Great Mosque of Sana’a First Yemeni Mosque built in Islamic era [Archives:2002/35/Culture]

August 26 2002


You would seldom find a tourist or Yemeni citizen living in Sanaa who did not visit or at least hear of the ancient The Great Mosque of Sanaa (Al-Jami’ Al-Kabeer). This mosque is the most prominent mosque in Yemen and is one of the most famous Islamic historical sites in the Arabian Peninsula. Located in the heart of Old Sanaa, just behind Bab Al-Yamen, The Great Mosque was built in the sixth year of Hijra with instructions of the Prophet.
The first expansion of the mosque took place in the eighty sixth year of Hijra during the rule of Al-Waleed bin Abdulmalik bin Marwan, who was one of the great Muslims Chalifes. In the 265th year of Hijra, The Great Mosque was ruined by floods and was later rebuilt be Prince Mohammed Bin Yaefur Al Himiari. It was also restored by his son Ibrahim who also instructed that magnificent Islamic decorations on the ceilings in both western and eastern divisions of the mosque be created. Some historians believe that the western division of the Mosque was formed into its current shape during Queen Arwa’s era.
Description of the mosque
The Great Mosque is 80 meters long from north to south and 60 meters wide from west to east. Its eastern division is about 15 meter long from north to south. There is also a room inside the mosque for keeping documents and lamp oil for lighting. The mosque has two minarets, one western and another eastern. Both were built by prince Sad Al-Kurdi in the 603rd year of Hijra. The mosque includes two priceless libraries built by Imam Yahya bin Hamiduddeen and his son Ahmed who enriched them later by their precious writings and different books they brought from all over the world. Some of those ancient documents were supported by religious scholars including a manuscript version of the whole Qur’an written by Imam Ali bin Abu Taleb, the Prophet’s cousin and companion, along with other worthy manuscripts.
The spiritual aspect of the mosque
The Great Mosque has inspired the minds and hearts of Yemenis as they see it as one of the of Prophet’s blessings and consider it a place where they go to ask for God’s forgiveness.
Just like other great mosques in other Arab countries such as the Azhar in Cairo, and the Cordoba and Kairawan mosques in Tunisia, The Great Mosque evolved into a religious institute in which students receive different courses mainly in religion and Arabic language.
It is worth mentioning that great Yemeni scholars including Imam Al-Mahdi Al-Murtadha, Mohammed Bin Ismael Al Imam, and Al-Imam Al Shuwkani received their education at The Great Mosque in Sanaa.