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Great Mosques
07:39:30 AM Thursday Nov 17, 2005

Hey everyone, I need your input here. I'm putting together a list of some of the great historic mosques of the world. Please comment and suggest other mosques you think I should add to the list. I'm sure I'm missing a lot of great ones here.
btw, this is for a workshop, for a group of 12 yr olds, so it doesn't have to be that technical/detailed. Whatever ideas you have, I'd appreciate it! thanks :)

Al-Aqsa ? first built by Omar, re-built by Al-Walid in 705

Al-Azhar ? 971 (founded by Fatimids, named after Fatima Azzahra, great university developed alongside the mosque, until today especially known for fiqh and Arabic language sciences)

Cordoba ? 786 (famed red-and-white alternating patterns in the arches, stunning beauty, e.g. famous dome)

Damascus ? 706-715 (first great Islamic monument, on site of many ancient houses of worship, including former Roman temple, re-use of Roman columns and building materials for the new structure became common practice, shared the site with a church for many years such that Christians and Muslims prayer spaces shared same site)

Dome of the Rock ? 685 (Preserved in original design over the centuries, landmark gold dome across the rock, covers the site of Al-Israa wal Mi3raj)

Kairawan ? 820 (public education even for women, great library)

Kechaoua ? 1830 (built by Ottomans, converted to cathedral during colonial period, reverted to mosque after independence)

Koutoubiya ? 1100s (from Kutub = books, great center of learning for all North Africa, its minaret served as model for the Hassan II minaret in Rabat and the Seville minaret)

Qarawiyyin ? Fez 857 (great intellectual center with many schools)

Samarra ? (famous free-standing spiral minaret)

Seville ? (converted into cathedral, minaret remains)

Tlemcen ? 1082 (innovative dome with ribbed vaulting became standard across North Africa, also set the foundation for this style in Gothic and European Renaissance architecture)

Xian Great Mosque ? China (no domes, no minarets, very traditional Chinese style architecture)

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2:58 pm    November 27, 2005

hudhud message
yes i did add all 3 harams: mekkah, medinah, and alquds. also added quba, and a bunch of other mosques. it took longer than i thought but the girls loved it and i enjoyed their ideas and artwork. one girl drew a mosque entirely using triangles. another girl looked at it and was teasing her, but then i showed them the minarets of the turkish mosques, and the tops of the mosques in mali. they really did look like little triangles so it was cute.
it was a blast, the lil boys were jealous and wanted to do the same project. i am surprised a lot of these kids didn't already know some of the very big famous masajid. obviously "islamic education" here in the usa isn't what the adults make it out to be. they brag on and on, yet our kids are deprived and clueless about some of the most basic facts like who built the kaabah! so i'm glad they got a chance to learn this stuff in a fun creative way..
i'm gonna miss my lil monsters :'( sho kyooot...

5:34 pm    November 24, 2005
where did you leave al haram in Mekka, since it's the first mosque on earth it has to be one of the greatest,... Qubaa in Medina is another magnifissant on...good luck

6:36 pm    November 22, 2005

hudhud message
actually i've developed an idea.. 1st i'll ask the kids what their concept of a mosque is, before presenting them with anything. doubtless they'll have their own ideas of what a mosque should look like, use of its space, etc. at the end, i'm going to assign them their own mosque to design. it'll be fun to see what they come up with, both words and drawings.

any other mosques to add to the list? i have to finalize this tomorrow night. thanks raioosters :)


7:54 am    November 18, 2005
Dear hudhud,

1. Top 10 mosques in the world:

2. Mosques with pictures:

3. If I were you, I will stress to these kids the fact that a mosque should be SIMPLE, MODEST, and CLEAN.

4. The purpose of a mosque is SALAT and WORSHIPING ALLAH.

5. Mosques with fancy internal designs DISTRACT people from focusing on Allah.

6. I would suggest adding a simple picture of a mosque from Morocco, Africa, or some poor country, so that these kids will realize that a mosque can be any simple building.

Good luck!

Peace, Love, and Understanding (PLU)


5:48 pm    November 17, 2005

hudhud message
tbarkallah that sounds beautiful Tasnime :) you remind me of a tiny mosque we passed on the road to my grandpa's, I was so young and hardly remember much but I recall we stopped there for fajr, it was still dark when we arrived, the air was cool, the water icy-cold and the mosque so small. there was a really old man there when we arrived, at first he was very suspicious since we were strangers, but then he warmed up and gave my uncle directions when he realized we'd lost our way. when it came time to leave we could see it better in the early light, it was all white-washed but had no minaret, no dome or arches. modeled after the ka3ba maybe :) there were no other buildings at all by the side of the road, just that little mosque! I have this memory of my sister and I leaning out the car windows looking back along the road as it got smaller and smaller. and there was a rooster outside, a really loud one. funny the details one remembers..

