Conversion of non-Muslim places of worship into mosques
Wikipedia 31 October 2012
The Conversion of non-Muslim places of worship into mosques occurred primarily during the life of Muhammad and continued during subsequent Islamic conquests and under historical Muslim rule. As a result, numerous Hindu temples, churches, synagogues, the Parthenon and Zoroastrian temples were converted into mosques. Several such mosques in Muslim or ex-Muslim lands have since reverted or become museums, such as the Hagia Sophia in Turkey and numerous mosques in Spain and Israel.
In Islamic teaching, the Ka'aba was built by Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son.
Before the rise of Islam the Ka'aba was revered as a sacred sanctuary and was a site of pilgrimage.". At the time of Muhammad (AD 570–632), his tribe the Quraysh was in charge of the Kaaba, which was at that time a shrine containing hundreds of idols representing Arabian tribal gods and other religious figures. Muhammad earned the enmity of his tribe by claiming the shrine for the new religion of Islam that he preached. He wanted the Kaaba to be dedicated to the worship of the one God alone, and all the idols were evicted. The Black Stone (al-Hajar-ul-Aswad), still present at the Kaaba was a special object of veneration at the site. According to tradition the text of seven especially honored poems were suspended around the Ka'aba. Martin Lings' biography of Muhammad claims that even an image of the Virgin Mary had been displayed in the pagan shrine.
According to Islam, Muhammad's actions were not strictly a conversion but rather a restoration of the mosque established on that site by Abraham, who is considered to be a prophet in Islam. Howerver, outside of Islamic scriptures, there is no historical or archaeological evidence that suggests that Mecca or Ka'aba existed before the 4th century A.D., when immigrants from Yemen settled the area. The Ka'aba thus became known as the Masjid al-Haram, or Sacred Mosque, the holiest site in Islam
Mosques were regularly established on the places of Jewish or Christian sanctuaries associated with Biblical personalities who were also recognized by Islam. This practice was particularly common in Palestine. The Caliph Umar initially built a small prayer house, which laid the foundation for the later construction of the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, the most sacred site in Judaism, possibly by the Umayyads. The Dome of the Rock, another Muslim mosque, was also built on the Temple Mount which was an abandoned and disused area. Upon the capture of Jerusalem, it is commonly reported that Umar refused to pray in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. for fear that later Muslims would then convert it into a mosque in spite of a treaty guaranteeing its safety.
The mosque of Job in Ash Shaykh Sa'd, Syria, was previously a church of Job. The Herodian shrine of Cave of the Patriarchs, the second most holy site in Judaism, was converted into a church during the Crusades before being turned into a mosque in 1266 and henceforth banned to Jews and Christians. Part of it was restored as a synagogue after 1967 by Israel.
The destruction of Hindu temples in India during the Islamic conquest of India occurred from the beginning of Muslim conquest until the end the Mughal Empire throughout the Indian subcontinent.
In his controversial book "Hindu Temples - What Happened to Them", Sita Ram Goel produced a politically contentious list of 2000 mosques that it is claimed were built on Hindu temples. The second volume of the book excerpts from medieval histories and chronicles and from inscriptions concerning the destruction of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples.
In Indonesia, where popular conversion from Hinduism to Islam was more widespread, it is believed that the minaret of the Menara Kudus Mosque, in Java, was originally part of a Hindu temple (continue reading...)