[PICTURES] Ancient Mosque dating back to Prophet (PBUH)’s companions unearthed in Occupied Palestine

The mosque is situated on the outskirts of the city of Tiberias, which overlooks the western shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel's Northern District.

(David Silverman and Yuval Nadel)

One of the world’s most ancient mosques has been unearthed by a team of archaeologists on the Sea of Galilee’s shores in Israel.

Vestiges of the mosque. (Rafael Langier Goncalves)

The mosque remains were found beneath the ruins of a building initially identified as from the Byzantine period.

It might have been established as early as A.D. 635 by Shurahbil ibn Hasanaؓ, a companion of the Prophet Muhammed ﷺ, who was a commander of the Muslim forces that conquered the Levant in the seventh century.

The mosque is situated on the outskirts of the city of Tiberias, which overlooks the western shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel’s Northern District.

The discovery was revealed last week in an academic conference after 11 years of unearthing by a team led by Katia Cytryn-Silverman of HUJI (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem).

Archaeologist Katia Cytryn-Silverman at the excavation site of the mosque. (David Silverman)

The site was previously unearthed in the 1950s when a peristyle was discovered and identified as a marketplace from the late Byzantine period.

However, later excavations disclosed pottery shards and coins from the early Islamic period.

Together with the building’s foundations’ multilevel structure, archaeologists have pointed to the site having Islamic origins.

Archaeologists had earlier determined the remains of an eighth-century mosque, but further digs revealed that the structure was a century older.

Historians already know the older mosques’ location, yet they lie hidden beneath existing mosques where archaeologists are unable to access them.

The oldest known remains of a mosque were unearthed east of Baghdad in the ancient city of Wasit and dated to A.D. 703.

Nevertheless, the Israeli archaeologist team believes that the mosque uncovered in Tiberias was built decades earlier and possibly founded by Shurahbil ibn Hasanaؓ, a commander of the army that conquered the area.

“We can’t say for sure that this was Shurahbil’s,” said Dr. Cytryn-Silverman.

“But we do have historical sources that say he established a mosque in Tiberias when he conquered it in 635.”

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