{jcomments on}Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer
Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design
International Islamic University Malaysia
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Humans are not the only creatures that build. Many a creature that we classify low down the hierarchy of the animal kingdom, such as bees and ants, build elaborate structures. However, it has been suggested that it is awareness and imagination that single out humans as superior to other animals in architectural output.[1] While the rest of creation act on the environment instinctively with no reasoning or training - as preordained by Allah, the Creator of the universe - man does the same willingly and at his own discretion. Since his actions are preceded with thinking and rationalizing, man clearly demonstrates through acts of building -- and through every other engagement of his, indeed -- his philosophy of and outlook on life and its manifold realities. The relationship between the two, i.e., one’s outlook on life and the disposition of his acts -- including building -- is causal, the former always being the cause of the latter. No sooner does a paradigm shift occur in one’s worldview -- no matter how (in)significant -- than a corresponding change accordingly ensues in the very essence and character of one’s performances, thus revealing and immortalizing one’s actual relationship with his self, with his peers, with other creatures and, of course, with his Creator and Lord.

Read more: Building as an Indispensable and Creditable Activity

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

The Umayyad caliph ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan embarked on building the Dome of the Rock for several socio-political and religious reasons. Three of them seem to have been most decisive:


Firstly: Religious reason


With no exception, Muslim historians keep informing us generously that the caliph ‘Abd al-Malik had a remarkable religious upbringing. He was born in Madinah in 23/643 or 26/646. There as a youngster he joined the rising intellectual and religious elite of the Muslim community in passionate knowledge pursuit.[1] Ultimately, he emerged as one of the most reputable scholars of Madinah, the religious and learning center in Islam for centuries, becoming an epitome of scholarship, excellence and virtue. Abu al-Zinad has said: “Four are the scholars (jurists, fuqaha’) of Madinah: Sa’id b. al-Musayyab, ‘Urwah (b. al-Zubayr), Qubaysah b. Dhuwayb and ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan before entering the field of political affairs.”[2] ‘Abd al-Malik was nicknamed the dove of the Mosque on account of the time he used to spend in the Prophet’s Mosque for both learning and worship purposes.[3] During the reign of the caliph Mu’awiyah, when his father Marwan b. al-Hakam was the Madinah governor, ‘Abd al-Malik was even appointed in charge of the Madinah Register (Diwan al-Madinah).[4] He remained in Madinah until 64/683 when the case of ‘Abdullah b. al-Zubayr reached so alarming proportions that the whole region of al-Hijaz hastened to pledge allegiance to him, and the members of the Umayyad family, in turn, had to flee for their safety to Syria. Next, ‘Abd al-Malik was a governor of Palestine for sometime to his father,[5] and it was, in all probability, then that he added to his affection for the whole area and the al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as that he coined some preliminary strategies with regard to the territory’s future development.

Read more: The Main Reasons for Building the Dome of the Rock

THE Paradox OF Preservation In Urban & Architectural  Heritage

Dr. Mustapha Ben-Hamouche

Urban and architectural heritage in the Islamic world is gradually becoming an object of preservation policies due to the ever increasing cultural awareness. Old buildings and cities are believed to be the fortress of culture that helps societies preserve their identities and face the eradicating globalization. However, preservation policies, mostly based on the intervention of the State, protective measures and the freezing of building against any change and alterations, are  often in contradiction  with the urban dynamics and incremental process that generated such  cities and buildings. Considering  the  emptiness of  these cities and buildings from their original content,  such policies become, in a sense,  like an action of  taxidermy that “reproduces a life-like three-dimensional representation of a dead  animal for permanent display”.

Read more: Taxidermy Vs Urban Dynamics