The Ajuran Sultanate spelled Ajuuraan Sultanate, simply as Ajuran, was a Somali empire in the medieval times that dominated the Indian Ocean trade. They belonged to the Somali Muslim sultanate that ruled over large parts of the Horn of Africa in the Middle Ages. Through a strong centralized administration and an aggressive military stance towards invaders, the Ajuran Sultanate resisted an Oromo invasion from the west and a Portuguese incursion from the east during the Gaal Madow and the Ajuran-Portuguese wars. Trading routes dating from the ancient and early medieval periods of Somali maritime enterprise were strengthened or re-established, foreign trade and commerce in the coastal provinces flourished with ships sailing to and coming from many kingdoms and empires in East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Middle East, North Africa and East Africa; the Kingdom left an extensive architectural legacy, being one of the major medieval Somali powers engaged in sophisticated and advanced castle and various of architectures.
Many of the ruined fortifications dotting the landscapes of southern Somalia today are attributed to the Ajuran Sultanate's engineers, including a number of the pillar tomb fields and ruined cities built in that era. During the Ajuran period, many regions and people in the southern part of the Horn of Africa converted to Islam because of the theocratic nature of the government; the royal family, the House of Garen, expanded its territories and established its hegemonic rule through a skillful combination of warfare, trade linkages and alliances. In the 13th century AD, the Ajuran Empire was the only hydraulic empire in Africa; as a hydraulic empire, the Ajuran monopolized the water resources of the Jubba rivers. Through hydraulic engineering, it constructed many of the limestone wells and cisterns of the state that are still operative and in use today; the rulers developed new systems for agriculture and taxation, which continued to be used in parts of the Horn of Africa as late as the 19th century.
The tyrannical rule of the Ajuran rulers caused multiple rebellions to break out in the sultanate, at the end of the 17th century, the Ajuran state disintegrated into several successor kingdoms and states, the most prominent being the Geledi Sultanate. The Ajuran Sultanate's sphere of influence in the Horn of Africa was the largest in the region; the sultanate covered much of southern Somalia and eastern Ethiopia, with its domain extending from Hobyo in the north, to Qelafo in the west, to Kismayo in the south. The House of Garen was the ruling hereditary dynasty of the Ajuran Sultanate, its origin lies in the 9th century during the Mogadishu Sultanate which it succeed from during the early 13th century and began to rule southern and central Somalia and eastern Ethiopia. With the migration of Somalis from the northern half of the Horn region to the southern half, new cultural and religious orders were introduced that influenced the administrative structure of the dynasty, a system of governance which began to evolve into an Islamic government.
Through their genealogical Baraka, which came from the saint Balad, the Garen rulers claimed supremacy and religious legitimacy over other groups in the Horn of Africa. Balad's ancestors are said to have come from the historical northern region of Berbera; the Ajuran nobility used many of the typical Somali aristocratic and court titles, with the Garen rulers styled Imam. These leaders were the sultanate's highest authority, counted multiple Sultans and Kings as clients or vassals; the Garen rulers had seasonal palaces in Mareeg and Merca, which they would periodically visit practice primae noctis. However, Mogadishu was the official headquarters of the Garen Dynasty and served as the capital for the Ajuran Kingdom; the state religion was Islam, thus law was based on Sharia. Imam– Head of the State Emir – Commander of the armed forces and navy Na'ibs – Viceroys Wazirs' – Tax and revenue collectors Qadis'– Chief Judges Through their control of the region's wells, the Garen rulers held a monopoly over their nomadic subjects as they were the only hydraulic empire in Africa during their reign.
Large wells made out of limestone were constructed throughout the state, which attracted Somali and Oromo nomads with their livestock. The centralized regulations of the wells made it easier for the nomads to settle disputes by taking their queries to government officials who would act as mediators. Long distance caravan trade, a long-time practice in the Horn of Africa, continued unchanged in Ajuran times. Today, numerous ruined and abandoned towns throughout the interior of Somalia and the Horn of Africa are evidence of a once-booming inland trade network dating from the medieval period. With the centralized supervision of the Ajuran, farms in Afgooye and other areas in the Jubba and Shabelle valleys increased their productivity. A system of irrigation ditches known locally as Kelliyo fed directly from the Shebelle and Jubba rivers into the plantations where sorghum, beans and cotton were grown during the gu and xagaa seasons of the Somali calendar; this irrigation system was supported by numerous dams.
