The Mamluki Lancet Mosque: Bridging Tradition and Modernity

Designed by Babnimnim Design Studio, the Mamluki Lancet Mosque in Al-Masayel, Kuwait, seamlessly blends classical Egyptian architecture with contemporary design principles, offering a spiritual and functional sanctuary for the local community. By Nikitha Sunil Vallikad

Situated in the tranquil residential neighbourhood of Al-Masayel, Kuwait, the Mamluki Lancet Mosque, also known as the Adlah Mohammed Abdulrahman AlBahar Mosque, stands as a living testament to the seamless blend of historical reverence and contemporary innovation.

This architectural marvel was meticulously crafted by Babnimnim Design Studio, a firm celebrated for its ability to infuse traditional elements with modern sensibilities. Led by Jassim AlSaddah , Babnimnim Design Studio has firmly established its reputation as a pioneer in creating spaces that resonate with cultural significance while addressing contemporary needs.

The Significance of Mamluki Mosques

“The Mamluki Lancet Mosque is an embodiment of our philosophy at Babnimnim,” says Jassim AlSaddah, founder of the studio. “We strive to create designs that honour historical significance while innovating for the future.”

Originating from the Mamluk Sultanate era (1250-1517), Mamluki mosques are renowned for their intricate geometric designs, grandiose forms, and profound symbolism. Unlike other Islamic architectural styles, Mamluki mosques often feature muqarnas—ornate, honeycomb-like structures that elegantly transition the weight of domes to the supporting walls. This design not only serves a structural purpose but also embodies the celestial and the divine, creating a spiritual experience through architecture.

Tradition Meets Innovation

The Mamluki Lancet Mosque’s architectural concept is deeply rooted in the rich tapestry of Islamic tradition. At its core, the design draws inspiration from the muqarnas and the Islamic Star, symbolising unity and a divine connection.

The mosque is composed of five distinct masses, each representing one of the five daily prayers in Islam. This thoughtful arrangement not only honours religious practices but also creates a visually dynamic structure. The designers at Babnimnim meticulously integrated these elements to craft a space that is both spiritually enriching and visually captivating.

“Integrating elements like muqarnas and the Islamic Star was crucial in maintaining a connection to the mosque’s historical roots,” AlSaddah explains. “Our goal was to create a space that feels timeless yet contemporary.”

Responding to the Locality: Materiality and Context

A key aspect of this mosque’s design is its harmonious relationship with its surroundings. The use of grey stone cladding and white clay plastering pays homage to the historical materials of the Mamluki era, while subtle brass accents introduce a modern touch.

The stone walls provide a sturdy and timeless feel, while the wooden elements add warmth and contrast. This palette of cool greys and whites, enhanced by ornate detailing,

Quranic calligraphy, and meticulous metalwork, bridges the historical with the contemporary, grounding the mosque in its locale while celebrating its heritage.

The open layout and use of various materials likely contribute to the mosque’s acoustics, ensuring that the imam’s voice can be heard clearly throughout the prayer hall. The high ceilings feature a series of linear elements that guide the eye across the space, while the spacious design helps manage sound distribution.

The Majestic Entryway of the Mamluki Lancet Mosque

The grand doorway of the Mamluki Lancet Mosque is a testament to architectural mastery, seamlessly blending traditional Islamic art with a modern sensibility.

From the exterior, the door captivates with intricately carved wooden panels adorned with a geometric pattern of repeating triangular and diamond shapes, creating a dynamic, almost three-dimensional effect. Stepping inside, the grand arched doorway is framed by a softly illuminated archway of smooth, light-coloured stone, imparting a sense of openness and serenity.

The door itself, composed of tall, narrow panels tapering to pointed arches, echoes traditional Gothic and Mamluki styles. Interspersed with blue glass sections, the panels allow natural light to filter through, creating a tranquil ambience. Above, a faceted dome ceiling further accentuates the geometric theme, adding to the overall sense of height and grandeur. The thoughtful combination of natural materials, lighting, and intricate design elements culminates in a space that is both spiritually uplifting and architecturally impressive.

Seamless Interior-Exterior Resonance

As one steps inside, the mosque’s interior reveals a space that is as functional as it is beautiful. The base of the mosque, oriented towards the Qibla, ensures worshippers face the correct direction for prayer. The masses above rotate and transform, culminating in a central half dome that creates an unobstructed, column-free prayer hall. This ingenious design, a hallmark of Babnimnim’s innovative approach, not only enhances the visual appeal but also provides a clear, open space for worship.

Natural Light and Spatial Dynamics

The facade, punctuated by lancet arch cutouts, nods to classical Mamluki mosques. These arches frame windows and structural elements, allowing natural light to filter into the interior. The repetition and variation in size of the lancet arches create a rhythmic play of light and shadow, emphasizing the mosque’s intricate details, from the Thuluth-style Quranic inscriptions to the dynamic massing of the structure. The palm trees juxtaposed against the clean lines of the facade further add a natural element, blending the built environment with its surroundings. Babnimnim’s expertise is evident in these thoughtful design choices, which ensure that every aspect of the mosque serves both aesthetic and functional purposes.

Practical Design for Inclusive Worship

One of the mosque’s standout features is its adaptability to the needs of its worshippers. An adaptable sliding partition discreetly separates the men’s prayer hall from the women’s area, which can be opened during Ramadan to accommodate larger congregations.

This thoughtful design ensures inclusivity and unity, allowing all worshippers to experience the mosque’s serene environment. Similarly, incorporating elements like the water spouts within the aesthetic framework shows a blend of form and function. The presence of brass water spouts suggests that this area may serve as an ablution (wudu) station, where worshippers perform ritual cleansing before prayers. The use of brass adds a touch of elegance and contrast to the stonework, exemplifying Babnimnim’s commitment to integrating traditional practices with modern design.

The Mamluki Lancet Mosque in Al-Masayel, Kuwait, is a remarkable fusion of historical reverence and modern innovation. Designed by the visionary Babnimnim Design Studio, led by Jassim AlSaddah and his team, its design elegantly integrates classical elements with contemporary principles, creating a space that is both spiritually enriching and visually captivating.

Through its thoughtful design and execution, the mosque offers a serene and functional environment for worshippers, embodying the timeless allure of Islamic architectural heritage.


Project Name: Mamluki Lancet Mosque

Architecture/ Design Firm: Babnimnim Studio

Location: Kuwait

Exterior Photos : Mohammed Ashkanani
Interior Photos : Mohammed Alsaad and Nasser Alomairi