Mosque, Minaret and Mihrab

The mosqueMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... is called masjidMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... in ArabicClassical Arabic is the language of revelation in Islam as recorded in the Qur’an. Muslims consider every word of the Qur’an to be a direct utterance of God. The Arabic language itself is regarded as perfectly suited as the instrument for God’s comm..., which means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayerPrayer is the vocal or silent address to the Divine. It may consist of fixed words, spontaneous words, or rest in silence with no words at all. Some forms of prayer are accompanied with specific postures or gestures, while others are not.. “Mosque” is a word of French origin, initially used by non-Muslims to describe the Muslim place of worship. This term is now often used by Muslims as well, but the word masjid (plural masajid) is generally preferred. Almost every masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrabThe mihrab is the niche in the wall of a mosque indicating the direction (qiblah) of the Ka’bah in Makkah, thus the direction of ritual prayer., a niche marking the direction of prayer, and a minbar, or pulpit; outside the prayer hall is a place for ablutions. Many masajid are also adorned with a towering minaretThe minaret is a tower often built to adorn a mosque, from which the call to prayer may be sounded., from which the call to prayer may be sounded. The masjid is the chief architectural expression of Islamic faith and practice, which takes a variety of forms in different historical and cultural contexts.

The prayer hall of an American masjid is most often a walled enclosure with an uncluttered floor, with separate areas for men and women. The mihrab, or prayer niche, is usually a small arched indentation in the wall of the prayer hall that indicates qiblahThe qiblah is the direction of prayer, always toward the Ka’bah in Makkah. In mosques, the qiblah is indicated by a small niche called the mihrab., the direction of MakkahMakkah (also spelled Mecca) is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, the hub of the caravan trade in the Arabian Peninsula, and the site of the holy Ka’bah. After receiving the first revelations of the Qur’an on a mountain outside Makkah, Muhammad d.... The congregation forms parallel lines facing the mihrab when performing the ritual prayer. In many masajid, a small staircase leading to a seat stands to the right of the mihrab. This is called the minbar, from which the imamImam means “leader,” particularly the person who leads the daily ritual prayer or, more broadly, to the one who serves as a leader of the community because of his religious learning. In Shi’i Islam, it refers to one of a succession of direct descend... delivers the Friday khutbah, or sermon. One of the most distinctive aspects of traditional masjid architecture is the minaret, a towering structure from which the muezzinA muezzin is the one who beckons the faithful to prayer five times each day. The call is issued in a clear voice, often from atop the minaret of a masjid. calls the faithful to prayer. These are the fundamental elements of nearly every masjid, though the style of their composition and combination reflect the cultural and artistic diversity of the Muslim communities or individuals who build them.

In the United States, much of this diversity is vividly in evidence: some masajid take the form of simple storefront prayer rooms, others serve as multi-purpose Islamic centersAn Islamic center will typically include a mosque, school, and area for social and cultural activities. When a new Islamic center is being organized in the United States, attention is paid to community needs, including a weekend or full-time school, indic..., complete with schools, day-care centers, medical clinics, and offices. Many centers are nondescript, situated in residential or commercial space; others are monumental expressions, built to echo historical and cultural forms associated with traditional masjid architecture. Some stunning examples include the Islamic CenterAn Islamic center will typically include a mosque, school, and area for social and cultural activities. When a new Islamic center is being organized in the United States, attention is paid to community needs, including a weekend or full-time school, indic... of Greater Toledo, which incorporates distinct OttomanThe Ottoman Turks, based after 1453 in Istanbul (Constantinople), established a vast empire that lasted from the 14th century until World War I; at its height, it stretched from Southern Russia to the Indian Ocean, including the Balkans, Hungary and Egypt... elements; New Mexico’s spectacular Dar al-IslamIslam in Arabic literally means “submitting” or “submission.” One who submits or surrenders his or her will to God is called a Muslim. While the whole of God’s creation is described as being inherently Muslim, human beings must choose whether to..., which reflects a Nubian architectural style; and the Islamic Cultural Center of Tempe, Arizona, a small-scale replica of the Dome of the RockThe Dome of the Rock is the mosque built in Jerusalem in 691 C.E. and the finest example of early Islamic architecture. Adorned with Qur’anic inscriptions about Jesus, it stands on the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem over the place where Muham... Mosque of JerusalemJerusalem, the ancient capital of Israel from the time of King David (c. 1000 BCE), was the ritual and spiritual center of the Jewish people for 1,000 years until the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. For Jews, Jerusalem is still the geographical....

Many U.S. masajid are located in renovated buildings, often utilizing other houses of worship. Tulsa’s Masjid al-Islam was once a Christian churchThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, church ...; Masjid al-Qur’anThe word Qur’an literally means “recitation.” Revealed orally to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel, he recited it to his followers. These recitations collected in written form are arranged in 114 surahs, generally from longest to shortest. Muslims consi..., in Dorchester, Massachusetts, was formerly a synagogueSynagogue, shul in Yiddish, is the most widely used term for a Jewish house of worship. Meaning a “place of gathering,” it is the central institution of Jewish communal life. The structure and role of synagogues has changed through the centuries, but ...; a number of urban masajid once served as templesA temple is a house of worship, a sacred space housing the deity or central symbol of the tradition. The Temple in Jerusalem was the holy place of the Jewish people until its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE; now the term “temple” is used by th. Ref... of the Nation of IslamThe Lost-Found Nation of Islam in America, begun by Wallace D. Fard in Detroit in the 1930’s, was developed by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Elijah Muhammad preached some Islamic principles, but his lessons about the superiority of the Black Man were c.... In New York, a former watch factory serves as an important Shi’iThe Shi’at ‘Ali (the party of ‘Ali, for which Shi’ah is an abbreviation and from which the adjective Shi’i comes) believed that the Prophet Muhammad designated his son-in-law ‘Ali and his descendants to be leader (Imam) of the ummah after his ... masjid; in Palo Alto and Chicago, movie theaters have been renovated into masajid; other American Muslim communities have taken buildings such as a U-Haul dealership and a Hewlett-Packard training facility, and transformed them into thriving places of worship.


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