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Howz-e Ma'jardar Mosque

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Howz-e Ma'jardar (Persian: مسجد حوض معجردار‎) was a mosque built by Mirza Ali Asghar al-Husseini, in Mashhad, Iran. Even though the mosque was listed as a national monument, it was demolished by local authorities in 2018. It was located at the highway intersection near the Imam Reza Shrine.[1][2][3]


In 1838, Mirza Ali Asghar al-Husseini rebuilt the old mosque of Hows-e Robat of the Safavid period, which was located on a cistern. He also built two shops that were connected to the mosque. The construction of the two shops was intended to help finance the lighting and reconstruction for the mosque. The shops were dedicated to children.[4] In the lower part of the mosque, there was a water reservoir which used to be the only source of drinking water for the residents of Pain Khiaban street. Mirza Ali Asghar Al-Husseini's residential house was located on the northern side of Pain Khiaban street in front of Howz-e Ma'jardar Mosque in Mashhad Mosque.

Howz-e Ma'jardar Mosque, after demolition by Mashhad Municipality on 15 January 2018

Rabat Mosque[edit]

The Rabat Mosque was located next to one of the most important stations of the Silk Road. The large number of caravanserai in the neighborhood of Pain Khiaban street, tells the story of those days in Mashhad. The eastern gate of Mashhad was located at the intersection of the roads to Herat, Tabriz and Merv, on the Silk Road. According to endowment documents, the original name of this mosque was Rabat or Howz-Rabat. This mosque was near the holy shrine of Imam Reza and was surrounded by large caravanserais. It provided clean water for pilgrims and neighbors, and a suitable place for performing prayers. The old mosque of Rabat was a resting place for the welfare and comfort of the worshipers, including pilgrims and neighbors of Imam Reza.

Howz-e Ma'jardar Mosque[edit]

In the following period of this cistern (ab anbar), many men clothed in black robes travelled through the steps of the cistern/reservoir with musk, carrying buckets to make a Halal income. The footsteps of these men are remembered as a decoration on the surface of the stairs of the water cistern of the Howz-e Ma'jardar Mosque. These men were called Saqqa and water-sellers. At that time, one of the vows of the needy was the vow of water. The Saqqa would offer a cup of cold water to the pilgrims and the people of the bazaar at the rate of the vows of the needy, and they would be greeted by Hussein (AS). In front of the entrance of the mosque, located on the south side of Pain Khiaban street, there was a pond installed for Wudu (ablution). People in need, in order to help to comfort the worshipers in performing ablutions, paid a sum of money to the Saqqas as a vow of water. The Saqqas filled the pond in front of the mosque with cold water every day, so that the worshipers could have access to clean water for purification without going down the stairs of the mosque. The water inside the pond was protected from the surrounding pollution by a green wooden lattice fence. This fence was opened for Wudu (ablution) during prayers. Hence, the name of this mosque is known as Howz-e Ma'jardar Mosque.

Sahib Al-Zaman Mosque[edit]

In 1956, one of the worshipers of this mosque, Mirza Ali Fendersi, requested the complete reconstruction of the mosque, with the permission of its board of trustees.

Therefore, after 120 years, this mosque would be rebuilt for the last time at the expense of this worshiper. The name of the mosque was decorated with the mosque of Sahib al-Zaman (AS). The new name of "Sahib al-Zaman Mosque" (AS) is on a stone inscription in this building.

Type of ownership[edit]

In 1838, after the reconstruction of the Rabat Mosque, Mirza Ali Asghar Al-Husseini dedicated two shops connected to the mosque. In 1942, the endowment file, number (M-129) 31-559, was formed in the Oghaaf - the Endowment Office of Mashhad. The water reservoir of this mosque belongs to the Safavid period. The management and maintenance of this cistern is the responsibility of the children of Mirza Ali Asghar Al-Husseini. After the death of Mirza Ali Asghar Al-Husseini, custodianship of a mortmain was entrusted to the eldest male, wise and understanding sons. According to the documents of the last endowment and appointment of this work, Mirza Ali Agha Fendersi was the son of Mirza Mohammad, a descendant of Mirza Ali Asghar Al-Husseini.

