This mosque is the reputed burial place of the head of Imam Hussein (P), the grandson of Prophet Mohammed. Most of the building dates from about 1870, except for the beautiful 14th-century stucco panels on the minaret. The modern metal sculptures in front are elegant Teflon canopies that expand to cover worshippers during Friday prayers. This is one of the few mosques where non-Muslims can’t enter.
It has to be said that the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus also claims Imam Hussein’s head, a Shiite relic, even though both mosques were established by Sunnis.
In the past few years, Egyptian authorities have closed Al-Hussein Mosque for two days during religious Ashoura celebrations on Muharram for fear of tensions and it was also a precautionary measure taken by the mosque’s Imam to avoid overcrowding during prayers.
Ashoura, the 10th day of the Islamic calendar, is celebrated by Muslims around the world as it marks the Prophet Moses’ exodus from Egypt. Shia Muslims commemorate on Ashoura the martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Al-Hussein (P).
The mosque, one of the oldest and most prominent in Cairo, holds religious significance for both Shia and Sunni Egyptians. The vast majority of Egypt’s Muslims identify as Sunni, although there are no official figures on the number of Shia in the country.
The ministry of religious endowments, which administers mosque affairs, bans construction of Shia mosques and all Shia religious rituals. Meanwhile, ultraconservative Sunni Salafist groups have consistently opposed the administering of any Shia commemoration at Al-Hussein Mosque.
Here are some photos of this Mosque:
Read more from Shafaqna: