Mosque of Amr Ibn Al-As
The Date of construction & Location Mosque of Amr ibn al-As
It was built in Al-Fustat in 21 A.H/642 A.D. by Amr Ibn Al As to be the first mosque in Egypt and all Africa.
It was surrounded by the plans and houses of al-fustat at the northeastern, southeastern, and southwestern sides As for the northwestern one, there were no buildings since the mosque overlooked the Nile then.
The Importance of the Mosque of Amr Ibn Al-As
The mosque has great importance in Islamic Egypt for:
It was the first scientific university, 600 years before Al Azhar mosque, where the lessons’ circles were held for the public, students and specialists in Koran, language and jurisprudence.
Imam Mohamed Ibn Idris Al-shar’I learned there when he came to Egypt at the end of the 2nd century A.H./ 8 th century A.D.
The migratory, Naser Khesro described the mosque saying that it was the residence of teachers and Quran recites and the place where the inhabitants of the big cities used to meet. At any time, it included not less than 500 of students, strangers and clerks.
Since the end of the Fatimid period, the tradition of performing the prayer of last Friday of Ramadan, Al Jumaa Al Yatima, in this mosque has begun.
The Founder “Amr Ibn Al-Aas”
He worked in the trade during the pre- Islamic paganism and was well known for his cunning in war and peace.
In the 8th year after Hegira, he embraced the Islam and took part in same invasions in the time of the Prophet.(Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him).
Furthermore, he participated in the Islamic conquests as he headed the Syrian army, In 10th Hijri Year/639 A.D under the rule of Omar Ibn Al Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him)
After the conquest of Syria, he interested Omar in Conquest Egypt till he permitted him in 21 A.H./ 642 A.D., he continued to rule it throughout the time of Omar till he was deposed 4 years after the caliphate of Uthman Ibn Afan (may Allah be pleased with him)
Later in 38 A.H./658 A.D. Mu’awiya Ibn Abi Sufyan appointed him again as ruler of Egypt where he stayed till he died in 43 A.H./ 663 A.D. and was 90 years old.
The design of the Mosque of Amr Ibn Al-As
It was built in the shape of a rectangular low shed of wood and palm leaves supported on columns of palm stems, stones and mud bricks while the floor was covered with gravel.
80 from the prophet’s companions including Al Zubayr Ibn Al Awwan and Aubada Ibn Al Samet assembled to build the Mihrab.
It was said that Amr Ibn AL-As had determined the position of its Qibla by himself with a defection towards the east. But Kurra Ibn Shurayk corrected that when he rebuilt the mosque.
The Umayyad Period
(1) In 53 A.H. /672 A.D
The mosque was demolished and rebuilt by the Umayyad ruler Musallama Ibn Mukhallad, occupying more area as a result of the extensions at the northeastern and northwestern sides. Moreover, an open courtyard (sahn) was added in front of the new qibla and gravel was replaced with mats.
The ruler Kurra Ibn Shourayk demolished the mosque once more and re-established it in an area of 150m. i.e half of its present one. And besides, he
provided it with a new wooden minibar, a hollow mihrab and compartment.
The Abbasid Period
– In 212 A.H./827 A.DWhen caliph Al-Ma’mun Al-Abbasi appointed Abdullah Ibn Taher as ruler of Egypt, he added a new area to the mosque at the southwestern side, and since the walls were not completely perpendicular it became almost trapezoidal.
– The mosque was provided with 13 doors then; 3 in the northwestern wall to opposite to the square, 4 in the southwestern wall, 5 in the northeastern wall and 1 in the qibla wall for the Imam of the mosque.The Historian Ibn Duqmaq mentioned the names of 8 doors as: Bab Al-shayein/ Bab zawyat fatema / bab Al halwani/ Bab al Jana’iz at the northeastern side; Bab Suq Al ghaz, Bab Al –Akfanin at the southwestern side. While the door of the Imam was called Bab Al zenzalhuta (a name of a tree that was beside it).
– Some wooden cushions with floral decoration at the top of the capitals on the right corner of the qibla riwaq, date back to the time of Abdullah Ibn Taher.
