Islamic Architecture
The Great Mosque of Cordoba & The Great Mosque of Makkah
Salamu Alaikum & Hello,
I am a student at Jan Długosz Academy in Częstochowa in Poland. My faculty is fine arts. This year I will be writing a final book about the history, architecture, and beauty of The Great Mosque in Makkah, which will be the most important part of my studies, and most of all, the most breaking moment in my life �� Insha'Allah. I will also write about another mosque, The Great Mosque of Cordova in Spain. It will be a method of architectural comparison of the two. The quality of the book will decide of passing my studies, and therefore, taking a new path in my life - my mission to teach Islam.

I am a brand-Muslim, the only one at my academy. Through my work I wish to try to teach people Islam, show them that it is good, and that it should never be discriminated. It is very necessary, especially nowadays. As I said earlier, I am the only Muslim student at my as far as I know. I need to point that I need resources that will help me write a book with about 200 pages or more. Therefore, I need very detailed materials.

I am writing to ask about sharing with ANY books, plans of the building, maps, periodics etc. - ANYTHING that I can use to write my book? Long writings should be in English or Polish only. Any subwritings on pictures may be in any languages. Are there any people, organizations etc. that are willing to help me, and with whom I can contact?

I am writing because I would love to go to Makkah or Cordova to work up to fiacademy. What is more, I do not know any Muslims in Poland. This is because Poland is mostly Catholic, and there are not many specific resources on the subject of Islam and NONE of The Great Mosque in Mecca nor The Great Mosque of Cordova - ve months, from June until October 2005. Of course, my working there will both let me have a great experience in a new job, see and get many resources about The Great Mosque in Mecca or The Great Mosque of Cordova. Please, let me know if you are able to help me with finding any job, practice or training there. I am attaching my CV with this letter.

I am writing to ask if you know of any scholarship I could get that I will use for getting more resources from around the world, and, if possible later, to edit and multiply it for the bookstores? I cannot afford books nor any materials. I will be able to send any documents needed to prove my good will. Please, let me know as soon as possible. In case of not being able to receive anything I will be forced to change the subject of my book, and what will be the most painful for me, my mission to show the goodness of Islam to a big number of people.
Hamdullah for reading this letter and learning about my will.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon,
with best regards, As salamu alaykum warahmatullah wa barakatuhu,
Anna Prus-Hassan
Anna Prus-Hassan
The Great Mosque of Cordoba & The Great Mosque of Makkah
Dearest Anna, your determination and enthusiasm are incredibly inspiring for us practicing Muslims :) Thank you for this notice.

Ok, the topic you have chosen can be tackled from soooooooo many perspectives. The first thing you have to bear in mind is that the Mosque of Mecca has changed tremendously ever since it was built as a Muslim mosque. Thus, you have to define which phase it is at which you are doing the comparison. My suggestion would be to focus on the extant building since very little remains of the historical building that would have existed in Mecca at the same time that the Great Mosque of Cordoba was built. You may howwever wish to include a historical overview which is very important.

Another very important factor that you must consider is that the Great Mosque of Mecca IS the qibla and is thus not oriented towards the qible as the Great Mosque of Cordoba is. Moreover, Mecca is the place of pilgrimage and thus this affects the facilities and the size of the mosque.
I am VERY interested in your topic and personal mission, and I am currently completing my MA in Islamic Art and Architecture and am thus familiar with sources that discuss this. I would be very interested to email you some material that I have personally worked on that may be of some help to you, but I will still list some titles that could be interesting just off the top of my head. You can email me at so that I can email you back. Some basic starting sources are below:

The historical mosques of Saudi Arabia / G.R.D. King.

The mosque : history, architectural development & regional diversity/edited by Martin Frishman and Hasan-Uddin Khan ; texts by Mohammad Al-Asad

Islamic architecture : form, function, and meaning Robert Hillenbrand

The art and architecture of Islam 650-1250 Richard Ettinghausen and Oleg Grabar.
The mosque, mirror of Islam/ Roger Garaudy.

La mosquée de Cordoue /C. Nizet. (This is French though)

One thousand roads to Mecca : ten centuries of travelers writing about the Muslim pilgrimage / edited and introduced by Michael Wolfe.(This is more of a personal read though)

The Hajj : the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca and the holy places / F.E. Peters.

Mecca : a literary history of the Muslim Holy Land / F.E. Peters.

Mecca / by Desmond Stewart ; photos. by Mohamed Amin.

Mecca, the blessed : Madinah, the radiant / text : Emel Esin ; photos. by Haluk Doganbey.

This is an excellent book about the modern architecture of the Msoque of Medina: The architecture of the prophet's holy mosque, al Madīnah / written by members of a committee, headed by Muḥammad Kamal Ismā��īl ; edited by Salma Samar Damluji.

As for travelling, Im not sure if you are aware, but you can only enter Saudi Arabia with a mihrim, which is male relative who you cannot marry such as your brother, father, uncle, grandfather, or somebody you are married to, i.e. your husband. If you are above 45yrs old however, you may enter Saudi Arabia without a mihrim. Moreover, you cannot step into the boundaries of Mecca or Medina unless you are Muslim and thus you have to have documents to prove that you have officially embraced Islam. And this is also one of the reasons why you do not find lots of Western literature about architecture in Mecca and Medina - you do however find lots in Arabic.

I would thus suggest that you try to find travel options in Spain. You may try applying to grants, and The Barakat Trust may be a place to try ( You may also check if your university offers such options.

I go to AUC, American University in Cairo, and we have an excellent library on Islamic architecture, which may also be a useful resource if you would consider stopping by Egypt. The great thing about Egypt is that we are a really cheap country compared to all others and we also have LOTS of mosques.

I urge you to please email me asap since I have a lot of advice but it all depends on what you have to say. :)
Sara Sharaf


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