Al-Muayyad Sheikh Mosque in Old Cairo, next to Bab Zuweila on Al-Muizz Li Din Allah Al-Fatimi Street, in Al-Darb Al-Ahmar district in Cairo, occupies a prominent place among the mosques of ancient Cairo. Sultan Al-Muayyad Sheikh”, who ruled Egypt from 1415 to 1422, and was characterized by courage and love of knowledge. The mosque was famous for its combination of architectural value and its standing as a witness to important historical events, according to historians.
The archaeological historian Hassan Abdel-Wahhab narrates in the “History of Archaeological Mosques” that “the king, Al-Muayyad, Sheikh Al-Jarkasi, of origin, was born in 1368 AD, and was sold as a mamluk at the age of 12, so Khawaja Mahmoud Shah Al-Yazdi bought him the crown of the Mamluks. So he freed him and took care of him and raised him, so Al-Moayad learned horsemanship, crossbow and spear throwing, sword striking, wrestling and horse racing.
Al-Muayyad became king of Egypt in 1412 AD and was still the ruler there until 1421 AD, according to the consensus of many historians. Although some historians of his time described him as stingy and some insignificance, many of them unanimously agreed that he was preoccupied with knowledge, humiliated him against scholars, and that he used to exercise judgments himself, and people would go to their homes.
The historian Badr al-Din al-Aini gives an example in which he determines al-Mu’ayyad’s enjoyment of high morals in his book “Al-Saif al-Muhannad fi Sirat al-Malik al-Mu’ayyad” (p. 278). If their speech ends with mentioning the sermon and the condition of the preachers, then our master, the Sultan Al-Muayyed, ordered two orators, Sheikh Zain al-Din Abu Huraira bin al-Naqqash, and Sheikh Shihab al-Din bin Hajar, that if they were delivering sermons on one of the steps of the ladder, they should descend a lower step when they reached the mention of his name. Honoring the name of God Almighty, and reverence for the name of the Prophet, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, so that his name is not equal to the name of God and the name of His Messenger when mentioned in one place.
But Ibn Iyas is on the opposite side, in his book “Bada’i al-Zuhur fi Waqa’at al-Dahur” presenting a narration that we have nothing but to mention, as he indicates that the life and politics of Al-Muayyad Sheikh were not in all its aspects rosy, and that in order to obtain marble to build his mosque, he attacked people’s homes and annexed them Damages. According to Ibn Iyas, “Al-Moayad began to press down the lanes in which the homes of the direct and notable people were located because of the marble, and the crown, the governor of Cairo, attacked people in their homes with the marble workers with them, and the marble was taken out by people, willingly or unwillingly, so he ruined many floors, and took away the door of Sultan Hassan, who took it off and made it At the door of his mosque, and the large tandoor took the copper and the chandelier from it as well, and he paid 500 dinars in the door and the tandoor.” Ibn Iyas also recounts stories about Egyptians who named the Al-Mu’ayyad Mosque the Grand Mosque, refusing to steal building materials from them, and when one of them is caught repeating the phrase, he claims to praise him. And exalts him, as he likens it to the Grand Mosque.
The Al-Muayyed Sheikh Mosque was built on the site of a prison known as “Shamail’s Treasury”, where Al-Muayyed Sheikh was arrested by King Al-Nasir Faraj bin Barquq after power disputes arose between Prince Muntash and the Dhahiri Mamluks. His dream came true, he started building a mosque, and he bought the Caesarea of Prince Sanqur al-Ashqar, and lanes adjacent to the prison, and he also bought the copper gate of the Sultan Hassan Mosque and paid for it 500 dinars, and a large library in the castle, and 500 large volumes that were given to him by the secret writer Nasir al-Din al-Barzi, so that the mosque was inaugurated in the year 1417 AD, where Al-Muayyad prepared a great tablecloth, and filled the bowl with sugar, according to the “Guide to Brief Arabic Antiquities.” Its construction was supervised by the architect Badr al-Din Mohib al-Din al-Istadadar, and Prince Tartar appointed “Shad al-Amarah” and Bahaa al-Din al-Burji as a superintendent of the architecture, and he participated in the builders. Muhammad bin Al-Qazzaz, according to Fahmy Abdel-Aleem in his book “Al-Moayad Mosque”.
