Top 10 Oldest Mosques in Africa
These are the oldest mosques in Africa.
1. Al-Nagashi mosque
Al-Nagashi mosque is the first mosque in africa. The mosque was established in Negash in the 7th century. Negash is considered to be the earliest Muslim settlement in Africa;
In 2017, parts of the mosque was damaged during the law and order enforcement campaign that ousted Tigray People’s Liberation Front from the region. Soon afterwards, the Government of Ethiopia vowed to repair the building. In 2018, the mosque was renovated with funds from Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency.
Locals in the area believe al-Nejashi was built by the first Muslims to migrate to Africa during the time of Prophet Muhammad.
They had fled persecution in Mecca and were given refuge in what was then the Kingdom of Aksum.
Local Muslims in the area also believe that 15 disciples of Prophet Muhammad are buried in the damaged tombs.
2. Masjid al-Qiblatayn Mosque
Masjid al-Qiblatayn, also known as Labo-Qibla mosque is a mosque in Zeila, situated in the western Awdal region of Somaliland.
The mosque, which translates to (“Mosque of the two Qiblahs”), dates its construction to the 7th century CE, shortly after the Hijrah of Muslims to what was then Abyssinia. The mosque which happens to be the second oldest mosque in Africa also contains the tomb of Sheikh Babu Dena. Though now mostly in ruins, the edifice features two mihrabs: one oriented to the north toward Mecca, and the other oriented to the northwest toward Jerusalem.
The construction of this Mosque is tied to the history of Islam in Somalia. In Zeila, the mosque Masjid al-Qiblatayn is known as the site of where early companions of the Prophet, established a mosque shortly after the first Migration to Abyssinia.
3. Kizimkazi Mosque
The Kizimkazi Mosque is a mosque situated on the southern tip of the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania and is one of the oldest Islamic buildings on the East African coast. According to a preserved kufic inscription, it was built in 1107 by settlers from Shiraz. Although the inscription and certain coral-carved decorative elements date from the period of construction, the majority of the present structure was rebuilt in the 18th century.
4. Arba’a Rukun Mosque
Arba’a Rukun Mosque is a mosque located in the medieval district of Shangani, Mogadishu, Somalia. It is one of the oldest mosque in the Mogadishu capital and the fourth oldest mosque in Africa. It was built in 1260 AD. The mosque’s mihrab contains an inscription dated from the same year, which commemorates the masjid’s late founder, Khusra ibn Mubarak al-Shirazi.
5. Fakr ad-Din Mosque
The Fakr Ad-Din Mosque also known as Masjid Fakhr Ad-Din, is the oldest mosque in Mogadishu, Somalia and the fifth oldest mosque in Africa. It is located in Hamar Weyne, the oldest part of the city.
The mosque was built in 1269 by Sultan Fakr ad-Din, the first Somali Sultan of the Sultanate of Mogadishu and founder of Garen Dynasty called Fakr ad-Din.
Stones, including Indian marble and coral, were the primary materials used in the construction of the masjid. The structure displays a compact rectangular plan, with a domed mihrab axis. Glazed tiles were also used in the decoration of the mihrab, one of which bears a dated inscription.
Photographs of the Fakr ad-Din mosque feature in drawings and images of central Mogadishu from the late 19th century onwards. The mosque can be identified amidst other buildings by its two cones, one round and the other hexagonal.
6. Chinguetti Mosque
The Chinguetti Mosque is a mosque in Chinguetti, Adrar Region, Mauritania. It was an ancient center of worship created by the founders of the oasis city of Chinguetti in the Adrar region of Mauritania in the thirteenth or fourteenth century. The minaret of this ancient structure is supposed to be the second oldest in continuous use anywhere in the Muslim world.
In 2003 the mosque was restored through a UNESCO effort, but it, along with the city itself, continues to be threatened by intense desertification.
7. Great Mosque of Djienne
The Great Mosque of Djenné is a large banco or adobe building that is considered by many architects to be one of the greatest achievements of the Sudano-Sahelian architectural style. It is also the largest mud-built structure in the world. The mosque is located in the city of Djenné, Mali, on the flood plain of the Bani River.
The first mosque on the site was built around the 13th century, but the current structure dates from 1907. As well as being the centre of the community of Djenné, it is one of the most famous landmarks in Africa. Along with the “Old Towns of Djenné” it was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
8. Djinguereber Mosque
The Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali is a famous learning center of Mali built in 1327 and the eighth oldest mosque in Africa. The mosque is constructed in mud brick; more elegantly known as “earthen architecture”. It’s a method in which layer upon layer of wet soil (“banco” or adobe) is rendered on to limestone rocks or onto bricks made from banco.
Its design is accredited to Abu Es Haq es Saheli who was paid 200 kg (40,000 mithqals) of gold by Musa I of Mali, emperor of the Mali Empire.
Djinguereber is one of four madrassas composing the University of Timbuktu. It was inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1988.
9. Larabanga Mosque
The Larabanga Mosque is a mosque built in the Sudanese architectural style in the village of Larabanga, Ghana. It is the oldest mosque in Ghana and the ninth oldest mosque in Africa, and has been referred to as the “Mecca of West Africa”. It has undergone restoration several times since it was founded in 1421. The World Monuments Fund (WMF) has contributed substantially to its restoration, and lists it as one of the 100 Most Endangered Sites. The restoration works have revived the knowledge of adobe maintenance.
10. Sidi Yahya Mosque
The Sidi Yahya Mosque, also known as the Mosque of Muhammad-n-Allah, is the Tenth oldest mosque in Africa. The mosque is Located in Timbuktu, Mali. The construction of the mosque began in 1400 and was completed in 1440 A.D. The mosque was named after its first imam, Sidi Yahya al-Tadelsi.
The mosque which is a typical example of the earthen architecture of the Sudano-Sahelian style is part of the University of Timbuktu, which includes the madrasas of Sidi Yahya, Djinguereber and Sankore.
Parts of the Mosque of Sidi Yahya were destroyed by Ansar Dine jihadists on 2 July 2012, following the Battle of Gao and Timbuktu. These elements were later reconstructed under the direction of UNESCO team.