To determine the average size of a farm, a land measurement system was invented with moos and guldeed being the terms used. The State collected tribute from the farmers in the form of harvested products like durra and bun, from the nomads, camels sheep and goats; the collecting of tribute was done by a wazir. Luxury goods imported from foreign lands were presented as gifts to the Garen rulers by the co
The Arabian peninsula, simplified Arabia, is a peninsula of Western Asia situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian plate. From a geographical perspective, it is considered a subcontinent of Asia, it is the largest peninsula in the world, at 3,237,500 km2. The peninsula consists of the countries Yemen, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; the peninsula formed as a result of the rifting of the Red Sea between 56 and 23 million years ago, is bordered by the Red Sea to the west and southwest, the Persian Gulf to the northeast, the Levant to the north and the Indian Ocean to the southeast. The peninsula plays a critical geopolitical role in the Arab world due to its vast reserves of oil and natural gas. Before the modern era, it was divided into four distinct regions: Hejaz, Southern Arabia and Eastern Arabia. Hejaz and Najd make up most of Saudi Arabia. Southern Arabia consists of some parts of Saudi Arabia and Oman. Eastern Arabia consists of the entire coastal strip of the Persian Gulf.
The Arabian Peninsula is located in the continent of Asia and bounded by the Persian Gulf on the northeast, the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman on the east, the Arabian Sea on the southeast and south, the Gulf of Aden on the south, the Bab-el-Mandeb strait on the southwest and the Red Sea, located on the southwest and west. The northern portion of the peninsula merges with the Syrian Desert with no clear border line, although the northern boundary of the peninsula is considered to be the northern borders of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; the most prominent feature of the peninsula is desert, but in the southwest there are mountain ranges, which receive greater rainfall than the rest of the peninsula. Harrat ash Shaam is a large volcanic field that extends from the northwestern Arabia into Jordan and southern Syria; the peninsula's constituent countries are Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates on the east, Oman on the southeast, Yemen on the south and Saudi Arabia at the center. The island nation of Bahrain lies off the east coast of the peninsula.
Six countries form the Gulf Cooperation Council. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia covers the greater part of the peninsula; the majority of the population of the peninsula live in Yemen. The peninsula contains the world's largest reserves of oil. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are economically the wealthiest in the region. Qatar, a small peninsula in the Persian Gulf on the larger peninsula, is home of the Arabic-language television station Al Jazeera and its English-language subsidiary Al Jazeera English. Kuwait, on the border with Iraq, is an important country strategically, forming one of the main staging grounds for coalition forces mounting the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Though lightly populated, political Arabia is noted for a high population growth rate – as the result of both strong inflows of migrant labor as well as sustained high birth rates; the population tends to be young and skewed gender ratio dominated by males. In many states, the number of South Asians exceeds that of the local citizenry.
The four smallest states, which have their entire coastlines on the Persian Gulf, exhibit the world's most extreme population growth tripling every 20 years. In 2014, the estimated population of the Arabian Peninsula was 77,983,936; the Arabian Peninsula is known for having one of the most uneven adult sex ratios in the world with females in some regions constituting only a quarter of vicenarians and tricenarians. Listed here are the human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups in Arabia Haplogroup J is the most abundant component in the Arabian peninsula, embracing more than 50% of its Y-chromosomes, its two main subclades, show opposite latitudinal gradients in the Middle East. J1-M267 is more abundant in the southern areas, reaching a frequency around 73% in Yemen, whereas J2-M172 is more common in the Levant. J Accounts for the majority of in Saudi Arabia, it seems to be an Adnani marker. Haplogroup J 54.8% Haplogroup E 17.5% R 11.6% Haplogroup T-M184 5.1% Geologically, this region is more appropriately called the Arabian subcontinent because it lies on a tectonic plate of its own, the Arabian Plate, moving incrementally away from the rest of Africa and north, toward Asia, into the Eurasian Plate.
