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Mosque of Al Sayeda Zeinab | Old Cairo

Mosque of Al Sayeda Zeinab | Old Cairo
Al Sayeda Zeinab mosque stands in the heart of the square named after Al Sayeda Zeinab the grand daughter of the Prophet, May Prayers and Peace be upon him. Al Sayeda Zeinab is Also the youngest daughter of both Al Sayeda Fatima, the Prophet's daughter and his cousin Ali Ibn Abi Taleb and the sister of the two Imams Al Hassan and Al Hussein. Her mosque was set up shortly after her arrival to Egypt on the appearance of the new crescent moon of Shaaban (the eighth month of the Hegira calendar) in the year 61 A.H (AD 680 - 681). When she first arrived to the small village of Al Abassah of Al Sharkia governorate, east of Delta the Umayyad waly (governor) of Egypt Maslama Ibn Makhlid Al Ansary had been on the head of the gathering of well-wishers. She later settled down at Al Fustat city (first Islamic Capital of Egypt) where she became the guest of Maslama.

After less than a year of her arrival to Egypt she passed away on the evening of 14th of Ragab (7th month of the Islamic calendar) 62 A.H. According to her will she was buried in the same place where she had lived for about eleven months. Her mausoleum was built close to the northern flank of Maslama residence, overlooking the River Nile bay near Al Sayeda Zeinab square. In the course of time Moslama's residence and the adjacent buildings crumbled away, with the exception of the mausoleum, which remained intact due to continuous repairs by princes, higher-ranking officials and religious leaders. The mausoleum was orated by domes, niches, and inscriptions of Arabic calligraphy. The first actual innovations of the mosque took place during the reign of Sultan Ahmed Ibn Tulun.

he two Fatimid Sultans Al Mo'ez Ledin Allah and Al Hakim Biamr Allah Allotted land endowments for the preservation of the mosque. In the sixth century after the Hijra, Sultan Al Adel Ibn Ayoub repaired the mosque and built a smaller mosque adjacent to it. The Mameluke Prince Abdul Rahman Katakhda reconstructed the mosque and furnished it with a toilet for ablutions. In 1201 A.H. the mausoleum was repaired and glided with a layer of yellow copper and the mosque area was expanded to cover three thousand square meters. In 1315 A.H. during the reign of Khedive Tawfik, the then ruler of Egypt, the present mosque was re-built adjacent to the mausoleum. In 1946 A.D King Farouk, the last monarch in Mohamed Ali's dynasty, ordered that both the mosque and the mausoleum be repaired. After the 23rd July revolution and during the era of President Gamal Abdul Nasser the mosque was expanded to cover an area of 4000 meters. The mosque was again expanded during President Hosni Mubarak terms of office to cover 18000meter with a capacity of 15000 worshippers, this expansion and the repairs subsequent to it were executed in line with the architectural styles and designs, implemented during Khedive Tawfik's era.

The main facade of the present Mosque looks over Al Sayeda square with three gateways leading directly to the mosque. In the western facade there is a special gate for women leading to the Mausoleum. The minaret stands high to the left of this section. The inside ceiling covering the whole area of the mosque is erected on columns made of white marble. A light shaft stands over the section located in front of the old niche. As for the mausoleum it lies to the west of the mosque surrounded by a compartment glided with yellow golden copper and topped with a dome.

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