воскресенье, 18 ноября 2018 г.

16. Muslim shrines in Lod

In 1930s there were two mosques and 14 Muslim shrines in Arabic city Ludd (Hebrew: Lod). Now both mosques continue to function, but 5 out of 14 shrines survived.



Mashhad sheikh ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf
مشهد الشيخ عبد الرحمن بن عوف
קבר שייח' עבד אל-רחמן בן עוף

‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf was one of the companions (ashabs) of Muhammad the Prophet. According to the tradition, he died in Medina and was buried in al-Baki cemetery. But the Muslims who lived in Palestine believed that Ibn ‘Awf was buried on their land, and they even built a mashhad (a shrine) in his honor to the east from the city of Ludd. An Arabic explorer Mudjir ad-Din mentioned this shrine (1496): “Near Ludd from the eastern side there is a mashhad, the the tomb of Abu Muhammad ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Aouf, the companion [of Muhammad], a supporter who died in 32 of Hegira” (Sauvaire 1876, 211).

Now the mashhad  Ibn ‘Awf is on the territory of an old Muslim cemetery. Almost nothing left from the Mamluk's building. A modern Prayer house is built on its basement, and only a green dome of the survived shrine marks the place where the cenotaph of Ibn ‘Awf is.



Route. This Muslim shrine is located in the eastern part of Lod, at the entrance to the city by Highway 443 or via street ha-Hashmonaim.

Visited: 12.08.15
Coordinates: 31°57'16.4"N 34°54'18.2"E
Location of the object on Google Maps


Maqam sheikh Ibrahim as-Suwayq
مقام الشيخ ابراهيم
קבר שייח' איברהים

In the center of Lod, on Hashmonaim street (aka. Route 443) there is an old Muslim cemetery; very untidy and neglected, despite the fact that it is under protection. Near the entrance to the cemetery stands Maqam sheikh Ibrahim nearly all covered with ivy. Only the north wall with a wide arch doesn’t have ivy on it. A. Petersen visited the maqam in 1994 and described it so: “The maqam consists of a rectangular cross-vaulted structure (4m x 4m) with a small dome in the top. The east face is open and there are windows in the north and south sides. The outlines of a grave or cenotaph can be seen outlined on the floor. An inscription dated to 1119 H. (1706–1707 CE) on the exterior of the building states that this is the tomb of Shaykh Ibrahim Suwayq” (2001, 209).

The old Muslim cemetery of Lod


Photo of 1994 (from the book by A. Petersen)
The exact dimensions of the structure are 4.66 x 4.50m. The entrance to the maqam is not on the east, but on the north-east side, where a wide arch is present. There is an inscription in Arabic on the north wall, however, to the right of the entrance. Dome of the maqam, apparently, completely covered with ivy. Note also that the tomb has no mihrab. Not so long ago the maqam was whitewashed and its floors were tiled. A modern tombstone with an inscription in Arabic “Muhammad al-Mabtuli” was installed instead of the cenotaph. Note that the Mosque of sheikh Ibrahim al-Matbuli (d. 1472), known even to researchers of the 19th century (Palmer 1881, 273; Stewardson 1888, 139), is located on the Tel Ashdod.

среда, 14 ноября 2018 г.

14c. Abandoned Mosques. Golan Heights


Mosque in Kafr ‘Aqab
مسجد في كفر عقاب
מסגד בכפר עקיב

According to the photos made just after the Six-Days War in 1967, the mosque in Kafr ‘Aqab stood in the middle of the village. Now there is only a basement of the mosque and 1–1.5 m high walls on the hill. Almost nothing left from the minaret.

Photo of 1968

View from the south

View from the south-west

Route. On 20th km turn from Highway 92 to moshav Ramot and in 250 m to the left there is a hill with the ruins of Kafr ‘Aqab village.

Visited: 21.08.15
Coordinates: 32°51'46.4"N 35°39'16.1"E
Location of the object on Google Maps


Mosque in Khushniya
مسجد في الخشنية
מסגד בחושניה

This mosque is observable for all who take Highway 87 and pass a former Syrian (Cherkess) village Khushniya, as the mosque stands right near the road. It was built just before the Six-Days War and now is the only object left after Khushniya. The mosque is often made photos of due to its beautiful minaret with two rounded balconies.

