Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design
International Islamic University Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +603 2056 5248
Fax: +603 2056 4864
Introduction: conceptualizing Islamic architecture
Islamic architecture is an architecture whose functions and, to a lesser extent, form, are inspired primarily by Islam. Islamic architecture is a framework for the implementation of Islam. It facilitates, fosters and stimulates Muslims’ ‘ibadah (worship) activities, which, in turn, account for every moment of their earthly lives. Central to Islamic architecture is function with all of its dimensions: corporeal, cerebral and spiritual. The form divorced from function is inconsequential. This, however, by no means implies that the form plays no role in Islamic architecture. The form is important, but in terms of value and substance it always comes second to function and its wide scope.
Since Islamic architecture is a synthesis of the permanent spiritual disposition of Islam and the relative exigencies of the corporeal world, it had to demonstrate carefully the Islamic ways of dealing with things and issues brought about by the assertion of Islam on the world stage. It had to synthesize the two poles of existence, that is, the permanent and the temporary, while honoring and clearly delineating their respective domains and, at the same time, emphasizing the scope and areas of their mutual reliance and cooperation. This made the total identity of Islamic architecture appear to have been progressing very slowly in history, which, however, by no means is to be viewed as a snag. Islamic architecture was progressing steadily and confidently, whether slowly or rapidly such was of no relevance. It had to rise to the challenges posed by the Muslim tasks of the internationalization of the Islamic call, out-and-out Islamization, integration and co-existence with other cultural and civilizational systems. In the process, the purity, appeal and pragmatism of Islam, which Islamic architecture duly symbolizes, had to be preserved at all costs. Any deviational tendency, be it from within or without, at either the conceptual or the technical plane, and at the hands of patrons, engineers, builders or users, had to be unreservedly confronted and completely weeded out. That was a matter of safeguarding Islam and the wellbeing of the Muslim community through the safeguarding of the meaning, significance and roles of genuine Islamic architecture.
Islamic architecture promotes unity in diversity, that is, the unity of message and purpose, and the diversity of styles, methods and solutions. Certainly, this renders Islamic architecture so relevant and dynamic, and so consistent and adaptable. It is such a fascinating subject to study, for doing so is not about sheer art and architecture. It is more than that: it is about beholding the Islamic ideology and creed at work. It is about witnessing a microcosm of Islamic society, civilization and culture. Islamic architecture is about Islam taking up a manifest form.
The identity and vocabulary of Islamic architecture evolved as a means for the fulfillment of the concerns of Muslim societies. Islamic architecture was never an end in itself. It was the container of Islamic culture and civilization reflecting the cultural identity and the level of the creative and aesthetic consciousness of Muslims. Architecture, in general, should always be in service to people. It is never to be the other way round, that is to say that architecture should evolve into a hobby or an adventure in the process imposing itself on society while forsaking, or taking lightly, people’s identities, cultures and the demands of their daily struggles. Architecture, first and foremost, should remain associated with functionality. It should not deviate from its authentic character and stray into the world of excessive invention and abstraction.
The Qur’an and the Prophet’s sunnah (traditions) as the foundation of Islamic architecture
Concerning the area of architecture, the role of both the Qur’an and the Prophet’s sunnah is to provide the Muslims with an inspired outlook on life, in general, and on those issues that are pertinent to architecture, in particular, and with some broad rules of morality and guidelines of proper conduct which may or may not be directly related to architecture. Upon such a divine outlook and general principles and guidelines Muslims are invited to establish architectural theories, systems and styles that are consistent with both their religious preferences and the requirements of their diverse eras, geographic regions, cultures and other practical needs. Islamic architecture is a symbiosis between constancy, which is represented by the constant innate inclinations of essential human nature and the heavenly guidelines and rules meant for it, and inconstancy, which is necessitated and controlled by the time and space factors. It is the latter that changes while the former is continual and remains firm.
Indeed, this is the thrust of Islamic architecture’s powerful identity. Due to it, Islamic architecture was able to rise above the precincts of the geographic and cultural contexts in which it was planted. Due to it, furthermore, Islamic architecture was able to transcend the restrictions of the historical moments during which it was fashioned outliving the generations of its engineers, craftsmen and users. Islamic architecture with the ideals that it personifies dominates its people and their thinking patterns. It is never the case that the people subjugate to their wishes and control the world of Islamic architecture. When that happens, that spells out a drastic degeneration of Islamic architecture which can lead to its end.
