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Supplicating Pilgrim at Masjid Al Haram. Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Muslims praying during the Hajj at Masjid al-Haram, Mecca - the largest mosque in the world

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A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. Muslims often refer to the mosque by its Arabic name, masjid, Arabic: مسجد‎ — Arabic pronunciation: [ˈmæsdʒɪd] (pl. masājid, Arabic: مساجد‎ — [mæˈsæːdʒɪd]). The word "mosque" in English refers to all types of buildings dedicated for Islamic worship, although there is a distinction in Arabic between the smaller, privately owned mosque and the larger, "collective" mosque (Arabic: مسجد جامع‎, masjid jāmi‘), which has more community and social amenities.

The mosque serves as a place where Muslims can come together for salat (prayer) (Arabic: صلاة‎, ṣalāt) as well as a center for information, education, and dispute settlement. The Imam leads the prayer.

They have developed significantly from the open-air spaces that were the Quba Mosque and Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in the 7th century. Many mosques have elaborate domes, minarets, and prayer halls. Mosques originated on the Arabian Peninsula, but are now found in all inhabited continents.

History

Grand entryways and tall towers, or minarets, have long been and continue to be closely associated with mosques. However, the first three mosques were very simple open spaces on the Arabian Peninsula. Mosques evolved significantly over the next 1,000 years, acquiring their now-distinctive features and adapting to cultures around the world.

Diffusion and evolution

Mosques were built outside the Arabian Peninsula as Muslims moved to other parts of the world. Egypt became occupied by Muslim Arabs as early as 640, and since then so many mosques have appeared throughout the country that its capital city, Cairo, has acquired the nickname of city of a thousand minarets.[1] Egyptian mosques vary in amenities, as some have Islamic schools (madrassas) while others have hospitals or tombs.[2] Mosques in Sicily and Spain do not primarily reflect the architecture of Visigothic predecessors, but instead reflect the architecture introduced by the Muslim Moors.[3] It is hypothesized, however, that there were some elements of pre-Islamic architecture which were Islamicized into Andalusi and Maghribi architecture, for example, the distinctive horseshoe arch. [4]


The first Chinese mosque was established in the eighth century in Xi'an. The Great Mosque of Xi'an, whose current building dates from the eighteenth century, does not replicate many of the features often associated with traditional mosques. Instead, it follows traditional Chinese architecture. It is distinguished from other buildings by its green roof (Buddhist temples are often built with a yellow roof). Mosques in western China incorporate more traditional elements seen in mosques in other parts of the world. Western Chinese mosques were more likely to incorporate minarets and domes while eastern Chinese mosques were more likely to look like pagodas.[5]


By the fifteenth century, Islam had become the dominant religion in Java and Sumatra, Indonesia's two most populous islands. As with Hinduism and Buddhism before it, the new religion and its accompanying foreign influences were absorbed and reinterpreted, with mosques given a unique Indonesian/Javanese interpretation. At the time, Javanese mosques took many design cues from Hindu, Buddhist, and even Chinese architectural influences. They lacked, for example, the ubiquitous Islamic dome which did not appear in Indonesia until the 19th century, but had tall timber, multi-level roofs not too dissimilar to the pagodas of Balinese Hindu temples still common today. A number of significant early mosques survive, particularly along the north coast of Java. These include the Mesjid Agung in Demak, built in 1474, and the Grand Mosque of Yogyakarta that feature multi-level roofs. Javanese styles in turn influenced the architectural styles of mosques among Indonesia's Austronesian neighbors: Malaysia, Brunei and the southern Philippines.


Mosques diffused into India during the reign of the Mughal empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Mughals brought their own form of architecture that included pointed, onion-shaped domes, as seen in Delhi's Jama Masjid.Mughal style became the dominant feature in many of the old mosques in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Mosques first arrived in the Ottoman Empire (mostly present-day Turkey) during the eleventh century, when many local Turks converted to Islam. Several of the first mosques in the Ottoman Empire, such as the Hagia Sophia in present-day Istanbul, were originally churches or cathedrals in the Byzantine Empire. The Ottomans created their own design of mosques, which included large central domes, multiple minarets, and open façades. The Ottoman style of mosques usually included elaborate columns, aisles, and high ceilings in the interior, while incorporating traditional elements, such as the mihrab.[6] Today, Turkey is still home to many mosques that display this Ottoman style of architecture.

