The mosque of Amr Ibn al-As at Al-Fustat


The mosque of Amr Ibn al-As

firstly ,the mosque of Amr Ibn Al-As is considered the first mosque to be bulit in Africa ,not only in Egypt and the second oldest mosque in Egypt, after Sadat Quraish Mosque in Sharkia Governorate that was built in 18 AH Which was built after caliph Omar entered Egypt from the east. the mosque was founded by the commander in chief of Arab troops Amr Ibn Al-As after conquering Egypt. the mosque was called crown of mosques and Al-Fath Mosque.

the original mosque of Amr Ibn al-As

the history of Amr Ibn al-As mosque :

A large number of companions contributed to the design of the mosque of Amr Ibn Al-As , most notably Abu Dhar al-Ghafari, and eighty companions participated in determining its qiblah. The land on which the mosque was founded was owned by Qaisaba Ibn Kulthum, and Amr bin Al-Aas asked to buy it to be a mosque and Qaisaba Ibn Kulthum was given it in charity and then the mosque was built on it.

the original mosque of Amr Ibn al-As :

the mosque of Amr Ibn Al-As was founded and constructed in 21 AH .the mosque was constructed as a place for prayer for the Arab troops in Al-Fustat city. the original mosque was small ,measuring about 29 meters long and 17 meters wide. the house of Amr Ibn Al-As was in the norhteastern side of his mosque and near from the house of his son .The mosque was a freestanding structure with mud-prick walls and the mosque had a 6 entrances on the 3 sides. The original mosque wasn't had a courtyard but it was had a plain of decorations .The roof of the mosque was made of split palm beams covered with mud and supported by palm trunks.

The floor of the mosque wasn't paved but it vwas covered with pebbles. The mosque was lacked a minaret and a cocave niche ,but the original prayer niche was flat. Amr Ibn Al-As used a stepped wooden pulpit to  deliver the sermon (Khutba) of friday prayer to Muslim community. Unfortunately ,nothing of the original mosque of Amr Ibn Al-As survived.

The role of the mosque of Amr ibn Al-As:

  • The 5 prayers.
  • social meetings and education.
  • Gatherings for discussing religious and civil cases
  • Teaching theology ,law and religious subjects 
  • Amr Ibn Al-Aas Mosque, the oldest scientific university in Islamic Egypt, which preceded Al-Azhar by nearly 600 years.

Additions and restorations to the Amr Ibn Al-Aas Mosque throughout the ages:

1-Maslama Ibn Mukhalled (The governor of Egypt ) pulled down the mosque and replaced it by a lager one had mats on floor and plastered walls by the growing Muslim community, the mosque became too small and Maslama Ibn Mukhalled followed the orders Umayyad caliph Mu'awiya and added a minaret to each of the four corners of the mosque Amr Ibn Al-As . 

2- Abd al-Aziz ibn Marawan enlarged the mosque from the north and the west and heightened the roof was heightened in 698 A.D.
3- Qura Ibn Sharik (The governor of Egypt) pulled down the mosque and replaced it by a larger one in 711A.D and he also added a concave niche (the second concave prayer niche after the  first one made by  Omar Ibn Abd al- Aziz  jn the mosque of Medina) and Qura Ibn Sharik added a  Maqsura (It is about an enclosure near the prayer niche in which the ruler prayed in private for more safety.

4-Abd Allah Ibn Taher ( the governor of Egypt ) enlarged the mosque to the present size & opened a windows on the wall of the mosque in 827A.D.

5-During Ikhshidids, in 326 A.H - 937 A.D. the capitáls of the columns were gilded.
6-During the Fatimid period:
  • The caliph al-Aziz ordered to add a gilded pulpit.
  • The caliph al-Hakim rebuilt the riwaqs ( the mosque in his time had seven riwaqs in front, seven on the back and five on each side) & donated a lamp made of silver weighing 100,000 drachms and it was so big as result the mosque doors had to be removed to get it in.
  • The caliplh Mustansir added a silver belt to the prayer niche and silver to columns.
  • During the Fatimid period, the mosque has 5 minarets (4 at the corners and one at the axial entrance). & They most likely fell during the 1303 earthquake and there is no trace of them today.
6- Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi restored the mosque after the fire of Al- Fustat and he also removed the silver belt from the prayer niche(that was added byThe caliplh Mustansir during the Fatimid period ). 
7-During the Mamluks period alot of restorations were made to the mosque:
  • Sultan Baibars completely rebuilt the north-west wall of the mosque.
  • The mosque was damnged by the 1303 A.D earthquake.
  • Other restorations were attributed to Sultan Qaitbay.
8- Murad Bey pulted down the mosque and rebuilt it in1800 A.D, but the arches of the qibla riwaq were built vertical to the qibla wall, as result closing the windows. he also built two minarets which are standing(one near the main entrance and another one on the south-west corner.(that follow the Ottoman style).