and American Muslim men attend the mosque at similar rates (45% for men and 35% for women). Additionally, when compared to the general public looking at the attendance of religious services, young Muslim Americans attend the mosque at closer rates to older Muslim Americans.[41]

Percentage of Muslims who attend mosque at least once a week, 2009–2012[42]
Country Percentage
Ghana Ghana
100%
Liberia Liberia
94%
Ethiopia Ethiopia
93%
Uganda Uganda
93%
Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau
92%
Mozambique Mozambique
92%
Kenya Kenya
91%
Niger Niger
88%
Nigeria Nigeria
87%
Democratic Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo
85%
Cameroon Cameroon
84%
Djibouti Djibouti
84%
Tanzania Tanzania
82%
Chad Chad
81%
Mali Mali
79%
Indonesia Indonesia
72%
Jordan Jordan
65%
Senegal Senegal
65%
Afghanistan Afghanistan
61%
Egypt Egypt
61%
Pakistan Pakistan
59%
Malaysia Malaysia
57%
United Kingdom United Kingdom[note 1][43]
56%
State of Palestine Palestine
55%
Morocco Morocco
54%
Spain Spain[44]
54%
Bangladesh Bangladesh
53%
Thailand Thailand[note 2]
52%
Yemen Yemen[note 3][45]
51%
Israel Israel[note 4][46]
49%
Italy Italy[47]
49%
Canada Canada[note 5][48]
48%
Algeria Algeria[note 6][49]
47%
Tunisia Tunisia
47%
United States United States of America[50]
47%
Turkey Turkey
44%
Australia Australia[note 7][51]
40%
Iraq Iraq
40%
Germany Germany[note 8][52]
35%
Lebanon Lebanon
35%
Libya Libya[note 9][45]
35%
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
30%
France France[note 10][53]
30%
Tajikistan Tajikistan
30%
Belgium Belgium[47]
28%
Iran Iran[note 11][49]
27%
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia[note 12][49]
27%
Denmark Denmark[54]
25%
Netherlands Netherlands[55]
24%
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan
23%
Kosovo Kosovo[a]
22%
Bulgaria Bulgaria[note 13][56]
21%
Russia Russia
19%
Georgia (country) Georgia[note 14][56]
14%
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan
10%
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan
9%
Albania Albania
5%
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan
1%

Role in contemporary society

Aerial view of East London Mosque complex - Feb 2014
The East London Mosque was one of the first in Britain to be allowed to use loudspeakers to broadcast the adhan[57]

Political mobilization

The late 20th century saw an increase in the number of mosques used for political purposes. While some governments in the Muslim world have attempted to limit the content of Friday sermons to strictly religious topics, there are also independent preachers who deliver khutbas that address social and political issues, often in emotionally charged terms. Common themes include social inequalities, necessity of jihad in the face of injustice, the universal struggle between good and evil, with the West often symbolizing moral and spiritual decadence, and criticism of local rulers for corruption and inefficiency.[1] In Islamic countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, political subjects are preached by imams at Friday congregations on a regular basis.[58] Mosques often serve as meeting points for political opposition in times of crisis.[1]

Countries with a minority Muslim population are more likely than Muslim-majority countries of the Greater Middle East to use mosques as a way to promote civic participation.[59] Studies of US Muslims have consistently shown a positive correlation between mosque attendance and political involvement. Some of the research connects civic engagement specifically with mosque attendance for social and religious activities other than prayer.[60] American mosques host voter registration and civic participation drives that promote involving Muslims, who are often first- or second-generation immigrants, in the political process. As a result of these efforts as well as attempts at mosques to keep Muslims informed about the issues facing the Muslim community, regular mosque attendants are more likely to participate in protests, sign petitions, and otherwise be involved in politics.[59] Research on Muslim civic engagement in other Western countries "is less conclusive but seems to indicate similar trends."[60]

Role in violent conflicts

As they are considered important to the Muslim community, mosques, like other places of worship, can be at the heart of social conflicts. The Babri Mosque was the subject of such a conflict up until the early 1990s when it was demolished. Before a mutual solution could be devised, the mosque was destroyed on December 6, 1992 as the mosque was built by Babur allegedly on the site of a previous Hindu temple marking the birthplace of Rama.[61] The controversy surrounded the mosque was directly linked to rioting in Bombay (present-day Mumbai) as well as bombings in 1993 that killed 257 people.[62]

Bombings in February 2006 and June 2007 seriously damaged Iraq's al-Askari Mosque and exacerbated existing tensions. Other mosque bombings in Iraq, both before and after the February 2006 bombing, have been part of the conflict between the country's groups of Muslims. However, mosque bombings have not been exclusive to Iraq; in June 2005, a suicide bomber killed at least 19 people at an Afghan Shia mosque near Jade Maivand.[63] In April 2006, two explosions occurred at India's Jama Masjid.[64][65] Following the al-Askari Mosque bombing in Iraq, imams and other Islamic leaders used mosques and Friday prayers as vehicles to call for calm and peace in the midst of widespread violence.[66]

A study 2005 indicated that while support for suicide bombings is not correlated with personal devotion to Islam among Palestinian Muslims, it is correlated with mosque attendance because "participating in communal religious rituals of any kind likely encourages support for self-sacrificing behaviors that are done for the collective good."[67]

Following the September 11 attacks, several American mosques were targeted in attacks ranging from simple vandalism to arson.[68] Furthermore, the Jewish Defense League was suspected of plotting to bomb the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, California.[69] Similar attacks occurred throughout the United Kingdom following the 7 July 2005 London bombings. Outside the Western world, in June 2001, the Hassan Bek Mosque was the target of vandalism and attacks by hundreds of Israelis after a suicide bomber killed 19 people in a night club in Tel Aviv.[70][71][72] Although mosquegoing is highly encouraged for men, it is permitted to stay at home when one feels at risk from Islamophobic persecution.[73]

Saudi influence

Faisal mosque2
Funded by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad is the largest mosque in Pakistan

Although the Saudi involvement in Sunni mosques around the world can be traced back to the 1960s, it was not until later in the 20th century that the government of Saudi Arabia became a large influence in foreign Sunni mosques.[74] Beginning in the 1980s, the Saudi Arabian government began to finance the construction of Sunni mosques in countries around the world. An estimated US$45 billion has been spent by the Saudi Arabian government financing mosques and Sunni Islamic schools in foreign countries. Ain al-Yaqeen, a Saudi newspaper, reported in 2002 that Saudi funds may have contributed to building as many as 1,500 mosques and 2,000 other Islamic centers.[75]

Saudi citizens have also contributed significantly to mosques in the Islamic world, especially in countries where they see Muslims as poor and oppressed. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, in 1992, mosques in war-torn Afghanistan saw many contributions from Saudi citizens.[74] The King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, California and the Islamic Cultural Center of Italy in Rome represent two of Saudi Arabia's largest investments in foreign mosques as former Saudi king Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud contributed US$8 million[74] and US$50 million[76] to the two mosques, respectively.