Islamic architecture likewise enlightens and inspires. Some of its facets can be inspired by a fine and purified vision, philosophy and thought approved by the Islamic consciousness which are then fully Islamized and made subservient to the same Islamic consciousness. However, there is no segment of Islamic architecture which can be inspired by such ideas and attitudes as stem from the sources that are contradictory to the source from which Islamic architecture originates, that is, revelation in the forms of the Qur’an and the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Such would be a blasphemous act and an act of gross injustice towards the Muslim users of the concerned segments of architecture.
Islamic architecture declined struggling to retain its conspicuous identity only when its two defining aspects were traded, that is, when the sacred in Islamic architecture became compromised and was regarded as a transient and man-generated legacy, and when either a building system or a style of an age or a geographic region became excessively venerated and was regarded as a sole inspiration and guidance, or when a complete detachment from the religion of Islam and its civilization occurred and an inspiration and guidance were sought from foreign sources. It follows that successfully reviving the real meaning and vigor of Islamic architecture depends on properly conceptualizing its basic notions and its ideological framework, which then must be followed by finding and actualizing appropriate strategies and methods for it.
The roles of the Qur’an and the Porphet’s sunnah in shaping the identity of Islamic architecture are as follows:
- The Qur’an and sunnah afford a perfect guidance on how Muslims are to perceive creating, using and possessing architecture. Such is an integral part of the total Islamic worldview. The two holy sources also educate on the importance of architecture and its purpose in life. The goals of architecture are seen as closely linked to man’s life purpose and goals, and are treated as such. The two in fact complement each other.
- The Qur’an and sunnah afford sets of general values and principles which are central to the body of Islamic architecture: from the ideological and abstract aspects concerning the philosophy of Islamic architecture to the practical and tangible ones concerning the functions of many of its components. If one expects to find in either the Qur’an or the sunnah a concrete formula for designing a dwelling or a mosque, for example, one is then seriously misguided.
- The Qur’an and sunnah with their approach to architecture serve as an everlasting source of inspiration and a catalyst for matchless ingenuity. And the two notions: inspiration and ingenuity, are fundamental to every successful architectural story. For instance, the Qur’an and sunnah do not speak about how to design a house entrance and windows, but they speak about the issues which are pertinent to the subject of the house entrance and windows. Nor do they speak how to organize inner spaces inside a house, but they speak about many issues which are related to that particular subject. Nor do they speak about the ways mosques are to be designed, but they speak about mosque activities and many other issues that are pertinent to the mosque and so must be considered when designing mosques. Nor do they speak about how to make buildings environment friendly, but they are very much eloquent about the meaning and significance of the environment and our many duties towards and rights over it. Nor do they speak about how to make buildings perfectly safe, secure and clean, but they are categorical in establishing safety, security and cleanliness among the most important principles in Islam.
These are only some examples where the contents of the Qur’an and sunnah can function as the sources of inspiration and the catalysts for creativity. This however is to be seen as just a starting point from where a Muslim architect sets off to express himself architecturally and create such architectural forms that he deems most suitable insofar as his spiritual inclinations and life interests are concerned, using the same divine guidance as a point of reference for authorization whenever an architectural accomplishment is made. This divine arrangement renders the idea of Islamic architecture ever alive and applicable. It also signifies God’s acknowledgment of the talent and potential possessed by man, God’s vicegerent on earth, which, after all, are God-given.
- The Qur’an and sunnah, apart from being a divine guidance, also serve as a powerful restraining force every time people develop a tendency to lose their way and start using architecture as both a means of and field for committing certain evil practices. Since architecture is a powerful and effective medium for expressing ideas, status, reputation, personal and social achievements, etc., it has a potential to be both abused and misused at the hands of its designers, patrons, builders and users, proportionately to the extent of their deviational tendencies. Hence, in Islam such wrongdoings as squandering and extravagance, showing off, arrogance, ungratefulness, greed, jealousy, corruption, environmental destruction, discriminating against people and immoral competition, all of which can easily find a breeding ground in an erroneous architectural vision and style, are regarded as grave sins punishable by severe punishments on the Day of Judgment.
