THE MOSQUES OF EGYPT
5.THE MAMLUK PERIOD, 648 - 923H. (1250- 1517 A.D.) .
22- THE MOSQUE OF ASLAM AS- SILAHDAR 745- 746H.(1344- 1345) . THE AMIR BAHA, AD- DIN ASLAM AS- SILAHDAR had been of the Mamluks of al- Malik al- Mansur Qala'un. He reached the rank of Amir during the reign of Qala'un's son, an- Nasir Muhammad. He began the construction of this mosque in 745H. (1344) and finished it in 746H. (1345) . He built it according to the cruciform madrasa plan, although it differs from previous mosques in that its sahn is covered, instead of being open. It has two opposite and similar iwans, in the east and west, opening on to the sahn by means of two large arches. Each of the north and south iwans opens on to the sahn by means of three small arches supported on marble columns. In previous Mosques- Madrasas, except in the Mosque- Madrasa of Qala'un, the four iwans generally open on to the sahn by means of four similar arches, although they sometimes differ in size. One of its entrances leads directly into the mosque proper, contrary to the usual practice in mosques of cruciform plan, where the entrance usually leads into a vestibule from which a corridor leads into the sahn. Some of the features of this plan were adopted in later mosques, such as the distribution of the iwans and the roofing of the sahn with timber. The mausoleum is in the south- eastern corner of the mosque. Its doorway is on the right, as one enters. It is covered with three tiers of stalacties. In the eastern iwan stands a small wooden minbar of fine craftsmanship, with panels carved in beautiful raised ornament. The remains of decoration on the ceiling of this iwan, as well as in the other iwans, prove that they must have been richly decorated in various polychrome designs. The faades of the sahn are decorated, above the arches, with circles and lozenges of stucco ornament, and windows and recesses, with keel- fan- shape arches, surrounded with bands of Kufic inscriptions. The mosque has two main faades. At the eastern end of the south faade rises the fluted dome. Below the fluting are the remains of a band of faience mosaic with verses from the Qur'an inscribed on it. The use of faience to decorate a dome is a rare feature in Mamluk work. At the west end of this faade is a minaret of later date. A very attractive feature of this faade, is the large rectangular marble panel over the door, of fine craftsmanship, being made of white marble, inlaid with coloured marble in beautiful decorative designs. This entrance, as regards its proportions and the stalactites at its top, is a fine example of a monumental mosque entrance. The inscription which runs across it, above the maxalas (stone seats) , bears the date of completion, i.e. 746H. At the northern end of the west faade, is another doorway that leads, through a bent corridor, to the sahn and lavatories. The inscription above the southern entrance includes the dates both of the beginning and completion of the work, i.e. 745H. and 746H. Plates 69- 71.