Dome of Sheikh Muhammad al-Khalili
The building is located on the northwest side of the Dome of the Rock in the Haram al-Sharif, Jerusalem
Hegira 1112 / AD 1701
Muhammad Pasha, governor of Jerusalem, sponsored the building. The zawiya was rebuilt in AH 1112 / AD 1701 after the mausoleum including its dome (qubba), which bore the name “al-Hadi al-Amin”, an allusion to the Prophet Muhammad, was destroyed. This site is also connected to Sheikh Muhammad al-Khalili – indeed another name for the building is Qubbat al-Sheikh Muhammad al-Khalili – who was a scholar and ‘ulama, and a Sufi of Jerusalem in the AH 12th / AD 18th century.
The zawiya is composed of two sections: a rectangular barrel-vaulted hall built underground (a basement) in which there is a vault built of natural rock of an uneven shape. The second section is a room that is rectangular in design, and which is built at ground level of the Dome of the Rock. This room is covered by a large shallow dome that is supported by four tapered arches. The room measures 8.10 m x 6.90 m, and the walls are around 90 cm thick. It is paved with large well dressed stones, each of which is around 44 cm x 1.44 cm. The zawiya is detached and has four facades. The interior walls are built of white stones of various sizes, some of which are about 30 cm x 20 cm.
The eastern, principle façade overlooks the Dome of the Rock. It is 9.90 m long and 4 m high, and accommodates an entrance portal of 94 cm wide and 1.83 cm high. The portal leads into the interior of the zawiya. The entrance is topped by a stone lintel that is located at the height of a single stone course. A panel inscription appears above the lintel, stating the date the zawiya was restored. At the height of four stone courses from the apex of this panel, the stone course belonging to the eastern façade ends, as do the other three facades. The shallow dome of the building is located directly on top of the building, without a drum. The entire dome and the surface are covered with small stone tiles, and the dome is crowned by a small stone crescent.
The zawiya is distinctive for its simplicity and lack of ornamentation. It is typical of the architecture of AH 12th- / AD 18th-century Jerusalem.
The zawiya is located several metres northwest of the Dome of the Rock. It is composed of a rectangular vaulted room built underground and a rectangular room built at the ground level of the Dome of the Rock. It is topped by a large shallow dome that is supported by four pointed arches and surmounted by a stone crescent. The architecture of this zawiya is distinguished by its simplicity and lack of decoration. It is an expression of the prevailing architectural style that dominated Jerusalem in the AH 12th / AD 18th century. It was probably built as a place of seclusion for men in governance.
The building is dated by the foundation inscription found above the entrance portal. The inscription, written in the poetic idiom, is composed of five lines, the last of which reads: “We said, enter in peace and protection”. According to the inscription, which uses the Muslim dating system where Arabic letters are used instead of the numbers (hisab al-Jummal), the text dates to 1112 / 1701.
Al-Hussaini, I., and Abu al-Lail, A., Wathiqa Maqadasiyya Tarikhiyya [Historical Document from Jerusalem], Jerusalem, 1983.
Natsheh, Y., “Al-Zawiyya al-Muhammadiyya Masjid al-Nabi”, in S, Auld and R. Hillenbrand (eds), Ottoman Jerusalem: The Living City 1517–1917 (Part II), London, 2000.
Yusuf al-Natsheh "Zawiya al-Muhammadiyya" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. 2018. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=monuments;ISL;pa;Mon01;11;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 11
Islamic Dynasties / Period
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