Strict Standards: Non-static method MAIN::siteLangue() should not be called statically in /home1/web2pro/public_html/ on line 52
Cairo's Historic Cemetery of al-Suyuti Conflicting Claims.


Ablaq   A decorative technique, popular during the Mamluk period, based on alternating courses of black and white masonry. The term is derived from the Turkish iplik, meaning rope or thread.  
Ablution Fountain  Fountain found in mosques and used for ritual washing before prayers. 
Adhan  The daily call to prayer that is carried out mostly from the tops of minarets, and sometimes from the rooftops or the doors of places of worship. 
Ahl al-Bayt  Literally means 'family of the house' and refers to the family of the Prophet.  
 A‘jami   Anything that is non-Arab is a‘jami. In Mamluk documents that term is used to describe non-Arab style of decoration.  
‘Alim (pl. ‘ulama’) Religious scholar – member of the religious establishment
Amir  Prince or dignitary. – Army commander
Amir Akhur   A Mamluk post; supervisor of the royal stables; commander of the cavalry
Amir al-Silah  A Mamluk post; the prince responsible for arms.
Arabesque  One of the main decorative elements in Islamic art. Basically a scroll of leaf and stems with intertwining elements creating an interlacing geometric system, this vegetal scroll appears to whirl in circles and interlope with its own blossoms.
Ashraf         See sharif
‘Ashura’ Anniversary of the death of al-Husayn, one of the grandchildren of the prophet
Atabeg/Atabek  Young prince's guardian, who is often a governor. Can also refer to the commander in chief of an army. 
Awlad al-Nas   Literally means 'children of people' and was the term given to the children of the Mamluks who were born in Egypt. A Mamluk could only be a Turkic slave, and this title did not extend to their offspring born in Egypt.  
Awliya’ See wali
Awqaf See waqf
A’yan See ‘Ayn
‘Ayn Notable
‘Ayn Underground burial unit (see also rawh & fasqiyya)
Ayyubids (1171-1250 A.D.) The dynasty was founded by the Kurdish general Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi (d.1193 A.D.), also known as Saladin, who was celebrated for his recovery of Jerusalem. In the name of Sunni Islam, Salah al-Din established the Ayyubid dynasty (1169 A.D.) and eradicated the Shi‘i influences of the previous Fatimid rule in Egypt and Syria. Despite building the walls and enormous citadel of Cairo, he actually only spent eight years in his capital. As well as his victory in Jersualem, Salah al-Din also conquered parts of Yemen and Diyarbakir. The last Ayyubid Sultan was Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub who built a huge corpus of slave soldiers and stationed them on the island of Roda (Bahri Mamluks). Most Ayyubid building activity concentrated on two main aspects, military architecture, including walls and citadels, to combat Crusade invasions, and madrasas
‘Aza’ the offering of condolence after death. People gather to present their condolence to the bereaved in gatherings that may involve Quran recital or the charitable dispensation of food or alms.­­­
Bab   Gate or door.  
Bab Sirr   A small door, usually hidden, found in most medieval Cairene architecture. The bab sirr usually led to a narrow corridor within the walls of the premises, and acted as an escape route. In religious buildings it was a means for the ruler to enter and leave the building without being seen.  
Bahri Mamluks (1250 – 1382 A.D.)   The corpus of slave soldiers built by al-Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub, the last Ayyubid Sultan, and stationed in barracks on the island of Roda during the 13th century A.D. They were Turks bought at a very young age from the various areas in Central Asia, converted to Islam and highly trained in all military sciences. They rose to power in 1250 A.D. when Shajar al-Durr, widow of al-Malik al-Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub claimed herself sultana and married the Mamluk amir ‘Izz al-Din Aybak. Although Aybak (r. 1250-1257 A.D.) became the first Bahri Mamluk sultan, the proper Mamluk state started with Sultan al-Zahir Baybars al-Bunduqdari (r. 1260-1277 A.D.). His rule extended for seventeen years, throughout which he protected the Mamluk territories from both the Mongols and the Crusaders. On the inner front he created an infrastructure by reconstructing roads, repairing bridges and fortifying the north coast. He was also a patron of arts and his mosque in al-Zahir is a living proof. In general the Mamluks were great patrons of the arts and architecture. The epitome of Mamluk architecture can be seen in the buildings of Sultan Qalawun (r.1279-1290 A.D.) and his descendants; the mosque of Sultan Hasan, the complex of Qalawun and the mosque of al-Nasir Muhammad in the Citadel. Amirs, especially those of al-Nasir Muhammad, were encouraged to build. They were also great patrons of the art of the Book. In general, the artifacts belonging to this period in the Museum of Islamic Art of the different mediums show a great variety in techniques and creativity.