Mosques gradually diffused to different parts of Europe, but the most rapid growth in the number of mosques has occurred within the past century as more Muslims have migrated to the continent. Major European cities, such as Rome, London, and Munich, are home to mosques that feature traditional domes and minarets. These large mosques in urban centers are supposed to serve as community and social centers for a large group of Muslims that occupy the region. However, one can still find smaller mosques in more suburban and rural regions throughout Europe where Muslims populate, an example of this is the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking, the first purpose built mosque in the UK.

There are 40,000 to 50,000 mosques in the United States and Islam is the fastest growing religion there.[7] Mosques first appeared in the United States in the early twentieth century, the likely first being one in Maine built by Albanian immigrants in 1915. [1] as more immigrants continue to arrive in the country, especially from South Asia, the number of American mosques is increasing faster than ever before. Whereas only two percent of the country's mosques appeared in the United States before 1950, eighty-seven percent of American mosques were founded after 1970 and fifty percent of American mosques founded after 1980.[8]

Conversion of places of worship

Omayyad mosque

The mayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria was a Byzantine church before the Islamic conquest of the Levant. Some ecclesiastical elements are still evident.

According to early Muslim historians, towns that surrendered without resistance and made treaties with the Muslims gave the Muslims "permission" to take their churches and synagogues, 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 (Al-Waleed's father) is said to have transformed 10 churches in Damascus into mosques.

The process of turning churches into mosques was 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, immediately after capturing the city in 1453 into mosques. 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.[9]

Mosques have also been converted for use by other religions, notably in southern Spain, following the conquest of the Moors in 1492.[10] The most prominent of them is the Great Mosque of Cordoba. The Iberian Peninsula, Southeast Europe, and India (the Babri Masjid incident) are other regions in the world where such instances occurred once no longer under Muslim rule.

Religious functions

Prayers

There are two holidays (Eids) in the Islamic calendar, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha 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 larger mosques 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 or town squares.[11]

Ramadan events

Islam's holiest month, Ramadan, is observed through many events. As Muslims must fast during the day during Ramadan, mosques will host iftar dinners after sunset and the fourth required prayer of the day, maghrib. Food is provided, at least in part, by members of the community, thereby creating nightly 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 suhoor meals before dawn to congregants attending the first required prayer of the day, fajr. 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.[12]

Following the last obligatory daily prayer (isha) special, optional tarawih 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 Qur’an will recite a segment of the book.[13] 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 Qur'anic revelations.[13] 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.

During the last ten days of Ramadan, larger mosques within the Muslim community will host i'tikaf, a practice in which at least one Muslim man from the community must participate. Muslims performing i'tikaf 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.[13]

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 zakat. Since mosques form the center of Muslim communities, they are where Muslims go to both give zakat and, if necessary, collect it. Prior to 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.

Contemporary political roles

The late twentieth century saw an increase in the number of mosques used for political purposes. Today, civic participation is commonly promoted in mosques in the Western world. Because of the importance in the community, mosques are used for preaching peaceful co-existence with non-believers, even in times of adversity.

Advocacy

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.[14] 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.[14]

Nevertheless, a link between political views and mosque attendance can still be seen in other parts of the world.[15] Following the al-Askari Mosque bombing in February 2006, imams and other Islamic leaders used mosques and Friday prayers as vehicles to call for calm and peace in the midst of widespread violence.[16]

Social conflict

As they are considered important to the Muslim community, mosques, like other places of worship, can be at the heart of social conflicts.

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 by approximately 200,000 Hindus on December 6, 1992 as the mosque was built by Babur allegedly on the site of a previous Hindu temple marking the birthplace of Ram.[17] 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.

A February 2006 bombing that seriously damaged Iraq's al-Askari Mosque, exacerbated tensions that had already existed. 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.[18] In April 2006, two explosions occurred at India's Jama Masjid.

Following the September 11 attacks, several American mosques were targeted in attacks ranging from simple vandalism to arson.[19] Furthermore, the Jewish Defense League was suspected of plotting to bomb the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, California.[20] 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 attacks involving hundreds of Israelis angry at Arabs for a previous attack.[21][22][23]

Saudi influence

Although the Saudi involvement in mosques around the world can be traced back to the 1960s, it was not until later in the twentieth century that the government of Saudi Arabia became a large influence in foreign mosques.[24] Beginning in the 1980s, the Saudi Arabian government began to finance the construction of mosques in countries around the world. An estimated US$45 billion has been spent by the Saudi Arabian government financing mosques and 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[25]

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.[24] 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[24] and US$50 million[26] to the two mosques, respectively.

