Image of The crown of a marble pillar from a colonnade or an arcade of al-Masjid al-Haram dating back to the Ottoman period.

Al-Masjid al-Haram from the Era of al-Khulafa’ al-Rashidun (Rightly-Guided Caliphs) to the Saudi Expansions

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer
Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences
International Islamic University Malaysia
E-mail: spahico@yahoo.com

Image of a section of al-Masjid al-Haram built by the Ottomans before it was demolished as part of the latest and grandest Saudi expansion of the Mosque

A section of al-Masjid al-Haram built by the Ottomans before it was demolished as part of the latest and grandest Saudi expansion of the Mosque.

  

After the epoch of al-Khulafa’ al-Rashidun (rightly-guided Caliphs) and until the modern Saudi era, al-Masjid al-Haram underwent a number of reconstructions and expansions. Those who made the most remarkable impacts on the Mosque, regardless of whether they enlarged it or just renovated some sections thereof, were:

  • ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr whose expansion — third in a sequence — took place from 65 AH/ 684 CE;
  • Umayyad Caliph ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan whose restoration works happened from 75 AH/ 694 CE;
  • Umayyad Caliph al-Walid b. ‘Abd al-Malik whose expansion — fourth in history — occurred from 91 AH/ 709 CE;
  • Abbasid Caliph Abu Ja’far al-Mansur whose expansion, which was fifth in succession, took place from 137 AH/ 754;
  • Abbasid Caliph Muhammad al-Mahdi whose colossal and sixth in succession expansion took place in two stages: from 160 AH/ 776 CE and from 164 AH/ 780 CE, the latter stage having been completed by his son al-Hadi who in 169 AH/ 785 CE succeeded his father as fourth Abbasid Caliph;
  • Abbasid Caliph al-Mu’tamid ‘Alallah whose renovation works happened from 271 AH/ 884 CE;
  • Abbasid Caliph al-Mu’tadid Billah whose lesser seventh expansion occurred from 281 AH/ 894 CE;
  • Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir Billah whose minor and eighth in history expansion came to pass from 306 AH/ 918 CE;
  • Restoration works by the Mamluks that occurred from 803 AH/ 1400 CE and from 882 AH/ 1477 CE;
  • The significant reconstruction efforts by the Ottoman Turks from 972 AH/ 1564 CE and from 984 AH/ 1576 CE.

The subsequent major expansions and restorations of al-Masjid al-Haram that extended from the time of al-Khulafa’ al-Rashidun (rightly-guided Caliphs) up to the modern Saudi era, apart from underscoring and greatly reinforcing the earlier experiences and lessons in relation to the identity of both Islamic architecture and Islamic society, and which at length have been discussed in the previous section, they also brought forward some other very crucial and more complex implications and standards concerning the same matter. The following two stand out: the spiritual and civilizational interconnectivity between al-Masjid al-Haram and the Islamic community (ummah), and the intimate relationship between the development of al-Masjid al-Haram and the evolution of the identity of Islamic architecture.

First

The existence of al-Masjid al-Haram, at once as a concept and sensory reality, was a microcosm of the existence of the whole of Islamic community (ummah), also as an idea as well as an actual reality. In the same vein, the dynamic intensification and development of the former echoed the equally vibrant evolution and growth of the latter. The two were entwined in a causal relationship which was so reciprocal that it was not always clear which one exactly, and to what extent, was the cause, and which the effect, and to what extent. What was clear, however, was that when one of them functioned properly and prospered – mainly due to the people’s spiritual and civilizational excellence — the other did so, too. But if it malfunctioned and suffered – again mainly due to certain people’s waywardness and grave misdeeds — the other correspondingly did so, too.

Thus, for example, during the second civil war, or fitnah, (61-73 AH/ 680-692 CE) the highlight of which was ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr’s refusal to take an oath of allegiance to Yazid, the son and heir presumptive of Mu’awiyah b. Abi Sufyan, the first Umayyad Caliph – as well as to the subsequent Ummayyad sovereigns – which resulted in a series of prolonged disputes, conflicts and, inevitably, bloody confrontations. Since the seat of ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr’s activism was in Makkah, the city was besieged on a couple of occasions and severely damaged.

During the first combats in 64 AH/ 683 CE, following a protracted siege of the city, the Umayyad army took control virtually of the whole of the city, except the area of al-Masjid al-Haram and its vicinity. Besides establishing his command post on its grounds, ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr together with his soldiers also fortified himself in the Mosque. They constructed from wood and tree branches some makeshift shelters as protection against the sun and the stones launched from Umayyad catapults which were employed as part of the siege of the city. Over the Ka’bah, a wooden structure covered with mattresses had likewise been erected to protect it from the bombardment.

For the duration of the siege, naturally, the functioning of al-Masjid al-Haram was seriously hindered. Owing to the bombardment by catapults, the structure of the Ka’bah was badly damaged and weakened. In addition, one of the companions of ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr lit a fire and a spark flew off and set alight the combustible sections of the Ka’bah, namely the kiswah or cloak and the wooden materials from which its roof completely and walls partially were made. Al-Hajar al-Aswad or the Black Stone was also scorched and hence, became black. It burst asunder into three fractions. However, according to another account, ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr erected a tent nearby as part of his command post. Whenever a man of his got injured, he would place him inside the tent. But a person from the people of Syria came one day with a fire on the top of his lance and burnt down the tent. The day was extremely hot and a wind wafted a spark from the burning tent onto the building of the Ka’bah, which then itself burst into flames. At any rate, reconstructing at once the Ka’bah and al-Masjid al-Haram became thus a necessity.

So, therefore, as soon as he could, ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr reconstructed the Ka’bah, restoring it to the original foundations of Prophet Ibrahim – having earlier been rendered shorter on the northwestern side by the Jahiliyyah (Ignorance) Quraysh during their own reconstruction exercise by approximately three meters, at a location where crescent shaped Hatim or Hijr was consequently built. ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr also repaired and significantly improved and enlarged al-Masjid al-Haram.[1]

However, no sooner had ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr been killed and the Umayyad rule completely restored, than the Ka’bah was again trimmed and reinstated to its earlier Qurayshi size and form. Though it was not expanded, some remarkable improvement work was done on al-Masjid al-Haram as well.[2] Obviously, the Umayyad establishment was determined to annul and obliterate as much of ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr’s legacy as possible, in particular with regard to the first, most valuable and so, most venerated Mosque on earth.

