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Saturday, 6 October 2007

The Kaba: Its Size and History

The Kaba: Its Size and History

The small, cubed building known as the Kaba may not rival skyscrapers in height or mansions in width, but its impact on history and human beings is unmatched.

The Kaba is the building towards which Muslims face five times a day, everyday, in prayer. This has been the case since the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) over 1400 years ago.

The Size of the Kaba:
The current height of the Kaba is 39 feet, 6 inches and total size comes to 627 square feet.

The inside room of the Kaba is 13X9 meters. The Kaba's walls are one meter wide. The floor inside is 2.2 meters higher than the place where people perform Tawaf.

The ceiling and roof are two levels made out of wood. They were reconstructed with teak which is capped with stainless steel.

The walls are all made of stone. The stones inside are unpolished, while the ones outside are polished.

This small building has been constructed and reconstructed by Prophets Adam, Ibrahim, Ismail and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). No other building has had this honor.

Yet, not very much is known about the details of this small but significant building.

Did you know the Kaba was reconstructed as recently as close to four years ago?

Did you know that the Kaba has been subjected to danger by natural disasters like flooding, as well as human attacks?

If you didn't keep reading. You'll find some rarely heard of information discussed below and discover facts about the Kaba many are unaware of.

The other names of the Kaba
Literally, Kaba in Arabic means a high place with respect and prestige. The word Kaba may also be derivative of a word meaning a cube.

Some of these other names include:
(i) Bait ul Ateeq-which means, according to one meaning, the earliest and ancient. According to the second meaning, it means independent and liberating. Both meanings could be taken. (ii) Bait ul Haram-the honorable house.

The Kaba has been reconstructed up to 12 times
Scholars and historians say that the Kaba has been reconstructed between five to 12 times.

The very first construction of the Kaba was done by Prophet Adam (peace be upon him). Allah says in the Quran that this was the first house that was built for humanity to worship Allah.

After this, Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail (peace be upon them) rebuilt the Kaba. The measurements of the Kaba's Ibrahimic foundation are as follows:
-the eastern wall was 48 feet and 6 inches
-the Hateem side wall was 33 feet
-the side between the black stone and the Yemeni corner was 30 feet
-the Western side was 46.5 feet

Following this, there were several constructions before the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be uponj him) 's time.

Reconstruction of Kaba by Quraish
Prophet Muhammad participated in one of its reconstructions before he became a Prophet.

After a flash flood, the Kaba was damaged and its walls cracked. It needed rebuilding.

This responsibility was divided among the Quraish's four tribes. Prophet Muhammad helped with this reconstruction.

Once the walls were erected, it was time to place the Black Stone, (the Hajar ul Aswad) on the eastern wall of the Kaba.

Arguments erupted about who would have the honor of putting the Black Stone in its place. A fight was about to break out over the issue, when Abu Umayyah, Makkah's oldest man, proposed that the first man to enter the gate of the mosque the following morning would decide the matter. That man was the Prophet. The Makkans were ecstatic. "This is the trustworthy one (Al-Ameen)," they shouted in a chorus. "This is Muhammad".

He came to them and they asked him to decide on the matter. He agreed.

Prophet Muhammad proposed a solution that all agreed to-putting the Black Stone on a cloak, the elders of each of the clans held on to one edge of the cloak and carried the stone to its place. The Prophet then picked up the stone and placed it on the wall of the Kaba.

Since the tribe of Quraish did not have sufficient funds, this reconstruction did not include the entire foundation of the Kaba as built by Prophet Ibrahim. This is the first time the Kaba acquired the cubical shape it has now unlike the rectangle shape which it had earlier. The portion of the Kaba left out is called Hateem now.

Construction After the Prophet's Time-Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr
The Syrian army destroyed the Kaba in Muharram 64 (Hijri date) and before the next Hajj Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him, reconstructed the Kaba from the ground up.

Ibn az-Zubayr wanted to make the Kaba how the Prophet Muhammad wanted it, on the foundation of the Prophet Ibrahim.

Ibn az-Zubayr said, "I heard Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) say, 'The Prophet said: "If your people had not quite recently abandoned the Ignorance (Unbelief), and if I had sufficient provisions to rebuild it [the Kaba], I would have added five cubits to it from the Hijr. Also, I would make two doors; one for people to enter therein and the other to exit." (Bukhari). Ibn az-Zubayr said, "Today, I can afford to do it and I do not fear the people.

Ibn az-Zubayr built the Kaba on Prophet Ibrahim's foundation. He put the roof on three pillars with the wood of Aoud (a perfumed wood with aroma which is traditionally burned to get a good smell out of it in Arabia).

In his construction he put two doors, one facing the east the other facing the west, as the Prophet wanted but did not do in his lifetime.

He rebuilt the Kaba on the Prophet Ibrahim's foundation, which meant that the Hateem area was included. The Hateem is the area adjacent to the Kaba enclosed by a low semi-circular wall.

Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr also made the following additions and modifications:
-put a small window close to the roof of the Kaba to allow for light.
-moved the door of the Kaba to ground level and added a second door to the Kaba.
-added nine cubits to the height of the Kaba, making it twenty cubits high.
-its walls were two cubits wide.
-reduced the pillars inside the House to three instead of six as were earlier built by Quraish.

