News Desk |
Archaeologists unearthed a 1200-year-old mosque, one of the world’s earliest mosques, in the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev Desert, Southern Israel.
The mosque dates back to 7 to 8 century. It was built during the arrival of Islam in the Holy Land. Israel’s Antique Authorities stated archaeologists discovered the mosque during the building work in the area.
Excavation directors Jon Seligman and Shahar Zur stated it is rare to find a mosque so ancient whose congregation were likely to be farmers in this part of the world, while there were large mosques in Holy Land of Makkah, and Madina from the corresponding period.
It’s one of the first mosques constructed after the arrival of Islam in what is present-day Israel https://t.co/6NCFkUZzYf
— Hyder Abbasi (@HyderAbbasi) July 19, 2019
The mosque excavated was found to be an open-air mosque, a rectangular building about the size of a single-car garage, with a Mehrab (prayer niche) facing south towards the holy city of Makkah.
“These features are evidence for the purpose for which this building was used, many hundred years ago,” said Mr. Seligman.
It was the first province constructed during the arrival of Islam in the area in what is present-day Israel after the Arabs conquered the then-Byzantine province in 636, according to Gideon Avni, an expert of Islamic history from the antiquities authority.
“The discovery of the village and the mosque in its vicinity are a significant contribution to the study of the history of the country during this turbulent period,” he stated further.
“According to historical Islamic sources, the new Muslim government distributed plots of land to its senior officials, including Omar ibn al-Etz, an Arab military commander who took over the land of Israel and Syria,” stated Avni.
The researchers believe rural mosque was part of the agricultural system with the soil suitable for growing grains and the groundwater in perennial streams which attracted the settlers who wanted to cultivate the land.
Further continuation of the excavation of the site will provide answers to the questions regarding the foundation of settlement and its relations to the Arab conquerors of the land of Israel.