Musjids of the World Series: Part Five

The Musjid serves as the focal point of any Muslim community and is the most important structure to Muslims.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, was first a Christian cathedral, the largest in the world for a thousand years. In 1453, Istanbul was conquered by the Ottoman Muslims. At that time, the church was dilapidated and Sultan Mehmed II ordered it cleaned and converted to a Musjid. The mihrab, minbar, and 4 minarets were added under the Ottomans. For 500 years the principal Musjid of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia served as a model for many Ottoman Musjids. Sultan Mahmud I restored it in 1739 and added a Madresa, soup kitchen and library. In 1935, Kemal Attaturk converted into a museum which it remains today.

Huaisheng Musjid, Guangzhou, China also known as Lighthouse Musjid, is one of the oldest in China. The minaret is 10m tall and served as a beacon for boats. According to old manuscripts the Musjid was built by Abi Waqqas t uncle of Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, on his first Islamic mission to China in the 630’s. The Musjid was rebuilt in 1350 and 1695.

Badshahi Musjid, Lahore, Pakistan was built in 1673 by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. It can hold 55,000 worshippers and is the second largest Musjid in Pakistan. It was the largest in the world for a while. Under Sikh rule it was damaged and used as a stable for the army's horses. The British used it for cannon and gun practice and demolished part of it. Repairs from 1939-60 brought it to its original condition. Qari Abdul Basit recited here and Sheikh Sudais, Imam of Makkah, led prayers in 2007. A museum was added, containing relics of Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa sallam and his family.