For reconstruction, ibn az-Zubayr put up four pillars around Kaba and hung cloth over them until the building was completed. People began to do Tawaf around these pillars at all times, so Tawaf of the Kaba was never abandoned, even during reconstruction.

During Abdul Malik bin Marwan's time
In 74 Hijri (or 693 according to the Gregorian calendar), Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf al-Thaqafi, the known tyrant of that time, with the approval of Umayyad Khalifa Abdul Malik bin Marwan, demolished what Ibn az-Zubayr had added to it from the older foundation of Prophet Ibrahim, restore its old structure as the Quraish had had it.

Some of the changes he made were the following:
-he rebuilt it in the smaller shape which is found today
-took out the Hateem
-walled up the western door (whose signs are still visible today) and left the rest as it was
-pulled down the wall in the Hateem area.
-removed the wooden ladder Ibn az-Zubayr had put inside the Kaba.
-reduced the door's height by five cubits

When Abdul Malik bin Marwan came for Umra and heard the Hadith that it was wish of Prophet for the Kaba to be constructed the way Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr had built it, he regretted his actions.

Imam Malik's advice to the Khalifa Harun al Rasheed
Abbasi Khalifa Harun al Rasheed wanted to rebuild the Kaba the way the Prophet Muhammad wanted and the way Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr built it.

But when he consulted Imam Malik, the Imam asked the Khalifa to change his mind because constant demolition and rebuilding is not respectful and would become a toy in the hands of kings. Each one would want to demolish and rebuild the Kaba.

Based on this advice, Harun al Rasheed did not reconstruct the Kaba. The structure remained in the same construction for 966 years, with minor repairs here and there.

Reconstruction during Sultan Murad Khan's time
In the year 1039 Hijri, because of heavy rain, flood and hail, two of the Kaba's walls fell down.

The flood during which this occurred took place on the 19th of Shaban 1039 Hijri which continued constantly, so the water in the Kaba became almost close to half of its walls, about 10 feet from the ground level.

On Thursday the 20th of Shaban 1039 Hijri, the eastern and western walls fell down.

When flood receded on Friday the 21st of Shaban, the cleanup started.

Again, a curtain, the way Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr established on 4 pillars, was put up, and the reconstruction started on the 26th of Ramadan. The rest of the walls except for the one near the Black Stone, were demolished.

By the 2nd of Zul-Hijjah 1040 the construction was taking place under the guidance of Sultan Murad Khan, the Ottoman Khalifa. From the point of the Black stone and below, the current construction is the same as that done by Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr.

The construction which was done under the auspices of Murad Khan was exactly the one done at the time of Abdul Malik ibn Marwan which is the way the Quraysh had built it before Prophethood.

On Rajab 28 1377, One historian counted the total stones of the Kaba and they were 1,614. These stones are of different shapes. But the stones which are inside the outer wall which is visible are not counted in there.

Reconstruction of the Kaba In 1996
A major reconstruction of the Kaba took place between May 1996 and October 1996.

This was after a period of about 400 years (since Sultan Murad Khan's time).

During this reconstruction the only original thing left from the Kaba are the stones. All other material has been replaced including the ceiling and the roof and its wood.

What is inside the Kaba?
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi is the president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). He had the opportunity to go inside the Kaba in October 1998. In an interview with Sound Vision, he described the following features:

-there are two pillars inside (others report 3 pillars)
-there is a table on the side to put items like perfume
-there are two lantern-type lamps hanging from the ceiling
-the space can accommodate about 50 people
-there are no electric lights inside
-the walls and floors are of marble
-there are no windows inside
-there is only one door
-the upper inside walls of the Kaba were covered with some kind of curtain with the Kalima written on it.

compiled by Mohammed Choudhury

Photos taken from various sources including: Flickr [ozairusa, Gemini Man, Pingnews], webshots.com, magic-city-news.com, haqaonline.lightuponlight.com
and various other websites

Illustration of what the Kaba might have looked like in the time of Prophet Adam (pbuh)

Illustration of what the Kaba might have looked like in the time of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) (pbuh)

Various Photo's and illustrations of Kaaba since then (in no particular order)

Inside The Kaba

Items that belonged inside the Kaba (as shown in an exhibition of the two holy mosques)
Taken from layal7 of Flickr


Another Door

A box/ Cabinet

Some type of object

Parts of an old pole supporting the Kaaba

Another pole that was removed and replaced

Another support piece

Ladder used to go inside the Kaaba

Old keys to the door(s)

Useful reading:
For more info on the Kaba and and it's history please visit this informative website http://www.kabahinfo.net/

Interesting articles:
(1) Mecca’s hallowed skyline transformed: Excerpts - indianmuslims.in
(2) The Cost of ‘Progress’: Commercialization of Islam’s Holiest Site in Makkah - The Islamic Workplace

Friday, 5 October 2007

Famous Mosques

Famous Mosques

Source: List of mosques taken from al-islam.com, Al-aqsa details taken from jamila, Pictures taken from various sources using google (please let me know if any pictures do not correspond with any title of mosques).

The Sacred Mosque
The Sacred Mosque in Mecca was the first mosque built on earth. It was founded by Abraham and his son Ishmael in the year 2793 before the Hijrah (the Prophet's Emigration). The sacred mosque encompasses the Ka`bah, a shrine held sacred by more than 800 million Muslims, to which they are required to make Hajj (Pilgrimage). It has been renovated and expanded several times. It also includes a comprehensive Islamic library.

