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Minbar vs. Mimbar — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Urooj Arif — Updated on May 4, 2024
Minbar and mimbar refer to the same architectural element in a mosque, a pulpit used by the imam during sermons.
Minbar vs. Mimbar — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Minbar and Mimbar


Key Differences

The terms "minbar" and "mimbar" are essentially different transliterations of the same Arabic word, which denotes the pulpit in a mosque from which sermons are delivered. While "minbar" is more commonly used in English, "mimbar" represents an alternative spelling that reflects another valid phonetic interpretation from Arabic.
Both terms describe a raised platform or a series of steps leading up to a seat or standing area, used primarily during the Friday sermon, known as the Khutbah. The design and complexity of the minbar or mimbar can vary significantly depending on cultural influences and the architectural period.
The minbar or mimbar is positioned to the right of the mihrab—the niche that indicates the direction of Mecca, which Muslims face during prayer. This placement emphasizes its importance in the mosque as a focal point for the congregation during sermons.
The use of the minbar or mimbar is reserved for the imam or a designated speaker, underscoring its role in Islamic ritual and practice. It serves not only as a practical feature for speech delivery but also as a symbolic platform elevating the words of the sermon.
In terms of cultural significance, both the minbar and mimbar hold the same esteemed status across various Islamic communities. They are often ornately decorated, reflecting the artistic and spiritual values of the mosque's community.

Comparison Chart


Pulpit in a mosque used during sermons
Pulpit in a mosque used during sermons

Spelling Variation

More common transliteration in English
Alternative transliteration reflecting different phonetic interpretation

Cultural Significance

Central to mosque architecture and Islamic ritual
Identical to minbar in terms of cultural and religious significance

Usage in Sermons

Used by the imam during Friday Khutbah
Same usage as minbar, no difference in function

Artistic Design

Often ornately decorated depending on the mosque
Same as minbar, varies by cultural and period influences

Compare with Definitions


A pulpit in a mosque for delivering sermons.
The mosque’s minbar is beautifully carved from walnut wood.


Elevated pulpit used by imams.
He spoke from the mimbar, addressing the congregation.


Elevated platform for the imam.
The imam ascended the minbar to begin his sermon.


Alternative spelling for a mosque’s sermon pulpit.
The new mosque features a mimbar made from imported marble.


Located beside the mihrab.
The minbar stood regally to the right of the mihrab.


Holds the same symbolic importance as minbar.
The mimbar is crucial for the religious rituals of the mosque.


Architectural feature in mosques.
The mosque’s architecture is centered around its ornate minbar.


Adjacent to the mihrab area.
Positioned next to the mihrab, the mimbar was prominently displayed.


Symbolic in Islamic practices.
The minbar represents a place of authority within the mosque.


Reflects mosque's artistic values.
The mimbar’s intricate designs reflect the community's artistic heritage.


A minbar (Arabic: منبر‎, also pronounced mimbar and romanized as mimber) is a pulpit in a mosque where the imam (leader of prayers) stands to deliver sermons (خطبة, khutbah). It is also used in other similar contexts such as in a Hussainiya where the speaker sits and lectures the congregation.


A pulpit in a mosque from which the leader of prayers delivers the khutbah.


An elevated platform near the mihrab in a mosque, from which the sermon is delivered during services.


A pulpit in a mosque, usually shaped like a small tower, where the imam stands to deliver sermons.

Common Curiosities

Are minbar and mimbar used differently in any context?

No, minbar and mimbar are used interchangeably and refer to the same architectural feature in a mosque.

What is the significance of the location of the minbar/mimbar in a mosque?

The minbar/mimbar is usually placed to the right of the mihrab to signify its importance and to be clearly visible to the congregation.

What does mimbar mean?

Mimbar is an alternative spelling of minbar, representing the same concept of a sermon pulpit in a mosque.

Are there rules regarding who can ascend the minbar or mimbar?

Generally, only the imam or designated religious leaders are permitted to ascend the minbar or mimbar during formal sermons.

How does the minbar/mimbar enhance a sermon?

The elevation of the minbar/mimbar helps project the imam's voice and makes him more visible to the congregation, enhancing communication during the sermon.

What is a minbar?

A minbar is a raised pulpit in a mosque from which the imam delivers sermons, particularly during the Friday Khutbah.

How are minbar and mimbar typically designed?

The design of minbar and mimbar can vary, but they are often ornately decorated to reflect the mosque's architectural and cultural significance.

Can anyone use the minbar or mimbar?

Typically, only the imam or a designated speaker uses the minbar or mimbar during sermons.

Can the design of a minbar/mimbar reflect the region of the mosque?

Yes, the design of a minbar/mimbar often reflects the cultural and artistic traditions of the region in which the mosque is located.

Why is the minbar/mimbar important in a mosque?

The minbar/mimbar is important as it provides a raised platform for the imam to deliver sermons, facilitating better communication and visibility.

Is there a difference in the symbolic meaning of minbar and mimbar?

No, both terms carry the same symbolic meanings related to authority and religious practice in the context of Islam.

How old is the tradition of using a minbar/mimbar in mosques?

The tradition dates back to the early years of Islam, with the first minbars appearing in mosques in the 7th century.

What materials are used to construct a minbar or mimbar?

Minbars and mimbars are constructed from a variety of materials, including wood, marble, and stone, often chosen for durability and beauty.

How do minbar and mimbar contribute to Islamic architecture?

The minbar and mimbar are integral parts of Islamic architecture, contributing to the aesthetic and functional aspects of mosque design.

Do all mosques have a minbar/mimbar?

While most mosques, especially those used for communal prayers, have a minbar or mimbar, some smaller or less formal prayer spaces might not.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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