All those events unmistakably exhibited how susceptible to political manipulation the Ka’bah and al-Masjid al-Haram have been due to their civilizational significance, position and role, with different personalities and parties trying to gain political mileage thereby. It is no surprise that the trend materialized and started gaining momentum as soon as the earliest political disagreements on the Muslim scene fully evolved into political and, to some extent, even ideological disintegration of the community, leading in turn to gory military confrontations that quickly assumed epidemic proportions. There were those who were fully cognizant of the matter, though, and could foresee the drawback. For example, as part of Abdullah b. al-Zubayr’s consultations with the people as to what to do to the scorched and ruined Ka’bah, a companion Abdullah b. ‘Abbas proposed: “Leave it in a state of which the Prophet (pbuh) approved (that is, do not destroy, nor enlarge it). I am afraid someone will come after you who will destroy it again. Then, others will come thereafter who will also destroy and rebuild it, until people (as a result of a trend) become indifferent and even disrespectful towards its (the Ka’bah’s) sanctity. Why don’t you just mend it…?”

Another symptom of the said sensitive susceptibility of the Ka’bah and al-Masjid al-Haram to potential exploitation was an incident between an Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid – or his father Caliph al-Mahdi, or grandfather Caliph al-Mansur, as per another account – and Malik b. Anas, a leading scholar of the second Hijrah century and the founder of one of the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence. Caliph Harun al-Rashid expressed his desire to annul the alterations of the Umayyads to Abdullah b. al-Zubayr’s work to the Ka’bah, restoring the latter’s original dimensions and plan, but Malik b. Anas disagreed and strongly advised the Caliph to change his mind because constant demolition and rebuilding is not respectful and would become a toy in the hands of kings. Each one would want to demolish and rebuild the Ka’bah and people, consequently, would lose due reverence for it. Al-Fasi commented on this narrative that Malik b. Anas resorted to the principle of repelling harm (dar’ al-mafasid) at the expense of inviting benefits (jalb al-masalih) which is a well-known and established Islamic principle.[3]

Furthermore, when the ideological confrontations between the Sunni Abbasids in Iraq and Shi’i Isma’ili Fatimids in Egypt were at an all-time high in the 11th and early 12th centuries (5th and 6th centuries AH), each party laying claims to the mantle of Islamic caliphate, Makkah with its al-Masjid al-Haram was again greatly victimized and manipulated, for one of the conditions stipulated for legitimate caliphate and legitimate caliphs was that the two harams (sanctuaries) in Makkah and Madinah be under their control and authority and that caliphs’ names be mentioned during Friday Jumu’ah prayers from the minbar (pulpit) of al-Masjid al-Haram.[4] This in turn triggered an intense rivalry between the two poles in maintaining and whenever necessary mending al-Masjid al-Haram, to the point where sincerity towards and love for the latter was not always the case, and where the purpose and interests of al-Masjid al-Haram were attempted to be influenced and subjugated to some political and partisan interests and objectives. For example, while chiefly the subsequent Abbasid caliphs clothed or draped the Ka’bah with black cloth (kiswah), because black was their dynastic color – a tradition which was not necessarily always the case with the earlier Abbasid sovereigns — the Fatimids, on the other hand, when Makkah was under their control, did the same with white cloth or kiswah, also because white, in a visual contrast to their sworn Abbasid foe, was their official color.[5] Following the custom of the Abbasids, the Ka’bah is still covered with black brocade cloth on which embroidered in gold are various verses from the Holy Qur’an as well as other calligraphic captions.

If truth be told, similar fates used to befall al-Masjid al-Haram whenever, and especially within the confines of the Arabian peninsular, serious ideological and military threats were mounted against the Abbasid leadership and their administration which were concentrated in Iraq. An example was the case of the Qaramitah or Qarmatians who were a syncretic religious group that combined elements of Isma’ili Shi’ism with Persian mysticism.  The Qarmatians flourished in Iraq, Yemen and especially Bahrain during the 9th to 11th centuries (3rd and 5th centuries AH), taking their name from Hamdan Qarmat, who led the sect in southern Iraq in the second half of the 9th century (3rd century AH). They were most famed for their unorthodox views and practices, as well as for continuous revolts against the ‘Abbasid Caliphate and as such, orthodox Islam. The Muslim world was outraged when during the Hajj season of 318 AH/ 930 CE Makkah was sacked, al-Hajar al-Aswad or the Black Stone of the Ka’bah stolen and the Zamzam Well desecrated with corpses.[6]

Without a doubt, it was during those and similar occasions that the city of Makkah and its al-Masjid al-Haram suffered most. It was not rare that violent physical clashes between different political and religious groups then transpired and innocent blood spilled, looting and robberies were endemic whereby the pilgrims from outside were most affected, and various acts of harassment and oppression were customary. Such were times when fear and angst replaced safety and security, and gloom and sadness eclipsed exuberance, joy and happiness that are typically associated with the sanctuary of Makkah. There were even years when the Hajj (pilgrimage) had to be cancelled altogether. At other more recurring times, the pilgrims from a certain region, or even regions, could not make it to the holy lands on account of specific socio-political, economic and security factors, certain pilgrimage rites were partially or completely affected, and the overall pilgrimage services and facilities rendered to the pilgrims were ineffective and lacking.[7]

It goes without saying that it was because of all this that in 442 AH/ 1050 CE, the city of Makkah was a very small, poor and abandoned by many city. This was a description provided by Naser Khosraw, a famed 5th AH / 11th AC century traveler from Iran who visited Makkah when the power of the Shi’i Isma’ili Fatimids in Egypt was at its zenith and when they were engaged in some of the deadliest conflicts with the Sunni Abbasids and their Saljuki custodians. By profession, Naser Khosraw was a Shi’i Isma’ili philosopher, poet, writer and scholar. He wrote in his Book of Travels that “I reckoned that there were not more than two thousand citizens of Makkah, the rest, about five hundred, being foreigners and mojawers (temporary residents). Just at this time there was a famine, with sixteen mounds of wheat costing one dinar, for which reason a number of people had left. Inside the city of Makkah are hospices for the natives of every region – Khorasan, Transoxiana, the Iraq, and so on. Most of them, however, had fallen into ruination. The Baghdad caliphs had built many beautiful structures, but when we arrived some had fallen to ruin and others had been expropriated.”[8]

Suggesting the precarious security condition of the city, Naser Khosraw further remarked that Makkah is situated low in the midst of mountains “such that from whatever direction you approach, the city cannot be seen until you are there.” “Wherever there is an opening in the mountain a rampart wall has been made with a gate.”[9]

