Sultan Hassan Mosque

Posted On : 26/02/2023 Kate Clark 50
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Sultan Hassan Mosque is the strangest Islamic cultural secret in Islamic history and it represented Islamic art and how it was during the Mamalek period and is considered to be the most gigantic and extraordinary mosque that has been built in Islam. Find out with us how the Sultan Hassan mosque was built and how it could be a very famous and existing islamic monument till this moment and tell the early Islamic history in Egypt

The Sultan Hassan Mosque-Madrasa

The Sultan Hassan Mosque-Madrasa (School) is a monumental mosque located in the historic district of Cairo , Egypt. This mosque was built between 1356 and 1363, at the time of the Mamluks, commissioned by the Sultan of the same name: El-Nasser Hassan. The mosque was particularly notable for its massive size and innovative architectural components; it is still today considered one of the most impressive historical monuments in Cairo. It is not only of extreme value for Cairo or Egypt , but it is one of the most important monuments in the entire Islamic world, comparable to the value of the pyramids of Giza As far as Pharaonic Ancient Egypt is concerned, just as these are the symbol of that era, Sultan Hassan is for the Islamic era.

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Sultan Hassan Madrasa

Although located on the slopes of the Citadel, the Sultan Hassan Madrasa Mosque is easily spotted due to its imposing appearance. The structure of the mosque is a majestic example of the Mamluk architectural style, built around the 14th century, during the reign of Sultan Hassan who was notorious for his many particularly eccentric spending. Certainly of grandiose dimensions for the time, it will still be majestic even for today's visitors.

The Sultan Hassan mosque is also famous for its stylistic consistency compared to any other monumental mosque in Cairo, a true prototype of architectural style at the time of its construction. The interior is wonderfully decorated and the effect of its huge central courtyard is highly suggestive in relation to its grandiose verticality.

The mosque was planned in the style of a madrasa, as already mentioned, a school, rather than as a purely place of worship. 

For this reason, it consists of a cruciform layout divided into four iwans, (this is how the rooms suitable for use as study areas are called) or bays that branch off from the internal courtyard, each intended for the teaching of one of the four schools of thought of Islamic theology. The four schools are the Hanafita , the Malakita , the Hanbalitaand finally the Shafita. Particularly interesting and unique is this aspect of giving space to all four schools in one space, side by side. The building also includes a residence designed to house more than 500 students, as well as house the teachers and staff necessary for the operation of a school of this caliber and importance.

In addition to the main inner court, Sultan Hassan also dedicated to himself the construction of a mausoleum behind the four iwan area. The mausoleum is positioned in the direction of prayer, of the qibla (precisely the direction in which one must face when praying). This construction is characterized by a mammoth, richly decorated dome. The placement of the mausoleum in the direction in which the faithful faced during prayer was rather unusual and controversial, since the faithful would have been forced to pray in the direction of the sultan's body, instead of facing Mecca; it is further evidence of the Sultan's eccentricity and tendency towards megalomania.

Around the Sultan Hassan mosque

Next to that of Sultan Hassan is an equally monumental-looking mosque, Al Rifai, which was built on the inspiration of the Mamluk style by the mother of the Khedive Ismail, as a tomb for the royal family. Here are the remains of Ismail, of King Farouk (the last ruler of Egypt) and of the last Shah of Iran, who married one of Farouk's sisters. The Shah was buried in Cairo where he had arrived after seeking asylum following his exile from Iran in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution.

Curiosity about the Sultan

He assumed power in Egypt twice: the first time was in 1347 AD, when he was only 13 years old; the second was in 1356 AD when he put an end to the authority of princes and high officials, so they rebelled against him and were attacked by the army. He is said to have fled and hid in old Cairo before being found and imprisoned. He has never been seen since! He had 10 sons and 6 daughters.

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By Kate Clark

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