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A view of the southeastern looking inwards towards the Dome of the Rock

Eight freestanding archways called al-Mawazin (see names below) are located at the top of the staircases leading to the platform (maṣṭaba) of the Dome of the Rock from the surrounding courtyard (ṣaḥn) below. Each archway consists of open arches supported by 2 to 4 columns, set between two pilasters.

One of the reasons mentioned for these doors is that the beauty of the Dome of the Rock should not appear right away, marking a separation between the city and the sacred place.[1]


They are called mawāzīn (موازين lit.'weighing scales', plural of mīzān, ‏ميزان‎) because of a belief that scales will hang from these arches to weigh souls on Judgment Day.[2]

They are also simply called qanaṭir (قناطر, lit.'arches', plural of ‏قنطرة‎), i.e., arcades or arched colonnades. People also call them bā’ika (بائكة) and bawā’ik (بوائك) – also meaning "arcade".[3][4]

Dates of construction[edit]

With the exception of the arcades bearing inscriptions which attest that they date back to the Mamluk period, the others probably predate the Crusades, but their dating is difficult. However, it is very likely that some Mawâzim date back to the period of the construction of the Dome of the Rock and that they were an integral part of its initial construction plan. In particular, it is thought that the four arcades facing the four entrances were built at the same time as the dome.[5]



  1. ^ guide bleu
  2. ^ DK Eyewitness Travel Guide. Penguin. 2012. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-0-7566-9550-7. a widely-accepted Muslim belief, on the day of the Last Judgment, the scales used by God to weigh the souls of humankind will be hung from these arches on the Haram.
  3. ^ رزق, عاصم محمد (2000). معجم مصطلحات العمارة والفنون الإسلامية (in Arabic). مكتبة مدبولى الصغير. ISBN 978-977-208-259-9. بائكة arcade
  4. ^ ديماند, م س (2018). الفنون الإسلامية (in Arabic). وكاله الصحافه العربيه. Arcades بوائك
  5. ^ Gonzalez-Quijano, Yves (2010-09-01). "Jérusalem, capitale " éternelle et indivisible " de la culture arabe?". Méditerranée (114): 131–133. doi:10.4000/mediterranee.4488. ISSN 0025-8296.

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