, also pronounced mimbar
) is a pulpit
in a mosque
where the imam
(leader of prayers
) stands to deliver sermons (خطبة
). It is also used in other similar contexts such as in a Hussainiya
where the speaker sits and lectures the congregation.
The word is a derivative of the Arabic root ن ب ر
("to raise, elevate"); the Arabic plural is manābir
Function and form
The minbar is symbolically the seat of the imam
who leads prayers in the mosque and delivers sermons
. In the early years of Islam
, this seat was reserved for the Prophet Muhammad
and then for the caliphs
who followed him, who were officially the imam of the whole Muslim community
, but it eventually became standard for all Friday mosques
and was used by the local imam. Nonetheless, the minbar retained its significance as a symbol of authority.
While minbars are roughly similar to church
pulpits, they have a function and position more similar to that of a church lectern
, being used instead by the imam for a wide range of readings and prayers. The minbar is located to the right of the mihrab
, a niche in the far wall of the mosque which symbolizes the direction of prayer
(i.e. towards Mecca
). It is usually shaped like a small tower with a seat or kiosk
-like structure at its top and a staircase leading up to it. The bottom of the staircase often had a doorway or portal
. In contrast to many Christian pulpits, the steps up to the minbar are usually in a straight line on the same axis as the seat.
In some mosques there is a platform (müezzin mahfili
) opposite the minbar where the assistant of the Imam, the muezzin
, stands during prayer. The muezzin recites the answers to the prayers of the imam where applicable.
The minbar of the Great Mosque of Kairouan
, the oldest minbar in existence, still in its original location in the prayer hall of the mosque. (Photograph from the 19th century, before a modern protective glass barrier was installed)
The first recorded minbar in the Islamic world was Muhammad
's minbar in Medina
, created in 629 CE
(or between 628 and 631 CE
) and consisting simply of two steps and a seat, resembling a throne
After Muhammad's death this minbar continued to be used as a symbol of authority by the caliphs
who followed him. The Umayyad
caliph Mu'awiya I
(ruled 661–680) heightened Muhammad's original minbar by increasing the number of steps from three to six, thus increasing its prominence. During the Umayyad period the minbar was used by the caliphs or their representative governors to make important public announcements and to deliver the Friday sermon (khutba
). In the last years of the Umayyad Caliphate, before its fall in 750, the Umayyads ordered minbars to be constructed for all the Friday mosques
, and soon afterwards this practice was extended to other Muslim territories. By the early Abbasid
period (after 750) it had become standard in Friday mosques across all Muslim communities.
Minbars thus quickly developed into a symbol of political and religious legitimacy for Muslim authorities. It was one of the only major formal furnishings of a mosque and was thus an important architectural feature in itself. More importantly, however, it was the setting for the weekly Friday sermon which, notably, usually mentioned the name of the current Muslim ruler over the community and included other public announcements of a religious or political nature.
As a result, later Muslim rulers sometimes invested considerable expense in commissioning richly-decorated minbars for the main mosques of their major cities.
Stone minbars were sometimes produced in this early period too, as with the example of the minbar of the Mosque of Sultan Hasan
(14th century). During the Ottoman period, however, stone and marble became increasingly favoured materials for new minbars, though often with simplified ornamentation compared to earlier wooden versions. An accomplished example of this genre, still featuring rich decoration, is the minbar of the Selimiye Mosque
(late 16th century). Stone minbars in various styles were also favoured in the Indian subcontinent
; earlier wooden minbars may have been common here but few have been preserved.
- ^ Pedersen, J.; Golmohammadi, J.; Burton-Page, J.; Freeman-Grenville, G.S.P. (2012). "Minbar". In Bearman, P.; Bianquis, Th.; Bosworth, C.E.; van Donzel, E.; Heinrichs, W.P. (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l M. Bloom, Jonathan; S. Blair, Sheila, eds. (2009). "Minbar". The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195309911.
- ^ a b c d e f g Petersen, Andrew (1996). "minbar". Dictionary of Islamic architecture. Routledge. pp. 191–192.
- ^ a b c Bloom, Jonathan; Toufiq, Ahmed; Carboni, Stefano; Soultanian, Jack; Wilmering, Antoine M.; Minor, Mark D.; Zawacki, Andrew; Hbibi, El Mostafa (1998). The Minbar from the Kutubiyya Mosque. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Ediciones El Viso, S.A., Madrid; Ministère des Affaires Culturelles, Royaume du Maroc.
- ^ Muḥammad ʻAdnān Bakhīt, History of humanity, UNESCO, 2000, page 345
- ^ "Qantara - Minbar of the Great Mosque of Kairouan". www.qantara-med.org. Retrieved 2020-09-17.
- ^ al-Natsheh, Yusuf. "Haram al-Ibrahimi". Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
- ^ "Qantara - the minbar of the al-Qarawīyīn Mosque". www.qantara-med.org. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
- ^ Williams, Caroline (2018). Islamic Monuments in Cairo: The Practical Guide (7th ed.). Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press. pp. 225–226.
- ^ O'Kane, Bernard (2016). The Mosques of Egypt. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press. pp. 66–70.
- ^ Behrens-Abouseif, Doris (2011). "Craftsmen, upstarts and Sufis in the late Mamluk period". Bulletin of School of Oriental and African Studies. 74 (3): 375–395.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Minbars
- Pedersen, J.; Golmohammadi, J.; Burton-Page, J.; Freeman-Grenville, G.S.P. (2012). "Minbar". In Bearman, P.; Bianquis, Th.; Bosworth, C.E.; van Donzel, E.; Heinrichs, W.P. (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill.
- Bloom, Jonathan; Toufiq, Ahmed; Carboni, Stefano; Soultanian, Jack; Wilmering, Antoine M.; Minor, Mark D.; Zawacki, Andrew; Hbibi, El Mostafa (1998). The Minbar from the Kutubiyya Mosque. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Ediciones El Viso, S.A., Madrid; Ministère des Affaires Culturelles, Royaume du Maroc.
- Lynette Singer (2008). The Minbar of Saladin. Reconstructing a Jewel of Islamic Art. (London: Thames & Hudson).
Last edited on 16 December 2020, at 10:07
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