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Al Muayyad mosque Cairo Egypt

Al Muayyad mosque Cairo Egypt

Al Muayyad mosque Cairo, Egypt information, tours, Booking

Al Muayyad mosque Cairo and complex situated next to Bab Zuweila in Cairo. In fact, Al Muayyad complex contained a madrasa-khanqah, mosque and two mausoleums. Al Muayyad mosque Cairo and complex built between 1415 and 1422. Moreover, Al Muayyad Madrasa dedicated to Sufis only. The curriculum comprised the study of official religion according to the four rites. It is unlike Barquq’s madrasa-khanqah. In Barquq’s madrasa-khanqah, students dwelt under the same roof. They enjoyed exposure to each other’s teachings and religious practices. Al Muayyad mosque Cairo and complex built by Sultan Al Muayyad. Sultan Al Muayyad (Al Mu’ayyad) was a pious and oppressive man, but he was also a musician and poet. His reign cursed by plague and by his own unusual currency reforms.

When he died, everyone engaged in choosing his successor. Nobody attended his funeral and his body wasn’t wrapped with a towel. Al Muayyad mosque and it’s minarets became a land mark of Cairo. The site had unpleasant connotations because there was a prison adjoining Bab Zuweila. That is why they say that Al Muayyad was lucky to live when he was a prince. Sultan Al Muayyad Shaykh was a Burgi or Circassian Mamluk. In fact, he served as sultan between 1412 and 1421. Al-Maqrizi relates that during the reign of Farag ibn Barquq, Al Mu’ayyad captured. And he thrown into the prison on this site. He suffered from the lice, the fleas and vowed. When he came to power he would transform the infested prison into a “place for the education of scholars”.

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Once he became sultan, he soon fulfilled his promise. Moreover, he spent some 40,000 dinars on its construction. “Marble taken from everywhere”. It relates the 15th century historian al-Taghribirdi, “even from (private) houses and palaces. The prize of marble in Egypt soon rose to astronomical height for the vast demand. It also does to the big dimensions of Al Muayyad mosque Cairo. Al Muayyad mosque Cairo became indeed the most beautiful mosque which built in Cairo. It is because of decoration and the use of marbles. Many donkeys occupied to carry away loads of bones of the dead which found in the prison. Due to the Sultan’s lavish endowments, the madrasa became one of the most prominent academic institutions. A large library collected. The most eminent scholars of the day filled professorial chairs.

Ibn Hagar al-‘Asqalani was The most famous specialist in Quranic exegesis in Egypt. He installed as lecturer in Shafi’i jurisprudence. There was a great ceremony for the opening of Al Muayyad madrasa. It was when Al Muayyad and his Mamluk entourage came down from the Citadel. The water basin in the middle of the vast courtyard filled with liquefied sugar and sweets. Al Muayyad mosque Cairo had three minarets. This is including the two we see above the towers of Bab Zuweila. They are twins. The third one, near the western entrance, was different in appearance. It destroyed sometime during the 19th century. The two remaining ones, though they present no innovation in the evolution of minarets. They are particularly slender and elegant with their zigzag carved shafts.

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Noteworthy, is the signature of their architect. Moreover, they carved on a cartouche above the entrance to their staircases. They are on the northern side of each shaft and dating to 1419 and 1420 (AD). In fact, his name was al-Mu’allim Muhammad Ibn Al Qazzaz. This is the only which known signature of a Mamluk architect on a building. There is a story which related to the remaining minarets. It seems that after their completion, one began to lean dangerously towards one of the neighboring buildings. It decided to tear down the newly built minaret and rebuild it. The demolition work alone took a whole day, during which one of the local workers killed by falling pieces. Afterwards, Bab Zuweila closed for a whole month.

In fact, Al Muayyad mosque Cairo had four facades and four entrances. Moreover, the two main facades are the one parallel to Bab Zuweila. It is on the site of the Fatimid southern city wall. And which rebuilt in the 19th century. The facade is perpendicular to Bab Zuweila on its left with the main portal. Furthermore, the muqarnas portal is of grand proportions. It enhanced by a pishtaq or wall above the entrance that is higher than the others. A conch rests on a large vault. It is where nine tiers of dripping stalactites have incorporated. A band of carved stone inlaid with marble and red and turquoise colored stones frames the doorway. The panels on either side of the portal have examples of square Kufic. They are an arrangement of the shahada.

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Shahada is the first pillar of Islam, “There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”Over the portal and on the bays to either side of the door is a Quranic inscription. It used in religious buildings. The door is indeed a masterpiece of bronze metalwork. In fact, it taken, along with a bronze chandelier from Sultan Hassan mosque. Moreover, it was against payment of a sum of five hundred dinar. Islamic law prohibits the acquisition of land or other properties for a new foundation. Once endowed, a property cannot change owners. Maqrizi mentions many such illegal acts connected with the foundation of religious buildings. Inside the complex, the vestibule covered by a magnificent groin cross-vault.

Moreover, it flanked by two half-domes on stalactites. It is perhaps the most remarkable feature of the entire complex. Today, one enters Al Muayyad mosque Cairo, he thinks it is a mausoleum. There was direct access into the courtyard. Furthermore, the mausoleum dome has an exterior like that of Faraj Ibn Barquq. In fact, it is smaller and has two cenotaphs. This is where Sultan Al Muayyad and his son buried. In fact, one of the cenotaphs is larger than the other. It is with remarkable Kufic inscriptions in marble which crafted during the Ikhshidid. Their texts are Quranic. In fact, they taken from an earlier building. These “foliate” beginnings lead to lush arabesque backgrounds for scripts.

