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Top 7 Mosques in Africa: A Journey Through Sand, Stone, and Faith

Mosque goers praying inside a mosque
Photo Credit - James Wang / Archdaily

As the month long fast comes to an end, marking the end of Ramadan the holiest month in Islam, mosques across the globe come alive with the fervor of prayer, reflection, and community. These houses of worship transcend their role as places of prayer, they are vibrant hubs for social gatherings, community, charitable acts, and spiritual growth.

Mosques are more than just places to pray. They're living stories of how Islam and islamic architecture has spread across Africa. Each one is unique and beautiful, reflecting the cultures and traditions of the people who fill its walls. So, buckle up for a whirlwind tour as we explore images and the history behind these 7 beautiful mosques that showcase the incredible diversity of African Islamic architecture!

Infographic about sahaba masjid mosque

The oldest mosque in Africa - Mosque of the Companions (Massawa, Eritrea) Believed by some to be the first mosque on the African continent and the first mosque in the world built by the companions of Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century.

Infographic about Djenne great mud mosque in Mali.

This is the largest mud structure in the world and the first mosque in West Africa - Great Mosque of Djenné (Mali) - An iconic mudbrick mosque, it is the largest mudbrick structure in the world. Its pyramidal silhouette and annual plastering ceremony are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Sudano-Sahelian people of Mali.

Infographic about Shitta Bey Mosque in Lagos, Nigeria.

The only Afro-Brazilian mosque in Africa - Built by Muhammad Shitta, also known as ‘Shitta Bey’, who was born in the liberated African village in Sierra Leone to Yoruba parents who were rescued by the British from illegal slave trading. The Mosque was designed by Architect Senhor Joao Baptista da Coasta and completed by Sanusi Aka in 1882. (139 years ago).

Shitta Bey Mosque, which has survived to this day as the meeting point of Nigerian Muslims, was accepted as one of the nine national monuments in the country by the Nigerian National Museums and Monuments Commission on Dec. 10, 2013.

Infographic about Larabanga Mud Mosque in Larabanga, Ghana.

The oldest and longest running mudbrick mosque in Ghana - Built-in the early 1400s, this mosque is one of the oldest continuously functioning mosques in West Africa. Its unique mudbrick construction with protruding wooden logs showcases a fascinating blend of Islamic and indigenous architectural styles.

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Infographic about HIKMA Mosque and Library in Dandaji, Niger.

HIKMA Religious and Secular Complex in the Nigerien village of Dandaji.

An exemplary building that rethinks the typical Arabic mosque into the Nigerien landscape, designed by Atelier masōmī. Instead of simply importing the standard mosque model of the Middle East, which would necessitate the use of unsustainable materials in the Nigerien context, the project was built with locally fabricated compressed earth bricks.

Infographic about Abijo Crescent Bearers Mosque in Lagos, Nigeria.

Abijo Mosque

A modern mosque with a twist on the essential archetypal elements of an Arabian mosque which include the Mihrab, a semicircular niche reserved for the Iman to lead the prayer, which points in the direction of Mecca.

Infographic about Egypt Grand Mosque in Cairo, Egypt.

Egypt Grand Mosque (Masjid Misr al- Kabeer) -

This is the largest mosque in Africa and third-largest in the middle east and is considered as one of the largest in the world. The area of ​​the mosque is 19,100 square meters and contains 3 main entrances topped by Islamic domes, in addition to a fourth service entrance.


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