‏المَسجِدُ الحَرَامُ (السُّعُودِيَّةُ) : أَنشَأَهُ سَيِّدُنَا إِبرَاهِيمُ عَلَيهِ السَّلَامُ وَوَلَدُهُ إِسمَاعِيلُ حَوَالَي سَنَة 2793 قَبلَ الهِجرَةِ فِي مَكَّةَ المُكَرَّمَةِ بِالأَرَاضِي السُّعُودِيَّةِ، أَوَّلُ مَسجِدٍ فِي التَّارِيخِ. قِبلَةُ وَمَحَجُّ المُسلِمِينَ، بِهِ الكَعبَةُ المُشَرَّفَةُ، جُدِّدَ وَوُسِّعَ عِدَّةَ مَرَّاتٍ وَمُلحَقٌ بِهِ مَكتَبَةٌ كَبِيرَةٌ. أَكثَرُ مِن مِليَارِ مُسلِمٍ يَتَوَجَّهُونَ بِقُلُوبِهِم إِلَى الكَعبَةِ.‏


The Prophet's Mosque in Medina
The Prophet's Mosque in Medina was built by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in 1 A.H./622 A.D. It was the second mosque in the Islamic era and the headquarters of the first Islamic government. Moreover, it is considered the center of Muslims and the symbol for their spiritual, political and intellectual unity. In this mosque, the first Islamic constitution was laid down.

‏مَسجِدُ المَدِينَةِ المُنَوَّرَةِ (السُّعُودِيَّةُ) : أَنشَأَهُ الرَّسُولُ (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيهِ وَسَلَّمَ) سَنَةَ (1هـ - 622م) وَهُوَ ثَانِي مَسجِدٍ فِي الإِسلَامِ وَمَقَرُّ أَوَّلِ حُكُومَةٍ إِسلَامِيَّةٍ، ثَانِي الحَرَمَينِ الشَّرِيفَينِ الَّذِي تُشَدُّ إِلَيهِ الرِّحَالُ، وَالمَركَزُ الرُّوحِيُّ وَالفِكرِيُّ وَالسِّيَاسِيُّ لِلجَمَاعَةِ الإِسلَامِيَّةِ وَرَمزُ وَحدَتِهَا، وُلِدَ فِيهِ أَوَّلُ دُستُورٍ لِلإِسلَامِ.‏

The Al Aqsa Mosque
Al-Masjid El-Aqsa is an Arabic name which means the Farthest Mosque. Ten years after the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) received his first revelation, he made a miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and on a white winged creature called Al-Buraq. In that night, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) led all the Prophets of Allah (PBUT) in prayer in the Holy Mosque. For this reason, Masjid Al-Aqsa is a holy place of worship for the Muslims, along with Kaba in Makkah and The Prophet's (PBUH) Mosque in Medina. These are the three most important Mosques to the Muslims.


The Dome of the Rock Mosque (Qubbat Al-Sakhrah)
The Dome of the Rock Mosque was founded by the Umayyad Caliph Abdul-Malik Ibn Marwan in Jerusalem in the period (65-86 A.H./684-705 A.D.) It was built in memoriam of the rock from which the Prophet began his ascent to heaven (Al-Mi`raj). The mosque has been renovated several times. It was decorated with fine mosaics and Turkish faience in 1554 A.H.

‏مَسجِدُ قُبَّةِ الصَّخرَةِ (فِلَسطِينُ) : بُنِيَ فِي عَهدِ الخَلِيفَةِ الأُمَوِيِّ عَبدِ المَلِكِ بنِ مَروَانَ بَينَ سَنَتَي (65-86هـ)ُ (684-705م) فِي مَدِينَةِ القُدسِ الشَّرقِيَّةِ. وَهُوَ مَبنًى مَسجِدِيٌّ فَرِيدٌ فِي بَابِهِ فِي عَالَمِ الإِسلَامِ تَخلِيدًا لِلصَّخرَةِ الَّتِي عُرِجَ بِالرَّسُولِ (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيهِ وَسَلَّمَ) عِندَهَا إِلَى السَّمَاءِ، جُدِّدَ عِدَّةَ مَرَّاتٍ وَزُيِّنَ بِالفُسَيفِسَاءِ وَالقَاشَانِي التُّركِيِّ سَنَةَ 1554م.‏


`Amr Ibn Al-`As Mosque
`Amr Ibn Al-`As Mosque was founded by `Amr Ibn Al-`As in 21 A.H., in the newly established city of Fustat, Egypt. Today nothing remains of its original structure. The Umayyads and the Abbasids renovated it several times. In the Fatimid era it was luxuriously furnished and equipped with scores of lamps.

