Almost all mosques have minarets, which are usually a thin spiral structure that adjoins the mosque wall. Minarets are used to call Muslims to prayer five times a day, seven days a week throughout the year. A palm tree served as the first minaret when Muhammad conducted the first Muslim prayer in the small town of Medina in the Arab Peninsula. The first mosque didn't have a minaret at all. So why build a fifth minaret at al-Aksa? When adding a fifth minaret was suggested, Dr. Raed Najm had mentioned that after the completion of this minaret, all five pillars of Islam - fasting, prayer, alms-giving, haj and the reciting of the shahada, the quintessence of the monotheist Muslim faith - will be represented. Dr. Yitzhak Reiter, of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, says that although it is customary in the Muslim world to build more then one minaret, is has no basis in Islamic faith. "It is widely accepted that for beauty, embellishment and importance additional minarets are erected at mosques. But in fact there is no need for more then one minaret for the mosque so that the call for prayer will be heard well by all the believers in the area. The association with the five pillars of Islam is merely symbolic," he says. There are many cases in Islamic history where mosques and cities have competed with each other over which will boast the largest number of minarets. For example, the beautiful Sultan Ahmed Mosque, built in the 17th century, has six minarets. When the number of minarets was revealed, the sultan was criticized for carrying out such a daring enterprise, since this was, at the time, the same number as at the mosque of the Ka'aba in Mecca. He overcame this problem by paying for a seventh minaret at the Mecca mosque. So although building minarets may seem to be a religious duty, building another minaret is actually more about honor, respect and pride - qualities that are usually highly rated by Arabs and Muslims.

Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin

Think others should know about this? Please share