What is a mosque in Islam?
A mosque is a place where Muslims worship Allah.
Islam is a religion to be practiced collectively, therefore practicing prayers in group worth more than individual prayers in Islam.
Building a mosque is a prophetic and Islamic tradition of Muslim Communities. One of the first things that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) did when he entered Medinah, was to build a mosque.
The mosque is one of the basic Islamic institutions that is assumed to play a major role in the promotion of truth, justice, knowledge and goodness in society.
In Islam, mosques are not just places for prayers, mosques are community centers (a place for socialization, a place for Da’wah (Invitation to Islam), a place for celebration, a place for meeting, for education…).
Nowadays, especially in Muslim countries mosques are found on nearly every street corner and are accessible for Muslims to attend the five daily prayers, Friday prayer, Fitr and Adha Eid prayers, Tarawih in Ramadan …
In 1853, the ottoman emperor “Abdel Majid” gave two lots of land, one to “Nazareth Mission” and the other to Muslims of Beirut so that each community would build its own place for worship.
Hence, Cheikh “Abou Lwafa Abou Nasser el Yafi” built a souk called afterward “Souk Abou Nasser” and on its corner “Zawiya” Abou Nasser. When Beirut became Wilaya in 1888, there was a need for a mosque in the southeast part of Beirut.
When Islamic awkaf took charge of this zawiya and souk in 5 February 1953, special committees under surveillance of Mufti and awkaf begun raising funds for the sake of buying more lands around zawiya and souk, and to begin building Mohammad Al-Amin (PBUH) mosque.
Between the years 1997 and 2000, more pressure was put as to elaborate the features of this project after 100 years of thinking about it and it was a dream that generations of citizens of Beirut kept transmitting, especially now that Beirut was fully renovated and built after civil war ended.
Around the year 2001 late prime minister Rafic Hariri completed buying necessary land and announced that he’ll build Mohammad Al-Amin mosque on his own.
So, the corner stone was laid in 6/11/2002, and when P.m Rafic Hariri was assassinated in February 14, 2005 the main features of mosque were almost completed.
The mosque was opened officially in 2008.
The mosque has a general surface of 10711m² divided as follows Basement B1 and B2, Ground floor and first floor. The basement B2 is designed to services, which B1 contains a large multi-purposed hall with a surface of 1150m² with service spaces to this hall such as stores and stuff.
Also this hall leads to shoes closets and men toilets. On the north side there is an entry to guests that leads to a hall then a reception with adequate services.
To the west there is an entry for women that leads to a hall then a place for ablution for women as well as toilets, then stairs and elevator that leads directly to prayer place designed for women.
In the ground floor, there is the large hall designed for prayer of men and it has vacancies for 3700 men. This hall has four entries that open to outside hall that overlooked Martyr’s square, in this floor there are also rooms for Imam of mosque as well as rooms for memorizing the Holy Quran, and places for services of sound and visuals and stairs leading to store. In the first floor, to the north there is men prayer area that has vacancies for about 450 men, could be reached through stairs and elevator in the north east part of mosque. In the west region of this floor there is a place for women that could hold 850 women. So the normal available vacancies of mosque is 5000 men and women, another 2500 could be added if other available spaces, such as multipurpose hall and outside spaces were used.
The architectural designs of mosque were based on various Islamic periods that passed over Lebanon, so we see Mamluk-Ottoman interaction in the architectural dimensions of mosque, in minarets and domes.
We also see the Ummayyad, Mamluk and Ottoman impressions in details and colors, all fabricated in the hands of authentic Lebanese craftsmen using stones, marble, Gypsum and colored glass as well as wood resulting in this great monument.
Mohammad Al-Amin mosque is located in the heart of the historical city of Beirut on the corner that relates Martyr’s square to the square of Riyad El-Solh through the street of prince Bashir, so it occupies a special geographical site in the heart of Beirut, close to lots of Muslim and Christian religious sites, and over the garden known as “Samah Garden”.