The building is relatively safe, besides the south-western corner, which was destroyed during the 1967 war. The S wall with the mihrab is covered with Arabic and Jewish inscriptions left by modern visitors.


View from the south

The mihrab

View from the minaret

View from the minaret

Route. The mosque is said to stand on Highway 87, between the crossroads of Keshet and Bashan.

Visited: 05.10.11
Coordinates: 32°59'55.2"N 35°48'39.7"E
Location of the object on Google Maps
Addition: Panorama


Mosque in ‘Uweynat al-Janubiyeh
مسجد في عوينة الجنوبية
מסגד של הכפר עווינאת

Syrian soldiers are said to pray in a small mosque of ‘Uweynat al-Janubiyeh. The soldiers lived in the Golan Heights. The exterior of the mosque look like military barracks: cement walls, narrow gun-shot windows, a low square minaret which looks like a watching point. As the whole Syrian village, the mosque was built not long before the Six-Days War. Now the floor is covered with excrements: the Israeli probably kept their cattle there after 1967.

View from the south

The mihrab

Route. From the 16th km of Highway 91 (after crossroad Nashot) turn right to the North, to a track road leading to Nahal Gilbon (Jalaboun Stream). The mosque is 850 m from the turn.

Visited: 21.08.15
Coordinates: 33°02'09.9"N 35°40'51.1"E
Location of the object on Google Maps

четверг, 8 ноября 2018 г.

14b. Abandoned Mosques. North


Mosque in ‘Amqa
مسجد في عمقا
מסגד בעמקה

The exterior of this mosque looks like the mosque in al-Ghabisiya (see next): the same beautiful three-arched portique (riwaq), approximately the same size of the Prayer hall decorated with high arched curves. Obviously, the mosque in ‘Amqa was built in the 19th century too. As in other villages of the Upper Galilee, the Druzes lived in ‘Amqa.

View from the north

  View from the north-west

Photo of 1990s

In September 1991, the mosque was studied by A. Petersen and made a detailed description, “This structure is located at the highest point of the rocky hillside on which the village was built. It is the only surviving building from the Arab village with the exception of a schoolroom now used as a warehouse (Khalidi 1992, 5).

The mosque consists of a domed prayer hall and an open portico (riwaq) divided into three cross-vaulted bays, each open to the north. The portico also has an open arch at the east end and a rectangular window at the west end. The area in front of the portico (now overgrown) was an open paved courtyard containing a deep cistern in the middle.

The prayer hall is entered through a doorway in the centre of the portico. Its hall is a large square room with massive corner piers supporting the springing of the dome. The interior is lit by a pair of windows on the west and east sides and windows either side of the main door. The area between the piers form wide recesses covered with tall arches. There is a small concave mihrab set into the south wall, slightly to the left (east) of centre, possibly to accommodate the minbar (now vanished) on the west side.

The dome rests directly on the pendentives without the intervention of a drum. The roof of the building is reached by a set of steps within the thickness of the west wall. The staircase is entered from a doorway set into the exterior of the west wall. The exterior of the dome and the flat parts of the roof are coated in a thick grey waterproof plaster. The lower part of the dome has near vertical sides whilst the upper portion has a shallow slightly pointed form. The entire structure is built out of ashlar masonry with a white plaster coating on the interior” (2001, 93).

Entrance to the mosque

Mihrab in the south wall

Western wall


пятница, 2 ноября 2018 г.

11b. Lost shrines. North


There were a lot of maqams in the Golan Heights, which has completely disappeared. A huge building of the Tomb (of nabi ?) Abu an-Nida topped a volcanic Mount called Avital (33°06'30.9"N 35°47'38.3"E). The mountain in Arabic is called Tell Abu an-Nida. “Nida” means “dew”. A famous explorer of Transjordan G. Shumacher described the tomb as follows, “The highest point of the Tell takes in the large Wely, or Makam Abu en-Neda. This is 38 feet long, 21 feet broad, 8 feet high, and has two whitewashed cupolas that can be seen in the whole country. The sepulcher of the great Moslem saint lies enveloped in silken cloth in the southern division of the building. In the afternoon the view from this Makam is magnificent, but in the morning thick misty clouds arise from the crater and obscure the whole country till 10 o'clock in the morning.” (1888, 249). The mountain Received such mane due to this morning humidity.

