The Al-Ashraf Mosque (Arabic: مسجد ومدرسة الأشرف برسباي) or Sultan al-Ashraf Barsbay’s Madrasa / Mosque is a historic mosque and madrasa complex located in Cairo, Egypt. It was built during the Mamluk Sultan Al-Ashraf Al-Barsbay rule, in 1424 AD. It is a cruciform four-iwan design dedicated to Sufis who, according to a traditional madrasa structure, wanted to study the four rites of Islamic law. This madrasa is an important figure in understanding the change in function and form of religious institutions in Burji. Its design features the mosque, which incorporates marble and stained-glass windows. The mosque is twenty by fifteen meters long. the inside of the mosque consists of pavements fabricated from marble mosaic, a middle aisle with raised iwans on either side. The southeast wall of the mosque is where the mihrab and minbar are located. The minbar is decorated while the mihrab is a smaller amount of ornamented compared to the opposite features of the mosque. During this period the simpler mihrab may have served as a reflection of the Sufi brotherhood modesty. The chamber of the tomb is illuminated by unique colored windows of glass and is located on the north side of the mosque. The cenotaph of Barsbay is situated right in front of the mihrab and is made of marble.
It has been suggested that there’s no mihrab within the madrasa’s mausoleum because accommodating one would have left no room for a window on al-Mu’izz Street, which might have deprived the tomb of its crucial visual contact with the road. The mihrab, a highly decorative element that underscored the mausoleum’s religious character, is here replaced by the passersby ‘s blessings. Owing to the essence of the construction craft and the relative immobility of builders compared to other craftsmen, the Al-Ashraf Mosque retains a pronounced regional identity as the visual exterior is tied to customs and technique. The main inscription round the vaulted iwans may be a rare example of a deed carved in stone, meant to function a perpetual reminder to the building’s overseers how currency reserved for maintenance and personnel was to be spent. This feature points to a way of transparency and communication between the Sultan and also the people of Cairo. The Al-Ashraf Mosque complex incorporates a public prayer room, religious instruction areas, and a grave dedicated to its founder. Founded by Mamluk Sultans, the religious complexes doubled as symbols of power and magnificence, and as a way of giving back to the public. In 1979 the complex was listed as part of Historic Cairo as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.