After 21 days of working around the clock, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi inaugurated yesterday (Wednesday) the Imam Hussein Mosque in central Cairo, after completing its restoration and development at a cost of 150 million pounds (one US dollar equals 18.5 Egyptian pounds), to restore the mosque It is located in the center of Cairo, its briga as one of the religious and tourist attractions in Egypt.
The Egyptian president, accompanied by Sultan Mufaddal Seif al-Din, Sultan of the Bohra sect in India, inspected the comprehensive renovation work of the mosque, including the new mausoleum of the honorable shrine of Imam Hussein. Ambassador Bassam Rady, spokesperson for the Egyptian Presidency, said in a press statement, “The development of the mosque of our master al-Hussein comes within the framework of the president’s directives to restore and renovate the shrines and shrines of the family of al-Bayt, especially the shrines of our master al-Hussein, Mrs. Nafisa, and Mrs. Zainab, in an integrated manner that includes the internal halls. In mosques and their architectural decorations, and in a manner consistent with the historical and spiritual nature of shrines and shrines, along with the comprehensive development of services and facilities surrounding the sites of shrines, including roads, squares and entrances leading to them, to integrate with the state’s efforts to develop archaeological sites in Fatimid Cairo and historical.”
The development work of Al-Hussein Mosque began in mid-March, when the mosque was closed, to start the restoration project under a cooperation protocol signed last December, with the Ministry of Endowments, the Ashraf Syndicate, the Sufi sheikhdom, and the Mawaddah Foundation for the development and beautification of a mosque. Al-Hussein, stipulates that the “Masjid” Foundation will contribute 150 million pounds to the development process.
The Egyptian President began his visit to the mosque yesterday, by performing two rak’ahs of salutations at the mosque, and then inspected and the accompanying delegation, the shrine of Imam Hussein, where he recited Al-Fatihah, before visiting the room of the Prophet’s holdings, which includes locks of the Prophet’s hair, the eyeliner of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, his sword and his stick, in addition to To a Qur’an written by Imam Ali bin Abi Talib in Kufic script on deer skin, consisting of 501 pages, weighing 4.5 kilograms, and it is an uncut and unformed Qur’an.
The President listened to an explanation from the person responsible for the restoration of the mosque, in which it was emphasized that “the development work took place in record time, as it took 21 days, and 300 restorers were involved, working around the clock. Archaeological columns, painting ceilings with a total area of 4,000 square meters, changing the electricity network and raising its efficiency, providing the mosque with central air conditioning, implementing thermal insulation works for roofs, changing lighting and sound systems, expanding the ladies’ chapel to accommodate 450 women instead of 85 women, and adding an external space to the mosque It can accommodate about 3,000 worshippers, with the construction of a wall with 6 individual gates, 4 car gates, and a qiblah for the outer square and a platform for Eid prayers or occasions.
President Sisi stressed that “the antiquity was not affected during the development work,” and stressed that “all the works were carried out in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities,” which was confirmed by the supervisor of the development work in the mosque by saying, “We did not carry out any work except in coordination with the antiquities, even the dome.” Which sparked controversy, as it already had an old air conditioning, raised its efficiency, and restored the wood in the mausoleum.”
The project to develop and restore the Al-Hussein Mosque has sparked controversy over the past weeks, and archaeologists and heritage defenders have circulated images of the project on social media, accompanied by criticisms of putting air conditioning in the dome, or building a wall around the mosque, and fears that it “compromising the mosque’s historical identity.” To criticism of the closure of the mosque before the month of Ramadan, so that the Ministry of Endowments took a decision to open it for prayer at the beginning of the current month of Ramadan.
Concerning the history of the Al-Hussein Mosque, Dr. Abdullah Kamel, a professor of Islamic archeology, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “History indicates that the head of Imam Al-Hussein bin Ali bin Abi Talib, may God be pleased with him, was transferred from Ashkelon to Cairo on the 8th of Jumada Al-Akhira in the year 548 AH, 1153 AD, as he was carried in the basement to the Emerald Palace, and then was buried in the dome of the scene, which was built specifically for him in the year 549 AH (1154 AD). The supervision of it was entrusted to the Damascene Bahai jurist, and the current mosque, which is known as the Mosque of Our Master Al-Hussein, has replaced that school.
Kamel adds: “In 1235, Abu al-Qasim bin Yahya bin Nasser al-Sukari, known as Zarzour, began building a minaret on the gate of al-Mashhad. It was completed by his son in 1236. It is the minaret full of stucco decorations above the door known as the Green Gate, which dates back to the Fatimid era.” He pointed out that “the mosque has been renovated and taken care of throughout history. During the reign of Khedive Ismail, the current mosque was built, and it took ten years, to be completed in 1873,” noting that “the area of the mosque was increased in the fifties of the last century from 1,550 meters, to 1840 metres.
The Spokesman for the Egyptian Presidency referred to the efforts of Sultan Al-Bohra in restoring and renovating the shrines of Aal al-Bayt and a number of historical Egyptian mosques, including the shrines of Sayyida Nafisa, Sayyida Zainab, and Sayyidina Hussein, in addition to the various other charitable activities of the Bohra sect in Egypt, in addition to Supporting the Long Live Egypt Fund.
Egypt has historical relations with the Bohra sect, and over the past years, President Sisi and the Sultan of Bohra met more than once, the first of which was in August 2014, when the Sultan of Bohra donated 10 million pounds to the “Long Live Egypt” fund, and then in July (July ) 2019, where he donated another ten million dollars to the “Long Live Egypt” fund, and the matter was repeated in the following year 2018, bringing the total amount that the sect contributed to the “Long live Egypt” fund, about 30 million pounds, according to the data of the Presidency of the Republic.