About Mosque of Al Hakim
The Mosque of Al Hakim Be Amr Allah is one of the most famous historical mosques in Egypt. Due to a number of factors, the debatable character of its builder, the marvelous architectural elements of the mosque, its huge vast surface area, the different usages of the complex throughout history, and its distinctive location made the mosque one of the mosques commonly included in many travel packages in Egypt.
The Mosque of Al Hakim is one of the great achievements of the Fatimids in Egypt. It contains some of the most distinctive architectural features in Egypt. This includes the most ancient surviving minarets in Egypt. Many travelers spending their vacation in Egypt visit the mosque for its wonderful architecture and interesting historical facts.
Geographical Location of the Mosque of Al Hakim
Situated just inside the gate of El Fetouh, one of the historical gates of ancient Cairo, when the traveler spending his holiday in Egypt enters from the gate, he finds the mosque of Al Hakim to his left side with the walls of the mosques almost attached to the ancient walls of Cairo.
From the other direction, the Mosque of Al Hakim is only about 50 meters away from Mosque of Al Aqmar, Beit El Sehemy, and Complex of Qalaun. A walk in Islamic Cairo is quite popular among travelers who spend their holidays in Egypt.
The Builder of the Mosque of Al Hakim
Al Hakim Be Amr Allah is certainly one of the most controversial rulers of Egypt. He was born in 985 AD and he became the official ruler and king of Egypt when he was only 11 years old in 996 and his ruling period was full of different events, stories, legends, and rumors.
Many people tried to make use of the young age of the new king to take control of the ruling of Egypt. Many people tried to make use of the young age of the new king to take control of the ruling of Egypt. The most important among these was Abu El Fetouh Bergwan, one of the important figures during the ruling period of the father of Al Hakim. Bergwan took control of the country for three or four years until Al Hakim became older and he was able to murder him and retake control of his country again when he was only 15 years old.
Al Hakim was very harsh ruler as he was extremely sever dealing with his men and if one of his men committed a big mistake he would certainly punished by being excited. Al Hakim used to take tours in his city riding on his donkey to listen to the complaints of his people and view the situation realistically by himself.
Al Hakim was also famous throughout history for his weird rules. It was said that he prevented the Egyptians from eating Molokhia and watercress, as he didn’t like them. Some legends argue that he even stopped the shops and different stores to open in the morning hours and operate at night in stead. It was even said, in some historian records, that he has delayed the timings of some prayers.
However, the most famous weird concept El Hakim had was his belief in the call to unite all religions. Some scholars also claim that Al Hakim proclaimed himself divine and that he ordered the mosques to mention his name during the call for prayers. Of course all of this resulted in large controversies during his times and even afterwards.
Even the death of Al Hakim Be Amr Allah was rather weird and mysterious as his life. Some historians noted that he was killed by his sister with the help of some of the other royal family members.
The only fact we know about his death is that one night in the year 1021 he went riding his donkey to the Mokattam Mountain, the same he used to do every night, and he disappeared afterwards leaving numerous questions unanswered about his life and his death.
The History of the Mosque of Al Hakim
The construction work of the Mosque of Al Hakim in Cairo began in 989 AD when, El Aziz Be Allah, the fifth Fatimid ruler, ordered to construct a large mosque outside the walls of Cairo at the time. This was because the surface area of the Mosque of Al Azhar was not enough to accommodate the large number of worshipers especially during the Friday Prayers.
Unfortunately, El Aziz Be Allah passed away in 996 and he never witnessed the establishment of his mosque. His son, El Hakim Be Amr Allah, the sixth Fatimid ruler, completed the construction of the mosque and named it after him.
The Description of the Mosque of Al Hakim
The Mosque of Al Hakim has a surface area of around 16200 meters and it consists, the same as many other mosques in Egypt, like the Mosque of Amr Ibn El Ass, the Mosque of Sultan Hassan, and the Mosque of Al Azhar, of four Riwaq, or sections with an open courtyard in the middle of them.
The Sahn or open courtyard of the Mosque of Al Hakim is the largest one in Egypt with a surface area of more than 5400 meters, which is all coated in marvelous white marble with a distinctive fountain, situated in its Eastern section.
The largest Riwaq or section of the mosque is the Northern one that hosts two Mihrabs, the niche which directs the prayers towards Mecca. The larger Mihrab goes back to the ruling period of the Fatimids, around 1000 years ago, while the other one, the smaller date to the 1980s.
The most significant feature of the Mosque of Al Hakim Be Amr Allah is the minarets of the mosque as they are the most ancient surviving minarets in Egypt. They are located at the two corners of the façade of the mosques. The two minarets have this unparalleled trapezoidal-shaped base that were added to the mosque shortly after its construction.
The two minarets were badly damaged after the earthquake that hit Egypt in the beginning of the 14th century and Baybars El Gashankir rebuilt them again perhaps in 1306 only a few years after their damage.