Hailed as a great gift, the most southerly mosque in Europe, Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque, was in fact a gift to Gibraltar and its people, from the late King Fahd Al-Saud. Gibraltar was of course vastly influenced by the Moors, who at one time held control of the Rock, and their contributions to the city cannot be undermined.
Many of the greatest attractions of Gibraltar or those sites which serve to bring in the greatest numbers of persons to view them are Muslim, or Moor in origin, and include in their numbers castles, mosques or other buildings. In many cases, these buildings have been razed through warfare, or destroyed to pave the way for other buildings. Such is the case with the mosque that stood once where now stands the Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned.
The Moors at that time ruled over Gibraltar, and when the forces of the Christians were driven out of the town, the Spanish rulers, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella made a decree that Gibraltar must have every single thing stripped away from it that might remind it of its past connections with the Muslims.
Such was the history of Gibraltar’s past, and the mosques, churches and libraries were in fact the casualty of such harsh decrees, yet so too were the people who lost much as those things were taken from them.
Gibraltar could not however be so easily swayed from remembering its past, and although many items of the Moors were destroyed during the Great Siege, several of the structures that were inspired by the Moors still remain, and are visited enthusiastically by travelers to Gibraltar.
One example of this is the remaining Moorish castle, or more correctly, the remnants of the Moorish castle, which are several buildings, multiple towers, gates and walls whose origins are lost to us, but which were said to have been built by the conqueror Tarik Ibn Ziyad probably at some time during the eighth century.
Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque sits atop a flat ground on Europa Point, and to the side of it a large underwater cistern that purportedly dates back to the Muslim Moors reign over Gibraltar is ensconced.
Oddly enough, the area of the cistern has come to be called the Nun’s well. Although there are few reasons why this should be so, one local explanation is that the early nuns who were walking from the Shrine of Our Lady of Europa used the cistern.
One map, unearthed has actually verified this legend of sorts, by naming the cistern as an underground water tank that was a “bathing place for ye Nuns ot Nostra Senora D: Europa”.
The water for the cistern enters the tanks through the limestone rocks from a geo fault in the cliffs nearby.
The new mosque which is situated at Europa Point actually has several names, among them, Mosque of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz al-Saud Mosque, and its more correct name, Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim mosque.
Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque, among the most often visited places in Gibraltar is, as previously mentioned, a gift from the late king of Saudia Arabia.
The mosque took about two years in the building and is in fact a complex of sorts rather than a simple building.
It holds within it a lecture hall, a small school house, a library and other rooms that are used for a variety of things, and it is said that a sum of about five million pounds was required to build the complex for the people of Gibraltar.
The Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque was inaugurated on the 8th of July of 1997, and is used regularly by Muslims of Gibraltar for offering prayer. About seven percent of the Gibraltar residents are Muslims.
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