There is also a curious piece of antiquity to be found on the roof of the Wely Abu en-Neda, viz., the peculiar image, 2 feet 3 inches high, of a bird, which is fashioned in basalt, and reminds one of Egyptian or Persian art. Unfortunately the head is wanting.” (1888, 250).

A picture from G. Shumacher's book

Fragment of the map of 1913

Tomb [of nabi] Abu an-Nida. Photo of 1968

The tomb [of nabi] Abu an-Nida has been probably existing up tot he Six-Days War in 1967, when the Golans Heights weere captured by Israel .Since then an Israeli military base has been established on the top of Tell Abu an-Nida, with mine fields around it. Anyway, according to military reports about the Golans during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, – the Musim shrine wasn`t mentioned in the descriptions of the Israeli positions in Tell Abu an-Nida.

Now the access to Mount Avital is blocked by Israeli officers. When looking at the top of the mountain which is densely built with military structures, one may think it is unlikely that something from the previous times could be saved.

Location of the object on Google Maps
References: Shumacher 1888, 194, 249–250; Palästina-Vereins IX, 351; The Archaeological Survey of Israel; iNature: Mount Avital Nature Reserve

Mount Avital

On Mount Peres (Arabic: Tell al-Faras) there also was a Muslim shrine – the Tomb of nabi Hasan al-Jezzar (32°57'34.6"N 35°51'57.5"E). “On this top is the unadorned Moslem tomb, the Makarn en-Neby Hasan el-Jezzar, and a graveyard belonging to the Bedawin” (Shumacher 1888, 254). On the aerophoto of Tell al-Faras made by the Israeli officers in 1967 and 1973, neither maqam, nor cemetery could be identified. Probably they had not existed by that time. Probably they had not existed by that time. Now on the top of Mount Peres is an Israeli military base.

Location of the object on Google Maps

Mount Peres


суббота, 20 октября 2018 г.

9. Maqams. Judean Desert and Negev


Maqam Sheikh Mas‘ud
مقام الشيخ مسعود
קבר שייח' מסעוד

The maqam of Sheikh Mas‘ud near Arabic city Drijat, on the top of Khirbet ad-Dereijat (Hurvat Dragot) is now the southernmost of the remaining Palestinian maqams.

V. Guérin who visited Khirbet ad-Dereijat on July 20th, 1863, noticed “a few caves, natural and artificial, where the nomad tribes were still living” (Judee, III 190). V. Gueren did not mentioned any shrine as well as a cemetery on the top of the hill.

This cemetery with the tomb of Sheikh Mas‘ud appeared after the establishment of village Drijat, the exact date is unknown. According to the brickwork of the walls, it was built in 1970–1980s. The maqam has quite a modest size (4.75 х 4.75 х 1.80 m) and no mihrab which shows that the building was done in hastiness and with limited means.


 View from the south

View from the west

View from the north-west

View from the north-east

There is a small cenotaph inside the maqam. When we were there, the whitewashed walls inside were stained with something like excrements. There were sooth stains on the ceiling.



Route. An asphalt road leads from Highway 35 to town Drijat. The cemetery with the maqam borders the town to the north.
Visited: 08.08.18
Coordinates: 31°18'13.3"N 35°04'42.0"E
Location of the object on Google Maps
References: Guérin, Judee, III 190


Maqam Sheikh Nuran
مقام الشيخ نوران
קבר שייח' נוראן

According to the number of documented uses, mainly in military sources, maqam of sheikh Nuran overcame other Muslim shrines and almost came up with the famous Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and Joseph's Tomb in Nablus. The matter is that the maqam of sheikh Nuran stands at a strategic position dominating over the neighborhood. Thus the Muslim shrine happened to be in the epicenter of fierce battles twice, in 1917 and 1948.

