Dr. Khalid Azab(*)
Although architects played a distinct role in Islamic architecture, this role remained undocumented as a result of the ignorance by researchers of its nature and their presumption of its similarity to that of architects in contemporary times. A1 Qalqashandi identified the architect as the 'person who is in charge of designing the layout and proportion of a building and supervising the workers(1). Ibn Khaldun described the architect as the “the person engaged in architecture” and architecture as the science of buildings, their construction and variations, of lands and their surface areas, of digging waterways, clearing canals, building bridges and other such activities.(2) The architect was also known under the names of mason and builder.(3)
It is unfortunate that no specimens of architectural drawings made by Muslims have reached us. However, their achievements speak eloquently of their use of architectural drawings, a use that is obvious in the following three axes. The first of these are the architectural vestiges that have survived and that stand witness to the meticulousness of the Muslim architect in his work. This precision is manifest in the highly exact proportions of the components of buildings,(4) and the attention paid by the architect to the nature of the edifice being erected and its surrounding environment. It is also clear in the architectural inventiveness of Muslim architects and the degree of their talent, including innovations in military architecture. The walls erected by Badr A1 Jamali in the Fatimid Era, between 480 and 485 A.H./1087-1092 A.D., reveal great inventiveness and reflect an extraordinary architectural sense of creativity. The structure includes the huge spiral staircase that connects the platform of the walls from the inside and the roof of the structure containing the Nasr gate, and spirals around a huge chiseled stone pillar. But the impressive innovation is most apparent in the building of a hemispheric vault that rises on an incline with the semicircular staircase, thus achieving the effect of a curve running in different directions and resulting in spherical surfaces that involve greater difficulty at design and execution. All of this reflects an impressive knowledge and a talent for descriptive architecture. Another architectural innovation is found at the depression of the wall at the angle where it faces the minaret of the Mosque of Al Hakim.(5)
Other existing architectural marvels testify to the intimate knowledge by Muslim architects of descriptive architecture, considered one of the most complex sciences of modern times. During the Mamluke era, architects developed stone as a building material. Stones were used for the first time in building Mamluke minarets when the architect Ibn Assioufi built the minaret of the Aqbaghawiyya School. Prior to that, bricks were the building material of choice for minarets. The use of stones in the building of Mamluke minarets led to a revolution in building styles as it allowed for benefiting from the stone's building advantages and was reflected in the minaret's elevation, shape and size. This development reached its apogee with the Ghurid two-tiered minaret which had two stairways, a body covered in Qashani tiles and an upper floor in the form of a hexadecagon.(6)
The second source is the architectural books that survived or did not survive but were mentioned in historical records. Some of these works may not have a direct relevance to the subject of architectural drawings, but their scientific topics were related to architecture as an art and a science. Among these works is “Architectural Works Needed by Builders”, written by Abu Al Wafa Al Boujzani who died in 998 A.D.,(7) the book written by Ahmed Ibn Omar Al Karaissi and titled “Hissab Addour”, and the book “The Circumference of the Circle.”(8) Some of the other books pertain to the legislation of architecture written by architects such as “Kitab Al I'lan bi Ahkam A1 Bunyan” by Ibn Rami. There are also records of correspondence which addressed one or the other architectural aspects. These include the letter to Badhahang written by Abu Rajab, and the manuscript known as “A Letter on Architectural Matters” by Abu Mansour Ibn Ali. This letter addressed fifteen issues in which Abu Mansour referred to the use of the compass and theoretical arguments, and addressed the complex mental aspects of the resolved questions that represented some of the dilemmas encountered by architects in their activities.(9)
