229-year-old mosque shines in heart of downtown Jeddah

Updated 31 July 2013
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229-year-old mosque shines in heart of downtown Jeddah

Mosques have a special place in the hearts of Muslims, especially in the holy month of Ramadan. They spend more time in them than at any other time during the year.
Ukash Mosque is well known not only in Saudi Arabia, but also in the Muslim world. It was built in 1784. It is the second oldest mosque in Jeddah’s modern history. The oldest is the Uthman bin Affan mosque.
It is located downtown surrounded by two marketplaces.
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Shanqeeti is the 60-year-old imam of the mosque and has fulfilled the duties of this post for 35 years.
He told Arab News that the mosque was built during Ottoman rule, with the official deed issued two years after construction. It was also registered at the Turkish Ministry of Awqaf (endowments) and Muslim Affairs.
The mosque was built by Ukash Abazah, a Turkish citizen who was born and lived in Jeddah. Now the Hazazi family is in charge of running the mosque and providing all the necessary services. They are well known in Jeddah and are considered the heirs of the mosque’s estate. The mosque is officially regulated by the Saudi Ministry of Muslim Affairs and Awqaf.
In the old days, it used to be the sea gate of Jeddah because it is near the entry to the port. Visitors and official guests of the state arriving at the port would pray at the mosque.
He said that the mosque was completely renovated six years ago, using state-of-the-art designs based on Islamic architectural patterns.
It can accommodate more than 1,200 worshippers. There is a special section for women. It also has an extensive library of Muslim books.
Many members of the Saudi royal family prayed in the mosque at various times. The scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi prayed there too. The popular Qur’an reciter, the late Sheikh Abdul Basit Abdus Samad, spent many nights reciting the Qur’an publicly at the mosque.
The mosque has a special place in the hearts of many citizens of Jeddah. Muhammad Al-Jad'ani, who lives in Jeddah, says that when he prays in the mosque, he feels filled with spiritual feelings and peace, especially in the holy month of Ramadan. “I make it a point to always come here in Ramadan to do the evening prayers,” he said.