The rocks exposed vary systematically across Arabia, with the oldest rocks exposed in the Arabian-Nubian Shield near the Red Sea, overlain by earlier sediments that become younger towards the Persian Gulf. The best-preserved ophiolite on Earth, the Semail Ophiolite, lies exposed in the mountains of the UAE and northern Oman; the peninsula consists of: A central plateau, the Najd, with fertile valleys and pastures used for the grazing of sheep and other livestock A range of deserts: the Nefud in the north, stony.
Somali aristocratic and court titles
This is a list of Somali aristocratic and court titles that were used by the Somali people's various sultanates and empires. Included are the honorifics reserved for Islamic notables as well as traditional leaders and officials within the Somali customary law, in addition to the nobiliary particles set aside for distinguished individuals. Below is a list of the royal court titles retained by the Somali monarchies and aristocracies. Suldaan: From the Arabic for Sultan or English "Chief". Common title for rulers in the pre-colonial and colonial periods. Famous Sultans include Fakr ad-Din, the first Sultan of the Sultanate of Mogadishu, who built the 13th-century Fakr ad-Din Mosque; the title was employed by the leaders of the influential Ajuran Sultanate, the House of Garen. Ughaz: Authentic Somali term for "Sultan". Used throughout the northern and western Somali territories; the Gadabuursi in particular is the only clan with a longstanding tradition of Sultan. The Gadabursi gave their sultan the title of "Ughaz".
Boqor: Literally denotes King. However, in practice, it is the primus inter pares or "King of Kings"; the title is etymologically derived from one of the Afro-Asiatic Somali language terms for "belt", in recognition of the official's unifying role within society. According to Kobishchanow, Boqor is related to the style Paqar, employed by rulers in the early Nile Valley state of Meroe. Various Somali honorifics and designations have Boqor as their root; the latter include Boqortooyo, signifying "monarchy", "kingdom" or "empire". The title was used by rulers in the northeastern Puntland region of Somalia; the most prominent Boqor in recent times was Osman Mahamuud, who governed the Majeerteen Sultanate during its 19th-century heyday. Used among the Gadabuursi as the law of the King and the 100 men'. Gerad/Garad: Often employed interchangeably with "Suldaan" to denote a Sultan. Etymologically signifies "wisdom", "mind" or "understanding". According to Basset, the title corresponds with the honorific Al-Jaraad, used during the Middle Ages by Muslim governors in the Islamic parts of Ethiopia.
Gerad was employed throughout northern Somalia. Notable Gerads include Gerad Dhidhin, the founder of the Warsangali Sultanate, Gerad Lado, who built the sturdy wall around the ancient northern port city of Zeila. Imam: Denotes the Head of State. Style was used by rulers in the Sultanate of Adal and the Ajuran Sultanate. Notable Imams include Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi known as Ahmed Gurey or Gran, who led a military campaign during the Middle Ages known as the Conquest of Abyssinia. Emir: Used by leaders in the Adal Sultanate. Employed by commanders in the Ajuran Sultanate's armed forces and navy. Prominent Emirs include the Emir of Harar who built the great wall around the city. Amir: Prince. Honorific set aside for the hereditary son of the Sultan. Notable Princes include Ali Yusuf Kenadid, the son and heir of Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid of the Sultanate of Hobyo. Ina Boqor: Alternate court style for the Prince. A term used by Ajuran Empire and a powerful Ajuran princess called Faduma Sarjelle Wazir: Minister and/or tax and revenue collector.
Title used in the northern Majeerteen Sultanate and Sultanate of Hobyo, as well as the southern Ajuran Sultanate. Wazirs were quite common at the royal court of the medieval Sultanate of Mogadishu; when the Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta visited Mogadishu in 1331, he indicated that the city was ruled by a Somali Sultan from the northern Barbara region, who had a retinue of wazirs, legal experts, royal eunuchs, other officials at his service. Other notable wazirs include the maternal grandfather of the Somali General Abdullahi Ahmed Irro, part of the Sultanate of Hobyo's aristocratic contingent in the southern town of Kismayo. Boqortiishe: Viceroy. Style reserved for court officials governing territory on behalf of their Kingdom was used by Ajuran Empire that established many colonies and a famous ruler was Abd al-Aziz of Mogadishu who ruled Maldive islands on behalf of Ajuran Empire Wakiil-Boqor: Alternate court title designating a Viceroy. Na'ib/Naïb: Deputy or representative of the Sultan.