Let us stop briefly at the manuscript of Abu Al Wafa Al Bouzjani. The manuscript contains architectural equations that were of great help to architects. It also quotes a conversation between an architect and a craftsman, revealing the close relationship between the two. This is one of the few conversations quoted in heritage books. The book comes in thirteen chapters and is more like a guidebook for architects. One of the chapters addressed the use of the ruler and the compass, another equivalence in forms, a chapter on applying the circle to forms, and yet another chapter on dividing squares into squares and vice-versa.(10) Of the book of Rachid Eddine Al Mi'mari Al Farisi who lived in the 13th century A.D., nothing survived but the index where headings pertained to the rules of building houses for habitation, places of worship, fortifications, and information on building mausoleums. Many architectural theories were recorded in a book written by Safar Afandi on the works of Mahmoud Agha, chief court architect of the Ottoman state in the 17th century. One may wonder about the lack of clarity on the link between standing architectural models and the architectural books written by Muslim architects. The book of the Persian architect Ghayat Eddine Al Kashi, written in 1423 A.D., shows with the help of charts the way of designing arches in building.(11)
The third source lies in the historical events that confirm the use by Muslim architects of architectural drawings when they built their edifices. One of these events was the founding of Baghdad. When Al Mansur launched the works after he personally chose the site, he appointed the architects Abdullah Ibn Mehrez, Al Hajjaj Ibn Youssuf, Imrane Ibn Waddah and Shiha Ibn kuthayyir. He ordered them to make the number of shops large so that each suburb could have enough open and close-ended streets and alleys to service all the houses. He also instructed them to name each street after the chief who was residing there, the virtuous man who dwelled there or the origin of the people who lived in a specific quarter. He set the width of the street at fifty yards and that of the alleys at sixteen yards. To each of the four architects he assigned a quarter of the surface area of the city to build up and placed two of his men to supervise the works.(12) This is an indication of the double duty of the architect who used to design and to supervise implementation and had administrators at his service to help him in this task. This record also shows that the project owner was able to make recommendations and suggestions that the architect had to adhere to when making his drawings.(13) Caliph Abu Jaafar A1 Mansur asked architects to show him the preliminary outline which was drawn up in ash and walked around the town's streets and quarters before approving the design and ordering its execution.(14)
A similar arrangement was followed when Caliph A1 Mamum Ibn Mussa directed his architect saying: “If you build, make the building strong and indestructible so that its vestiges and layout may remain standing.”(15) When Ahmed Ibn Toulon began building his mosque in Al Qatay (old Cairo) in 263 A.H./876 A.D., his architect wrote to him saying: “I will build it as you wish for it to be, with no pillars but the two pillars of the Qibla, and I will make a drawing thereof that you may see it.” He called for parchment and a drawing of the mosque was made which the Caliph appreciated and praised.(16) The oldest surviving Islamic architectural drawing is preserved at the Uzbekistan University for Oriental Sciences. It dates back to the 8th century A.H./16th century A.D. and is part of the Uzbek Collection. It presents an illustrative diagram using the square as a unit.(17) The drawing pertains to a garden in Afghanistan and the square units ranged in width from 42 to 62 millimeters.
Ibn Khaldun pointed out that the use of geometrical shapes in the architecture of his time required a special knowledge of measures and proportion in order to translate the shapes from concept to reality. The full expertise of Muslim architects in architectural drawing reached its apogee in the Ottoman era, to judge from the following famous phrase uttered by architect Sinan: “I immediately sketched a beautiful and comprehensive drawing which was highly appreciated by the Sultan.” During the Ottoman reign, architects often drew up only the lower levels and they sometimes simplified the facades. They rarely included in the drawing more than the basic lines. Because the architect was the designer and the builder as the same time, he often left details until the phase of actual implementation. The archives of the Tubkuserai Palace (Istanbul) house several examples of drawings made by Ottoman architects. The detailed descriptions of architectural units and engravings in the documents preserved by the Waqfs Authority list the special terminology related to every architectural or decorative element. This terminology and the intricate descriptions of the endowed buildings point to the existence of an entire science, architecture, which had its specific terminology.
