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Suleiman Mihrab

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Suleiman Mihrab
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Photo Comments

View looking south at the prayer niche (mihrab) that is dedicated to Suleiman (Solomon).  It is located to the east of the staircase (partially visible on the right) that leads down into the cavern.  The Mihrab the faithful as they pray in the direction of Mecca.

On it, a trefoil arch is supported by miniature marble twisted-rope columns (Wikipedia).  It may be the oldest mihrab in the world — dating to the 9th or maybe even the 7th century—from when the Dome was originally constructed.  Note also, the patterns on the carpet that mark off where the faithful pray.

The cave chamber itself is about 20 feet square, and the height of the ceiling varies between 5 to 8 feet.  There is a shaft about 1.5 ft. in diameter that penetrates the 5 ft. 7 in. thickness of the rock above.  The prayer "niches" in the chamber are dedicated to Dawud (David), Suleiman (Solomon), Ibrahim (Abraham), and Khidr-Elijah.

For additional information on the cave, see conveniently — Well of Souls. (2023, November 8). In Wikipedia.

The stone has many events associated with it in Jewish, Muslim, and Christian traditions:  The binding of Isaac, the place of the Holy of Holies in the Solomonic and Herodian Temples; maybe a Roman Temple, the place from which Mohamed made his night journey to the "Distant Place," a Church Altar, etc.

The Dome of the Rock was completed about A.D. 691 by the Moslem Umayyad Dynasty that was headquartered in Damascus.  The Dome structure was intended to portray the glories of Islam and to divert pilgrim traffic to Jerusalem - from Mecca and Medina.

The photo is courtesy of David Padfield (www.Padfield.com).  The commentary is that of Carl Rasmussen.