Duties included the administration of tribute, collected by court soldiers. Style was used in the Ajuran Majeerteen Sultanate and Sultanate of Hobyo. Qadi: Denotes a Chief Judge. Common title in northern Somalia, but used in the southern Ajuran Sultanate. Prominent Qadis include Abd al Aziz al-Amawi, an influential 19th-century diplomat, poet and scholar, appointed Qadi of the Kilwa Sultanate at the age of 18 by Muscat and Oman's Sultan Said bin Sultan. Boqorad: Literally translates as "Queen". Title reserved for the queen consort of the King. Amirad: Princess. Honorific set aside for the h
A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, is used to solidify rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from the Latin fortis and facere. From early history to modern times, walls have been necessary for cities to survive in an ever-changing world of invasion and conquest; some settlements in the Indus Valley Civilization were the first small cities to be fortified. In ancient Greece, large stone walls had been built in Mycenaean Greece, such as the ancient site of Mycenae. A Greek phrourion was a fortified collection of buildings used as a military garrison, is the equivalent of the Roman castellum or English fortress; these constructions served the purpose of a watch tower, to guard certain roads and lands that might threaten the kingdom. Though smaller than a real fortress, they acted as a border guard rather than a real strongpoint to watch and maintain the border; the art of setting out a military camp or constructing a fortification traditionally has been called "castrametation" since the time of the Roman legions.
Fortification is divided into two branches: permanent fortification and field fortification. There is an intermediate branch known as semi-permanent fortification. Castles are fortifications which are regarded as being distinct from the generic fort or fortress in that they are a residence of a monarch or noble and command a specific defensive territory. Roman forts and hill forts were the main antecedents of castles in Europe, which emerged in the 9th century in the Carolingian Empire; the Early Middle Ages saw the creation of some towns built around castles. Medieval-style fortifications were made obsolete by the arrival of cannons in the 14th century. Fortifications in the age of black powder evolved into much lower structures with greater use of ditches and earth ramparts that would absorb and disperse the energy of cannon fire. Walls exposed to direct cannon fire were vulnerable, so the walls were sunk into ditches fronted by earth slopes to improve protection; the arrival of explosive shells in the 19th century led to yet another stage in the evolution of fortification.
Star forts did not fare well against the effects of high explosive, the intricate arrangements of bastions, flanking batteries and the constructed lines of fire for the defending cannon could be disrupted by explosive shells. Steel-and-concrete fortifications were common during the early 20th centuries; however the advances in modern warfare since World War I have made large-scale fortifications obsolete in most situations. Demilitarized zones along borders are arguably another type of fortification, although a passive kind, providing a buffer between hostile militaries. Many US military installations are known as forts. Indeed, during the pioneering era of North America, many outposts on the frontiers non-military outposts, were referred to generically as forts. Larger military installations may be called fortresses; the word fortification can refer to the practice of improving an area's defence with defensive works. City walls are fortifications but are not called fortresses; the art of setting out a military camp or constructing a fortification traditionally has been called castrametation since the time of the Roman legions.
The art/science of laying siege to a fortification and of destroying it is called siegecraft or siege warfare and is formally known as poliorcetics. In some texts this latter term applies to the art of building a fortification. Fortification is divided into two branches: permanent fortification and field fortification. Permanent fortifications are erected at leisure, with all the resources that a state can supply of constructive and mechanical skill, are built of enduring materials. Field fortifications—for example breastworks—and known as fieldworks or earthworks, are extemporized by troops in the field assisted by such local labour and tools as may be procurable and with materials that do not require much preparation, such as earth and light timber, or sandbags. An example of field fortification was the construction of Fort Necessity by George Washington in 1754. There is an intermediate branch known as semi-permanent fortification; this is employed when in the course of a campaign it becomes desirable to protect some locality with the best imitation of permanent defences that can be made in a short time, ample resources and skilled civilian labour being available.