The interest that the sultans of the Mamluke era took in architecture resulted in the golden age of this science with many architectural innovations. It helped highlight the important role of the architect as a designer and a builder at the same time. He was considered the man of expertise consulted by sultans and princes wishing to build an edifice or carry out some other project. When Sultan al-Zahir (Baibars) wished to build his mosque in the famous al-Zahir quarter in Cairo in 665 A.H./1266 A.D., he sent Ataybek Faris Eddine Aqtay, Assahib Fakhr Eddine Ibn Assahib Bahaa Eddine and a group of architects to choose a site for the construction of the mosque. On Thursday 8 Rabiaa II 665 A.H./1266 A.D., the Sultan came out with them to inspect the site they had chosen. They presented him with the preliminary cost evaluation and other relevant matters, and then a drawing of the mosque was made for him. He instructed them to build one of its gates to resemble the gate of Az-Zahiriyya School (in Damascus), and to raise a dome above the mosque's mihrab to equal the Imam Chafii's dome in size.(18)
Architects also carried out drawings of existing edifices. When the Ghurid sultan expressed a desire to know the layout of the city of Alexandria in 916 a.h., he commissioned the architect Hassan Assayyad to do so. The architect chose an empty plot close to the Matariyya quarter and drew up in gypsum a layout of the city with its towers, gates, walls and houses. Then he called the Sultan to inspect it. The Sultan came out of the fortress on Wednesday 19 Rajab 916 A.H./1510 A.D. to inspect the layout and was impressed with it.(19)
Some princes developed a taste for drawing the layouts of the edifices they wished to build. In the 7th century A.H/14th A.D., Prince Alaa Eddine A1 A'maa, trustee of the Waqfs of Al Quds and Al Khalil personally drew up the initial outline of the building then outlined it in gypsum on the ground for the workers.(20) The use of gypsum powder to make the outline to be followed by the workers in digging the foundations was a practice that is still in use today.(21)
Al Baghdadi confirms the above when he says: “If they -the people of Egypt- wished to build a royal house or a market place, the architect would be sent for and commissioned. He would head out to the vacant lot, empty hilly plot or other surface area, divide it in his mind and outline it as proposed to him. He would tackle one part of the plot, build it and complete it so that people can inhabit it and benefit from it. Then, he would move to the next part and the one after it until he completes all parts with no fault and no rectification.”(22) At that time, the techniques and style of building and most important of these was the theory of support walls and cornerstones, were among the factors that helped implementation in this order. Furthermore, the method made it possible to inaugurate buildings even before their completion, a necessity that was dictated by the desire to celebrate the inauguration of edifices, particularly religious ones, often inaugurated soon after the completion of the qibla hall.(23)
A1 Alfi, one of the leading Mamluke princes in Egypt during the Ottoman era, designed a palace for himself in A1 Azbakiyya in Cairo. He made a drawing of this palace on large parchment, and entrusted the implementation of the design to Katikhda Zul Faqar who did not respect the drawing made. As a result, A1 Alfi demolished the palace and then rebuilt it.(24)
The various works of an architectural edifice often progressed in a simultaneous manner. In the project of Dar Assaltana in Damascus, supervised by Prince Alaa Eddine Ash-Shujaii in 690 A.H./1290 A.D., he sought to expedite the work and urged the workers to proceed in haste. When he started digging the foundations, the carpenters had already started work on the ceilings and carpentry. This would not have been possible without detailed drawings of the edifice made before actual work began.(25)
The role of architects in Islamic civilization was not limited to architectural drawings, but exceeded it to the fashioning of miniature models of buildings. This practice was common among Muslim rulers and was used on several occasions. The oldest prototype in Islamic architecture represented the Silsila Dome and is still in existence. When it was first built and before its renovation, a model was built and used later on in building the Dome of the Rock in 72 A.H./961 A.D. When King Abdulmalik Marwan wished to build the Dome of the Rock, he described to the architects the shape he wanted the dome to look like. They fashioned a prototype of the Silsila Dome for him which he liked and gave his directives for the Dome of the Rock to be built according to the model presented to him.(26)