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On the top part of the north western wall of the mausoleum, there are two blind windows. Moreover, they feature carved stucco decorations in the Andalusia style. The hypo-style plan of the Congregational mosque is like that of the khanqah of Faraj Ibn Barquq. But on columns rather than piers. This is a late example in Cairo of the open courtyard plan on a large scale. In fact, it is the last such hypo style mosque to build in Cairo. There is an ablution fountain in the middle of the courtyard. Of the four iwans, only the sanctuary section survived. There were plans for it to be flanked on either side by a domed mausoleum. In fact, only one built. This is where the tombs of the female members of the Family buried, though there is no mausoleum.

The sanctuary decorated with a high marble dado and a polychrome marble prayer niche. Moreover, it is with a row of inlaid niches which separated by blue glass colonnettes. A painted gilded wooden ceiling, stucco grilled windows and beautiful doors inlaid with wood and ivory. Besides to the marble columns with their pre-Islamic capitals. They contribute to the richness of the decoration. The prayer hall restored during the 19th century. It was when Ibrahim Pasha, the son of Muhammad ‘Ali, installed Turkish tiles. That were inset into the qibla wall. It was at that time that the ruined iwans torn down but only the western one rebuilt. The rest of the area turned into a garden. It was once again restored in more recent times.

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In 2001, the Ministry of Culture removed the garden and. It rebuilt the missing arcades around the courtyard. Al Muayyad mosque also has its original wood and ivory pulpit. A doorway at one end of the sanctuary leads to the second story platform of the Bab Zuweila. It also leads to the minarets. In fact, the living quarters of the Sufi students were not around the courtyard as they are at Faraj’s khanqah. They formed a separate structure consisting of a courtyard. They surrounded by several stories of living units. It no longer exits. On the western side of Al Muayyad mosque. Sultan Al Muayyad built a hammam (bath). The pendentive in it that once supported a dome have remarkable stalactites.

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Al Rifai mosque Cairo Egypt Islamic Cairo tour

Al Rifai mosque Cairo Egypt

Al Rifai mosque Cairo, Egypt information, tours, booking

Al Rifai mosque Cairo located next to Sultan Hassan in Salah El Din Square, near to The Citadel. In fact, Al Rifai mosque separated from the mosque of Sultan Hassan by a pedestrian street. Once you enter this lane you will overwhelmed by the huge structure of the Al Rifai Mosque Cairo. Khoshiar Hanem, the mother of Khedive Ismail, was the one who wanted the mosque built in 1869. In fact, Al Rifai mosque’s construction took 40 years. It now contains the tombs of many Royal Family members in Egypt. It was the reason why Khoshiar Hanem wanted it built in the first place. She appointed Hussein Fahmy Pasha to be in charge of Al Rifai Mosque Cairo design. This enormous structure built upon the site of the former Rifa’i zawiya. It acquired and demolished by the Princess Khushiar.

Shaykh Ali Al Rifai was a medieval era Islamic saint. Zawiya was a pilgrimage site for locals. Those who believed that the tomb had mystical healing properties. Al Rifai Mosque Cairo houses his tomb, along with that of Yehia Al Ansary, a companion of the prophet. In fact, Al Rifai Mosque Cairo is rectangular in shape, measuring some 6500 square meters in size. Moreover, 1767 square meters of this area reserved for praying. The rest of area is the mausoleum of the royal family. Furthermore, Al Rifai Mosque Cairo built in the Bahri Mamluk style which was popular in the 19th and 20th centuries. This style was like the European style of buildings at the time. Most of the materials imported from Europe. The building of Al Rifai Mosque Cairo was part of a vast campaign by the 19th century rulers of Egypt.

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Construction on Al Rifai Mosque Cairo moved along at a good pace. It was when, first Hussein Fahmy died and then in 1885, Khoshiar Hanem also died. She granted her wish of entombed here. And then in 1894, when her son Khedive Ismail also died, he entombed next to her. All this caused the process of building the mosque to stop for about twenty five years. They also completed the decorations of Al Rifai Mosque Cairo. In fact, this accomplished in 1911. Moreover, it opened for Friday prayer for the first time in 1912. The mosque came to represent a turning point in the cultural and political history of Cairo. Furthermore, the doorway of Al Rifai Mosque Cairo opens onto the narrow street between the two mosques. It had two huge marble columns to either side, with an unusual spiral design on their columns.

The decorations on the walls above the door and all around it are indeed fascinating. Even the ceiling of the entrance way is interesting. The designers seem to be articulate, paying attention to the smallest details. Moreover, the ceiling above this portal is wonderful. It is with golden Mamluk decorations. In fact, this was not its main entrance. Once inside Al Rifai Mosque Cairo, one finds oneself in front of the mausoleum of Shaykh Ali Al Rifai. He is the head of the Al Rifai tariqa, or order of dervishes. Moreover, he was a saint during his lifetime. People still walk around his tomb, touching his hands to the sandalwood screen. In fact, they seek his blessed intercession in their lives.

