Some Lessons from the Holy Qur’an on Housing

 

Dr. Spahic Omer

2. The house and the subject of privacy

Islam is very firm in calling for privacy protection. However, as one is required to safeguard his privacy and that of his family, he is likewise required to respect the privacy of others. Deliberate invasion of one’s privacy by whatever means and degree is deemed a serious offence with far-reaching consequences. It falls under the category of inflicting harm or damage (darar) on others, which cannot be tolerated in Islam.

 

In some very broad terms and rather indirectly, the Qur’an warns of disrespecting one’s privacy in the following dramatic mode: “O you who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, you would abhor it … But fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-Returning most Merciful” (al-Hujurat, 12).

The Qur’an at the same time provides some suggestions as to how to cure such a menace: “O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and saluted those in them: that is best for you, in order that you may heed (what is seemly). If you find no one in the house, enter not until permission is given to you: if you are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity for yourselves: and Allah knows well all that you do” (al-Nur 27-28).

Hence, seeking permission from the occupants of a house before entering it is a requirement in Islam. Permission is to be sought three times.[1] If after the third time permission is not granted, the visitor is to go back, even if he knew that there were occupants inside the house. The issue of entering houses as highlighted in the verse mentioned above ought not to be confined solely to conventional entering through gateways. It indicates, moreover, having any kind of access to, or penetrative sensory contact with, any division of people’s houses and from anywhere.

That the house in Islam is its occupants oriented, and that seeking permission prior to entering it from, as well as saluting, those in it is only for securing their own good, wellbeing and interests, testifies the following verse which comes after the above-mentioned verses. According to it, the requirement of seeking permission before entering uninhabited houses due to some legitimate goals that one may have, is put aside, because, obviously, that would be superfluous and no harm thus could be generated to anyone. Allah says: “It is no sin in you that you enter uninhabited houses wherein you have your necessaries; and Allah knows what you do openly and what you hide.” (al-Nur, 29)

Indeed, since the human body has its own ‘awrah (private parts which must be covered) which can be revealed only to a few, likewise the house has its own ‘awrah, that is, restricted and classified aspects, which can be seen and used only by certain categories of people and at appointed times. This is so because the house serves as the physical locus of human life. Some activities of the residents of a house can be shared with others, other activities are meant for the residents of a house alone, and yet many other activities in a house are neatly divided along the lines of gender, age and the domestic status of its residents. Thus, each and every house ought to be planned and designed in order to cater for the complex needs of its residents.[2]

If some parts of man’s and woman’s body are private and if certain activities of theirs are to be carried out secretly, then the sections of the house which serve as a framework for such activities are to be secret and restricted too. If every human being is an inner independent world resplendent with feelings and cravings, then the house also is to be an inner autonomous world most fitting for the expression or satisfaction of such feelings and cravings. To outsiders, the latter signifies as much a mysterious and elusive realm as the former. Not more than a few persons can make their way into either of the two worlds unearthing their cherished treasures. The house is a treasure many aspects of which are never accessible to the public. Even visitors, despite the Islamic unparalleled emphasis on hospitality, do not enjoy the absolute freedom of movement inside their host’s house which the house design and the arrangement of spaces inside it emphatically enforce.[3]

It follows that it is an Islamic requirement that house designs promote the protection of human privacy. If people do not really care about the ‘awrah of their bodies and what implications such has for their activities, they would not care about the ‘awrah of their houses either. In the same vein, if they are aware of the importance of the ‘awrah of the body and its implications for their domestic activities, people will certainly care about the ‘awrah of their houses as well. Hence, the house is always to be viewed as a means for the fulfillment of some high, noble and venerable life objectives.

According to Sayyid Qutb, there are many types of ‘awrah.[4] The ‘awrah of the body is just one of them. There is an ‘awrah (restricted and classified areas or aspects) in food, clothes, furniture, etc. Virtually, every human activity at certain times and under certain conditions contains some aspects which people do not like to be freely exposed to the public eye. There is also an ‘awrah in human emotions and the conditions of the soul. People certainly do not like themselves and things related to them to be seen by others unless they are clean, beautified, orderly and “prepared” for the public interest.[5]