Unfortunately, neither architectural morphology nor the functional performance of al-Masjid al-Haram was spared the predicaments that were upsetting and holding back the core of the Muslim world spiritually and intellectually. Hence, as a further illustration, just around the epoch in question, daily prayers inside al-Masjid al-Haram were conducted at different times according to the four most widely accepted Sunni Schools of jurisprudence (madhhab), and at four different locations of the Mosque. Because they were most numerous in Makkah, the followers of the Shafi’i School of law would pray first, and would do so behind maqam Ibrahim (Ibrahim’s station). Their prayers would be followed by the prayers of the followers of the Maliki and Hanbali Schools of law. They were conducted behind the Yamani corner and at a place between the Yamani corner and the corner with the Black Stone respectively, and were performed concomitantly. Lastly, the followers of the Hanafi School would pray facing the Ka’bah’s northwestern side where Hijr Isma’il, or Hatim, as well as the spout or downpipe (mizab) are. This was the situation with all daily prayers except the Maghrib or after-sunset Prayer. Since the time between the Maghrib and the subsequent ‘Isha’ or night-time Prayer is short, the former would be performed simultaneously by all four Schools. This, however, was often a cause of widespread confusion and chaos as voices of prayer leaders and mu’adhdhins (prayer announcers) were overlapping and fusing.[10]

Admittedly, this was one of the most perplexing innovations associated with al-Masjid al-Haram. It remains something of a mystery how the people could resort to such a repulsive tradition right inside al-Masjid al-Haram when harmony, unity, brotherhood, tolerance, mutual compassion and respect occupy the highest positions in the hierarchy of Islamic foremost values and virtues. According to Basalamah, the tradition originated most probably between the 4th and 5th AH/ 10th and 11th CE centuries and lasted well into the 14th AH/ 20th CE century.[11] No wonder, then, that the air inside al-Masjid al-Haram and in the entire holy city of Makkah, especially during the annual Hajj or pilgrimage season when multitudes of people from all corners of the Muslim world would converge, was often during those trying times filled with anxiety, trepidation, mistrust and insecurity.

Ibn Jubayr, the Spanish traveler, reported that when he was in Makkah in the month of Ramadan in 579 AH/ 1184 CE, there were five simultaneous Tarawih congregations inside al-Masjid al-Haram: the Shafi’i, which had precedence over the others, Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki and even the Zaydi congregation. The last was a Shi’ah branch and followed the Zaydi Islamic jurisprudence. Ibn Jubayr refers to the parts of the Mosque that belonged to those congregations, the mihrabs (praying niches) and candles used for lighting and adornment at those specific locations.[12]

To Ibn Jubayr, apparently, such a phenomenon was mere superficial evidence of a much larger problem that was besetting not only the holy lands, but also a majority of Muslims. He thus lamented that the quandary was more profound than it seemed and was of a convoluted intellectual and spiritual character. He observed that “the greater number of the people of these Hijaz and other lands are sectaries and schismatics who have no religion, and who have separated in various doctrines. They treat the pilgrims in a manner in which they do not treat the Christians and Jews under tribute, seizing most of the provisions they have collected, robbing them and finding cause to divest them of all they have.” Also: “The traveler by this way faces danger and oppression. Far otherwise has God decreed the sharing in that place of his indulgence. How can it be that the House of God should now be in the hands of people who use it as an unlawful source of livelihood, making it a means of illicitly claiming and seizing property, and detaining the pilgrims on its account, thus bringing them to humbleness and abject poverty. May God soon correct and purify this place be relieving the Muslims of these destructive schismatics with the swords of the Almohades (a puritanical Muslim dynasty ruling in Spain and northern Africa during the 6th AH/ 12th CE and 7th AH/ 13th centuries).” About the Emir of Makkah, Ibn Jubayr also wrote: “Such was his speech, as if God’s Haram were an heirloom in his hand and lawfully his to let to the pilgrims.” Consequently, Ibn Jubayr inferred that “there is no Islam save in the Maghrib (Muslim West where the Almohades ruled) lands.”[13]

The bizarre tradition of having four separate congregations had more than a few implications for the interior appearance of al-Masjid al-Haram and the provision of needed facilities. Thus, there were inside the Mosque four marked maqamat or locations for each of the four Schools of Islamic jurisprudence (madhhab) and its adherents to perform five daily prayers. The spots or locations of the imams or prayer leaders were marked either by pavilions which had four columns of stone supporting a dome, and a mihrab (praying niche) built between two columns that faced the congregation, or just by a mihrab flanked by two columns of stone, or posts. Due to their long and colorful history, these simple architectural elements were sometimes even simpler, such as having only two columns of stone, or posts, without a mihrab, and at other times somewhat more elaborate and tasteful, such as having domes and arches that spanned pairs of columns with protruding hooks for hanging lamps.

The Mamluks are reported to have been responsible for actively building and upgrading some of those architectural elements during their rule and their relatively active Mosque upkeep and restoration activities. The same holds true insofar as the Ottoman Turks’ extensive rule and their architectural activities in al-Masjid al-Haram were concerned. As the ardent followers of the Hanafi madhhab, they rebuilt the Hanafi maqam, making it thereafter the largest and most elegantly built of the four maqamat inside the Mosque.

In addition, as part of al-Masjid al-Haram complex, a dozen madrasahs or colleges were also built especially by the Mamluks and Ottoman Turks wherein Islamic jurisprudence was taught in accordance with the teachings of the four Orthodox or Sunni Schools of law and for which senior lecturers from all madhhabs were engaged.[14] By and large, initiatives such as these were hailed as significantly resourceful and productive. However, one wonders how much that was the case in the prevailing religious, social and intellectual climate, and whether the procured benefits outweighed the damages that the trend was generating and perpetuating insofar as the future prospects of the Muslim civilizational reality were concerned. This apprehension comes to the fore in particular when one bears in mind that scores of highly regarded scholars of the day never approved the religious innovations that pertained to divisions, schism, and sectarian bigotry and fanaticism, including the one relating to multiple prayers inside al-Masjid al-Haram, as well as when one bears in mind that the rulers of the day were the followers of one of those Schools of law indirectly favoring and supporting it over the others. This way, the rulers were making themselves more and more isolated from large sections of society. Also, the existing rift between the political and intellectual leadership in the principal religious and intellectual hubs of the Muslim world, that is, Makkah, was widening and steadily becoming an inveterate phenomenon.

