Although Muslims pray five times daily in
their homes or wherever they are, in fact even in the streets, Muslims also
worship in mosques. Mosques can be very elaborate, large structures or very
simple ones. However most have these common features.
Sahn — a courtyard surrounded by arcades called riwags. There are
fountains of water inside the courtyard to symbolize purity and where
worshippers can bathe before entering the mosque.
Minaret-- a tower from which the muezzin calls Muslims to prayer. The
minaret looks down on the sahn.
Mihrab — an empty arch which indicates the direction of Mecca.
Minbar -- a pulpit from which the imam (prayer leader) gives the
sermon and leads prayers.
zulla or prayer hall off the sahn.
Mosques are decorated with a special kind of art. Muslims do not believe in
making images of Allah, Muhammad, any other prophets, or any person or
animal. There are two reasons for this. One is that the worship of images is
forbidden in Islam. The other reason is that no artist's representation of
Allah's creation would be able to show its true beauty. It is a way of
So, instead, Islamic artists use geometric shapes and patterns on their
walls, floors, in their holy books, and on other decorative items. Islamic
mosques are known for incredible complex mosaic work. This medium suits the
geometric nature of Islamic art. Stars and crescents are also found on
mosques and are symbols associated with Islam. The crescent comes from the
fact that Islam has a lunar calendar. In the Koran, stars are often signs