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1680s, from French minaret, from Turkish minare "a minaret," from Arabic manarah, manarat "lamp, lighthouse, minaret," related to manar "candlestick," derivative of nar "fire;" cf. Hebrew ner "lamp" (see menorah).
(Arabic: "beacon"), in Islamic religious architecture, the tower from which the faithful are called to prayer five times each day by a muezzin, or crier. Such a tower is always connected with a mosque and has one or more balconies or open galleries. At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the call to prayer was made from the highest roof in the vicinity of the mosque. The earliest minarets were former Greek watchtowers and the towers of Christian churches. The oldest minaret in North Africa is at al-Qayrawan, Tunisia. It was built between 724 and 727 and has a massive square form