‏جَامِعُ عَمرِو بنِ العَاصِ (مِصرُ) : أَنشَأَهُ عَمرُو بنُ العَاصِ 21هـ وَيَقَعُ فِي (مِصرَ) مَيدَانِ عَمرِو بنِ العَاصِ - مِصرَ القَدِيمَةِ- لَم يَبقَ مِن أَصلِهِ الأَوَّلِ شَيءٌ عَلَى الإِطلَاقِ، نَالَ عَلَى يَدِ الأُمَوِيِّينَ وَالعَبَّاسِيِّينَ نَصِيبًا مِن العِنَايَةِ المِعمَارِيَّةِ، وَفِي العَصرِ الفَاطِمِيِّ عُنِيَ بِهِ خُلَفَاءُ الدَّولَةِ فَزَوَّدُوهُ بِالكَثِيرِ مِن الأَثَاثِ وَالثُّرَيَّاتِ وَالقَنَادِيلِ.‏


Ahmad Ibn Tulun Mosque
Ahmad Ibn Tulun Mosque in Egypt was founded by Ahmad Ibn Tulun in 876 A.D./263 A.H.and completed in 878 A.D./265 A.H.It is situated in Al-Saiydah Zainab quarter in southern Cairo, a place in which the ancient city of Al-Qata'i` was once located. The general layout of the mosque was modeled on that of the Great Mosque of Samarra. It has a minaret with spiral staircase winding around its exterior.

‏جَامِعُ أَحمَدَ بنِ طُولُونَ (مِصرُ) : بَنَاهُ أَحمَدُ بنُ طُولُونَ سَنَةَ (263هـ - 876م)ُ وَاِنتَهَى مِنهُ (265هـ - 878م) وَيَقَعُ فِي مِصرَ فِي مَيدَانِ أَحمَدَ بنِ طُولُونَ بِحَيِّ السَّيِّدَةِ زَينَبَ جَنُوبَ القَاهِرَةِ (مَوقِع مَدِينَةِ القَطَائِعِ). كَانَ تَخطِيطُهُ مَسجِدَ حِصنٍ كَمَسجِدِ سَامَرَّاءَ لَهُ مِئذَنَةٌ مَلوِيَّةٌ وَهِيَ ذَاتُ مِصعَدٍ خَارِجِيٍّ يَدُورُ حَولَ بَدَنِهَا حَتَّى أَعلَاهَا.‏


Al-Azhar Mosque
Al-Azhar Mosque was built in Cairo, Egypt by Jauhar Al-Siqilli at the bidding of the Fatimid caliph Al-Mu`izz in the years 359-361 A.H./970-972 A.D. It is considered one of the most famous Islamic mosques and one of the greatest centers of religious learning. Al-Azhar was named after Fatimah Al-Zahra', the Prophet's daughter. Al-Azhar became a university for the first time during the Mamluk era. Secular sciences were introduced in 1961, when it was upgraded to the status of a modern university with a number of different faculties. It has five minarets in different styles, thirteen mihrabs (Prayer niches) and a huge library attached to the mosque.

‏الجَامِعُ الأَزهَرُ (مِصرَ) : بَنَاهُ جَوهَرُ الصِّقِلِّيُّ بِأَمرٍ مِن الخَلِيفَةِ الفَاطِمِيِّ المُعِزِّ لِدِينِ اللَّهِ، بُنِيَ بَينَ سَنَتَي (359-361هـ) (970-972م) بِمِصرَ، وَهُوَ مِن أَشهَرِ جَوَامِعِ الإِسلَامِ وَأَكبَرُ جَامِعَةٍ دِينِيَّةٍ، سُمِّيَ بِالأَزهَرِ إِشَارَةً إِلَى الزَّهرَاءِ وَهُوَ لَقَبُ فَاطِمَةَ بِنتِ الرَّسُولِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيهِ وَسَلَّم. أَصبَحَ جَامِعَةً لِأَوَّل مَرَّةٍ فِي العَهدِ المَملُوكِيِّ ثُمَّ أَصبَحَ جَامِعَةً حَدِيثَةً عَامَ 1961م تَضُمُّ عِدَّةَ كُلِّيَاتٍ. يُعتَبَرُ الأَزهَرُ سِجِلًّا لِأَقطَابِ الفِكرِ وَالسِّيَاسَةِ وَ عُلُومِ الدِّينِ فِي مِصرَ وَالعَالَمِ الإِسلَامِيِّ، لَهُ خَمسُ مَآذِنَ مُختَلِفَةُ الطِّرَازِ وَثَلَاثَةَ عَشَرَ مِحرَابًا، وَمُلحَقٌ بِهِ مَكتَبَةٌ كَبِيرَةٌ جِدًّا.‏

Al-Masjid Al-Jami` (the Great Mosque) in Lahore [Baadshahi Mosque]
Al-Masjid Al-Jami` was founded in the 17th century during the reign of Sultan Jahangir. It has a dome constructed of elaborately carved pieces of stone.

‏المَسجِدُ الجَامِعُ فِي لَاهُور (بَاكِستَان) : تَمَّ إِنشَاؤُهُ بِبَاكِستَانَ فِي عَهدِ السُّلطَانِ جَاهَنجِير فِي القَرنِ السَّابِعَ عَشَرَ وَيَتَمَيَّزُ بِقُبَّتِهِ المَبنِيَّةِ مِن الحَجَرِ المُقَصَّبِ.‏

Al-Qarawiyin Mosque
Al-Qarawiyin Mosque was founded in Fez, Morocco in 192 A.H./808 A.D. by Idris II during the Idrisid Dynasty. One of the greatest achievements of Islamic civilization, it is a center of worship and one of the most ancient universities in the world. It is now a modern university teaching religious and modern secular sciences. Its pulpit is considered a model of the outstanding beauty of Andalusian art. Subsequent Moroccan dynasties have contributed to its renovation.