An example of this is the construction of Roman forts in England and in other Roman territories where camps were set up with the intention of staying for some time, but not permanently. Castles are fortifications which are regarded as being distinct from the generic fort or fortress in that it describes a residence of a monarch or noble and commands a specific defensive territory. An example of this is the massive medieval castle of Carcassonne. From early history to modern times, walls have been a necessity for many cities. In Bulgaria, near the town of Provadia a walled fortified settlement today called Solnitsata starting from 4700 BC had a diameter of about 300 feet, was home to 350 people living in two-storey houses, was encircled by a fortified wall; the huge walls around the settlement, which were built tall and with stone blocks which are 6 feet high and 4.5 feet thick, make it one of the earliest walled settlements in Europe but it is younger than the walled town of Sesklo in Greece from 6800 BC.
Uruk in ancient Su
In geography, an oasis is the combination of a human settlement and a cultivated area in a desert or semi-desert environment. Oases provide habitat for animals and spontaneous plants; the word oasis came into English via Latin: oasis from Ancient Greek: ὄασις óasis, which in turn is a direct borrowing from Demotic Egyptian. The word for oasis in the attested Coptic language is wahe or ouahe which means a "dwelling place". Oases are made fertile when sources of freshwater, such as underground rivers or aquifers, irrigate the surface or via man-made wells; the presence of water on the surface or underground is necessary and the local or regional management of this essential resource is strategic, but not sufficient to create such areas: continuous human work and know-how are essential to maintain such ecosystems.. Rain showers provide subterranean water to sustain natural oases, such as the Tuat. Substrata of impermeable rock and stone can trap water and retain it in pockets, or on long faulting subsurface ridges or volcanic dikes water can collect and percolate to the surface.
Any incidence of water is used by migrating birds, which pass seeds with their droppings which will grow at the water's edge forming an oasis. It can be used to plant crops; the location of oases has been of critical importance for trade and transportation routes in desert areas. Thus, political or military control of an oasis has in many cases meant control of trade on a particular route. For example, the oases of Awjila and Kufra, situated in modern-day Libya, have at various times been vital to both North-South and East-West trade in the Sahara Desert; the Silk Road across Central Asia incorporated several oases. In North American history, oases have been less prominent since the desert regions are smaller, but in the USA they have allowed colonisation of the western desert regions around the Rockies. Las Vegas is an example of such a settlement. People who live in an oasis must manage water use carefully; the most important plant in an oasis is the date palm. These palm trees provide shade for smaller trees like peach trees.
By growing plants in different layers, the farmers make best use of the water. Many vegetables are grown and some cereals, such as barley and wheat, are grown where there is more moisture. In summary, an oasis palm grove is a anthropized and irrigated area that supports a traditionally intensive and polyculture-based agriculture; the oasis is integrated into its desert environment through an close association with nomadic transhumant livestock farming. However, the oasis is emancipated from the desert by a particular social and ecosystem structure. Responding to environmental constraints, it is an integrated agriculture, conducted with the superposition of two or three strata creating what is called the "oasis effect ": the first and highest stratum is made up of date palms and maintains freshness. Great Man-Made River – the world's largest irrigation project. Guelta Mirage Oasification Qanat – Water management system using underground channels Wadi – River valley a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain Water supply – Provision of water by public utilities, commercial organisations or others Battesti, Vincent.
Jardins au désert, Évolution des pratiques et savoirs oasiens, Jérid tunisien. Paris: IRD Éditions. P. 440. ISBN 9782709915649; the dictionary definition of oasis at Wiktionary
Somalia the Federal Republic of Somalia (Somali: Jamhuuriyadda Federaalka Soomaaliya. Jumhūrīyah aṣ-Ṣūmāl al-Fīdirālīyah, is a country located in the Horn of Africa, it is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djabuti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Guardafui Channel and Somali Sea to the east, Kenya to the southwest. Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa's mainland, its terrain consists of plateaus and highlands. Climatically, hot conditions prevail year-round, with periodic monsoon winds and irregular rainfall. Somalia has an estimated population of around 14.3 million. And has been described as the most culturally homogeneous country in Africa. Around 85% of its residents are ethnic Somalis, who have inhabited the northern part of the country. Ethnic minorities are concentrated in the southern regions; the official languages of are Arabic. Most people in the country are Muslim, with the majority being Sunni. In antiquity, Somalia was an important commercial centre, it is among the most probable locations of the fabled ancient Land of Punt.