Ba’ika   An arcade; a series of opened or blind arches joined together by columns or piers.
Baraka Blessing, or effusion of grace. ; "Baraka is the secret essence (sirr) of Allah, his prophets and his walis in things (ashya’)” (Amin 1999)
Barzakh Isthmus: A barzakh, in the Quran, is the isthmus, or the state between life and death. It seems to have both a temporal and spatial dimension, as al-barzakh, or dar al-barzakh, is both the time between death and resurrection and the link between heaven and earth. It is also one of the laudatory terms used to describe both living and dead walis, as they are considered an isthmus or a link between God and his subjects. It is also, especially from the Ottoman period onwards, used to indicate ‘shrine.’
Basmala  Refers to the phrase Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim, 'In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate', or its shortened form, Bismillah, 'In the Name of God'. This is the opening phrase of the first chapter of the Qur'an, and is generally written or orally spoken by Muslims at the start of almost all actions. It frequently marks the beginning of inscriptions on monuments and artifacts. 
 Bay,  Bey  ,  Bek Turkish for 'gentleman'. It is a general title of rank and is equivalent to the Arabic title amir
Bayt   Arabic for house.
Bid’a Innovation, a heretical deviation from Islamic law, and the practices of the forebears.
Birka  Pond.
 Blazon  A symbol used by Mamluks in both architecture and decorative arts to denote a certain position or rank. Blazons started as simple shields with a decorative symbol and eventually became more complex. Examples of blazons include the pen, denoting the court scribe; the polo stick, denoting the amir akhur; the cup, denoting the court saqi; and the napkin, denoting the master of the robes. 
Bughdadly Woodwork technique producing trellis-like structures made of flat straps of wood. They could then be plastered with a lime-stucco mortar as a lightweight alternative to masonry walls or as a final ceiling finish.
Burda   Literally means 'mantle' and refers to the cloak of Prophet Muhammad. 'Burda' is the name of a famous panegyric written by al-Busiri in the 13th century A.D. for the Prophet and was used to adorn many of the Islamic monuments, especially the houses of Cairo.  
Burj   (pl. abraj) A tower of a fortress or of city walls.  
Burji Mamluks (1382 – 1517 A.D.)  Also referred to as Circassian Mamluks. These were the slave soldiers who ruled Egypt from 1382 A.D. until the Ottoman invasion in 1517 A.D. Ethnically they were Turks but unlike the Bahri Mamluks who were from Central Asia, the Burji Mamluks were from the areas around the north and the west of the Caspian littoral. They were named so because they were lodged in the towers of the Citadel. The first Burji Mamluk to rule was al-Zahir Sayf al-Din Barquq (r. 1382-1399 A.D.). He protected Egypt from the danger of the Timurids by slaying all their emissaries. Their artistic patronage reached its zenith during the reign of al-Ashraf Qaytbay (r. 1468-1496 A.D.). Architectural masterpieces from his period include his funerary complex in the Northern Cemetery, his mosque in Qal‘at al-Kabsh and the mosque of Qijmas al-Ishaqi in Darb al-Ahmar. Complexity in design and technique can be seen in their woodcarvings; excellent examples are the minbar and the kursi in the funerary complex of Qaytbay, and the minbar in the mosque of Qijmas al-Ishaqi.  
