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Sacred Spaces of Islam

[Summary]Sacred Space Written by: Beth Davies-Stofka Muslims gather for worship in buildings called mosques (Arabic, masajid). The Prophet Muhammad built the first mosque in the courtyard of his house in Medina in 622 to provide a place for Muslims to gather

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Sacred Space

Written by: Beth Davies-Stofka

Sacred Spaces of Islam
Muslims gather for worship in buildings called mosques (Arabic, masajid). The Prophet Muhammad built the first mosque in the courtyard of his house in Medina in 622 to provide a place for Muslims to gather for prayer and for community. The earliest mosques were modeled after Muhammad's in both design and purpose, and despite a wide variety in architectural styles, contemporary mosques still embrace the general features of Muhammad's initial design.

Sacred Space | Your daily prayer online

Thanks to technology, we have a lot of individual control over what we hear. We have favorite songs on our phones, podcasts we can tune into whenever we drive, and headphones to block out the conversation around us on an airplane. We are increasingly able to skip anything we don’t want to listen to, be it an uninspiring song or the flight attendant’s safety spiel. We can spend much of our time in a little cocoon of our favorite sounds.

Sacred Spaces

Sacred Spaces of Islam
Reading Patrick Sookhdeo’s book “Faith, Power and Territory, A Handbook of British Islam”, I was fascinated by his explanation of the Doctrine of Sacred Space.

P45 “Islam is a territorial religion, very conscious of whether or not an area is under Islamic control."

Areas not under such control are termed Dar al-Harb (the House of War), which reflects the classical Islamic teaching that such territory must be subjugated by Muslim military might. Any space once gained is considered sacred and belongs to the umma for ever. Non-Muslims could at best be tenants on their former property. Any lost sacred space must be regained – by force if necessary.

URI Kids :: World Religions

Although Muslims pray five times daily in their homes or wherever they are, in fact even in the streets, Muslims also worship in mosques. Mosques can be very elaborate, large structures or very simple ones. However most have these common features.

Sahn — a courtyard surrounded by arcades called riwags. There are fountains of water inside the courtyard to symbolize purity and where worshippers can bathe before entering the mosque.

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Sacred Space | IMOW Muslima

“‘No, sister, you can’t go in that way! There’s a back door around the corner.’ I can’t tell you how many times those words were said to me over the years as I tried to enter through the front door of many mosques around the United States. There seems to be this unwritten, yet nationally recognized and practiced, tradition of leaving the worst space for the separate women’s prayer hall. From collecting funds to replacing the soiled carpet and repainting the chipped walls, to silently walking in the front entrance and ignoring the disapproving glares as they make their way to the balcony rather than submitting to the back prayer room turned childcare, through the years I’ve seen women protest against this dismissive treatment in a variety of ways.”

Daily Prayer | Sacred Space

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Holiest sites in Sunni Islam

Kaaba and Al-Masjid al-Haram, Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

According to Sahih al-Bukhari, Muhammad said "Do not prepare yourself for a journey except to three Mosques: Masjid al-Haram, the Mosque of Aqsa (Jerusalem) and my Mosque."[1] In the Islamic tradition, the Kaaba is considered the holiest site, followed by the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (The Prophet's Mosque) and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

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