- The Qur’an and sunnah speak of many examples of some past nations’ experiences in relation to quite a few aspects of architecture, thus furnishing us with many invaluable lessons. Those examples cover virtually the total human history from the first man and prophet on earth, Adam, to the events related to the prophetic mission of the second last prophet, ‘Isa (Jesus). The examples of past nations’ experiences at times focus on believers and at other times on the wicked. The two threads are interwoven into what is called the historical aspect of the Qur’anic mu’jizah, the miracle or sensation. The Qur’an proclaims: “There is, in their stories, instruction (lesson) for men endued with understanding. It is not a tale invented, but a confirmation of what went before it, a detailed exposition of all things, and a guide and mercy to any such as believe.” (Yusuf, 111)
- The sunnah and to a much lesser extent the Qur’an shed light on how the Islamic broad vision of architecture, and the notion of development in general, was translated onto reality when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the first generation of Muslims developed the city of Madinah, the prototype Islamic city, from an oasis with a few loosely interrelated settlements to a cohesive and dynamic city. Undoubtedly, this is the most comprehensive and at the same time emphatic dimension of the sunnah and somewhat the Qur’an in their capacity as the foundation of Islamic architecture. In it, one can find something on virtually every aspect of the true character of Islamic architecture, either explicitly or implicitly. This was the case because notwithstanding its simplicity, the physical form of the city of Madinah presented to the Prophet (pbuh) and the first Muslims the first physical locus of the first actualization of the Islamic message. The experiences of the Prophet (pbuh) and those around him thus overflow with lessons on a wide selection of issues relating to architecture. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a universal personality and so must be taken as an excellent example in all matters: “You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the Final Day, and who remember Allah much.” (al-Ahzab, 21)
The roles of the Qur’an and the Prophet’s sunnah in shaping the identity of Islamic architecture can be summarized in the following concepts: education, guidance, inspiration, thrust, point of reference and contentment. It follows that any recipe for reviving Islamic architecture must address firstly the subject of the Qur’an and sunnah as the conceptual base, which will then be followed by mastering the building technology and engineering of the day, and by duly answering the requirements of the general circumstances of a given age and a geographic zone.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the enterprise of building
Since architecture is indispensable to life and to man’s fulfillment of the vicegerency mission on earth, it occupies a remarkable place in Islam. It is a collective obligation. Islamic architecture is not an end in itself, it is a means by which another end embodied in a set of cosmic goals is to be achieved. Thus, when making use of and judging an architectural expression, our interactive experiences with it must take into consideration not only what can be seen and felt by the five senses but also an architecture’s intelligent and spiritual sides which are discernible only by a sixth sense. Architecture is not only to be looked at, it is also, and that is more important, to be experienced, felt and emotionally attached to.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) viewed architecture neither as a sheer religious ceremony nor a completely and solely secular business. In fact, it is a combination of both, in that Islam is a complete way of life and there is no human activity in Islam that is ever devoid of a spiritual connotation, as well as in that there is no religious ritual that is directly linked to any architectural activity. Hence, based on the Prophet’s legacy the following seems to be an appropriate assessment of how Islam looks at the subject of architecture.
In Islam, building activities, in principle, can be classified as permissible, warranting their executors no reward or penalty. However, no sooner does the same become misconstrued and mishandled, violating, in turn, some of the divinely prescribed norms and principles, then it becomes either recommended against (makruh) or prohibited (haram), depending on the severity of the contravention. In contrast, if observing the objectives of Islam and its message is meant foremost to be realized through architecture, the whole thing then becomes highly commendable and thus rewarding. In other words, erecting buildings becomes an act of worship (‘ibadah) whereby one duly discharges some of the duties entrusted to him as a vicegerent on earth. It follows that architecture in Islam is valued based on its function, a vision and mission that it exemplifies and the impact that it makes on people.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has said and done a lot of things that can be related to architecture, explicitly or implicitly. He did so in different contexts and under different circumstances. He did so at times as an educator and leader, at other times as an ordinary citizen and user, and yet at other times as an active protagonist and participant in the field. He sometimes wanted to advise a person, not the whole community, and at other times he wanted to establish a principle which was binding then and upon everyone without exception, and which will be binding forever. He often and in matters concerning religion and his duties as a prophet acted under the divine guidance of revelation, in which case he was unquestionably infallible and his actions and judgments perfectly flawless, but at times and in some sheer worldly matters he acted using his own discretion in isolation from the revealed word, in which case the Prophet’s infallibility and the flawlessness of his actions and judgments have not been absolute.
