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Mosques In Society

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Chapter Summary

From the break of dawn, when the first Allāhu akbar pierced the air announcing the new day, the call of the muezzin marked the flow of time in the medieval Muslim city. J. Pedersen concedes that the mosque, despite the increase in its sanctity, remained a place of public assembly, visited for many purposes other than that of worship. This chapter unquestionably supports his view. Almost each and every Muslim in the society studied here had reason to enter the mosque. The great mosques of Damascus and Jerusalem, the Umayyad Mosque and al-Masjid al-Aqṣā, loom large in the chapter. Mosques also served as an asylum for the homeless, the vagabond, the insane and the refugee. Relics were displayed in mosques and their cult was openly practiced in public. Yāqŭt lists a whole inventory of relics, tombs and hallowed spots in his passage in praise of the congregational mosque of Damascus.

Keywords: Damascus; medieval Muslim; mosques; relics; society



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