When the minaret of the mosque of Tuzer, a city in Ifriqiyah (Tunisia), was being built in 422 A.H./1030 A.D. and its minaret had reached its height, the architect felt that his death was near. He fashioned three models in wax for its apex so that his successor could choose the one he liked to finish the minaret. He also named an architect from Qayrawan to complete the work after his death.(27)
The interest that the Moroccan Sultan Abu Inan Al Marini took in Gibraltar after its restoration and expansion in 733 A.H./1332 A.D. reached such extent that he ordered the fashioning of a miniature model of the mountain complete with its fortress, towers, gates, plants, mosques and everything seen on the mountain, including the reddish soil. The model was made and seen by Ibn Battuta who described it as “an extraordinary artifact displaying great craftsmanship and truly appreciated by those who had seen the mountain and could see the small replica.(28) The wooden models which were often carved before construction were used by architects to convince the owner to proceed with the construction. This method was used at some stage in building the Taj Mahal. The use of prototypes became common practice in the Ottoman era. Wooden and silver models such as the one of the Izet Pasha Mosque became common. Records also mention models fashioned out of wax. It is a known fact that the Ottoman sultan Mohammed I only became convinced of constructing one of the Ottoman buildings after he saw a miniature model of it.(29)
Cost Estimates and Closing Accounts:
With the help of the plans prepared for him and the costs of construction materials and manpower, the architect made an evaluation of the building's construction costs. After completion, this would be called the itemized list and helped the owner of the project gain clarity on the costs. When the architect Saleh Ibn Nafii designed for Ikhshid a garden and a palace in Rawda (Cairo) for Ikhshid, the latter approved the design and inquired about the cost estimate. He was told that it was thirty thousand dinars. He asked for the cost to be lowered then authorized the execution.(30)
Imad Eddine Al Asphahani, a statesman in the court of Salah Eddine El Ayyoubi, quoted a highly important text which was later on mentioned by A1 Bindari in his book “Sana Al Barq Ash-Shami”. The text pertains to the walls enclosing Cairo and which were built by Salah Eddine to protect the city from possible Crusade attacks. The text reads: “When Sultan Salah Eddine conquered Egypt and Allah granted him victory over the enemies there, he saw that Cairo(31) and A1 Fustat had each a wall surrounding them and providing little protection, and that their inhabitants had no army to protect and defend them. He said: “If I build a wall around each of these two cities separately, they will each need their own armies and sentinels. It is my opinion to enclose the two cities behind one and the same wall that would stretch from bank to bank, then place my trust in Allah to protect them”. He ordered the building of the Fortress(32) in the middle, next to the mosque of Saad Addawla on the Moqattam mountain. He begun construction outside Cairo starting with a tower at the Moqattam and ending it at the higher levels of Cairo with other towers which he connected to the Greater Tower. Records kept by his subordinates showed the measurements of the precincts of Al Fustat and Cairo, including the coast and the mountain, to be twenty-nine thousand three hundred and two yards. The records show that the distance between the Moqattam Fortress on the Nile bank and the tower at A1 Koum A1 Ahmar on the bank of Masr was ten thousand five hundred yards. It also showed that the distance from the fortress on A1 Moqattam to the wall of the fortress by the mosque of Saad Addawla was eight thousand ninety two yards. From the side of the fortress wall next to the mosque of Saad Addawla to the tower of Al Koum A1 Ahmar, there were seven thousand two hundred and ten yards. All of this included the arches, body and towers from one bank of the Nile to the other, after verifications and
modifications. The unit of measure used here in the Hashemite yard and the supervision was conducted by Bahaa Eddine Qaraquche.(33)
It is worthy of note that when Imad Eddine wrote about the wall, he was not reporting on a standing edifice that he saw with his own eyes but quoting information found in records. This means that while he was engaged in his occupations at the secretariat and handling correspondence for Salah Eddine El Ayyoubi, he became acquainted with the project of the walls in the records and cost estimate made for it. This emerges from the details that are thus provided, knowing that the project was never completed according to the plans initially made.