Architecture

Styles

Inside Shah Faisal Mosque

Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan, by Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay, was financed by approximately 1976 SAR130 million (2006 US$120 million)[27] from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Mosque architecture is a continuation of pre-Islamic architecture of palaces built during the Parthian and Sassanian dynasties of Persia. The Sarvestan palace from the Sassanian era is a great example of this. For example, the idea of having an arched entrance and a central dome is clearly one borrowed from pre-Islamic, Persian architecture. After the Arab invasion of Persia, this architecture, as well as elements of Sassanian culture, was used for the new Islamic world. Many forms of mosques have evolved in different regions of the Islamic world. Notable mosque types include the early Abbasid mosques, T-type mosques, and the central-dome mosques of Anatolia. The oil-wealth of the twentieth century drove a great deal of mosque construction using designs from leading non-Muslim modern architects and promoting the careers of important contemporary Muslim architects.

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 Mediterranean and Middle Eastern 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.[9] One of the most notable hypostyle mosques is the Mezquita de Córdoba in Spain, the building being supported by over 850 columns.[28] 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.[9]

Mosque of Cordoba Spain

Interior of the Mezquita, a hypostyle former mosque with columns arranged in grid pattern, in Córdoba, Spain.

The Ottomans introduced central dome mosques in the fifteenth 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.[29] This style was heavily influenced by the Byzantine religious architecture with its use of large central domes.[9]

Iwan mosques are most notable for their domed chambers and iwans, vaulted spaces opening out at one end. In iwan mosques, one or more iwans face a central courtyard that serves as the prayer hall. The style represents a borrowing from pre-Islamic Iranian architecture and has been used almost exclusively for mosques in Iran.

Hajja Soad's mosque took a pyramid shape which is a creative style in Islamic architecture.

Minarets

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.[30]

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.[31]

Before the five required daily prayers, a muezzin 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 call to prayer (adhan), 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 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.[13] The iqama, 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.

Domes

Flushing 33 Av 143 St mosque jeh

A small Persian style mosque with a dome in Flushing, Queens, New York City.

The domes, often placed directly above the main prayer hall, may signify the vaults of heaven and the sky.[32] As time progressed, dome 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 and Persia.[33] Some mosques have multiple, often smaller, domes in addition to the main large dome that resides at the center.

Prayer hall

Interiormosquekrekelstraatnijmegen

Left lectern, middle mihrab, right minbar

The prayer hall, also known as the musalla, has no furniture; chairs and pews are absent from the prayer hall so as to allow as many worshipers as possible to line the room.[34] Some mosques have Arabic calligraphy and Qur'anic verses on the walls to assist worshippers in focusing on the beauty of Islam and its holiest book, the Qur'an, as well as for decoration.[13]

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.[35] 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 khatib or some other speaker to offer a sermon (khutbah). The mihrab serves as the location where the imam leads the five daily prayers on a regular basis.[36]

Ablution facilities

Bassin-mosquee-saint-denis

The wudu (or ablution) area, where Muslims wash their hands, forearm, face and feet before they pray.

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.[28] 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.[34]

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.

"Makeshift" mosques

Mosque in bourke cemetery nsw australia

A simple heritage mosque in Australian outback contrasts with the grand designs of established Islamic communities. Bourke cemetery, New South Wales

Most especially in Metro Manila, Philippines area, is common for some Muslim-denominated bazaars (tiangge) to also have a makeshift mosque. They are made primarily for Muslim tenants, most especially when a mosque is not available on the vicinity. Such mosques can be seen in the Riverbanks Mall in Marikina and on the bazaar in the parking lot between Sta Lucia Mall and Robinsons Metro East in Pasig.

Rules and etiquette

Bayt al Mukarram

Baitul Mukarram (Dhaka), the National Mosque of Bangladesh. The structure resembles the Kaaba in Mecca.