Finally, since Sufism and funerary architecture flourished especially under the patronage of both the Mamluks and Ottoman Turks, several Ribats or Sufi hospices for the Sufis in particular, and for the poor in general, were erected in the immediate vicinity of the Mosque. When the Mamluks embarked on a significant al-Masjid al-Haram restoration project in 803 AH/ 1400 CE, it was due to a fire that had originally started in a Ribat located adjacent to al-Masjid al-Haram after a rat had pulled at the wick of a lamp. From the side of the Ribat facing the Mosque, the fire quickly spread to the latter’s wooden and as such highly combustible roof, engulfing and burning it uncontrollably. So swift and wild was the inferno that the people were unable to contain it. Wooden boards or panels, beams and marble columns were consumed or destroyed one by one, threatening thus to devastate the whole or most of the Mosque.[15]

As regards the phenomenon of funerary architecture, or architecturally glorifying the dead, there was nothing feasible that could be done either inside al-Masjid al-Haram or in its immediate environs, in spite of some people’s strong penchant for the matter. However, opportunities abounded elsewhere, especially in the Mu’alla cemetery in Makkah as well as al-Baqi’ cemetery in Madinah, where a considerable number of rather moderate tombs and mausoleums were constructed.[16] Lots of superstitions and religious innovations, normally associated both with unorthodox Sufism and funerary architecture, were reported to be widespread.

Second

 Authentic Islamic architecture could be defined as a type of 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 the ‘ibadah (worship) activities of Muslims, which, in turn, account for every moment of their earthly lives. Islamic architecture only can come into existence under the aegis of the Islamic perceptions of God, man, nature, life, death and the Hereafter. Thus, Islamic architecture would be the facilities and, at the same time, a physical locus of the actualization of the Islamic message. Practically, Islamic architecture represents the religion of Islam that has been translated onto reality at the hands of Muslims. It also represents the identity of Islamic culture and civilization.

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. It does play a prominent role, but its relevance is a supportive one supplementing and enhancing function. The form is important, but in terms of value and substance it always comes second to function and its wide scope. There must be the closest relationship between the ideals that underpin the form of buildings and the ideals that underpin their function, with which the users of buildings must be at ease. A rift or conflict between the two is bound to lead to a conflict of some far-reaching psychological proportions in buildings’ users. This way, the roles of the form become equivalent to the roles of function.

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 fulfilment 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 Muslims’ creative and aesthetic consciousness. 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.[17]

Alfred Frazer, as reported by M. A. J. Beg, said about the fundamental nature of Islamic architecture: “The architecture of Islam is the expression of a religion and its view of the world rather than that of a particular people or political or economic system.”[18]

Titus Burckhardt thus wrote that it is not surprising, nor strange, that the most outward manifestation of Islam as a religion and civilization reflects in its own fashion what is most inward in it. The same author further remarked: “If one were to reply to the question ‘what is Islam?’ by simply pointing to one of the masterpieces of Islamic art such as, for example, the Mosque of Cordova, or that of Ibn Tulun in Cairo, or one of the madrasahs in Samarqand….that reply, summary as it is, would be nonetheless valid, for the art of Islam expresses what its name indicates, and it does so without ambiguity.”[19]

Islamic architecture signifies a process where all the phases and aspects are equally important. It is almost impossible to identify a phase or an aspect in that process and consider it more important than the others. The Islamic architecture process starts with having a proper understanding and vision which leads to making a right intention. It continues with the planning, designing and building stages, and ends with attaining the net results and how people make use of and benefit from them. Islamic architecture is a fine blend of all these factors which are interwoven with the threads of the belief system, principles, teachings and values of Islam. What makes an architecture “Islamic” is its metaphysical and spiritual dimensions, rather than its sheer physical and observable ones.

Finally, Islamic architecture exists because of the existence of Islam. Moreover, it in many ways serves the noble goals of Islam. Islamic architecture serves Muslims too, in that it aids them to carry out successfully their vicegerency (khilafah) mission on earth. Islamic architecture aims to help, rather than obstruct, Muslims in fulfilling that which they have been created for. Islamic architecture is Islam-manifested. Islamic architecture, Islam and Muslims are inseparable. Islamic architecture originated with the advent of Islam on the world scene. It never existed before, even though the peoples that became instrumental in molding and perpetuating its conspicuous identity lived where they were for centuries before embracing Islam and possessed the cultures and civilizations of their own. Indeed, studying Islamic architecture by no means can be extricated from the total framework of Islam: its genesis, history, ethos, worldview, doctrines, laws and practices. While exemplifying Islamic beliefs and teachings through the hierarchy of its diverse roles and functions, Islamic architecture evolved a unique soul. That soul is best recognized and appreciated by those whose own lives are inspired and guided by the same sources that inspire and guide Islamic architecture.

Hence, no properly perceiving, creating, comprehending, studying or even using Islamic architecture can be possible in isolation from the total framework of Islam. Any attempt or method that defies this rational principle is bound to end up in a failure generating in the process sets of errors and misconceptions. Indeed, the existing studies on Islamic architecture, by Muslim and non-Muslim scholars alike, and the ways in which Islamic architecture is taught and practiced today, are the best testimony to the confusion that surrounds the theme of Islamic architecture.

Isma’il al-Faruqi, with reference to the relevance of Islam to architecture, fittingly stated: “Throughout the Muslim world, architectural unity is a facet of unity of the ummah under Islam… The characteristics which constitute the unity of architectural styles throughout the Muslim world are provided or inspired by Islam… It will be a terrible shortcoming if Islam neglected to influence the architecture of its peoples. Like all other fine arts, architecture is an aesthetic expression of the Muslim in so far as he has a unique and distinct view of reality, of space and time, of history, of the ummah and of his organic relation thereto. Islam is indeed a comprehensive religion, worldview and culture. Its influence must pervade the whole of human life. It did determine the style of clothing, of eating, of sleeping, of socializing, of leisure and recreation. How could it omit to determine man’s habitat? Nay, it did; and it even buttressed its influence with the power of law as regards all these.”[20]

Insofar as al-Masjid al-Haram, as the greatest religious phenomenon and a somewhat corresponding architectural reality, is concerned, its case was always exceptional. As a sacred object, it has to be consecrated by all Muslims both spiritually and physically — though the latter under all circumstances must remain subservient to the former. As mentioned earlier, the Mosque’s history and development in many ways typified the history and development of Islamic culture and civilization. Because it was an institutional marvel, a structure and an architectural space, al-Masjid al-Haram likewise embodied and reflected, to a large extent, the history and evolution of the identity of Islamic architecture. Concurrently with the development of al-Masjid al-Haram, Islamic art and architecture were also acquiring their trademark identities, breaking through and ultimately dominating the world cultural and civilizational scenes. It thus can be deduced that the three: al-Masjid al-Haram, Islamic civilization and Islamic architecture, were advancing together, one influencing, and being influenced by, the others. Studying thoroughly any one of them connotes studying a great deal of the other two as well.

