Souk al-Kabir Mosque

In his 1988 thesis The Urbanizaiton of Kuwait Since 1950, Muhammad Fawzi Abdo writes that, “for a community of its size, Kuwait town has a relatively large number of mosques, about forty or more, several of which are Friday mosques. The largest and most important (until recently, with the completion of the impressive state mosque) was the Masjid al-Souk al-Kabir located in the middle of the souk. The other mosques, unpretentious structures often with squat minarets, were traditionally built by individuals or families to serve the needs of the local residents of the various sections of the town.” The Souk al-Kabir mosque (on google maps listed as “Souq Grand Mosque”) was built first in 1794, then renovated in 1839 and 1953. Once the primary mosque of Kuwait, it was mentioned on a tour of the Grand Mosque that Sheikh Jaber was inspired to build a new state mosque because the Souk al-Kabir mosque didn’t have a large enough capacity and some worshippers always had to pray outside.

I’ve previously posted about historic mosques in Kuwait, many of which were saved from destruction during the urban transformation of Kuwait beginning in the 1950s. As Jehan Rajab writes in Voice of the Oud, “some of the old mosques were left intact while buildings all around were razed to the ground. The mosques were left looking like ghostly ships in an empty sea.” Although it should be noted that the mosques may not look like they would have originally; Hossam Mahdy writes in Historic Mosques in Kuwait that, “during the 1950s, the then Department of Public Waqf restored all mosques of Kuwait. The degree of intervention varied from demolition and complete reconstruction to minor repairs. Constructing new minarets, upgrading the ablution and toilet facilities were probably done to all old mosques.” Mahdy notes that Al Saeed Mosque, “seems to be the nearest to the original plan.” You can read more about historic mosques in Kuwait here.

The black and white image above comes from the instagram of Bader Shaiji, the miniature can be seen in Shaheed, the old photographs come from Voice of the Oud and the Mahdy article.


  1. […] Dr Yacoub Yousif al-Ghunaim has a terrific series of short children’s books on the history of Kuwait entitled The Old Talk to the Young. My favorite in the series is probably “A Day from the Past.” In it, the characters discuss al-Haddad Mosque, one of Kuwait City’s oldest mosques. Originally built in 1776, it has since been renovated (as all historic mosques have). Originally, it was built from mud and palm fronds and could only accommodate 20 worshippers. It stands across the street from Souq al Safat and the Souk Al Kabir mosque. […]


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