Sayyid Qutb also asserted that Allah made houses as places of rest and quiet. In them, the human mind and soul take refuge from all the troubles and anxieties that may beset men, not only from outside the house’s realm but also — symbolically rather — from any angle or direction of this terrestrial world. The house is capable of all this provided it “becomes a safe haven which cannot be infringed upon except with the knowledge and permission of the house’s family members, and at the times which only they deem appropriate, and under those circumstances which they see as suitable for others to meet them.”[6]

The Qur’an uses the term “’awrah” in the three following contexts: 1) the many types of ‘awrahs of women (al-Nur, 31), 2) the three times of privacy (three ‘awrahs) for parents inside the house when the rest of the inhabitants inside it, including children, must seek permission before entering their room (al-Nur, 58), and 3) in relation with the hypocrites of Madinah who alleged that their houses were “’awrah”, that is to say, they were exposed, vulnerable, unprotected and in great danger, so they had to go back to their houses using it as an excuse so as not to join the Prophet (pbuh) and the rest of Muslims for an impending military conflict: “and they were not exposed; they only desired to run away.” (al-Ahzab, 13)

Indeed, it is because of this significance, purpose and function of the house in Islam, and how the ‘awrah of the house exists only because of the existence of the many types and levels of ‘awrah in the lives of its occupants, many of which the house is expected to meticulously treasure and guard, that the quoted verses on seeking permission prior to entering people’s houses is followed by the comprehensive verses about people’s modesty, lowering their gazes, guarding their private parts, and the ‘awrah of the body of the believing women and who exactly can see what and how much thereof. Allah says: “Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts; that is purer for them; surely Allah is Aware of what they do. And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or those whom their right hands possess, or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known; and turn to Allah all of you, o believers, so that you may be successful.” (al-Nur, 30-31)

In the same vein, the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) have been instructed to keep maximizing the roles and functions of their houses, while unreservedly enjoying comfort, privacy and security in them. Their houses were to be transformed into the centers of learning and spiritual upbringing for the members of the ahl al-bayt (the Prophet’s family), from where all the other Muslim houses and households were bound to benefit. “And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former times of ignorance; and establish regular prayers, and give Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, you members of the Family (ahl al-bayt), and to make you pure and spotless. And recite what is rehearsed to you in your houses, of the Signs of Allah and His Wisdom: for Allah understands the finest mysteries and is well-acquainted (with them).” (al-Ahzab, 33-34)

However, whenever they leave their houses for whatever legitimate reasons, that is, whenever they step from the private to the public realm where a different set of rules apply, the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) – and indeed all the believing Muslim women – have been instructed to be vigilant so that the potential hazards of the outside world are successfully kept at bay. The transit from the inner domestic to the outer public world is regarded as a serious matter in Islam. Thus, with the intention that its impact is curbed, relevant measures have been put in place. The object of those measures “was not to restrict the liberty of women, but to protect them from harm and molestation.”[7] Allah says: “O Prophet, say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they let down upon them their over-garments; this will be more proper, that they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (al-Ahzab, 59)

“O wives of the Prophet, you are not like any other of the women; If you will be on your guard, then be not soft in (your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn (should be moved with desire); and speak a good word.”(al-Ahzab, 32)

It stands to reason and as a small digression, based on the discussion above, that the Prophet (pbuh) was allowed, divinely instructed and guided, to marry more wives than anybody else, eleven in all, because, among other things, that way the Islamic community was to have the privilege of enjoying a number of sources of knowledge, especially with reference to such important practical issues as the family institution, the house and its functions, privacy, husband-wife and parents-children relationship, etc., but which are governed by the strict rules and regulations of privacy. If the Prophet (pbuh), for example, had only one or two wives, and not eleven, then there would have existed only one or two, and not eleven, sources of knowledge for the Islamic community to benefit from in more than a few extremely important fields of knowledge and practical dimensions of Islam, a comprehensive way of life. In that case, moreover, educating the Ummah (Islamic community) would have been too heavy a burden for the Prophet’s one or two wives to bear.

