Mosque

Mosque

Overview
A mosque is a place of worship
Place of worship
A place of worship or house of worship is an establishment or her location where a group of people comes to perform acts of religious study, honor, or devotion. The form and function of religious architecture has evolved over thousands of years for both changing beliefs and architectural style...

 for followers of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. The word is likely to have entered the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 through French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 (mosquée), from Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 (mesquita), from Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 (mezquita), and from Berber (tamezgida), ultimately originating in — ˈmæsdʒɪd. The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration
Prostration
Prostration is the placement of the body in a reverentially or submissively prone position. Major world religions employ prostration either as a means of embodying reverence for a noble person, persons or doctrine, or as an act of submissiveness to a supreme being or beings...

. 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 masjid dedicated for the daily five prayers and the larger masjid jāmi (مسجد جامع) where the daily five prayers and the Friday congregation sermons are held with a high volume of attendance.

There exist strict and detailed requirements in Sunni fiqh
Fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

 for a place of worship to be considered a masjid, with places that do not meet these requirements regarded as musallas There are stringent restrictions on the uses of the area formally demarcated as the masjid (which is often a small portion of the larger complex), and, in the Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

, once an area is formally designated as a masjid, it remains so until the Last Day.

The mosque serves as a place where Muslims can come together for salat
Salat
Salah is the practice of formal prayer in Islam. Its importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the Five Pillars of Sunni Islam, of the Ten Practices of the Religion of Twelver Islam and of the 7 pillars of Musta'lī Ismailis...

 (prayer) as well as a center for information, education, and dispute settlement.
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Encyclopedia
A mosque is a place of worship
Place of worship
A place of worship or house of worship is an establishment or her location where a group of people comes to perform acts of religious study, honor, or devotion. The form and function of religious architecture has evolved over thousands of years for both changing beliefs and architectural style...

 for followers of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. The word is likely to have entered the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 through French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 (mosquée), from Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 (mesquita), from Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 (mezquita), and from Berber (tamezgida), ultimately originating in — ˈmæsdʒɪd. The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration
Prostration
Prostration is the placement of the body in a reverentially or submissively prone position. Major world religions employ prostration either as a means of embodying reverence for a noble person, persons or doctrine, or as an act of submissiveness to a supreme being or beings...

. 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 masjid dedicated for the daily five prayers and the larger masjid jāmi (مسجد جامع) where the daily five prayers and the Friday congregation sermons are held with a high volume of attendance.

There exist strict and detailed requirements in Sunni fiqh
Fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

 for a place of worship to be considered a masjid, with places that do not meet these requirements regarded as musallas There are stringent restrictions on the uses of the area formally demarcated as the masjid (which is often a small portion of the larger complex), and, in the Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

, once an area is formally designated as a masjid, it remains so until the Last Day.

The mosque serves as a place where Muslims can come together for salat
Salat
Salah is the practice of formal prayer in Islam. Its importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the Five Pillars of Sunni Islam, of the Ten Practices of the Religion of Twelver Islam and of the 7 pillars of Musta'lī Ismailis...

 (prayer) 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
Quba Mosque
The Quba Mosque in the outlying environs of Medina in Saudi Arabia, is the oldest mosque in the world. Its first stones were positioned by the Islamic prophet Muhammad on his emigration from the city of Mecca to Medina and the mosque was completed by his companions...

 and Al-Masjid al-Nabawi
Al-Masjid al-Nabawi
Al-Masjid al-Nabawi , often called the Prophet's Mosque, is a mosque situated in the city of Medina. As the final resting place of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, it is considered the second holiest site in Islam by Muslims and is one of the largest mosques in the world...

 in the 7th century. Many mosques have elaborate domes, minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

s, and prayer halls. Mosques originated on the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

, but are now found in all inhabited continents.

Large mosques play sometimes a political role as well. In Islamic countries like Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 (after 2003), political subjects are preached by imams at Friday congregations on a regular basis. In other Islamic countries, imams are usually banned from mentioning political issues.

History



Grand entryways and tall towers, or minarets, have long been and continue to be closely associated with mosques. However, the first three masajid were very simple open spaces on the Arabian Peninsula. Masajid 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
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 became occupied by Muslim Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s as early as 640, and since then so many mosques have appeared throughout the country that its capital city, Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, has acquired the nickname of city of a thousand minarets. Egyptian mosques vary in amenities, as some have Islamic schools (madrassas) while others have hospitals or tombs. Built soon after the conquest of northwest Africa, the first mosque built in this region is the Great Mosque of Kairouan (in Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

) founded by the Umayyad general Uqba Ibn Nafi during the second half of the 7th century and considered as the oldest place of worship in the western Islamic world. The Great Mosque of Kairouan, which is one of the most significant and best preserved examples of early Islamic mosques, served due to its architectural characteristics as a model to many later mosques especially in North Africa and Andalusia. Mosques in Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 and Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 do not primarily reflect the architecture of Visigothic predecessors, but instead reflect the architecture introduced by the Muslim Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

. 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.

The first Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 mosque was established in the eighth century in Xi'an
Xi'an
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty...

. 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
Chinese architecture
Chinese architecture refers to a style of architecture that has taken shape in East Asia over many centuries. The structural principles of Chinese architecture have remained largely unchanged, the main changes being only the decorative details...

. It is distinguished from other buildings by its green roof (Buddhist temples are often built with a yellow roof). Mosques in western China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 incorporate more traditional elements seen in mosques in other parts of the world. Western Chinese mosques were more likely to incorporate minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

s and domes while eastern Chinese mosques were more likely to look like pagoda
Pagoda
A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower with multiple eaves common in Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other parts of Asia. Some pagodas are used as Taoist houses of worship. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function, most commonly Buddhist,...

s.


