The Mosque of Sidi Boumedienne.
First broadcast date
The domain of El Eubad, overlooking the town of Tlemcen, has great monuments. We may cite the Kouba (done) of Sidi Boumedienne, his mosque, his Medersa and his Medina. The Kouba of Sidi Boumedienne houses the patron saint of Tlemcen who was a great scholar in the twelfth century. We can see the remains of his mausoleum which is one of the most visited monuments of Telemcen. The mosque and the medersa ,pure architectural gems,were built in the fourteenth century by a Sultan of Fez, the “Black Sultan” during the second Merinid invasion which lasted 7 years. The minaret of pure Andalusia style of Granada is decorated with bricks and polychrome ceramics.
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Tourism and cultural sites
- Tourism and cultural sites / Architecture
Credits / Cast
- Nawiouat Naima - Journalist
The Sidi Boumedienne Mosque
It is said that the door of the mosque was brought across the Mediterranean to Tlemcen from Spain, and that may also have been the route taken by the mosque's patron saint, the Sufi philosopher Abu Madyane (Sidi Boumedienne for the Algerians). At the end of his life, Madyane decided to move to Takbalet, a village near Tlemcen, where he was buried in 1197. Teacher, author and Sufi poet, he was born in 1126 in Seville and founded the main source of Sufi teaching in North Africa and Andalusia.
The term Sufism probably derives from the words souf, “wool”. Soufis, “dressed in wool”, was the name given to the early mystics of Islam. At first first these ascetics were not organized: they lived as hermits, living alone, sometimes drawn together by a famous master. However the masters of mysticism were soon surrounded by a crowd of disciples, and that then called for some form of organized spiritual guidance. In the 12th century AD they formed brotherhoods, at that time a well-established practice. Without necessarily contradicting the doctrine or customs of Islam, Sufism added elements of theory, liturgy, organization – and mysticism. The leader of the brotherhood is called a Sheikh. He owes his reputation and attraction to his mystical experiences and the depth of his teaching. Each brotherhood has its own Rule and so chooses its tariqa, its “way” or “method”.
Located in the suburb of El Eubbad in Tlemcen, Sidi Boumedienne's mausoleum was built by the Almohad successor of Al-Mansur, Muhammad an-Nasir, to honour the saint's memory. A place of pilgrimage, the monument was restored and embellished by Sultan Abu al-Hasan. In 1339 he added a mosque which then formed part of a complex which included a madrasa, a small palace, a zawiya and steam room. The mosque and the madrasa were both very important for teaching both Arabic and Islam.
By the end of the 20th century the building was suffering badly from water damage, parts of the mosque were crumbling away, but the repair work was completed recently. The artistic beauty of this complex, a classic example of Islamic art's golden age, was the reason the Organization of Islamic Science, Culture and Education chose Tlemcen to be the capital of Islamic culture in 2011.
Bibliography: brief and to the point
Cornell, V.J. 1996: The Way of Abu Madyan: Doctrinal and Poetic Works of Abu Madyan Shu’ayb al-Husayn al-Ansāri, Golden Palm Series, Cambridge.
J. Chevalier, 1974: Le soufisme ou l’ivresse de Dieu dans la tradition de l’islam, Paris.
Grabar, O. 1989: Arte islamica: formazione di una civiltà, Electra, Milano.
John D. Hoag, 1991: Architecture islamique, Gallimard, Paris.