Hi, my name is Tim. I am studying architecture in Germany. During working in the Netherlands I got interested in the topic of mosque architecture, as in Germany it is still at its beginning. Resulting my final project will be a mosque design in a dutch town. It is difficult for a non muslim to deal with a complex theme like that.So apart from literature about symbolism, tradition and history I would like to hear very personal opinions about what a mosque should be like to find out emotional aspects of creating a place of worship.
Simplicity for a Muslim to pray `salah' 5 times a day rely on the `kiblat' orientation, a piece of cloth on the floor (if you have) and location is not important - as long as the prayers are performed. Alike to most religion in the world, Islam strives for immateriality - alike to Buddhism, Christian and others. Over years, human needs over powered all religious teaching or philosophy, the idea of grandeur, exuberance and richness were displayed and demonstrated in utmost wealth. The gold leaves in most Roman Catholic Doumo in Italy to Malaysian Grand Mosque of Shah Alam. Though Muslims are not required to offer prayer inside a mosque, but according to `hadith��, offering prayer in congregation at a mosque is considered more virtuous than offering prayer alone. Friday prayers at a mosque would be considered as an honour; `Jumuah��. Which is alike to Sunday prayers for the Christians? There are great deals of similarities between Islam and Christianity �� especially in the spiritual emotions involved which goes down to the fundamental aspect of gaining `faith��.
The best reference point for you might be Christianity�� I personally believe that all religions meant well, it is the people and human��s misinterpretation, fanaticism and delusion that pollute righteous teachings. Like the 911 incident, a real Muslim would have never done that.
However, do look into the rules and etiquette in Mosque design, where even adaptive reuse of other structure and building has to oblige. There are:- 1. Prayer leader 2. Cleanliness 3. Dress 4. Concentration 5. Gender separation 6. Non-Muslims in mosques
It is a difficult challenge, but I think it is possible for a non-muslim to creat a perfect place of muslim worship (masjid), if: 1. He/She studies the form & function of "salat"(prayer) & mousque, by attending muslim rites (specially in 5 "salat" times) not only through books, internet &... Also there is some simple religious rules in mousque design. 2. But about finding out emotional aspects, maybe it is simplest! He/She just must refer to his/her self (human nature, mettle?) which is called "fetrat" in Quran(bible of muslims). Based on Quran, all of human beings are united in this aspect (fetrat).
Yes, it is possible. It is intellectually possible. Also I think many same examples there exist in the history of Islamic archhitecture.
Mahdi Raeisi Nafchi
Take a look at all of the past discussion threads on Islamic architecture and mosque design. There are also many interesting articles in the Digital Library. I would start with Arkoun's essay entitled Spirituality and Architecture.
Why dont you try to develop a concept that can enable all the human beings believing in one of the three main religions to pray in just one religious building?
Maybe just one big space covering all the functions following different rituals of the different religions, or different spaces for each religion and common meeting halls that create opportunies for people from different religions to communicate just in one united religious building...
I do think that architecture has enough power to create such a great unity.
Kind Regards, bs
Thanks to all of you,
Bahri Saka, you mentioned an interesting aspect which was also discussed in a forum with the title "more than a mosque" opened by the architect Ergun Erkocu (memardutch). My project might be a first step into this direction, linking "secular" functions of a mosque with city/community functions to create a base for integration and exchange. Next step would be your congregational place for all religions.Europe now is still too far away from this ideal;...and is it one?