Al-Mudhafar Mosque: An Islamic architectural wonder [Archives:2002/51/Culture]

December 16 2002


By Farouq al-Kamali
Yemen Times Taiz
  People in Taiz carry dates while approaching the Al Mudhafar Mosque to break their fast and perform prayer.
Ramadhan’s true spirit can never be felt without going to the mosques for prayers. However, praying in Al Mudhaffar Mosque has a special and unique historic and religious value for the people of Taiz. During Ramadhan, the mosque witnesses unusual activity as people pray, read the Holy Qur’an, and relax with spiritual comfort asking God for forgiveness.
The mosque is located in the heart of the old part of Taiz City. It was in that particular area where kings of Bani Rassol, kings of Baini Iyoob and others lived.
It witnessed the greatest cultural renaissance in the Yemeni history in the Rassoli state founded by Omar Bin Rassol, who once inhabited Taiz. After his death, his son Yousef bin Omar was nominated to be king “Al Mudhafar”.
His era witnessed an intellectual and cultural revival which was evident in the numerous number of mosques, schools and libraries. The king Al Mudhafar, described as a wise and generous and one who encouraged education, founded this mosque which carried his name later on (647-694 of hejra) for Hadith and religious education as well as Quran sciences. King Al Mudhafar was fond of sciences and superior to his colleagues in the different religious sciences.
After the Al Mudhafar’s death, the Mudgafarian School witnessed an architectural expansion, so its architectural type was changed and new buildings were added to the school, like the western side by the grandson of Al Mudhafar in (764-721) of hejra, and King Al Ashraf made a modification to the eastern side.
During King Dahfer’s era, there was an expansion in the praying house and Manbar was added.
In 1962, the only minaret of the mosque was downed. It was recently rebuilt on the Sana’ani type.
In spite of all these changes, the mosque could reserve its founder’s name “Al Mudhafar” Yousef Bin Rassul. Now it is the best and the largest mosque in Taiz.
Al Mudhafar Mosque is very wide from inside, the roof has three big domes and is surrounded by another small one carried by a tall stay. The hall inside has room for 500 persons, and a separated praying section for women, having a capacity for 300 persons.
Al Mudhafar Mosque charms its visitors by its nice domes dating back to 500 years, and its high minarets which hug the sky and reflect the great Islamic civilization .
It is a pity that most of the manuscripts and sculpture written on these domes were wiping out due to the random repairs of the mosque.
The minaret of the mosque was about 45 m high. After its collapse, it was rebuilt by Imam Ahmed Hammeed Adeen to be 35 high and then collapsed again, then was rebuilt again in 1984.
The mosque has three eastern doors and three western doors, a northern gate, and it still has its original walls, but the ceiling’s woods were replaced by concrete cement which distort its original type. The visitor to Al Mudhafar will feel proud of such a great architecture and beauty, and will feel pity and sorrow for the latest repairs which offended the value and the beauty of the mosque.
Al Alama Ismael Bin Ali Al A’akwa’a said in his book “Islamic Schools in Yemen,” that “The building of Mudhafarian School is of the Islamic antiquities wonders as an evidence of the Yemenis genius designers and artists who could draw such a beautiful picture on the halls and ceilings of Al Mudafarian School.”
We refer to the need for promoting religious tourism and drawing attention to great samples like the mosque of Al Mudafar.