THE MOSQUES OF EGYPT
5.THE MAMLUK PERIOD, 648 - 923H. (1250- 1517 A.D.) .
26- THE MOSQUE OF SULTAN SHA'BAN (KNOWN AS UMM AS- SULTAN) 770H.(1368/69) . ALL THE HISTORICAL INSCRIPTIONS IN THIS MOSQUE record that Sultan Sha'ban built it in 770H. (1368/69) for his mother. Maqrizi and other historians, however, attribute its construction to Khawand Baraka, Sha'ban's mother. It was therefore known as "The Mosque of Umm as- Sultan" (the Sultan's mother). Sultan al- Malik al- Ashraf Sha'ban, grandson to an- Nasir Muhammad ibn Qala'un, ascended the throne of Egypt in 764H. (1363) , at the age of ten, with the title "al- Malik al- Ashraf". His rule lasted fourteen years and he died in 778H. (1377). He was buried under the southern dome of the mosque. This mosque was designed according to the cruciform madrasa plan; it has an open sahn, surrounded by four iwans. The qibla iwan is flanked by two symmetrical mausoleums. The northern, which is slightly larger than the southern one, has a mihrab with remains of a marble lining, and contains the tomb of the Sultan's mother and sister, Khawand Baraka and Khawand Zahra'. In the southern mausoleum is the tomb of the Sultan himself. Both mausoleums are plain and very lofty rooms, covered with simple domes, each supported on four squinches. Unlike Mamluk domes, these two exhibit neither decorated walls nor multiple tiers of stalactites. Each mausoleum has a window that opens into the qibla iwan. These windows are beautiful specimens of Arabic woodwork; they are formed of geometrical designs, containing panels of wood and ivory, richly carved with fine ornament. The back of the qibla iwan has a marble dado, in the centre of which is a mihrab lined with coloured marble. Next to the mihrab is a plain minbar which was made by order of Amir 'Ali, a Circassian Mamluk. The gilt decoration remaining on the ceiling of the qibla iwan gives a clear idea of the beauty and grandeur the other iwans must once have exhibited. At the top of the four faades of the sahn, runs a band of Kufic, consisting of Qur'anic verses carved in the stone. The faades are crowned with foliated cresting. The northern and southern iwans are each flanked by two recesses, with beautiful stalactites at the top. There is one doorway in each recess. One of the two doorways, next to the qibla iwan, opens into the northern mausoleum, and the other into the southern mausoleum and a back entrance to the mosque. The third doorway opens into a corridor that leads to the main entrance, and the fourth to the lavatories. The main feature of the faade is the beautiful entrance which stands in a recess, covered by a most beautiful stalactite hood. The upper part of the entrance, alongside the stalactites, was decorated with ornament, engraved in the stone. To the right of the entrance is a drinking trough, with inscriptions above. To the left is a sabil, the opening of which is covered with a screen of mashrabiya wood, in beautiful geometrical designs, with the name of the founder and date of foundation (770H.) inscribed above. The minaret of this mosque is octagonal; it once had three storeys, of which the upper one has fallen, and has not yet been rebuilt. Plates 91- 92.