mosque


mosque
/mosk, mawsk/, n.
a Muslim temple or place of public worship.
[1600-10; earlier mosquee < MF < It moschea Ar masjid, deriv. of sajada to worship, lit., prostrate oneself; the -ee seems to have been taken as dim. suffix and dropped]

* * *

I
Islamic public place of prayer.

The masjid jāmiʽ, or "congregational mosque," is the centre of community worship and the site of Friday prayer services. Though the mosque
originally a sacred plot of ground
has been influenced by local architectural styles, the building has remained essentially an open space, usually roofed, with a minaret sometimes attached. Statues and pictures are not permitted as decoration. The minbar, a seat at the top of steps placed at the right of the mihrab, is used by the preacher (khaṭīb) as a pulpit. Occasionally there is also a maqṣūrah, a box or wooden screen originally used to shield a worshiping ruler from assassins. The minaret, originally any elevated place but now usually a tower, is used by the muezzin (crier) to proclaim the call to worship five times each day. During prayer, Muslims orient themselves toward the qiblah wall, which is invariably oriented toward the Kabah in Mecca. The mosque has traditionally been the centre of social, political, and educational life in Islamic societies.
II
(as used in expressions)
Mosque of Omar
Great Mosque of Esfahan
Ibn tulun Mosque
Prophet's Mosque

* * *

▪ place of worship
Arabic  masjid  or  jāmiʿ  
 any house or open area of prayer in Islam. The Arabic word masjid means “a place of prostration” to God, and the same word is used in Persian, Urdu, and Turkish. Two main types of mosques can be distinguished: the masjid jāmiʿ, or “collective mosque,” a large state-controlled mosque that is the centre of community worship and the site of Friday prayer services; and smaller mosques operated privately by various groups within society.

  The first mosques were modeled on the place of worship of the Prophet Muhammad—the courtyard of his house at Medina—and were simply plots of ground marked out as sacred. Though the mosque as such has undergone many architectural changes, the building remains essentially an open space, generally roofed over, containing a miḥrāb (mihrab) and a minbar, with a minaret sometimes attached to it. The miḥrāb, a semicircular niche reserved for the imām to lead the prayer, points to the giblah, i.e., the direction of Mecca. The minbar, a seat at the top of steps placed at the right of the miḥrāb, is used by the preacher (khaṭīb) as a pulpit. In the early days of Islam the rulers delivered their speeches from the minbar. Occasionally there is also a maqsūrah, a box or wooden screen near the miḥrāb, which was originally designed to shield a worshiping ruler from assassins. Mats or carpets cover the floor of the mosque, where the ritual prayer (salat) is performed by rows of men who bow and prostrate themselves under the imām's guidance.

 Outside the mosque stands the minaret (maʾdhanah), which was originally any elevated place but now usually a tower. It is used by the muezzin (“crier”) to proclaim the call to worship (adhān) five times each day. A place for ablution, containing running water, is usually attached to the mosque but may be separated from it.

      Beginning with Muhammad's own house, mosques came to be used for many public functions—military, political, social, and educational. Schools and libraries were often attached to medieval mosques (e.g., al-Azhar mosque in Cairo). The mosque also functioned as a court of justice until the introduction of secular law into many Islamic countries in modern times. Whereas many of the social, educational, and political functions of the mosque have been taken over by other institutions in modern times, it remains a centre of considerable influence. In some cases a maktab (elementary school) is attached to a mosque, mainly for the teaching of the Qurʾān, and informal classes in law and doctrine are given for people of the surrounding neighbourhood.

      The mosque differs from a church in many respects. Ceremonies and services connected with marriages and births are not usually performed in mosques, and the rites that are an important and integral function of many churches, such as confession, penitence, and confirmation, do not exist there. Prayer is performed by bows and prostrations, with no chairs or seats of any kind. Men stand in rows, barefooted, behind the imām and follow his movements. Rich and poor, prominent and ordinary people, all stand and bow together in the same rows. Women may participate in the prayers, but they must occupy a separate space or chamber in the mosque. No statues, ritual objects, or pictures are used in the mosque; the only decorations permitted are inscriptions of Qurʾānic verses and the names of Muhammad and his Companions. Professional chanters (qurrāʾ) may chant the Qurʾān according to rigidly prescribed systems taught in special schools, but no music or singing is allowed.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mosque — (m[o^]sk), n. [F. mosqu[ e]e, Sp. mezquita, Ar. masjid, from sajada to bend, adore.] A Mohammedan church or place of religious worship. [Written also {mosk}.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • mosque — [mɔsk US ma:sk] n [Date: 1400 1500; : Old French; Origin: mosquee, from Old Spanish mezquita, from Arabic masjid, from sajada to lie face downward ] a building in which Muslims worship …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • mosque — [ mask ] noun count * a building in which Muslims worship …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • mosque — (n.) 1717, earlier moseak (c.1400), also mosquee (16c.), probably in part from M.Fr. mosquée, from It. moschea, earlier moscheta, from Sp. mesquita (modern mezquita), from Arabic masjid temple, place of worship, from sajada he worshipped + prefix …   Etymology dictionary

  • mosque — [n] temple cathedral, chapel, church, holy place, house of God, house of worship, masjid, place of worship, sanctuary, shrine, synagogue, tabernacle; concepts 368,439 …   New thesaurus

  • mosque — ► NOUN ▪ a Muslim place of worship. ORIGIN French, from Arabic …   English terms dictionary

  • mosque — [mäsk] n. [Early ModE muskey < MFr mosquez < It moschea, ult. < Ar masjid, place of adoration, temple < sajada, to prostrate oneself, pray] a Muslim temple or place of worship …   English World dictionary

  • Mosque — A modern style mosque built on water in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia …   Wikipedia

  • Mosque No. 7 — Malcolm Shabazz Mosque No. 7 in a 2009 photograph Mosque No. 7 was the mosque in Harlem where Malcolm X preached until he left the Nation of Islam in 1964. Opened as Temple No. 7 of the Nation of Islam at the Harlem YMCA in 1946, it was just a… …   Wikipedia

  • mosque */ — UK [mɒsk] / US [mɑsk] noun [countable] Word forms mosque : singular mosque plural mosques a building in which Muslims worship …   English dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.