‏جَامِعُ القَرَوِيِّينَ (المَغرِبُ) : أَنشَأَهُ إِدرِيسُ الثَّانِي فِي عَهدِ دَولَةِ الأَدَارِسَةِ سَنَةَ (192هـ - 808م) بِمَدِينَةِ فَاسَ بِالمَغرِبِ، وَالمَسجِدُ عَلَمٌ مِن أَعلَامِ الحَضَارَةِ الإِسلَامِيَّةِ وَمَركَزُ عِبَادَةٍ وَأَقدَمُ جَامِعَةٍ فِي التَّارِيخِ تَحَوَّلَت اليَومَ إِلَى جَامِعَةٍ حَدِيثَةٍ تُدَرِّسُ عُلُومَ الإِسلَامِ وَعُلُومَ العَصرِ الحَدِيثِ. يَمتَازُ هَذَا الجَامِعُ بِأَسطُحِهِ القُرمُزِيَّةِ. مِنبَرُهُ مِن أَجمَلِ المَنَابِرِ المَعرُوفَةِ إِلَى اليَومِ وَهُوَ نَمُوذَجٌ لِلفَنِّ المَغرِبِيِّ الأَندَلُسِيِّ، وَمُلحَقٌ بِهِ مَكتَبَةٌ كَبِيرَةٌ. اِشتَرَكَت فِي بِنَائِهِ جَمِيعُ الدُّوَلِ الَّتِي تَعَاقَبَت عَلَى الحُكمِ فِي المَغرِبِ.‏

Delhi Mosque

Delhi Mosque was founded by Sultan Shah Jahan in the 17th century (1644-1658 A.D.) It is the biggest mosque on the Indian subcontinent. It is built in Indian style, which combines Persian, Buddhist and Hindu architectural elements. It has two beautiful, slender minarets, each 40 meters high.

‏مَسجِدُ دِلهِي (الهِند) : أَنشَأَهُ السُّلطَانُ شَاه جَاهَان فِي العَهدِ الإِسلَامِيِّ بِالقَرنِ السَّابِعَ عَشَرَ (1644-1658م) بِدِلهِي بِالهِندِ، أَكبَرُ مَسَاجِدِ الهِندِ قَاطِبَةً، طِرَازُهُ هِندِيٌّ مَحَلِّيٌّ يَجمَعُ بَينَ طَرِيقَةِ المَعَابِدِ البُوذِيَّةِ وَالهِندُوسِيَّةِ قَبلَ الإِسلَامِ، لَهُ مِئذَنَتَانِ رَفِيعَتَانِ تَرتَفِعَانِ أَربَعِينَ مِترًا فِي غَايَةِ الغَرَابَةِ وَالجَمَالِ.‏


Hagia Sophie Mosque in Istanbul
Hagia Sophie was originally the most renowned church in the Byzantine capital of Constantinople. The church building was constructed during the reign of the Emperor Justinian in the sixth century A.D. and was famed for its immense dome. It was richly decorated with mosaics and costly marble. After the capture of Constantinople in 1453 A.D. by Fatih Sultan Mehmet, it was converted into a mosque and continued to function as such until it became a museum during the early years of the Turkish Republic. It is surrounded by tombs of Ottoman rulers and their families, as it was always considered the premier mosque of the Ottoman Empire. Its architecture had a profound influence on the subsequent development of the Ottoman architectural style.

‏جَامِعُ آيَا صُوفيَا بِاِستَانبُولَ (تُركِيَا) : بَنَاهُ السُّلطَانُ مُحَمَّدٌ الفَاتِحُ سَنَةَ (857هـ - 1453م) عَلَى أَنقَاضِ كَنِيسَةٍ بِيزَنطِيَّةٍ وَكَانَ قَد بَنَاهَا الإِمبِرَاطُورُ جوستنيان فِي أَوَاخِرِ القَرنِ السَّادِسِ المِيلَادِيِّ وَتَشتَهِرُ بِقُبَّتِهَا الضَّخمَةِ وَزَخَارِفِهَا وَرُخَامِهَا وَمُنَمنَمَاتِهَا الرَّائِعَةِ. تَحَوَّلَ اليَومَ إِلَى مَتحَفٍ فِي عَهدِ مُصطَفَى كَمَال أَتَاتُورك. وَيُعَدُّ جَامِعُ آيَا صُوفيَا مِن أَجمَلِ المَعَالِمِ المِعمَارِيَّةِ لِمَدِينَةِ اِستَانبُولَ.‏
Isfahan Mosque
Isfahan Mosque in Iran is also known as 'Masjid Al-Shah Al-Kabir'. Many scholars have been associated with this mosque.

‏مَسجِدُ أَصفَهَانَ (إِيرَان) : مَسجِدُ الشَّاه الكَبِيرِ بِمَدِينَةِ أَصفَهَانَ بِإِيرَانَ الَّتِي يُنسَبُ إِلَيهَا الكَثِيرُ مِن العُلَمَاءِ.‏

Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque, London
The London Central Mosque was designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd, completed in 1978, and has a prominent golden dome. The main hall can hold almost two thousand worshippers.