Just as the orb of genuine Islamic architecture always does, al-Masjid al-Haram likewise embodies, accommodates and facilitates the notions of Islamic universalism, permanence, resilience and global charisma and appeal. The religious and civilizational setbacks dwelled on earlier, though having been able to provisionally affect and decelerate the said anticipated performances of the Mosque, could not incapacitate, much less rescind, them altogether. From the moment it had been created, al-Masjid al-Haram was meant for the whole of mankind and for one and the only truth and its followers. It was the epicenter of the macro Islamic spiritual world, and the center of gravity in the orb of Islamic spiritual experiences and cravings of each and every truth lover and follower. Thus, it follows that in terms of architecture, only the finest and most serviceable ideas and solutions will always be most appropriate for al-Masjid al-Haram. Promoting the regional or local at the expense of the global, the individual or particular at the expense of the universal, the transient at the expense of the permanent, and the physical at the expense of the metaphysical, will never be truly compatible with the intrinsic character and function of al-Masjid al-Haram, nor will it genuinely appeal to most of its users who throng its parameters from all over the world and represent all the possible cultural, social, economic and political backgrounds. The needed form of architecture for al-Masjid al-Haram, it stands to reason, is that which always typifies the best, most engaging, purposeful and most valuable architectural style. Anything short of the best and most functional will be inadequate. This is so because such a type of architecture caters to the needs of the best and most consequential mosque on earth, within the precincts of the holiest sanctuary of Makkah, which, not by chance, is the most beloved piece of earth both to God and His Messenger (pbuh), and which in the end, was inherited by the best people or community with the best and most significant life mission in the history of mankind (Alu ‘Imran, 110).

On account of such a powerful truth, as an illustration, as soon as ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr, merely fifty five years after the passing of the Prophet (pbuh), embarked on reconstructing the Ka’bah and expanding its al-Masjid al-Haram, gold strips for ornamenting the doors of the former were used. The keys were also made of gold. The Black Stone was placed in a silver frame. According to some reports, ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr was the first who clothed the Ka’bah with silk, even though some other reports suggest that such might have been done by al-Hajjaj b. Yusuf about ten years later as part of Umayyad Caliph ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan’s restoration works on the Mosque. For supporting the roof of the portico of the Mosque, ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr used marble columns, which was for the first time in the Mosque’s history.

Following the death of ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr, Caliph ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan raised the Mosque’s wall, roofed it completely with teak timber, which was particularly valued for its durability, water resistance and other structural qualities, and decorated the capital of its each and every marble column with fifty mithqals of gold (one mithqal is equal to 4.25 grams). The marble columns were shipped from Egypt. They were unloaded in the city of Jeddah and thence towed on wheels to Makkah.[21]

It should also be noted that before the caliphate of ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan, the people prayed inside the Mosque in straight lines (sufuf) only on the northeastern side of the Ka’bah behind maqam Ibrahim (Ibrahim’s station) where a colonnade since the caliphate of ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan was erected for the purpose, leaving the remaining three sides empty during prayers. However, at the time of the caliphate of ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan, all four sides of the Ka’bah started to be used for congregational prayers with prayer lines (sufuf) circling the Ka’bah. Such was an innovation received in good faith by the people. It instantly procured full credibility, on account of many leading scholars having then resided in Makkah and prayed regularly in al-Masjid al-Haram, but never objected to the occurrence. The chief reason behind this creative solution was the fact that praying congregational prayers only on one side of the Ka’bah was becoming untenable due to continuously escalating overcrowding.[22]

When another Umayyad Caliph, al-Walid b. ‘Abd al-Malik, about fifteen years later, decided to expand al-Masjid al-Haram, things kept dramatically improving. For instance, it has been reported that al-Walid once sent to Makkah 30 thousand dinars, asking that golden sheets be crafted. The sheets were then applied to the Ka’bah’s door, its inner pillars, its corners, and to its spout (mizab). Al-Walid was the first who coated the main body of the Ka’bah with gold. Later, after the job had been completed, he visited Makkah for Hajj pilgrimage and inspected himself the work output. As for al-Masjid al-Haram, historians reported that al-Walid knocked down what his father Abd al-Malik had formerly erected, and then made the Mosque’s colonnades or arcades stronger and more durable. He, in probability, rebuilt what he had destroyed of his father’s previous work, and after that added an extra arcade that run around the Ka’bah. For his rebuilding tasks, al-Walid imported marble columns from Egypt and Syria, two leading centers of the fast growing Islamic civilization. He transported them to Makkah on wheels. He did so most likely from the port city of Jeddah where the columns should have earlier arrived by sea. The colonnades were roofed with teak timber which was exquisitely decorated. The crowns or capitals of the columns were coated with golden sheets. Also, the interior of the Mosque was strengthened with marble, and the floor was covered with the same material. The Mosque wall received for the first time crenellations, or merlons. There were also niches and windows on top of whose front sides mosaic was applied for decoration purposes. Mosaic was likewise applied on the upper sections of the facades of the arches which were supported by columns and on which the roof rested. Scholars are unanimous that for al-Masjid al-Haram, such was the first time mosaics as a decorative medium have been used. Moreover, during the reign of al-Walid b. Abd al-Malik, men and women were separated in tawaf (circumambulation of the Ka’bah). The decision was implemented by the Caliph’s governor of Makkah, Khalid b. Abdullah al-Qasri. At each corner of the Ka’bah, there were guards with whips monitoring and enforcing the edict.[23]

Generally speaking, al-Walid was a great builder — indeed one of the greatest in the history of Islamic civilization — as a result of which the evolution of the recognizable identity of Islamic architecture entered its final phase during his tenure as Caliph. It might have been even completed before its end, as the issues of free movement and exchange of artistic and architectural ideas, building materials, technology and engineering, human resources and wealth, became no longer a rarity, but rather a rule and a way of life, both domestically and internationally. So fond of building and making constructions and estates was he that in his time when people met they would ask one another about building and constructions, thus reflecting the eternal civilizational canon that people follow the religion (beliefs, values and interests) of their rulers. Al-Walid’s time in power may perhaps be summed up in the following words: conquests, wealth generated mainly from the former, and construction.

To many, therefore, al-Walid has become a symbol of Islamic architecture and its history. He is officially, so to speak, regarded as the first in the history of Islam who established the subject of mosque decoration as a permanent constituent of Islamic art and architecture. The greatest masterpieces that he erected or significantly expanded during his lifetime were the Great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, the Great Mosque in San’a’, al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem built next to his father’s Dome of the Rock, and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. For example, when completed, the Great Mosque of Damascus was looked upon as a new wonder of the world. It was even likened by some people to a palace from Paradise (jannah). Some used to say that having witnessed the beauty of their Mosque, the residents of Damascus were to yearn ever more and more intensely than anybody else on earth for Paradise.[24]

It stands to reason, therefore, that Caliph al-Walid’s architectural contributions did not represent sheer phases in a still tentative evolution, but were, in their quality as art, unsurpassable masterpieces. They signified the beginning of the fruition of the formative period of Islamic art and architecture that commenced the moment Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) set foot on the Madinah soil. What followed thereafter were the periods of further refinement, enrichment, diversification and both technical and artistic sophistication. Islamic art and architecture were finally coming of age.

