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The Making of the Mosque


A Survey of Religious Imperatives


“In the absence of reliable archaeological evidence, the question of how the mosque was made represents a real challenge. Its origin remains moot despite many attempts to settle the question. This study sets out to explore whether early Islam, within the framework of the Prophet’s teachings and practices, as well as the Qurʾān, might have provided the necessary prompts for the making of the mosque and the shaping of its essential functional and architectural features. It also investigates how such religious prompts may have interacted with the political, cultural and socio-economic contexts in which the mosque type materialized. As such, this book scrutinizes two dominant tendencies regarding the mosque type, the modern Western views on its non-Islamic origins and the Islamic legalist views on what it should look like.”
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0727-4
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: May 22,2019
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 493
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0727-4
$125.00
$87.50

In the absence of reliable archaeological evidence, the question of how the mosque was made represents a real challenge. Its origin remains moot despite many attempts to settle the question. While the structure built by the Prophet Muḥammad at Madina, soon after the Hijra in 622 AD, is believed by many to have later provided the prototype of the mosque, the dominant theory that it was only a private residence casts doubt on that belief.

The current study provides fresh evidence, based on the Qurʾān, ḥadīth and early poetry, that this structure was indeed built to be a mosque. The study further investigates what such a finding may have to say apropos a number of undecided issues such as the immediate origins of the mosque type and the kind of impulses and modalities that determined its design and character. More particularly, this study seeks to explore whether early Islam, within the framework of the Prophet’s teachings and practices, as well as the Qurʾān, might have provided the necessary prompts for the making of the mosque and the shaping of its essential functional and architectural features. It also investigates how such religious imperatives may have interacted with the political, cultural and socio-economic contexts in which the mosque type materialized.

As such, this book scrutinizes two dominant tendencies regarding the mosque type: the modern Western views on its non-Islamic origins and the Islamic legalistic views on what it should look like. This survey is positioned at the intersection between art, historiography, religious sciences and politics; it is not a typical monograph on architecture. As we shall see, it cuts across topics such as early Islam’s outlook on visual arts and aesthetics in general.

In the absence of reliable archaeological evidence, the question of how the mosque was made represents a real challenge. Its origin remains moot despite many attempts to settle the question. While the structure built by the Prophet Muḥammad at Madina, soon after the Hijra in 622 AD, is believed by many to have later provided the prototype of the mosque, the dominant theory that it was only a private residence casts doubt on that belief.

The current study provides fresh evidence, based on the Qurʾān, ḥadīth and early poetry, that this structure was indeed built to be a mosque. The study further investigates what such a finding may have to say apropos a number of undecided issues such as the immediate origins of the mosque type and the kind of impulses and modalities that determined its design and character. More particularly, this study seeks to explore whether early Islam, within the framework of the Prophet’s teachings and practices, as well as the Qurʾān, might have provided the necessary prompts for the making of the mosque and the shaping of its essential functional and architectural features. It also investigates how such religious imperatives may have interacted with the political, cultural and socio-economic contexts in which the mosque type materialized.

As such, this book scrutinizes two dominant tendencies regarding the mosque type: the modern Western views on its non-Islamic origins and the Islamic legalistic views on what it should look like. This survey is positioned at the intersection between art, historiography, religious sciences and politics; it is not a typical monograph on architecture. As we shall see, it cuts across topics such as early Islam’s outlook on visual arts and aesthetics in general.

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Contributor Biography

Essam Ayyad

Dr Essam Ayyad received his PhD in the history of Islamic civilization from the University of Leeds, UK, in 2011. He is currently working as an assistant professor of Islamic history at Qatar University. Before joining Qatar, he was elected to Imam Tirmizi Visiting Research Fellowship at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, a recognized independent centre of the University of Oxford. He joined Oxford as a visiting research fellow during Trinity Term 2016. Earlier in 2015, Dr Ayyad joined the Centre of Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge as a visiting scholar. His main interest is to explore the array of prompts and modalities that shaped the various aspects of Islamic civilization, with most of his studies centring on the early period.

Table of Contents (v) 
Acknowledgments (ix) 
Transliteration (xi)
Charts, Tables, Plates and Figures (xiii)

Chapter One. Introduction—Aim and Scope (1)
1.1 Why has the religious context for mosque evolution been underestimated so far? (4)
1.2 Dominant perspectives on the Prophet and his homeland (7) 
1.3 Problems with these views (21)
1.4 Questions and methodology (43)

Chapter 2. Sources for the Study of Early Mosques (47) 
2.1 Introduction (47) 
2.2 Arabic literary sources (48)
2.3 Other existing evidence (69)
2.4 Conclusion (87)

Chapter 3. Studying Ḥadīth (93) 
3.1 Introduction (93) 
3.2 Ḥadīth in modern scholarship (96) 
3.3 History of ḥadīth transmission (106)
3.4 Dialectics about the authoritativeness of the tradition (123) 
3.5 Conclusion (133)

Chapter 4. The ‘House of the Prophet’ or the ‘Mosque of the Prophet’? (137) 
4.1 Introduction (137)
4.2 Existing theories on the Prophet’s building (138)
4.3 The ‘House of the Prophet’ theory (147)
4.4 The ‘Mosque of the Prophet’ theory (150)
4.5 Ḥadīth and the ‘Mosque of the Prophet’ (166)
4.6 The Qurʾān and the ‘Mosque of the Prophet’ (180)
4.7 Other mosques in the time of the Prophet (196)
4.8 Conclusion (205)

Chapter 5. A Prophetic Perspective of the Mosque: Layout and Architectural Components (209) 
5.1 Introduction (209) 
5.2 Status of the mosque (211) 
5.3 Site (216)
5.4 Mosque layout (229) 
5.5 Architectural components of the mosque (231)
5.6 Conclusion (265)

Chapter 6. A Prophetic Perspective of the Mosque: Elaboration and Decoration (269) 
6.1 Introduction (269) 
6.2 Discussing anti-building traditions (269) 
6.3 Mosque-related ḥadīths: a theoretical framework (284) 
6.4 Decoration (299) 
6.5 Conclusion (313)

Chapter 7. Evolution of Mosque Architecture: Between‘Orthodoxy’ and Other Modalities (315) 
7.1 Introduction (315) 
7.2 Evolution of the mosque under the Rāshidūn (322)
7.3 Evolution of the mosque under the Umayyads (347)
7.4 Conclusion (389)

Chapter 8. Conclusions (395)

Bibliography (407)
Index (455)

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