Islamic architecture as a means, not an end (Continued)
Islamic architecture means a process that starts from making an intention, continues with the planning, designing and building stages and ends with achieving the net results and how people make use of and benefit from them. Islamic architecture is a fine blend of all these stages which are interlaced with the tread of the same Islamic worldview and Islamic value system. It is almost impossible to single out a tier in the process and regard it more important than the rest. It is because of this conspicuous spiritual character of Islamic architecture, coupled with its both educational and societal roles, that the scholars of Islam never shied away from keenly addressing a number of issues pertaining to various dimensions of residential, mosque and communal architecture within the scope of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh islami). The relevant issues are discussed under different headings such as: legal rulings in connection with neighbours and neighbourhoods (ahkam al-jiwar), reconciliation (al-sulh) between immediate neighbours and all the people in a neighbourhood, people’s individual and collective rights, prohibition of inflicting harm (darar), legal rulings pertaining to building (ahkam al-bina’), and public services and facilities (al-marafiq). All these issues undoubtedly play a significant role in shaping the identity of Islamic architecture. They are either directly or indirectly related to conceiving, designing, forming and using Islamic architecture. Since architecture is people’s art greatly influencing their moods and the day-to-day life engagements, the same issues concerning architecture are studied as part of exhaustive encyclopaedic works on Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh islami).