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Some people still come to this mausoleum to read a verse of Quran for the Shaykh. Reading the verses of “Fatha” for the dead a well known Islamic tradition. His tomb covered with fine pieces of wood engraved with marvelous decorations. What completed the amazing scene were the many flowers and roses. They placed on top of and all around his tomb. To the left of this tomb, behind the mashrabeyya screen, in other chambers lie the Tombs of King Fuad. In fact, he reigned from 1917 to 1936, and his mother along with the mausoleum of the Shah of Iran. It contains the tomb of Mohamed Reda El Bahlwy, who died in exile in South Africa in 1944. It returned to Iran after World War II. Part of the burial chamber is currently occupied by Reza Shah.

He is the son of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. He died in Cairo in 1980. For Iranians who find themselves in this mausoleum there is poignancy for an emperor. He reigned for 37 years . It was during which Iran was an island of stability and progress in a volatile part of the world. The mausoleum is small but it has many amazing decorations. Colorful designs and golden verses of Quran are all about the room. Here is one of the most beautiful Mihrabs you will ever encounter. It decorated with marble and gold and shines as if it built just yesterday. The room also filled with flowers. The tomb itself is only a small step. It rises from the floor with the name of the Shah and his dates of birth and death.

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The ceilings of Al Rifai Mosque Cairo chosen and decorated in a charming style. The gold for its gilding imported from Turkey between 1906 and 1912. Muslims paid great interest to the ceilings especially in mosques. It is because when a Muslim speaks to God, he supposed to look upwards towards the sky. Thus he looks at the ceiling. Most of the walls of Al Rifai Mosque Cairo covered with colorful marble. They are with different styles of the Mamluk style ornamentation. Here, nineteen different kinds of marble from seven different countries used. Pointed arches divide the royal mosque into three porticoes. Two marble columns, one white and the other dark green, stand at the sides of the great dome.

There are forty-four grand columns in all, and eighteen window grills. There are many doors in the walls. All doors made with the finest wood and decorated with pieces of expensive Abanos wood. Many of the walls have blue decorations highlighted by golden lines all around them. Lighting has always been an interesting element of mosque design. The lighting of Al Rifai Mosque Cairo well suited. It consists of huge ornate brass lanterns that hang from the ceiling. These lanterns are electric now. In the past, they used candles as a source of light. There are also many smaller lamps which hung from the ceiling. The Dikka in Al Rifai Mosque Cairo indeed is one of the most beautiful you will ever see. It is a raised platform from which the respondents (qadi) repeat the ritual postures of the Iman.

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This rectangular Dikka made out of white, pure alabaster supported on eight columns. It adorned with Quran verses engraved using pure gold all around it. Beside the Dikka, there is the Quran table which known as a kursi. It indeed is a wonderful work of art in wood. It well designed and in good condition. The Minbar of the mosque decorated with mother of pearl. The door to the minbar made of wood and decorated with abanos wood and alabaster. The platform of the minbar like many other in Cairo, surmounted by a dome. This minbar is the most brilliant one can see in the Mamluk style. Unlike the minbar, the mihrab of Al Rifai mosque Cairo is rather plain and familiar. It is only a niche in the wall to show the direction of the qibla. There are five lines of decorations in Mihrab.

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Al Hussein mosque Cairo Egypt

Al Hussein mosque Cairo Egypt

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Al Hussein mosque built in Cairo, Egypt in 1154. In fact, it located in Khan El Kahlili area. Moreover, Al Hussein mosque named for the grandson of Prophet Muhammad. Fatimid Shia, Dawoodi and Bohar believe that the Al Hussein head buried in Al Hussein mosque. Many Shiah Muslims believe that the head of Al Hussein and his body in the Al Hussein Mosque in Karbala. Al Hussein mosque in Cairo indeed is one of the holiest Islamic sites in Cairo. It built on the cemetery of the Fatimid caliphs. It is a fact, it later discovered during the excavation. The mausoleum (dating back to 1154) is the oldest part of the complex. The current building built in the 19th century. It influenced by Gothic Revival architecture.

Al Hussein mosque houses some sacred items. They are like “the oldest complete manuscript of the Quraan”. There is a marble slab on Al Hussein mosque. It contains the hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad says: “Hussein is from me and I am from Hussein. May Allah love whoever loves Hussein. Al Hussein is a grandson (chief) from the grandsons (chieftains). At the bottom of the slab of Al Hussein mosque is a good (hasan) hadith related by Tirmidhi. It also related by Bukhari and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal.

History of transfer of the head of Hussein to Cairo in Fatimid belief:

Abu Mansour Nizar Al Aziz Billah traced the site of the head of his great-grandfather. It was through the office of his contemporary in Baghdad, in 985. In the city of Ashkelon, Israel, it remained buried at “Baab al Faradis”. It was for a long time (about 250 years up to 1153). After the 21st Fatimid Imam At-Tayyib Abi l-Qasim went into seclusion. His uncle, Abd al Majid occupied the throne of the Fatimid Empire. Al-Zafir, order to transfer the head of Al Hussein to Cairo. It was because of Fearing from disrespect and the atrocities of the traitors. Historians and Ibn Muyassar have mentioned that the casket reached Cairo. It was on Tuesday 2 September 1153.

