The Juma Mosque of Derbent: Oldest mosque in Russia

Mosques Contributor
Juma Mosque of Derbent
Juma Mosque - the most ancient mosque in Russia. Old trees Platanus orientalis in the yard. Derbent. Republic of Dagestan, Russia. © Elena Odareeva |

The Juma Mosque of Derbent has seen the history of Dagestan for more than 14 centuries. According to Islamic scholars, it is one of the primary hubs from where the peaceful aphorisms of Islam spread in Russia.

Location of the Juma Mosque of Derbent

The elegant and beautiful Mosque is situated in the Derbent city of Russia. This city has a unique melange of Islam and the former soviet union. Historically, this mosque is the oldest mosque in the face of the country. The mosque has other names, like, Derbentskaya Dzhuma Mechet.

It is located in the middle of the Old Kola area of the city. Within the mosque complex, there are also several old houses and madrasas. These were used as houses for scholars

History of the Juma Mosque

During the time of Khulafaur Rasyidin, the followers of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) successfully conquered Derbent. Then, in the year 654 AD, under the lead of Ibn Abdul Malik, they started to call this city ‘Bab Al-Abwab’. This meant one door leading to another. Actually, by conquering this city, Islam managed to outfight the entire Persian region.

After the conquest, the city of Derbent became one of the most important cities of Islam and thrived.

Finally, the great Umayyad Caliphate started to rule the city and adjacent territories. Around 115 AH,  7 mosques in total were built under their supervision. One of these mosques is the Juma Mosque. According to some scholars, the site of the mosque might be even ancient, possibly it was a pagan shrine.

In the 14th century, the mosque was devastated by a severe earthquake. But the local Muslims restored it in mid to end of 1368 and 1369. Baku Tazhuddin was the architect who renovated this mosque in 1368-1369 AD

The weakening of the Islamic power

The Islamic power in Derbent sustained for more than two centuries. Towards the end of the 9th century, it began to weaken. The city of Derbent often changed its astringents of power, until, in 1813, Russia managed to capture this city and make it the territory of its country.

The mosque faced discrimination and negligence at the hand of the Soviets. It was closed in the year 1930. The most shocking thing is, it was used as a prison from 1938 to 1943. But, after 1943, the Soviet Government gave in to the local Muslims’ demand. The mosque was returned to the Islamic clergy.

The beauty of the Juma Mosque of Derbent

From the year it was founded till now, the beauty and glory of this old architecture still prevail. Also, it is well preserved now. The building is 68 meters from the east-west and 20 meters from north-south in width. While the height of the dome is 17 meters. The madrasas are well equipped and comfortable.

In the inner yard, there are ancient Platanus trees. People say they date back to the 9th century. According to the local folklore, the trees were planted by the famous Sufi saint Junayd of Baghdad.

There are many Muslim holy sites in Russia, but the Juma Mosque of Derbent is the first ancient one to give you a vibe of becoming a true Muslim.

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