Al-Shafei Mosque: An 800-year-old monument in Jeddah
Al-Shafei Mosque is a historic mosque located in Al-Mathloum neighborhood, which is one of Jeddah’s oldest neighborhoods. The mosque’s condition has deteriorated and is currently undergoing a vast renovation project to restore its lost glitter that has attracted pilgrims and worshippers for centuries, Al-Madinah daily reported.
Renovations are expected to last 11 months and are supervised by skilled experts to ensure that work is carried out appropriately. One of the project’s supervisors, Moystafah Darweesh, said workers are using small instruments to preserve the original structure of the pillars and walls.
“They are finding some difficulties in carrying out their renovation works due to previous renovations that were not done properly, as it was not renovations per se, but simple refurbishing works. Previous works on the mosque have also made it difficult to analyze the drawings, carvings and colors on the pillars and walls,” he explained.
The mosque’s walls consist of two layers filled with a special material meant to give it additional strength. All workers have been trained on-site and most are residents of the neighborhood. Darweesh, who has been involved in the renovation of Al-Ghamamah, Abu Bakr and Omar Ibn Al-Khattab mosques, said the Al-Shafei Mosque will be a model to follow in renovating historic mosques.
The head of the project, Majdi Jazouli, said workers have found a number of artifacts that were documented and then referred to concerned bodies for expert examination.
Al-Shafei Mosque is believed to have been built in the year 1250 during the era of King Sulaiman Bin Saaduddeen Shahenshah II, and was renovated in 1533 by an Indian merchant known as Al-Khawajah Mohammad Ali. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah ordered the renovation of the two oldest mosques in Jeddah — Al-Shafei and Al-Memar mosques — and a budget of SR7 million was approved for this purpose.