The famous Mamluk historian of Egypt, Mohiyuddin Abd al Zahir wrote:

When Salahuddin came to power he seized all the Palaces of the Aimmat Fatemiyeen. He looted their properties and treasures. He destroyed the valuable and rare collection of the hundred thousands books. It was in the river Nile. When he learnt through his intelligence.. That one of the.. custodians of Raas Al Imam Al Hussein.. respected by the people of ..Qahera, he surmised that perhaps he .. be aware of ..treasures of the Aimmat Fatemiyeen. Salahuddin issued orders to present him in his court. He inquired of him ..of the Fatemi..treasures. The nobleman denied ..about the treasures“.

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Salahuddin angered, and ordered his intelligence .. to ask him through ‘third degree torture’. But the nobleman bore ..torture and repeated ..statement. .. Salahuddin ordered his soldiers to put a cap on the head of the nobleman. The cap contains Centipedes. It was such type of punishment. It was so severe and unbearable. None could survive even for a few minutes. Before putting the Cap of Centipedes on the head, his hair shaved. It was to make it easy for the Centipedes to suck blood, which in turn made holes in skull. But! In spite of that punishment the noble custodian of Hussein’s Head. Felt no pain at all. Salahuddin ordered for more Centipedes to put on .. but it could not kill or pain him“.

Finally Salahuddin Ayyubi ordered for a tight cap full of Centipedes .. to do the result. Even this method could not torture or kill him. The Ayyubid brutes astounded further when they sawthe Centipedes were dead. It was when removed the cap. Salahuddin asked the nobleman to reveal the secret of this miracle. The nobleman revealed as follow:

“When Al Hussein head brought to Qasar, he carried the casket on his head. ‘O Salahuddin! This is the secret of my safety”.

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The burial place now also known as Raous (head)-us-Husain. A silver Zarih (Maqsurah) made on the place by Dawoodi Bohra Dai. The place visited regularly by all Shia. The presentation of the Maqsurah is also unique in the history. It is in loyalty and faithfulness. The Maqsurah of All Hussein head constructed for the Al Abbas Mosque at Karbala, Iraq. When this Maqsurah reached the mosque of Al-Abbas ibn Ali it would not fit on the place. The size of the Maqsurah and the site of the fitting place differed at the time of fitting. It is although every technical aspects and measurements of the site taken into account. The engineers astonished, as what had happened, although handled professionally.

The loyalty of Al-Abbas ibn Ali also seen on that day too. In fact, it seen on the day of Aashurah. There a divine guidance came to the effect by way of intuition. A sincere, faithful and loyal brother could not tolerate, that Al Hussein head should be without a Maqsurah. Thus how could he accept this gift for himself. Hence even after Shahadat, Al-Abbas ibn Ali paid his tribute to Hussein. He presented his own Maqsurah for Raas (head) al Imam Al Hussein. When this Maqsurah brought from Karbala, Iraq to Al Moizziyat al Qahera, Egypt. It fitted upon the original position of the grave. It known as Mashhad of Raas al Imam Al Hussein in such a manner.

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Al Hakim mosque Cairo

Al Hakim mosque Cairo Egypt

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Al Hakim mosque Cairo also known as Al-Jam`e Al-Anwar. In fact, Al Hakim mosque is the second largest Fatimid mosque in Cairo. The name of Al Hakim bi-Amr Allah means “Ruler by God’s Command”. He known to many by his eccentric dictatorial and eccentric decrees. At one point he declared himself a divine entity. Al Hakim went off on a mysterious one way ride to al-Muqattam hills and never returned. In fact, the building of Al Hakim mosque started in 990 by the Caliph Al Aziz Billah. He is son of the famous Khalifa Al Moez Lideen Allah Al Fatimy. Wood cutters, their camels, mules, carts and wood logs banned from treading the street. This is To secure serenity and solemnity during the Fatimid Era. Moreover, streets lit all night by lanterns. Lanterns hung on the facades of buildings and shops.

In fact, the building served as a prison for captive Crusaders. It served also as Napoleon’s warehouse and Salah al-Din’s stable. Moreover, Al Hakim mosque served also as a lamp factory and a boys’ elementary school under Nasser. It was when a basketball court marked off in the courtyard. Napoleon’s soldiers left the mosque in a bad state and it fell into disrepair. In fact, it was at the end of the 18th century. It later revived during the reign of Khedive Tawfik. The foundation for the first Islamic Museum before that museum relocated to Bab Al Khalq in 1903. The first time to use Al Hakim mosque as a mosque was in 1452. In fact, the mosque stood outside the enclosure walls of Fatimid Cairo. It was until Badr Al Gamali rebuilt the Northern Wall.

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This is to include the the mosque within the boundaries of the enclosed city. This is a good example of a congregational mosque. It was typical to early Islamic architecture. Al Hakim mosque constructed of brick with stone facades and minarets. It covers about the same area as the Ibn Tulun Mosque. Al Hakim has an irregular rectangular plan with a rectangular central. It has also open courtyard surrounded by arcades. They are supported by compound piers with a prayer hall. The arcades also carried on compound piers. The front facade on the north given a central projecting monumental portal. In fact, the mosque has three domes and a central nave in the qibla prayer hall. It is higher and wider than the lateral aisles with a basilica disposition. The termination of this aisle at the mihrab marked by a dome and carried on squinches.