Bustan (pl. basatin) Garden
Caliph   Arabic for successor. The Qur’an (II: 30) describes Adam as the primordial norm and as Caliph, the representative of God on earth. Man in this sense is the vicegerent of God on earth. In a historical context however, the word Caliph referred first to the four rightly guided caliphs after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and ‘Ali) and subsequently to any Muslim ruler, in various dynasties.  
Circassian Mamluks  See Burji Mamluks
Crenellations  Also referred to as 'cresting' and mean battlements. They are parapets of alternating spacing of solid and open intervals, usually decorating mosques or fortresses. From its early usage in Achaemenid Iran, different styles of crenellations developed, such as the doll-like shapes associated with Ibn Tulun, and trefoils of complicated forms used by the Burji Mamluks.  
Cresting  See Crenellations
Cruciform Plan  Four vaulted iwans facing each other and surround a court (sahn).  
Dafn burialmadfan: literally, site of burial, used more in the modern period to denote a built-up structure over a grave.
Darih shrine (mostly Ottoman to Modern).
Dar   (pl dur) House
Dar al-Diyafa Literally house of hospitality; a reception hall and possibly space for accommodation for visiting dignitaries.
Darb  Alley or path.  
Darwish   Dervish. Persian for poor and means a Sufi. The Arabic equivalent is faqir.  Mendicant mystic
Dervish See darwish
Dhikr ‘Mentioning’ or ‘remembering’, a Sufi ritual involving the repetition of the names of God or of a certain religious formula as a means of contemplating God. (Taylor 1999)Literally means remembering or reminding. In general religious practice this denotes ways of reminding oneself of God, be it through prayer, praise, supplication, etc. It can also refer to the actual litanies and prayers of remembering, as well as the regular activity of remembrance, particularly in a Sufi context. 
Dihliz   An Arabized Persian word meaning corridor.  
Dikka   An elevated small structure with a flat top on which a person would be seated. Some are found in religious buildings for those reciting the Qur’an or some in markets for sellers to display their goods. They are made of wood, stone or marble. In religious buildings it can be referred to as dikkat al-mubaligh.  
Dirkah  A Persian composite word; dur meaning door and ka meaning place. A vestibule which is found in all kinds of buildings especially houses to ensure privacy.  
Dinar From latin dinarius – gold coin
Dirham Sasanian usage from Greek – silver coin
Diwan  Originating from Persian, this term refers to a reception chamber, particularly in a palace or residence. It later came to mean ministry or government office. It can also mean anthology of poems placed in alphabetical order.  
Durqa‘a   A covered small court (sahn) which interspaces two iwans or more. It is an essential element of a qa‘a, and thus an important feature of Burji Mamluk architecture.  
Du‘a’ religious invocation or supplicatory prayer.
Faqih  (pl. fuqaha’) Expert in Islamic law. Until the twentieth century A.D., a faqih could function as a qadi, judge, and mufti, jurisprudent. As a judge he would be responsible for supervision of charitable trusts, acting as a trustee of orphans' property, and other similar tasks in addition to regular court duties. The faqihs represented an important and powerful segment of the community, and were considered protectors of the community and religion. With the advent of modern legal forms, the role of the faqih has been decreased in power and importance, where his duties have been taken over by modern judges, jurists and lawyers. A faqih is now restricted to the function of jurisprudent.  See also fiqh
Fasqiyyat al-mawta Underground burial crypt.
Al-Fatiha The 1st chapter of the Quran, normally recited to invoke blessing on the souls of the dead.