By the fifteenth century, Islam had become the dominant religion in Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

 and Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

'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
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

, Buddhist, and even Chinese
Chinese architecture
Chinese architecture refers to a style of architecture that has taken shape in East Asia over many centuries. The structural principles of Chinese architecture have remained largely unchanged, the main changes being only the decorative details...

 architectural influences. They lacked, for example, the ubiquitous Islamic dome
Dome
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory....

 which did not appear in Indonesia until the 19th century, but had tall timber, multi-level roof
Roof
A roof is the covering on the uppermost part of a building. A roof protects the building and its contents from the effects of weather. Structures that require roofs range from a letter box to a cathedral or stadium, dwellings being the most numerous....

s not too dissimilar to the pagodas of Balinese Hindu temples
Pura (Balinese temple)
A pura is a Balinese Hindu temple. and the place of worship for the adherents of Balinese Hinduism in Indonesia. Most of the puras are found on the island of Bali, as Hinduism is the predominant religion in the island; however many puras exist in other parts of Indonesia where there are significant...

 still common today. A number of significant early mosques survive, particularly along the north coast of Java. These include the Mesjid Agung
Masjid Agung Demak
Masjid Agung Demak is one of the oldest mosques in Indonesia, located in the center town of Demak, Central Java Indonesia...

 back in Demak
Demak, Indonesia
Demak is a main town in Central Java, Indonesia. It is the capital of Demak Regency and the location of the former Sultanate of Demak, briefly the strongest power on the island of Java....

, built in 1474, and the Grand Mosque of Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta (city)
Yogyakarta is a city in the Yogyakarta Special Region, Indonesia. It is renowned as a centre of classical Javanese fine art and culture such as batik, ballet, drama, music, poetry, and puppet shows. Yogyakarta was the Indonesian capital during the Indonesian National Revolution from 1945 to...

 that feature multi-level roofs. Javanese styles in turn influenced the architectural styles of mosques among Indonesia's Austronesian neighbors: Malaysia, Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

 and the southern Philippines.

In India, the first mosque has been claimed as Cheraman Juma Masjid
Cheraman Juma Masjid
Cheraman Juma Masjid is a mosque in Methala, Kodungallur Taluk in the Indian state of Kerala. The Cheraman Masjid is said to be the very first mosque in India, built in 629 AD by Malik lbn Dinar. But, according to Nathan Katz, the accuracy of these claims is uncertain. It is believed that this...

 in the early 7th century, but this claim is dubious. They diffused into a majority of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 only during the reign of the Mughal empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Mughals brought their own form of architecture that included pointed, onion-shaped domes, as seen in Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

's Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid, Delhi
The Masjid-i Jahān-Numā , commonly known as the Jama Masjid of Delhi, is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal,in the year 1644 CE and completed in the year 1658 AD, it is the largest and best-known mosque in India...

. Mughal style became the dominant feature in many of the old mosques in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...


and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

.

Mosques first arrived in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 (mostly present-day Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

) during the eleventh century, when many local Turks
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

 converted to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. Several of the first mosques in the Ottoman Empire, such as the Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey...

 in present-day Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, were originally churches or cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s in the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. The Ottomans
Ottoman Dynasty
The Ottoman Dynasty ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1299 to 1922, beginning with Osman I , though the dynasty was not proclaimed until Orhan Bey declared himself sultan...

 created their own design of mosques, which included large central domes, multiple minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

s, and open façades
Facade
A facade or façade is generally one exterior side of a building, usually, but not always, the front. The word comes from the French language, literally meaning "frontage" or "face"....

. The Ottoman style of mosque usually included elaborate columns, aisles, and high ceilings in the interior, while incorporating traditional elements, such as the mihrab
Mihrab
A mihrab is semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla; that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying...

. Today, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 is still home to many mosques that display this Ottoman style of architecture.

Mosques gradually diffused to different parts of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, 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
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, and Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, are home to mosques that feature traditional domes and minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

s. These large mosques in urban centers are supposed to serve as community and social center
Social center
Social centers are community spaces. They are buildings which are used for a range of disparate activities, which can be linked only by virtue of being not-for-profit. They might be organizing centers for local activities or they might provide support networks for minority groups such as prisoners...

s 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 Masjid in Woking
Woking
Woking is a large town and civil parish that shares its name with the surrounding local government district, located in the west of Surrey, UK. It is part of the Greater London Urban Area and the London commuter belt, with frequent trains and a journey time of 24 minutes to Waterloo station....

, the first purpose built mosque in the UK.

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. as more immigrants continue to arrive in the country, especially from South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, 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.

Conversion of places of worship



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 synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

s. One of the earliest examples of these kinds of conversions was in Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, where in 705 Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 Al-Walid I bought the church of St. John
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 from the Christians and had it rebuilt as a mosque in exchange for building a number of new churches for the Christians in Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

. 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
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

 caliph al-Ma'mun
Al-Ma'mun
Abū Jaʿfar Abdullāh al-Māʾmūn ibn Harūn was an Abbasid caliph who reigned from 813 until his death in 833...

 turned many churches into mosques. Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

 converted nearly all churches, monasteries, and chapels in Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, including the famous Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey...

, immediately after capturing the city in 1453
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 into mosques. In some instances mosques have been established on the places of Jewish or Christian sanctuaries associated with Biblical
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 personalities who were also recognized by Islam.