In the past, the mosque was entirely renovated several times, but the main layout of the mosque never changed. According to the custom and Sharia, in the reconstruction of mosques, the wall facing the Qibla and the wall behind the Qibla should be destroyed in such a way that remnants of the altar and the wall behind the Qibla remain, so that the mosque can be easily demarcated. Additionally, during the reconstruction of the mosque, pollution should be avoided to preserve the mosque's sanctity.

Specifications of monument[edit]

Howz-e Ma'jardar Mosque was registered in the list of national monuments with the number 31435, on 7th Feb 2016.

Architectural Features[edit]

This mosque was unique considering its antiquity, and has many of the features of Islamic architecture. According to an expert on the architecture[who?] of Iranian mosques, the plan of this mosque is similar to the historical mosque of Azghad in the southwest of Mashhad and has many similarities, such as both mosques having an entrance counter. The influence of Jabal Amel's thought and culture can be seen in the numerous large windows that direct natural light from the Qibla into the mosque.

The construction of the mosque is located on a Safavid period water cistern. This feature regulates the temperature conditions during different seasons using the water cistern, and also damps dynamic and static vibrations on the mosque. The location of the mosque on the water cistern of the Howz-e Ma'jardar, in fact, these two structures have complementary work with each other. On the one hand, the water cistern supplied the need of worshipers for high water, and on the other hand, it was considered as the second roof mosque of the water cistern, which on the one hand prevented direct sunlight to the roof of the water cistern and prevented increased its temperature. It also prevented the infiltration of rainfall and environmental effluents into the reservoir. The presence of worshipers in the courtyard of the mosque, which was the roof of the water cistern, caused any damage such as holes and cracks to be detected and repaired immediately. Also, the weight of the mosque structure on the water reservoir prevented severe vibration of cistern during the earthquake and cracking of the mortar layer of reservoir wall. The presence of Howz-e Ma'jardar Mosque next to the main highway (Pain khiaban street) has caused the establishment of an important entrance for the building, which is located between the nave and the pedestrian crossing. Access to the entrance is through the three main doors with the mosque. The main space of the mosque reaches the main nave with the help of three entrance doors.

The main entrance in the later reconstructions has not been designed for the mosque. The interior of the nave has a single row of columns and no specific geometric system is provided for the placement of the columns. The design approach of the building and also for its placement is such that only the side of the Qibla and the entrance side are used for lighting. Therefore, the worshipers can look at the sky while praying in the nave of the mosque. West and east sides have been used to create ledges. On the east side, access to ancillary rooms and services has been created, which is evident in the plan of the mosque. The materials used in the general structure of the mosque in 1334 SH/ 1375AH/1956 AD indicate the construction of the contemporary period. The two altars of the mosque that made this mosque famous are visible on the side of the Qibla with a distance of about three meters. One of the remarkable features of this mosque is that it has two altars, which is the only mosque with two altars in Great Khorasan. During the noon prayer, the nave of the mosque was turned into two naves with a cloth curtain. The eastern nave, which had a side nave for women, was used for pilgrims and their families. The western nave, which was only for men, was for the local bazaars of Pain khiaban street. The two altars of the mosque of Howz-e Ma'jardar were in the same direction and for the same prayer with one call to prayer and in two rows of congregation with two imams of the congregation and observing the religious distance. In the eastern nave, the traveler's prayer for the pilgrims has been broken. In the western nave, prayers were offered for the bazaars, which was a complete prayer. During the morning and evening prayers and the evening meal, the nave was not divided into two parts. Therefore, the study and antiquity of the architecture of this mosque requires special studies by Islamic architecture experts. On the east side, access to ancillary rooms and services is provided, which is evident in the plan of the mosque. The mosque has a bathroom and a backyard which is located behind the Qibla and is part of the mosque. The roof of the mosque is multi-sided gable type and has a sheet.

Water Cistern[edit]

Carrying out water supply project to Mashhad from Cheshmeh Gilas (Golsab) in 52 km northwest of Mashhad in the southern foothills of Hezar Masjed in Toos plain is one of the development measures of the Timurid period.

