June 5, 2023

The inauguration of al-Zahir Baybars Mosque, the third largest archaeological mosque in Egypt

The Ministers of Awqaf, Tourism, and Antiquities, Kazakh Senate Speaker Maulen Asimbaev and the Mufti of Kazakhstan praise the role of Arab Contractors in the development of the mosque Within the framework of the role of the Egyptian state in serving, developing the mosques, al-Zahir Baybars Mosque in Cairo was inaugurated in the presence of Grand Imam of Azahar Ahmed El Tayyeb, Awqaf Minister Dr. Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, Kazakh Senate Speaker Maulen Asimbaev, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Dr. Ahmed Isa, Egypt's Grand Mufti Shawki Allam, Sheikh Nauryzbay Kazhy Taganuly Kazakhstan's Grand Mufti and Chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims, Prof. Dr. Salama Daoud President of Al-Azhar University, Dr. Nazir Ayad the Secretary General of the Islamic Research Academy (AIRA), Dr. Mustafa Waziri Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Ambassador Khayrat Lama Sharif, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Cairo, a high-ranking delegation from the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Eng. Tarek Khedr – Board Member of the Arab Contractors Company executing the works. In his speech, the Minister of Awqaf affirmed that Al-Zahir Baybars Mosque in Cairo is the third largest archaeological mosque in Egypt after the Mosque of al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah and Ahmad Ibn Tulun Mosque, and the fourth largest mosque in Egypt after the Egyptian state built Egypt's Islamic Cultural Center in the New Administrative Capital (Misr Mosque), which is the crown of Islamic architecture in the 21st century, and of course, we remember, with pride and belonging, Al-Azhar Mosque, a mosque and a university, in history, a building and a meaning. He emphasized on the interest of the Egyptian state in building and developing mosques. In terms of development, al-Zahir Baybars Mosque in Cairo is the third archaeological mosque that developed within about one year, after the unprecedented historical development of Imam al-Hussein Mosque, the Mosque of 'Amr ibn al-'As in Misr Al Qadima, and al-Zahir Baybars Mosque, which confirms the interest of the Egyptian state in its history, its present, and its archaeological mosques, especially the mosques of Aal al-Bayt. The official inauguration of this mosque comes after 225 years of closure, during which rituals were not performed. This mosque was founded by Al-Zahir Baybars in 666 AH, and it continued to perform its mission as a mosque for about 550 years. During the French campaign in Egypt in 1798 AD, the mosque was transformed into a military fort. Events rolled over in the era of Muhammad Ali and during the British occupation of Egypt. The restoration work went from 2007 to 2008 in coordination between the Egyptian state and the Kazakh side (2007 and 2008), then stopped and resumed in 2018, until it was done at this level at an estimated cost of EGP 237 million, to which the brotherly Kazakh side contributed 4 and a half million dollars. In 2007 and 2008, the cost was estimated at about EGP 27 million at the time, and the Ministry of Awqaf contributed from its own resources, specifically with EGP 60 million and 500 thousand, while the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities contributed with EGP 150 million from its own resources and support from the Egyptian state general budget from the Ministries of Planning and Finance. The Minister of Awqaf expressed his thanks to His Eminence the Grand Imam and Kazakh Senate Speaker M?ulen ??imbaev for honoring this inauguration as an expression of the depth of the strong bonds of friendship between the two countries, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of Kazakhstan, thanking the Supreme Council of Antiquities for the follow-up and the Arab Contractors Company for the hard work and the completion of this work in record time, as well as Ambassador Khayrat Lama Sharif, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Cairo, who put this project at the top of his priorities until we accomplish it, as well as Major General Khaled Abdel Aal – Cairo Governor, who decided that the beginning of the celebration of the National Day of Cairo Governorate and the broadcasting of Friday prayers will launch from this mosque. Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Dr. Ahmed Isa confirmed that the Egyptian state pays great attention to the antiquities file, especially Islamic antiquities, thanking the Supreme Council of Antiquities for restoring al-Zahir Baybars Mosque and welcoming Kazakhs in Egypt to visit this edifice. The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities said that 6,000 Kazakhs visited Egypt last week and that about 400,000 Kazakhs are expected to visit Egypt this year, stressing that they will always be welcomed in Egypt. The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities pointed out that al-Zahir Baybars Mosque is of historical, touristic, religious, and archaeological importance, thanking everyone who contributed to the restoration of this ancient mosque. He also thanked the Ministry of Awqaf and the Arab Contractors Company for their exerted efforts and their keenness and fruitful cooperation to open this mosque, which represents the icon of Islamic civilization and the symbol of friendship between the Egyptian and Kazakh peoples. During the inauguration, the Speaker of the Kazakh Senate, the Mufti of Kazakhstan, and the Kazakh Ambassador to Cairo praised the role of the Arab Contractors Company in developing the mosque and restoring it to its origin, which is an engineering epic by all accounts. The inauguration was in the presence of Eng. Aly Abdel Samad – Head of Construction Sector and Member of the Executive Board of the Arab Contractors Company, Eng. Taha Diab – Manager of Palaces and Monuments Restoration Department, Eng. Abdel Rahman Abu Afia – Manager of the Sanitary and Finishing Works, Eng. Mohamed Atef – Area Manager, and Ashraf Abo Alam – Project Manager.