Wasit Mosque

 Year AH

Year AD




Original Qibla

Rebuilt facing Mecca


 Wasit Iraq Hajjaj Mosque Between Never

GPS Coordinates: 32°11'20.80"N 46°16'54.20"E

Wasit is an Islamic city south east of Kut Iraq, built in the last quarter of the first Hijra century (the 7th century CE) by Al-Hajaj bin Yousif Al-Thaqafi, as an administrative centre for Iraq. The city was built in 702 CE on the west bank of the Tigris across from the historical city of Kashkar. Al-Hajjaj is said to have taken the doors for the citadel and the main mosque from Zanzaward. As an ancient city its circumference was an amazing 16 km. It was abandoned in the tenth century after the change in the river (Tigris) bed. Its remains stood sound and safe due to its distance away from constructive and agricultural influence. However in recent years this has changed and fars are encroching all ovr the ruins. Most of its buildings were made of bricks. Investigations took place there between 1936-1945 by F. Safar, (excavation 1939-1945) as well as some small renovations and restorations in recent years. Its large mosque and a building known as the minaret was cleared out, including a tomb and a school that date back to the seventh century. Preservations took place on some parts of the minaret due to walls been worn out, but no real maintenanance was carried out.

Below left is a drawing made by Creswell. On the right is a drawing made by the Safar expedition. There are several things to note from this drawing. First, as Creswells drawing shows, there are two mosques at this spot. The earliest mosque was built by al-Hajjaj. The later mosque was above it, built later. Second there is a descrpency between the angles of the two mosques. While they look close, the angels of the two drawings do not match exatly. This is why modern measurments, made with more exact instruments is important.

This small discrpency has caused the Wasit Mosque to be in the center of much discussion and disagreement. Originally, Creswell and Fehervari claimed that Hejjaj's mosque pointed to Jerusalem. (Creswell, 1969 pg 137 & 1989, pg 40; Fehervari, 1961, pg 89; Crone-Cook 1977, pgs 23 & 173) However, more recent research has shown that this mosque does not point to Mecca or Jerusalem, but somewhere in northern Saudi Arabia. In their internet article Islamic Awareness, The Qibla of Early Mosques, Jerusalem or Makkah? M S M Saifullah, Muhammad Ghoniem, ’Abd al Rahman, Robert Squires and Man'ur Ahmed demonstrate that the qibla of the Wasit Hajjaj mosque points to neither Jerusalem (too far north) or Mecca (too far south). They claimed that Wasit was off by 33° from the true qibla. This would mean that the direction of Hajjaj's mosque was 122° west of North. Illustrated below.

 There is an interesting article at: http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Dome_Of_The_Rock/qibla.html
It is hard to find Wasit on Google Earth as it appears that section of satellite maps is faded out.
Approximately 32°11'20.80"N 46°16'54.20"E

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