THE MOSQUES OF EGYPT
6.THE OTTOMAN PERIOD, 923 - 1220H. (1517- 1805 A.D.).
51- THE MOSQUE OF MUHAMMAD BEY ABU ADH- DHAHAB 1188H.(1774) . THIS MOSQUE is situated opposite al- Azhar Mosque. Its foundation was begun by the Amir Muhammad Bey Abu adh- Dhahab in 1187H. (1773) and completed by him in 1188H. (1774). Abu adh- Dhahab was a Mamluk of 'Ali Bey al- Kabir, one of the Amirs of Egypt, who acquired him in 1175H. (1761) , and promoted him to the rank of Amir. He was nicknamed Abu adh- Dhahab because when he was decorated at the Citadel, he threw gold to the poor all the way down to his house. He attained a high position in a short time, and was soon made Amir of Egypt. This is one of the mu'allaqa, or "suspended" mosques, i.e. built on a level higher than that of the street, and having shops in the lower part of its faades. It has two faades, one of which overlooks al- Azhar Square, with the main entrance in its centre. This is reached by a double staircase with a balustrade of turned wood. The second faade faces the Mosque of al- Azhar; it has a second entrance at one end, similar to the main one. . The design of the mosque is similar to that of the Mosque of Sinan Pasha at Bulaq, with the exception of some slight variations. It is square in plan measuring 15 m. a side, and coverd with a large dome, the drum of which has sixteen sides, with windows of stucco and coloured glass. It is set upon the walls of the mosque by means of four squinches, occupying the four corners of the square. The dome was once decorated with gilded ornament, of which only traces remain. Below the drum runs a gilded band of inscription, consisting of Qur'anic verses and ending with the name of Muhammad Bey Abu adh- Dhahab. The mihrab is lined with coloured marble and tracery, inlaid with mother of pearl, and next to it is a wooden minbar. The dikka (reader's seat) is fixed against the wall facing the mihrab. It is supported by two brackets and has a balustrade of turned wood. Within the wall is a staircase that leads to the dikka and to the roof of the mosque. The mosque proper has three doorways opening on to the three iwans which surround it; these iwans are covered by domes, resting on arches, supported by stone piers and marble columns; i.e. similar to the Mosque of Sinan Pasha. At the end of the western iwan, and to the left when entering through the main entrance, is a beautifully designed brass maqsura (screen) , enclosing the tomb of the founder, of which the walls are decorated with faience tiles. Next to the maqsura is another one, containing the book case. An immense minaret rises at the south- western corner; it is square in plan, having two storeys and ending with five pear- shaped heads. In form it is unique among Turkish minarets. Abu adh- Dhahab annexed to the mosque, at the western side, a takiya, a sabil and a driking trough. Plate 165.