The Islamic mosque is a simple sacred place of worship; equivalent to the other religions’ places of worship like the Catholic church. It is also considered as Allah’s home on earth, which explains why it is such a sacred place. Like its counterparts, the architectural design of Islamic mosques is greatly significant to the practices of Islamic religion. The mosque has also become one of the Islamic world’s most revered symbols. History of Islamic Mosques The Mosques appeared around the Arabian Peninsula when the Islamic religion had been established.
The first mosques were not like the ones that people can see today. These were just simple open-air spaces wherein Muslims can worship Allah. Over the course of a thousand years or so, it gradually evolved to the familiar places of worship that people may often see today. As the Islamic religion progressed and expanded, so did the mosques. The Islamic armies which expanded into other territories also brought the mosques with them hence the mosque appeared in different parts of the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Eurasia, and some parts of India.
Trade also brought these mosques in these parts of the world, including some islands from South East Asia. The Design of Mosques The Architecture of Mosques has been greatly influenced by the different Arabic states which expand their territories (e. g. Ottomans, Persians). They brought their cultural architectural designs with them upon conquering an area. This explains why a lot of old mosques—the ones that lasted throughout the Ancient and Middle Ages—vary in design, both interior and exterior.
Even so, the general structure of mosques does not vary since every, if not most, mosque possess these important parts: Minaret (tall slender towers), Domes, Prayer Hall, and Ablution Facilities. Makeshift mosques are exempted from this. The interior of the mosques would vary in design but most would generally possess the following: Iwan, Sahn, Gardens, Arabesque, and Calligraphy. The Importance of the Mosques Mosques are generally places of worship for the Islamic people, making them sacred. The violation of its sanctity would often result to immediate execution—a punishment fit for a grave crime.
The mosque generally represents the house of Allah, their God, on earth: “Mosques are the houses of Allah and those believers who enter therein are the guests of Allah” (Al Islam website, line 3). This shows how integral the mosque is for the Muslims. Since this is the house of Allah, it should be properly maintained and revered. This explains why Muslims would take off their shoes and wash their feet before entering the mosque. Those who are non-Muslims, especially pagans, cannot enter this sacred place simply because they follow a different set of beliefs.
The mosque also has different functions besides serving as places of worship and prayer. One of these is various Ramadan events such as iftar dinners, in the evenings or after sunset. They would also invite the less fortunate members of the Muslim community in order to share their blessings with them. Symbol of the Islamic World The mosque has been one of Islam’s greatest symbols. An Islam town or city, in the middle ages, or a community, in the contemporary period, can be immediately identified by the sight of Islamic mosques—since they follow the same structural plan.
Since the mosques are regarded as Allah’s houses, they symbolize the core of Islam hence making them one of the most well-known symbols of the Islamic world. The religion’s long history has asserted this fact even further since most non-Muslims have identified these places in different mediums like history books, novels, and films. As the course of time would take its toll on the architectural design of the mosque, the traditional structural scheme, which entails the mosque in possessing the four most important parts or structures, remains the same.
References Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. (1995). The Holy Prophet on the importance of mosques. Retrieved March 30, 2009. <http://www. alislam. org/mosques/ahadith. html> Islam. com Inc. (2000). Mosques & its significance. Retrieved March 30, 2009. <http://www. islam. com/salat/mosque. htm> World History Project. (2002). The Mosque as a Symbol of Islamic Civilization. Retrieved March 30, 2009. <http://history-world. org/islam13. htm>
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