Political controversy

In the western world, and in the United States in particular, Anti-Muslim sentiment and targeted domestic policy has created challenges for mosques and those looking to build them. There has been government and police surveillance of mosques in the US[77] and local attempts to ban mosques and block constructions,[78] despite data showing that in fact, most Americans opposing banning the building of mosques (79%) and the surveillance of U.S. mosques (63%) as shown in a 2018 study done by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.[79]

Architecture

Mosque of Islamic Preacher Sayyid Ali Hamadani
A 14th century mosque of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani in Srinagar, Kashmir

Styles

Tuzla, hornicka mesita (drevena, 18. stol)
Huseina Čauša džamija (a.k.a. Džindijska), 17th century traditional wooden mosque in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Arab-plan or hypostyle mosques are the earliest type of mosques, pioneered under the Umayyad Dynasty. These mosques have square or rectangular plans with an enclosed courtyard and covered prayer hall. Historically, in the warm Middle Eastern and Mediterranean climates, the courtyard served to accommodate the large number of worshippers during Friday prayers. Most early hypostyle mosques had flat roofs on prayer halls, which required the use of numerous columns and supports.[34] One of the most notable hypostyle mosques is the Great Mosque of Cordoba in Spain, the building being supported by over 850 columns.[80] Frequently, hypostyle mosques have outer arcades so that visitors can enjoy the shade. Arab-plan mosques were constructed mostly under the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties; subsequently, however, the simplicity of the Arab plan limited the opportunities for further development, the mosques consequently losing popularity.[34]

The first departure within mosque design started in Persia (Iran). The Persians had inherited a rich architectural legacy from the earlier Persian dynasties, and they began incorporating elements from earlier Parthian and Sassanid designs into their mosques, influenced by buildings such as the Palace of Ardashir and the Sarvestan Palace.[81] Thus, Islamic architecture witnessed the introduction of such structures as domes and large, arched entrances, referred to as iwans. During Seljuq rule, as Islamic mysticism was on the rise, the four-iwan arrangement took form. The four-iwan format, finalized by the Seljuqs, and later inherited by the Safavids, firmly established the courtyard façade of such mosques, with the towering gateways at every side, as more important than the actual buildings themselves.[81] They typically took the form of a square-shaped central courtyard with large entrances at each side, giving the impression of gateways to the spiritual world.[82] The Persians also introduced Persian gardens into mosque designs. Soon, a distinctly Persian style of mosques started appearing that would significantly influence the designs of later Timurid, and also Mughal, mosque designs.

The Ottomans introduced central dome mosques in the 15th century. These mosques have a large dome centered over the prayer hall. In addition to having a large central dome, a common feature is smaller domes that exist off-center over the prayer hall or throughout the rest of the mosque, where prayer is not performed.[83] This style was heavily influenced by Byzantine architecture with its use of large central domes.[34] Hajja Soad's mosque took a pyramid shape that is a creative style in Islamic architecture.

The Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan, in a relatively unusual design fuses contemporary lines with the more traditional look of an Arab Bedouin's tent, with its large triangular prayer hall and four minarets. However, unlike traditional mosque design, it lacks a dome. The mosque's architecture is a departure from the long history of South Asian Islamic architecture.

Mosques built in Southeast Asia often represent the Indonesian-Javanese style architecture, which are different from the ones found throughout the Greater Middle East. The ones found in Europe and North America appear to have various styles but most are built on Western architectural designs, some are former churches or other buildings that were used by non-Muslims. In Africa, most mosques are old but the new ones are built in imitation of those of the Middle East. This can be seen in the Abuja National Mosque in Nigeria and others.

Minarets

Tower of the Great Mosque of Kairouan
The oldest standing minaret in the world at the Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia

A common feature in mosques is the minaret, the tall, slender tower that usually is situated at one of the corners of the mosque structure. The top of the minaret is always the highest point in mosques that have one, and often the highest point in the immediate area. The tallest minaret in the world is located at the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco.[84][85][86] It has a height of 210 metres (689 ft) and completed in 1993, it was designed by Michel Pinseau. The first mosques had no minarets, and even nowadays the most conservative Islamic movements, like Wahhabis, avoid building minarets, seeing them as ostentatious and hazardous in case of collapse.The first minaret was constructed in 665 in Basra during the reign of the Umayyad caliph Muawiyah I. Muawiyah encouraged the construction of minarets, as they were supposed to bring mosques on par with Christian churches with their bell towers. Consequently, mosque architects borrowed the shape of the bell tower for their minarets, which were used for essentially the same purpose—calling the faithful to prayer.[87] The oldest standing minaret in the world is the minaret of the Great Mosque of Kairouan in Tunisia,[88][89] built between the 8th and the 9th century, it is a massive square tower consisting of three superimposed tiers of gradual size and decor.[90]

Before the five required daily prayers, a Mu’adhdhin (Arabic: مُـؤَذِّن‎) calls the worshippers to prayer from the minaret. In many countries like Singapore where Muslims are not the majority, mosques are prohibited from loudly broadcasting the Adhān (Arabic: أَذَان‎, Call to Prayer), although it is supposed to be said loudly to the surrounding community. The adhan is required before every prayer. However, nearly every mosque assigns a muezzin for each prayer to say the adhan as it is a recommended practice or Sunnah (Arabic: سُـنَّـة‎) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. At mosques that do not have minarets, the adhan is called instead from inside the mosque or somewhere else on the ground.[39] The Iqâmah (Arabic: إِقَـامَـة‎), which is similar to the adhan and said immediately before the start of prayer, is usually not said from the minaret even if a mosque has one.