The domes mark the outer corners of the prayer hall as well. Al Hakim mosque’s two corner minarets are different in shape and decoration. They encased in projecting trapezoidal stone structures. That project into the street, during the reign of Al Hakim in 1002-3 AC. These minarets are the oldest surviving minarets in Cairo as they stand at the outer walls of the mosque. In fact, the bases are original. Furthermore, they seen inside the buttresses. The tops replaced in 1303 by Baybars II Al Gashankir. It was during the Mumluk period after an earthquake destroyed the upper stories. Baybars was also responsible for the mabkhara finials. He was also responsible for poly-chrome marble which faces mihrab. In fact, it is in the qibla wall to the right of the main mihrab.

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An interior staircase leads to the city’s ramparts and a rampart walk that date from the 12th century. Al Hakim built his mosque in the tradition of the Great mosque of Qairawan in Tunisia. The original decorations remains after a restoration by an Ismaili Shii sect. Al Hakim mosque has encased in marble and only the wooden tie-beams. Stucco carvings in the clerestory and Quranic inscriptions remain of the original decorations. Every Friday, the mosque hosts hordes of worshipers. They head for it weekly. They perform their midday prayers, and to give the mosque its fame. In fact, it is the most crowded mosque of Old Cairo.

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Al Azhar mosque Cairo, Egypt

Al Azhar mosque Cairo Egypt

Al Azhar mosque Cairo, Egypt tours, booking

Al Azhar mosque Cairo is the first Islamic university which built in Cairo around 1000 years ago. Moreover, Al Azhar mosque in Cairo was the official mosque which has the Friday prayers. In fact, it built by the great Fatimid army leader and the builder of Cairo, Gawhar El Seqelly. It was due to the orders of the Fatimid Caliph, Al Mui’z le Din Allah. The building of Al Azhar mosque Cairo started in the year 970 AD. In fact, it finished three years afterwards in 972 AD. The objects behind building was to make it the official mosque of Cairo. It is the same as Amr Ib Al Aas Mosque and the Ahmed Ibn Tulun mosque. Al Azhar mosque in Cairo established to be an educational institution. That is to teach Shiite teachings and spread it all over the country.

Architectural description of Al Azhar mosque in Cairo:

The old area of Al Azhar mosque was only half the area it has now. New buildings, and restorations done during all the following eras made it as it shape now. The early mosque of Al Azhar consisted of three iwnas, prayers halls, and a Sahn. Sahn is an open air courtyard. The gate of the mosque located in the mosque’s Western walls. This section contained a simple Fatimid minaret. It decorated with Kofy Islamic writings and plant ornaments. They are the only remaining feature of the ancient mosque that is still available now.

The old Mihrab of the mosque decorated with ornaments and Kofi writings of Quran. There is also a Mamluk style dome. In fact, the dome goes back to the 15th century which took the place of the Fatimid dome. The mosque of Al Azhar had three gates in its Northern, southern, and western walls. The original Minnbar built by Gawher El Seqqely. In fact, it was then transferred to Al Hakim mosque.

Al Azhar Mosque Cairo in the Fatimid period:

In fact, Al Azhar mosque went through a lot of changes in the Fatimid period. Al Hakim be’amr Allah added 27 amazing lamps to the mosque. The lamps made of silver. What remains of the works of Al Hakim is a small wooden door. The decorated with Kufi writings which was the dominant decoration feature of this era. In 1125, the Fatimid ruler Al Amer be’ahkam Allah established a Mihrab for Al Azhar mosque in Cairo. It made out of the Aro Turkish wood which decorated with a lot of plant and geometric shapes. Fatimid Caliph, Al Hafez Le Dine Allah wanted to expand the area of Al Azhar mosque Cairo. In fcat, it was In 1149 AC. He added some space to the Sahn of the mosque. He also added some decorations to the walls of the mosque and it built out of plaster.

Al Azhar Mosque Cairo in the Mamluk period:

In 1266 AD, Al Zaher Baybars ordered to build a Minbar. Nothing remains of it except its historical building note which now kept in the museum in Algeria. The Tabrisy Madrasa which is Islamic teaching institution built by Baybars Khazendar. He was the army commander in the reign of Al Nasser Mohamed Ibn Qalaun. It is to right hand when you enter the Al Azhar mosque. This added a bigger space to the mosque. It hosted Islamic teachings classes and also had a large Islamic books library. The Afghaweya Madrasa built in 1340 AD. It located on the left hand side of the entrance. Moreover, it hosts the library of Al Azhar in the present time. Al Gawhareya Madrasa built in the Eastern Southern section of the mosque, is a small Madrasa. It consists of four Iwans and a small Sahn.

Al Azhar mosque Cairo in the Ottoman era:

In fact, Al Azhar mosque had a lot of building works in the Ottoman era. The biggest and most important building work done by the Amir Abdel Rahman Katkhuda in 1753 AD. He expanded the area of the mosque by adding a Riwaq behind the Mihrab. It built on a higher level than the whole mosque. He also added a new Minbar and Mihrab. Katkhuda added two great gates as well. The first one is in the Southern wall. It called the Sa’ayda gate. The Shroba gate is in the Eastern section of the mosque. Furthermore,  a minaret added beside it.

Katkhuda was also responsible for building the beautiful Western gate. It is now the main entrance of the mosque. The mosque also restored by the supreme council of antiquities in the modern time. Al Azhar as a mosque and as an educational institution has played a major role in the whole Egyptian history. It is especially in fighting the French and British occupation.

