I am currently working on my MA interior and spatial design project. i will be posting a different discussion on that in order to get opinions. but for now i would like to know a few things:
what was the function of a spiral minaret? were mosque visitors allowed to walk up the stairs? was there any thing special to see? anythign symbolic behind the spiral minaret other than it was used to call the faithful for prayer? for example the minaret in the Samarra mosque in Iraq.
The malwiyyia of Samarra is basically a minaret which was also called sawma'a ( pl.sawame' ). The fact that Samarra was both a huge military compound and imperial complex ,as well as, the seat of Abbasid caliphate might explain the monumentality and" innovative " form of the Malwiyyia. like many other minarets, calling for prayer and observation are certainly the primary functions of the malwiyyia. To this can be added a will to express the power of the state and it's patron al Mutawakil by evoking a monumental spiral structure closely related to the Iraqi ancient context. In my humble opinion, I dont think that there is any "intentional" symbolism ( transcendental or cosmological..etc.) behind the spiral shape, but who knows what the architect was thinking about!! It is worthy to notice though that it is a clockwise-bottom-up spiral. It is said that ,on inauguration day, the caliph al Mutawakil climbed up the malwiyyia on the back of a white donkey!!
Ahmed Al Awamleh
Zein al Ahmad
The Minaret of Ibn Tulun Mosque, Cairo.
is an good combination of external spiral with minaret.
The purpose is well defied by Ahmed Al Awamleh. same with Ibn-Tulun Mosque.
Although Prophet (P.B.U.H) Mosque wasn't has any minaret but the Ritual of Adhaan was well transformed in the symbol of Minaret throughout the different region, religion & Time. I believe the minaret were exist before Islam with different religious values. but Islam has adopt & transform it into own Ritual. Like The Malwiya Tower/ Minaret of Samarra Mosque is resemble with ancient the ziggurat of ur & Tower of babel in same region.
that is great ! thank you for your valuable respsonses. so i understand there is no known reason for the design. i do understand that the muazzen calls the faithful for prayer from the top of the minaret. but is it true that in the old days they used to also call people for prayer by a torch-lit from the minaret?
i would appreciate your participation in giving your opinions and point of views on my project, i will post the link here once i have it on.
No don't think so, no torches were used for that purpose.
Ahmed Al Awamleh
i thank you all for your responses, i would greatly appreciate if you would participate in the following discussion and help me broadcast it, as i am doing a study on the program of my masters project. your opinions are valuable to the development of the project.