It was common practice in olden times for the architect or the project supervisor to provide the owner with the itemized list and final accounts of the project. When Zubaida, wife of Haroun Arrachid, was presented with an account of the expenditure involved in creating the watering source “Ain Zubaida”, installed on the way from Baghdad to Mekkah, she took the accounts and threw them in the river saying: “Let us leave accounts to the Day of Reckoning”. Similarly, when Sultan Nour Eddine Mahmoud built his mosque in Mosoul and completed it in 586 A.H./1172 A.D., he was presented with the accounts of his spending as he sat by the Tigris River. He said “We have done this for the love of Allah, let us leave the accounts to the Day of Judgment”, and threw the papers in the river.(34)
The Architect as an Expert:
Courts of justice often sought the expertise of architects to arbitrate in the conflicts that arose within society or those that opposed the authorities to the common people. This close association between the body of architects and judges speaks volumes for the nature of rulings issued with regard to the organization of the urbanization movement in society.(35) One amusing quarrel recorded in the waqf records and where architects were called upon was a conflict about the opening of a window and for which the expertise of architect Ahmed Ibn Ali and architect Ahmed Ibn Mohammed Ibn Othmane was called for. It is a fact that opening windows is one of the actions that may impinge upon the privacy of adjoining buildings.(36) To ascertain prejudice, experts are needed, a matter established in all audit and finance books where these experts are referred as the urafa (knowledgeable ones).(37) Architects in these cases play the role of the knowledgeable ones whether their services were solicited by the controller, the special court or the judges. Ibn Rami, a Tunisian architect who lived in the 14th century, was requested to look at the development of construction on roads and markets, and judges entrusted him with a number of cases referred to him in his capacity as an expert.(38) In Ottoman times, courts were entrusted with new tasks such as those falling within the ambit of the Muhtasib (inspector) in addition to the regulation of professions. The supervision of building matters was part of the duties of the Muhtasib.(39)
The Muhtasib was, for example, in charge of verifying the quality of building materials.(40) One of the responsibilities of the Memar Pashi (chief of the architect corps) Prince Sanqar Ibn Ali Jaweesh, was to set the price for gypsum and inspect its quality.(41) The records of Ottoman courts of justice clearly show the relationship between the architectural corps and these courts. In fact, the assistance of the architects was sought in determining the prices of property and their locations, the degree of their prejudice to neighbors and passers-by, and the amounts of compensations for prejudices suffered. This is exactly what architects Abdeljawad Ibn Mohammed Attaweel and Barakt Ibn Ali did when they served as counsel in a case reviewed by the court of Assaleh Talaaii.(42) Architects were also called upon to arbitrate in cases of conflict about the limits of buildings. One of these was the case of Mohammed Ibn Nasouh who went to the court of Al Bab A1 Ali in Cairo to put a stop to the violation by Abdelghani Al Aseel of the waqf of Ibraheem Abu Osboo. He appealed for an expertise to be conducted by architects who were knowledgeable about buildings, their measurements and the town's sections and quarters. After an inspection by Cherif Hejazy Al Qoraafy, Nasef Ibn Abdeddayem, and Shahada Ibn Abi Ennasr Toulouni, it turned out that the plot of land subject of the conflict was indeed part and parcel of the waqf of Abu Osboo. In fact, the romt, rabt and the building were all connected to each other from the lower to the higher levels, and the old waqf building stands witness to that.(43) One name that stands out among the names of the architects mentioned is that of Shahada Ibn Nasr Toulouni who belonged to the Toulouni family which had a prestigious status among the architects corps from early in the Mamluke era. It is a known fact that professions such as that of architects were inherited by children from their fathers.