Mosques have also been converted for use by other religions, notably in southern Spain, following the conquest of the Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 in 1492. The most prominent of them is the Great Mosque of Cordoba
Mezquita
The Cathedral and former Great Mosque of Córdoba, in ecclesiastical terms the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción , and known by the inhabitants of Córdoba as the Mezquita-Catedral , is today a World Heritage Site and the cathedral of the Diocese of Córdoba...

. The Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 & Southeast Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 are other regions in the world where such instances occurred once no longer under Muslim rule.

Religious functions


The masjid jāmi, a central mosque, can play a role in religious activities such as teaching Qur'an and educating future imam
Imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

s.

Prayers



There are two holidays (Eids) in the Islamic calendar
Islamic calendar
The Hijri calendar , also known as the Muslim calendar or Islamic calendar , is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries , and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic...

, Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

 and Eid ul-Adha
Eid ul-Adha
Eid al-Adha or "Festival of Sacrifice" or "Greater Eid" is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a sheep— to sacrifice...

 during which there are special prayers held at mosques in the morning. These Eid prayers
Salat al Eid
Salat al Eid also known as Salat al Eidain is the special prayer offered to commemorate two Islamic festivals. Both the Eids are collectively known as Eidain in Arabic language...

 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 center
Convention center
A convention center is a large building that is designed to hold a convention, where individuals and groups gather to promote and share common interests. Convention centers typically offer sufficient floor area to accommodate several thousand attendees...

s 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 square
Town square
A town square is an open public space commonly found in the heart of a traditional town used for community gatherings. Other names for town square are civic center, city square, urban square, market square, public square, and town green.Most town squares are hardscapes suitable for open markets,...

s.

Ramadan events




Islam's holiest month, Ramadan
Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

, is observed through many events. As Muslims must fast
Sawm
Sawm is an Arabic word for fasting regulated by Islamic jurisprudence. In the terminology of Islamic law, Sawm means to abstain from eating, drinking , having sex and anything against Islamic law...

 during the day during Ramadan, mosques will host iftar
Iftar
Iftar , refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Iftar is one of the religious observances of Ramadan and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is done right after Maghrib time...

 dinners after sunset and the fourth required prayer of the day, maghrib
Maghrib
The Maghrib prayer , prayed just after sunset, is the fourth of five formal daily prayers performed by practicing Muslims.The formal daily prayers of Islam comprise different numbers of units, called rak'at. The Maghrib prayer has three obligatory rak'at. The first two fard rak'at are prayed...

. Food is provided, at least in part, by members of the community, thereby creating nightly potluck
Potluck
A potluck is a gathering of people where each person or group of people contributes a dish of food prepared by the person or the group of people, to be shared among the group...

 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
Suhoor
Suhoor , also called Sehur, Sehri, Sahari and Sahur in other languages, is an Islamic term referring to the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting, sawm, in daylight hours during the Islamic month of Ramadan. The meal is eaten before fajr, or dawn...

 meals before dawn
Dawn
Dawn is the time that marks the beginning of the twilight before sunrise. It is recognized by the presence of weak sunlight, while the sun itself is still below the horizon...

 to congregants attending the first required prayer of the day, fajr
Fajr
The Fajr prayer is the first of the five daily prayers offered by practising Muslims. The five daily prayers collectively form one pillar of the Five Pillars of Islam, in Sunni Islam, and one of the ten Practices of the Religion according to Shia Islam.The Fajr prayer is mentioned by name in the...

. 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
Alms
Alms or almsgiving is a religious rite which, in general, involves giving materially to another as an act of religious virtue.It exists in a number of religions. In Philippine Regions, alms are given as charity to benefit the poor. In Buddhism, alms are given by lay people to monks and nuns to...

 during Ramadan is regarded in Islam as especially honorable.

Following the last obligatory daily prayer (Isha'a
Isha'a
The Isha prayer is the night-time daily prayer recited by practising Muslims. It is the fifth of the five daily prayers– [islamic evening begins at maghrib]. The five daily prayers collectively are one pillar of the Five Pillars of Islam, in Sunni Islam, and one of the ten Practices of the...

) special, optional tarawih
Tarawih
Tarawih refers to extra congregational prayers performed by Muslims at night in the Islamic month of Ramadan. They are not compulsory; however, many Muslims pray these prayers in the night during Ramadan...

 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
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 (a Hafiz) will recite a segment of the book. 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
Laylat al-Qadr
Lailatul Qadr , the Night of Destiny, Night of Power, Night of Value, the Night of Decree or Night of Measures, is the anniversary of two very important dates in Islam that occurred in the month of Ramadan...

, the night Muslims believe that Muhammad first received Qur'anic revelations. On that night, between sunset
Sunset
Sunset or sundown is the daily disappearance of the Sun below the horizon in the west as a result of Earth's rotation.The time of sunset is defined in astronomy as the moment the trailing edge of the Sun's disk disappears below the horizon in the west...

 and sunrise
Sunrise
Sunrise is the instant at which the upper edge of the Sun appears above the horizon in the east. Sunrise should not be confused with dawn, which is the point at which the sky begins to lighten, some time before the sun itself appears, ending twilight...

, 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
Ramadan (calendar month)
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the month in which the Quran was revealed.Ramadan is the holiest of months in the Islamic calendar, and fasting in this month is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month is spent by Muslims fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to...

, larger mosques within the Muslim community will host i'tikaf
Itikaf
Iʿtikāf is an Islamic practice consisting of a period of retreat in a mosque for a certain number of days in accordance with the believer's own wish. It is most common during the month of Ramadan, especially the last ten days.- Definition of 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
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. 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.

