Islamic Museum, Jerusalem

Coordinates: 31°46′33.87″N 35°14′05.32″E / 31.7760750°N 35.2348111°E / 31.7760750; 35.2348111
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Islamic Museum
متحف الآثار الإسلامية
Coordinates31°46′33.87″N 35°14′05.32″E / 31.7760750°N 35.2348111°E / 31.7760750; 35.2348111
The museum courtyard, with capitals. Al-Aqsa Mosque is in the back.

The Islamic Museum (Arabic: متحف الآثار الإسلامية; Hebrew: מוזיאון האסלאם) is a museum at Al Aqsa in the Old City section of Jerusalem. On display are exhibits from ten periods of Islamic history encompassing several Muslim regions. The museum is west of al-Aqsa Mosque, across a courtyard.


The building was originally constructed by the Knights Templar[citation needed], who used it as an annex to their headquarters established at the former Al-Aqsa Mosque. Following the Muslim reconquest of Jerusalem, the mosque was restored in 1194 CE.[1]

The annex building served an assembly hall for the Fakhr al-Din Mohammad School (al-Fakhriya), a madrasa built by al-Mansur Qalawun in 1282 CE, during the Mamluk era.[2] Most of the other buildings of the al-Fakhriya madrasa complex – considered part of the al-Aqsa Mosque – were demolished by the Israeli Army in 1969.[3]

The building also housed the Mosque of the Maghrebis (Jāmiʿ al-Maghāribah, جامع المغاربة),[4][5] also known as the "Mosque of the Malikis",[6] as most Maghrebi scholars follow the Maliki school of jurisprudence. The Maghrebi mosque bordered the now-vanished Maghrebi Quarter, a neighborhood that was completely razed by the Israelis in 1967.[7]

The museum was established by the Supreme Muslim Council in 1923. Shadia Yousef Touqan was the head planner of the site.[2] By 1927, the Mosque of the Maghrebis was converted into the Islamic Museum.[8]

Khader Salameh was a notable head curator of the museum.[9]


The Islamic Museum displays large copper soup kettles used in the Haseki Sultan Imaret, a soup kitchen, built through a donation by Hürrem Sultan, the wife of Suleiman the Magnificent, dating back to the 16th century, as well as stained glass windows, wooden panels, ceramic tiles and iron doors from the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. Also on display are a cannon used to announce the breaking of Ramadan, a large collection of weapons, a large wax tree trunk, the charred remains of the Minbar of Saladin (built by Nur ad-Din Zangi in the 1170s and destroyed by an Australian tourist in 1969), and the blood-stained clothing of 17 Palestinians killed in the rioting on the Temple Mount in 1990.[9]

Qur'an manuscripts[edit]

The museum has 600 copies of the Qur'an donated to the al-Aqsa Mosque during the Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, Ayyubid, Mamluk, Ottoman eras by caliphs, sultans, emirs, ulama and private individuals. Each differ in size, calligraphy and ornamentation. One is a hand-written Qur'an whose transcription is attributed to the great-great-grandson of Muhammad. Another is written in Kufic script, dating back to the 8th-9th century. A 30-part Moroccan rabʿah (multi-volume manuscript) was bequeathed in 1344 by Sultan Abu al-Hasan al-Marini of Morocco; it is the only manuscript remaining from three collections that the sultan dispatched to the mosques of the three holy cities in IslamMecca, Medina and Jerusalem.[10] In addition, there is a very large Qur'an, measuring 100 by 90 centimetres (3.3 ft × 3.0 ft), dating back to the 14th century.[9]


It is in the same southwestern corner of the compound as the al-Fakhariyya Minaret. To the north of the museum, there is Moors' Gate (Maghrebi Gate / Morocco Gate). The southern part of the museum is right next to the al-Aqsa Library.[citation needed]

The small courtyard east of the museum has the Dome of Yusuf Agha and many column capitals.[11][12] Farther east, on the other side of the courtyard, is al-Aqsa Mosque's western side.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Islamic Museum - Discover Islamic Art - Virtual Museum".
  2. ^ a b Al-Aqsa Library and Islamic Museum Archived 2011-08-05 at the Wayback Machine Archenet Digital Library.
  3. ^ "Zawiyat Madrasat al-Qadi Fakhr al-Din Abu ʿAbdallah (al-Fakhriya)". Institute for International Urban Development (I2UD).
  4. ^ Grabar, Oleg (2009). Where Heaven and Earth Meet. University of Texas Press. p. 236. ISBN 978-0-292-72272-9. An Islamic Museum was established at the Maghribi Mosque on the southwest side of the Haram.
  5. ^ Maps that show the former mosque:
    • 1865: “Mosque of the Maghâribe (Western Africans)” [sic: North Africans; the Maghreb is the west of the Arab world, but it is in north Africa]
    • 1886: “Jâmi' al Maghâribah”
    • 1888: mosquée des Mogrebins (dated French for ‘Mosque of the Maghrebis’)
    • 1890: “Jâmi' al Maghâribah, or Mosque of the Moghrebins”
    • 1899: “Mosque of the Moghrebins”
    • 1936: (#36) “Mosque, El Maghariba (Islamic Museum)”
  6. ^ Burgoyne, Michael Hamilton; et al. (1987). Mamluk Jerusalem: An Architectural Study. British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem by World of Islam Festival Trust. p. 620. ISBN 978-0-905035-33-8. Mosque of the Malikis (Jami' al - Maghariba)
  7. ^ Lee, Roger; Smith, David (2011). Geographies and Moralities. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-4443-5550-5. Indeed one Palestinian neighbourhood, the Mughrabi quarter, inside the Old City was completely demolished.
  8. ^ Peters, F.E. (2017). Jerusalem. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1-4008-8616-6. It was known until 1927 as the Mosque of the Maghrebis, and has since been converted into a [Islamic] museum
  9. ^ a b c The Islamic Museum Archived 2008-05-12 at the Wayback Machine Jerusalemites
  10. ^ Salameh, Khader; Schick, Robert (1998). "The Qur'an Manuscripts of the Islamic Museum" (PDF). The Bulletin of Middle East Medievalists. 10 (10): 1. The Museum collection includes both single-volume (maṣḥaf) and multi-volume (rabʿah) Qur'an manuscripts.
  11. ^ "Column capital". Museum with No Frontiers.
  12. ^ "Photos of the capitals". Madain Project.

External links[edit]