The construction of the mosque is attributed to Queen Arwa bint Ahmad al-Sulayhi, who ruled the Sulayhid state of Yemen for the period between 1085 and 1138. When Queen Arwa moved to the city of Jibla in 1087, she ordered the conversion of Dar al-Ezz palace to mosque. The mosque stil retains its architectural and decorative elements of the time which show the extent of the influence of Fatimid architecture.
The complex is rectangular with an open courtyard (17.80 x 20 square meters) in the middle, surrounded by four corridors. The qibla wall is located at the northern hallway. The qibla area is enterable through five entrances on the southern side. It consists of four rows of high columns, some octagonal and some rectangular shaped. The roof is directly covered by the ceiling and the hall is covered with wooden beams dating back to the 11th-century, some of which were renewed in 1358. The southern hallway consists of southern wall with two entrances. The eastern hallway consists of two pillars with pointed columns. On the south-side of the western hallway there is a hall currently used as a madrasa for the memorization of the Quran.
The mihrab is located in the middle of the qibla wall at the northern hallway. It is a simple cavity of about 85cm deep, and topped by a tapered lace on two poles with floral and geometric motifs. The mihrab is surrounded by kufic inscriptions, which reads as follows: "In the name of God the Most Gracious the Most Merciful I accept your Lord and be among the worshipers and not of the ignorant and worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (death)", and decoration of niche from the inside and variety of plant decorations which includes leaves of grapes. On the side of the mihrab there is an inscription written in kufic of script from Surah At-Taubah 18. The mihrab is painted with modern chemical paint.
The mosque has two minarets, one located on south-east, and another on south-west. Eastern minaret consists of a high square stone based body with sixteen ribs.
It was built as ordered by the queen and is located on the north-west corner of the mosque. The site of her tomb was separated from the building of the mosque as she mentioned in her will and told by eyewitnesses and judges. The facade of the mausoleum is adorned with architectural elements, in the form of hollow niches in the eastern wall. Out of four entrances, there are two in the south which have width of 60 cm, height of 1.60 meters and depth of 10cm. The kufic line is engraved with a prominent kufic floral engraving design and Biblical scripts on the façade.
View from Queen Arwa Palace
Continuous running water at Hurrat-ul-Malaika mosque