Mihrab

A miḥrāb (Arabic: مِـحْـرَاب‎), also spelled as mehrab is a semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qiblah (Arabic: قِـبْـلَـة‎, the direction of the Kaaba) in Mecca, and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying. The wall in which a mihrab appears is thus the "qibla wall." Mihrabs should not be confused with the minbar (Arabic: مِـنـۢبَـر‎), which is the raised platform from which an Imam (leader of prayer) addresses the congregation.

Domes

The domes, often placed directly above the main prayer hall, may signify the vaults of the heaven and sky.[91] As time progressed, domes grew, from occupying a small part of the roof near the mihrab to encompassing the whole roof above the prayer hall. Although domes normally took on the shape of a hemisphere, the Mughals in India popularized onion-shaped domes in South Asia which has gone on to become characteristic of the Arabic architectural style of dome.[92] Some mosques have multiple, often smaller, domes in addition to the main large dome that resides at the center.

Prayer hall

The prayer hall, also known as the muṣallá (Arabic: مُـصَـلَّى‎), rarely has furniture; chairs and pews are generally absent from the prayer hall so as to allow as many worshipers as possible to line the room.[93] Some mosques have Islamic calligraphy and Quranic verses on the walls to assist worshippers in focusing on the beauty of Islam and its holiest book, the Quran, as well as for decoration.[39]

Great Mosque of Kairouan, prayer hall
The hypostyle prayer hall in the Great Mosque of Kairouan

Often, a limited part of the prayer hall is sanctified formally as a masjid in the sharia sense (although the term masjid is also used for the larger mosque complex as well). Once designated, there are onerous limitations on the use of this formally designated masjid, and it may not be used for any purpose other than worship; restrictions that do not necessarily apply to the rest of the prayer area, and to the rest of the mosque complex (although such uses may be restricted by the conditions of the waqf that owns the mosque).[94]

In many mosques, especially the early congregational mosques, the prayer hall is in the hypostyle form (the roof held up by a multitude of columns).[95] One of the finest examples of the hypostyle-plan mosques is the Great Mosque of Kairouan (also known as the Mosque of Uqba) in Tunisia.[96]

Usually opposite the entrance to the prayer hall is the qiblah wall, the visually emphasized area inside the prayer hall. The qiblah wall should, in a properly oriented mosque, be set perpendicular to a line leading to Mecca, the location of the Kaaba.[97] Congregants pray in rows parallel to the qiblah wall and thus arrange themselves so they face Mecca. In the qiblah wall, usually at its center, is the mihrab, a niche or depression indicating the direction of Mecca. Usually the mihrab is not occupied by furniture either. Sometimes, especially during Friday prayers, a raised minbar or pulpit is located to the side of the mihrab for a Khaṭīb (Arabic: خَـطِـيـب‎), or some other speaker to offer a Khuṭbah (Arabic: خُـطْـبَـة‎, Sermon). The mihrab serves as the location where the imam leads the five daily prayers on a regular basis.[98]

Ablution facilities

Ablution area inside Eastern wall of Badshahi mosque
The wudu ("ablution") area, where Muslims wash their hands, forearm, face and feet before they pray. Example from the Badshahi Mosque, Lahore, Pakistan

As ritual purification precedes all prayers, mosques often have ablution fountains or other facilities for washing in their entryways or courtyards. However, worshippers at much smaller mosques often have to use restrooms to perform their ablutions. In traditional mosques, this function is often elaborated into a freestanding building in the center of a courtyard.[80] This desire for cleanliness extends to the prayer halls where shoes are disallowed to be worn anywhere other than the cloakroom. Thus, foyers with shelves to put shoes and racks to hold coats are commonplace among mosques.[93]

Contemporary features

Modern mosques have a variety of amenities available to their congregants. As mosques are supposed to appeal to the community, they may also have additional facilities, from health clinics to libraries to gymnasiums, to serve the community.

Symbols

Certain symbols are represented in a mosque's architecture to allude to different aspects of the Islamic religion. One of these feature symbols is the spiral. The "cosmic spiral" found in designs and on minarets is a references to heaven as it has "no beginning and no end".[99] Mosques also often have floral patterns or images of fruit and vegetables. These are allusions to the paradise after death.[100]

Rules and etiquette

Mosques, in accordance with Islamic practices, institute a number of rules intended to keep Muslims focused on worshiping God. While there are several rules, such as those regarding not allowing shoes in the prayer hall, that are universal, there are many other rules that are dealt with and enforced in a variety of ways from mosque to mosque.

Prayer leader (Imam)

Appointment of a prayer leader is considered desirable, but not always obligatory.[101] The permanent prayer leader (imam) must be a free honest individual and is authoritative in religious matters.[101] In mosques constructed and maintained by the government, the prayer leader is appointed by the ruler;[101] in private mosques, however, appointment is made by members of the congregation through majority voting. According to the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence, the individual who built the mosque has a stronger claim to the title of imam, but this view is not shared by the other schools.[101]

Leadership at prayer falls into three categories, depending on the type of prayer: five daily prayers, Friday prayer, or optional prayers.[101] According to the Hanafi and Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence, appointment of a prayer leader for Friday service is mandatory because otherwise the prayer is invalid. The Shafi'i and Hanbali schools, however, argue that the appointment is not necessary and the prayer is valid as long as it is performed in a congregation. A slave may lead a Friday prayer, but Muslim authorities disagree over whether the job can be done by a minor.[101] An imam appointed to lead Friday prayers may also lead at the five daily prayers; Muslim scholars agree to the leader appointed for five daily services may lead the Friday service as well.[101]

All Muslim authorities hold the consensus opinion that only men may lead prayer for men.[101] Nevertheless, women prayer leaders are allowed to lead prayer in front of all-female congregations.[102]

Cleanliness

Zoetermeer Meerzicht Moskee Qibla (04)
Storage for shoes

All mosques have rules regarding cleanliness, as it is an essential part of the worshippers' experience. Muslims before prayer are required to cleanse themselves in an ablution process known as wudu. However, even to those who enter the prayer hall of a mosque without the intention of praying, there are still rules that apply. Shoes must not be worn inside the carpeted prayer hall. Some mosques will also extend that rule to include other parts of the facility even if those other locations are not devoted to prayer. Congregants and visitors to mosques are supposed to be clean themselves. It is also undesirable to come to the mosque after eating something that smells, such as garlic.[103]

