- Created on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 08:09
The Mosque as a Community Center (A Concept and Evolution)
Author: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer
Publication date: 2014
About the book and the significance of the topic:
It is a fact that today’s Muslims are subjected to trials rarely paralleled in history. At the same time, however -- as another undeniable fact -- there are more than a few serious attempts and initiatives aimed at remedying and improving the situation. Calling for the revival of the status of the mosque institution as a community center is integral to a majority of such constructive attempts and initiatives. Thus, studying meticulously and critically the roles and functions of the mosque in history when Muslims and the Islamic state through their recurring ups and downs dominated the world scene, will always be vital. Numerous lessons can be derived from such an undertaking, as history which progresses in what could be described as a cyclic rather than horizontal pattern, often repeats itself. The lessons thus obtained will be very significant in that the mosque institution and the world of its diverse social roles and functions always epitomized the message of Islam and the civilizational triumphs, or slumps, of Muslims. Indeed, no Muslim revival is completely possible today without mastering the history of Islam and Muslims, on the one hand, and without mastering the history of the mosque institution and how its intrinsically true and deserving standing and roles in society can be restored, on the other. Studying and reviving the mosque today cannot be done in a vacuum and in isolation from the sway of both history and the pressing current needs of Muslims.
- Created on Thursday, 13 March 2014 12:36
Sunrise over Makkah and its environs. Picture taken from the Mountain of Light (Jabal al-Nur) near the Hira Cave.
The entire universe worships its Creator with paramount joy and pride, with neither fatigue nor boredom ever befalling it. This is a truth which humans, owing to their restricted aptitude, will never be able to comprehend. As a result of their arrogance and ignorance though, human beings have developed their own perceptions in relation to many a secret of both the animate and inanimate worlds that surround them. However, most of the existing views and theories are dubious, at best, as they rest on no definite epistemological source. The unsurpassed and only source of trustworthy knowledge in this regard is revelation, that is, the revealed knowledge wherein many secrets of other worlds have been disclosed by the Creator and Sustainer of every creature, as well as the knowledge that derives its authority and orientation from the revealed word. This reality notwithstanding, there are many people who favour the ‘knowledge’ based on assumptions and superstitions over that which is based on the wisdom granted by the Creator and Lord of the universe. Certainly, due to their ideological and epistemological disparities, people’s outlooks on the realities of life vastly differ, often resulting in the creation of not only irreconcilably different but also conflicting cultures and civilizations.
- Created on Sunday, 02 March 2014 10:05
The city of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
When building an edifice, the Muslim architect and structural engineer worthy of their respective professions are, first and foremost, concerned about how the end result of their efforts will stand out when juxtaposed with the existing universal setting - a result of heavenly artistry - in terms of both function and outward appearance: will it complement or contrast with it; will it go well with it, or will it appear as a misfit, oddity, or even an offensiveness?
- Created on Friday, 27 December 2013 18:34
Elaborately decorated front facade of the al-Aqmar Mosque.
The Fatimids, it could be thus inferred, were among the first in Islamic civilization who used the power of writing signs on buildings in order to advance and publicize their ideological struggle. The earliest Muslim example of using buildings and building decoration systems as a means for promoting a spiritual mission and cause could be traced back to the creation of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem which was initially completed in 72 AH /691 CE at the order of the Umayyad caliph ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan (d. 86 AH /705 CE). Via the ways the building and its decorative styles and strategies were perceived, planned and executed, the local Jewish and Christian population was mainly targeted. However, the way the Fatimids made recourse to utilizing the power of letters and symbols on buildings for advertizing and promoting their struggle and cause was like what nobody has ever seen before.
- Created on Monday, 16 December 2013 07:26
The courtyard of the Mosque of al-Azhar.
The Shi’ah Fatimids were a major Isma’ili Shi’ah dynasty. They founded their own caliphate, in rivalry with the ‘Abbasids, and ruled over different parts of the Islamic world, from North Africa and Sicily to Palestine and Syria. The Fatimid period was also the golden age of Isma’ili thought and literature. Established in 297 AH /909 CE in Ifriqiyah (today’s Tunisia, Western Libya and Eastern Algeria), the seat of the Fatimids was later transferred to Egypt in 362 AH /972 CE, and the dynasty was finally overthrown by Salahuddin al-Ayyubi (Saladin) (d. 590 AH /1193 CE) in 567 AH /1171 CE, when the fourteenth and last Fatimid caliph, al-‘Adid li Dinillah (d. 567 AH /1171 CE), lay dying in Cairo.