Religious Tourism
Islamic Worship Sites

Since Islam spread in Lebanon during the reign of the two Enlightened Caliphs Omar Ibn Al-Khattab and Osman Ibn Affan, Islamic places of worship were erected in cities, towns or fortresses where Muslims ruled. This presence was not limited to few coastal cities or localities within the country as “Arqa, Tripoli, Jbeil (Byblos), Beirut, Sidon, Tyre, Baalbek, Mashgara and Anjar; but it was extended to the highest mountains in Akkar, Dinniyyeh, Koura, Hadath al-Joubba, Al-Mounaytarah, Shouf and Djebel 'Amil. In fact, the Lebanese mountains practiced throughout history a particular attraction over the spirits. It is therefore not surprising that historians and geographers graze myth while evoking its sacredness. Some went as far as pretending that these mountains constitute one of the eight mountains of paradise which support the Throne. Others, including Ibn Abbas, even confirmed that the mosque in Mecca was built of stones from four mountains, among which the Mountains of Lebanon, and that the foundations of Mecca mosque are based on five stones, one of which is cut of the Lebanese mountains.


Since mid of the second century of Hegira (eighth century), the coast of Lebanon, especially its mountains, have witnessed the influx of ascetics, hermits and Sufis who withdrew from the world to devote themselves to prayer while remaining ready to respond to the call of Jihad. They could not imagine a safer asylum than those mountains with abundant forests, caves and valleys, fruit trees and water sources. Ibn Shaddad so well said that: "The Lebanese mountain is a home to many pious people and ascetics devoted to the worship of God, because their survival is ensured through the abundant fruit trees, herbs and sources."Some references, including those of Ibrahim ibn Adham and Zounnoun Al-Masri, did not overlook to mention the ties of friendship between Muslim ascetic hermits and Christian monks who met in order to share their knowledge and experiences. In this direction, the value of Lebanon comes, not only from its natural beauty, but rather the role it was asked, at any time, to play as a place of inter-religious exchange. Religious monuments, regardless the religion they belong to, are in this context those places of worship where we worship the One & Only God, despite the different paths guiding to Him.


The Islamic places of worship in Lebanon date back to several times. There are numerous mosques and spiritual places from the Sunni, Shiite, and Druze Muslim traditions throughout the country. They date from Umayyad times successively (Baalbek), Fatimid (Tripoli), Ayyubid (Baalbek), Cross (Sidon), Mamluk (Tripoli, Baalbek, Saida), and finally the Ottoman era (Tripoli, Beirut, Sidon ...). These places of worship are divided into mosques, madrassahs (Islamic schools), zaouiyahs (Sufi schools assigned to teach) taqiyyahs (mystical monasteries) maqam (shrines) etc.. As for the number of Islamic monuments, Tripoli tops the Lebanese cities. In 1700 it had 360 mosques and Quranic schools Mamluk and Ottoman styles, including nearly fifty buildings are preserved to this day in the ancient city and Mina, indicating a sublime art architectural in building facades, minarets, doors, cupolas, mihrabs, minbars, ablution fountains, arches, galleries etc.. The decorative arts is no less rich with its sculptures, inscriptions, geometric shapes, stalactites, its polychrome marble panels, etc. and miniatures. 

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