Charity


The third of the Five Pillars of Islam
Five Pillars of Islam
The Pillars of Islam are basic concepts and duties for accepting the religion for the Muslims.The Shi'i and Sunni both agree on the essential details for the performance of these acts, but the Shi'a do not refer to them by the same name .-Pillars of Shia:According to Shia Islam, the...

 states that Muslims are required to give approximately one-fortieth of their wealth to charity as zakat
Zakat
Zakāt , one of the Five Pillars of Islam, is the giving of a fixed portion of one's wealth to charity, generally to the poor and needy.-History:Zakat, a practice initiated by Muhammed himself, has played an important role throughout Islamic history...

. 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
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

, 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
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

. Because of the importance in the community, mosques are used for preaching peaceful co-existence
Peaceful coexistence
Peaceful coexistence was a theory developed and applied by the Soviet Union at various points during the Cold War in the context of its ostensibly Marxist–Leninist foreign policy and was adopted by Soviet-influenced "Communist states" that they could peacefully coexist with the capitalist bloc...

 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
Greater Middle East
The Greater Middle East is a political term coined by the Bush administration to group together together various countries, pertaining to the Muslim world, specifically Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Various Central Asian countries are sometimes also included. Some speakers may use the...

 to use mosques as a way to promote civic participation. American mosques host voter registration
Voter registration
Voter registration is the requirement in some democracies for citizens and residents to check in with some central registry specifically for the purpose of being allowed to vote in elections. An effort to get people to register is known as a voter registration drive.-Centralized/compulsory vs...

 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 protest
Protest
A protest is an expression of objection, by words or by actions, to particular events, policies or situations. Protests can take many different forms, from individual statements to mass demonstrations...

s, sign petition
Petition
A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity are a form of prayer....

s, and otherwise be involved in politics.

Nevertheless, a link between political views
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 and mosque attendance can still be seen in other parts of the world. 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.

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
Babri Mosque
The Babri Mosque , was a mosque in Ayodhya, a city in the Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh, on Ramkot Hill . It was destroyed in 1992 when a political rally developed into a riot involving 150,000 people, despite a commitment to the Indian Supreme Court by the rally organisers that the 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 Hindu extremists on December 6, 1992 as the mosque was built by Babur
Babur
Babur was a Muslim conqueror from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty of South Asia. He was a direct descendant of Timur through his father, and a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother...

 allegedly on the site of a previous Hindu temple
Hindu temple
A Mandir, Devalayam, Devasthanam, or a Hindu temple is a place of worship for followers of Hinduism...

 marking the birthplace of Ram
Rama
Rama or full name Ramachandra is considered to be the seventh avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism, and a king of Ayodhya in ancient Indian...

. The controversy surrounded the mosque was directly linked to rioting
Bombay Riots
The Bombay Riots usually refers to the riots in Mumbai, in December 1992 and January 1993, in which around 900 people died. An estimated 575 Muslims and 275 Hindus died, and 2,000 people were injured in the riots. . An investigative commission was formed under Justice B.N. Srikrishna, but the...

 in Bombay (present-day Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

) as well as bombings in 1993
1993 Mumbai bombings
The 1993 Bombay bombings were a series of 13 bomb explosions that took place in Bombay , Maharashtra, India on Friday, 12 March 1993. The coordinated attacks were the most destructive bomb explosions in Indian history...

 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
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, 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
Suicide attack
A suicide attack is a type of attack in which the attacker expects or intends to die in the process.- Historical :...

 killed at least 19 people at an Afghan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 Shia mosque near Jade Maivand. In April 2006, two explosions
2006 Jama Masjid explosions
On April 14, 2006, two explosions occurred in the courtyard of Jama Masjid, a 17th-century mosque in Old Delhi . The first blast took place at 17:26 local time right in the middle of the courtyard next to Wazoo Khana which comprises a pond where worshippers wash their hands and feet before offering...

 occurred at India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

's Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid, Delhi
The Masjid-i Jahān-Numā , commonly known as the Jama Masjid of Delhi, is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal,in the year 1644 CE and completed in the year 1658 AD, it is the largest and best-known mosque in India...

.

Following the September 11 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

, several American mosques were targeted in attacks ranging from simple vandalism
Vandalism
Vandalism is the behaviour attributed originally to the Vandals, by the Romans, in respect of culture: ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable...

 to arson
Arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

. Furthermore, the Jewish Defense League
Jewish Defense League
The Jewish Defense League is a Jewish organization whose stated goal is to "protect Jews from antisemitism by whatever means necessary"...

 was suspected of plotting to bomb the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, California
Culver City, California
Culver City is a city in western Los Angeles County, California. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 38,883, up from 38,816 at the 2000 census. It is mostly surrounded by the city of Los Angeles, but also shares a border with unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. Culver...

. Similar attacks occurred throughout the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 following the 7 July 2005 London bombings
7 July 2005 London bombings
The 7 July 2005 London bombings were a series of co-ordinated suicide attacks in the United Kingdom, targeting civilians using London's public transport system during the morning rush hour....

. Outside the Western world
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

, in June 2001, the Hassan Bek Mosque
Hassan Bek Mosque
The Hassan Bek Mosque , , also known as the Hasan Bey Mosque, is considered to be one of the most well-known mosques located in Jaffa, which is now part of the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality in Israel...

 was the target of vandalism and attacks by hundreds of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

is.