Dress

Islam requires that its adherents wear clothes that portray modesty. Men are supposed to come to the mosque wearing loose and clean clothes that do not reveal the shape of the body. Likewise, it is recommended that women at a mosque wear loose clothing that covers to the wrists and ankles, and cover their heads with a Ḥijāb (Arabic: حِـجَـاب‎), or other covering. Many Muslims, regardless of their ethnic background, wear Middle Eastern clothing associated with Arabic Islam to special occasions and prayers at mosques.[39]

Concentration

As mosques are places of worship, those within the mosque are required to remain respectful to those in prayer. Loud talking within the mosque, as well as discussion of topics deemed disrespectful, is forbidden in areas where people are praying. In addition, it is disrespectful to walk in front of or otherwise disturb Muslims in prayer.[104] The walls within the mosque have few items, except for possibly Islamic calligraphy, so Muslims in prayer are not distracted.[105] Muslims are also discouraged from wearing clothing with distracting images and symbols so as not to divert the attention of those standing behind them during prayer. In many mosques, even the carpeted prayer area has no designs, its plainness helping worshippers to focus.

Gender separation

Sultan Abdul Majid mosque in Byblos, Lebanon (for women only)
A women-only mosque in Byblos, Lebanon

There is nothing written in the Qurʼan about the issue of space in mosques and gender separation. However, traditional rules have segregated women and men. By traditional rules, women are most often told to occupy the rows behind the men. In part, this was a practical matter as the traditional posture for prayer – kneeling on the floor, head to the ground – made mixed-gender prayer uncomfortably revealing for many women and distracting for some men. Traditionalists try to argue that Muhammad preferred women to pray at home rather than at a mosque, and they cite a ḥadīth (Arabic: حَـدِيـث‎) in which Muhammad supposedly said: "The best mosques for women are the inner parts of their houses," although women were active participants in the mosque started by Muhammad. Muhammad told Muslims not to forbid women from entering mosques. They are allowed to go in. The second Sunni caliph ʻUmar at one time prohibited women from attending mosques especially at night because he feared they may be sexually harassed or assaulted by men, so he required them to pray at home.[106] Sometimes a special part of the mosque was railed off for women; for example, the governor of Mecca in 870 had ropes tied between the columns to make a separate place for women.[34]

Many mosques today will put the women behind a barrier or partition or in another room. Mosques in South and Southeast Asia put men and women in separate rooms, as the divisions were built into them centuries ago. In nearly two-thirds of American mosques, women pray behind partitions or in separate areas, not in the main prayer hall; some mosques do not admit women at all due to the lack of space and the fact that some prayers, such as the Friday Jumuʻah, are mandatory for men but optional for women. Although there are sections exclusively for women and children, the Grand Mosque in Mecca is desegregated.[107]

Non-Muslims in mosques

Bush Islamic Center Washington
President George W. Bush inside the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C.

Under most interpretations of sharia, non-Muslims are permitted to enter mosques provided that they respect the place and the people inside it. A dissenting opinion and minority view is presented by followers of the Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence, who argue that non-Muslims may not be allowed into mosques under any circumstances.[101]

The Quran addresses the subject of non-Muslims, and particularly polytheists, in mosques in two verses in its ninth chapter, Sura At-Tawba. The seventeenth verse of the chapter prohibits those who join gods with Allah—polytheists—from entering mosques:

It is not for such as join gods with Allah, to visit or maintain the mosques of Allah while they witness against their own souls to infidelity. The works of such bear no fruit: In Fire shall they dwell.

— Quran, Sura 9 (At-Tawba), Ayah 17[108]

The twenty-eighth verse of the same chapter is more specific as it only considers polytheists in the Sacred Mosque, the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca:

O ye who believe! Truly the Pagans are unclean; so let them not, after this year of theirs, approach the Sacred Mosque. And if ye fear poverty, soon will Allah enrich you, if He wills, out of His bounty, for Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

— Quran, Sura 9 (At-Tawba), ayah 28[109]

According to Ahmad ibn Hanbal, these verses were followed to the letter at the times of Muhammad, when Jews and Christians, considered monotheists, were still allowed to the Masjid al-Haram. However, the Umayyad caliph Umar II later forbade non-Muslims from entering mosques, and his ruling remains in practice in present-day Saudi Arabia.[34] Today, the decision on whether non-Muslims should be allowed to enter mosques varies. With few exceptions, mosques in the Arabian Peninsula as well as Morocco do not allow entry to non-Muslims. For example, the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is one of only two mosques in Morocco currently open to non-Muslims.[110]

However, there are also many other places in the West as well as the Islamic world where non-Muslims are welcome to enter mosques. Most mosques in the United States, for example, report receiving non-Muslim visitors every month. Many mosques throughout the United States welcome non-Muslims as a sign of openness to the rest of the community as well as to encourage conversions to Islam.[111][112]

In modern-day Saudi Arabia, the Grand Mosque and all of Mecca are open only to Muslims. Likewise, the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi and the city of Medina that surrounds it are also off-limits to those who do not practice Islam.[113] For mosques in other areas, it has most commonly been taken that non-Muslims may only enter mosques if granted permission to do so by Muslims and if they have a legitimate reason. All entrants regardless of religious affiliation are expected to respect the rules and decorum for mosques.[39]

In modern Turkey, non-Muslim tourists are allowed to enter any mosque, but there are some strict rules. Visiting a mosque is allowed only between prayers; visitors are required to wear long trousers and not to wear shoes, women must cover their heads; visitors are not allowed to interrupt praying Muslims, especially by taking photos of them; no loud talk is allowed; and no references to other religions are allowed (no crosses on necklaces, no cross gestures, etc.) Similar rules apply to mosques in Malaysia, where larger mosques that are also tourist attractions (such as the Masjid Negara) provide robes and headscarves for visitors who are deemed inappropriately attired.[114]

In certain times and places, non-Muslims were expected to behave a certain way in the vicinity of a mosque: in some Moroccan cities, Jews were required to remove their shoes when passing by a mosque;[115] in 18th-century Egypt, Jews and Christians had to dismount before several mosques in veneration of their sanctity.[116]