Mosques, in accordance with Islamic practices, institute a number of rules intended to keep Muslims focused on worshipping Allah. 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

Appointment of a prayer leader is considered desirable, but not always obligatory.[37] The permanent prayer leader (imam) must be a free honest man and is authoritative in religious matters.[37] In mosques constructed and maintained by the government, the prayer leader is appointed by the ruler;[37] in private mosques, however, appointment is made by members of the congregation through majority voting. According to the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence, the man who built the mosque has a stronger claim to the title of imam, but this view is not shared by the other schools.[37]

Leadership at prayer falls into three categories, depending on the type of prayer: five daily prayers, Friday prayer, or optional prayers.[37] 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.[37] 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.[37]

All Muslim authorities hold the consensus opinion that only men may lead prayer for men.[37] Nevertheless women prayer leaders are allowed to lead prayer in front of all-female congregations.

Cleanliness

Zoetermeer Meerzicht Moskee Qibla (04)

Shoes storage.

All mosques have rules regarding cleanliness, as it is an essential part of the worshipper's 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.[38]

File:18062007525.jpg

Dress

Islam requires that its adherents wear clothes that portray modesty. As a result, although many mosques will not enforce violations, both men and women when attending a mosque must adhere to these guidelines. 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 hijab 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.[13]

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.[39] The walls within the mosque have few items, except for possibly Arabic calligraphy, so Muslims in prayer are not distracted. 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

Gebetsraum für Frauen der Khadija-Moschee

Ladies prayer hall in the Khadija mosque.

Islamic law requires men and women to be separated in the prayer hall; ideally, the women must occupy the rows behind the men. Muhammad preferred women to pray at home rather than at a mosque, and according to the hadith Muhammad said: "The best mosques for women are the inner parts of their houses", although Muhammad told Muslims not to forbid women from entering mosques. The second caliph Umar at one time prohibited women from attending mosques especially at night because he feared they may be teased by males, so he required them to pray at home.[40] 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.[9]

Islam in India

Male section of a mosque in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India.

Many mosques today will put the women behind a barrier or partition or in another room against most Islamic beliefs. 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 Jummah, are mandatory for men but optional for women. Although there are sections exclusively for women and children, the Grand Mosque in Mecca is desegregated.[41]

Non-Muslims in mosques

File:Hassan II Mosque.jpg

Under most interpretations of Islamic law, non-Muslims may be allowed into mosques, as long as they do not sleep or eat there. A dissenting opinion 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.[37]

The Qur'an 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. (Yusuf Ali [Qur'an 9:17])

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. (Yusuf Ali [Qur'an 9:28])

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 remained in practice in Saudi Arabia.[9] 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.[42] 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.[8] 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.[43][44]

Badshahi Mosque July 1 2005 pic32 by Ali Imran (1)

The Badshahi Mosque (Royal Mosque) in Lahore, Pakistan, built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, is open to non-Muslim tourists.

In modern-day Saudi Arabia, the Grand Mosque and all of Mecca are open only to Muslims. Likewise, the Masjid al-Nabawi and the city of Medina that surrounds it are also off-limits to those who do not practice Islam.[45] 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.[13]

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.)

At different times and places, non-Muslims living under Muslim rule were required to demonstrate deference to mosques. In most cities of Morocco, Jews were required to remove their shoes when passing by a mosque.[46] Danish traveler Carsten Niebuhr wrote that in 18th century Egypt "Jews and Christians had to dismount before several mosques in veneration of their sanctity."[47]

Dogs

Dogs are usually banned from entering mosques, but on September 24, 2008, the Muslim Law Council UK granted a blind Muslim permission to take his guide dog into the mosque via a Fatwa.[48]

See also

Lists of mosques

By location

By size

List of the Largest Mosques in the World

135px
Masjid al-Haram
Istiqlal Mosque
Istiqlal Mosque
Faisal mosque2
King Faisal Mosque

Rank Mosque Location Capacity Area (m²) Year Denom.