This was so owing to the significance of the house and family institutions and how they function in Islam, on the one hand, and owing to the fact that the Prophet (pbuh) is the role-model and a principal source of revealed knowledge to Muslims, on the other. Hence, the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) have been instructed, as in one of the verses cited above: “And recite what is rehearsed to you in your houses, of the Signs of Allah and His Wisdom.” (al-Ahzab, 34) “The Signs of Allah” means the Qur’an, and “His Wisdom” means the Sunnah or the established religious practices and daily routines of the Prophet (pbuh). The wives of the Prophet (pbuh) were commanded not only to recite to and among themselves, but also to convey to the rest of the believing Muslim community what knowledge and wisdom have been rehearsed and practiced, and how exactly, in their houses, so that the rest of the Muslim houses too could fast evolve into the dynamic centers of learning and spiritual upbringing. That knowledge and wisdom, just like any other, was not to be concealed, knowingly or otherwise, from anybody. In Islam, there is no such thing as a form of knowledge or wisdom that is irrelevant or trivial. The Muslims looked up to the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) for inspiration, knowledge and guidance in so many topics on housing and the family institution, during the life of the Prophet (pbuh) and afterwards, and they delivered. They were such remarkable educators of the community. This educational role of the Prophet’s wives appears to be implied in them being called by the Qur’an (al-Ahzab, 6) as the Mothers of believers (Ummahat al-Mu’minin).

No wonder then that the issues of privacy, seeking permission before entering people’s houses, the overall function of houses, dress code, lowering gaze, ethics of verbal communication, all-purpose modesty, etc., are all interconnected and often grouped together in the Qur’an. They are seen as the integral parts of a comprehensive whole called Islamic moral values, which aims to create and sustain, hand in hand with the belief system and the prescribed religious rituals of Islam, a strong, pure, cultured and progressive Islamic society.

Islam is so concerned about the subject of privacy that house plans and designs must not lead to, or encourage, the intrusion of privacy even among family members, among family members and visitors, and among visitors themselves. Allah says in the Qur’an: “O you who believe! let those whom your right hands possess and those of you who have not attained to puberty ask permission of you three times; before the morning prayer, and when you put off your clothes at midday in summer, and after the prayer of the nightfall; these are three times of privacy for you; neither is it a sin for you nor for them besides these, some of you must go round about (waiting) upon others; thus does Allah make clear to you the communications, and Allah is Knowing, Wise. And when the children among you have attained to puberty, let them seek permission as those before them sought permission; thus does Allah make clear to you His communications, and Allah is knowing, Wise.” (al-Nur, 58-59)

This is one of the reasons why children when they come of age should have their own separate rooms. Children of different genders are to be separated too. According to Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the message of these two verses is general, meaning “all in the house, including the stranger within your gate, must conform to these wholesome rules (on privacy).”[8]

3. Peaceful and Constructive Coexistence with the Environment (the Houses of Bees, Ants and the Spider)

The house serves to man as a shelter on earth partly to accommodate and facilitate his earthly mission, and partly to afford him a safe environment to live in. Thus, the house to man is not an end in itself; it is just a means as well as the ground for the implementation of his noble purpose on earth. There is much more to the house than its structural components. It personifies as much the physical as the ontological and spiritual dimensions of existence. Certainly, this has been clearly suggested to man in the instances where the Qur’an refers to the houses or habitations (buyut, plural of bayt, or masakin, plural of maskan) of some other terrestrial creatures, such as the bee, the ants and the spider, with which man shares this earth and which man normally places on quite a low level in the hierarchy of animate or inanimate things that surround him. The three mentioned kinds of animals — it could be safely asserted — represent the whole animal kingdom, if not the whole ecosystem, in terms of deriving and applying the spiritual lessons from their accounts.

About the bee and how they were instructed by their Creator to make their habitations or houses, Allah says: “And your Lord revealed to the bee saying: make hives or houses (buyut) in the mountains and in the trees and in what they build (human built environment). Then eat of all the fruits and walk in the ways of your Lord submissively. There comes forth from within it a beverage of many colors, in which there is healing for men; most surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect.” (al-Nahl, 68-69)

About the ants and how on an occasion they were advised to enter their shelters or houses (masakin) lest Prophet Sulayman (Solomon) and his army crush them while passing by, the Qur’an says: “Till, when they reached the Valley of the Ants, an ant exclaimed: O ants! Enter your houses lest Solomon and his armies crush you, unperceiving. (al-Naml, 18)

