The Rise And Spead Of Islam
Islam began in the 7th century in Mecca, near the Red Sea in the Arabian Peninsula. Before the advent of Islam in the region, polytheism, which is the worship of many gods, abounded. Muslims believe in one God named Allah who they believe is the creator of all. Mecca is believed to be the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, who relayed Allah’s wishes to the people. Muhammad escaped to Medina to flee persecution and settled there, where he amassed a huge following to his teachings. From Medina, Islam spread through trade merchants and Arab conquests to the rest of the world. The first mosque was built in modern day Saudi Arabia, in Mecca, under the rule of Caliph Omar Ibn al-Khattab (634-644).
Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is the oldest mosque, although the date of its establishment is unknown. The mosque surrounds the Kaaba, which is considered the abode of Allah and was believed to have been used as a praying site by the prophet Ibrahim together with his son Ismail. The Kaaba is regarded the most religious place among Muslims. The mosque is the main destination for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages. The gigantic structure accommodates up to 820,000 pilgrims, who perform rituals in its courtyard. The building has been remodeled, rebuilt, and renovated into the structure it is today. The site has also been a spot for accidents and tragedies in situations such as stampedes and construction. The mosque is ranked among the top destination for religious tourists.
Quba Mosque was built in 622 in Medina, Saudi Arabia by the Prophet Muhammad after his departure from Mecca. The mosque is a prime destination for worshippers and witnesses, and the numbers surge up especially during the holy month of Ramadan. The mosque is described in the Islamic holy book of Qur’an as the fist mosque to be built on piety. The Mosque was rebuilt using modern Islamic architectural style in the 20th century, and it is one the largest mosques in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Masjid al-nabawi was built in 622 in Medina, Saudi Arabia. The first structure of the mosque was built near the home of Prophet Muhammad. It has undergone constructions over the centuries under different dynasties. The mosque is renowned for its green dome which was built under the Ottoman Empire in 1818. It is regarded as the second holiest Islamic monument after the Masjid al-Haram. The mosque is a prime destination for pilgrimage due to its strong link to Prophet Muhammad. The tomb of the Prophet Muhammad is located in the mosque.
Masjid Al-Qiblatain in Medina, Saudi Arabia was built in 623. The Mosque occupies a special place in Islamic history as the spot where the prophet Muhammad was ordered by Allah to direct prayer (Qibla) from Jerusalem to Mecca. The Mosque was known as the mosque of the two Qiblas, one facing Jerusalem and the other facing Mecca. In a recent renovation, the Qibla facing Jerusalem was removed. The mosque can accommodate up to 2000 worshippers and is a destination for religious pilgrims.
Historical Treasures And Architectural Marvels
These mosques remind us of the history of the rise and spread of Islam. They also equip historians with valuable details of the religion and its leaders. Today, they serve as important pilgrimage sites for the devout Muslims of the world and some of them also draw tourists from across the world who marvel at the architectural and aesthetic beauty of these holy sites of Islam.
What is the Oldest Mosque in the World?
The Great Mosque of Mecca, or Masjid al-Haram, is the largest and oldest in the world, and is located in Islam's holiest city.
The Oldest Mosques In The World
|Rank||Building||Location||Modern country||First Built|
|1||Masjid al-Haram||Mecca||Saudi Arabia||unknown (presumed to be oldest)|
|2||Quba Mosque||Medina||Saudi Arabia||622|
|3||Al-Masjid al-Nabawi||Medina||Saudi Arabia||622|
|4||Masjid al-Qiblatain||Medina||Saudi Arabia||623|
|7||Cheraman Juma Masjid||Kodungallur||India||629|
|8||Palaiya Jumma Palli||Kilakarai||India||630|
|9||Jawatha Mosque||Al-Kilabiyah||Saudi Arabia||629|
|10||Great Mosque of Kufa||Kufa||Iraq||639|
|11||Mosque of Uqba||Kairouan||Tunisia||670|
|12||Imam Hussain Mosque||Karbala||Iraq||680|
|13||Al-Aqsa Mosque||Old City of Jerusalem||Jerusalem||705|
|16||Imam Ali Mosque||Najaf||Iraq||977|
|17||Great Mosque of Xi'an||Xi'an, Shaanxi||China||742|
|18||Atiq Mosque, Awjila||Awjila||Libya||1101|
|19||Arba'a Rukun Mosque||Mogadishu||Somalia||1268/9|
|20||Fakr ad-Din Mosque||Mogadishu||Somalia||1269|
|21||Kazimar Big Mosque||Madurai||India||1284|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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