Saudi influence



Although the Saudi
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 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. Beginning in the 1980s, the Saudi Arabian government began to finance the construction of mosques in countries around the world. An estimated US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

45 billion has been spent by the Saudi Arabian government financing mosques and Islamic schools in foreign countries. Ain al-Yaqeen
Ain al-Yaqeen
Ain al-Yaqeen is an Arab news magazine published weekly that focuses on political topics.-External links:* *...

, 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.

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
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, in 1992, mosques in war-torn Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 saw many contributions from Saudi citizens. The King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, California
Culver City, California
Culver City is a city in western Los Angeles County, California. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 38,883, up from 38,816 at the 2000 census. It is mostly surrounded by the city of Los Angeles, but also shares a border with unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. Culver...

 and the Islamic Cultural Center
Cultural center
A cultural center or cultural centre is an organization, building or complex that promotes culture and arts. Cultural centers can be neighborhood community arts organizations, private facilities, government-sponsored, or activist-run...

 of Italy in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 represent two of Saudi Arabia's largest investments in foreign mosques as former Saudi king Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud contributed US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

8 million and US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

50 million to the two mosques, respectively.

Styles




Arab-plan or hypostyle
Hypostyle
In architecture, a hypostyle hall has a roof which is supported by columns, as in the Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak. The word hypostyle comes from the Ancient Greek hypóstȳlos meaning "under columns"...

 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 column
Column
A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a vertical structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces...

s and supports
Support (structure)
A support can refer to a variety of structures in architecture that includes arches, beams, columns, balconies, and stretchers....

. One of the most notable hypostyle mosques is the Mezquita de Córdoba in Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, the building being supported by over 850 columns. Frequently, hypostyle mosques have outer arcades
Arcade (architecture)
An arcade is a succession of arches, each counterthrusting the next, supported by columns or piers or a covered walk enclosed by a line of such arches on one or both sides. In warmer or wet climates, exterior arcades provide shelter for pedestrians....

 so that visitors can enjoy the shade. Arab-plan mosques were constructed mostly under the Umayyad and Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

 dynasties; subsequently, however, the simplicity of the Arab plan limited the opportunities for further development, the mosques consequently losing popularity.



The first separate brand within mosque designs startet appearing in Persia. The Persians had inherited a rich architectural legacy from the earlier Persian dynasties, and they started incorporating elements from earlier Parthian
Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire , also known as the Arsacid Empire , was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia...

 and Sassanid
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 palace-designs into their mosques, influenced by buildings such as the Palace of Ardashir
Palace of Ardashir
Castle of Ardeshir e Babakan , also known as the Atash-kadeh آتشکده, is a castle located on the slopes of the mountain on which Ghal'eh Dokhtar is situated on. Built in AD 224 by Ardashir I of the Sassanian Empire, it is located two kilometres north of the ancient city of Gor, i.e...

 and the Sarvestan Palace
Sarvestan Palace
The Sassanid Palace at Sarvestan is a Sassanid-era building in the Iranian province of Sarvestan, some 90 km southeast from the city of Shiraz. The palace was built in the 5th century AD, and was either a gubernatorial residence or a Zoroastrian fire temple.-History:The Sarvestan Palace was built...

. Thus, Islamic architecture
Islamic architecture
Islamic architecture encompasses a wide range of both secular and religious styles from the foundation of Islam to the present day, influencing the design and construction of buildings and structures in Islamic culture....

 started witnessing the introduction of such structures as domes and large, arched entrances, referred to as iwans. During Seljuq rule
Seljuq dynasty
The Seljuq ; were a Turco-Persian Sunni Muslim dynasty that ruled parts of Central Asia and the Middle East from the 11th to 14th centuries...

, 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 Safavid
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

s, firmly established the courtyard facade of such mosques, with the towering gateways at every side, as more important than the actual buildings themselves, and they typically took the form of a square-shaped, central courtyard with large entrances at each side, giving the impression of being gateways to the spiritual world. Soon, a distinctly Persian style of mosques started appearing that would significantly influence the designs of later Timurid
Timurid Dynasty
The Timurids , self-designated Gurkānī , were a Persianate, Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Iran, modern Afghanistan, and modern Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of contemporary Pakistan, North India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the...

, and also Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

, mosque designs.

The Ottomans
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 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. This style was heavily influenced by the Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 religious architecture
Religious architecture
Sacred architecture is a religious architectural practice concerned with the design and construction of places of worship and/or sacred or intentional space, such as churches, mosques, stupas, synagogues, and temples...

 with its use of large central domes. Hajja Soad's mosque took a pyramid
Pyramid
A pyramid is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge at a single point. The base of a pyramid can be trilateral, quadrilateral, or any polygon shape, meaning that a pyramid has at least three triangular surfaces...

 shape which is a creative style in Islamic architecture.

The Faisal Mosque
Faisal Mosque
The Faisal Mosque is the largest mosque in Pakistan and is located in the national capital city of Islamabad.Faisal Mosque is conceived as the National Mosque of Pakistan...

 in Islamabad
Islamabad
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and the tenth largest city in the country. Located within the Islamabad Capital Territory , the population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.7 million in 2011...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 in a relatively unusual design fuses contemporary lines with the more traditional look of an Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

's tent, with its large triangular prayer hall and four minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

s. However, unlike traditional mosque design, it lacks a dome. The mosque's architecture is a departure from the long history of South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

n Islamic architecture. It is one of the most outstanding and modern Islamic architecture examples in the world.

