• Home
  • Al Nejashi Mosque – Ethiopia Historic Islamic Jewel

Al Nejashi Mosque - Ethiopia Historic Islamic Jewel

Discover the historic Al Nejashi Mosque in Negash, Ethiopia, a hidden Islamic jewel in the heart of Tigray.

Table of Contents

The Al Nejashi Mosque, also known as the Nejashi Mosque, is a historic landmark in Ethiopia with a rich and storied past. Located in the town of Negash, Ethiopia, this mosque holds significant cultural and religious importance for the Ethiopian Muslim community. The name “Negash” itself is derived from “Nejashi,” the title given to the Christian ruler who provided refuge for the early Muslim migrants fleeing persecution in Mecca. The Nejashi Mosque stands as a symbol of religious tolerance and harmony in Ethiopia, making it a must-visit destination for those interested in the country’s diverse history.

A mosque under construction in the desert, featuring the iconic architecture of Al Nejashi Mosque.

Historical Background al-nejashi mosque

Origins and Founding

The Al-Nejashi Mosque, located in the small town of Negash in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, holds immense historical and religious significance. It is considered one of the oldest mosques in Africa, established during the early years of Islam. The mosque’s origins trace back to 615 AD when a group of Prophet Muhammad’s followers sought refuge from persecution in Mecca by migrating to the Kingdom of Aksum in Abyssinia, present-day Ethiopia. The Christian King of Aksum, Ashama ibn Abjar, offered them protection and allowed them to practice their faith freely, marking the beginning of a harmonious coexistence between Muslims and Christians in the region.

The Significance of the Name

The name “Al-Nejashi” is derived from the title given to the King of Aksum, Ashama ibn Abjar, who is referred to as “Nejashi” in Islamic tradition. The title signifies the king’s role in providing sanctuary and support to the early Muslim migrants. This act of kindness and religious tolerance has made the Al-Nejashi Mosque a symbol of peace and interfaith harmony. The mosque not only serves as a place of worship for Ethiopian Muslims but also stands as a monument to the historical ties between Islam and Christianity in Ethiopia.

Architectural Features al-nejashi mosque in ethiopia

Design and Structure

The Al-Nejashi Mosque, located in the small town of Negash in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, is an architectural marvel that stands as one of the oldest mosques in Africa. Its design reflects the rich Islamic heritage and the historical significance of its origins. The mosque features traditional Islamic architecture with a rectangular layout, simple yet elegant minarets, and a large prayer hall. The structure is primarily made of stone, showcasing the durability and craftsmanship of the period. The mosque’s interior is adorned with intricate carvings and calligraphy, adding to its spiritual ambiance. The mosque’s design not only serves religious purposes but also acts as a testament to the cultural and historical ties between Ethiopia and the early Muslim community.

Recent Renovations

In recent years, the Al-Nejashi Mosque has undergone several renovations to preserve its historical and architectural integrity. These efforts have been supported by both local and international organizations, including the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA). The renovations have focused on restoring the mosque’s structural stability, refurbishing the minarets, and enhancing the interior decorations. These improvements ensure that the mosque continues to serve as a place of worship and a historical landmark for future generations. The restoration work has been sensitive to the original design and materials, maintaining the mosque’s authentic appearance while incorporating modern techniques for preservation.

Cultural and Religious Importance In the muslim world

A Center for Islamic Scholarship

The Al-Nejashi Mosque in Ethiopia stands not only as a historical monument but also as a significant center for Islamic scholarship. Established in the 7th century, it has been a beacon of Islamic education and learning for centuries. Scholars from various parts of Ethiopia and beyond have visited and studied at the mosque, making it a hub for the dissemination of Islamic teachings and principles. The mosque’s role in promoting education and religious knowledge underscores its importance in the Islamic world. The rich tradition of learning associated with the mosque has helped preserve and spread Islamic culture and values in the region.