The records of the courts of justice also reveal the existence of bodies of architects that were in charge of regulating and organizing the profession and that granted the status of a member to those deserving of the title of architect. These orders did not thrive only in large metropolitans but also existed in medium-sized and small towns. One of these was the corps of architects of the town of Fouwa in Egypt. The chief of the order of architects in Fouwa was held in great esteem. Courts of justice often tasked him to inspect buildings and report on their viability for residence, and to divide the property that the court deemed fit to divide between the conflicting parties. One of these records reads: “A legally recognized division and modification by the chief of the corps of architects in Fouwa, Zaini Abdurrahman Ibn Abdellatif Al Banna Ash-Shihabi Ahmed Ibn Abdel Karim A1 Banna. The two parties were notified, attended and witnessed the proceedings of the division”. The opinion of the chief of architects was held in high esteem, and as such he was entrusted with the supervision of the maintenance of such public facilities in Fouwa as mosques, streets and others. The sheikh of architects also supervised the rebuilding of the pavement adjoining the minaret of Abu Annajat mosque and the restoration of the minaret.(44)
Many biographies of Muslim architects have survived to this day although the most prominent of them lived in later eras. In most cases, the architects whose biographies have survived to our time are those who built edifices for sultans, kings and princes. This does not mean that they did not extend their services to the public, but sometimes they themselves were part of the court. This was the case during the era of Annaser Mohammed Ibn Qalawoun who set up a secretariat for construction and building activities. Under the Ottoman rein, official architects had their own secretariat which was headed by a Me’mar Pashi (chief architect). There are also accounts with the names of innumerable architects who worked on public edifices, mentioned in endowment documents and in the records of courts of justice. Some architects acquired great fame for building impressive structures such as the architect Abu Bakr Ibn Al Bassisi who specialized in bridges, and the architect of the Akka port, Abu Bakr Al Maqdissi Al Banna.(45) But most prominent of all were the Muslim architects who left behind monuments that witness to their talent and creativity such as Ibn Ghanaim -Abrahim Ibn Ghanaim Ibn Said-, a 7th century architect who entertained close ties with Sultan al-Zahir Baibars Al Bindaqdari. He carried out all the buildings the sultan erected in Damascus, and his name is still engraved on the wall of the al-Zahiriyya School in this city.(46) Ibn Touloun Assalehi mentions a palace that Ibn Ghanaim built for al-Zahir Baibars in the Damascus meadow.
Muslims were familiar with the transfer of a profession through generations as the son learns the trade from the father. Thus, many techniques were practically secrets that were exclusively inherited within the family. This explains the minimal number of works that reached us addressing the various trades. One of the most renowned families whose children inherited the profession of architecture was the Toulouni family which became famous under the Mamluke reign and operated in Egypt until the Ottoman time. Most prominent among this family was Shihab Eddine Ahmed Ibn Mohammed Ibn Ali Toulouni, chief architect during the reign of sultan al-Zahir Barquq. In his biography, Ibn Fajr A1 Asqalani says that he was knowledgeable about his trade from very early and called him the master of all architects. His elevated status was such that the sultan married his daughter. He was appointed to head the building of the Holy Sanctuary in Mekkah and visited Mekkah regularly for that purpose until his death there after he finished rebuilding the holy precincts(47) in 801 A.H.(48) His son, Mohammed Ibn Ahmed, inherited his trade but died in the same year as his father. Another architect from this family was Abderrahim Ibn Ali Ibn Omar Az-Zine Toulouni, architect of the Holy Sanctuary. He was called the architect as well as the son of the mason, and died in 819 A.H.(49)
Assejini: Ahmed Ibn Ubaid Allah Ibn Mohammed excelled in many sciences particularly algebra, geometry, architecture and astrology. He was born in Sejjin in the Gharbiyya Governorate in Egypt,(50) then lived in Cairo and was subsequently referred to as Al Qahiri. He lived near Medinah in Saudi Arabia for approximately two years to finalize some buildings. After building many edifices there, he returned to Cairo where many scholars visited him to learn from him till he fell and injured the nerves in his left foot. He was ill for a while then died in 855 A.H.(51)
