The Social Significance of Mr Nazeer Khan’s Architecture (Part Two)

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer
Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design
International Islamic University Malaysia
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Nazeer at work

Mr Nazeer Khan at work.

 

Mr Nazeer Khan’s Architecture and Kerala’s Interfaith Harmony

Islam entered India almost in the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Generally, it is thought that it came into India by way of invasion by Muhammad b. Qasim, a young general sent by Yusuf b. Hajjaj, the governor of Iraq during the Umayyad period in the later part of the 7th century CE. But this is not true. Islam entered India initially through Kerala on the west coast through the Arab traders in a peaceful manner.[1] “The region called Malabar in Kerala is Indianised form of ma`bar which in Arabic means passage. Since the Arab traders passed through that region often it came to be known by that name. The Arabs, in fact, had been trading since pre-Islamic days and then embraced Islam after the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) began preaching. They married the local women in Kerala and their offspring spread in different parts of that region. Also, later they were accompanied by Sufi sheikhs who converted many local people, mainly from lower classes, to Islam. Thus, this was the real entry point of Islam into India.”[2]

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The Social Significance of Mr Nazeer Khan’s Architecture (Part One)

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer
Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design
International Islamic University Malaysia
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

image001

Mr Nazeer Khan in a furniture factory in Indonesia supervising the manufacturing of the furniture he designed for his buildings. The factory is one of two in Indonesia which cater primarily to his architectural and interior design needs.

 

Introduction

In this paper, the social significance of Mr Nazeer Khan’s architecture will be discussed. The discussion will revolve around the relationship between Mr Nazeer Khan’s architecture and Kerala[1] Muslims’ economic transformation, as well as Kerala state’s interfaith harmony. The study is not about delivering judgments concerning Mr Nazeer Khan and his architectural exploits from a sheer perspective of architecture as a synthesis of art, science and technology, for such could significantly narrow at once our purpose and focus, and could divert our attention from some vital thrusts of the subject at hand. Rather, the study is about Mr Nazeer Khan’s architecture and Kerala’s religious and socio-economic molds, and how they correlate with each other, the latter clearly dictating and shaping the former. It is only against this expansive and complex backdrop that Mr Nazeer Khan’s architecture could be properly observed and appreciated. A restricted and one-sided approach – regardless of what it might be -- would in all likelihood lead to some incomplete, patchy and even unfair opinions and inferences.

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The Houses of the Prophet (PBUH)

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer
Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design
International Islamic University Malaysia
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prophet mosque replica small

(A replica of the Prophet’s mosque and some of his houses. Courtesy of the Hadarah Tayyibah Exhibition held in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, in 2010-2012.)

 

Introduction: the houses in Madinah

Not all houses in Madinah, during the Prophet’s time, were same. By and large, most houses were characterized by several notable features, the most important one of which perhaps was their moderate spaciousness. As we are absolutely sure that loftiness was not their trademark, we are likewise in no doubt that spaciousness, as much as needed and in line with the standards of the day, was their underlying quality.

Our argument is based first and foremost on the Prophet’s saying to the effect that of man’s happiness are a good wife, a spacious residence, a good neighbour, and a good mount.

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The Mosque as a Community Center (A Concept and Evolution)

the mosque as a community centerthe mosque as a community center back

The Mosque as a Community Center (A Concept and Evolution)

Author: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer
Publication date:  2014
Pages:  382
Publisher: AS Noordeen, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (
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ISBN: 978-983-065-358-7

 

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.

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Reading the Signs of Allah

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer
Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design
International Islamic University Malaysia
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makkah environs hira cave

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.

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