Islamic Architecture
Architecture based on Qur'an and Sunnah

I'm searching for books and any resources concerning the application of Qur'an and Sunnah in architecture and city planning.

I've got one thesis, "The Mosque as a Community Development Center," by Mohammad Tadjuddin Haji Mohammad Rasdi. Do you have any information about other sources concerning this issue?
Fahdiana Usman
Architecture based on Qur'an and Sunnah
There is a text in the ArchNet Digital Library that cites jurisprudence that effected building codes and requirements in early Arab cities. The publication, entitled "Continuity in a Changing Tradition" is by Saleh al-Hathloul. Also check out the following, which may help you re-frame your approach: "Islamic Architecture: A Debate in Seven Parts"
Shiraz Allibhai
Architecture based on Qur'an and Sunnah
There are also the writings of Mr. Bassim Hakim and the thesis of Mrs. Naima Benkari Boudidah. The former worked on the rite meliki; the latter worked on the rite ibadhi.

Jalel Almawla
Architecture based on Qur'an and Sunnah
I am sorry, but can you tell me more about all this?
Ajmal Mohammed
Architecture based on Qur'an and Sunnah
What about Arabic-Islamic Cities by Besim Hakim? A brilliant work. :)))
Frank John Snelling
Architecture based on Qur'an and Sunnah
Urban Form in the Arab World: Past and Present by Stefano Bianca.

Stefano Bianca, an architectural historian explains some basic principles of Islam and their social implications in the historic Arab Islamic city says: "Perhaps the most significant social implication of Islam was the fact that the strength of its ritualized living patterns dispensed with the need for many formal institutions. A large number of administrative structures which are normally identified with cities -- at least in Europe -- did not develop, simply because society had internalized its structuring constraints, which minimized the need for external controls." Hence, the Muslim "res publica" was not the result of civil rights wrested from oppressive authorities but the outcome of the shared desire to follow certain religiously prescribed patterns of life..."

This might be of help. It is an interesting western point of view.
Talal Almodhayan
Architecture based on Qur'an and Sunnah
Hi Archnet members,

There is a nice book about this subject, but it is written in Arabic, and its name is عمارة الارض (Imarat al-Ard).

It's talking about the modern laws of planning and construction and comparing them with the lifestyle of the Islamic people. The book is very nice.
Mufawek Hawas
Architecture based on Qur'an and Sunnah
My question is about the book (Imarat al-Ard) عمارة الارض. Who is the author, and how can I find it? Thanks for your help,
Amal Cavender
Architecture based on Qur'an and Sunnah
Hi Amil,

The full title of the book is 'Imarat al-Ard fi al-Islam: Muqaranat al-Shari'ah bi-Anzumah al-'Umran al-Wad'iyah and the author is Jamil 'Abd al-Qadir Akbar. It was published in Amman in 1995 by Dar al-Bashir and in Beirut by Mu'assasat al-Risalah. The first printing was in 1992 in Jeddah by Dar al-Qiblah lil-Thaqafah al-Islamiyah.

I got this information from Harvard's library catalogue and you may be able to order it by Interlibrary loan if you are affiliated with a university.

This book is actually a revised version of "The Case of the Muslim City" by the same author, which is available on ArchNet at:
. You can buy copies of this at online bookstores as well. If you must read it in Arabic, I recommend contacting the publishers.

Ozgur Basak Alkan
Architecture based on Qur'an and Sunnah
In response to using both application of Qur'an and Sunnah; and mosque as community center.

...perhaps sources are in the processes and products, rather than in the texts...

1. community centers have long been connected with mosques in North America, beginning in 1920's with the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, mosque, which now has an integrated community centre complex with multi-use facilities attached to the prayer hall.

2. Most large Ottoman mosques were normally connected to a complex of buildings, including schools and hospital (with RandD/scientific laboratory facilities), a food bank/ soup kitchen for the needy, etc..

3. Prophet Muhammed's home was the first mosque, = meeting place and prayer space combined, hosting every imaginable social, political, legal and community activity as well as dwelling for his family, and open to the community 24/7 .

So what's the issue?

Do Qur'an and Sunnah offer any design or technical guidelines? Of course not. From Omar's intervention in Jerusalem to the grand mosque in Damascus, designs were based on Roman and pre-existing Mediterranean building and construction typologies, as were those in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, or back to the original Arabian settlements in Yemen. Later mosque complexes in the East borrowed extensively from Persian and Turkish typologies and elements. To the West, al-Andalous integrated Romanesque along with a multitude of the North African (Tamazight/Berber) elements.

In short, there seems neither any historical correlation nor contradiction between Qur'an and Sunnah and any particular design aspects of a mosque structure designed to function as both meeting place and prayer hall, as well as ancillary functions.

In fact, early generations of Muslims argued over some similar issues, a strong line being taken against making a mosque into a church or temple. Aside from contradictions in modern Saudi architecture and urbanism, the continuation of that argument flowed through Ibn Hanbal to Ibn Tamiyya and Wahabi rejection of ornate "special purpose" mosques as religious spaces. Such separate structures were seen as too much like non-Muslim temples or churches.

Thus, simple, functional and economical non-ornamental structures of plain architecture are good and more Islamic than their opposite, while multi-functional is a bonus.

Referring back to Qur'an and Hadith for inspiration and knowledge is always a good exercise, but not to objectify or reify them into icons. Rather than being iconized, they shoulc be understood as living guides to observing nature and human behaviour as examples of Allah's creation, elements in the larger book of nature (Kitab al-Akbar) from which we all may learn and within which we are all part of the story.

Thus "Islamic" foundations for architecture and urban planning might well begin with observing nature, climate, landscapes, local building materials, fair use of labour and sound economy, and objective analysis of how people use space for socio-economic functions-practices of everyday life. Finally, any input into built environments that enhances social and economic justice, mutual co-operation and a peaceful, secure, respectful and sensible way of life, would all seem to be the essence of "islamic" design.

Thus, Islam is not about separating muslims from non-muslims, rather about integration wherein exemplary life-ways operate to provide lived and livable models of Islamic values.
Jamil Brownson
Architecture based on Qur'an and Sunnah
Jamil, salaam -

"Thus, simple, functional and economical non-ornamental structures of plain architecture are good and more Islamic than their opposite, while multi-functional is a bonus."

May we not have 'just a little ornamentation...?'

But, thank you for explaining about Wahabi views on that. For myself, it was the incorporation of Kufic scriptural designs, more traditional pattern motifs which initially drew me to the mosques. I guess it may become matters of 'intent' - whether ornate coverings are meant to separate or integrate Muslims and non-Muslims. We share a big planet.

ma salemah!
Anthony Stewart


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