Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The classic elements of a mosque interior

A mosque (masjid in Arabic) is a place for worship in Islam. Although prayers can be done privately, either indoors or outdoors, nearly every community of Muslims dedicates a space or building for congregational prayer, says

A minaret is a slim tower rising from a mosque. They vary in height, style, and number. Minarets may be square, round, or octagonal and are usually covered with a pointed roof. Originally used as a high point from which to make the call to prayer (adhan), minarets remain a traditionally decorative feature of most mosques.

The central area for prayer is called a musalla (literally, "place for prayer"). It is deliberately quite bare. No furniture is needed, as worshippers sit, kneel, and bow directly on the floor.

The mihrab is an ornamental indentation in the wall of a mosque, which marks the direction of the qiblah. Mihrabs vary in size and color, but are usually shaped like a doorway and decorated with tiles and calligraphy to make the space stand out.

The minbar is a raised platform in the front area of a mosque, from which sermons or speeches are given.

The shoe shelf is a feature of many mosques worldwide. Muslims remove their shoes before entering a mosque, to preserve the cleanliness of the prayer space.

Fountains are frequently found in historic mosques. They provide water with which to purify oneself, washing of the face, arms, head, and feet before entering the mosque and beginning prayers.