Mosque Name: Mosque of Sidi ‘Ukba

Country: Algeria

City:Biska

Year of construction (AH): 67 AH

Year of construction (AD): 686 AD

GPS: 34°44’57.81”N 5°53’50.99”E

Original Qibla: unknown

Rebuilt facing Mecca: 416 AH & 1214 AH

Description:

The original buildings date to 67 AH (686 CE).* However, the Sidi ‘Uqba mosque was built around ‘Uqba ibn Nafi’s tomb. The tomb has no qibla or mihrab in itself. There are a number of inscriptions in the mosque. For instance while the construction of the tomb is given as 67/686 according to an inscription on the tomb, there are some epitaphs dating a reconstruction to 416 AH (1025 CE).

** Another inscription on a wooden plank on a wall carries an inscription with the a date of 1215 AH (1800); similarly the mosque’s mihrab is dated to 1214 AH (1789). Since there have been two reconstructions, and one of them specifically dealing with the Qibla, we cannot use this mosque in our study. This mosque is an excellent example of an early mosque that we can no longer be absolutely certain of where the original qibla pointed.

* Ali Lafer “Sidi ‘Uqba (mosque, minaret and tomb)” in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2016 http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=monument;isl;dz;mon01;15;en

** According to Captain H. Simon in his “Notes sur le mausolée de Sidi Okba” (Revue Africaine, 1909, pl. III), these dates refer to expansions.

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