The Evolution of the Identity of Islamic Architecture after Prophet Muhammad

Dr. Spahic Omer

Introduction

 

In this paper, I shall deal with some of the themes relating to the gradual evolution of the conspicuous identity of Islamic architecture from the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) till approximately the end of the first period of the Abbasid state (861 AC/247 H). It was during this period that Islamic architecture really matured. It reached its pinnacle in both technical and conceptual terms. It finally attained such qualities as artistic comprehensive excellence, universality, internationalism and profundity of styles and meanings that oozed unparalleled genius, innovation and creativity. The end of the first period of the Abbasid state has been pinpointed as the final phase in the evolution of the total identity of Islamic architecture as we know it today for several reasons. The following two reasons perhaps are most significant.

About Us

Since the turn of the last century, the themes of “Islamic/Muslim architecture and city” have been a subject of growing interest of scholars and professionals alike. However, they are increasingly becoming a matter of controversy among the proponents and deniers. On the one hand, there is no evidence that the doctrine of Islam comprises, dictates or recommends a certain type of architecture or a model of city. On the other hand, one cannot deny the effects of the Islamic doctrine, direct or indirect, on the formation of arts and architecture, and on the foundation of cities.

Another aspect of this debate relates to the time-space factor. While some scholars consider “Islamic/Muslim architecture and city” as past and thus, a matter of history, others believe that the omnipresence of Islam in the current scenes of our life, concurrently with the role of cultures, must cast its shades on the various disciplines of the built environment.

The paradigm of the website therefore revolves around the following questions: Is there any Impact of Islam, as a religion, a way of life and a civilization on the built environment? If so, to what extent does it prescribe, shape or influence the appearance and functioning of the built environment.

Medinanet.org is a platform that aims to initiate, enrich and nurture debates around this paradigm through the analysis of the impact of Islam on the sciences of the city such as arts, architecture, urbanism, landscape and engineering.

The site is non-governmental, non-profit and international in its outlook, with programs dedicated to the advancing of human knowledge and sciences.

Medinanet.org is developed as a forum for architects, urban planners, designers and artists that are interested in Islamic/Muslim architecture, traditional Islamic/Muslim cities, built heritage in the Muslim world, the present and the future of cities and architecture in the light of Islamic message and thought. It is not intended to be exclusively for Muslims, and is open to all scholars interested in the site’s philosophy and paradigm.

Through the advancements in Internet technology, Medinanet.org has the facility to allow global access to a new database, including source materials and an online community of scholars and contributors. It also helps contributors to interact, exchange and share ideas, experiences and materials in the different domains of the built environment.

Suggestions for the improvement of this site are most welcome.

Welcome

Since the turn of the last century to nowadays, the theme of “Islamic architecture/City” has been subject to a  growing interest of scholars and professionals. It is however becoming  a matter of controversy among the deniers  and the defenders. On the one hand, there is no evidence that  the doctrine of Islam comprises, dictates or recommends a certain type of architecture or a model of city. On the other hand, one cannot deny its effect on the formation of arts and architecture, and the  foundation of cities.

Another aspect of this debate regards the time span of this theme. While some scholars consider “Islamic Architecture/city” as past and thus, a matter of history, others believe that the omnipresence of Islam in the current  scenes of our life, within which and at least culture, must have its shades on the various disciplines of the built environment. 

The paradigm of the website  therefore evolves around the following question(s): Is there any Impact of Islam, as a religion, a way of life and a civilization on the Built Environment? If so, to what extend it dictates, shapes or influences the built environment.

Medinanet, is a platform that aims at initiating,  enlarging and nurturing   the  debate around this paradigm through the analysis of the Impact of Islam on the Sciences of the City such as Arts, Architecture, Urbanism, Landscape and  Engineering.

The site  is a non-governmental, non-profit, non-ethnic  and international, with programmes dedicated to the contribution to, and  advancement of human knowledge and sciences.

Medinanet  is developed as a forum for architects, urban planners, designers and artists that are interested in Muslim Architecture, traditional Muslim Cities, built heritage  in the Muslim world, the Present and the Future of cities and architecture in the light of Islamic thought. It is not intended to be exclusively  for Muslims and  is open to all scholars that are interested in the paradigm of the site.   

Through the advancement in Internet technologies, Medinanet  has the facility to allow global access to a new database, including source materials and an online community of scholars and contributors. It helps also contributors  to interact,  exchange and share ideas, experiences and material in the different domains of the built environment.

Suggestions for the improvement of this site are most welcome.