UAE's earliest mosque discovered in Al Ain
In a groundbreaking discovery, DCT Abu Dhabi's archaeologists have discovered the UAE's oldest mosque in Al Ain.
The excavation of the 1000-year old mosque along with a network of falaj dating back to Islam’s Early Golden Age of the Abbasid Caliphate, is expected to shed new light on UAE’s history at the dawn of Islam.
Experts have revealed that the buildings at the site, made from mudbrick, are the remains of a small fortress and several houses. People living in these buildings would have obtained fresh water from several falaj that they constructed around the settlement. Falaj technology has a deep history in Al Ain stretching back 3,000 years.
But the archaeologists believe it is the discovery and excavation of a mudbrick mosque that places Al Ain on the global map as an important centre during the early Islamic period.
Experts were alerted to the fact that it is a mosque by the presence of a mihrab (a niche in the wall of the mosque, at the point nearest to Mecca) on the interior room and on the exterior. Thus the faithful would have prayed inside and outside the mosque, just as they do today.
Fragments of pots, which were likely used for ablution (ceremonial washing) and other ritual purposes, were found inside the mosque and date from the 9th to the 10th Centuries CE. These discoveries and a radiocarbon date from one of the nearby falaj confirm that the mosque is the earliest yet discovered in the UAE.