1:07 pm    November 17, 2005
Hudhud, there are two Hassan mosques: the one in Rabat is the Hassan Tower Mosque built by Yacoub Al Mansour Addahbi (pronounced hassaaaan with the stress on the 2nd ?a?). The second one is Hassan II?s mosque which is in Casablanca.
You made a great point Adnan.
My favorite mosque is a tiny mosque in the region of Arbawa (between the towns Kenitra and Larache). The mosque is right off la route nationale Rabat-Tanger in a valley right in the middle of the fields (they are green year-round thanks to Oued Lukos). What I distinctly like about this tiny mosque is its huge veranda covered with luscious grapevines with a fountain right in the middle. The water was coming out icy cold as it was pumped right out of an underground well a few meters away. The inside is very simple, quiet, serene, and very well maintained. You can smell and feel the simplistic way of life that reigns in the region. People were always so welcoming when they realized that we were just passing by...
My most favorite mosque, however, is another ?off-the-road? mosque in the Moyen Atlas on the road linking the town of Khenifra to the lake of Aguelmam Azigza. Nestled in the middle of a forest in a valley, it is the perfect resting area after having experienced nervous moments on the narrow national roads snaking between the magnificent Atlas Mountains. This mosque overlooks an amazing valley where tiny streams, that eventually come together to feed Um Rabi, flow majestically. Not far from there is the actual birth place of the twelve wells that form the mighty Um Rbii river. The quiet and spectacular views allow for the perfect conditions to ponder on the greatness of Allah and also to experience the Berber mystique.

12:20 pm    November 17, 2005

hudhud message
of COURSE! and to think i've been there and forgot it with its silver dome.. thanks so much Selima!
lal qila is the red fort and red mosque. i did a research ppr about it once, that should help me w/notes and visuals. was thinking of putting this together as a powerpoint, but now that i think of it kids need something in their hands that they can mess around with on their own. maybe i'll compile with some color photos and print on glossy paper for them. then they'll have room to draw or scribble notes too..
hey if y'all have some good links too, pls post. thanks again :)

12:15 pm    November 17, 2005
...there's the red mosque in india...and another one in isfahan that is really historic...and the sultan mehmet pasha mosque in turkey...also, jame3 el-emir 3abd el-qader (I believe in constantine)

12:13 pm    November 17, 2005

hudhud message
I should also add the mosques of bukhara and samarqand to the list... and the great mosque of timbuktu.. and jame3 zaytouna..
thanks you guys, pls keep the suggestions coming, this helps me a lot!

12:09 pm    November 17, 2005

hudhud message
Thanks Tasnime! funny how I left out the obvious ones from the list lol :o)) also I'm familiar with the Hassan II mosque in casa, but I wanted to include the historic ones on this list. I know there's a tower the Hassan II tower in Rabat, one of the oldest in north africa, not sure if any of the mosque remains but the tower was very important architecturally.
Hagia sophia and blue mosque, selimiye are all super! I wish I could add all the mosques of the great Sinan but that would make the list too long..

I agree Adnane, in my opinion the simpler less-busy designs feel more spiritual to me than the more elaborate material-rich styles. I think this is why jame3 Tlemcen rings a chord in my heart. the smooth cool fresh whitewash, the simple archs mirroring each other in a quiet pattern, the hssira doesn't distract one's eyes. just the sense of relief and peace that's really what a mosque should accomplish.

I heard there's a really huge ancient mosque in St. Petersburg, Russia, but I'm not sure how old it is. anyone know about it?


11:55 am    November 17, 2005
4. the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul has a long and interesting history as well. It has been converted to a museum unfortunately!!
5. Imam Ali's Mosque (Najaf, Iraq) and Imam Hussein's Mosque (Cairo, Egypt) are very important to the Shii'a.

11:45 am    November 17, 2005

Adnane Ben. message
There is a small mosque in Figuig in qasr lawdaghir, quiet tiny, short ceilings, big cubic pillars, floors with la7ssira. That for me is one of the greatest mosques. I should have visited the mosque of qasr lam3iz.. I'm told it's pretty nice too. Also I once, when 14, prayed 3assr in the mosque of Tlemcen. We were travelling on a beautiful sunny day. That was another beautiful mosque. It is peculiar that these 2 mosques have one thing in common: they are simple. Walls are not flat but rather exhibit a texture that smoothened by white water paint Ljir. The pillars are wrapped about 1 meter high with a colorfull 7ssira more on the yellowish side. The walls of the mosque from the inside have the same 7ssirat all around. The wudu system in Fifuif didn't have the concept of the foutain like in Fes of Tlemcen. For wudu, a fresh stream of water runs across the mosque (yes it cuts through the mosque!) the streams outside the mosque are used for wudu, the part of the stream inside the mosque acts as air-conditioner, cooler and soothing with its water murmuring sound.

You can build the greatest mosque, designs, decoration, etc.. but if it doesn't hit you in your soul in a simple way, I would still prefer the simple ones.


11:37 am    November 17, 2005
A great list that is useful, not only to 12 year-olds, but to us all!
I?d suggest adding:
1. al Haram Sharif in Mecca - SA
2. al Masjid Anabawi in Medina - SA
3. Masjid al oumawiyine in Damascus ? Syria
I also have a correction for you: Hassan II?s mosque is in Casablanca not in Rabat and I?d say it should be added to the list since, size-wise, it is the second largest mosque in the world after al Haram. It is also a magnificent edifice from an architectural standpoint.
I would also name the countries (along with cities) and it would even be more useful to have pictures or at least a map so that the children have a visual aid.

hudhud's notes (47)
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Waiting for Pasolini || En Attendant Pasolini..
La Maison Jaune || The Yellow House film by Amor Hakkar..
on the politics of blaming history.....
Samira's Garden directed by Latif Lahlou..
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Reading the Koran - an Essay by Tariq Ramadan..
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The Ancient Texts of Timbouktou..
the Wonderful World of Weaving..
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Name that Poet..
Cheikha Rimitti: 83 Years of Life.....
The Prayer of Taif..
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam..
Hotel Figueroa - Mexican Morrocana..
Roman Ruins in North Africa..
Great Mosques..
Recipe: Quince Preserves..
Andalusi terminology..
Receipe: Almond Crescents..
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Khoubz eddar..

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