The water supply project to Mashhad was carried out by the efforts of Amir Ali-shir Nava`i, Minister of Shah Rukh Timurid. The water supply project of Cheshmeh Gilas of the Timurid period was renovated and put into operation after seventy years during the reign of Shah Abbas I Safavid (978-1038 AH/1570-1629 AD) in 1023 AH/1614 AD with the method of engineering and high supervision. This water supply project is one of the excellent engineering measures of the Safavid period. Nahr-e-shahi provided access to refreshing and clean drinking water for pilgrims and neighbors. Cheshmeh Gilas or Golsab spring water entered Mashhad from the west of Mashhad called Nahr Shahi or Nahr Khayban. Shah Abbas I ordered that no one should be allowed to use the royal river until the water of the royal river reaches the ancient courtyard in the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS). The water ab anbar of Howz-e Ma'jardar Mosque was one of the first reservoirs in Mashhad at the Pain khiaban street, which made it possible for the public to use the water of the royal river after that passed through the ancient courtyard. The settlement at the entrance of reservoir belongs to the Safavid era and coincides with the period of Shah Abbas II with the entrance of the mosque is very significant. The entrance arch of the building consists of a pre-arch and a semicircle, which is decorated with a combination of seven-color tiles and bricks. Water-related poems are installed on the front of the arch with brick tiles. The access route to the sprayer is a stepped string with an arch covering that leads to the water collection point. Miraab [body water distributor] access to the ab anbar is provided from behind the mosque (south side). Due to its subsurface, the arch of the water reservoir is of the track arch type with a combination of percussion and Roman arrangement. Hot water level from the downstream water path can still be seen on the body of the ab anbar. It had a capacity of about 1000 cubic meters of water. ab anbar space in dimensions of 10 by 8 meters indicates the high volume of water storage and the volume of drinking water consumption in this area. This ab anbar was completely drained and washed twice every lunar month, and then, with the coordination and management of all the locals, who supervised the cleanness of Nahr-e-shahi water along the way. At the time of dewatering, a small amount of salt and coal were added to the running water entering the reservoir for treatment. Water intake of cistern with a special ceremony including reciting prayers and wishing to use this water with happiness and health, they completed the operation of water intake of the reservoir.

Special Features[edit]

Neighborhood and regional value of the building in the eyes of pilgrims and neighbors. This work is the only mosque in Mashhad that has two altars on the same side. This building has construction and stone inscriptions with the theme of endowment letter. The mosque was built on a cistern from the Safavid period. The floor and wall of the cistern are insulated with lime mortar.

National and historical value[edit]

The cistern of the complex was built in 1642, during the Safavid period and the first year of the reign of Shah Abbas II, by the order of Khajeh Amirbek. The water cistern of Howz-e Ma'jardar Mosque was one of the first cisterns that was open to the public after the Nahr-e-Shahi was built adjacent to it. According to what is stated in the book "School of Shahpour," in the inscription of this cistern is the date 1642, written by Alireza Abbasi, a famous calligrapher of the Safavid period.

In the early periods of construction, the water cistern of the Howz-e Ma'jardar reservoir was the supplier of drinking water to the caravanserais in Pain Khiaban Street, like the pilgrimage and trade caravans. The cistern of the Howz-e Ma'jardar mosque is one of the largest in Iran[citation needed]. The water storage system in the reservoir uses lead in the bottom of the cistern to keep it cold. A layer of thin bricks with mortar, between the lead and the drinking water of the reservoir, create a thin wall that both cools the water easily and prevents lead contamination. In 1961, when Mashhad had piped water. Mashhad Municipality has filled this large ab anbar with soft soil because there was lead in the bottom of the ab anbar. To prevent environmental hazards, lead poisoning as well as this historic structure should be preserved. From the beginning of its construction until the filling of the ab anbar with soil, i.e. from the middle of the Safavid period to the middle of the Pahlavi period, this ab anbar was the most important source of water supply for the residents of the down street of Mashhad and the pilgrimage and trade caravans of the Silk Road.

