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Early Islamic World


History for Kids >> Early Islamic World

A mosque is a place where Muslims gather to worship. Mosques have been a central part of Muslim communities since the early days of Islam.

Shah Faisal Masjid, Islamabad
Faisal Mosque in Pakistan
by Fraz.khalid1. 2011.
What are the functions of a mosque?

The mosque serves a variety of roles in the lives of Muslims. Its most important role is as a house of prayer. Muslims often visit the mosque to participate in prayer with large groups. Mosques also provide religious education, local charity, and a meeting place for Muslims to have religious discussions.

Who leads the mosque?

Mosques are often led by an Islamic leader called an "imam". The imam sometimes leads the prayers, especially the Friday prayer, and is responsible for the religious guidance of those who attend the mosque.


Minarets are towers that are often built as part of a mosque. They are used for calling Muslims to prayer. Five times each day, a man called a "muezzin" issues the call for prayer from the minaret. Minarets come in a variety of styles and shapes, but they are generally tall, narrow towers.

Prayer Room

Mosques have a room set aside specifically for prayer. This room has a wall that faces in the direction of Mecca. There is usually a niche in the wall called a "mihrab" to indicate the proper direction. The Muslim worshipers then face toward this wall when they pray.

There generally isn't any furniture or chairs in the prayer room. Worshipers use prayer mats to kneel on while praying.

Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara, Turkey
A Mosque with Minarets and Domes
Source: Wikimedia Commons. User: Noumenon

The minbar is a raised stand where the prayer leader, or imam, leads the prayers or delivers a religious message.


Some mosques are elaborately decorated with tiles and carpets. There are no pictures of people or animals in the decorations, however, to make sure that idols are not worshiped in the mosque. Instead, the decorations use repeated geometric designs, scrolling leaves and flowers, or words from the Quran written in calligraphy.

Women's Area

Depending on the mosque, women and men may worship in different areas. Sometimes the mosque will have a separate prayer room or area where women can pray.

Famous Mosques

There are many famous and historic mosques throughout the world. Here is a list of some of the most famous:

Panoramic view of Masjeed Al Nabawee at sunset
Mosque in Medina by Ahmed Medineli
Interesting Facts about Mosques Activities More on the Early Islamic World:

Timeline and Events
Timeline of the Islamic Empire
First Four Caliphs
Umayyad Caliphate
Abbasid Caliphate
Ottoman Empire

Scholars and Scientists
Ibn Battuta
Suleiman the Magnificent
Daily Life
Trade and Commerce
Science and Technology
Calendar and Festivals

Islamic Spain
Islam in North Africa
Important Cities
Glossary and Terms

Works Cited

History for Kids >> Early Islamic World

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