Fatimids (969-1171 A.D.)  One of the most important Shi‘i dynasties that ruled in the Muslim world. They were prominent patrons of festivities, art and architecture. Their history can be divided into two periods. First the Ifriqiyya period, when they ruled between 908-973 A.D. from Tunisia. Despite the ambiguity of their origin we know that their founder started in Salamiyya in Syria, where he alleged descent from 'Ali and Fatima and claimed to be the only rightful ruler of Islam. He had many followers, all Isma‘ilis (Seven-Imam Shi‘i), and helped build a strong military base from which he ousted the Aghlabids from Tunisia. Egypt was conquered by the Fatimids under Caliph al-Mu‘iz li-Din illah in February 969 A.D. when the commander of the armies Jawhar al-Siqilli marched into the country removing the Ikhshidids with very little effort. This marks the second period of the Fatimid history, which ended in 1171 A.D. After marching into Egypt Jawhar al-Siqilli built the city of al-Qahira and from there they ruled Greater Syria and were the guardians of the Holy Places in Hijaz. Fatimid caliphs claimed themselves the true caliphs as opposed to the Abbasids in Baghdad. Their da‘is for Isma‘ili ideology were sent by the Fatimids as far as Yemen and Sind. Despite all their efforts the people directly under their rule remained Sunni. The economy of Egypt witnessed a boost with Fatimid administration and trade links were well maintained and supported with the main centers in the world. Some of the finest examples of Islamic art were a product of Fatimid workshops. The Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo has a vast collection of Fatimid woodwork and luster, at which they excelled. Their architecture was greatly influenced by the style of North Africa, mainly that of the Aghlabids. Mosques usually followed the riwaq style with the protruding entrances and the tower-like minarets. Muqarnas first appeared in Egypt during their rule. They mastered stucco carving and all the extant Fatimid mihrabs are a proof to that.
Fatwa Religious ruling
Feddan 4200.833 sq. metres
Finial  Ornamental part usually placed at the top of an architectural structure such as a minaret or canopy. It can also refer to an ornamental piece ending at the top of a post or a piece of furniture. 
Fiqh Islamic jurisprudence. See also faqih
Fasqiyya   In architecture the word has several meanings. It means either a basin for ablutions, a fountain or a small grave.  Underground burial unit (see also rawh & ayn)
Fuqaha (pl. of faqih) Learned men. See faqih
Funduq  A North African complex used by merchants for lodging or storage. It is usually a multi-story building constructed around a central courtyard. Such complexes are also known as caravanserais, wakalas, ribats, or khans according to regional differences. 
Furn   Arabic for oven or bakery.  
Ghurab   Literally means a crow but in Mamluk architecture it means door hooks and latches.  
Ghurfa   Arabic for room.  
Hadith   The sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Any hadith is of two parts the matn (subject) and the isnad (chain of transmission).  
Hadra  Literally means presence and is used by Sufis to denote an act of devotion.
Haffar Gravedigger
Hajib   Derived from the Arabic root hajab or to veil. A hajib is a chamberlain who controlled the access to the ruler.  
Hajj   The Pilgrimage to Mecca. It can also be used as a title for someone who has gone on pilgrimage. In the latter context, Hajj refers to a man and Hajjah is used for women.  
Hamam/Hammam   Refers to bath houses, both private and public. Public hammams were an important feature of Islamic cities. 
Hanafi   One of the four Sunni legal schools. The originator of this school was Abu Hanifa al-Nu‘man ibn Thabit ibn Zuta (699-767 A.D.), a Persian who studied with Ja‘far al-Sadiq in Madina.  
Hanbali  One of the four Sunni legal schools. The originator of this school was Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780-855 A.D.). His school of law was the strictest amongst the four.  
Haniyya   A squinch. An architectural element in the form of a niche used to carry domes on square or rectangular bases. Some other uses are purely decorative as the one used on the Raqqa gate built by the Abbasid Caliph al-Mansur in the 8th century A.D. In a sense it was the basis for the evolution of muqarnas.  
Hanut   Rooms beneath religious buildings used as shops, warehouses, or stand-alone stores. This can be seen in the shops beneath the Mosque of Salih Tala’i‘ (1160 A.D.), the Madrasa of Sarghatmish (1356 A.D.) and the Mosque of Qijmas al-Ishaqi (1481 A.D.). The hanuts were rented and the revenue generated as a result was used for the upkeep of the building.  