Indeed, historians were fully aware of the fact that al-Walid was bent on leaving a lasting mark on the architecture of both the Ka’bah and al-Masjid al-Haram. Therefore, when they dwelled on his case, they did not hesitate to articulate such expressions and terms as “the first person who”, “nobody before him”, “more solid and durable”, etc. As al-Qu’aiti observed, al-Walid’s mission as regards the architecture of al-Masjid al-Haram was a demonstration of his own high standards of satisfaction. He wanted the same standards to be applied to the holiest places in Islam, more than to anything else.[25]

Following the Umayyads the ‘Abbasids arrived on the Muslim civilizational and architectural scenes. However, basically, they continued the traditions of their predecessors, retaining and further enhancing the form and function of al-Masjid al-Haram. The architectural regularity and consistency of the Haram were ensured. In the process, both the universal and permanent character of Islamic architecture, and the role and significance of time-space factors in it, were duly respected and observed. Although an “Abbasid style” in Islamic art and architecture was emerging, they never tried to impose it as such onto the architecture of al-Masjid al-Haram because the latter was a product of different circumstances and factors. Rather, they submitted to the universalism, permanence and constancy of Islamic architecture which al-Masjid al-Haram with its long history and multi-functionalism was symbolizing, putting the regional aspects of the “Abbasid style” into the service of the former. They thus significantly enriched the world of Islamic architecture and its evolution. They did so, mainly, by a fresh approach in amalgamating the permanent spirit of Islamic architecture, that is, the embodiment of the Islamic worldview, teachings and values throughout the lengthy architectural processes cum the actualization and fulfillment of its multi-tiered purpose and function: physical, intellectual and spiritual, with the practical implications of the socio-economic, environmental, technological and cultural considerations. Indeed, impressing a localized architectural style on a different locality is a serious failing in architecture. Equally erroneous is to bereave architecture of its metaphysical dimensions, or to barter the permanent and universal for the impermanent and finite in its vast domains.

The most prominent features of the ‘Abbasid al-Masjid al-Haram expansions, on the whole, were: importing marble pillars from Syria and Egypt, making use of the available quality local building materials and expertise, increasing and enhancing the facilities of the Mosque and thereby boosting its performances, strengthening the environmental, sustainability and aesthetic aspects of the Mosque, improving the Mosque’s durability and comfort, diversifying the language of Mosque architecture by, for example, introducing the notion of minaret, and inscribing on some strategic locations of the walls particular historical details of the Mosque expansions, and improving the general wellbeing of both the local population and pilgrims. As a result, al-Masjid al-Haram, above all after the massive expansion by ‘Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi, whose cost stood approximately at 4,578,750 Dinars, needed no new all-purpose rebuilding until the era of the Ottoman Turks, more than eight centuries later. Even then, however, no significantly extra breadth and operational capacity were added to the Mosque’s configuration. The Mosque was also partially reconstructed during the Mamluki era, about more than six centuries after Caliph al-Mahdi, but only because of a great damage to some of the Mosque’s arcades which was caused by a fire. In essence, therefore, there was no significant expansion from ‘Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi until the modern Saudi era; there were only renovations and reconstructions.

Undeniably, the epochs in question, at the center of which stood the majestic phenomenon of al-Masjid al-Haram, displayed that Muslims had quickly become competent and confident builders. They increasingly felt that they had what it takes to match the architectural demand necessitated by the rapid development of Islamic eclectic culture and civilization. It was becoming more and more obvious that Islamic architecture was not only the basis, or the framework, of Islamic civilization, but also its quintessence and engine of growth. There were no longer serious talks about Muslim architectural inferiority to the architectural legacies of the Romans, Persians and others. The Muslim architectural destiny lay in their own hands. This emerging attitude was unmistakably embodied by Caliph al-Mahdi’s response to a serious dilemma posed by an aspect of his al-Masjid al-Haram expansion enterprise: “I have to accomplish this expansion even if I had to spend all the money available in the government’s treasuries (buyut al-amwal).”[26]

Moreover, not only that Muslims were then increasingly borrowing less from others, but also were they exporting more and more to some of the newly acquired regions. Exporting operations, generally, took place from some of the cultural and civilizational centers of the Islamic state in Syria, Palestine, Iraq and even the Hijaz region. The flourishing language of the Islamic architectural identity that had evolved chiefly in the said centers was one of the things often exported. Some of the geographical regions where the newly evolved language of Islamic architecture was exported, partly or completely, were al-Andalus or Islamic Spain, Tunis, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Nishapur and Afrasiyab (near Samarkand).[27] The exported influences were either of the Umayyad or ‘Abbasid complexion, or were a synthesis of both.

In his paper titled Islamization and Arabization in al-Andalus: a General View, Anwar G. Chejne stressed that when the Muslims confronted the Christian-Spanish society in al-Andalus, the latter was one of those territories seen as underdeveloped culturally. Thus, the Muslims of al-Andalus turned not inwards for self-development, but outwards towards the Muslim East for religious and cultural inspiration and guidance. The Muslims in al-Andalus “orientalized the court and administration, imported talent of all sorts from the (Muslim) East, and built an enormous number of mosques, public baths, palaces and summer homes on oriental models.”[28]

After the first Abbasid period, when new provincial dynasties in different parts of the vast Islamic state started to emerge, breaking away from the Abbasid dominance and that of the cities of Baghdad and Samarra, a new impetus was created for further enhancing the vocabulary and profundity of Islamic architecture. This was an inevitable course of events, though, firstly, due to the emergence of new and diffused cultural centers which brought some new ethnic groups and new geographical areas to the fore; secondly, due to a new economic drive entailed in the new states and kingdoms; and lastly, due to some new protagonists and patrons who had a remarkable passion, pioneering aspirations and a strong political will. In other words, the same forces that led to the creation of the identity of Islamic architecture continued to enrich, advance and sustain it after the first and through the second Abbasid period and beyond. It is thus appropriate that the drastic weakening of the Abbasid central rule and the beginning of the break-up of its many territories serve as a dim demarcation line between the first unified and integrated, and the second decentralized and disintegrated Abbasid periods.

