Imagining Islamic Aesthetics #11 – Minbar

For this edition of Imagining Islamic Aesthetics, I would like to bring to your attention another feature of the interior of a Mosque : Minbar.

Minbar comes for  the Arabic word nabara (نبر) meaning to elevate or to raise. Minbar is essentially a pulpit where the leader of the mosque, or an Imam, stands to deliver the khutbah, or sermon, in Friday congressional prayers. Originally, the founder of Islam, Prophet Muhammad, only have a platform with three steps to stand on to deliver his sermons, but now it became a prominent part of a mosque interior, often lavishly decorated.

The Minbar of The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria. You can see the shape of the Minbar resembles closely to a Minaret – a tower like structure with a dome on its tip. There is a story behind the Minbar : The pulpit is where Ali bin Husayn addressed the court of Yazid, and the raised platform in front of it is the place where the prisoners of Karbala stood during that time.

A mosque in Manama, Bahrain. There is a lectern, where someone is presumably reading Al-Quran. In the middle is a minbar, with a seating on top of it. With this style of Minbar, it is mostly for Shi’a sect of Islam, where an Imam would deliver speeches or sermons seated, particularly for Hussainya.

The Mihrab and the Minbar of Yeşil Camii, or the Green Mosque, in Bursa, Turkey. The Mimbar is built entirely out of wood. Most Mimbars in Turkish mosques have similar characteristics – A separate structure, unattached to the walls of the mosque, and shaped very similar to the minarets of the mosques there ; pointed tops with slender body.

The Mimbar and the Mihrab of Aqsa Mosque in The Hague, Netherlands. It is a newer building, so the interior features are often copied from older mosques in accordance to where the Muslims who utilize the mosque. For instance, this mosque seems to serve Turkish immigrants so the interior decoration copies that of mosques in Turkey.

Author - Baldiri

Author - Baldiri

The Mihrab and Minbar of Aqsunqur Mosque, or Blue Mosque in Cairo, Egypt. Here is a fine example of North African or particularly Egyptian Minbar – it is attached to the wall of the mosque, and mainly built out of stone. It has finials and a dome on top of it, unlike its Turkish counterpart.


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