During the Middle Ages, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade, including the Ajuran Empire, the Adal Sultanate, the Warsangali Sultanate, the Sultanate of the Geledi. The toponym Somalia was coined by the Italian explorer Luigi Robecchi Bricchetti. In the late 19th century, the British and Italian empires established the colonies of British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. In the interior, Mohammed Abdullah Hassan's Darwiish repelled the British four times, forcing a retreat to the coast, before succumbing in the Somaliland campaign. Italy acquired full control of the northeastern and southern parts of the area after waging the Campaign of the Sultanates against the ruling Majeerteen Sultanate and Sultanate of Hobyo. In 1960, the two regions united to form the independent Somali Republic under a civilian government; the Supreme Revolutionary Council seized power in 1969 and established the Somali Democratic Republic, which collapsed in 1991 as the Somali Civil War broke out.
During this period most regions returned to religious law. The early 2000s saw the creation of interim federal administrations; the Transitional National Government was established in 2000, followed by the formation of the Transitional Federal Government in 2004, which reestablished the military. In 2006, the TFG assumed control of most of the nation's southern conflict zones from the newly formed Islamic Courts Union; the ICU subsequently splintered into more radical groups such as Al-Shabaab, which battled the TFG and its AMISOM allies for control of the region. By mid-2012, the insurgents had lost most of the territory that they had seized, a search for more permanent democratic institutions began. A new provisional constitution was passed in August 2012; the same month, the Federal Government of Somalia was formed and a period of reconstruction began in Mogadishu. Somalia has maintained an informal economy based on livestock, remittances from Somalis working abroad, telecommunications, it is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, African Union, Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Somalia has been inhabited since at least the Paleolithic. During the Stone Age, the Doian and Hargeisan cultures flourished here; the oldest evidence of burial customs in the Horn of Africa comes from cemeteries in Somalia dating back to the 4th millennium BCE. The stone implements from the Jalelo site in the north were characterized in 1909 as important artefacts demonstrating the archaeological universality during the Paleolithic between the East and the West. According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations arrived in the region during the ensuing Neolithic period from the family's proposed urheimat in the Nile Valley, or the Near East; the Laas Geel complex on the outskirts of Hargeisa in northwestern Somalia dates back 5,000 years, has rock art depicting both wild animals and decorated cows. Other cave paintings are found in the northern Dhambalin region, which feature one of the earliest known depictions of a hunter on horseback; the rock art is in the distinctive Ethiopian-Arabian style, dated to 1,000 to 3,000 BCE.
Additionally, between the towns of Las Khorey and El Ayo in northern Somalia lies Karinhegane, the site of numerous cave paintings of real and mythical animals. Each painting has an inscription below it, which collectively have been estimated to be around 2,500 years old. Ancient pyramidical structures, ruined cities and stone walls, such as the Wargaade Wall, are evidence of an old civilization that once thrived in the Somali peninsula; this civilization enjoyed a trading relationship with ancient Egypt and Mycenaean Greece since the second millennium BCE, supporting the hypothesis that Somalia or adjacent regions were the location of the ancient Land of Punt. The Puntites traded myrrh, gold, short-horned cattle and frankincense with the Egyptians, Babylonians, Indians and Romans through their commercial ports. An Egyptian expedition sent to Punt by the 18th dynasty Queen Hatshepsut is recorded on the temple reliefs at Deir el-Bahari, during the reign of the Puntite King Parahu and Queen Ati.