Furthermore, the Qur’an compares the acts of associating other gods or patrons with Allah (shirk) with the spider and its frail house, affirming that just as the house which the spider builds for itself is the frailest of houses, so is associating other beings with Allah a baseless delusion, the biggest crime and an exploit that brings no good or benefit to its benefactor. The Qur’an says: “The parable of those who take protectors other than Allah is that of the spider, who builds (to itself) a house; but truly the flimsiest of houses is the spider's house;- if they but knew.” (al-‘Ankabut, 41)

From the instances where Allah in diverse contexts mentions the habitations, shelters or houses of bees, ants and the spider, the following four conclusions could be made. How important those conclusions and messages are, shows the fact that the three Qur’anic chapters wherein the verses we refer to are mentioned have been named after the animals to which the references are made. The three chapters in question are: al-Nahl or the Bee, al-Naml or the Ants, and al-‘Ankabut or the Spider.

Lesson one: man and the environment

As the vicegerent on earth, man must coexist peacefully with all the animate and inanimate beings with which he shares the earth. In all his actions, initiatives and achievements, man must afford the highest level of respect and appreciation for his surroundings. Man is bidden to duly enjoy his rights and dutifully discharge his responsibilities on earth, but also to ensure that other creatures unhindered enjoy their rights and discharge their responsibilities. The whole creation, including man, constitutes a macro-web whose parts are neatly interwoven, drawing and depending on each other for their survival. They all originated from One God and Creator and are sustained by Him. Thus, to Him alone, all acts of submission and worship are due. If man has a purpose on earth, so is the case with every other portion of the earth and the entire universe. In a nutshell, man's rights over his natural surroundings are the rights of sustainable use based on moderation, balance and conservation. The rights of man’s natural surroundings over man, on the other hand, are that they be safe from every misuse, mistreatment and destruction.[9]

This close and peaceful coexistence between man and his natural surroundings is clearly implied in Allah’s words “…and in what they (people) build (i.e., human built environment)” when He revealed to the bee the settings for its habitations and houses, which would be at times in the mountains and trees and at other times in the elements of human built environment. Since this revelation to the bee is part of the Qur’an, the comprehensive revelation of Allah to man, man’s responsibilities towards not only bees but also towards all animals and the rest of the constituents of nature with which man lives and interacts, taking from them and giving to them in return, is unmistakably spelled out. The relationship between man and the surrounding flora and fauna is to be reciprocal.

Also, the concern of ants that Prophet Sulayman and his mighty army might unintentionally harm them, suggests the extent and seriousness of man’s responsibilities towards the environment. Man’s honorable title and his civilizational achievements will account for naught if he destroyed the natural contexts in which he operated. The habitations and houses of animals must be guarded and sustained by man so that they function as their genuine shelters and refuge against the drawbacks of both nature and man’s misjudgments, which can be intentional or otherwise, just as human houses or habitats are to function in the same way. Man, as Allah’s trustee on earth, must always work towards this balanced and sustainable scenario. In fact, such represents a chief goal of man’s earthly mission. Islam teaches that no slightest harm (darar), to anybody and anything, and under all circumstances, is to be inflicted.[10]

Lesson two: human houses and the environment

The second lesson is closely related to the first one.

Man must bear in mind that as he is a permanent member of the macro web of creation, likewise his houses, no matter how complex and sophisticated they might be, in term of their plan and design as employing the latest building materials and technology, and in terms of their function as accommodating the most sophisticated and stylish sedentary and elegant lifestyles of man – the house, after all, is an ecological thing. This means that human houses – just like any other architectural piece and expression — in order to be created, man must borrow diverse natural ingredients, such as space, water, clay, timber, stone and other readily available in nature minerals, placing the newly created or built elements back into the existing natural contexts. In other words, human houses, and the total of human built environment, is in so many ways the parts and ingredients of the natural environment that have been borrowed, utilized, cleverly manipulated and processed.

Man’s houses and the natural environment are inseparable, at both the conceptual and practical planes. The environment holds enormous potential and diversified resources which are meant only for man, Allah’s vicegerent on earth. They are to be seen as the facilities which facilitate each and every facet of man’s fleeting stay on earth. The environment is to be seen by man as an “ally” or a “partner”, so to speak, in the execution of his earthly mission. Thus, when building houses, or any other edifices, man first and foremost must be concerned about how the end result of his efforts will stand out when juxtaposed with the existing universal setting, a result of heavenly artistry, in terms of both function and outward appearance: will it complement or contrast with it; will it go well with it, or will it appear as if something of a misfit, oddity, or even offensiveness?

