An Historiographical Analysis of the Arabic Accounts of Early Mosques: With Special Reference to Those at Madina, Baṣra and Kūfa

Journal of Islamic Studies 30 (1):1-33 (2019)

Abstract
Investigating the first/seventh-century mosques is essential for an understanding of the history and development of the mosque type and, more generally, the evolution of the Muslim community. This is difficult, however, owing to the problematic nature, sometimes total absence, of archaeological evidence: some of these earliest mosques were made of ephemeral materials, and most repeatedly altered or utterly superseded by more spacious ones to accommodate the continually escalating numbers of congregants. Archaeological evidence for those built before 40/660 is not yet available. That being so, the study, analysis, and reconstruction of such crucial, albeit missing, structures must depend heavily on Arabic literary sources, whose disputed reliability represents yet another challenge. Focusing mainly on the cases of the mosques at Madina, Baṣra and Kūfa, this article attempts to analyse such sources, with the aim of identifying the extent to which they can be used to build a picture of the historical mosques—especially where archaeological evidence is scanty, awkward to interpret, or totally lacking—in which we can have some confidence.
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DOI 10.1093/jis/ety030
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Sayf Ibn ’Umar in Medieval and Modern Scholarship.Ella Landau-Tasseron - 1990 - Der Islam: Journal of the History and Culture of the Middle East 67 (1):1-26.
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