Following the full institutionalization of many roles and functions of the mosque, the Muslim society and the way it functioned underwent quite a few drastic changes from what it used to be. There became many independent socio-political, educational and religious institutions which were responsible for advancing, guiding and administering the society. Those institutions gradually evolved from the simple and rudimentary roles and functions which were performed by the mosque institution since the earliest days. Their evolution went hand-in-hand with the evolution of the Muslim society and its civilizational and global aspirations, goals and challenges. Following the latest developments, the Muslim society became a complex and multi institutional one. The mosque institution, despite its most prominent and most influential position in society, was just one of many institutions. However, most of those institutions still clustered around the central mosques in Muslim cities and towns -- where in fact they initially had been conceived and whence they had originated -- while a few other institutions were positioned elsewhere due to the reasons related, mainly, to the unavailability of appropriate and strategic spaces in the central point of a city or a town with a principal mosque (jami’) in it. Some institutions stood away from the central mosques and the cities’ inner focal points, furthermore, due to the fact that their functions would be optimized and their objectives better accomplished if they were positioned somewhere else clear of the bustling and congested nucleuses of the city centers. Some examples of the institutions which were positioned farther than the city centers dominated by the main mosque (jami’) were those institutions which did not always serve the interests of all the strata of society, such as hospitals, detention and rehabilitation centers, specialized educational establishments, etc.
Since decoration must not interfere with people’s concentration in prayers, the decoration carved inside and immediately next to the mihrab (imam’s or prayer leader’s niche) section, in particular, and on the qiblah wall, in general, normally stands above the eye-level. Certainly, this is not a wide-spread custom by chance. The Muslims are strongly advised to fix their sight in prayers on the place of prostration to ensure full concentration. This decree was issued by the Prophet (pbuh) when mosque decoration had a long way to go and when nobody was giving it serious consideration. Thus, in most mosques on the lower section of the qiblah wall, decoration is either completely non-existent or greatly minimized so that its potentially negative impact during prayers is thwarted. The upper section of the qiblah wall is reserved for rich decoration with a rich Islamic artistic vocabulary.
The following guidelines could be deduced from the views of Muslim jurists with regard to the legitimacy of mosque decoration:
1. Mosque decoration is not prohibited (haram). The most that has been said about mosque decoration is that it is an abhorrent act (makruh).
Building the City and its Main Features
The very site that has been selected for the new city is reported to have been a common field known as al-Mubarakah that was shared by many people - according to al-Tabari, sixty of them. Al-Mansur bought the land from its owners in a manner that satisfied them. There stood various big and small settlements surrounding the city. They, at a later date, became totally soaked up by its rapid development, and as such constituted the city’s immediate suburbs.