By: Patrick Szczecina
Recently we got an assignment to research and to design a mosque that would be located in Luxor, Egypt. We started off by breaking up into groups to research climate, culture, materials, building techniques and whatever we could find for the location. After researching we found that many mosques have a Mihrab, Minaret, Male and female prayer areas, ablution rooms, shoe storage areas, Sahn, Minbar. I will describe all of these and what they are meant for. I am not an expert on the religion or mosques but this is what I understood from what I have learned.
Starting off many mosques have what is called a Sahn, and it is a very important piece in a mosque as are the other areas. The reasons for a courtyard is that it can hold more people if needed if a room of prayer is full. Usually a fountain is found in the courtyard that acts as cooling in the hot area. The following areas can be separated into Male and Female portions. The next portion could be shoe storage, where people who come to pray take them off and store them and collect after they are finished. This area is usually before a Ablution room, which is a cleansing area. As a cleansing area shoes aren’t needed, and in this area people wash themselves before prayer in order to clean themselves. After the Ablution room comes a prayer room which is divided Male and Female. In these prayer rooms Minbar would be located which is a location above the people praying where a Imam (service leader) leads the sermon. An Imam is a prayer leader who lectures and performs sermons for the people. The Mihrab is a niche in a wall of the mosque that points the way towards Mecca, which is the way that Muslims face to pray. The Minaret is a tower where it symbolizes the mosque to the community as well as an area where a call to prayer can be performed.
These areas are the main focus of a mosque where people come and pray. Like other religious holy areas they all have an area to pray, however it seems that mosques are more separated for male and female. They also allow for more cleansing and more private interaction for individuals by ablution rooms.