One of the oldest surviving mosques of Male in Kaafu Atoll is the Male Friday Mosque, also known as the Malé Hukuru Miskiy. With every corner ornate from inside out, the mosque dates back to the year 1658. Its unique architecture and intricate carvings on the walls became the reason for why it was listed in UNESCO tentative World Heritage Cultural List 2008. The beauty of the mosque finds no description. It renders you speechless. Moreover, the peace that resides in it makes your visit to the mosque all the more special. The Malé Hukuru Miskiy is also one of the oldest mosques in the archipelago. It is proof of Islamic Art being a dominant feature of the Maldives in past centuries. Special permission from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs needs to be obtained to be able to enter the mosque.
Oriented in the westward direction, the mosque is renowned for its sea culture architecture with intricate carvings and inscriptions from the Quranic script. Its walls are enclosed with coral blocks. Having three entrances, there are two prayer halls with steps having a decorative ceiling above them. The main building for prayer is divided into 3 sections-
1. The Mihtab which is used by imams to lead the prayer
2. The Medhu Miskiy which is the central area
3. The Fahu Miskiy which is the rear of the Male Friday Mosque
The prayer carpets are faced towards northwest so that the worshippers face Mecca while offering prayers. The hall where the prayers take place is decorated with burgundy carpets having images of hot-water bottles marking the spaces for devotees to sit and worship. This vast carpet can accommodate around 1,327 people very comfortably.
The woodwork, interior, wall panels, and roofs are significant examples of Maldivian lacquer work and woodcarving. A round blue-white adjoining minaret to the mosque looks similar to a wedding cake with its base resembling the funnel of the ship. Beautifully braced with metal strips it is built of coral stones. Carved coral tombstones forming a graveyard surrounds this minaret.
Malé Hukuru Miskiy even has 4 wells in the compound which are also constructed with coral stone blocks. These are used for ablution before sitting for prayers. For the mosque been finely built, UNESCO released an appraisal stating, "The architecture, construction and accompanying artistry of the mosque and its other structures represent the creative excellence and achievement of the Maldivian people".
The grand Male Friday Mosque was built over a mosque which was created by Mohamed Bin Abdullah, the Maldives' first Muslim Sultan in 1153. In 1656, the building of the presently seen mosque began under the tutelage of Iskandar. The construction took one and a half years to complete. Finally, in 1658, the Maldives had its coral built mosque with a thatched roof which was very common during that era.
Built primarily of coral, the mosque initially had a thatched roof (common during the period). It was in the year 1904 that Muhammad Shamsuddeen III replaced the southern gateway and thatched roof with iron sheeting. The mosque underwent renovations in 1963 as well. Today, it can be said that Malé Hukuru Miskiy is the oldest surviving mosque in the Maldives.
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