Tunisia: Home of the Minaret

Day 13 – Tunisia, Home of the Minaret

A minaret is the tower located next to a mosque, from which the call to prayer is traditionally delivered. Mosques can have one or several minarets and their various shapes are influenced by local taste.

The oldest standing minaret in the world is in the grand mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia. It’s shape was inspired by the famous lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt and it became a prototype copied all over the Muslim world.

Note: the English word minaret derives from manara, or “light tower” in Arabic.

Tunisians may not immediately come to mind as the greatest inventors, but this small country of 11 million inhabitants has generated many other lasting concepts – from the word “trinity” (coined by Tertullian in Carthage around 200 AD), to a theological reinterpretation of Muslim tradition to abolish polygamy in law and fact (spearheaded by Tahar Haddad around 1930).

Politically, when Tunisians demonstrated in 2011 that autocrats could be ousted peacefully, the Arab, Kurdish & Turkish world orders were tossed upside down by this concept! Tunisia offered the unlikely example that a somewhat secular democracy could be wrestled back from political islamists without a coup (the 2015 Nobel Prize rewarded this “proof of concept”).

Spiritually, some 21st century Tunisian scholars have collaborated or publicly endorsed Bible translation efforts, which has had great impact in many nations, encouraging Muslims to engage with the Bible.

How to Pray

+ Pray for Tunisia to continue as a leading example in this region of peace, freedom and prosperity.

+ Pray that Tunisians would overcome social pressures and that interest in Jesus would become common.

+ Despite Westernized elements of culture, most Tunisians define themselves as Arabic-Muslim. Pray for Christ-followers who are in the process of understanding how to follow Jesus in the culture they belong to.

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