A minaret is a tower near or constructed into a mosque that is used by the muezzin to cry out the adhan, which indicates that it is time to worship in Islam. The word comes from the Arabic meaning "to call to prayer."
Minarets were originally developed by Muslims as an alternative method of calling people to prayer than using a human voice. When mosques became popular around Europe, they needed some way for the muezzin to reach more people so towers with loud bells were added to them. These bells could be heard for miles around and helped the muezzin attract people to pray.
In modern times, mobile phones have taken over this role. But although they can be heard much farther than a minaret, they aren't seen as acceptable by many Muslims because they are considered un-Islamic electronic devices. So instead of using a phone, many Muslim callers use a car horn as it has the same effect but is seen as more respectful.
Some mosques may have more than one minaret. This is common in cities where there are many mosques but not enough space for them all to have their own bell towers. These additional minarets are often made from wood and use metal sheets to produce sound when you push on the top of the structure.
Minarets are towers that are frequently constructed as part of a mosque. They are typically used to summon Muslims to prayer. A guy known as a "muezzin" shouts the call to prayer from the minaret five times a day. The sound of the muezzin's voice can be heard for miles around.
Why do people build minarets? Minarets are built to reach high into the sky so that Muslim priests can shout out the call to prayer over large distances. This way, everyone will know when it is time for prayer and will go inside their mosques to pray.
Who builds minarets? Minarets are built by religious leaders or holy men called imams. Sometimes groups of people will work together to build a minaret - especially if they have money saved up. However, most people who build minarets cannot do so financially.
Where do minarets come from? Minarets are based on the shape of the Holy Prophet's (PBUH) house in Mecca. According to some historians, the first minaret was built about 781 AD by Umayyad ruler Sulayman al-Ashraf. It was made out of wood and placed at the top of the palace wall. The word "minaret" comes from an Arabic word meaning "a tower or spire."
The beacon in Islamic religious architecture is the tower from which the devout are summoned to prayer five times a day by a muezzin, or crier. The call to prayer (adhan) was issued from the highest roof in the area of the mosque during the Prophet Muhammad's time. It is still used today by some Muslims around the world.
Inside a minaret you will usually find a spiral staircase that leads up to a platform where the muezzin stands when calling people for prayer. The word "minaret" comes from Persian meaning "a small tower."
There are different types of minarets, but they all have four parts: the base, the shaft, the tip, and the finial. The base can be flat or angled; it provides support for the other three parts. The shaft is the main body of the minaret that holds the crier up high. The tip at the top of the shaft is the place where the muezzin stands when calling people for prayer. The finial at the top is a little dome with an opening for the sound of the muezzin's voice to travel down. Sometimes there is a second-level minaret called a palazzo where the muezzin calls people to prayer from this elevated position.
A tower of this type is always linked to a mosque and contains one or more balconies or open galleries. Today it is used as a reminder of the holy days and of the importance of praying for salvation.
The minaret is an Arabic word meaning "tower" or "steepled roof." It is also used as a generic term for any tall structure built into the side of a hill or cliff as a lookout post or as a bell tower. The kasbah in Morocco and the citadel in Malta are examples of medieval Muslim cities that include many such towers.
Towers have been important features of urban life for thousands of years. As far back as 3000 B.C., ancient Egyptians erected wooden structures with climbing plants for watching out for thieves. These were then replaced by stone towers when the Egyptians began building their great cities such as Cairo and Alexandria. By A.D. 1000 these early towers had been replaced by larger and better-built versions that served as watchtowers, signal posts, or simply as places where people could gather and talk.
In Europe, towers played an important role in defense until well into the 19th century. They are still found in small villages throughout the continent.
Minarets serve several functions. While they serve as a visual focal point, they are most commonly associated with the Muslim call to prayer (adhan). A minaret's fundamental structure consists of a base, a shaft, a cap, and a head. They are typically towering spires with conical or onion-shaped crowns. The term comes from French meaning "to remind," and these structures were once used as landmarks by migrating farmers.
There are two main types of minarets: free-standing and built into a wall. Free-standing minarets usually stand by themselves near the roofline of a mosque building. They are often the highest structure within walking distance from the mosque site. Built-in minarets are those that are attached to a wall with their own foundation; they cannot be moved after they have been built into place. These minarets usually do not reach more than five or six feet above the floor of the mosque where they are permanently located.
Free-standing minarets were originally designed for mosques that did not have enough room inside the building to house a tall tower. Thus, they could be built outside the walls with only their tip reaching inside. Later on, when builders became aware of the economic benefits of using local materials instead of importing foreign ones, they began to incorporate some of these materials into the design of the minaret.