135px
Masjid al-Nabawi
RezaShrine
Shrine of Imam Ridhā
135px
Hassan II Mosque

1 Masjid al-Haram Mecca, Makkah Province, Saudi Arabia 4,000,000 * 400,800 638 Sunni
2 Masjid al-Nabawi Medina, Al Madinah Province, Saudi Arabia 1,000,000 * 400,500 622 Sunni
3 Imam Ridhā shrine Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan, Iran 700,000 598,657 818 Shia
4 Istiqlal Mosque Jakarta, Jakarta Province, Indonesia 120,000 95,000 1978 Sunni
5 Hassan II Mosque Casablanca, Gharb-Chrarda-Béni Hssen, Morocco 105,000 90,000 1993 Sunni
6 King Faisal Mosque Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan 74,000 43,295.8 1986 Sunni
7 Badshahi Mosque Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan 110,000 29,867.2 1678 Sunni
8 Jama Masjid Old Delhi, National Capital Territory of Delhi, India 85,000 1656 Sunni
9 Sheikh Zayed Mosque Abu Dhabi, Emirate of Abu Dhabi, UAE 40,000 22,000 2007 Sunni
10 Baitul Mukarram Dhaka, Dhaka Division, Bangladesh 30,000 1960 Sunni
11 Sultan Qaboos Mosque Muscat, Muscat Governorate, Oman 416,000 2001 Sunni
11 Id Kah Mosque Kashgar, Xinjiang, China 20,000 1442 Sunni
13 Masjid Negara Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory, Malaysia 15,000 1965 Sunni
14 Sultan Ahmed Mosque Istanbul, Istanbul Province, Turkey 10,000 1616 Sunni
15 Al-Fateh Grand Mosque Manama, Capital Governorate, Bahrain 7,000 1987 Sunni
16 Masjid al-Aqsa Old City, Jerusalem, Israel / Palestinian territories 5,000 c.700 Sunni
* The capacity figures for the Two Holy Mosques are given as their max capacity (during the Hajj period).


References

Books and journals
Encyclopedias
  • William H. McNeill, Jerry H. Bentley, David Christian, ed (2005). Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History. Berkshire Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0974309101. 
  • Gabriel Oussani, ed (1910). Catholic Encyclopedia. 
  • Paul Lagasse, Lora Goldman, Archie Hobson, Susan R. Norton, ed (2000). The Columbia Encyclopedia (6th ed.). Gale Group. ISBN 978-1593392369. 
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.. 
  • Erwin Fahlbusch, William Geoffrey Bromiley, ed (2001). Encyclopedia of Christianity (1st ed.). Eerdmans Publishing Company, and Brill. ISBN 0-8028-2414-5. 
  • John Bowden, ed (2005). Encyclopedia of Christianity (1st ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-522393-4. 
  • George Thomas Kurian, Graham T. T. Molitor, ed (1995). Encyclopedia of the Future. MacMillan Reference Books. ISBN 978-0028972053. 
  • P.J. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs, ed. Encyclopaedia of Islam Online. Brill Academic Publishers. ISSN 1573-3912. 
  • Richard C. Martin, Said Amir Arjomand, Marcia Hermansen, Abdulkader Tayob, Rochelle Davis, John Obert Voll, ed (2003). Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. MacMillan Reference Books. ISBN 978-0028656038. 
  • Jane Dammen McAuliffe, ed. Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an Online. Brill Academic Publishers. 
  • Lindsay Jones, ed (2005). Encyclopedia of Religion (2nd ed.). MacMillan Reference Books. ISBN 978-0028657332. 
  • Salamone Frank, ed (2004). Encyclopedia of Religious Rites, Rituals, and Festivals (1st ed.). Routledge. ISBN 978-0415941808. 
  • Peter N. Stearns, ed (2000). The Encyclopedia of World History Online (6th ed.). Bartleby. 
  • Josef W. Meri, ed (2005). Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 041-5966906. 
  • Wendy Doniger, ed (1999). Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions. Merriam-Webster. ISBN 087-7790442. 
  • Glasse Cyril, ed (2003). New Encyclopedia of Islam: A Revised Edition of the Concise Encyclopedia of Islam. AltaMira Press. ISSN 978-0759101906. 
  • Edward Craig, ed (1998). Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1st ed.). Routledge. ISBN 978-0415073103. 

