The mosque serves as a place where Muslims can come together for salat ( The word entered English from a French word that probably derived from Italian moschea, a variant of Italian moscheta, from either Middle Armenian մզկիթ (mzkit‘) or Medieval Greek μασγίδιον (masgídion) or Spanish mezquita, from the Arabic Since as early as 638 AD, the Masjid al-Haram has been expanded on several occasions to accommodate the increasing number of Muslims who either live in the area or make the annual pilgrimage known as hajj to the city.The Islamic Prophet Muhammad went on to establish another mosque in Medina, which is now known as the Masjid an-Nabawi, or the Prophet's Mosque.Built on the site of his home, Muhammad participated in the construction of the mosque himself and helped pioneer the concept of the mosque as the focal point of the Islamic city.
The Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala is reportedly one of the oldest mosques in Iraq, although its present form – typical of Persian architecture – only goes back to the 11th century.
The Mosque of Amr ibn al-As was reportedly the first mosque in Egypt, serving as a religious and social center for Fustat (present-day Cairo) during its prime.
Like the Imam Husayn Shrine, though, nothing of its original structure remains.
The Great Mosque of Kairouan in present-day Tunisia was reportedly the first mosque built in northwest Africa, with its present form (dating from the 9th century) serving as a model for other Islamic places of worship in the Maghreb.
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There are stringent restrictions on the uses of the area formally demarcated as the mosque (which is often a small portion of the larger complex), and, in the Islamic Sharia law, after an area is formally designated as a mosque, it remains so until the Last Day.Many mosques have elaborate domes, minarets, and prayer halls, in varying styles of architecture.Mosques originated on the Arabian Peninsula, but are now found in all inhabited continents.It was the first to incorporate a square minaret (as opposed to the more common circular minaret) and includes naves akin to a basilica.The first mosque in East Asia was reportedly established in the 8th century in Xi'an.However, the Great Mosque of Xi'an, whose current building dates from the 18th century, does not replicate the features often associated with mosques elsewhere.