In 2015, isotopic analysis of ancient baboon mummies from Punt, brought to Egypt as gifts indicated that the specimens originated from an area encompassing eastern Somalia and the Eritrea-Ethiopia corridor. In the classical era, the Macrobians, who may have b
A mosque is a place of worship for Muslims. Any act of worship that follows the Islamic rules of prayer can be said to create a mosque, whether or not it takes place in a special building. Informal and open-air places of worship are called musalla, while mosques used for communal prayer on Fridays are known as jāmiʿ. Mosque buildings contain an ornamental niche set into the wall that indicates the direction of Mecca, ablution facilities and minarets from which calls to prayer are issued; the pulpit, from which the Friday sermon is delivered, was in earlier times characteristic of the central city mosque, but has since become common in smaller mosques. Mosques have segregated spaces for men and women; this basic pattern of organization has assumed different forms depending on the region and denomination. Mosques serve as locations for prayer, Ramadan vigils, funeral services, Sufi ceremonies and business agreements, alms collection and distribution, as well as homeless shelters. Mosques were important centers of elementary education and advanced training in religious sciences.
In modern times, they have preserved their role as places of religious instruction and debate, but higher learning now takes place in specialized institutions. Special importance is accorded to the Great Mosque of Mecca, Prophet's Mosque in Medina and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. In the past, many mosques in the Muslim world were built over burial places of Sufi saints and other venerated figures, which has turned them into popular pilgrimage destinations; the first mosque was built by Muhammad in Medina. With the spread of Islam, mosques multiplied across the Islamic world. Sometimes churches and other temples were converted into mosques, which influenced Islamic architectural styles. While most pre-modern mosques were funded by charitable endowments, modern states in the Muslim world have attempted to bring mosques under government control. Increasing government regulation of large mosques has been countered by a rise of funded mosques of various affiliations and ideologies, many of which serve as bases for different Islamic revivalist currents and social activism.
Mosques have played a number of political roles. The rates of mosque attendance vary depending on the region; the word'mosque' entered the English language from the French word mosquée derived from Italian moschea, from either Middle Armenian մզկիթ, Medieval Greek: μασγίδιον, or Spanish mezquita, from Arabic: مَـسْـجِـد, translit. Masjid, either from Nabataean masgĕdhā́ or from Arabic Arabic: سَـجَـدَ, translit. Sajada ultimately from Aramaic sĕghēdh; the first mosque in the world is considered to be the area around the Ka‘bah in Mecca, now known as Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarâm. A Hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari states that the Kaaba was the First Mosque on Earth, the Second Mosque was the Temple in Jerusalem. Since as early as 638 AD, the Sacred Mosque has been expanded on several occasions to accommodate the increasing number of Muslims who either live in the area or make the annual pilgrimage known as Ḥajj to the city. Others regard the first mosque in history to be the Quba Mosque in present-day Medina since it was the first structure built by Muhammad upon his emigration from Mecca in 622, though the Mosque of the Companions in the Eritrean city of Massawa may have been constructed at around the same time.
The Islamic Prophet Muhammad went on to establish another mosque in Medina, now known as the Masjid an-Nabawi, or the Prophet's Mosque. Built on the site of his home, Muhammad participated in the construction of the mosque himself and helped pioneer the concept of the mosque as the focal point of the Islamic city; the Masjid al-Nabawi introduced some of the features still common in today's mosques, including the niche at the front of the prayer space known as the mihrab and the tiered pulpit called the minbar. The Masjid al-Nabawi was constructed with a large courtyard, a motif common among mosques built since then. Mosques had been built in Iraq and North Africa by the end of the 7th century, as Islam spread outside the Arabian Peninsula with early caliphates; the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala is one of the oldest mosques in Iraq, although its present form – typical of Persian architecture – only goes back to the 11th century. The shrine, while still operating as a mosque, remains one of the holiest sites for Shia Muslims, as it honors the death of the third Shia imam, Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Hussein ibn Ali.
The Mosque of Amr ibn al-As was the first mosque in Egypt, serving as a religious and social center for Fustat during its prime. Like the Imam Husayn Shrine, nothing of its original structure remains. With the Shia Fatimid Caliphate, mosques throughout Egypt evolved to include schools and tombs; the Great Mosque of Kairouan in present-day Tunisia was the first mosque built in northwest Africa, with its present form serving as a model for other Islamic places of worship in the Maghreb. It includes naves akin to a basilica; those features can be found in Andalusian mosques, including the Grand Mo