Khamis mosque is the oldest mosque in Bahrain and is believed to be the first proper mosque structure built in Bahrain. It has been dated back to the first century of the Islamic period and specifically to the rule of the Umayyad Caliph Umar II (717-720 AD), with its foundation stone reputedly being placed as early as 692 AD – making it one of the oldest mosques in the world.
Rebuilding or extension may have occurred during the period of the Ayouni rulers in Bahrain (1074-1238 AD), at which time the mosque had one minaret. A second minaret was added during the rule of the Asfour dynasty in the second half of the thirteenth century, giving the mosque its distinctive modern day appearance of two minarets. However, some accounts state that the minarets were 14th-16th century additions, or that they were rebuilt during this period.
Extensive rebuilding is believed to have taken place in at least two stages during the 14th and 15th centuries, with an early prayer hall having wooden roof and masonry supports dating back to the early 14th century.
Khamis Mosque has recently been the subject of a major restoration project and a visitor’s centre has been constructed.
The first Muslims in Bahrain
In around 628 AD the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) sent his envoy, Al-Alaa al-Hadrami, to the ruler of Bahrain, Mundhir Bin Sawa al-Tamimi. The original letter from the Prophet has been preserved at the Bayt al-Quran Museum in Manama, with the Prophet’s official seal still intact.
At around the same time, a delegation was sent from Bahrain to learn more of the new religion. The Prophet hosted them for several days while they asked questions about Islam and were read passages from the Quran. A second delegation was also sent, after which Islam was propagated widely in Bahrain.
Bahrain’s ruler, Mundhir Bin-Sawa, announced his conversion to Islam, making the Bahrain-based tribe of Abd-al-Qays one of the first Arabian tribes to formally convert to Islam.
Al-Hadrami was subsequently appointed by the Prophet Mohammed as his representative to Bahrain and he subsequently became the first governor of Bahrain during the Islamic period. At this time the region of Bahrain extended the coast from Kuwaitalong the eastern Arabian coast.
First for Bahrain
- Bahrain’s first mosque
- First artificial islands
- Female president of UN General Assembly
- First nation to host Gulf Cup
- First mention in historical record
- First modern schools
- First causeway
- First oil well in the region
- First media outlets
- Bahrain’s first lady
- Women in medicine
- International Airshow
- First referendum
- First Grand Prix