The association of the mosque with education remained one of its main characteristics throughout history, and the school became an indispensable appendage to the mosque. From the earliest days of Islam, the mosque was the center of the Muslim community, a place for prayer, meditation, religious instruction, political discussion, and a school. Anywhere Islam took hold, mosques were established; and basic religious and educational instruction began.[117]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognized as an independent state by 113 out of 193 United Nations member states, 10 of which have subsequently withdrawn recognition.
  1. ^ Survey was conducted in 2016, not 2009–2012.
  2. ^ Survey was only conducted in the southern five provinces.
  3. ^ Survey was conducted in 2013, not 2009–2012. Sample was taken from entire population of Yemen, which is approximately 99% Muslim.
  4. ^ Survey was conducted in 2015, not 2009–2012.
  5. ^ Survey was conducted in 2016, not 2009–2012.
  6. ^ Survey was conducted in 2008, not 2009–2012.
  7. ^ Survey was conducted in 2015, not 2009–2012.
  8. ^ Survey was conducted in 2008, not 2009–2012.
  9. ^ Survey was conducted in 2013, not 2009–2012. Sample was taken from entire population of Libya, which is approximately 97% Muslim.
  10. ^ Survey was conducted in 2016, not 2009–2012.
  11. ^ Survey was conducted in 2008, not 2009–2012.
  12. ^ Survey was conducted in 2008, not 2009–2012.
  13. ^ Survey was conducted in 2017, not 2009–2012.
  14. ^ Survey was conducted in 2017, not 2009–2012.

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Bibliography

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  • Bellows, Keith, ed. (2008). Sacred Places of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Most Peaceful and Powerful Destinations. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Books. ISBN 9781426203367.
  • Bloom, Jonathan M.; Blair, Sheila, eds. (2009). The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. Oxford, Eng.: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195309911.
  • Budge, E. A. Wallis (2001). Budge's Egypt: A Classic 19th-Century Travel Guide. Toronto: Courier Dover Publications. ISBN 9780486149530.
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  • Elleh, Nnamdi (2002). Architecture and Power in Africa. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780275976798.
  • Essa, Ahmed; Ali, Othman (2010). Title Studies in Islamic Civilization: The Muslim Contribution to the Renaissance. Herndon, Va.: The International Institute of Islamic Thought. ISBN 9781565643505.
  • Flood, Finbarr Barry (2001). The Great Mosque of Damascus: Studies on the Makings of an Ummayyad Visual Culture. Islamic History and Civilization. Leiden, the Netherlands: BRILL. ISBN 9789004116382.
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  • Kuban, Doğan (1985). Muslim Religious Architecture: Development of Religious Architecture in Later Periods. Iconography of Religions: Islam. Leiden, the Netherlands: E.J. Brill. ISBN 9789004070844.
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  • Tajuddin, Mohamed (1998). The Mosque as a Community Development Centre: Programme and Architectural Design Guidelines for Contemporary Muslim Societies. Kuala Lumpur: Penerbit UTM. ISBN 9789835201318.

Further reading

  • Yahya Abdullahi; Mohamed Rashid Bin Embi (2013). "Evolution of Islamic geometric patterns". Frontiers of Architectural Research. 2 (2): 243–251. doi:10.1016/j.foar.2013.03.002.
  • Abdullahi, Y.; Embi, M. R. B (2015). "Evolution Of Abstract Vegetal Ornaments On Islamic Architecture". International Journal of Architectural Research: Archnet-Ijar. 9: 31. doi:10.26687/archnet-ijar.v9i1.558.
  • Arberry, A. J. (1996). The Koran Interpreted: A Translation (1st ed.). Touchstone. ISBN 978-0-684-82507-6.
  • Campanini, Massimo, Mosque, in Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God (2 vols.), Edited by C. Fitzpatrick and A. Walker, Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO, 2014. ISBN 1610691776
  • Hawting, Gerald R. (2000). The First Dynasty of Islam: The Umayyard Caliphate AD 661–750. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-24072-7.
  • Kahera, Akel (2008). Deconstructing the American Mosque: Space, Gender and Aesthetics. Austin TX: University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-74344-1.
  • Khan, Muhammad Muhsin; Al-Hilali Khan; Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din (1999). Noble Quran (1st ed.). Dar-us-Salam Publications. ISBN 978-9960-740-79-9.
  • Kramer, Martin, ed. (1999). The Jewish Discovery of Islam: Studies in Honor of Bernard Lewis. Syracuse University. ISBN 978-965-224-040-8.
  • Kuban, Doğan (1974). Muslim Religious Architecture. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-90-04-03813-4.
  • Lewis, Bernard (1993). Islam in History: Ideas, People, and Events in the Middle East. Open Court. ISBN 978-0-8126-9217-4.
  • Lewis, Bernard (1994). Islam and the West. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-509061-1.
  • Lewis, Bernard (1996). Cultures in Conflict: Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Age of Discovery. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-510283-3.
  • Mubarkpuri, Saifur-Rahman (2002). The Sealed Nectar: Biography of the Prophet. Dar-us-Salam Publications. ISBN 978-1-59144-071-0.
  • Najeebabadi, Akbar Shah (2001). History of Islam. Dar-us-Salam Publications. ISBN 978-1-59144-034-5.
  • Nigosian, S. A. (2004). Islam: Its History, Teaching, and Practices (New ed.). Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-21627-4.
  • Rahman, Fazlur (1979). Islam (2nd ed.). University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-70281-0.
  • Walker, Benjamin (1998). Foundations of Islam: The Making of a World Faith. Peter Owen Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7206-1038-3.
  • Stachowski, Marek (2017). Janyšková I. / Karlíková H. / Boček V., eds. Slawische Bezeichnungen für Moschee unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Polnischen, Schlesischen, Tschechischen und Slowakischen. pp. 361–369: Etymological research into Czech (=Studia Etymologica Brunensia 22), Brno.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)

External links

1979 Grand Mosque seizure

The Grand Mosque seizure occurred during November and December 1979 when insurgents calling for the overthrow of the House of Saud took over Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The insurgents declared that the Mahdi (the "redeemer of Islam") had arrived in the form of one of their leaders – Mohammed Abdullah al-Qahtani – and called on Muslims to obey him. For nearly two weeks Saudi Special Forces, assisted by Pakistani and French commandos, fought battles to reclaim the compound.The seizure of Islam's holiest site, the taking of hostages from among the worshippers and the deaths of hundreds of militants, security forces and hostages caught in the crossfire in the ensuing battles for control of the site, shocked the Islamic world. The siege ended two weeks after the takeover began and the mosque was cleared. Al-Qahtani was killed in the recapture of the mosque but Juhayman and 67 of his fellow rebels who survived the assault were captured and later beheaded.Following the attack, the Saudi King Khaled implemented a stricter enforcement of Shariah (Islamic law), he gave the ulama and religious conservatives more power over the next decade, and religious police became more assertive.