Further reading

Notes and references

  1. "Cairo, Egypt". The Independent. http://travel.independent.co.uk/africa/article253491.ece. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  2. Budge, E.A. Wallis (2001-06-13). Budge's Egypt: A Classic 19th Century Travel Guide. Courier Dover Publications. pp. 123–128. ISBN 0-486-41721-2. 
  3. "Theoretical Issues of Islamic Architecture". Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation. http://www.muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=278. Retrieved 2006-04-07. 
  4. "Architecture in Christian Spain". Stanford University. http://medspains.stanford.edu/demo/themes/art_and_architecture/arch_christian_spain/index.html. Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  5. Cowen, Jill S. (July/August 1985). "Muslims in China: The Mosque". Saudi Aramco World. pp. 30–35. http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/198504/muslims.in.china-the.mosques.htm. Retrieved 2006-04-08. 
  6. "Mosques". Charlotte Country Day School. http://www.ccds.charlotte.nc.us/History/MidEast/04/Jpitts/Jpitts.htm. Retrieved 2006-04-07. 
  7. Lawton, John (January/February 1979). "Muslims in Europe: The Mosque". pp. 9–14. http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/198504/muslims.in.china-the.mosques.htm. Retrieved 2006-04-17. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 (PDF) The Mosque in America: A National Portrait. Council on American-Islamic Relations. 2001. http://www.cair-net.org/mosquereport/Masjid_Study_Project_2000_Report.pdf. Retrieved 2006-04-17. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Hillenbrand, R. "Masdjid. I. In the central Islamic lands". in P.J. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Encyclopaedia of Islam Online. Brill Academic Publishers. ISSN 1573-3912. 
  10. Wagner, William (2004). How Islam Plans to Change the World. Kregel Publications. p. 99. ISBN 0-8254-3965-5. "When the Moors were driven out of Spain in 1492, most of the mosques were converted into churches" 
  11. "'Id Prayers (Salatul 'Idain)". Compendium of Muslim Texts. University of Southern California. http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/pillars/prayer/Eid-Prayers_1.html. Retrieved 2006-04-08. 
  12. "Charity". Compendium of Muslim Texts. University of Southern California. http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/pillars/fasting/tajuddin/fast_51.html. Retrieved 2006-04-17. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 Maqsood, Ruqaiyyah Waris (2003-04-22). Teach Yourself Islam (2nd ed.). Chicago: McGraw-Hill. pp. 57–8, 72–5, 112–120. ISBN 0-07-141963-2. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Jamal, Amany. "The Role of Mosques in the Civic and Political Incorporation of Muslim American". Teachers' College – Columbia University. http://www.tc.edu/muslim-nyc/research/projects/role%20of%20muslims.html. Retrieved 2006-04-22. 
  15. Swanbrow, Diane (2005-06-23). "Study: Islam devotion not linked to terror". The University Record Online. http://www.umich.edu/~urecord/0405/Jun13_05/03.shtml. Retrieved 2007-02-24. 
  16. "Friday prayer plea for Iraq calm". BBC. 2006-02-24. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4747886.stm. Retrieved 2006-04-23. 
  17. Romey, Kristen M. (July/August 2004). "Flashpoint Ayodhya". Archaeology. http://www.archaeology.org/0407/abstracts/ayodhya.html. 
  18. Aizenman, N.C. (2006-06-02). "Suicide Bomber Kills 20 in Afghan Mosque". The Washington Post. p. A16. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/01/AR2005060100263.html. Retrieved 2006-04-23. 
  19. "IPA NY Voices That Must Be Heard". Indypressny.org. http://www.indypressny.org/article.php3?ArticleID=3113. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  20. "JDL Chairman, Follower Accused of Plotting to Bomb Mosque, Congressman". Associated Press via FOX News. 2001-12-13. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,40693,00.html. Retrieved 2006-04-23. 
  21. "Arafat orders immediate ceasefire". BBC. 2001-06-03. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1366719.stm. Retrieved 2006-04-23. 
  22. Harris, John (2006-04-22). "Paranoia, poverty and wild rumours - a journey through BNP country". The Guardian. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/farright/story/0,,1758974,00.html. Retrieved 2006-05-28. 
  23. Carlile, Jennifer. "Italians fear mosque plans". MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12927212/. Retrieved 2006-05-28. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Ottoway, David B. (2004-08-19). "U.S. Eyes Money Trails of Saudi-Backed Charities". The Washington Post. p. A1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A13266-2004Aug18. Retrieved 2007-02-24. 
  25. Kaplan, David E. (2003-12-15). "The Saudi Connection". U.S. News and World Report. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/031215/15terror.htm. Retrieved 2006-04-17. 