Al Azhar University:

It is the largest and most important Islamic teaching institution in the whole world. It is the second modern university to built in history. Islamic teaching in Al Azhar University transformed from Shiite teaching to Sunni teaching. In fact, it started in the Fatimid era. It is still one of the most important education institutions in Egypt and in the whole world.

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Al Ghouri complex Cairo

Al Ghouri complex Cairo Egypt

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Al Ghouri complex Cairo built as a funerary complex established by Sultan Qansuh Al Ghouri. In fact, Al Ghouri complex built between 1503 and 1504. It was in the Fahhamin quarter on Al Mu’izz street in Islamic Cairo. There was a clear decline in the quality of craftsmanship. Moreover, it was particularly in stone carving and marble inlay during his reign. Al Ghouri complex indeed is an interesting architectural composition. It built on both sides of a street. In this regard, they form one of the most impressive hyphen, or double ensembles in Cairo. The western side in Al Ghouri complex includes a Friday madrasa and mosque. They built on the Qa’a plan. The eastern side of Al Ghouri complex includes a Khanqah and mausoleum as well as a Sabil kuttab.

In fact, Qansuh Al Ghouri was the next to last Mamluk sultan. Moreover, he was the last to enjoy a reign of any duration between 1500 and 1516 AD. Al Ghouri seems to have an energetic fellow who was still playing polo in his 70s. Furthermore, he was also a somewhat arbitrary depot who could be cruel and superstitious. Al Ghouri appears to have taken his responsibilities and was a great builder. He also loved flowers and music. Moreover, he wrote poetry and attracted to Sufi and other pious men. He died (some say of a heart attack) fighting the Ottoman Turks outside Aleppo. He followed the defection of Amir Khayrbak in the midst of the battle. His body never found. His tomb was thus occupied by his successor the unfortunate Tumanbay. Tumanbay buried in the courtyard of Al Ghoury complex behind the mausoleum.

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The madrasa at Al Ghouri complex inaugurated on the eve of the Feast of the Sacrifice. Feast of the Sacrifice called Eid Al Adha in Arabic language. It was in May 1503 with a great banquet which attended by the Abbasid Caliph Mustamsek. Mustamsek was the chief judges of the four orthodox rites. The madrasa and mosque at Al Ghouri complex built in the late Mamluk cruciform style. They inspired by Qaitbay’s Mausoleum and Madrasa. But they are larger in scale and their details are less elegant. The western facade of Al Ghouri complex has a trilobed stalactite portal. It also has a tiraz band and a minaret projecting at its south edge. The minaret of Al Ghouri complex is atypical of this period. Mamluk minarets consist of square, octagonal and round layers.

This four story minaret is rectangular from top to bottom with arched panels on each side. The top of Al Ghouri complex had four bulbs instead of just one. They made of brick covered with green tiles. In 1505, the minaret was leaning. It reconstructed and the upper part made with bricks covered with blue faience tiles. The present top with five bulbs is a modern addition and a misrepresentation of the original one. There were already minarets with double bulbs such as those at Qanibay Al Rammah mosque. When Muhammad Bey Abu Al Dahab built his Mosque, he crowned its minaret with five bulbs. The red and white checkerboard squares that adorn the minaret actually painted on. There is distinctive poly-chrome marble dado. It flagging laid in geometric patterns and gilt.

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It painted wood paneling. There is a central sunken and open courtyard which surrounded by four Iwans. The two largest of the Iwans have Moorish arches. The smaller two have raised arches. The interior paved and paneled with black and white marble. Stone carving covers the walls but it is of poor quality, shallow and repetitive. The stalactites that frame the upper walls of the covered courtyard, underneath the skylight. The Khanqah and mausoleum of Al Ghouri complex function as a cultural center today. The Khanqah is a religious hostel for Sufi monks. The facade of the khanqah and mausoleum also has a trilobed stalactite portal and a tiraz band. On its northern edge a sabil-kuttab projects into the street with three facades.

The interior of the sabil-kuttab is decorative, with marble floors. The ceiling supported by rounded, painted and gilt beams. From the vestibule of Al Ghouri complex, the funeral chamber is on the right. To the left is a prayer hall with three Iwans which distributed around the raised. They covered part of a lantern. The mausoleum of Al Ghouri complex was on the south side of the interior. Now it has only its rectangular base and transition zone of the dome. The dome made of brick and covered over with green tiles. It collapsed at the beginning of the 1900s. Actually, the dome had been unstable from the beginning. It rebuilt three times during Al Ghouri’s lifetime. The builder never got it right. The mausoleum dome of Imam Shafi’i also covered at one time with green tiles. It was perhaps after Al Ghouri’s restoration.

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The transition zone of Al Ghouri complex made of stone pendentives. Perhaps the most interesting feature here the carved surface of the wall. The marble slabs that once decorated the madrasa, having confiscated by Al Ghouri. It was from someone else in the first place. They were in turn confiscated and taken to Istanbul by Selim I in 1517. On the left or north side of the entrance vestibule is a qa’a, which here called a khanqah. No living units attached to it. Earlier Khanqahs did provide housing for Sufi. This one was increasing rare during the late Mamluk period. The Waqf deed states that Sufi should have their meetings there. It does not refer to any living accommodations provided for them. There are a few living units attached to the madrasa across the street. It was student housing those the foundation deed does not mention teaching activities.

