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Great Mosque of Kufa

great mosque of kufa

The Great Mosque of Kufa, or Masjid al-Kufa (Arabic: مسجد الكوفة المعظم‎), located in Kufa, Iraq, is one of the earliest mosques in Islam. It was constructed in the middle of the 7th century after the Caliph Omar established the city. The mosque contains the remains of Muslim ibn ‘Aqil - first cousin of Hussein ibn ‘Ali, his companion Hani ibn ‘Urwa, and the revolutionary Mukhtar al-Thaqafi.

Dimensions

Over the years, the mosque has been redeveloped a number of times. It is surrounded by a trench and once possessed an arcade of marble columns that extended 20 meters in length. It measured approximately 100 square meters with the side of the qibla organized into five aisles and the others arranged into two. According to early sources, the aisles were demarcated by masonry block columns that rose to the height of the mosque's flat roof.

Today the area of the building measures approximately 11,000sqm and features an elegant gold dome and Saffavid tile work from the 17th and 18th centuries. Twenty-eight semi-circular towers support the exterior wall; it is speculated that they date to the early Islamic period. Excavations carried out by Iraqi Department of Antiquities revealed that although these towers stretched two meters into the ground, they were being stabilized by another set of differently sized towers beneath them, that at one point belonged to an earlier mosque on the site. Additionally, the excavations provided evidence that the qibla side of the mosque is structurally connected to the west wall of the Dar al-Imara.

The mosque contains nine sanctuaries and four traditional locations. It has four minarets and it served by five gates.

Significance

The Mosque is revered for many reasons:

• It was the place where Imam Ali(PBUH) was fatally struck on the head while in prostration (Sujood).

• Contains the tombs of Muslim ibn ‘Aqil, H?ni ibn ‘Urwa, and Mukhtar al-Thaqai.

• There are markers within the mosque indicating the locations for where the court of Imam Ali (PBUH) used to preside, where he was claimed to perform miracles, and where ‘Ali ibn Hussein(PBUH) and Ja‘far al-Sadiq(PBUH) used to perform Salah.

• Islamic traditions relate that Adam established the mosque, that it was later the dwelling place of Noah and that this was the place where he built the Ark.

• Traditions say that 12,000 Prophets had performed Salah within this mosque, including Abraham, Noah, and Muhammad on the Night of Ascension - all are marked within the mosque.

• It was from this mosque that the diluvium of Noah started submerging earth, as well as being the place from where the water was re-absorbed according to Shea belief - also marked within the Mosque.

• Shea Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq (PBUH) said that up to twelve miles of land in all directions from the mosque are blessed by its holiness.

• Ja'far al-Sadiq (PBUH) was also recorded as remarking that the 'mosque in Kufa is superior to that of Jerusalem'and that 'performing two prostrations of prayer here would be better for me than ten others at any mosque.'

• There are also traditions which state that performing one prayer in this mosque is the same as having performed one thousand prayers elsewhere, and performing one obligatory prayer here is equal to having performed an accepted Hajj.

• The Secretariat of Al-Kufa Mosque and it Shrines describes the mosque as being one of the sole four dignified mosques to which Muslims must travel, and that it comes in third place after the Kaba and the mosque of Prophet.

insidethe great mosque of kufa


Other links:

Imam Hussein Shrine (part1)

Imam Hussein Shrine (part2)

Al Abbas Mosque

The history of mosques

History of Holy Karbala

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