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  1. Islamisation of Knowledge: Problems, Principles and Prospective click
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  4. The Balance Sheet of Western Philosophy in this Century click
  5. Man between Two Laws: A Qur’anic Perspective in Understanding Self and Understanding the Other click

 

Art and Architecture
Some Lessons from Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in Architecture: The Prophet’s Mosque in Madīnah PDF Print E-mail

Spahic Omer

This paper discusses some lessons in architecture that can be gleaned using the Prophet’s Mosque in Madīnah as a case study. The paper deals with the following main themes: the meaning and significance of Islamic architecture; function–form relationship; respect for the environment; cleanliness; comprehensive excellence; promoting just social interactions; safety; and the relationship between the indigenous and foreign influences in the spheres of Islamic architecture. Every theme discussed signifies a permanent feature of Islamic architecture which derives its strength and merit from the Prophet’s experiences. Hence, a close analogy is drawn in the paper between those architectural features and the Prophet. Full text in PDF

 
The Transformation of Islamic Art during the Sunni Revival PDF Print E-mail

Yasser Tabbaa, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2001. 210 pages.

The Islamic world underwent profound political and religious changes in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. These changes were paralleled by one of the most significant transformations of Islamic art and architecture. What shared meaning lies at the origins of these two historical developments? How, if at all, were these paralleled transformations part of the same struggle? The Transformation of Islamic Art during the Sunni Revival takes us into this dialogue. This work consists of seven chapters, including a plethora of beautiful photographs, in which Yasser Tabbaa, a professor at the University of Michigan and a highly regarded Islamic art scholar, argues that the transformations in medieval Islamic architecture and ornament during this period reflected and embodied the conflict between the ‘Abbasid and Fatimid dynasties. It is in the struggle for political authority and religious legitimacy that new and competing forms of expression took hold.

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Water and Sign Magic in al-Jabin, Yemen PDF Print E-mail

Ingrid Hehmeyer

The preserved heritage of al-Jabin, a town located in Yemen’s western highlands, offers a unique opportunity to document traditional water engineering principles. There are no springs in the immediate vicinity, because the town is perched at the edge of the mountain escarpment. Even today, water is provided by open cisterns that collect surface run-off following a rain. But as the rains needed to feed the system are highly unpredictable, the water supply is never secure. The perimeter wall of one of the cisterns bears a group of seven signs, a detailed description of which is given in Kitab Shams al-Ma`arif wa-Lata’if al-`Awarif, awork attributed to Ahmad ibn `Ali al-Buni (d. 1225), awell-known prolific writer on magic. Al-Buni explains that the signs symbolize God’s supreme name and thus display great magical power of a protective and well-wishing nature. Generally speaking, magical practices attempt to influence the course of natural events by calling upon a superhuman force. In the case of the cistern, God’s supreme name was inscribed in the hopes that this would lead to a guaranteed water supply. While it is easy to dismiss al-Buni’s text and the observed practice in al-Jabin as superstitious frailty, one needs to bear in mind that under life-threatening circumstances, even people in the modern West easily resort to magical procedures.

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The Experience of Islamic Art on the Margins of Islam PDF Print E-mail

Irene A. Bierman, ed., Reading, UK: Ithaca Press in association with the Gustav E. von Grunebaum Center for Near Eastern Studies, 2005. 172 pages.

This volume is the fifteenth publication in the Giorgio Levi Della Vida Conference Papers series, each of which contains the lecture presented by the recipient of the Giorgio Levi Della Vida Award for excellence in Islamic studies along with contributions by other scholars dedicated to a special topic. For the first time ever, in 1996 the award was presented to an art historian, Oleg Grabar, who chose “The Experience of Islamic Art on the Margins of Islam” as the theme of the fifteenth conference.

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Sacral Qualities of Form in Mosque Architecture: Transformation of the Arts of the Qur’an into the Arts of the Mosque PDF Print E-mail

Salim A. Elwazani

By the year 800 c.E., and within less than two centuries from the inception of Islam, a new religious and secular architecture materialized in a vast area: western Asia, all of North Africa, and southern Spain. The archeological and textual references for these projects have provided us with a wealth of physical and descriptive evidence of the emerging building types and forms of Islamic architecture. The mosque, for example, developed into a well-defined building type with characteristic physical features and spatial organization, among them the mihrab, the mimbar, calligraphic inscriptions, and surface Ornamentation, all of which are architectural elements whose designs and dispositions in the mosque space have taken on
various reoccurring patterns.
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