These structures are an example of a royal religious foundation. They are with facades which not adjusted to the street alignment. In fact, they instead make an angle, leaving the space between the two facades widening into a sort of square. The square of Al Ghouri complex is semi-enclosed at the north ends. Moreover, it is by the projection of the Sabil-Kuttab of the mausoleum. At the south end is by the projection of the minaret of the madrasa. The square rented for market stalls. It was the income which contributed to Al Ghouri’s endowment of the foundation. At one time, the square roofed over. And when David Roberts drew the square in 1839, it was a silk market.

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In fact, this support continues even today. Moreover, there are still shops here on both sides of the street. The rend now collected by the Ministry of Waqfs. Furthermore, it used in maintaining the religious buildings and their personnel. In fact, Al Ghouri himself never buried in his mausoleum. Several others buried before the sultan’s death. The first was his daughter in 1505. It followed by his son, Nasser Al Din Muhammad and by one of his concubines. The latter two were victims of the plague. In 1510, Al Ghouri also had the three year old daughter of his secretary of State, Tumanbay, buried here.

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Al Aqmar mosque Cairo

Al Aqmar mosque Cairo Egypt

Al Aqmar mosque Cairo, Egypt information, tours, Booking

Al Aqmar mosque Cairo located in the heart of Cairo city. In fact, Al Aqmar mosque located north of the site which once occupied by the great Fatimid. Moreover, Al Aqmar means the Moonlit and sometimes also known as the Gray Mosque. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo founded by Ma’mun al-Bata’ihi, during the caliphate of al-Mustanser. Moreover, it built during a time of great political and spiritual crises for the Fatimid regime. It located on the main artery of the city. In plan, it is a regular, rectangular hypo-style mosque with a square courtyard. It is the plan of a small congregational mosque. This structure is of major importance for Cairo’s architecture for several reasons. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo indeed is one of the seminal monuments in Cairo’s architectural history.

Al Aqmar mosque is the first mosque with an entrance which is not on an axis with the qibla wall. Here, the facade follows the alignment of the street, while the qibla wall oriented to Mecca. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo is the first with a ground plan adjusted to an existing urban street plan. A phenomenon which over the ensuing centuries was to become common and complex. Here, the plan is rather simple. The interior of Al Aqmar mosque Cairo has a regular layout with the exception. The exception is that the facade wall is thicker on one end than the other. Into the thicker part of the wall, a vestibule, a staircase and two rooms opening into the interior. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo is also the first mosque in Cairo to have a decorated stone facade.

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The facade is brick which faced with stone. A wing to the right of the entrance salient covered up by a later house. In the 1980s, a restoration unveiled the hidden part. It returned the facade to its original balanced proportions. This restoration done by the Bohara Indian sect. The middle of the tripartite composition dominated by a protruding portal. It decorated with a large keel arch niche. They carved with fluting radiating from a central medallion. It is like a sunrise or shell motif. The medallion has the name of Muhammad repeated in a circular interlacing pattern. It forms a circle, with the name ‘Ali at the center, all in Kufic and pierced right through the stone.

This is all surrounded by a circle of arabesque. And also of pierced Kufic, with a final circular band decorated with interlacing scrolls. The work of engraving and piercing shows both skill and perfection. The ribbed shell hood of the entrance salient is with its pierced medallion. It appears here for the first time. Moreover, it was the prototype of all the later ribbed. Moreover, it is blind and keel arch decoration which remains somewhat vogue on Cairo’s buildings. The niches on either side of the entrance each crowned with four tiers of stalactites. Set back within these are two smaller ones. Each has a small fluted semi-dome. Above these two niches are two small ones. Each has a fluted hood and supported by two engaged columns.

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To the left of the portal another shallow niche. It repeats the sunrise or shell motif with a medallion in the center. Above it, a circular clean cut in the stone reveals the brick wall. It indicates that a medallion once existed there. Two lozenges, one with geometric carving and the other with a vase and plant motif. They surmounted on both sides of the missing medallion by two strange, carved panels. The one to the right represents a closed door. It is like the door of Al Hakim. It is now in the Islamic Museum. The one to the left shows a niche with a geometric grill resembling a window. From its apex hangs a lamp. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo has a symbolic meaning within a Shi’a context.

The two plants standing in the vase has interpreted to be symbolic of Hasan and Husayn. They are the sons of the Caliph ‘Ali by his wife Fatima. This pattern is also repeated in Christian Coptic art. There are many examples existing in the Coptic Museum in Old Cairo. The niches with the hanging lamp and closed door placed. On each side of the missing medallion there is more decoration. There are three inscription bands that run along the facade of Al Aqmar mosque Cairo. The first is at the summit. It contains the name of Al Amir Bi-Ahkam-Allah. And next to it is the name of his Wazir (Minister) Ma’mun al-Bata’ihi. They are together with his titles, and the date of foundation. The second runs at the springing of the entrance arch.