Hara Neighborhood, alleyway
Haram  Arabic word generally referring to a sort of sanctuary. It is usually used to denote sanctuary of the mosque, specifically with reference to the Holy Mosques of Mecca and Medina. 
Hawd   Water basin.  
Hawsh A large enclosed open area that could be a courtyard of a house or in the cemetery as an open air burial yard.Medieval – Ottoman: Funerary enclosure.Modern: Walled graveyard, generally belonging to one family, with sheltered area, possibly with a building that provides for overnight accommodation. 
Hazira Enclosure with unroofed tomb; Funerary enclosure that is unroofed and often includes a mosque, found particularly in the Iranian regions.  
Hilal   Crescent.  
Hijr al-manzal the base of the crypt below the entrance opening
Hijra  The migration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Madina (Yathrib) in 622 A.D., which is the first year in the Hijri calendar.  
Hikr monopolized land (pl.ahkar)
Hisba  Prefecture of civil life during the medieval period. The post was held by the muhtasib.  
Hizb The Quran is divided into thirty juz’s. Each juz’ is divided into two hizbs, which in turn are divided into 4 quarters.
 Hujra  Room, chamber or cell. 
Husayn  Al-Husayn was the second son of ‘Ali and Fatima, and the grandson of the Prophet. He was born in 642 A.D. and was murdered in 680 A.D. Being a venerated saint, many structures were built in different parts of the Muslim world commemorating him. The Fatimids had brought his head from Karbala’ and buried it next to the Eastern Palace. The 19th century mosque of al-Husayn now occupies this spot.  
‘Id Feast. Al-‘Id al-kabir is the festival of the sacrifice. Al-‘Id al-Saghir is the feast marking the end of Ramadan
‘Idara Administration
Ikhshidids  A dynasty that ruled Egypt right before the Fatimid conquest. The founder was the Army Commander Muhammad ibn Tughdj al-Ikhshid. However the figure that played an important role in shaping the empire was Kafur, a black eunuch who impressed ibn Tughdj greatly and was thence promoted. After the death of Ali al-Ikhshid in 966 A.D. Kafur declared himself ruler of Egypt. He was able to prevent the Fatimid expansion in Egypt until his death. He is known to have sponsored scholars and writers, the most important of which was al-Mutanabbi. It is also known from the sources that he constructed a number of sumptuous palaces, two mosques, a hospital and the Kafuriyya gardens none of which are now extant.
Imam   A religious leader; the preacher of the Friday ceremony or leader of the Muslim community.  
Inshad Religious singing
‘Iqd   Arabic for arch. Some of the different kinds of arches are: ‘iqd mada’ini: trilobed arch; ‘iqd mudabab: pointed arch; ‘iqd qawsi: horseshoe arch.  
Istabl   Stable.  
Iwan  A vaulted open hall with a rectangular or arched facade.
Izar   Decorative frieze.  
Jabbana  Cemetery
Jabal   Mountain
Jama Lozenge-like frame including inscription or vegetal decoration
Jami‘ From the Arabic root jam', which means to 'gather things' and literally means congregational mosque. This is why it is used to denote the mosque where the Friday noon prayer is celebrated. It is the principal religious building of Islam.
Janaza Funeral, (pl. jana’iz): section in religious treatises related to funerary practices (rites or burial and remembrance)
Janissaries  Derived from the Turkish yeni ceri or 'new troop'. These were the infantry troops of the Ottoman army brought at a very young age from the Balkans, converted to Islam and highly trained. They were directly answerable to the Sultan.  
Jashankir  Persian for 'taster'. A prominent Mamluk post occupied by one of the amirs.  
Jawsaq   Derived from Persian meaning kiosk, pavilion or fortress. In Burji Mamluk architecture the gallery beneath the finial of the minaret was referred to as a jawsaq.  
Jihad   'Holy war' to extend Islam in the non-Muslim provinces. Those who die in jihad are considered martyrs. However this is the limited meaning of jihad. The other meaning is the greater war against one’s self; jihad al-nafs.  