‏المَركَزُ وَالمَسجِدُ الإِسلَامِيُّ (لَندَن- بِرِيطَانيَا)‏

Qait Bay Mosque
Qait Bay Mosque was founded by Sultan Qait Bay in Egypt during the Mamluk era in 877 A.H./1472 A.D.It is now situated in Maqabir Al-Khulafa' (or the Caliphs' Cemeteries), Cairo. It is the last architectural achievement of Qait Bay, and is especially famed for the beauty of the decorations on its dome. This dome was highly praised by the French archeologist Jaston Wiett.

‏مَسجِدُ قَايِتبَاي (مِصرُ) : أَنشَأَهُ السُّلطَانُ قَايِتبَاي فِي العَهدِ المَملُوكِيِّ بِمِصرَ سَنَةَ (877هـ - 1472م) وَيَقَعُ الآنَ فِي مَقَابِرِ الخُلَفَاءِ جَنُوبَ القَاهِرَةِ. مَسجِدُ قَايِتبَاي هُوَ آخِرُ مَا أَنشَأَهُ السُّلطَانُ وَيُعَدُّ تُحفَةً أَثَرِيَّةً وَخَاصَّةً زَخَارِفُ قُبَّتِهِ المُمَيَّزَةُ وَقَد تَغَنَّى بِهَا الأَثَرِيُّ الفَرَنسِيُّ جَاستُون وِيت.‏

The Great Mosque in Cordoba
The Great Mosque in Cordoba, Spain was founded during the reign of the Umayyad caliph `Abdul-Rahman Al-Dakhil, in 170 A.H./786 A.D. It was completed over a period of nearly two and a half centuries. This mosque is considered one of the greatest architectural achievements in the Islamic era. The famous "History Tree" was planted in the pillared court [Sahn], later known as the Court of History. The mosque was then converted into a cathedral after the Spanish conquest of Cordoba in 1236 A.D. For many years it was the greatest educational center in Europe. It has been renovated several times.

‏مَسجِدُ قُرطُبَةَ الجَامِعُ (أَسبَانيَا) : بَدَأَ إِنشَاؤُهُ فِي عَهدِ الخَلِيفَةِ الأُمَوِيِّ الأَندَلُسِيِّ عَبدِ الرَّحمَنِ الدَّاخِلِ بِمَدِينَةِ قُرطُبَةَ بِالأَندَلُسِ، أَسبَانيَا الإِسلَامِيَّةِ سَنَةَ 170هـ - 786م. تَمَّ بِنَاءُ هَذَا المَسجِدِ خِلَالَ قَرنَينِ وَنِصفِ قَرنٍ عَلَى وَجهِ التَّقرِيبِ. وَهُوَ قِمَّةٌ مِن قِمَمِ الفَنِّ المِعمَارِيِّ العَالَمِيِّ عَلَى مَرِّ العُصُورِ وَهُوَ أَضخَمُ بَيتٍ لِلصَّلَاةِ بُنِيَ فِي الإِسلَامِ، وَلَمَّا زَرَعَ النَّاسُ شَجَرَةَ التَّارِيخِ فِي الصَّحنِ سُمِّيَ بِصَحنِ التَّارِيخِ، حُوِّلَ إِلَى كَاتَدرَائِيَّة عِندَمَا اِستَولَى الأَسبَانُ عَلَى قُرطُبَةَ سَنَةَ 1236م وَكَانَ لِقُرُونٍ طَوِيلَةٍ أَعظَمَ مَركَزٍ لِلعِلمِ فِي أُورُبَّا، وَكَانَ دَارَ قَضَاءٍ بِقُرطُبَةَ، وَجُدِّدَ بِنَاؤُهُ عِدَّةَ مَرَّاتٍ.‏

The Great Mosque of Qairawan
The Great Mosque in Qairawan, Tunisia was founded by `Uqbah Ibn Nafi` between the years 50-55 A.H./670-675 A.D.during the Umayyad era. It was renovated on behalf of the Umayyad caliph Abdul-Malik Ibn Marwan by the Moroccan governor, who built turrets at the corners of the courtyard in order to give it a fortified appearance. It is considered one of the four great mosques in the Islamic world.

‏المَسجِدُ الجَامِعُ بِالقَيرَوَانِ (تُونُسُ) : بَنَاهُ عُقبَةُ بنُ نَافِع فِي مَدِينَةِ القَيرَوَانِ بِتُونُسَ بَينَ سَنَتَي (50-55هـ) (670-675م) فِي العَهدِ الأُمَوِيِّ، جَدَّدَهُ حَسَّانُ بنُ النُّعمَانِ وَالِي المَغرِبِ لِعَبدِ المَلِكِ بنِ مَروَانَ وَجَعَلَ لَهُ أَبرَاجًا عَلَى أَركَانِ أَسوَارِهِ فَاتَّخَذَ هَيئَةَ الحِصنِ وَهُوَ أَحَدُ المَسَاجِدِ الجَامِعَةِ الأَربَعَةِ الأُولَى.‏

The Mosque of `Ibad Al-Rahman, Indonesia
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‏مَسجِدُ عِبَادِ الرَّحمَنِ (إِندُونِيسيَا)‏


The Mosque of Quba'
The Mosque of Quba' was the first mosque built in the Islamic era. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) built it in 1 A.H./622 A.D.in Quba', about 5 km southeast of Medina. The Holy Qur'an referred to it as: "A mosque whose foundations have been laid on piety from the first day" Surah Al-Taubah (No. 9, Verse 108). The Caliph `Umar bin `Abdul-`Aziz was the first to construct a minaret on it. It has been renovated several times throughout the ages, most recently by the Saudi Government.

