History · Islam

7th Century Tiberias Mosque Reveals “Golden Age” of Coexistence

Aerial view of the excavation site of the mosque in Tiberias. Credit: David Silverman and Yuval Nadel via Spokesman.com

A team of archaeologists, led by senior lecturer Katia Cytryn-Silverman of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, say they have discovered the ruins of the “Tiberias mosque,” one of the earliest Islamic places of worship dating back to the generation after the death of Prophet Muhammad.

The mosque is located on the outskirts of Tiberias in northern Israel, just south of the Sea of Galilee by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The excavations estimate that what was unearthed under the ruins might actually date back to 635. Cytryn-Silverman, as noted by the Jerusalem Post, said that Shurahbil Ibn Hasana, a friend of Prophet Muhammad’s, may have been the person who called for the building’s construction.

Professor Cytryn-Silverman concluded that the findings at Tiberias indicates a tolerance for other faiths by early Islamic leaders, as reported by The Guardian. She stated: “You see that the beginning of the Islamic rule here respected very much the population that was the main population of the city: Christians, Jews, Samaritans. They were not in a hurry to make their presence expressed into buildings. They were not destroying others’ houses of prayers, but they were actually fitting themselves into the societies that they now were the leaders of.”

Katia Cytryn-Silverman excavates the mosque at Tiberias. Credit: David Silverman

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