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In fact, it also contains the names of al- Ma’mun and his titles and the date of foundation. The third band runs at the level of the door lintel and only contains verses from the Quran. Another special feature of the facade is a corner which carved with the names of Muhammad and ‘Ali. The original minaret of Al Aqmar mosque Cairo has not survived. We can see on the left door jamb of the portal the circular base of the minaret. It built in the late fourteenth century by Amir Yalbugha Al Salami. In fact, it is a brick construct which covered with stucco chevron. Moreover, it carves and a molding with open work bosses and a stalactite cornice. Above the balcony, the structure is of even later date. The interior of Al Aqmar mosque Cairo has not retained much of its original form.

The small sanctuary has three aisles and faces the courtyard with only a triple arcade. The closet door of Al Aqmar mosque Cairo features a fine example of Fatimid wood. It is with panels of arabesque ornament. On the northwest side of the sanctuary. The three other arcades have only one aisle each. Bands of Quranic verse in Kufic script on an arabesque background still survive. They are around the keel arches of the courtyard, which supported on marble columns. The keel arches did not appear in Egypt until the latter part of the Fatimids period. They first seen in the dome of Sheikh Ynis, attributed to Badar al-Gamali. The spandrels decorated with shallow saucers. They composed of eight ribs radiating from a central medallion.

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There is special feature of the interior architecture. It is that each bay’s ceiling covered by a shallow brick dome instead of being flat. In fact, it is except for the aisle parallel to the qibla wall, which is wider than the rest. Moreover, it covered with a flat wooden ceiling. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo was in ruins when the Mamluk Amir Yalbugha al-Salami restored it in 1396/97. (799H). Some scholars assume that he also restored the ceiling. The ceiling hase been flat. This type of ceiling not known from the Fatimids period. It used in the early fifteenth century at the mosque of Faraj Ibn Barquq. Yalbugha al-Salami also restored the minbar of Al Aqmar mosque Cairo. It retains its Fatimid ornament. It can observed on the entrance arch and at the back of the speaker’s seat.

Nothing of the original interior decoration remains. It is except some wood carving on the beams and doors. Moreover, it is also except a stucco inscription band along some of the arches. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo once again restored in the nineteenth century. It was during the reign of Muhammad Ali by Amir Sulayman Agha Al Silahdar. Al Silahdar also built the mosque across the street from this one. Al Aqmar mosque Cairo was not at street level as it is today. In fact, it was much higher than the street and stands above a row of shops. The rising ground level has now buried the these shops. At the time, they had an important function. The income of their rents were waqf.

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Abu Al Dahab mosque Cairo

Abu Al Dahab mosque Cairo Egypt

Abu Al Dahab mosque Cairo information, tours, prices, booking

Abu Al Dahab mosque Cairo located in the Azhar Street, just beside the main entrance of Azhar Mosque. In fact, Abu Al Dahab mosque built in 1774 AD after a year of construction. Moreover, Abu Al Dahab mosque built as a Madrasa. It was to host the increasing number of students who were coming to study in Al Azhar University. They are from all over the world. In the year 1771, Mohamed Abu Al Dahab appointed by Amir Ali Beh Al Kabir. It was to be the leader of the Egyptian army that went to conquer Syria. He was successful in his campaign as he took control of many towns in Syria and around it. Moreover, he was not loyal to his master, Amir Ali Beh Al Kabir. He murdered him in 1774, and became the only ruler of Egypt before his death in Aka in 1775.

In fact, his body buried in the mausoleum of his mosque. The mosque is the fourth mosque which built in Cairo according to the Ottoman style of architecture. The first one was the mosque of Suleiman Pasha in the Citadel which built in the year 1528. The second one was the mosque of Sinan Pasha in Boulaq. The third one was the Mosque of the Queen Safeya in Al Dawedeya. In fact, the mosque has many common architectural factors with the mosque Of Sinan Pasha. Moreover, Abu Al Dahab mosque constructed as a rectangle. The length of 33 meters from the South to the North and 24 meters from the East to the West. The praying area of the mosque surrounded with Rewaqs. The Arabic expression for the area between a set of two opposite pillars.

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These Rewaqs covered with small domes with plant decorations all around them. Above the praying area, there is the main dome of Abu Al Dahab mosque that is a semi square. In fact, the length of each side of this square is 15 meters. Moreover, each has two brass windows that covered with alabaster. Furthermore, the mosque is a hanging mosque as it built above the street level. Under Abu Al Dahab mosque Cairo, there are many different stores that sell books. They are from the Eastern and Northern sides.

In fact, there was a set of colored alabaster stairs in its Northern side. It led to the gate of the mosque, and another set circular stairs that led to the Mosques Eastern gate. These two sets of stairs changed, although the doors of the mosque remained the same. The minaret of the mosque indeed is huge. It looks much like the minaret of the mosque of Qonswa Al Ghuri. They both share the Egyptian style of architecture. They are other than the Ottoman mosques that were famous for their thin pen shaped minarets. The minaret of the mosque of the mosque is tall and consists of three stores with five stone heads at the top.

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The Mihrab of the mosque located under the main dome of the mosque. It is a carved wall that has beautiful alabaster and mother of pearl decorations. The Mihrab of this mosque is unique, built in the Ottoman period, as it designed in the Mamluks style. Next to the Mihrab, there is the Minbar. It made out of fine wood that ornamented with pieces of mother of pearl and ivory. Beside the Minbar there is a brass room. It contains the tombs of the mosque builder, Mohamed Beh Abu Al Dahab, and his daughter, Zelikha Hanem

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