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
Hassan II Mosque
The Hassan II Mosque is a religious building in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the largest mosque in the country and the 7th largest mosque in the world. Its minaret is the world's tallest at .It stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic...

 in Casablanca
Casablanca
Casablanca is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region.Casablanca is Morocco's largest city as well as its chief port. It is also the biggest city in the Maghreb. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture...

, Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

.

The first mosques had no minarets, and even nowadays the most conservative Islamic movements, like Wahhabis
Wahhabism
Wahhabism is a religious movement or a branch of Islam. It was developed by an 18th century Muslim theologian from Najd, Saudi Arabia. Ibn Abdul Al-Wahhab advocated purging Islam of what he considered to be impurities and innovations...

, avoid building minarets, seeing them as ostentatious and hazard
Hazard
A hazard is a situation that poses a level of threat to life, health, property, or environment. Most hazards are dormant or potential, with only a theoretical risk of harm; however, once a hazard becomes "active", it can create an emergency situation. A hazard does not exist when it is not...

ous in case of collapse. The first minaret was constructed in 665 in Basra
Basra
Basra is the capital of Basra Governorate, in southern Iraq near Kuwait and Iran. It had an estimated population of two million as of 2009...

 during the reign of the Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 Muawiyah I
Muawiyah I
Muawiyah I was the first Caliph of the Umayyad Dynasty. After the conquest of Mecca by the Muslims, Muawiyah's family converted to Islam. Muawiyah is brother-in-law to Muhammad who married his sister Ramlah bint Abi-Sufyan in 1AH...

. Muawiyah encouraged the construction of minarets, as they were supposed to bring mosques on par with Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 churches with their bell tower
Bell tower
A bell tower is a tower which contains one or more bells, or which is designed to hold bells, even if it has none. In the European tradition, such a tower most commonly serves as part of a church and contains church bells. When attached to a city hall or other civic building, especially in...

s. 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.
The oldest standing minaret in the world is the minaret of the Great Mosque of Kairouan in Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

, built between the 8th and the 9th century, it is a massive square tower consisting of three superimposed tiers of gradual size and decor.

Before the five required daily prayers, a muezzin
Muezzin
A muezzin , or muzim, is the chosen person at a mosque who leads the call to prayer at Friday services and the five daily times for prayer from one of the mosque's minarets; in most modern mosques, electronic amplification aids the muezzin in his task.The professional muezzin is chosen for his...

 calls the worshippers to prayer
Salat
Salah is the practice of formal prayer in Islam. Its importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the Five Pillars of Sunni Islam, of the Ten Practices of the Religion of Twelver Islam and of the 7 pillars of Musta'lī Ismailis...

 from the minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

. In many countries like Singapore where Muslims are not the majority, mosques are prohibited from loudly broadcasting the call to prayer (adhan
Adhan
The adhān is the Islamic call to prayer, recited by the muezzin at prescribed times of the day. The root of the word is meaning "to permit"; another derivative of this word is , meaning "ear"....

), 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
Adhan
The adhān is the Islamic call to prayer, recited by the muezzin at prescribed times of the day. The root of the word is meaning "to permit"; another derivative of this word is , meaning "ear"....

 as it is a recommended practice or sunnah
Sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...

 of the Islamic prophet
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

 Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

. At mosques that do not have minarets, the adhan is called instead from inside the mosque or somewhere else on the ground. The iqama
Iqama
The word iqamah or ikamet refers to the second call to Islamic Prayer, given immediately before the prayer begins. Generally speaking, the iqamah is given more quickly and in a more monotone fashion, as compared to the adhan, as it is addressed to those already in the mosque rather than a...

, which is similar to the adhan
Adhan
The adhān is the Islamic call to prayer, recited by the muezzin at prescribed times of the day. The root of the word is meaning "to permit"; another derivative of this word is , meaning "ear"....

 and said immediately before the start of prayer, is usually not said from the minaret even if a mosque has one.

Domes



The domes, often placed directly above the main prayer hall, may signify the vaults of heaven
Jannah
Jannah , is the Islamic conception of paradise. The Arabic word Jannah is a shortened version meaning simply "Garden". According to Islamic eschatology, after death, one will reside in the grave until the appointed resurrection on . Muslims believe that the treatment of the individual in the life...

 and the sky. As time progressed, domes grew, from occupying a small part of the roof near the mihrab
Mihrab
A mihrab is semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla; that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying...

 to encompassing the whole roof above the prayer hall. Although domes normally took on the shape of a hemisphere, the Mughals
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 popularized onion-shaped domes in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

. 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 musllliei, 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. Some mosques have Arabic calligraphy and Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

ic 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.

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 other areas of the mosque complex (although such uses may be restricted by the conditions of the waqf
Waqf
A waqf also spelled wakf formally known as wakf-alal-aulad is an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law, typically denoting a building or plot of land for Muslim religious or charitable purposes. The donated assets are held by a charitable trust...

 that owns the mosque).

In many mosques, especially the early congregational mosques, the prayer hall has the hypostyle form (the roof held up by a multitude of columns). 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
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

.

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
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

, the location of the Kaaba
Kaaba
The Kaaba is a cuboid-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam. The Qur'an states that the Kaaba was constructed by Abraham, or Ibraheem, in Arabic, and his son Ishmael, or Ismaeel, as said in Arabic, after he had settled in Arabia. The building has a mosque...

. Congregants pray in rows parallel to the qiblah wall and thus arrange themselves so they face Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

. In the qiblah wall, usually at its center, is the mihrab
Mihrab
A mihrab is semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla; that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying...