‏مَسجِدُ قُبَاءٍ (السُّعُودِيَّةُ) : أَوَّلُ مَسجِدٍ فِي الإِسلَامِ بَنَاهُ الرَّسُولُ (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيهِ وَسَلَّمَ) سَنَةَ 1هـ - 622م بِمَدِينَةِ قُبَاءٍ عَلَى مَشَارِفِ المَدِينَةِ المُنَوَّرَةِ. ذُكِرَ فِي القُرآنِ الكَرِيمِ أَنَّهُ المَسجِدُ الَّذِي أُسِّسَ عَلَى التَّقوَى. وَتَمَّ تَجدِيدُهُ عِدَّةَ مَرَّاتٍ وَكَانَ الخَلِيفَةُ عُمَرُ بنُ عَبدِ العَزِيزِ أَوَّلَ مَن وَضَعَ لَهُ مِئذَنَةً. وَتَوَلَّى تَجدِيدَهُ فِي العَصرِ الحَدِيثِ أُسرَةُ آلِ سُعُودٍ.‏

The Mosque of Salah Al-Din, Malaysia
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‏مَسجِدُ صَلَاحِ الدِّينِ (مَالِيزيَا)‏

The Mosque of Samarra
The Mosque of Samarra was founded in Iraq by the Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakkil in the period 218-228 A.H./833-843 A.D.in Samarra, Iraq. The mosque has a minaret with a spiral staircase, with sixteen gates opening onto a courtyard. It is considered the most spacious mosque built in the Islamic world.

‏مَسجِدُ سَامَرَّاءَ (العِرَاقُ) : بَنَاهُ الخَلِيفَةُ العَبَّاسِيُّ المُتَوَكِّلُ سَنَةَ (218هـ-228هـ) و (833م-843م) بِسَامَرَّاءَ بِالعِرَاقِ، يُشبِهُ الحِصنَ، وَمِئذَنَتُهُ ذَاتُ مِصعَدٍ لَولَبِيٍّ تُذَكِّرُ بِفِكرَةِ بُرجِ بَابِلَ وَتُسَمَّى المَلوِيَّةَ، أَوسَعُ مَا بَنَاهُ المُسلِمُونَ مِن مَسَاجِدَ، لَهُ سِتَّةَ عَشَرَ بَابًا.‏


The Mosque of Sousse
The Mosque of Sousse was built in Tunisia by Abu Al-`Abbas `Abdullah Ibn Ibrahim Ibn Ahmad Al-Aghlabi during the reign of the Aghlabids in 236 A.H./850 A.D. One of the biggest and most beautiful of the surviving ancient mosques, it occupies an important place in the history of Islamic architecture. It has a movable wooden mihrab (Prayer niche), similar to that in Al-Masjid Al-Jami` (the Great Mosque) in Algeria and Jami` Al-Zaitunah (The Olive Mosque) in Tunis.

‏مَسجِدُ سُوسَةَ الجَامِعُ (تُونُسُ) : أَنشَأَهُ أَبُو العَبَّاسِ عَبدُ اللَّهِ بنُ إِبرَاهِيمَ بنِ أَحمَدَ الأَغلَبِيُّ فِي عَهدِ دَولَةِ الأَغَالِبَةِ شَمَالَ أَفرِيقيَا سَنَةَ (236هـ - 850م) بِمَدِينَةِ سُوسَةَ فِي تُونُسَ. وَيُعتَبَرُ مِن أَجمَلِ وَأَكبَرِ المَسَاجِدِ العَتِيقَةِ البَاقِيَةِ. وَمِن أَكبَرِ المَعالِمِ فِي تَارِيخِ عِمَارَةِ المَسَاجِدِ، مِحرَابُهُ خَشَبِيٌّ مُتَحَرِّكٌ وَهُوَ مِن أَقدَمِ مَا عُثِرَ عَلَيهِ مِن نَوعِهِ فِي تَارِيخِ العِمَارَةِ الإِسلَامِيَّةِ وَيُشبِهُ مِحرَابَ مَسجِدِ الزَّيتُونَةِ فِي تُونُسَ وَالمَسجِدِ الجَامِعِ بِالجَزَائِرِ.‏

The Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey
The Selimiye Mosque was constructed in 1570-1574 A.D. by the Sultan Selim II. This building was the masterpiece of the great court architect Sinan. He designed many mosques, in addition to over 300 other buildings, including baths, schools, markets, caravansaries and bridges. The mosque is famous for the perfection of its design and the quality of its decorations.