2017 Sinai mosque attack

At 1:50 PM EET on 24 November 2017, the al-Rawda mosque was attacked by roughly 40 gunmen during Friday prayers. The mosque is located in the village of Al-Rawda east of the town of Bir al-Abed in Egypt's North Sinai Governorate. It is one of the main mosques associated with the Jaririya Sufi order, one of the largest Sufi orders in North Sinai. The Jaririya order is named for its founder, Sheikh Eid Abu Jarir, who was a member of the Sawarka tribe and the Jarira clan. The Jarira clan resides in the vicinity of Bir al-Abed. The attack killed 311 people and injured at least 122, making it the deadliest attack in Egyptian history. It was the second-deadliest terrorist attack of 2017, after the Mogadishu bombings on 14 October.

Al-Aqsa Mosque

Al-Aqsa Mosque (Arabic: ٱلْـمَـسْـجِـد الْاَقْـصَى‎, translit. Al-Masjid al-Aqṣā, IPA: [ʔælˈmæsdʒɪd ælˈʔɑqsˤɑ] (listen), "the Farthest Mosque"), located in the Old City of Jerusalem, is the third holiest site in Islam. The mosque was built on top of the Temple Mount, known as Haram esh-Sharif in Islam. Muslims believe that Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to al-Aqsa during the Night Journey. Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad led prayers towards this site until the 17th month after his migration from Mecca to Medina, when Allāh directed him to turn towards the Kaaba in Mecca.

The covered mosque building was originally a small prayer house erected by Umar, the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate, but was rebuilt and expanded by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik and finished by his son al-Walid in 705 CE. The mosque was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 746 and rebuilt by the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur in 754. It was rebuilt again in 780. Another earthquake destroyed most of al-Aqsa in 1033, but two years later the Fatimid caliph Ali az-Zahir built another mosque whose outline is preserved in the current structure. The mosaics on the arch at the qibla end of the nave also go back to his time.

During the periodic renovations undertaken, the various ruling dynasties of the Islamic Caliphate constructed additions to the mosque and its precincts, such as its dome, facade, its minbar, minarets and the interior structure. When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099, they used the mosque as a palace and the Dome of the Rock as a church, but its function as a mosque was restored after its recapture by Saladin in 1187. More renovations, repairs and additions were undertaken in the later centuries by the Ayyubids, Mamluks, Ottomans, the Supreme Muslim Council, and Jordan. Today, the Old City is under Israeli control, but the mosque remains under the administration of the Jordanian/Palestinian-led Islamic Waqf.

The mosque is located in close proximity to historical sites significant in Judaism and Christianity, most notably the site of the Second Temple, the holiest site in Judaism. As a result, the area is highly sensitive, and has been a flashpoint in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi

Al-Masjid an-Nabawī (Arabic: ٱلْـمَـسْـجِـدُ ٱلـنَّـبَـوِيّ‎, "The Prophet's Mosque") is a mosque established and originally built by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, situated in the city of Medina in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia. It was the third mosque built in the history of Islam, and is now one of the largest mosques in the world. It is the second-holiest site in Islam, after the Great Mosque in Mecca. It is always open, regardless of date or time.

The site was originally adjacent to Muhammad's house; he settled there after his migration from Mecca to Medina in 622. He shared in the heavy work of construction. The original mosque was an open-air building. The mosque served as a community center, a court, and a religious school. There was a raised platform for the people who taught the Quran. Subsequent Islamic rulers greatly expanded and decorated it. In 1909, it became the first place in the Arabian Peninsula to be provided with electrical lights. The mosque is under the control of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The mosque is located in what was traditionally the center of Medina, with many hotels and old markets nearby. It is a major pilgrimage site. Many pilgrims who perform the Hajj go on to Medina to visit the mosque, due to its connection to Muhammad.

After an expansion during the reign of the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I, it now incorporates the final resting place of Muhammad and the first two Rashidun caliphs Abu Bakr and Umar. One of the most notable features of the site is the Green Dome in the south-east corner of the mosque, originally Aisha's house, where the tomb of Muhammad is located. In 1279, a wooden cupola was built over the tomb which was later rebuilt and renovated multiple times in late 15th century and once in 1817. The current dome was added in 1818 by the Ottoman sultan Mahmud II, and it was first painted green in 1837, hence becoming known as the "Green Dome".

Babri Masjid

The Babri Masjid (translation: Mosque of Babur) was a mosque in Ayodhya, India. Located in Faizabad district, it was one of the largest mosques in the Uttar Pradesh state. Before the 1940s, the masjid was officially known as Masjid-i-Janmasthan ("the mosque of the birthplace"). According to the mosque's inscriptions, it was built in 1528–29 (935 AH) by Mir Baqi, on orders of the Mughal emperor Babur (after whom it is named).

The mosque was located on a hill known as Ramkot ("Rama's fort"). According to hearsay, Baqi destroyed a pre-existing temple of Rama at the site. Limited historical evidence exists to support this theory and the existence of the temple itself is a matter of controversy. In 2003, a report by the Archaeological Survey of India suggested that their appears to have existed an old structure at the site. The political, historical and socio-religious debate over the history of the site and whether a previous temple was demolished or modified to create the mosque, is known as the Ayodhya dispute.

Archaeologists involved during excavation of Babri Masjid contends beneath Babri mosque there was another structure of old mosque.[1]

Starting in the 19th century, there were several conflicts and court disputes between Hindus and Muslims over the mosque. On 6 December 1992, the demolition of the Babri Masjid by Hindu nationalist groups triggered riots all over India, killing around 2,000 people, many of them Muslim.

