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Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun Cairo

Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun

Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun, built in 879 AD, is one of the largest mosques in the city. Built by Ahmad Ibn Tulun, the mosque is known worldwide for its exquisite designs and architecture.

Ahmad Ibn Tulun was born in 835 AD and got his military and religious trainings from Samarra and Tarsus. He was very intelligent and courageous and soon made the governor of Egypt in place of his stepfather. Later, he became an independent ruler of Egypt and founded a new city called Al-Qata'i near a hillock. To make way for the new city, Ahmed Ibn Tulun burnt down Christian and Jewish cemeteries. There are many stories attached to the hill - where it is believed that this is where Moses confronted Pharaoh's magicians or a place where Abraham nearly killed Isaac. When Ahmad Ibn Tulun was overthrown by Abbasida in 905, the city was razed but the mosque was left untouched.

Later, in the 12th century, the mosque was used as a shelter by the pilgrims. There have been several renovations - some even in the modern times as latest as 1999.

Mosque

The mosque is considered to be the third mosque constructed by the Islamic community for the congregation for the Friday noon prayer. It exhibits some wonderful architecture from the classical period of Islam. The mosque, spread over five acres, is in the shape of a square measuring 162 m in length and 161 m in width. The prayer area is rectangular in shape. The mosque is surrounded by extensions, known as Ziyada, on three sides. The extension is an enclosed space - separating the mosque from the markets and they stop the street noise from coming in while offering prayers.

When you come out of the mosque, you will find a dilapidated palace - Dar El Imarah with its entrance near the Mihrab. It seems this is the same entrance from where Ahmed Ibn Tulun used to enter the mosque to lead the prayer.

Apart from this, the mosque has 19 doors on three sides. Each door is in tandem to another door in the extension. On the wall of quibla, there are three doors. The lintels are made of palm-trunks and some of the doors still exhibit the original designs.

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