Jami' al-Asha'ir
Zabid, Yemen
Situated in the western lowlands in the al-Hudaydah region of Yemen, Zabid is a center of Sunni Islamic teaching. Not surprisingly, the Great Mosque is the meeting place for the city's intellectual and religious community. The mosque dates to a period in the ninth century when the Ziyadi dynasty under Abbasid rule briefly governed over the Tihama plain.

Constructed in brick like most of the architecture in the Tihama, the walls of the mosque are crowned by a latticed balustrade. Its foundation is slightly lower than its surrounding area creating a sunken staircase as one enters its domed entrance. Inside, the sanctuary is organized around a central courtyard and is covered by a flat wooden-beamed roof supported by pointed arcades. The rear wall faces north in the qibla direction and includes what might be the original mihrab next to a later wooden minbar and a door that was used exclusively by the community religious leader.

Octagonal in plan, the mosque's minaret is also of brick and was built either during Ayyubid or succeeding Rasulid rule. It features a band of kufic inscription in addition to a muqarnas cone-shaped cupola, reminiscent of Iraqi and Syrian designs of the same era.

Outside of the mosque there is an ablution court for washing prior to prayer.


Wald, Peter. Yemen, translated by Sebastian Wormell, 135. London: Pallas Athene, 1996.

Williams, John A.. Early Islamic Architecture of the Yemen: the early Islamic period, 11-13. Santa Barbara: Visual Education, Inc., 1977.
Zabid, Yemen
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Associated Names
9th c./3rd c. AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Jami' al-Ash'ir
Jami' Zabid
Building Usages