Badshahi Mosque

The Badshahi Mosque (Punjabi and Urdu: بادشاہی مسجد‎, or "Imperial Mosque") is a Mughal era masjid in Lahore, capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab, Pakistan. The mosque is located west of Lahore Fort along the outskirts of the Walled City of Lahore, and is widely considered to be one of Lahore's most iconic landmarks.The Badshahi Mosque was commissioned by Emperor Aurangzeb in 1671, with construction of the mosque lasting for two years until 1673. The mosque is an important example of Mughal architecture, with an exterior that is decorated with carved red sandstone with marble inlay. It remains the largest and most recent of the grand imperial mosques of the Mughal-era, and is the second-largest mosque in Pakistan. After the fall of the Mughal Empire, the mosque was used as a garrison by the Sikh Empire and the British Empire, and is now one of Pakistan's most iconic sights.

Christchurch mosque shootings

The Christchurch mosque shootings were two consecutive terrorist attacks at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday Prayer on 15 March 2019. The attacks began at the Al Noor Mosque in the suburb of Riccarton at 1:40 pm, and continued at the Linwood Islamic Centre at about 1:55 pm.The attacks killed 50 people and injured 50 more. A 28-year-old Australian male white supremacist who was described in media reports as part of the "alt-right" was arrested and charged with murder. The attacks have been linked to an increase in white supremacism and alt-right extremism globally observed since the mid-2010s.Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern referred to the attacks as "one of New Zealand's darkest days". Politicians and world leaders condemned the attacks. It is the deadliest mass shooting in modern New Zealand history.

Evliya Kasim Pasha Mosque

Evliya Kasim Pasha Mosque (Turkish: Evliya Kasım Paşa Cami) is a 15th-century Ottoman mosque in Edirne, northwestern Turkey. It is named after Kasim Pasha (fl. 1442–43).

The mosque was built by Kasim Pasha in 1478–1479, the Beylerbey of the Rumelia Eyalet in the Ottoman Empire and a commander of the Ottoman forces during the reign of the sultans Mehmed the Conqueror (r. 1444‒1446, 1451‒1481) and Bayezid II (r. 1481–1512); he was also titled "Evliya", saint. The grave of Kasim Pasha is in the mosque's yard.

Great Mosque of Mecca

The Great Mosque of Mecca (Arabic: ٱلْـمَـسْـجِـد ٱلْـحَـرَام‎, translit. al-Masjid al-Ḥarām, lit. 'The Sacred Mosque') is a mosque that surrounds the Kaaba in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is a site of pilgrimage for the Hajj, which every Muslim must do at least once in their lives if able, the rites of which includes circumambulating the Kaaba within the mosque. It is also the main phase for the ‘Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage that can be undertaken any time of the year. The Great Mosque includes other important significant sites, including the Black Stone, the Zamzam Well, Maqam Ibrahim, and the hills Safa and Marwa. It is open, regardless of date or time.The Great Mosque is the largest mosque in the world and has undergone major renovations and expansions through the years. It has passed through the control of various caliphs, sultans and kings, and is now under the control of the King of Saudi Arabia who is titled the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. It is located in front of the Abraj Al Bait, the tallest clock tower in the world, the construction of which has been surrounded by controversy concerning the destruction of early Islamic heritage sites by the Saudi government.

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia (; from the Greek Αγία Σοφία, pronounced [aˈʝia soˈfia], "Holy Wisdom"; Latin: Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia; Turkish: Ayasofya) is the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, later an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum (Ayasofya Müzesi) in Istanbul, Turkey. Built in 537 AD at the beginning of the Middle Ages, it was famous in particular for its massive dome. It was the world's largest building and an engineering marvel of its time. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture".The Hagia Sophia construction consists of mostly masonry. The structure is composed of brick and mortar joint that are 1.5 times the width of the bricks. The mortar joints are composed of a combination of sand and minute ceramic pieces displaced very evenly throughout the mortar joints. This combination of sand and ceramic pieces could be considered to be the equivalent of modern concrete at the time.From the date of its construction's completion in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was later converted into an Ottoman mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935. It remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.

The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the prior one having been destroyed by rioters in the Nika Revolt. It was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Trinity, its patronal feast taking place on 25 December, the commemoration of the birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ. Although sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia (as though it were named after Sophia the Martyr), sophia being the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom, its full name in Greek is Ναός της Αγίας του Θεού Σοφίας, Naos tēs Hagias tou Theou Sophias, "Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God". The church contained a large collection of relics and featured, among other things, a 15-metre (49 ft) silver iconostasis. The focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years, the building witnessed the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I Cerularius officially communicated by Humbert of Silva Candida, the papal envoy of Pope Leo IX in 1054, an act that is commonly considered the start of the East–West Schism.

In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed the Conqueror, who ordered this main church of Orthodox Christianity converted into a mosque. Although some parts of the city of Constantinople were falling into disrepair, the cathedral was maintained with an amount of money set aside for this purpose. Nevertheless, the Christian cathedral made a strong impression on the new Ottoman rulers and they decided to convert it into a mosque. The bells, altar, iconostasis, and other relics were destroyed and the mosaics depicting Jesus, his Mother Mary, Christian saints, and angels were also destroyed or plastered over. Islamic features – such as the mihrab (a niche in the wall indicating the direction toward Mecca, for prayer), minbar (pulpit), and four minarets – were added. It remained a mosque until 1931 when it was closed to the public for four years. It was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey. Hagia Sophia was, as of 2014, the second-most visited museum in Turkey, attracting almost 3.3 million visitors annually. According to data released by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, Hagia Sophia was Turkey's most visited tourist attraction in 2015.From its initial conversion until the construction of the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque of Istanbul) in 1616, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul. The Byzantine architecture of the Hagia Sophia served as inspiration for many other Ottoman mosques, such as the aforementioned mosque, the Şehzade Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Rüstem Pasha Mosque and the Kılıç Ali Pasha Complex.

Islamic architecture

Islamic architecture is the range of architectural styles of buildings associated with Islam. It encompasses both secular and religious styles from the early history of Islam to the present day. Early Islamic architecture was influenced by Roman, Byzantine, Persian, Mesopotamian and all other lands which the Muslims conquered in the 7th and 8th centuries. Further east, it was also influenced by Chinese and Indian architecture as Islam spread to the Southeast Asia. Later it developed distinct characteristics in the form of buildings, and the decoration of surfaces with Islamic calligraphy and geometric and interlace patterned ornament. The principal Islamic architectural types for large or public buildings are: the Mosque, the Tomb, the Palace and the Fort. From these four types, the vocabulary of Islamic architecture is derived and used for other buildings such as public baths, fountains and domestic architecture.Many of the buildings which are mentioned in this article are listed as World Heritage Sites. Some of them, like the Citadel of Aleppo, have suffered significant damage in the ongoing Syrian Civil War.

