Ibn Tulun Mosque is a historic mosque in Cairo; it is situated in Sharia Al Saliba built by Ahmad Ibn Tulun. The mosque is a rare architectural expression of the cultural hegemony of Samarra, Ibn Tulun's home. It is built entirely of well-fired red brick faced in carved stucco; it has ziyadas and a roof supported by arcades on piers. The present off-center, spiral stone minaret with a mabkhara finial (the ribbed helmet carried on an open octagonal structure) is a rebuilding by Sultan Lajin of 1296.

Built by Ahmed Ibn Tulun in 879 (265 H), the Ibn Tulun Mosque in the Sayyedah Zeinab district has an atmosphere of tranquillity unlike that of any other mosque in the city. Ahmed Ibn Tulun was sent to govern Cairo by the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad, which explains the Mesopotamian influence. It is the oldest original mosque and the largest in Egypt.

It incorporates a number of unique features, such as the external spiral staircase of the unusual minaret (the only one of its type in Egypt) which is similar to the famous Samarra Mosque in Mesopotamia. Its design is simple, consisting of an open sahn with an ablution fountain in the center, surrounded by four riwaqs, the largest being the Qiblah riwaq. There are five naves on the Qiblah side (the side facing Mecca), and two on the remaining sides.

The building style follows that of the Abbasid type, characterized by pilasters on which slightly pointed arches are applied, and which have a slight inward curve at the bottom. The rectangular building surrounding the sahn has a rampart walk and the high walled additions (Ziyyadahs) are found on the south, west and north. Within the prayer niche, or mihrab, constructed of marble and gilted mosaic and bordered by four columns with leaf like crowns, is a wonderful pulpit, or minbar of 13th (Mameluke) century origin.

Many of the 13th century restorations were carried out by Sultan Lajin, who at one point took refuge in the mosque and vowed to restore it. The stone carvings on the interior walls are elegant and the designs of the rondels {128 latticed windows made of gypsum are distinct and unusual. Running around the interior of the four arcades are original Koranic inscriptions carved in sycamore. It was used as a military hospital by Ibrahim Pasha during the 19th century and was later used as a salt warehouse and beggar's prison prior to its restoration in 1918.

Ibn Tulun founded a new royal city on an outcrop of rock called Jabal Yashkur near the Muqattam range to the northeast of al-Fustat, razing the Christian and Jewish cemetery that was located on the hill to do so. This was a site to which many legends were attached: it was believed that Noah's ark had landed here after the flood, and that here God had spoken to Moses and Moses had confronted Pharaoh's magicians; nearby, on Qal'at al-Kabsh, Abraham had been ready to sacrifice his son to God. The city that Ahmad ibn Tulun built was called al-Qata'i', 'the wards,' descriptive of the allotments in which each group of his followers settled.

In 905, when the Abbasids reestablished control, the city was destroyed and plowed under. Of its magnificence and scale all that survives is the mosque that formed its center. The mosque served as the new congregational mosque, replacing the Mosque of 'Amr, which was too small to accommodate the troops of Ibn Tulun.

Directly from his palace, or Dar al-Imara, which once stood adjoining the mosque on the qibla side, Ibn Tulun could enter the sanctuary via a door to the right of the minbar. This mosque was used for Fatimid ceremonies during the month of Ramadan. It was damaged when used as a shelter for pilgrims from North Africa to the Hijaz in the 12th c., but restored and refounded with madrasa-type functions by 'Alam al-Din Sanjar al-Dawadar at the behest of Mamluk Sultan Lajin in 1296. (Lajin had been one of the accomplices in the assassination of Sultan al-Ashraf Khalil ibn Qalawun, and while hiding in the deserted mosque, he vowed to restore it should he escape.)