Alongside the phenomena of rapid urbanization, madrasahs and Sufism, the problem of escalating socio-political and religious schism in the Muslim nation likewise contributed significantly to the institutional decentralization in Islam. As a severe trial from Allah for the followers of the last Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh), schism arrived at the Muslim scene following the assassination of the third rightly guided caliph, Uthman b. Affan, in 36 AH / 656 AC, and it never departed ever since. After the unavoidable institutional decentralization, political and religious schism among Muslims was brought to another level of mutual confrontational theorization, functioning and propaganda. However, at times when mosques played their unified and centralized roles as solid community centers, things somewhat were kept under control. Indeed, the unity of Muslims could have been fostered way more easily under institutional centralization rather than under institutional decentralization. Even the most off-putting elements of the emergence of various sects and innocent madhhabs, Muslimmainstream schools of law or fiqh(jurisprudence), did not really start to materialize and did not become more and more pronounced until the institutional decentralization in question came to pass. This however by no means implies that the institutional decentralization caused the emergence of sects and the repulsive elements of madhhabs. Rather, it means that the latter, having been caused by other both internal and external factors, hit upon some fertile ground in the former for its proliferation and sustenance, spurring and accelerating in the process the on-going institutional decentralization. It was then that the proponents of different sects and madhhabs embarked on hewing some social and educational institutions and establishments, like madrasahs and bookshops, for example, so as to promote a sect or a madhhab, or certain sects and madhhabs. Even some mosques were built and fully utilized, as were the private houses of some notables, for the purpose. Thus, a favorable climate for some unwarranted intellectual and religious squabbles, lethargy, fanaticism and bigotry was created, and as the time passed, the situation steadily worsened.Read more: Institutional Decentralization in the History of Islamic Cities: The Role of Political and...
There is no doubt that the Holy Koran, the Moslems' constitution, has tackled every matter in our life regardless how small or large. A thorough look from a building technology point of view, would notice that many verses of Koran have dealt with building materials, techniques and even structural systems. Some Architectural researches have employed Koran and Sonna to develop a theory and criteria of housing design and city planning from islamic perspective (1). However, the building technology signals in Koran haven't been discussed, which this study would try to shed some light on such divine knowledge.Read more: Building Technology In The Holy Koran
Apart from rapid urbanization in Islamic cities, the creation and full institutionalization of independent madrasahs (schools or colleges) in the 5th AH / 11th AC century expedited greatly the physical decentralization of the mosque institution and other social institutions. This is so because the world of scientific and empirical knowledge, in which the Muslims by then were assuming a global dominant role, was becoming more and more sophisticated, specialized and demanding. This called not only for the creation of independent and specialized madrasahs, but also for the creation of several other often autonomous educational institutions, both private and public, such as observatories, libraries, laboratories, “houses of wisdom”, bookshops, etc, so that the scientific tasks and challenges could be duly met. There were other less relevant, and rather supporting, institutions, too.Read more: Institutional Decentralization in the History of Islamic Cities: The Role of Madrasahs
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.Read more: Institutional Decentralization in the History of Islamic Cities: The Role of Rapid Urbanization