Jawsaq  pl. jawasiq Small pavillion
Jisr (pl. jusur) Bridge
Jiwar  Vicinity; the idea that it is preferable to be buried in the vicinity of good Muslims.
Jizya   A tax that used to be levied on non-Muslim adult males, specifically the people of the book, although the infirm and poor were exempted from this tax. In return for exemption from military service, this money was used for maintaining the army.
Joggled Voussoirs  Construction method where the stones of an arch or lintel are placed interlocking.
Juz’  Arabic and literally means 'part'. Its common usage is for one of the thirty volumes of the Qur’an. (pl. ajza’)
 Ka‘ba   The house of God which is located in Mecca. Muslims face the Ka‘ba when they pray and this is the direction to which mihrabs point. It was Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Isma‘il who rebuilt the Ka‘ba as ordered by God. The Qur’an tells us that God ordered Ibrahim to build a sanctuary at a specific spot in Bacca (XXII:26), another name for Mecca. Ibrahim and Isma‘il were told that it should be a cube and around a celestial stone, which was preserved nearby a hill in Mecca and then given to Ibrahim by an Angel. This black stone was kept at the eastern corner of the Ka‘ba. God then informed Ibrahim to institute the rite of pilgrimage to Mecca.
Kafan Shroud of the dead; takfin : the ritual shrouding of the dead.
Kahk Sweet patties made of unleavened flour.
Khala’ Literally vacuum; an unurbanised unbuilt zone on the periphery of the city
Karama Miracle performed by a Muslim wali  as a sign of the grace God has bestowed upon him or her
Katib Sirr Confidential secretary, head of the diwan al-insha' (royal chancellery)
Katkhuda  Mamluk rank of executive officer of the janissaries. 
Kawm Rubble mound (pl. akwam)
Khalij Canal (pl. khuljan)
Khan   Caravanserai; derived from Persian meaning a 'house with full amenities'. An alternative name for khan is wakala or ribat.
Khanqah Sufi hospice.
Kharaba/Khirba   Ground with ruins; ruined building.  
Kharaza  Above-ground opening of the well of the sahrij, water tank.
Khart   Small turned wood pieces used in the construction of geometrical window grilles.
Khatt  Literally means a line and is used in Egypt to mean street as well.  
Khitta  Literally means 'marked out.' It was used in the early Islamic period with reference to marking out new settlements such as Kufa, Basra and Fustat.
Khatima Complete reading of the Quran.
Khus Palm frond, traditionally put on graves. 
Khutba  Literally means 'speech' or 'sermon', but generally refers to the Friday sermon. Oration at Friday prayer naming the ruler acknowledged by the community.
Khazindar   The one responsible for the treasury of the Sultan.  
Khazna  Treasury.  
Khedive   The title given to the sovereign ruling Egypt from 1867 until 1914 A.D. under the command of the Ottoman Sultan. The first Khedive was Isma‘il, son of Muhammad Ali.  
Khilwa   A small cell for meditation. The word root in Arabic khuluw means to become isolated, destitute or unoccupied.  
Khukha   A wicket. A small door set in a larger one.  
Khurda  In architectural terms it means a small piece of colored marble used for marble mosaic panels.  
Kiswa Fabric draperies on  religious structure. Can range from importance from the kiswa of the Ka’ba to the pieces of green cloth placed on the cenotaph shrines fof minor religious figures.
Kufi (Kufic)   One of the oldest types of Arabic calligraphy and the first calligraphic perfection of Islam. Its name derives from the Iraqi town Kufa, which was one of the earliest centers of Islamic learning.
Kushk Kiosk
Kuttab  A primary school where children learn how to read, write and recite the Qur’an, and is usually a charitable foundation. (see maktab)
Kutubiyya  A wooden cupboard for the storage of books found in houses and religious buildings as well. Usually it is in the form of a recess in one of the walls that is covered by wooden doors.  
Lahd Type of grave: salafi way of burial directly in the ground with basic mud brick sides retaining the burial space temporarily; unlike the traditional Egyptian burial crypt with its elaborate rooms and multiple burials.