The Fatimid Period
The mosque received much care during the Fatimid period after they entered Egypt in 358 A.H./ 969 A.D. Especially:
In 378 A.H./ 989 A.D., under the rule of Al Aziz Be Allah who built a foundation below the dome of Bayt Al-mal
In 387 A.H./ 998 A.D In the time of Al hakim Bi Amr Allah; he built a riwaq in the courtyard supported on columns of stone instead of wood, and he provided the mosque with a large Minbar.
Minarets in the Fatimid period:
– A minaret was built in the middle of the qibla wall by Al-Mustanser
– The two others were built by Al afdal Shahinshah Ibn badr Al-Gamali in 515A.H., one of which is known as the big minaret and stands in the place now called Darih Abdullah Ibn Amr.
The Ayyubid Period
At the end of the Fatimid period, the mosque was ruined as a result of the Al fustat fire that took place in 564 A.H./1175 A.D. It was burnt by Shawer, the vizier of Al Adid to prevent the crusaders from entering the fustat.
It remained so till Salah AlDin Al Ayyubi ordered Its renewal in 568 A.H./ 1179 A.D.
Moreover, he rebuilt the qibla and the big Mihrab, and faced the latter with marble bearing his name.
The Mamluk Period
Much building was carried out in the mosque in the time of Izz AlDin Aibak, the first Mamluk Sultan and sultan Baybrus as well.
The most important of which was that executed in the time of Sultan Al-Nasir Mohamed Ibn Qalaun at the hands of Al Amir Silar, the vice sultan, after the earthquake that occurred in 702 A.H. /1303 A.D.
The ottoman Period
Murad Bey’s Reconstruction, restoration and renewal
After Al fustat was completely ruined and before the French entered Egypt, Murad Bey, one of the rulers of Egypt, began to rebuild the mosque in 1796 A.D.
– He renewed the ceiling
– He covered the floor with mats and provided the mosque with lamps
– Besides, he changed the Iwan and the courtyard replacing the 7 rows of columns in the qibla Iwan with 6 ones and changing the bays to be perpendicular to the qibla wall instead of being parallel to it.
– Furthermore, he probably built the 2 remaining minarets, one above the right entrance in the facade and the other above the old angle on the right of the qibla wall.
– On the occasion of these achievements, Murad Bey made 4 foundation tablets still existing, bearing poetic verses praising and dating the mentioned achievements; one of these tablets is fixed to the qibla wall on the left of the mihrab.
– Performing the old tradition Al Gabarti mentioned that Murad bey performed the prayer of the last Friday of Ramadan in the mosque in 1212 A.H./1797 A.D. Reviving the old tradition that began in the Fatimid period.
Khedive Tawfiq Restoration
In the time of Khedive Tawfiq, some restorations were executed in the mosque in 1300 A.H / 1882 A.D.
The administration of Wakfs’ renewal
Seventeen years later, others were achieved by the administration of wakfs represented in:
Renewing the ceiling of the southern Iwan and part of the northern one.
Building the walls
Covering the floor with tiles.
The Arab antiquities preservation committee restoration
In 1323 A.H. /1906 A.D, the mosque received much care on the part of the Arab antiquities preservation committee followed by the antiquities Department.
The qibla Iwan was repaired.
Some excavations were carried out in the courtyard uncovering the bases of the old columns and the foundations of buildings dating back to different periods.
Mausoleum (Darih) of Abdullah Ibn Amr
The mausoleum situated at the southern angle of the qibla riwaq below a dome, is of the noticeable features of this mosque.
It is attributed to Abdullah Ibn Amr, although the historical references and the migrators did not confirm that, and moreover, they did not agree on the country where this honorable companion was buried.
The historian Ibn Deqmaq called this mausoleum zawyet Amr and mentioned the existence of 4 columns and a minaret.
Who is Abdullah Ibn Amr?
He is known as ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Ās, he embraced Islam, in the seventh year of the Hijra,He was from the Sahm branch of the tribe of Quraish.
His father was the famous companion ‘Amr ibn al-Ās Abdullah memorized the whole Qurân and was able to read and write.
He was one of the few companions who wrote down the words of the prophet during his lifetime. He reported 700 hadith.
Mosque of Amr ibn al-As..where
Mosque of Amr ibn al-As..