Name of Monument:

Mosque of Nabi Yunus (Prophet Jonah)

Location:

The building is located in the middle of the old city of Halhul, 5 km north of Hebron (al-Khalil), Halhul, Palestinian Territories

Date of Monument:

Hegira 623 / AD 1226

Period / Dynasty:

Ayyubid

Patron(s):

The building was sponsored by al-Malik Mu’addam ‘Isa bin al-Malik al-‘Adil al-Ayyubi (r. AH 615–24 / AD 1218–27). The building was renovated subsequently by a number of Mamluk sultans.

Description:

The building is composed of a mosque and a maqam (tomb). The mosque is a new construction undertaken amidst the rubble of the original Ayyubid mosque. Composed of two stories, the first level includes the remains of the Ayyubid mosque, while the burial area is at the basement (crypt) level of the maqam. The maqam of the Prophet Jonah is accessed from inside the mosque via the ground-floor entrance, thus the visitor can see what remains of the old mosque by passing through the centre of it in the direction of the qibla (south).
The old maqam consists of a building with a square ground plan that is surrounded on the south, east and west by porticoes. Each portico is supported by three large piers which bear skilfully built cross vaults. Beneath the porticoes, are windows that overlook the commemorative tomb chamber, this is square in form and topped by a barrel vault. The tomb is covered by a green cloth, as is customary for Islamic shrines. Above the west window of the tomb chamber there is a woven-silk panel (kiswa) upon which is the name of the deceased. The panel, which resembles those found in the Haram al-Ibrahimi in Hebron, is in the late Ottoman style and may date to the period of Sultan Abd al-Hamid. The tomb itself is a wooden structure with the burial chamber beneath it in an underground room below the mosque. The tomb is inaccessible and cannot be visited. It does not face the qibla as is customary in Islam but deviates towards the southwest. This is perhaps because the maqam dates to the Pre-Islamic era, along with a series of other old tombs that have been discovered during expansion works of the mosque. The residents of this area associate the maqam with miracles and it forms a centre for religious heritage and the folklore of the region.

View Short Description

The building consists of a modern mosque and a maqam (tomb sanctuary) and is located in the city of Halhul, north of Hebron. The maqam was built as part of a series of maqamat whose dissemination was encouraged by Ayyubid sultans and amirs in Palestinian regions. The maqam is square in shape and built on top of a cave. Three of its sides are surrounded by delicate porticoes enabling visitors to view the tomb in its chamber from windows distributed in its walls. The tomb has a wooden frame shrouded in a green kiswa (cloth) resembling those which cover holy tombs.

How Monument was dated:

The date for the maqam is supported by historical information.

Selected bibliography:

Al-Hanbali, Mujir al-Din, (d. 927 / 1520), Al-Uns al-Jalil fi Tarikh al-Quds wa al-Khalil [The Significant Ambiance in the History of Jerusalem and Hebron], Amman, 1973.
Pilgrimage, Sciences and Sufism: Islamic Art in the West Bank and Gaza, pp.194–5.

Citation of this web page:

Yusuf al-Natsheh "Mosque of Nabi Yunus (Prophet Jonah)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. 2019. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;pa;Mon01;12;en

Prepared by: Yusuf Al-NatshehYusuf al-Natsheh

Yusuf Said Natsheh is a Palestinian and since 1997 he has been Director of the Department of Islamic Archaeology in al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem. He is a lecturer at al-Quds University. He was educated in Jerusalem and Cairo and in 1997 obtained his Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Dr Natsheh is a council member of many Palestinian societies for architectural heritage and a consultant for various projects on Jerusalem. He has written books and more than 40 articles about Jerusalem's architectural heritage including the architectural survey of Ottoman architecture in R. Hillenbrand and S. Auld (eds) Ottoman Jerusalem: The Living City 1517–1917 (London: Altajir World of Islam Trust, 2000). He has contributed to many international and national conferences. He supervised the restoration project, sponsored by the Arab League, on Mamluk monuments in and around al-Haram al-Sharif, and was Palestinian expert for the UNESCO mission to Jerusalem in 2004.

Copyedited by: Majd Musa
Translation by: Amal Sachedina (from the Arabic).
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: PA 12

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Islamic Dynasties / Period

Ayyubids


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