Lala  The tutor of the sultan's sons during Mamluk times. 
Laqab Honorific title
Latif   Literally means gentle and gracious. In Mamluk documents it was used to describe any element that was small in size.  
Mabkhara   Literally means incense burner. The term was used to describe a specific shape of minaret finial that flourished in Egypt during the Ayyubid period and the early Bahri Mamluk. Example: the minaret of al-Madrasa al-Salihiyya.
Madfan See dafn
Madhhab Four legal schools of Sunni Islam, viz., Shafi‘i, Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki (pl. madhahib).
Madina  City. If the name of the city however is al-Madina, then it is referring to Medina, the Prophet's city.  
Madrasa Ayyubid – Ottoman: religious college.An institute for higher education, in which religious sciences were taught. The madrasa usually consisted of the teaching halls and the dorms. Students there studied Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), traditional system of mathematics (abjad), literature, history, higher grammar, etc.Modern: school.
Mahmal Processional caravan carrying the kiswa to Mecca (see kiswa)
Makhzan   Warehouse or storeroom.
Maktab aytam/kuttab Small space for teaching Quran to orphans, normally linked to a sabil. (see kuttab)
Maliki  One of the four Sunni legal schools. The originator of this school was Imam Malik (713-795 A.D.), the second of the four major imams, who studied and taught in Medina. His teachings spread to the western Islamic world including al-Andalus, Spain. 
Malqaf  A cooling and ventilation device composed of a wind scoop on a roof connected to a wind shaft. This creates wind circulation in the building. 
Mamluk See Bahri Mamluk – Burji Mamluk
Manama Literally; location of sleeping; the place where cadavers are placed on their right side facing Mecca in a position akin to sleeping
Mandara   Male reception room that is usually found on the ground floor. It is the same as salamlik.
Manqaba Achievement or good deed (pl. manaqib)
Mantiqa Zone or area
Manzal Steep steps going down to burial crypt.
Manzil  House.  
Manzara Pavillion
Maqam Shrine; place of burial of a religious figure
Maqbara See qabr
Maqra’a Session for Quran recital.
Maqsura   Prayer area, usually part of the qibla, separated from the rest by means of a wooden screen. It was reserved for the ruler or the governor.  
Mashhad  Literally means 'scene of witness', and is used to refer to a shrine or sanctuary. 
Mashhad Ru’ya Place of commemoration of a holy figure based on a dream vision. The shrine does not indicate a burial, simply a manifestation of the holy figure in a vision.
Mashrabiyya  Derived from the Arabic root, sharab, to drink. Turned wood screens or bay windows allowing air and vision from inside out but not from outside in. Also used as a cool place for drinking water vessels.
Maslaha Department
Masjid Mosque, literally space of prostration. 
Mastaba Elevated theatre; flat mound marking a grave.A bench. Mastabas were found in vestibules of houses for the guard or doorman, or in marketplaces for the merchants to display their goods. They were carved of stone and in some cases encased with marble.  
Mathara  Pronounced 'mat-hara'; place for ablution. 
Mawlid   Celebration of a saint’s al-Nabawi / Mawlid al-Nabi: the birthday of the Prophet.
Mayda   Ablution area usually found next to religious buildings.  
Maydan Open urban space, i.e., a kind of piazza or square. In some cases, such as that of Qaramaydan in the late medieval period, it could be walled.
Ma‘zama Ossuary
Mazar  Literally means 'place of visitation,' but is used to refer to a mausoleum. 
Mi’dhana Minaret
Mihrab Niche indicating the qibla, or the direction of Mecca
Mijdal Stone slabs spanning a grave entrance (pl. majadil)
Millieme A thousandth of an Egyptian Pound
Minbar   Pulpit from which the imam of the mosque gives his sermon on Friday.
Misr Egypt – also used to refer to its capital
 Mu’adhdhin  The man who raises the call to prayer. Also spelled muezzin. 
Mu‘allim  Literally means 'teac