Thus, if one studies the Prophet’s, i.e., Islam’s, attitude towards architecture, one must be very careful taking into account and scrutinizing all the issues mentioned above. The plain spiritual is not same as the plain secular. An action of the Prophet (pbuh) in his capacity as the Messenger from God is not like an action in his capacity as an ordinary human and citizen minding his own business and the business of his household. A counsel for a person in a situation is not necessarily always a counsel for everyone in all situations. The temporary is not equal to the permanent, and the absolute is not equal to the relative. Indeed, anything short of a universal and systematic approach to studying the Prophet’s life, both his words and actions, would mean a recipe for failure that is bound to trigger a confusion and myriad misconceptions. This does not apply only to the theme of architecture but also to any other cultural and civilizational sector. Perhaps therein lies a secret of why there is such an amount of confusion and misunderstandings among so many people when it comes to understanding the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
The following features and experiences of the Prophet (pbuh) concerning the building pursuit typify his attitude towards architecture as explained earlier:
- Building mosques for Allah,
- Mosque decoration,
- Building activities over graves,
- Building houses,
- Some of the Prophet’s disapproving traditions on building
1. Building mosques for Allah
The Prophet (pbuh) has said: “He who built a mosque for Allah, Allah would build a house for him like it in Paradise.” Based on this and many other traditions, plus the Prophet’s personal practices, building mosques, thus seeking the pleasure of Allah so that people’s collective worship is facilitated, is one of the most desirable and so rewarding activities. Mosques vary in size and function: from simple places meant for a small group of people to perform collectively their daily prayers to large and impressive masterpieces that function as both the catalysts and centers for the development of community.
Building mosques out of societal needs falls within the category of wajib or obligation. It is an Islamic dictum that if an obligation (wajib) cannot be performed without something, the latter then becomes an obligation (wajib) as well. Undeniably, an obligation is providing Muslim communities with places for collective worship and other beneficial communal activities. Without them, Muslim communities would be unable to assert themselves and perform their expected roles.
Building mosques is also considered as an act of lasting charity (sadaqah jariyah), that is to say, he who builds or takes part in building a mosque will have his good deeds being recorded even after his demise, as long as the effects of his actions in the form of the mosque built and its functions are extant on earth. The Prophet (pbuh) spoke a lot about the concept of the lasting charity (sadaqah jariyah). In a tradition of his, he referred among other things to building mosques and houses for travelers as forms of the lasting charity.
Since the dawn of Islamic civilization, Muslims hastened to build mosques whenever even slight needs arose. As a result, mosques with their minarets and domes emerged as the most dominant elements in the skyline of Muslim urban and rural settlements. The language of Mosque architecture likewise emerged as the most prevailing in the total organization of Islamic architecture. In fact, the language of mosque architecture came first into being as most complete, which then was modified and incorporated as much as possible into the rest of Islamic built environment’s elements.
Certainly, due to this significance of the mosque institution, the first thing that the Prophet (pbuh) did upon migrating from Makkah to Madinah was building a mosque, the Prophet’s mosque. Such was the first initiative in the Prophet’s Madinah urbanization scheme. Everything else, such as building houses and providing a market for Muslim business activities, had to be put on hold till the completion of the Prophet’s mosque which functioned as a community development center. No wonder then that while building his mosque in Madinah with his companions, the Prophet (pbuh) praised the involvement of every individual promising them a handsome reward for that. He, for example, even assured a companion ‘Ammar b. Yasir a double reward for carrying in the process two bricks at one time: one for himself and the other one for the Prophet (pbuh), while others carried one.
The Prophet (pbuh) directed his companions to create mosques in their quarters and to cleanse and odorize them on special religious occasions. He even consented to the idea of his companions earmarking some spaces meant for worship in their houses. Such spaces served symbolically as private mosques, places of prayer and other forms of worship. The Prophet (pbuh) is said to have graced some of such places by personally praying in them. Of the first instructions that the Prophet (pbuh) used to give to the visiting tribes that professed Islam was to build, liven up and maintain mosques in their respective communities.