Building the mosque over the same cell in which Al-Muayyad Sheikh was imprisoned was not the only dramatic part in the story of building the mosque. Rather, there was another, more painful story, which was Al-Moayad killing his son, Ibrahim Al-Sarmi, after a tip from one of his commanders that the son, who took over the command of the army, approached The hearts of the people in the crisis of the plague intended to overthrow his father, so the latter poisoned him, and when he discovered that he had deceived him and that what was done was a conspiracy against him and his son, it was too late, and the son died due to the poison, so that the supporter would spend his life alarmed and sad, and the son would be buried next to him in the mosque .
Ibn Taghri Bardi describes this harsh scene in “The Brilliant Stars in the Kings of Egypt and Cairo” as “The death of Ibrahim al-Sarmi made people mourn for him, and the Sultan regretted that, and he witnessed the prayer for him, then he was buried with him in the same place one year after he was killed.
On the architectural level, the mosque has four borders: the southeastern border on Al-Mazouba Street, the main facade, the northeastern border on Al-Ashraqiya neighborhood that used to lead to Bab Al-Faraj, and the northwestern border with the bathroom, ablution and student residences, and the southwestern border overlooking Under the Quarter Street, and the corner The southern tower of the mosque overlaps with the western tower of Bab Zuweila.
The in-kind view of the mosque shows the presence of four iwans in it: three of them have been modernized according to their old styles, while the fourth retains its old details as it is, and it is a high destination whose windowsills are decorated with marble. It is surrounded by a marble frieze divided into circles, and into pistols inlaid with turquoise and red. The most prominent feature is the six-meter-high copper door, which was moved from the Sultan Hassan Mosque after its purchase, which is what the archaeological historian Adel Ghoneim describes in his website “A lover of your soil, Egypt” as Full memorial entrance.
The southeastern façade of the mosque is the main façade, and it overlooks Al-Muizz Li Din Allah Al-Qibli Street. It includes the entrance block at the eastern end, followed by the qibla façade from the south.
Al-Maqrizi describes the mosque as “the comprehensive mosque of the virtues of the statement, witnessing the splendor of its pillars and the immensity of its structure, and that its origin is the master of the kings of time, and despises the throne of Bilqis and Iwan Khosrau.” The Turkish Sultan Selim I was stunned when he visited it after entering Egypt in 1517, and said, “This is the architecture of the kings.” .
Among the serious historical events that the mosque witnessed after the Al-Muayyad era, some rebels sat in it in 1665 during the era of the Ottoman governor Omar Pasha, and the governor had to attack them and force them to surrender, so the mosque was damaged and later repaired by the governor Ahmed Pasha in 1690. The historian Hassan Abdel Wahhab believes that this incident It affected the structure of the mosque and what we got from it despite its splendor, and he says, “The mosque was quickly damaged at a time when contemporary mosques retained its details, and perhaps this is due to the attack on the mosque in 1665 and hitting it with cannons, after some tyrants known for their barricades entrenched in it, and there were many Their corruption at that time in Egypt, so Omar Pasha, the ruler of Egypt at the time, consulted the scholars, so they gave him a fatwa to meet them with what they meet him with, so he ordered the military to march on him with 12 cannons and aimed them at them until the time of the afternoon, so they surrendered and opened the doors of the mosque, so they killed them and seized their money.
1- The history of the ancient mosques in which the Friday prayer was performed by the good King Farouk the First, Hassan Abdel-Wahhab, Dar Al-Kutub Al-Masryia Press.
2- Bada’i al-Zuhur fi Waqaa’ al-Dhur, Ibn Iyas.
3- Al-Saif Al-Muhannad in the biography of Al-Malik Al-Moayad, Sheikh Al-Mahmoudi, Badr Al-Din Al-Ayni, National Books and Documents House.
4- Al-Moayad Mosque, Fahmy Abdel-Aleem, Egyptian Antiquities Authority Press.
• On the architectural level of the mosque, there are four borders: the southeastern border on Al-Mazouba Street, the main facade, the northeastern border on Al-Ashraqiya neighborhood that used to lead to Bab Al-Faraj, and the northwestern border with the bathroom, ablution and student residences, and the southwestern border overlooking Under the Quarter Street, and the southern corner The mosque is intertwined with the western tower of Bab Zuweila.
• Among the serious historical events that the mosque witnessed after the Al-Muayyad era, some rebels sat in it in 1665 during the era of the Ottoman governor Omar Pasha, and the governor was forced to attack them and force them to surrender. The mosque was damaged and later repaired by the governor Ahmed Pasha in 1690.