Al-Sahla Mosque (Arabic: مسجد السهلة), also known as al-Suhayl Mosque ( مسجد السهیل), Banū Ẓafar Mosque ( مسجد بنی ظفر) and ʿAbd al-Qays Mosque ( مسجد عبدالقیس), is one of the best-known Islamic mosques built in the 1st/7th century by some Arab tribes of Kufa, about two kilometers northwest of the Great Mosque of Kufa.
The mosque is one of the oldest mosques associated with Imam al-Mahdi (a), the twelfth Shiite Imam. There is a place, called "maqam"[Note 1] in the mosque attributed to Imam al-Mahdi (a), and on some accounts, this mosque is where Imam al-Mahdi (a) will live after his reappearance. In the Shiite culture, al-Sahla Mosque is one of the most important mosques. In different parts of the mosque's courtyard, some mihrabs are built and each is called in the name of a religious leader, such as maqam of Imam al-Sajjad (a), Imam al-Sadiq (a), Ibrahim (a), Idris (a) and Khidr (a).
Al-Sahla Mosque was built by the Banu Zafar tribe, a clan of Ansar. Imam 'Ali (a) allegedly took the Banu Zafar Mosque to be equivalent to the Kufa Mosque. The mosque is called al-Suhayl, because its architect was a person called al-Suhayl, and it is called 'Abd al-Qays, because 'Abd al-Qays was the tribe in whose area of residence the mosque was constructed, and it is called Banu Zafar, since they are a clan of the 'Abd al-Qays tribe.
Ibn al-Faqih quoted Imam 'Ali (a) as saying that: "there are four sacred places in Kufa in which four mosques have been constructed." He was asked: "what are those mosques?" He replied: "one of them is the Zafar or al-Sahla Mosque".
Al-Sahla Mosque is located in eastern Najaf, that is the old city of Kufa. It is located 10 kilometers northwest of Imam 'Ali's (a) Holy Shrine with 37 degrees of angle, and 2 kilometers northwest of the Kufa Mosque with 53 degrees of angle.
Features of Building
The geometrical shape of al-Sahla Mosque is approximately rectangular, with 140 meters of length, 125 meters of width, and an area of over 17500 square meters. The courtyard of the mosque is 125 and 140 meters with a wall of 22 meters tall. In each of the wall's four sides, there are semicircular towers. In the middle of the eastern side of the wall, there is a minaret with 30 meters of height. The main gate of the mosque is in the middle of the eastern side adjacent to this minaret.
Al-Sahla Mosque has three doors and a relatively tall minaret which was reconstructed in 1378/1958.
The mosque was a home and a place of worship for many prophets, such as Ibrahim (a), Idris (a), Khidr (a) and some Shiite Imams (a), such as Imam al-Sajjad (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a). According to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), Imam al-Mahdi (a) will reside in this mosque after his reappearance.
According to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), al-Suhayl Mosque was a home for Ibrahim (a) and Idris (a) and it is the place where the Sur (trumpet) will be blown on Dooms Day. 70,000 people from around the mosque will go to the Heaven without any evaluation.
According to another hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), there was a house in this place where the prophet Idris (a) used to sew. And this is the place from which Ibrahim (a) moved to Amalek. There is a rock in this place on which images of prophets are drawn, and some soil was taken from this mosque from which God created prophets. It is the place of the prophet Khidr (a) and it is where the prophet Moses (a) met Khidr (a). If an anxious person goes there, God will comfort him or her and solves their problems.
According to a hadith from Imam al-Baqir (a), God did not raise a prophet unless he said prayers in this mosque. Divine justice will appear in this place, and it is home to prophets, Imams and righteous persons. And according to a hadith from Imam al-Sajjad (a), if a person says two rak'as of prayer in al-Sahla Mosque, God will add two years to his or her life.
There are different mihrabs in different parts of the mosque's courtyard attributed to different prophets and Imams (a). These are called "maqam" (stance). They are as follows:
- Maqam of Ibrahim (a): it is located in the northwestern part, between the western and northern walls.
- Maqam of Yunus (a) (the prophet Jonah): it is located in the southwestern part, between the southern and western walls.
- Maqam of Idris (a): it is located between the eastern and northern walls. It is also called the maqam of 'Isa (a) (Jesus) and "Bayt al-Khidr" (Khidr's house).
- Maqam of Salih (a): it is located between southern and eastern walls. It is also known as the maqam of "Salihun" (righteous people) and prophets.
- Maqam of Imam al-Sajjad (a): it is located in the middle of the mosque, towards the eastern part.
- Maqam of Imam al-Sadiq (a): it is located exactly in the middle of the mosque. According to historical accounts, Imam al-Sadiq (a) used to reside there for a while for worshiping and praying.
- Maqam of Imam al-Mahdi (a): it is located in the middle of the mosque, towards the southern part, between Maqam of Imam al-Sajjad (a) and that of Yunus (a).
Attribution to Imam al-Mahdi (a)
There is a maqam (stance) in al-Sahla Mosque attributed to Imam al-Mahdi (a), which is located in the middle of the mosque, between Maqam of Imam al-Sajjad (a) and that of Yunus (a). According to some hadiths, Imam al-Mahdi will reside in al-Sahla Mosque after his reappearance.
There are many manners and dhikrs mentioned in collections of ziyaras and supplications for al-Sahla Mosque, including saying prayers, reciting some chapters (suras) of the Holy Qur'an as well as special supplications and dhikrs.
- It literally means a place in which a prophet or an Imam has said prayer. For instance, Maqam Ibrahim (a) is a place in which Ibrahim (a) has said prayer
Maqam of Imam al-Mahdi (a)
The courtyard of al-Sahla Mosque with a minaret located at the center.
Maqam of Imam al-Sajjad (a)
Maqam of Imam al-Sadiq (a)
- The material for this article is mainly taken from مسجد سهله in Farsi WikiShia.