Verily, We have seen the turning of your face towards the heaven.
Surely, We shall turn you to the qiblah that shall please you,
so turn your face in the direction of the Al-Masjid-Al-Haram.
And wheresoever you people are, turn your faces in that direction.
(The Holy Quran, Surat Al-Baqarah, verse 144)
The mosque like you’ve never seen it before
The mosque is ubiquitous to Arabia – it’s a visual focal point and distinguishing feature, a refuge and sanctuary. These buildings are much more than mere spaces. Places of worship, they play a significant role in Islamic communities today but they served an even wider purpose historically, forming the social and cultural heart of society.
The Art of Orientation showcases some of the finest masterpieces of Islamic art ever created including examples specially commissioned for the grand historic mosques of Cairo. The Museum of Islamic Arts in Cairo is a repository of the major mosques in the city that had been a major capital for many of the greatest Islamic dynasties (from the Ayyubids and Fatimids to the Mamluks and Ottomans), and as such is representative of different styles and periods over a 1,000-year history. With more than 100,000 items, the institution houses the world’s largest collection of Islamic art, which is scholarly rated to be among the top 10 collections of Islamic art globally. This exhibition represents the first partnership between an Egyptian and Saudi museum.
"What we learn from looking at the mosque constructed by Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ)
is the importance of the mosque and its linking between faith and the daily life of citizens and the community.Its role included many religious, social, political, administrative and cultural functions. It became a model and template for all Muslim civilizations across the world."
by Prof. Sami Angawi
A glimpse of the Islamic treasures
Al-Nassir Mohammad ibn Qalawun Mosque Lamp
Written in thulth script, the name of Sultan Al-Nassir Mohammad ibn Qalawun is inscribed alongside verse 35 of Sura 24
of the Holy Qur’an: "Allah is the Light of the Heaven and the Earth."
This mosque lamp originally hung inside the school attached to Cairo’s Qalawun complex in Cairo.
Egypt or Syria, 1304
Glass, gilded and enameled
Height: 34cm, depth: 20cm
Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo 313
Dome of The Rock Tile
This hexagonal tile originally date to the 16th century restoration of the exterior walls
of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem by the Ottoman ruler Suleiman the Magnificent.
Jerusalem, 16th century
Fritware painted under glaze
ITHRA 2019.0049 & 2019.0050
Makkah, 17th century
Loan from Museums Commission, Saudi Arabia 2476
Originally placed into a wall of a mosque, this tile depicts the Holy Sanctuary of Makkah with the Ka’ba at its center.
Probably made to commemorate a pilgrimage to Makkah, this tile bears the name of its owner Muhammad Agha,
, who may have commissioned the mosque from which this tile originally belonged.
Egypt or Turkey, 1663
Fritware, painted under glaze
35cm x 38cm
Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo 3251
Carved, painted and joined wood
Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo 446
Painting of the Three Holy Mosques
In addition to depicting the three holiest mosques of Islam: Makkah, Medina and Jerusalem- there are other unidentified sites,
including mosques and cities, on the left and bottom sides of the painting.
Opaque watercolour on paper
Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo 357
Berber, Morocco, Middle Atlas Mountains, 18th century
Painted cedar wood joined with iron nails.
Ithra Museum 2019.0060
Page from the Dala’il al-Khayrat
India, 18th century
Ink, opaque watercolor and gold on paper.
Ithra Museum 2019.0001
Egypt, 17th century
Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo 4578
Egypt, Late 17th or early 18th century
Stucco and stained glass
Height: 131cm, width: 65cm
Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo 1/386
Foundation Stone of the Prophet’s Mosque Mihrab
Stucco and stained glass
Loan from Museums Commission, Saudi Arabia 1-03-1-000802