As a final point, it needs to be emphasized that the Ottoman Turks while outstandingly reconstructing al-Masjid al-Haram which then firmly endured for about four centuries until the Saudi period, apart from authenticating and reinforcing all the accrued and from the earlier times recognized architectural meanings and qualities connected with the Holy Mosque, also introduced what could be dabbed as the concept of community architecture – definitely as a product of their own age and of the prevalent level of a broader Islamic civilizational consciousness. This assertion could easily be gleaned from the integrative approach the Ottomans adopted from beginning till end while dealing with the Mosque rebuilding undertaking, from what roles were designated for and were played by the engineers, architects, scholars, officials and the general public in the process, and from how seemingly they responded to all the architectural, engineering, environmental and aesthetic requirements integrating then their responses into effective and engaging design solutions.

The Ottoman Turks appear as though their motto – at least in the case of al-Masjid al-Haram – was: architecture for the people and by the people, and that architecture needed to connect to the masses and communities for which it was primarily meant, and whose needs and problems it was supposed to fulfill as well as solve. Wider social participation in the architectural processes has also been implied. Surely, these are important at all times because, as a result, in the end a true humanistic approach to architectural design should be developed, whereby people ought to be put at the center of an architect’s thoughts and a design’s objectives. Islamic architecture, it goes without saying, must not be seen as an elitist enterprise. It is a scientific as well as an epistemological pursuit that aims to ensure the welfare of all Muslims, in the process reflecting the essential spirit and universal value system of Islam. Islamic architecture should be practical in the sense that it is affordable, accessible, functional and should tackle the issues and problems concerning all Muslims. It further must not be discriminatory, impractical and utopian.[29]

It is the people, ultimately, who will suffer if architectural outputs by architects and structural engineers are substandard, and benefit if the opposite is true. The people as architecture users, it follows, are very important stakeholders in architecture and so, a very reliable source of architectural evaluation. They thus need to be afforded proper avenues and opportunities to express their opinions, and most importantly, their views should be listened to seriously. The people and architecture professionals ought to forge an alliance steeped in mutual understanding, respect and goodwill, and which will be driven towards achieving a greater social cause. The seeds of such an alliance should be planted at the earliest stages of a community’s general educational system, and its more advanced patterns later promulgated within the specialized branches of learning, especially as part of the philosophical dispositions of those branches’ curricula which are most responsible for shaping attitudes and etiquettes.

Image of One of Ka’bah’s immense wooden columns employed by Abdullah b. al-Zubayr

One of Ka’bah’s immense wooden columns employed by Abdullah b. al-Zubayr is still preserved in a Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of an inscription on marble registering the date of the construction of the mataf (a space around the Ka’bah where the tawaf ritual is conducted) during the reign of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mustansir Billah in 631 AH/ 1233 CE.

An inscription on marble registering the date of the construction of the mataf (a space around the Ka’bah where the tawaf ritual is conducted) during the reign of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mustansir Billah in 631 AH/ 1233 CE.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of Part of an inscription on marble dating the construction of a door and some other parts of al-Masjid al-Haram to 804 AH/ 1401 CE

Part of an inscription on marble dating the construction of a door and some other parts of al-Masjid al-Haram to 804 AH/ 1401 CE after they had been damaged by fire during the reign of the Mamluki Sultan al-Nasir Faraj b. Barquq.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of Another inscription on a marble slab found on a wall of a colonnade or an arcade of al-Masjid al-Haram documenting some of the contributions of the Mamluki Sultan al-Nasir Faraj b. Barquq to the development of the Mosque.

Another inscription on a marble slab found on a wall of a colonnade or an arcade of al-Masjid al-Haram documenting some of the contributions of the Mamluki Sultan al-Nasir Faraj b. Barquq to the development of the Mosque.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of An inscription on stone evidencing the contributions of the Mamluki Sultan Abu Sa’id Jaqmaq to al-Masjid al-Haram in 852 AH/ 1448 CE.

An inscription on stone evidencing the contributions of the Mamluki Sultan Abu Sa’id Jaqmaq to al-Masjid al-Haram in 852 AH/ 1448 CE.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of An inscription on a marble pillar dating the building of one of the minarets of al-Masjid al-Haram to 772 AH/ 1370 CE

An inscription on a marble pillar dating the building of one of the minarets of al-Masjid al-Haram to 772 AH/ 1370 CE during the rule of the Mamluki Sultan Sha’ban b. Husayn.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of A slab on which the name of the Mamluki Sultan al-Ashraf Qa’it Bey is inscribed. The inscription is inside a disc which in turn is surrounded by interlaced floral patterns.

A slab on which the name of the Mamluki Sultan al-Ashraf Qa’it Bey is inscribed. The inscription is inside a disc which in turn is surrounded by interlaced floral patterns.

The Sultan al-Ashraf Qa’it Bey was one of the most active Mamluks in affecting and influencing the urban fabric, not only of the holy city of Makkah, but also the city of the Prophet (pbuh), Madinah, which, too, was a pilgrimage site. The Sultan’s works were consistent with his established reputation as a great patron of art and architecture, as a result of which magnificent building projects across the territories controlled by the Mamluks were undertaken and duly accomplished.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of A drawing of Makkah and al-Masjid al-Haram during a Hajj season from the Ottoman era.

A drawing of Makkah and al-Masjid al-Haram during a Hajj season from the Ottoman era.

From: Mirza, Mi’raj, Atlas Khara’it Makkah al-Mukarramah.

Image of A colorful map of al-Masjid al-Haram from the early Ottoman period.

A colorful map of al-Masjid al-Haram from the early Ottoman period.

From: Mirza, Mi’raj, Atlas Khara’it Makkah al-Mukarramah.

Image of Al-Masjid al-Haram during the first Saudi expansion. Most of the major architectural components and features of the Mosque were from the Ottoman period.

Al-Masjid al-Haram during the first Saudi expansion. Most of the major architectural components and features of the Mosque were from the Ottoman period.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of Two marble moldings from the minbar, or pulpit, of al-Masjid al-Haram dating back to the Ottoman Sultan Sulayman Image of Two marble moldings from the minbar, or pulpit, of al-Masjid al-Haram dating back to the Ottoman Sultan Sulayman

Two marble moldings from the minbar, or pulpit, of al-Masjid al-Haram dating back to the Ottoman Sultan Sulayman, known as the Magnificent and Kanuni, who was one of the greatest Ottoman Sultans. He was the first Ottoman ruler who architecturally significantly impacted al-Masjid al-Haram. During his reign, the wooden minbar was replaced by a grand edifice of marble, like those that graced numerous imperial mosques across the Ottoman territories.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of A teak staircase of the Ka’bah dating back to 1240 AH/ 1824 CE.

A teak staircase of the Ka’bah dating back to 1240 AH/ 1824 CE.

Since the Ka’bah’s only door is considerably raised above the ground level, a staircase is needed for entering it. Originally, however, the Ka’bah had two entrances, facing each other, and were formed directly from the ground.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of The crown of a marble pillar from a colonnade or an arcade of al-Masjid al-Haram dating back to the Ottoman period.