From 184 years ago until now, according to the available documents, the mosque "Howz-e Ma'jardar" is a mosque and for this reason it is one of the oldest mosques in Mashhad. The property of this mosque is freehold land [Malek-e-Taleq], that is, it has been considered for the mosque from the first day and it is safe from any doubts. From 1052 AH/1642 AD to the day of the destruction of this mosque, that is, 387 years, daily prayers have been held every day without interruption.

The architecture of this mosque is special in all of Khorasan. The entrances to the mosque start with a counter and the north and south sides of the mosque are surrounded by large windows.

This mosque was the only mosque with two altars in Great Khorasan.


Calling this mosque as "Howz-e Ma'jardar" is due to the existence of a pool in the past years, which had wooden railings and was used for people to perform ablutions.

Mashhad is not an ancient city. Mashhad as an integrated city does not have a long history. About four hundred years ago, the urban development of Mashhad began. Therefore, the antiquity of this mosque with at least three general reconstructions in the formation of the city of Mashhad is very significant and can be contemporary with the history of the early season of Mashhad.

According to the locals, this mosque has answered prayers since ancient times. The imam of this mosque has a history of offering prayers in this mosque for more than 50th years. The caretaker of the mosque is proud that they have been the caretaker of this mosque for three generations.

In 1314 SH/ 1354 AH/ 1935AD the Council of Ministers of the first Pahlavi period issued an instruction that four mosques in four parts of the city were designated by the municipality to hold funeral services with special criteria. The Howz-e Ma'jardar Mosque at the Pain Khiaban street was one of that four mosques.

In 1314 SH/ 1354 AH/ 1935AD, the Howz-e Ma'jardar mosque during the Goharshad Mosque uprising as a center of command, coordination and support of the uprising has played a role. At this time, Mirza Ali Agha Fendersi was in charge of the Howz-e Ma'jardar Mosque. He has played an active role in the Goharshad Mosque uprising by mobilizing, preparing for transportation, farmers of the Nokariz family endowment to the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS) and Extensive catering and feeding of people in that days.

Due to its location, the Howz-e Ma'jardar mosque has been one of the important stations for the beginning of the rituals of entering the holy shrine of Razavi. Considering that Shiite scholars always visit the holy shrine of Razavi at the foot of Mubarak, that is, at Pain khiaban street.


Reconstruction of the mosque in the contemporary period created favorable physical conditions. However, the use of undesirable and unusual components such as shells in the entrance section, as well as the presence of profiles as exposure in the facade, caused visual damage in this section.

Regarding this mosque, no clear and obvious action has been taken to preserve parts of the historical body. Regarding water ab anbar, there are suitable physical conditions in the entrance section. The need for restoration in this section is limited to the measures of fixing the tile decorations as well as the restoration of the walls and joinery. The water ab anbar space in the roof area is damaged, which requires local repair of the roof. Helping to maintain the stability of the roof along with the restoration of the inner walls of the water storage space as well as the readability of the water supply components are among the priorities of the restoration measures. In addition to protective and physical measures, inadequate conditions for access to the water reservoir and the establishment of economic activity in the water intake section of the reservoir are important damages in using the water reservoir space and visiting it.


On January 4, 2018, the Howz-e Ma'jardar mosque was demolished by the mayor of Mashhad, due to the renovation and improvement plan of Mashhad Municipality, despite repeated warnings from activists and cultural heritage experts. This action was carried out under the pressure of the owners of the commercial complex adjacent to the mosque.[5][6][7]


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  1. "اداره میراث فرهنگی شهرستان مشهد - فهرست آثار ثبتی". Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  2. "تخریب مسجد تاریخی "صاحب الزمان(عج)" مشهد". ایسنا (in فارسی). 2018-01-15. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  3. "مسجد حوض معجردار". Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  4. "اداره میراث فرهنگی شهرستان مشهد - فهرست آثار ثبتی". Retrieved 2022-04-01.
  5. "آپارات - سرویس اشتراک ویدیو". آپارات - سرویس اشتراک ویدیو (in فارسی). Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  6. "مسجد قدیمی حوض "معجردار" توسط شهرداری مشهد تخریب شد- اخبار استانها تسنیم | Tasnim". خبرگزاری تسنیم | Tasnim (in فارسی). Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  7. "برچسب ها - مسجد حوض معجردار". Retrieved 2022-03-22.

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