Amr Ibn Al-As's Mosque : The first Mosque in the African Continent


This is the first and oldest mosque ever built on the land of Egypt. Constructed in 642 AD (21 AH) by Amr Ibn el-As’s, the commander of the Muslim army sent by the Caliph Umar Ibn Khataab r.a. to spread the Islamic teaching ouside the Hijaz so as to bring people to the Ad-Deen, the path of Allah swt.
Alhamdullillah, we managed to pay our visit and perform as respect two raka’at sunnatul Masjid inside the first ever mosque built in the land of Africa. The Amr Ibn al-As’s Mosque is said to have been built on the site of Amr Ibn al-As's tent at Fustat, is the oldest existing mosque, which is also known as Taj al-Jawamie (Crown of Mosques, al-Jamie'al-Ateeq (the Ancient Mosque) and Masjid Ahl ar-Rayah (Mosque of Banner Holders). Located north of the Roman Fortress of Babylon, it is actually on the edge of Fustat, the temporary city founded by Amr, and was an Islamic learning center long before El-Azhar Mosque. It could hold up to 5,000 students. The mosque was originally built on an area of 1,500 square cubits, overlooking the Nile. The initial structure was quite simple; with walls bared of any plaster or decorations, but without niche (mihrab), minaret or ground cover. It had two doors on the north and two others facing Amr's house.
The area remained unchanged until 672 AD (53 AH), when Musallama al-Ansari, Egypt's ruler on behalf of Caliph Mu'awiya Ibn abi-Sufian undertook expansion and renovation works for the mosque. Walls and ceilings were decorated and four compartments for "muezzins" (callers for prayers) were added at the corners, together with a minaret, while the mosque ground was covered with straw mats.
In 698 AD (79 AH), the mosque was demolished and expanded by Abdul-Aziz Ibn Marwan, Egypt's ruler. Once again in 711 AD (93 AH), the mosque was demolished by Prince Qurrah Ibn Shuraik al-Absi, Egypt's ruler. Upon the orders of Caliph al-Waleed Ibn Abdul-Malek, the mosque area was enlarged, a niche, a wooden pulpit (mimbar) and a compartment and copings of four columns facing the niche were gold-coated. The mosque had then four doors to the east, four to the west and three to the north.
Under the Abbasid state, successive additions and repairs were introduced. In 827 AD (212 AH), Abdullah Ibn Taher, Egypt's ruler on behalf of Caliph al-Ma'moun ordered an equivalent area to the north to be added to the mosque, thus bringing its total area to its present level of 13,556,25 square meters. (112.3m x 120.5m). However, the Fatimid period was the gold era for the mosque, where gilded mosaics, marble works, a wooden compartment and a moving pulpit were introduced and part of the niche was silver-coated.
The last structural amendments in Amr Mosque were made during the rule of Murad Bey under the ottoman era, in 1797 AD (1212 AD). Because of the collapse of some columns, the interior of the mosque was demolished and rebuilt.

As a result, eastern arcades were repositioned so as to be perpendicular to the mihrab wall. Accordingly, arches were extended across windows and two minarets were built.
Amr Ibn el-As's Mosque was not merely a place of worship but also served as a court for settling religious and civil disputes. Moreover, teaching circles were organized either for general religious preaching or teaching lessons in Quranic sciences, jurisprudence and Prophet Muhammad's Tradition (Hadith) as well as letters.
The mosque incorporates elements of Greek and Roman buildings, and has 150 white marble columns and three minarets. Simple in design, its present plan consists of an open sahn (court) surrounded by four riwaqs, the largest being the Qiblah riwaq. There are a number of wooden plaques bearing Byzantine carvings of leaves, and a partially enclosed column is believed to have been miraculously transported from Mecca on the orders of Prophet Muhammed saw himself. There are many other ancient legions related to the Mosque