Authors: Emine Bala, Mohammed Abdulghani, Ali Bala, Rawezh Farid

Foundation and History

The construction of Sefa u Marwa began in 1999 and was completed in 2000. The mosque was built by three people in collaboration: Fuad Ali, who produced the architectural design, Amin Mewlwd Jerjis, who supervised the project from start to finish, and Osman Sadq, who was responsible for the construction. All expenses for the construction were raised by Haji Aziz Mewlwd, who was known to be a religious person, and his brother, Amin Mewlwd Jerjis. After the mosque was built, some simple renovations such as painting the walls were carried out in 2020.

Yard of the mosque photo by Rawezh Farid
Dome of the mosque photo by Rawezh farid

     The mosque has no written documentation or chronicle of its early history. Mala Muhammad Abdullah was initially the imam of the mosque. The current imam is Mala Juma Xdr, who studied theology at Duhok University between 1995 and 1999. Five volunteers who live near the mosque help the imam with cleaning and maintenance, along with Haji Aziz. The mosque has a servant who is paid by the mutawalli. During Ramadan, many others volunteer help out because the mosque is crowded and one servant cannot do all the work.[1]

[1] Interview with Mala Juma Xdr, April 20, 2019.

Location and Building

The mosque is located between Kurdistan and Newroz districts in Erbil near Haji Badriya Abdul Rahman Jmas Mosque on a road 40 meters long. The area of the mosque is 1,600 square meters, and comprises two halls and four rooms. You enter through the main hall, which measures 600 square meters and can hold up to 600 people. Right at the start is the most visited part of the mosque: the entrance hall, where the most important and daily events are held.

Hall of prayer photo by Rawezh farid

       The entrance hall can seat almost 100 people, who wait here before entering the main hall to perform their daily prayers. In the entrance hall, there are shoe racks where people can put their shoes to avoid spilling over into the hall, which is frequented by many visitors.

Entrance hall photo by Rawezh farid

There are bookshelves in all corners with only copies of the Quran, so visitors can recite from it in the main hall. In the courtyard to the right of the main entrance is a room used for funerals. Next to the ablution room, there is also a small room in the courtyard where the deceased are washed.

Yard of the mosque and washing area (ablution area) photo by Rawezh farid

In addition, there is another small room for the imam and the mutawalli, in which there is also a small library. The room is also used for breaks and meetings, and is decorated with some handmade frames with Quranic verses.

Another room is used for engagement ceremonies and can accommodate almost 100 people. There are three refrigerators here where refreshments for the ceremonies are stored. 

            When one enters the mosque, there is a place on the left side where one can perform ablution. In winter, there is hot water inside the mosque. Outside, there are three stores on the premises to the left which are for the needs of the mosque. There is also a house behind the mosque that serves as a residence for the imam. There is no special room for women.           The architecture of the mosque is based on the Iranian style, featuring two minarets 30 meters high and a dome between them, each 10 meters high with a diameter of 15 meters.

Prayer and Worship

The mosque is not visited by many people to perform their daily prayers. It is located on a main road and is mainly visited by those who work in local stores. However, like any other mosque, it becomes crowded during Ramadan as more people come for common prayer (salat al jamaa). About 50 people come for the Fajr prayer, and nearly 150 for the Dhuhr prayer. The number increases at lunchtime because shopkeepers or vendors pray in the mosque near their workplace. At the Asr prayer, the number drops to almost 100 people because some stores close before the evening. At the Maghrib prayer, about 50 people come to the mosque; as this is main prayer time, almost all stores are closed around meal time. At Isha, when people have finished dinner, the number increases again toabout 120 visitors.

            On Fridays, almost 600 people perform their prayers in this mosque, and do so Tasbihat out loud. The sermons are generally about social problems, religious life principles, etc., and are set out by the government. As in many other mosques, the number of visitors here has also increased. During Ramadan, nearly 400 people come to Taraweeh prayer, and afterwards, people stay to listen to the imam’s lecture on religious life and its principles.

Prayer Hall photo by Rawezh farid

Community and Group Activity

The mosque is not well connected and does not support many activities because the imam has an autistic child who needs a lot of care and hospital visits. The mosque hosts about 5five-10 funerals and five-10 engagement ceremonies. The community sometimes makes donations to be given to the mosque patients in the hospital.

Public Relations

The mosque does not have a website, newsletters or posters. It does not belong to any organization or political party. The mosque has no connection with other mosques in Erbil or elsewhere.