The mosque institution is the nucleus of believers’ existence. It is a reflection of their attachment to the ideals that the mosque exemplifies, which are the ideals of Islam. Throughout the history of mankind, the mosque constituted an epitome of the never-ending struggle for supremacy between good and evil. The notion of administering and preserving the position and mission of the mosque institution and who is best qualified for the task is comprehensively encapsulated in the following Qur’anic verses: “It is not for such as join gods with Allah, to maintain the mosques of Allah while they witness against their own souls to infidelity. The works of such bear no fruit: in Fire shall they dwell. The mosques of Allah shall be visited and maintained by such as believe in Allah and the Last Day, establish regular prayers, and pay Zakat, and fear none (at all) except Allah. It is they who are expected to be on true guidance.” (al-Tawbah 17-18)
2. Mosque decoration
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has said that Allah is beautiful and that He loves beauty. It is for this that the whole of Allah’s creation has been designed and created according to the highest heavenly standard of splendor, beauty and order impossible to be ever emulated by anyone. Man, the vicegerent on earth, is beautiful too. He has been created “in the best of moulds.” (al-Tin 4) Creating and appreciating beautiful objects and experiences is a passion instinctive to man. Given that Islam is a natural and logical religion, it opposes neither artistic creativity nor the enjoyment of beauty. On the contrary, it “blesses the beautiful and promotes it. It sees absolute beauty only in God and in His revealed will or words.”
However, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) not only totally overlooked the subject of decoration in buildings during his life while building and overseeing others doing the same, but also he at a first glance denounced the matter of mosque decoration especially in several of his hadiths (traditions). Obviously, due to the mosque’s position in both society and every true believer’s life, the Prophet (pbuh) was concerned about the subject of mosque decoration more than about the other aspects of Islamic built environment. In one of such traditions, he is reported to have said that whenever a people’s performance (‘amal) weakens they then start decorating their mosques.
In another tradition, the Prophet (pbuh) said that one of the signs of the Day of Judgment’s imminence would be when people start vying in boasting with one another with regard to mosques, including planning, construction, decoration and everything else that can be related to it.
The Prophet (pbuh) also disclosed that he was not directed (ma umirtu) to erect (tashyid) monumental mosques. The narrator of this hadith, ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas, commented: “You shall certainly end up adorning your mosques as both the Jews and Christians did.” Surely, ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas did not say this on his own; rather, he just paraphrased a hadith in which the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have uttered the same.
Nonetheless, the Prophet (pbuh) in the mentioned traditions of his did not mean to prohibit mosque decoration altogether. The whole thing must be studied carefully taking into consideration a number of religious and socio-economic factors. No tradition of the Prophet (pbuh) or a verse in the Qur’an that clearly and utterly prohibits mosque decoration. And it is the nature of Islam that when it prohibits something it does so in such a way that no ambiguity or a room for any doubt is left.
Certainly, the Prophet’s traditions (hadiths) in question have been uttered in the context of the status of the mosque institution in society and what kind of relationship between it and men ought to exist. The mosque is the nucleus of the believers’ existence. Throughout the history of mankind it epitomized the never-ending struggle for supremacy between good and evil. For the mosque to play the role of a center for the development of communities is a paramount priority which must remain unchanged, despite the developments that societies constantly go through. Other valid societal roles could be attached to the authority of the mosque institution, but they all must remain second to the topmost role for which the mosque had been instituted, further promoting and enhancing it.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) apparently wished to warn his followers as to the consequences that will inevitably occur supposing they set out to neglect the real functions of mosques and become more interested in their physical appearance instead. Should that happen, the followers of Islam must not live under the illusion that they by some “innovative” means defend and advance God’s religion. On the contrary, they must be aware that the phenomenon of excessive and meaningless mosque beautification and decoration is but a disease endemic only in places where a people’s faith has drastically declined and total submission to the Almighty has no longer remained a priority. That means, furthermore, that the objectives of the Islamic Shari’ah (Law) have been forsaken and other alternatives have been pursued instead.
How serious the problem at hand can become illustrates the fact that some people, if left unimpeded and their erroneous perceptions about mosques not corrected on time, would reach the point where the actions of theirs will resemble those of the Jews and Christians, who have drawn on themselves the wrath of God with myriad acts of dishonesty, distortions and deception. About the latter the Prophet (pbuh) once said, after he had been told of the beauty of a church in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and how wonderful its paintings are: “Those people, when a pious man among them dies, on his grave they construct a mosque (a place of worship) which they paint with those pictures. They are the worse creation before Allah.” Hence, the Prophet (pbuh) sternly warned Muslims of imitating the Jews and Christians in matters pertaining to decorating the places of worship.