The crown of a marble pillar from a colonnade or an arcade of al-Masjid al-Haram dating back to the Ottoman period.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of The crown of a granite pillar from a colonnade or an arcade of al-Masjid al-Haram dating back to the Ottoman period.

The crown of a granite pillar from a colonnade or an arcade of al-Masjid al-Haram dating back to the Ottoman period.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of The last three surahs or chapters of the Qur’an (al-Ikhlas, al-Falaq and al-Nas) engraved during the Ottoman period on a molding of al-Shumaysi stone and thus embellishing a part of al-Masjid al-Haram.

The last three surahs or chapters of the Qur’an (al-Ikhlas, al-Falaq and al-Nas) engraved during the Ottoman period on a molding of al-Shumaysi stone and thus embellishing a part of al-Masjid al-Haram.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of Al-Masjid al-Haram with an Ottoman architectural identity before the first Saudi expansion.

Al-Masjid al-Haram with an Ottoman architectural identity before the first Saudi expansion.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of A marble arch over one of the entrances of al-Masjid al-Haram dating back to the early Ottoman period.

A marble arch over one of the entrances of al-Masjid al-Haram dating back to the early Ottoman period.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of A number of the interior facilities of al-Masjid al-Haram, including the four maqamat for each of the four Schools of Islamic jurisprudence and its followers to perform five daily prayers, are visible in this old picture.

A number of the interior facilities of al-Masjid al-Haram, including the four maqamat for each of the four Schools of Islamic jurisprudence and its followers to perform five daily prayers, are visible in this old picture.

Courtesy of the Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah.

Image of A sizable portion of the Ottoman architectural imprints in al-Masjid al-Haram survived the earlier Saudi expansions.

A sizable portion of the Ottoman architectural imprints in al-Masjid al-Haram survived the earlier Saudi expansions.

References:

[1] Muhammad al-Azraqi, Akhbar Makkah, (Jeddah: al-Matba’ah al-Majidiyyah, 2005), vol. 1 p. 128-145. Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Fasi, Shifa’ al-Gharam bi Akhbar al-Balad al-Haram, (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2000), vol. 2 p. 197-199.

[2] Ali b. Tajuddin al-Sinjari, Mana’ih al-Karam fi Akhbar Makkah wa al-Bayt wa Wulah al-Haram, (Makkah: Jami’ah Umm al-Qura, 1998), vol. 2 p. 30. Husayn Basalamah, Tarikh ‘Imarah al-Masjid al-Haram, p. 23-26.

[3] Muhammad al-Azraqi, Akhbar Makkah, vol. 1 p. 128-145. Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Fasi, Shifa’ al-Gharam bi Akhbar al-Balad al-Haram, vol. 2 p. 197-199.

[4] Ahmad al-Siba’i, Tarikh Makkah, (Riyadh: Al-Amanah li al-Ihtifal bi Murur Mi’ah ‘Am ‘ala Ta’sis al-Mamlakah al-‘Arabiyyah al-Sa’udiyyah, 1999), vol. 2 p. 223.

[5] Ibid., vol. 2 p. 253.

[6] Qarmatian, http://global.britannica.com/topic/Qarmatians (accessed on November 12, 2015). Qarmatians, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qarmatians (accessed on November 12, 2015).

[7] Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Fasi, Shifa’ al-Gharam bi Akhbar al-Balad al-Haram, vol. 2 p. 261-271.

[8] Naser Khosraw, Book of Travels, translated from Persian by W. M. Thackston, Jr., (Albany: Bibliotheca Persica, 1986), p. 69.

[9] Ibid., p. 68.

[10] Husayn Basalamah, Tarikh ‘Imarah al-Masjid al-Haram, p. 180-185.

[11] Ibid., p. 180.

[12] Muhammad Ibn Jubayr, The Travels of Ibn Jubayr (Rihlah Ibn Jubayr), translated by Roland Broadhurst, (New Delhi: Goodword Books, 2001), p. 145.

[13] Ibid., p. 71-73.

[14] Husayn Basalamah, Tarikh ‘Imarah al-Masjid al-Haram, p. 66-82.

[15] Ibid., p. 61. Sultan Ghalib al-Qu’aiti, The Holy Cities, the Pilgrimage and the World of Islam, p. 137.

[16] Muhammad Ibn Jubayr, The Travels of Ibn Jubayr (Rihlah Ibn Jubayr), p. 203. Sultan Ghalib al-Qu’aiti, The Holy Cities, the Pilgrimage and the World of Islam, p. 191.

[17] Spahic Omer, Islamic Architecture: Its Philosophy, Spiritual Significance and Some Early Developments, (Kuala Lumpur: A.S. Noordeen, 2009), p. 3-18.

[18] Fine Arts in Islamic Civilization, edited by M.A.J. Beg, (Kuala Lumpur: The University of Malaya Press, 1981), p. 16 (Introduction).

[19] Titus Burckhardt, Art of Islam, (London: World of Islam Festival Publishing Company Ltd., 1976), p. 1.

[20] Isma’il al-Faruqi, Islam and Architecture, inside: Fine Arts in Islamic Civilization, edited by M.A.J. Beg, (Kuala Lumpur: The University of Malaya Press, 1981), p. 99.

[21] Husayn Basalamah, Tarikh ‘Imarah al-Masjid al-Haram, p. 22-24. Ali b. Tajuddin al-Sinjari, Mana’ih al-Karam fi Akhbar Makkah wa al-Bayt wa Wulah al-Haram, vol. 2 p. 17-30. Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Fasi, Shifa’ al-Gharam bi Akhbar al-Balad al-Haram, vol. 2 p. 197.

[22] Husayn Basalamah, Tarikh ‘Imarah al-Masjid al-Haram, p. 24.

[23] Ibid., p. 26. Sultan Ghalib al-Qu’aiti, The Holy Cities, the Pilgrimage and the World of Islam, p. 67.

[24] Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1985), vol. 9 p. 158.

[25] Sultan Ghalib al-Qu’aiti, The Holy Cities, the Pilgrimage and the World of Islam, p. 67.

[26] Husayn Basalamah, Tarikh ‘Imarah al-Masjid al-Haram, p. 33.

[27] K. A. C. Creswell, A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture, (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 1989), p. 415.

[28] Anwar G. Chejne, Islamization and Arabization in al-Andalus: A General View, inside: Islam and Cultural Change in the Middle Ages, edited by Speros Vryonis Jr., (Los Angeles: University of California, 1973), p. 71.

[29] Mahbub ul Haq, Islamic Architecture and the Poor People of Islam, inside: Places of Public Gathering in Islam, edited by Linda Safran, (Philadelphia: Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 1980), p. 126-127.

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