The natural environment is to be perceived simultaneously as both an obstruction and help. Therefore, while creating his built environment, man must seek both to invite nature’s support and to force back its perils. In case of housing, if atmospheric phenomena and the geography of the housing site are given due consideration, the placements and forms of houses in relation to their sites with an arrangement of its axes and inner spaces, are bound to be turned into some effective devices for controlling ventilation, sanitation, heating and cooling. Such houses, surely, will then become very safe and comfortable for living. They will be far less susceptible to the discomfort and drawbacks caused by certain environmental factors than such as were neglectful of the same matter. It goes without saying that some of the most prominent characteristics of the houses in Islam must always be the following: they are heavily loaded with the Islamic spirituality; they are economic and safe; they are users friendly; they are environment friendly; and, they are sustainable.

However, in order for man to achieve this state of affairs, when it comes to peacefully and productively coexisting with the natural environment, man, principally, must equip himself with an adequate knowledge about Allah, his own self and the environment. Only the adequate and abundant knowledge in man leads to the creation of a judicious and responsible attitude and conduct towards the environment. The knowledge is the cause, the attitude and conduct are the effect, and both the built and natural environments, in turn, are the target and field for the implementation of the latter. One of the excellent ways to acquire the needed knowledge and wisdom is to contemplate and “read” the natural environment within the conceptual framework provided by Allah and His revealed Word to mankind. It is because of this that Allah’s words about bees, their houses and their relationship with man are wrapped up by the following: “…most surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect.” (al-Nahl, 69)

Also, for the same reason, indeed, the Qur’anic exposition about the spider (al-‘ankabut) and its house is concluded with the following words: “…if they but knew.” (al-‘Ankabut, 41) Moreover, the two verses that follow the parable of the spider and its house are even more emphatic in their meaning and style with regard to the real knowledge and the environment as one of its main sources. Firstly, Allah discloses that it is Him who is most wise and most knowledgeable. Hence, the revelation given to man through prophets by virtue of it originating from Allah and His infinite knowledge must be regarded as the best and most authoritative guidance to man. Allah says: “Surely Allah knows whatever thing they call upon besides Him; and He is the Mighty, the Wise.” (al-‘Ankabut, 42).

In the second verse following the parable of the spider and its house, Allah says that only those people who have the proper knowledge, which originated from and is inspired by the revelation, can rightly see and understand life and its vast treasures. The parable of the spider and its house signifies one of the many examples that Allah gives in the Qur’an so that people can come back to their senses and rectify and sharpen their vision of themselves and the life’s manifold realities, in the process creating a desirable cultural and civilizational legacy. Allah says: “And such are the parables We set forth for mankind, but only those understand them who have knowledge.” (al-‘Ankabut, 43)

It stands to reason, therefore, that the environment and proper dealings with it stand for a source of man’s spiritual and intellectual enlightenment on condition that man’s treatment of it is right. According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr, the environment, in a sense, participates in revealing Truth to man. It is in fact a revelation itself. Thus, in addition to having the composed or written Qur’an (al-Qur’an al-tadwini) there is a cosmic or ontological “Qur’an” (al-Qur’an al-takwini) as well. Both revelations complement each other, as it were, in furnishing man with the necessary substance so as not to let him betray the trust of productively inhabiting the earth which he had wittingly accepted. It follows that those who fully submit to the divine Will and read, understand and apply the written or revealed Qur’an, they easily see upon the face of every creature “letters” and “words”, or messages, from the “pages” of the cosmic Qur’an. For this reason are the phenomena of nature referred to in the Qur’an as signs or symbols (ayat), a term that is also used for the verses of the Qur’an.[11]

Lesson three: the physical and spiritual strength of the house

The house must be safe and strong structurally. In terms of its function, however, it must satisfy and accommodate the needs and requirements of its users. The mission of the house must correspond with the mission of its residents. It mirrors, upholds, facilitates and promotes it. Only when the vision, orientation, purpose and functions of the house and its users are based entirely on the notion of tawhid (the Oneness of Allah), can a house be described as strong, good, or functional. A house which is short of this calling or function is to be perceived as frail, hollow and malfunctioning.