Relinquishing and burying the true position and role of mosques also means relinquishing and burying the tasks that man has been assigned to carry out on earth. In that case, some of the first definitive steps towards abandoning the Islamic paradigm and welcoming those which are alien to the Islamic world-view instead, would be introduced. Thus, one of the Prophet’s mentioned traditions suggest that of the signs of the Day of Judgment’s nearness is when people start decorating their mosques without using them for the purposes for which they had been ordained by heavenly decrees. It is not by chance that this message of the Prophet (pbuh) came after his words on neglecting the injunction of enjoining good and forbidding evil (al-amr bi al-ma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar). It looks as though the Prophet (pbuh) thus wanted to communicate that the relationship between the two phenomena is a causal one, the former being the cause and the latter the effect, and so the people must be watchful.
Ali b. Abi Talib is also reported to have said that of the signs of the Day of Judgment’s nearness is: “decorating mosques, raising minarets and skipping congregational prayers”. Here too, like what has been mentioned earlier, by decorating mosques it is meant that people show more interest to the outer appearance of mosques while neglecting its spiritual dimension. For this reason, certainly, did Ali b. Abi Talib cite mosques’ decoration and lofty minarets alongside congregational prayers. Without the latter, which exemplifies the core of the projected position and function of mosques, the former not only becomes a worthless exercise but also generates God’s displeasure and more than a few grave sins.
Without a doubt, Islam prohibits extravagant mosque beautification and decoration, more so when the same is done for advancing certain people’s personal interests, or for any other reason that may cause even a slightest harm to the well-being of Muslims and their community. This verdict can easily be deduced from the Islamic strict and unequivocal prohibition of wastefulness, injustice, causing harm, wealth misappropriation, haughtiness, ostentation, and so on. Not only on private but also public property does this ruling apply, as both are from God who bestows His gifts of sustenance more freely on some of men than on others in order that He may test them as to which of them are best in conduct. (Al-An’am 165)
Although the Prophet (pbuh) did not prohibit meaningful and moderate mosque beautification and decoration altogether, yet he did not explicitly permit it either. Whether decorating mosques is permitted or prohibited is thus conditioned chiefly by people’s intentions and goals, as well as by the roles both mosques and their decorative styles and elements play. Surely, decorating mosques is a sensitive and double-edged thing which must be handled cautiously and wisely. If mismanaged and the goals of beautification in Islam ignored or not realized, the same can easily be turned into an objectionable activity (makruh) and even in an outright transgression (haram).
Titus Burckhardt, Art of Islam, (London: World of Islam Festival Publishing Company Ltd., 1976), p. 1.
 Oleg Grabar, Art and Culture in the Islamic World, in “Islam: Art and Architecture”, edited by Markus Hattstein & Peter Delius, (Cologne: Konemann, 2000), p. 35-43.
Ernst J. Grube, What is Islamic Architecture?, in “Architecture of the Muslim World”, edited by George Michell, (London: Thames & Hudson, 1987), p. 11-14.
 Stefano Bianca, Urban Form in the Arab World, (London; New York: Thames and Hudson, 2000), p. 22.
Fine Arts in Islamic Civilization, edited by M.A.J. Beg, (Kuala Lumpur: The University of Malaya Press, 1981), p. 16 (Introduction).
 Spahic Omer, Islamic Architecture: its Philosophy, Spiritual Significance and Some Early Developments, (Kuala Lumpur: AS Noordeen, 2009), p. 1-7.
 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 1084, 1085.
 Ibn Majah, Sunan ibn Majah, al-Muqaddimah, Hadith No. 238.
 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, (Beirut: Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-‘Arabi, 1997), vol. 1 p. 331.
 Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Jumu’ah, Hadith No. 542.
 Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Masajid wa al-Jama’at, Hadith No. 146, 747, 748.
 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Hadith No. 164.
 Isma’il Raji al-Faruqi, Al-Tawhid: its Implications for Thought and Life, (Herndon: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1995), p. 201.
 Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Masajid wa al-Jama’at, Hadith No. 733.
Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 379.
 Ibid., Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 378.
Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jana’iz, Hadith No. 1255.
 Abu al-Hasan al-Subki, Fatawa al-Subki, http://feqh.al-islam.com.
 Ahmad b. Yahya, Al-Bahr al-Zakhkhar, http://feqh.al-islam.com.