A mosque is a place where Muslims gather and offer their prayers to Allah. Its also a place where they learn to read the Holy Qur’an in the Arabic language. Long before our ancestors were yet to be born in the year 1421, an Islamic trader called Ayuba found himself in a Larabanga a village close to Damango located in the west Gonja district of the Savannah region.
He had adream when he slept near a mystic stone. And in the dream, he was being instructed by ALLAH to build a mosque. To affirm his dream, he woke up seeing the foundation to the mosque neatly constructed. He then began the building of the oldest mosque in Ghana which is also referred to as the mecca of west Africa.
The mosque has an old Quran believed to have been given to them straight from heaven. There is also this believed that Ayuba left instructions that he should be buried near the mosque when he dies and the baobab tree that will shoot up three days later should be preserved from generation to generation. in recent days the baobab tree serves medicinal purpose for people who visit the mosque.
The mosque is built with mud with stick in the Sudanese style. The mosque measures approximately 8 meters by 8 meters. It has two towers in pyramidal shapes one for mihrab which faces towards Mecca, forming the façade on the east and the other as minaret in the northeast corner. The mosque has four entrances.
One for the village Iman, one for men, one for women, and the other for the one that leads the call to prayers, the muezzin.
In September 2002, a severe wind destroyed the mihrab and minaret. As a result, the world monuments fund placed the mosque on the 2002 world monument watch, also considering the damages sustained after the inappropriate restoration in 1970.
The Ghana museum and monument board decided to retore the mosque and sought advice for CRAterre, an architectural firm based in Grenoble, France which has expertise in building earthen structures. The renovation work was funded by a WMF with a grant of 50 thousand US DOLLAR from American Express. The local community also provide support. The renovation resulted in reassessing the state of conservation of site, involving a team of local artisans and laborers.
The local community has also been supported in a handcraft and tourism project to generate funds not only for meeting the maintenance expenses of the mosque but also to improve the economic conditions of the people.
source: Agudie Amankwah