Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mosques - The Mosque of Amr Ibn El-As

This is the first and oldest mosque ever built on the land of Egypt. Erected in 642 AD (21 AH) by Amr Ibn al'As, the commander of the Muslim army that conquered Egypt, the mosque is also known as Taj al-Jawamie (Crown of Mosques, al-Jamie'al Ateeq (formerly Mosque) and Masjid Ahl ar-Rayah (Mosque carrying banner).
The mosque was built on the site of the tent of Amr Ibn al-As in Fustat, the oldest existing mosque, not just in Cairo, but the entire African continent. Located north of the Roman fortress of Babylon, it is actually on the edge of Fustat, the temporary city founded by Amr, and was a center of Islamic learning, long before El-Azhar mosque. It could accommodate up to 5,000 students.The mosque was built on an area of ​​1500 square cubits, overlooking the Nile. The original structure was quite simple, with bare walls of any plaster or decorations, but without recess (miharb), minaret or ground cover. There were two doors on the north and two facing the house Amr.The mosque area remained unchanged until 672 AD (53 AH), when Musallama al-Ansari, the ruler of Egypt on behalf of Caliph Mu'awiya Ibn Abi-Sufian undertook the expansion and renovation of the mosque. Walls and ceilings were decorated and four compartments for "muezzins" (callers to prayer) were added in the corners, with a minaret, while the mosque floor was covered with straw mats. 

The interior of the Mosque of Amr Ibn El-Aas

In 698 AD (79 AH), the mosque was demolished and expanded by Abdul-Aziz Ibn Marwan, the ruler of Egypt. Again in 711 AD (93 AH), the mosque was demolished by Prince Qurrah Shuraik Ibn al-Absi, the ruler of Egypt. On the orders of Caliph Al-Walid ibn Abdul Malek, the mosque area was enlarged, a niche, a wooden pulpit (minbar) and a compartment and four caps cloumns facing the niche was covered with gold. The mosque then had four doors east, four west and three north.Under the Abbasid state, successive additions and repairs were introduced. In 827 AD (212 AH), Abdullah Ibn Taher, the ruler of Egypt on behalf of the caliph al-Ma'mun ordered an area equivalent to the north to be added to the mosque, bringing its total area to its current level of 13,556,25 square meters. (112.3 x 120.5m). However, the Fatimid period This was the golden era of the mosque, where golden mosaics, works in marble, a wooden cupboard and a chair in motion have been introduced and some of the niche was coated with silver . 

Another view of the courtyard of the Mosque of Amr Ibn El-Aas

Recent structural changes in the Amr Mosque were made during the reign of Murad Bey in the Ottoman era, in 1797 AD (1212 AD). Due to the collapse of some columns inside the mosque was demolished and rebuilt. As a result, the arcades of the East have been repositioned so as to be perpendicular to the mihrab wall. Consequently, the arcs have been extended through the windows. Two minarets were built and still exist.Amr Mosque was not only a place of worship but also served as a court settlement of civil and religious disputes. In addition, academic circles have been organized either for general religious preaching or teaching in Quranic sciences, jurisprudence and the Tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (Hadith) as well as letters lessons.The mosque incorporates elements of Greek and Roman buildings, and has 150 white marble columns and three minarets. Simple design, its present plan consists of an open courtyard (patio) surrounded by four riwaqs, the most important being the riwaq Qibla. There are a number of wooden plaques bearing Byzantine carvings of leaves, and partially enclosed column is believed to have been miraculously transported from Mecca on the orders of Muhammad himself. There are many other ancient legions related to the Mosque.

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