Dar Demana Mosque
Rabat, Morocco
Little is known about the Dar Demana mosque in Rabat, except that this mosque may be a descendent of the better known Zaouia Dar Demana mosque in Ouazzane. The original Dar Demana mosque was constructed in the mid seventeenth century by Moulay 'Abd Allah ibn Ibrahim, Sharif of Ouazzane. The powerful Sharif, a living saint and religious leader, commissioned a large and lavish mosque in his city to serve as a refuge for the faithful poor. Accordingly, the name given to the mosque - Dar Demana - means "house of safety" in Arabic. Two generations later Moulay Tazeb, the grandson of the Sharif who constructed the mosque, sought to increase the religious authority of the house of Ouazzane by spreading a religious sect known as the brotherhood of the Toaima across the Maghreb. This expansion of influence, which took place during the mid-eighteenth century during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail, may have led to the erection of a an affiliated Dar Demana mosque in Rabat.

The speculated connection between the mosques is supported by the strong architectural similarities between their minarets, which are comparably atypical of Moroccan religious architecture. Both the Dar Demana mosque in Ouazzane and the Dar Demana in Rabat have minarets that are octagonal in plan (not generally found in Moroccan mosques) and thus stand out as unique features. The minarets also have similar structures, in which a primary octagonal shaft is extruded to approximately five-sixths of the height of the structure, which is topped by a smaller octagonal shaft with a diameter that is approximately one-third of that of the main shaft. Typical minarets of the Alawi period have a proportion in which the main shaft of the minaret is four-fifths of the height of the total structure, so the main shafts of the Dar Demana mosques are both slightly elongated. The proportions of the fenestration and floor levels of the main minaret shaft are similar between the two mosques; however, the precise location of openings and their ornamentation differ slightly. Additionally, the upper gallery of the Dar Demana in Ouazzane is surrounded by a row of stepped merlons that the minaret in Rabat lacks. Both minarets are capped by pyramidal cupolas topped by metal finials in the form of stacked spheres. The formal similarities between the minarets, especially given their idiosyncrasy in Moroccan design, suggest that their origins and patrons may have also been connected.

Sources:

Macnab, Frances. 1902. Reprint 2009. A Ride in Morocco Among Believers and Traders. Charleston: BiblioLife, 124-126.

Park, Thomas Kerlin and Aomur Boum. 2006. Historical Dictionary of Morocco. 2d ed. Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, 353.

"Alawi" The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. Ed. Jonathan M. Bloom and Sheila S. Blair. © Oxford University Press 2009. The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). http://www.oxford-islamicart.com/entry?entry=t276.e51.
[Accessed October 21, 2009]

"Historique." www.ouazzane.net. http://www.ouazzane.net/index.php?language=fr&module=laville&subctg=history. [Accessed October 21, 2009]

"Morocco, Kingdom of" The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. Ed. Jonathan M. Bloom and Sheila S. Blair. © Oxford University Press 2009. The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). http://www.oxford-islamicart.com/entry?entry=t276.e625. [Accessed October 21, 2009]

"Ouazzane." Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/435346/Ouazzane. [Accessed October 21, 2009]

"Rabat" The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. Ed. Jonathan M. Bloom and Sheila S. Blair. © Oxford University Press 2009. The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). http://www.oxford-islamicart.com/entry?entry=t276.e771.
[Accessed October 21, 2009]
Location
Rabat, Morocco
Images & Videos
Associated Names
Events
after late 17th century
Style Periods
Variant Names
Dar Demana Mosque
Building Usages
mosque
religious