DR. MINWER AL-MEHEID is an accomplished project manager with a particular emphasis on architectural engineering and design. He started his varied career in 1983 as a project manager for high-budget projects in Saudi Arabia and has continued with award-winning projects, mostly notably the reconstruction of the Minbar of Saladin at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in 2007. He is also an accomplished academic, having established the College of Islamic Art and Architecture in Jordan. He continues to work in a professional capacity in Jordan, having worked on projects for the Hashemite royal court and the Jordanian Ministry of Endowments.
RECONSTRUCTING THE MINBAR OF SALADIN
The pulpit gained Muslims attention of for its religious symbolism based on regard for the actions of the Prophet (ﷺ) in taking the pulpit, as well as its functional and close association with the universal prayer in Islam, until it became an essential part of the mosque’s elements and landmarks. It received attention from the Muslim caliphs and sultans who sent pulpits to be placed in Medina and Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
The lecture will refer to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque pulpit, the most famous Islamic pulpit in design, industry and art, which was ordered by the just Emir Nur al-Din Mahmoud bin Zangi in the year 563 AH (1167 CE) to be deposited there after the liberation of Jerusalem. It was made with great care with inlaid wood and carved ivory, crafted with ornamentation and inscription by the most skilled artisans. Nur al-Din Zangi died before his wish to liberate Jerusalem was fulfilled, which took place later in the year 583 AH (1187 CE) at the hands of Saladin, at which time he ordered the transfer of this pulpit to Jerusalem, to take its proper place in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Hence, this unique Islamic artistic monument became known as the Qudsi minbar, the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque pulpit, or the Saladin al-Ayyubi pulpit. This minbar remained in the Al-Aqsa Mosque until the year 1388 AH (1969 CE), when a violent extremist tried to destroy the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, so he came to the pulpit and reduced it to ashes.
Great efforts were made across the Arab world at the highest levels to rebuild a new pulpit as similar as possible to the one that was destroyed. But they failed due to multiple considerations, the most important of which is the formation of the complex pulpit and the method of its construction based on interlocking sections. Drawings and engineering drawings for all parts of the minbar were devised, and materials were gathered to rebuild it until it was completed in a way that matched the original in form, art and materials.
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