, a niche or depression indicating the direction of Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

. Usually the mihrab is not occupied by furniture either. Sometimes, especially during Friday prayers, a raised minbar
Minbar
A minbar is a pulpit in the mosque where the imam stands to deliver sermons or in the Hussainia where the speaker sits and lectures the congregation...

 or pulpit is located to the side of the mihrab for a khatib
Khatib
Khatib or khateeb is an Arabic term used to describe a person who delivers the sermon , during the Friday prayer and Eid prayers....

 or some other speaker to offer a sermon (khutbah). The mihrab
Mihrab
A mihrab is semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla; that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying...

 serves as the location where the imam leads the five daily prayers on a regular basis.

Ablution facilities



As ritual purification precedes all prayers, mosques often have ablution
Wudu
Wuḍhu is the Islamic procedure for washing parts of the body using water often in preparation for formal prayers...

 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. 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.

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
Clinic
A clinic is a health care facility that is primarily devoted to the care of outpatients...

 to libraries
Library
In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

 to gym
Gym
The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, that mean a locality for both physical and intellectual education of young men...

nasiums, to serve the community.

Makeshift and temporary structures for Islamic worship


A temporary place set aside for Islamic worship is called a musallah (Jamaat Khana in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

). A musallah is often not part of a permanent endowment (waqf), or it is otherwise not intended to become a permanent legal masjid (as defined in the Sharia). Often musallahs are used while a community looks for a piece of land for a permanent masjid, or the establishment of a masjid is not practical at the time. They could be located in rented apartments, industrial units or store fronts.

An example of this can be found in Metro Manila
Metro Manila
Metropolitan Manila , the National Capital Region , or simply Metro Manila, is the metropolitan region encompassing the City of Manila and its surrounding areas in the Philippines...

, Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, where is common for some Muslim-denominated bazaars (tiangge) to also have a musallah. 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



The structure resembles the Kaaba
Kaaba
The Kaaba is a cuboid-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam. The Qur'an states that the Kaaba was constructed by Abraham, or Ibraheem, in Arabic, and his son Ishmael, or Ismaeel, as said in Arabic, after he had settled in Arabia. The building has a mosque...

 in Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

. Mosques, in accordance with Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic practices, institute a number of rules intended to keep Muslims focused on worshipping Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

. 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. The permanent prayer leader (imam) must be a free honest man and is authoritative in religious matters. In mosques constructed and maintained by the government, the prayer leader is appointed by the ruler; in private mosques, however, appointment is made by members of the congregation through majority voting
Majority rule
Majority rule is a decision rule that selects alternatives which have a majority, that is, more than half the votes. It is the binary decision rule used most often in influential decision-making bodies, including the legislatures of democratic nations...

. According to the Hanafi
Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 school
Madhhab
is a Muslim school of law or fiqh . In the first 150 years of Islam, there were many such "schools". In fact, several of the Sahābah, or contemporary "companions" of Muhammad, are credited with founding their own...

 of Islamic jurisprudence
Fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

, 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.

Leadership at prayer falls into three categories, depending on the type of prayer: five daily prayers, Friday prayer, or optional prayers. According to the Hanafi and Maliki
Maliki
The ' madhhab is one of the schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. It is the second-largest of the four schools, followed by approximately 25% of Muslims, mostly in North Africa, West Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and in some parts of Saudi Arabia...

 school of Islamic jurisprudence, appointment of a prayer leader for Friday service is mandatory because otherwise the prayer is invalid. The Shafi'i
Shafi'i
The Shafi'i madhhab is one of the schools of fiqh, or religious law, within the Sunni branch of Islam. The Shafi'i school of fiqh is named after Imām ash-Shafi'i.-Principles:...

 and Hanbali
Hanbali
The Hanbali school is one the schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. The jurisprudence school traces back to Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal but was institutionalized by his students. Hanbali jurisprudence is considered very strict and conservative, especially regarding questions of dogma...

 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. 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.

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

Cleanliness



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
Wudu
Wuḍhu is the Islamic procedure for washing parts of the body using water often in preparation for formal prayers...

. 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.

Dress


Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 requires that its adherents wear clothes
Islam and clothing
Adherents of Islam are concerned with clothing in two contexts: clothing for everyday wear, inside and outside the house; and clothing required in specifically religious contexts....

 that portray modesty
Modesty
Standards of modesty are aspects of the culture of a country or people, at a given point in time, and is a measure against which an individual in society may be judged....

. 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
Hijab
The word "hijab" or "'" refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general....

 or other covering. Many Muslims, regardless of their ethnic background, wear Middle eastern
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 clothing associated with Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

ic Islam to special occasions and prayers at mosques.

Concentration


As mosques are places of worship, those within the mosque are required to remain respectful to those in prayer
Salat
Salah is the practice of formal prayer in Islam. Its importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the Five Pillars of Sunni Islam, of the Ten Practices of the Religion of Twelver Islam and of the 7 pillars of Musta'lī Ismailis...

. 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. 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 image
Image
An image is an artifact, for example a two-dimensional picture, that has a similar appearance to some subject—usually a physical object or a person.-Characteristics:...

s and symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

s 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


Islamic law does not require men and women to be separated in the prayer hall; there is nothing written in the Qur'an 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. Traditionalists try to argue that Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 preferred women to pray at home rather than at a mosque, and they cite a hadith 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 caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 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. 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.

