Mihrab Mihrab

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mihrab

noun

mih·​rab


| \ˈmē-rəb

\

Definition of mihrab 

: a niche or chamber in a mosque indicating the direction of Mecca

Examples of mihrab in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web


The exhibition also features an ornate wooden mihrab, or prayer niche, from the Cairo mausoleum of a Muslim holy woman.

Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, “Landmark Exhibition Takes You Inside the Exuberant, Diverse World of the Fatimid Dynasty,” 21 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘mihrab.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback .

First Known Use of mihrab

1669, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mihrab

Arabic miḥrāb

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Dictionary Entries near mihrab

miguelet

MIH

Mihajlović

mihrab

mikado

mikado brown

mikado orange

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Time Traveler for mihrab

The first known use of mihrab was
in 1669

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More from Merriam-Webster on mihrab

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mihrab

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Mihrab

Islamic architecture
Written By:

  • The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica
See Article History

Alternative Title:
miḥrāb

Mihrab, Arabic miḥrāb, prayer niche in the qiblah wall (that facing Mecca) of a mosque ; mihrabs vary in size but are usually ornately decorated. The mihrab originated in the reign of the Umayyad prince al-Walīd I (705–715), during which time the famous mosques at Medina , Jerusalem , and Damascus were built. The structure was adapted from the prayer niches common to the oratories of Coptic Christian monks. Most prayer rug s also have a mihrab, a segment of the design shaped like a niche . Before kneeling, the user places the rug so that the mihrab is facing Mecca .

  • section of a mihrab
    section of a mihrabTile section of a mihrab, fritware, Kashan, Iran, early 14th century; in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.Photograph by Beesnest McClain. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Nasli M. Heeramaneck Collection, gift of Joan Palevsky, M.73.5.1

Learn More in these related Britannica articles:

  • Hakim, al-

    Islamic arts: General considerations
    …same: a niche called a mihrab—pointing to Mecca—made of wood, marble, mosaic, stone, tiles; a small pulpit (minbar) for the Friday sermon; minarets, locally differently shaped but always rising like the call to prayer that is uttered from their tops; the wooden carved stands for the Qurʾān, which is to…
  • Hakim, al-

    Islamic arts: Three great mosques
    The mihrab, for example, appears in all mosques. This is a niche of varying size that tends to be heavily decorated. It occurs in the qiblah wall, and, in all probability, its purpose was to commemorate the symbolic presence of the Prophet as the first imam,…
  • The Prophet's Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, containing the tomb of Muhammad. It is one of the three holiest places of Islam.

    mosque
    …generally roofed over, containing a miḥrāb and a minbar, with a minaret sometimes attached to it. The miḥrāb, a semicircular niche reserved for the imām to lead the prayer, points to the giblah, i.e., the direction of Mecca. The minbar, a seat at the top of steps placed at the…
  • Ghiordes prayer rug from western Anatolia, early 19th century; in a New York state private collection.

    prayer rug
    …by the prayer niche, or mihrab, an arch-shaped design at one end of the carpet. The mihrab, which probably derives from the prayer niche in mosques, must point toward Mecca while the rug is in use.…
  • Mihrab

    qiblah
    Qiblah, the direction of the sacred shrine of the Kaʿbah in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, toward which Muslims turn five times each day when performing the salat (daily ritual prayer). Soon after Muhammad’s emigration (Hijrah, or Hegira) to Medina in 622, he indicated Jerusalem as the…

ADDITIONAL MEDIA

  • Interior of the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As, Cairo, showing the mihrab (prayer niche) and the minbar (pulpit).
  • Figure 82: Specialized rugs. (right) Wool prayer rug from Bursa, Turkey, Ottoman, 16th century. The field contains a mihrab, or prayer niche, with a mosque lamp hanging in the central arch.

More About Mihrab

6 references found in Britannica articles

Assorted References

    • indication of qibla
      • In qiblah
    • Islamic arts
      • In Islamic arts: General considerations
      • In Islamic arts: Three great mosques
      • In Islamic arts: Architecture in Iraq, Syria, and Anatolia
    • mosques
      • In mosque
    • prayer rug analogues
      • In prayer rug

    Article History

    Article Contributors


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