‏مَسجِدُ السِّلِيمِيَّةِ فِي أَدِرنَة (تُركِيَا) : مَسجِدُ السِّلِيمِيَّةِ فِي أَدِرنَة بِتُركِيَا بَدَأَ إِنشَاؤُهُ سَنَةَ 1570م وَتَمَّ بِنَاؤُهُ سَنَةَ 1574م. وَهُوَ مِن تَصمِيمِ المِعمَارِيِّ سِنَان وَالَّذِي يُعتَبَرُ مِن أَكمَلِ أَعمَالِهِ الَّتِي تَزِيدُ عَلَى ثَلَاثِمِائَةِ مَبنًى مَا بَينَ مَسَاجِدَ وَمَدَارِسَ وَقَنَاطِرَ وَقُصُورٍ. وَالمَسجِدُ كُلُّهُ مُلَبَّسٌ بِالرُّخَامِ وَالمَرمَرِ.‏

The Sultan Mosque, Kuala Lumpur
The mosque was commissioned by the late Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz, when he declared Shah Alam as the new capital of Selangor on February 14, 1974. Construction began in 1982 and finished on March 11, 1988.

‏مَسجِدُ السُّلطَانِ (كُوَالَالَمبُور)‏


The Sulymaniye Mosque
This outstanding structure was erected in the reign of the Sultan Sulyman Al-Qanuni. Selim I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, was buried in a tomb to the rear of this mosque. The mosque was erected on a hill near the University of Istanbul. With its four minarets, it is considered one of the major monuments of the Islamic antiquities. The marble used in its construction was brought from the Marmara region, the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen. Hasan Celebi, the student of Ahmet Karah, the most famous of all Ottoman calligraphers, executed the Arabic inscriptions which are intermingled with colorful ceramic decoration. A huge library was constructed in the mosque complex.
‏جَامِعُ السُّلَيمَانِيَّةِ (تُركِيَا) : بُنِيَ فِي عَهدِ السُّلطَانِ سُلَيمَانِ القَانُونِيِّ وَدُفِنَ دَاخِلَهُ سِلِيمُ الأَوَّلُ مَؤَسِّسُ الإِمبِرَاطُورِيَّةِ العُثمَانِيَّةِ. يَقَعُ المَسجِدُ عَلَى تَلٍّ خَلفَ جَامِعَةِ اِستَانبُولَ وَهُوَ مِن الآثَارِ الإِسلَامِيَّةِ الخَالِدَةِ، لَهُ أَربَعَةُ مَنَابِرَ. جُلِبَت قِطَعُ المَرمَرِ المُستَعمَلَةُ فِي بِنَائِهِ مِن جَزِيرَةِ مَرمَرَةَ وَالجَزِيرَةِ العَرَبِيَّةِ وَاليَمَنِ، بِهِ زَخَارِفُ مُلَوَّنَةٌ كَثِيرَةٌ وَكِتَابَاتٌ مِن خَطِّ أَحمَدَ قُرَّةَ، وَحَسَن شَلَبِي أَشهَرِ الخَطَّاطِينَ فِي العَهدِ العُثمَانِيِّ آنَذَاكَ. وَالجَامِعُ مُلحَقٌ بِهِ مَكتَبَةٌ ضَخمَةٌ.‏


The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus
The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria was built in the reign of Al-Walid bin `Abdul-Malik from 86-96 A.H./705-714 A.D. It was constructed inside a Roman temple dedicated to the god Jupiter. Its layout was a reproduction of the Prophet's Mosque in Medina. It was the first mosque built in Syria that had three minarets. All four walls of the courtyard were decorated with mosaics. These mosaics were well preserved and had recently been restored. The mosque once contained an extensive library of manuscripts.

‏المَسجِدُ الأُمَوِيُّ بِدِمَشقَ (سُورِيَا) : بُنِيَ فِي عَهدِ الخَلِيفَةِ الأُمَوِيِّ الوَلِيدِ بنِ عَبدِ المَلِكِ فِي العَهدِ الأُمَوِيِّ سَنَةَ (86-96هـ) (705-714م) بِمَدِينَةِ دِمَشقَ بِسُورِيَا عَاصِمَةِ الخِلَافَةِ الأُمَوِيَّةِ آنَذَاكَ، أُنشِئَ فِي جُزءٍ مِن مَعبَدٍ لِلإِلَهِ الرُّومَانِيِّ جوبتر وَفقَ مُخَطَّطِ مَسجِدِ الرَّسُولِ (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيهِ وَسَلَّمَ). لَهُ ثَلَاثَةُ مَآذِنَ وَتُعتَبَرُ مَآذِنُهُ أَوَّلَ مُحَاوَلَةٍ لِإِقَامَةِ المَآذِنِ فِي الشَّامِ، لَهُ أَربَعَةُ أَبوَابٍ وَمُزَيَّنٌ بِالفُسَيفِسَاءِ لَا تَزَالُ بَقَايَا الفُسَيفِسَاءِ مَوجُودَةً فِي أَجزَاءٍ هَامَّةٍ دَاخِلَ بَابِ البَرِيدِ (البَابِ الغَربِيِّ لِلمَسجِدِ) كَانَ فِي المَاضِي مُستَودَعًا لِلكُتُبِ وَالمَخطُوطَاتِ.‏

Further Info (including pictures) try the following sites:
(1) Mosques of the world - travel-images.com
(2) Mosques - salawaat
(4) 8 Famous Mosques from around the world - gallipolimosque.org.au