مسجد الحسن الثاني

( Hassan II Mosque )

The Hassan II Mosque (Arabic: مسجد الحسن الثاني, French: Grande Mosquée Hassan II) is a mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the largest functioning mosque in Africa and is the 14th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world's second tallest minaret at 210 metres (689 ft). Completed in 1993, it was designed by Michel Pinseau under the guidance of King Hassan II and built by Moroccan artisans from all over the kingdom. The minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, the light from which is directed towards Mecca. The mosque stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean; worshippers can pray over the sea but there is no glass floor looking into the sea. The walls are of hand-crafted marble and the roof is retractable. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque's outside ground.

The historical context of the mosque began with the death of King Mohammed V in 1961. King Hassan II had requested for the best of the country's artisans to come forward and submit plans for a mausoleum to honour the departed king; it should "reflect the fervor and veneration with which this illustrious man was regarded."[1] In 1980, during his birthday celebrations, Hassan II had made his ambitions very clear for creating a single landmark monument in Casablanca by stating:[2]

I wish Casablanca to be endowed with a large, fine building of which it can be proud until the end of time ... I want to build this mosque on the water, because God's throne is on the water. Therefore, the faithful who go there to pray, to praise the creator on firm soil, can contemplate God's sky and ocean.

The building was commissioned by King Hassan II to be the most ambitious structure ever built in Morocco.[3] It was designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau who had lived in Morocco, and was constructed by the civil engineering group Bouygues.[3]

Work commenced on July 12, 1986,[4] and was conducted over a seven-year period. Construction was scheduled to be completed in 1989 ready for Hassan II's 60th birthday. During the most intense period of construction, 1400 men worked during the day and another 1100 during the night. 10,000 artists and craftsmen participated in building and beautifying the mosque.[5] However, the building was not completed on schedule which delayed inauguration. The formal inauguration was subsequently chosen to be the 11th Rabi' al-Awwal of the year 1414 of the Hijra, corresponding to 30 August 1993, which also marked the eve of the anniversary of Prophet Muhammad’s birth. It was dedicated to the Sovereign of Morocco.[3]

Financing

Construction costs, estimated to be about 585 million euro, were an issue of debate in Morocco, a lower mid-income country. While Hassan wished to build a mosque which would be second in size only to the mosque at Mecca, the government lacked funds for such a grand project. Much of the financing was by public subscription.[6] Twelve million people donated to the cause, with a receipt and certificate given to every donor.[3] The smallest contribution was 5 DH. In addition to public donations and those from business establishments as well as other countries, western countries provided construction loans, which Morocco repaid.[7]

^ Elleh 2002, pp. 113–116. ^ Cite error: The named reference Hassan was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ a b c d Lehmann, Ingeborg; Henss, Rita; Szerelmy, Beate; Nosbers, Hedwig; Zakrzewski, Reinhard (2012). Baedeker Morocco. Baedeker. pp. 199–200. ISBN 9783829766234. ^ Habeeb, William Mark (2003). Morocco. Gareth Stevens. pp. 54–55. ISBN 9780836823615. Hassan II Mosque. ^ Cite error: The named reference Reference was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Dumper, Michael; Stanley, Bruce E. (2007). Cities of The Middle East and North Africa: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 117–. ISBN 978-1-57607-919-5. ^ Cite error: The named reference Hardy2005 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
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