The Mosque of Sultan Hasan was begun in 1356. It is still used by the people who live or work nearby. They gather here for the midday prayers on Friday, which are the most important of the week. The muezzin summons worshippers with this call to prayer, often made from a high minaret. When they hear the call to prayer, worshippers make their way to the mosque. They remove their shoes at the entrance and enter the mosque barefoot. Men and women go to different parts of the building. The worshippers need to wash before praying. They wash in a particular sequence. By the end, they have cleaned their head, hands, lower arms, feet and lower legs.
After washing, the worshippers take their places on prayer mats. The mats have been placed in neat rows facing the mihrab niche, which shows the direction of Mecca. This is the direction of prayer. To the right of the mihrab is the marble pulpit or minbar. During the Friday midday prayers, sermons are delivered from here by a man of religious learning. After the sermon, the worshippers perform the prayers, making a set series of movements. This includes several full prostrations. They kneel and bow forward to touch their foreheads on the prayer mats.
After the prayers, there is time to socialise outside the mosque, relaxing and greeting old friends. After 650 years, the Mosque of Sultan Hasan is still part of everyday life.
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