Hence, it goes without saying that if the house is to serve to man as a shelter and private sanctuary against the physical threats from the outside, be they natural or man-generated, it likewise is to serve as a spiritual shelter against the threats of faithlessness, wrongdoing and all of their protagonists. The house is to be both physical and spiritual threats resistant. Moreover, it is to function as an incubator of all goodness and morals, and to aim at producing the people who in their thoughts, words and other life initiatives will epitomize such morals and goodness. Indeed, as per the mentioned parable in the Qur’an according to which the acts of associating other beings with Allah (shirk) are likened to the spider's house, the flimsiest of houses are those houses which at their conceptual, physical or functional level are founded upon, breed and uphold the crime of taking protectors other than Allah, which, in fact, is the fountainhead of all forms of sin and spiritual failings that man may end up doing. Irrespective of how strong structurally such houses might be, they are still deemed as fragile, hazardous and inapt. Their harmful aspects and features by far outnumber and outdo the useful ones.

Lesson four: the house and man’s earthly mission

Man must remain faithful to his honorable earthly mission of vicegerency (khilafah). The house, as an educational and family development center, is instrumental in upholding the role of man on earth. Man is not to succumb under any circumstances to the advances of his animal lusts and desires. In case he does, man will then sink to as low a rank as animals. Instead of living gracefully on earth as its vicegerent, man will then live miserably spending his tenure on earth but in pursuing the lowest of goals, i.e., in satisfying his animal desires and lusts. The habitat of man, as a consequence, will be turned into an avenue for the pursuing of his despondent life objectives. It will contain far less substance, meaning and ontological worth than any of the houses of animals. About the condition of those who turn away from Allah and His guidance, Allah says: “…they have hearts with which they do not understand, and they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear; they are as cattle, nay, they are in worse errors; these are the heedless ones.” (al-A’raf, 179)

As a final point, the gist of all the four lessons explained above, that is, the peaceful and consequential coexistence between man and the flora and fauna, on the one hand, and between human habitats and the flora and fauna, on the other, and the spiritual significance of the house phenomenon which is strongly connected with the purpose and mission of man on earth — all this is unmistakably implied in the following Allah’s words: “…and (Allah) made for you, out of the skins of animals, (tents for) dwellings, which you find so light (and handy) when you travel and when you stop (in your travels); and out of their wool, and their soft fibers (between wool and hair), and their hair, rich stuff and articles of convenience (to serve you) for a time. It is Allah Who made out of the things He created, some things to give you shade; of the hills He made some for your shelter; He made you garments to protect you from heat, and coats of mail to protect you from your (mutual) violence. Thus does He complete His favors on you that you may bow to His Will (in Islam).” (al-Nahl, 80-81). Certainly, it is not a coincidence that this divine proclamation on the benefits which man draws from his natural surroundings, from the matters concerning his habitat to the wellbeing of his own self, come after the proclamation of Allah that it was Him who made human houses “homes of rest and quiet for you” (al-Nahl, 80) — the words which have already been quoted in the context of the house functioning as a shelter and private sanctuary to man. Therein the reliance of man, human habitat and the environment on each other in order that the purpose of existence of each and every one of them is made possible and facilitated in a triangle of faith, worship and the highest level of spiritual representation and meaning, is readily apparent.

 


[1] Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Ikhtasarahu al-Sabuni Muhammad ‘Ali, (Beirut: Dar al-Qur’an al-Karim, 1981), vol. 2 p. 596.

[2] Spahic Omer, The Origins and Functions of Islamic Domestic Courtyards, p. 229.

[3] Ibid., p. 229.

[4] Sayyid Qutb, Fi Zilal al-Qur’an, (Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq, 1982), vol. 4 p. 2508.

[5] Ibid., vol. 4 p. 2508.

[6] Ibid., vol. 4 p. 2507.

[7] Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, English Translation of the Meanings and the Commentary, see the commentary of the verse no. 59 from the al-Ahzab chapter (surah).

[8] Ibid., see the commentary of the verses no. 58 and 59 from the al-Nur chapter (surah).

[9] Abd-al-Hamid, Exploring the Islamic Environmental Ethics, in: Islam and the Environment, edited by A. R. Aqwan, (New Delhi: Institute of Objective Studies, 1997), p. 59.

[10] Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Ahkam, Hadith No. 2331

[11] Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islam and the Environmental Crisis, in Islam and the Environment, p. 17.

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