  26. "Islamic Center in Rome, Italy". King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz. http://www.kingfahdbinabdulaziz.com/main/m4506.htm. Retrieved 2006-04-17. 
  27. "King Faisal Mosque in Islamabad". King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz. http://www.kingfahdbinabdulaziz.com/main/m4201.htm. Retrieved 2006-06-25. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 "Religious Architecture and Islamic Cultures". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. http://web.mit.edu/4.614/www/handout02.html. Retrieved 2006-04-09. 
  29. "Vocabulary of Islamic Architecture". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Architecture/4-614Religious-Architecture-and-Islamic-CulturesFall2002/LectureNotes/detail/vocab-islam.htm#islam6. Retrieved 2006-04-09. 
  30. Walters, Brian (2004-05-17). "The Prophet's People". Call to Prayer: My Travels in Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Virtualbookworm Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 1-58939-592-1. "Its 210-meter minaret is the tallest in the world" 
  31. Hillenbrand, R. "Manara, Manar". in P.J. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Encyclopaedia of Islam Online. Brill Academic Publishers. ISSN 1573-3912. 
  32. Mainzer, Klaus (1996-06-01). "Art and Architecture". Symmetries of Nature: A Handbook for Philosophy of Nature and Science. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. p. 124. ISBN 3-11-012990-6. "the dome arching over the believers like the spherical dome of the sky" 
  33. Asher, Catherine B. (1992-09-24). "Aurangzeb and the Islamization of the Mughal style". Architecture of Mughal India. Cambridge University Press. p. 256. ISBN 0-521-26728-5. 
  34. 34.0 34.1 "Mosque FAQ". The University of Tulsa. http://www.utulsa.edu/iss/Mosque/MosqueFAQ.html. Retrieved 2006-04-09. 
  35. Bierman, Irene A. (1998-12-16). Writing Signs: Fatimid Public Text. University of California Press. p. 150. ISBN 0-520-20802-1. 
  36. "Terms 1: Mosque". University of Tokyo Institute of Oriental Culture. http://www.ioc.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~islamarc/WebPage1/htm_eng/index/keyword1_e.htm. Retrieved 2006-04-09. 
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 37.4 37.5 37.6 37.7 37.8 Abu al-Hasankok Ibn Muhammad Ibn Habib, Al-Mawardi (2000). The Ordinances of Government (Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyya w’al-Wilayat al-Diniyya). Lebanon: Garnet Publishing. pp. 184. ISBN 1-85964-140-7. 
  38. "Chapter 16. The Description of the Prayer". SunniPath Library. SunniPath. http://www.sunnipath.com/Resources/PrintMedia/Hadith/H0002P0016.aspx. Retrieved 2006-07-12. 
  39. Connecting Cultures, Inc. (Doc). Building Cultural Competency: Understanding Islam, Muslims, and Arab Culture. Connecting Cultures, Inc.. p. 15. http://www.maec.org/2004conferencepapers/ismail.doc. Retrieved 2006-07-12. 
  40. Doi, Abdur Rahman I.. "Women in Society". Compendium of Muslim Texts. University of Southern California. http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/humanrelations/womeninislam/womeninsociety.html#mosque. Retrieved 2006-04-15. 
  41. Rezk, Rawya (2006-01-26). "Muslim Women Seek More Equitable Role in Mosques". The Columbia Journalist. http://www.columbiajournalist.org/rw1_dinges/2005/article.asp?subj=national&course=rw1_dinges&id=624. Retrieved 2006-04-09. 
  42. "Morocco travel". CNN. http://edition.cnn.com/2003/TRAVEL/DESTINATIONS/02/25/morocco.travel.ap/index.html. Retrieved 2006-09-22. 
  43. Takim, Liyakatali (July 2004). "From Conversion to Conversation: Interfaith Dialogue in Post 9–11 America" (PDF). The Muslim World 94: 343–355. doi:10.1111/j.1478-1913.2004.00058.x. http://macdonald.hartsem.edu/articles/mw943f.pdf. Retrieved 2006-06-16.  Liyakatali Takim is a professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Denver
  44. "Laptop link-up: A day at the mosque". BBC. 2005-12-05. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4511780.stm. Retrieved 2006-06-16. 
  45. Goring, Rosemary (1997-05-01). Dictionary of Beliefs & Religions. Wordsworth Editions. ISBN 1-85326-354-0. 
  46. Stillman, Norman (1979). The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America. pp. 83. ISBN 0827601166. 
  47. Bat Ye'or (2002). Islam and Dhimmitude. Where Civilizations Collide. Madison/Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press/Associated University Presses. pp. 98. ISBN 0-8386-3943-7. 
  48. "BBC NEWS | England | Leicestershire | Ruling allows guide dog in mosque". News.bbc.co.uk. 24 September 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicestershire/7633623.stm. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 

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