Guangzhou Mosque

 Year AH

Year AD

 City

Country

Name

Original Qibla

Rebuilt facing Mecca

 6

 627
 Guangzhou China Huaisheng Mosque Petra Never

GPS Coordinates: 23° 7'33.65"N 113°15'13.21"E

The Great Mosque of Guangzhou, known also as Huaisheng Mosque (Memorial of the Holy Prophet) or the Guangta Mosque (Light Tower Mosque) is thought to be the earliest surviving mosque in China, and has the earliest freestanding minaret in China. Manuscripts from 1206 claim that the mosque was originally built by an uncle of the Prophet, Abu Waqqas, on the first Muslim mission to China in the 630’s, during Muhammad’s lifetime.* The mosque was then rebuilt in 1350 during the Yuan dynasty under the rule of Zhizheng (1341-1368), and rebuilt again in 1695 under Emperor Kangzi of the Qing dynasty after it was destroyed in a fire. The Huaisheng Light Tower, the mosque’s unique namesake minaret, was built at an earlier period. Like its contemporaries at Quanzhou, Hangzhou and Yangzhou, the Great Mosque of Guangzhou is notable for its integration of the local Han building tradition with imported Arab styles. I examined this mosque and found it very difficult to determine if the builders rebuilt on the original foundations. This mosque
faces 12 degrees north of where the qibla should be, meaning that it directly faces Petra. Because of its great distance from Arabia, local Muslims feel that it is close enough to Mecca.

 

Above and Left: Dan Gibson at the door of the mosque complex and beside the light tower that acted as a minaret.

 For more information see: http://archnet.org/sites/3970

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