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56- THE MOSQUE OF AS- SAIYIDA NAFISA 1314H.(1897) . AS- SAIYIDA NAFISA was the daughter of al- Hasan ibn Zayd ibn al- Hasan ibn 'Ali ibn Abi Talib. She was born in Mekka and was brought up in Madina. She came to Egypt in 193H. (809) and stayed there until her death in 208H. (824). She was buried in her house which stood on the site of the present mausoleum, and which was later on known as "The Mashhad of Saiyida Nafisa". She was a pious woman, and memorized the Qur'an and its interpretation. It is said that 'Ubayd Allah ibn as- Sari ibn al- Hakam, Governor of Egypt, was the first who built her a mausoleum. In 482H. (1089) , the Fatimid Khalif al- Mustansir Billah ordered the renovation of the mausoleum, and later in 532H. (1138) the Khalif al- Hafiz li- din Illah ordered its renovation once more. In 714H. (1314/15) an- Nasir Muhammad ibn Qala'un ordered the foundation of a mosque close to the mausoleum, and in 1173H. (1760) the mausoleum and the mosque were rebuilt by the Amir 'Abd ar- Rahman Katkhuda. In 1310H. (1892/93) a considerable part of the mosque was damaged by fire, as a result of which the Khedive 'Abbas Pasha II ordered the rebuilding of both the mosque and the mausoleum. Work was completed in 1314H. (1897). The new mosque stands in the district known as as- Saiyida Nafisa. The entrance, which projects in the centre of the main faade, is higher than the rest. It is covered with a stalactite hood and surmounted by an elegent minaret. The entrance and the faade are both in Mamluk style. The entrance leads into a vestibule opening into the interior of the mosque, which is nearly square and covered by a wooden roof. The ceiling is decorated with beautiful arabesque. Above the centre of the second aisle is a high skylight. The roof is supported by three arcades resting on octagonal marble columns. In the centre of the qibla wall is a mihrab, lined with magnificent coloured faience. At the extreme end of this wall and to the right of the mihrab is a door leading to a roofed hall, with a skylight decorated with arabesque in the centre of the ceiling. This hall leads to the mausoleum, by means of an arched opening. In the middle of the mausoleum is a brass maqsura, enclosing the tomb of as- Saiyida Nafisa. The dome of the mausoleum is supported at the corners by many tiers of stalactites. Among the remains that have survived from the mausoleum of as- Saiyida Nafisa is the movable wooden mihrab, which was constructed for the mausoleum between 532 and 541H. (1137- 1147). It is now preserved in the Museum of Arab Art, together with two other wooden mihrabs, one of which was made for al- Azhar Mosque, the other for the Mausoleum of Saiyida Ruqaiya. These three mihrabs are supreme examples of Fatimid woodwork. Plates 184- 185.


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