Pilgrimage Site

The Al-Nejashi Mosque is also a revered pilgrimage site for Muslims. Many believers consider it one of the most sacred places in Ethiopia due to its historical significance as one of the first mosques in Africa. Pilgrims visit the mosque to pay their respects and connect with the early history of Islam. The site is particularly significant for Ethiopian Muslims, who see it as a symbol of their deep-rooted Islamic heritage. Every year, thousands of pilgrims flock to the mosque, especially during significant Islamic events and holidays, reinforcing the mosque’s role as a spiritual center. The pilgrimage to Al-Nejashi Mosque not only strengthens the faith of individual believers but also fosters a sense of community and continuity among the Muslim population.

Al Nejashi Mosque Today

Current Role and Activities

Today, the Al Nejashi Mosque remains a vibrant center of religious and cultural activities. It serves as a place of worship for the local Muslim community and is an important site for religious education and community gatherings. The mosque continues to play a crucial role in the lives of Ethiopian Muslims, providing a space for daily prayers, Quranic studies, and religious celebrations. Its historical significance draws scholars and religious leaders who come to connect with the rich heritage of Islam in Ethiopia. Additionally, the mosque is actively involved in various community services, offering support to those in need and fostering a sense of unity and purpose among its followers.

 Visitor Information

For those planning to visit the Al Nejashi Mosque, it is located in the small town of Negash, in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. The mosque is approximately 770 km north of the capital, Addis Ababa, making it accessible by road. Visitors are welcomed to explore this historic site, where they can appreciate its architectural beauty and immerse themselves in its profound history. It is advisable to dress modestly and respectfully when visiting, as the mosque is an active place of worship. Guides are available to provide detailed tours and insights into the mosque’s significance and history. The best time to visit is during the cooler months, from October to March, when the weather is pleasant for travel and exploration.


Al Nejashi Mosque stands as a remarkable testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of Islam in Ethiopia. As one of the earliest mosques in Africa, it continues to serve as a vital center for worship, community activities, and religious education. Visiting this historic site offers a unique opportunity to connect with Ethiopia’s deep-rooted Islamic traditions and witness the enduring legacy of peaceful coexistence. Whether you are a scholar, a pilgrim, or a curious traveler, the Al Nejashi Mosque provides an insightful and inspiring experience that highlights the significance of this sacred place in the heart of Tigray.


Frequently asked questions

  • What is Al Nejashi Mosque?

    The Al Nejashi Mosque, also known as Nejashi Mosque, is a historic Islamic monument located in Ethiopia in the Tigray region. It holds significant importance in Islamic history and is revered by Ethiopian Muslims as a symbol of their faith.

  • When was Al Nejashi Mosque built?

    The construction of Al Nejashi Mosque dates back to the early days of Islamic history, around the year 615. It is believed to be one of the oldest mosques in Africa and holds deep historical roots.

  • Who built Al Nejashi Mosque?

    According to tradition, the mosque was built by followers of the Prophet Muhammad who sought refuge in Ethiopia to escape persecution from the Quraysh tribe in Mecca. The mosque stands as a testament to the early Islamic presence in the region.

  • What is the significance of Al Nejashi Mosque?

    Al Nejashi Mosque holds great historical and religious significance as it is believed to be the first mosque in Africa. It symbolizes the coexistence of different faiths and the early spread of Islam beyond the Arabian Peninsula.

  • Where is Al Nejashi Mosque located?

    The Al Nejashi Mosque is located in the town of Negash in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. It is situated in close proximity to the capital city of Addis Ababa, approximately km from the capital.

About Author
A cheerful Hanan Akmel, a woman with curly hair, smiling brightly at the camera.
Hanan Akmel( SAAS SEO Specialist )

Meet Hanan Akmel, our SAAS SEO Specialist with a rich experience of 5 years in enhancing online presence for diverse clients. With a passion for digital landscapes and a keen eye for search engine trends, Hanan excels in crafting strategies that significantly boost search engine rankings and user engagement. Her expertise lies in seamlessly integrating technical SEO with content-driven approaches, ensuring a holistic growth for her clients’ digital footprint.

Subscribe to stay up-to-date with Ethiopia

Get the Free monthly newsletter