A plate attached to the maqam's wall says (Hebrew), “Sheikh Nuran`s tomb was built in the 19th century at the lowest point of the district. It was made of stones taken from the ruins of the archaeological object of the Byzantine period. During the I WW the tomb was used as a Turkish military position and after the British seizure it was renovated as a gift to Bedouins. During the Independence War it has been a Egyptian position until it was occupied during Asaf military campaign (5.12.48). After kibbutz Magen was established (16.8.49), the position was turned into a watchtower”.

It's worth mentioning that on the first map of this region published by PEF in 1900, the shrine is marked as Nabi (Prophet) Nuran.

Nuran was an old man and keeper of Bedouin tribe Tarabin. There were many legends about him. His name is thought to be derived from Arabic name “nur” – “light”. It was said that the majority of tombs were miscarriage victims or babies who died in their cots. All Bedouins in Negev worshipped this place of a special sanctity.

During the World War I the Turkish people built a railway line and established their positions there trying to hold back the troops of General Allenby. Maqam was severely suffered from bombing. When the British soldiers seized this strategic point in February 1917, they set up camp, built a railroad station and aerodrome.

After the victory, the Englishmen fully restored Sheikh Nuran's maqam. Thus, they acknowledged the Bedouin tribes for their support during the war against Turkey. The illustrative photos were shown to the whole world.

Photo of 1934

воскресенье, 14 октября 2018 г.

8. Maqams. Samaria


Tomb of nabi Isma‘il
مقام النبي إسماعيل
קבר נבי ישמעאל

The tomb of nabi Isma’il refers to Palestinian village Burin (to the south from Nablus) and was initially called the maqam of sheikh Abu Isma‘il or even Abu Isma‘in. The name kept on to be mentioned in the early 19h century, and the Palestinian map of G. Shumaher.

During the British Mandate sheikh Abu Isma‘in turned into nabi Isma‘il, probably there was an allusion to patriarch Ishmael from the Old Testament. The residents of Burin made such a change in order to attract pilgrims to the tomb, as they got extra revenue from that.

However, the nearest mountain is called Jebel Abu Isma‘il and in modern booklets the tomb is called Abu Isma‘il shrine (title nabi avoided) (Burin Village Profile, p. 6). Thus, it is gradually ganging back to the initial name of the shrine. 

View from the south

View from the west

The dome

The structure is quite a prominent building, more than 4 m high, with a dome 1.5 m. The entrance is from the north. The inner plan resembles the tomb of nabi Kifl (see Section 2. Tombs of the Prophets): the same two interconnecting vaulted chambers, separated with an arch. A small mihrab without decorations stands at the S wall in the second chamber. No traces of cenotaph anywhere.

The shrine is surrounded with stone wall with a few entrances. The northern part of the wall forms a small yard in front of the entrance to the tomb. Nearby the tomb to the west there are a few building of different purposes. Some of them are probably hammams (bathhouses). The shrine is located on the edge of the steep slop of the mountain. It used to be observable from the road to Nablus, but now it is hidden in the shadow of trees.

A small yard in front of the entrance to the tomb

Inside the tomb

After, in 1983 Har Brakha, an Israeli settlement was established as well as an especially advanced outpost Giv'at Sne Ya'akov on Jebel Abu Isma‘il, the residents of Burin lost control over their shrine. The Jewish among the Israeli people perceived that tomb’s name as a reference to Ishmael from the Old Testament, who was the ancestor of Arabs and made a Hebrew inscription on the tomb’s wall: “Eretz Israel (The Land of Israel) is for nation Israel (Jewish), and not for Isma’il (Arabs)”.


понедельник, 8 октября 2018 г.

7. Maqams. Galilee and the Golan Heights

Maqam al-Khidr in al-Bassa
مقام الخضرة
מקאם אל-חידר

It is a monumental building, which used to be a jewel of Palestinian village al-Bassa, and now it stands in an Israeli settlement called Shlomi.

