Moroccan Mosques – Spiritual Centers for Muslims
The majority of Moroccans are Muslim, practicing the Sunni variant of Islam. Other religions practiced in Morocco include Christianity, Judaism and Baha’I – a 19th century religion which evolved from Babism. With Islam being the dominant religion of the country, Mosques are considered to be of great importance and every settlement, village, town and city has at least one of these venerated places of worship.
A mosque serves primarily as a place were Muslims gather together for worship, but also serves as a center for education, information and settlement of disputes. Mosques of the 7th century were generally open air spaces, but have evolved to incorporate domes and minarets, which immediately distinguish them as places of worship for followers of Islam. Having originated on the Arabian Peninsula, mosques are found wherever Muslims have settled all over the world.
The Hassan II Mosque, located in Casablanca, is considered to be the second largest mosque in the world. From the mosque, which is placed on a prominent piece of land rising up from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, visitors have a beautiful view of the ocean, adding to the tranquility of the setting. It is said that King Hassan II wanted worshippers to be reminded of the wonders of God’s creations and chose the site for the spectacular view.
Another significant Mosque in Morocco is the historic Karaouine Mosque in Fez. This ancient Mosque, which dates back to 859, is superbly decorated with intricate designs that never fail to amaze visitors as to the skill of the craftsmen. The Karaouine Mosque is incorporated into the University of Al-Karaouine, which is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘oldest existing educational institution in the world’. The building started off quite small and was extended, improved and refurbished over the subsequent 1000 years or so, thereafter remaining much as it is seen today where it is able to comfortably accommodate as many as 20,000 worshippers.Located in Marrakech, the Koutoubia Mosque is one of the prominent landmarks of this bustling metropolitan city. Completed around 1199, the Mosque stands as an architectural and engineering masterpiece of its time. Visitors to the Koutoubia Mosque are astounded by the sheer size of the minaret that reportedly set the standard for other noteworthy minarets on various Mosques in other parts of the world.
A visit to Morocco can be a deeply rewarding experience, and many visitors come back time and again. To gain insight into the lives of the people who live in this exotic country, it is well worth taking time out to visit some of the Mosques of Morocco.