Many mosques today will put the women behind a barrier or partition or in another room against most Islamic beliefs. Mosques in South
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 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
Masjid al-Haram
Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām is the largest mosque in the world. Located in the city of Mecca, it surrounds the Kaaba, the place which Muslims worldwide turn towards while performing daily prayers and is Islam's holiest place...

 in Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 is desegregated. There is an important movement in the United States, called the "Pray In" movement, in which women are claiming their right to pray in the main halls of mosques, rather than in separate rooms.

Non-Muslims in mosques



Under most interpretations of Islamic law
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

, 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
Maliki
The ' madhhab is one of the schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. It is the second-largest of the four schools, followed by approximately 25% of Muslims, mostly in North Africa, West Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and in some parts of Saudi Arabia...

 school
Madhhab
is a Muslim school of law or fiqh . In the first 150 years of Islam, there were many such "schools". In fact, several of the Sahābah, or contemporary "companions" of Muhammad, are credited with founding their own...

 of Islamic jurisprudence
Fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

, who argue that non-Muslims may not be allowed into mosques under any circumstances.

The Qur'an addresses the subject of non-Muslims, and particularly polytheists
Polytheism
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals....

, in mosques in two verses in its ninth chapter, Sura At-Tawba
At-Tawba
Surah At-Tawbah also known as al-Bara'ah "the Ultimatum" in many hadith is the ninth chapter of the Qur'an, with 129 verses. It is one of the last Madinan Suras. It is the only Sura of the Qur'an that does not begin with the bismillah...

. 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
Abdullah Yusuf Ali
Hafiz Abdullah Yusuf Ali, CBE, FRSL was an Indian Islamic scholar who translated the Qur'an into English. His translation of the Qur'an is one of the most widely-known and used in the English-speaking world....

 )


The twenty-eighth verse of the same chapter is more specific as it only considers polytheists in the Sacred Mosque, the Masjid al-Haram
Masjid al-Haram
Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām is the largest mosque in the world. Located in the city of Mecca, it surrounds the Kaaba, the place which Muslims worldwide turn towards while performing daily prayers and is Islam's holiest place...

 in Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

:
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
Abdullah Yusuf Ali
Hafiz Abdullah Yusuf Ali, CBE, FRSL was an Indian Islamic scholar who translated the Qur'an into English. His translation of the Qur'an is one of the most widely-known and used in the English-speaking world....

 )


According to Ahmad ibn Hanbal
Ahmad ibn Hanbal
Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal Abu `Abd Allah al-Shaybani was an important Muslim scholar and theologian. He is considered the founder of the Hanbali school of fiqh...

, these verses were followed to the letter at the times of Muhammad, when Jews and Christians, considered monotheists
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

, were still allowed to the Masjid al-Haram
Masjid al-Haram
Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām is the largest mosque in the world. Located in the city of Mecca, it surrounds the Kaaba, the place which Muslims worldwide turn towards while performing daily prayers and is Islam's holiest place...

. However, the Umayyad caliph Umar II
Umar II
Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz was an Umayyad caliph who ruled from 717 to 720. He was also a cousin of the former caliph, being the son of Abd al-Malik's younger brother, Abd al-Aziz. He was also a great-grandson of the companion of the Prophet Muhammad, Umar bin Al-Khattab.-Lineage:Umar was born around...

 later forbade non-Muslims from entering mosques, and his ruling remains in practice in present day Saudi Arabia. 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
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 do not allow entry to non-Muslims. For example, the Hassan II Mosque
Hassan II Mosque
The Hassan II Mosque is a religious building in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the largest mosque in the country and the 7th largest mosque in the world. Its minaret is the world's tallest at .It stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic...

 in Casablanca
Casablanca
Casablanca is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region.Casablanca is Morocco's largest city as well as its chief port. It is also the biggest city in the Maghreb. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture...

 is one of only two mosques in Morocco currently open to non-Muslims.

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
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, 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.

In modern-day Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, the Grand Mosque and all of Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 are open only to Muslims. Likewise, the Masjid al-Nabawi and the city of Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

 that surrounds it are also off-limits to those who do not practice Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. 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
Decorum
Decorum was a principle of classical rhetoric, poetry and theatrical theory that was about the fitness or otherwise of a style to a theatrical subject...

 for mosques.

In modern Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 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
Masjid Negara
The National Mosque of Malaysia is located in Kuala Lumpur. It has a capacity of 15,000 people and is situated among of beautiful gardens. The original structure was designed by a three-person team from the Public Works Department - UK architect Howard Ashley, and Malaysians Hisham Albakri and...

) provide robes and headscarves for visitors who are deemed inappropriately attired.

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; in 18th century Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Jews and Christians had to dismount before several mosques in veneration of their sanctity.

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.

See also


  • Eidgah
    Eidgah
    Eidgah or Idgah is an open-air mosque usually outside the city to perform Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha salah.It was a practice of Prophet Muhammad to perform Eid Salaah in Eidgah at the outskirts of the city...

  • Holiest sites in Islam
  • Imam (Sunni Islam)
    Imam (Sunni Islam)
    In Sunni Islam, an imam khatib is a leader, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. This compound title is merely a common combination of two elementary offices: leader of the congregational prayer, which in larger mosques is performed at the times of all daily prayers; and...

  • Imamah (Shi'a doctrine)
    Imamah (Shi'a doctrine)
    Imāmah is the Shia doctrine of religious, spiritual and political leadership of the Ummah. The Shīa believe that the A'immah are the true Caliphs or rightful successors of Muḥammad, and further that Imams are possessed of divine knowledge and authority as well as being part of the Ahl al-Bayt,...

  • List of mosques — famous mosques around the world
  • Salah

By location



External links