W. Khalidi commented on it, “The Muslim shrine is domed and stands deserted in the midst of many trees, including two palms” (1992, 9). A. Petersen described it as follows, “The maqam consists of two parts, a walled courtyard and a domed prayer room. There is a mihrab in the south wall of the courtyard and a doorway in the east wall leading into the main prayer room. The dome is supported by pendentives springing from four thick piers which also support wide side arches. In the middle of the south wall there is a mihrab next to a simple minbar made of four stone steps” (2001, 111).

View from the west

Photo of 1992 (from the book by A. Petersen)

The maqam is dedicated to a holy man al-Khidr, who is according to the Muslim traditions a Quranic teacher of Musa the Prophet (18:65–82). He is also associated with biblical Elijah the Prophet.

The western wall is 9.20 m long, and the south – 8.85 m. A spacious prayer room let the maqam to be used as a little mosque. The minbar proves that, as well as one more mihrab in the inner yard. Probably, this structure served as a mosque for the Muslims of al-Bassa until a new spacious mosque was built in the settlement in the 19th century. The question is: was there the sheikh's cenotapn inside the maqam? Only the cenotaph could characterize this building as a maqam. Now it is very difficult to find out the existence of the cenotaph. The floor is covered with wreckage, planks and rubbish.

View from the south

View from the east

View from the north

The minbar and mihrab in the south wall

Inside the maqam

The dome

W. Khalidi saw 2 palm trees in the yard, A. Petersen saw only one. Now this very palm tree fell down and blocked the entrance to the shrine. When comparing the photo in Petersen's book with the current view, you may notice further destruction. The south wall of the inner yard is badly damaged, though the mihrab partly survived. The west, east and south walls of the maqam started to collapse. The overall condition of the monument is quite deplorable.

понедельник, 28 января 2013 г.

1. Turbas in Jerusalem

The Arabic word “turba” means “tomb, tombstone.” This term applies only to Muslim shrines located in Jerusalem. Outside Jerusalem such burial structures are called in Arabic “maqam” (“place, stop, stand”), if a sheikh, imam or someone very important is buried there; or more generally – “kabr” (“grave”). Note also that the word “turba”, when used with a proper name of a person or a place, is used in the form of “turbat”.

Turbat al-Kubakiya
ضريح الكبكي
תורבת כובכייה

This exemplary tomb is located in the heart of Jerusalem, on the territory of Muslim cemetery Mamilla Cemetery, opposite the former hotel “Palas”. Built in the Mamluk era, it is well maintained and still preserves its primordial appearance. In this turba is buried emir ‘Ala ad-Din Aydughdi ibn ‘Abdallah al-Kubaki (hence the name), the ruler of Safad and Aleppo in the times of Mamluk sultan Baybars. He died in Jerusalem in 1289 and was buried with great honors.



This is how Muslim historian of 15th century, Mujir ad-Din, described the tomb: “The Zawiyeh al-Kebekiyeh. In the cemetery of Mamilla there is a well-built kubbeh known by the name of al-Kebekiyeh, after that of the Emir 'Ala ad-Din Aydughdi, the son of 'Abd Allah al-Kebeky”.

Kubbeh”, “Qubbat” – “dome, structure with a dome" is another synonym for the word "tomb”.

Turbat al-Kubakiya might have been charted on the map of Jerusalem, published in a book by Jean Zuallart “Il devotissimo viaggio di Gerusalemme” (1587), under the name of “Sepolchri de Turchi” (“Turkish tomb”). There are English and Spanish versions of this map. One can see that the structure is located on the territory of a Muslim cemetery not far from the road leading to the Jaffa Gate. On the French map of Jerusalem in a book published in 1629, Turbat al-Kubakiya has a crescent on the top of the dome and is located near the pool, now known as Birket Mamilla. Perhaps, once a crescent really used to crown the turba. There is no crescent in the drawings made in the 19th century.

Map of Jerusalem from the book by Jean Zuallart (1587)

A fragment of a French map of Jerusalem of 1629

The drawing of Turbat al-Kubakiya of 1860 (from the book by Vincent–Abel)