Jama Masjid, Delhi

The Masjid-i Jahān-Numā (lit. the 'World-reflecting Mosque'), commonly known as the Jama Masjid of Delhi, is one of the largest mosques in India.It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656 at a cost of 1 million rupees, and was inaugurated by an Imam from Bukhara, present-day Uzbekistan. The mosque was completed in 1656 AD with three great gates, four towers and two 40 metres high minarets constructed with strips of red sandstone and white marble. The courtyard can accommodate more than 25,000 people. There are three domes on the terrace which are surrounded by the two minarets. On the floor, a total of 899 black borders are marked for worshippers. The architectural plan of Badshahi Masjid, built by Shah Jahan's son Aurangzeb at Lahore, Pakistan, is similar to the Jama Masjid.

Minaret

Minaret (; Persian: مأذنة‎ ma'thena, Azerbaijani: minarə, Turkish: minare), from Arabic: منارة‎ manarah, also known as Goldaste (Persian: گلدسته‎), is a type of tower typically found built into or adjacent to mosques. Minarets serve multiple purposes. While they provide a visual focal point, they are generally used for the Muslim call to prayer (Adhan). The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, a cap and head. They are generally a tall spire with a conical or onion-shaped crown. They can either be free-standing or taller than the associated support structure. The architecture, function, and role of the minaret vary by region and time period.

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba (Spanish: Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba), also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba (Spanish: Mezquita de Córdoba) and the Mezquita, whose ecclesiastical name is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption (Spanish: Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción), is the Catholic cathedral of the Diocese of Córdoba dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and located in the Spanish region of Andalusia. The structure is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. Córdoba returned to Christian rule in 1236 during the Reconquista, and the building was converted to a Roman Catholic church, culminating in the insertion of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the 16th century.Since the early 2000s, Spanish Muslims have lobbied the Roman Catholic Church to allow them to pray in the cathedral. This Muslim campaign has been rejected on multiple occasions, both by the church authorities in Spain and by the Vatican.

Mughal architecture

Mughal Architecture is the type of Indo-Islamic architecture developed by the Mughals in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries throughout the ever-changing extent of their empire in the Indian subcontinent. It developed the styles of earlier Muslim dynasties in India as an amalgam of Islamic, Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture. Mughal buildings have a uniform pattern of structure and character, including large bulbous domes, slender minarets at the corners, massive halls, large vaulted gateways, and delicate ornamentation. Examples of the style can be found in modern-day India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

The Mughal dynasty was established after the victory of Babur at Panipat in 1526. During his five-year reign, Babur took considerable interest in erecting buildings, though few have survived. His grandson Akbar built widely, and the style developed vigorously during his reign. Among his accomplishments were Agra Fort, the fort-city of Fatehpur Sikri, and the Buland Darwaza. Akbar's son Jahangir commissioned the Shalimar Gardens in Kashmir.

Mughal architecture reached its zenith during the reign of Shah Jahan, who constructed the Taj Mahal, the Jama Masjid, the Red Fort, and the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore. The end of his reign corresponded with the decline of Mughal architecture and the Empire itself.

Ottoman architecture

Ottoman architecture is the architecture of the Ottoman Empire which emerged in Bursa and Edirne in 14th and 15th centuries. The architecture of the empire developed from the earlier Seljuk architecture and was influenced by the Byzantine architecture, Armenian architecture, Iranian as well as Islamic Mamluk traditions after the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans. For almost 400 years Byzantine architectural artifacts such as the church of Hagia Sophia served as models for many of the Ottoman mosques. Overall, Ottoman architecture has been described as Byzantine influenced architecture synthesized with architectural traditions of Central Asia and the Middle East.The Ottomans achieved the highest level architecture in their lands hence or since. They mastered the technique of building vast inner spaces confined by seemingly weightless yet massive domes, and achieving perfect harmony between inner and outer spaces, as well as articulated light and shadow. Islamic religious architecture which until then consisted of simple buildings with extensive decorations, was transformed by the Ottomans through a dynamic architectural vocabulary of vaults, domes, semi domes and columns. The mosque was transformed from being a cramped and dark chamber with arabesque-covered walls into a sanctuary of aesthetic and technical balance, refined elegance and a hint of heavenly transcendence.

Today, one finds remnants of Ottoman architecture in certain parts of its former territories under decay.

Outline of the Ottoman Empire

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Ottoman Empire:

The Ottoman Empire was a Muslim empire that lasted from c. 1299 to 1922. It was also known by its European contemporaries as the Turkish Empire or Turkey after the principal ethnic group. At its zenith from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries it controlled Southeast Europe, Southwest Asia and North Africa.

Quebec City mosque shooting

The Quebec City mosque shooting (French: Attentat de la grande mosquée de Québec) was a terrorist attack and mass shooting on the evening of January 29, 2017, at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, a mosque in the Sainte-Foy neighbourhood of Quebec City, Canada. Six worshippers were killed and nineteen others injured when a terrorist opened fire just before 8:00 pm, shortly after the end of evening prayers. Fifty-three people were reported present at the time of the shooting.

The perpetrator, Alexandre Bissonnette, was charged with six counts of first-degree murder. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Philippe Couillard called the shooting a terrorist attack, but Bissonnette was not charged under the terrorism provision of the Criminal Code. On February 8, 2019, Bissonnette was sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 40 years. On March 8, 2019, it was reported that Bissonnette was appealing this sentence.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Turkish: Sultan Ahmet Camii) is a historic mosque located in Istanbul, Turkey. A popular tourist site, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque continues to function as a mosque today; men still kneel in prayer on the mosque's lush red carpet after the call to prayer. The Blue Mosque, as it is popularly known, was constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I. Its Külliye contains Ahmed's tomb, a madrasah and a hospice. Hand-painted blue tiles adorn the mosque’s interior walls, and at night the mosque is bathed in blue as lights frame the mosque’s five main domes, six minarets and eight secondary domes. It sits next to the Hagia Sophia, another popular tourist site.

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