Mosques

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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MOSQUES A mosque is a building that serves as the main worship place for Muslims.

Mosques are all different sizes. The biggest is the Friday Mosque because that is when the whole congregation assembles to perform the Friday prayers. The age of the mosque building extends from the 7th century, when Islam was founded, to the 16th century.

The first mosque was the courtyard of Muhammad's own house in Medina.

The wall of the courtyard, facing the holy city of Mecca, was called the qibla wall. It has a roofed area where prayers were recited. This same basic plan was used for later mosques. Three main elements were still used. The court- yard, the qibla wall and the roofed prayer hall. In the middle of the qibla wall is the Mihrab which indicated the direction of Mecca. Next to the mihrab is the mimbar, a pulpit where the Friday sermon is preached.

In religion dominated Islamic societies, mosques serve social and political needs as well as religious ones. The mospue became a forum for many public functions. Serving as a law court, school, assembly hall and even as a parade ground. Other chambers often housed libraries, hospitals or treasuries.

In the earlies mosques, the call to prayer was given by the muessin, directly from the roof top. The use of a minaret, towers of different shapes and sizes, were used instead of the muezzin on the rooftop. They were used for the same purpose, to summon to prayer. The minaret began with the mosque of Al Qayrawan (8th century). Minarets became a common feature on all mosques.

The mosque I chose to model was built in 1985. The Faisal Mosque in Islamabad is designed to look like a dessert tent, it has four 300 ft minarets