The architectural movement in terms of official structures and edifices built by princes and notables relied on architects. Buildings for the use of the general public were carried out by smaller architects who served at the same time as the supervisor of the construction works and were often called the master, and sometime the builder. In some rural parts of the world, the builder carries out both design and implementation. This can be clearly seen in the Egyptian countryside where only a short while ago builders also designed the houses. They would first draw an outline using powdered lime after discussing with the owner what he wished to build, then they would carry out the works. This method is common in Matoubes where some families are renowned for this activity. One of these families is the Othmane family that inherited this trade from its ancestors. The person who engaged in and excelled at this activity was called the Meallim (master). The same method is followed in the Arab Peninsula.(52) On occasions, the building works were carried out by the owner with the help of neighbors who had a prior experience in building.(53) It is interesting to note that this category of architects who inherited the profession existed until a recent past. One of them was Mohamed Ghattas Annahat who took part in the renovation of many monuments in Cairo. He dismantled and then put together the caravansary of Faraj Ibn Barquq after making a drawing of it. He also painted the northwestern gate of the caravansary, a beautiful gate decorated with muqarnas. Mohamed Al Habbal inherited the trade from his ancestors and remained active in the restoration of monuments until his death. He drew the entrance of the Qaousoun Palace and the entrance of the Sultan Hassan School despite their great difficulty.(54)
All of this goes to show the important role of the architect in Islamic architecture within the society where he was born and in the traditions and values in which he became steeped. As such, he was able to give shape to a product that had distinct features and that evolved at the same pace as this society. The product involved the transformation of the raw material into an appropriate shape and its use as a means to meet the requirements of the user. The process of developing the product is based on transforming a raw material derived from nature through a socially inherited legacy of knowledge that is also acquired through exposure. This interaction occurs when a set of ingredients bring into play three factors:
- The performing individual such as the architect, the craftsman and the end user who will benefit from the architectural product.
- The social need or the appreciation of the specificity of what society needs in terms of architecture, and defining this need as a requirement that may be met under the circumstances and according to society's resources. This request involves financial and emotional aspects, including the satisfaction of the emotional, identity and pleasure calls.
- The social technology of which the ingredients comprise the raw materials, knowledge of the characteristics of the material, the processing of this material, the ability to identify the social need and to take a stance thereto.(55)
The Muslim architect dealt with all these elements with great talent and skill. He fully understood the nature of the social needs. He engaged in an intellectual interaction with the end user, resulting in an architecture that fully met the latter's needs. He harnessed the raw element drawn from nature to serve architecture. However, this intellectual interaction was soon extinguished at the turn of the nineteenth century. The awe felt towards the West became the pivotal point of life in this century, and architecture served as the medium through which Western thought, with its values and concepts, penetrated Muslim society. It would be absurd to say that all architecture hailing from the west was useless and inappropriate. There are in Western architecture experiences that attempted to bring what is beneficial to humanity, either by inventing new, cheap and practical building materials, or by innovating through designs never witnessed by humanity before. The problem lies with those architects who totally and unwittingly surrender to the Western style, oblivious of the environmental differences for example, and even of the differences in values, norms and traditions.
(*) A researcher in Islamic archaeology, Arab Republic of Egypt.
(1) Al Qalqashandi: “Sobh Al A”sha”, vol. 3, page 667.
(2) Hassan A1 Basha: “A1 Wadaif Wal Alqab”, vol. 3, page 1111. The art of architecture was also known among Muslims as the “science that provides knowledge about measures and components, their proportion to each other, their degrees and the specificities of their forms. The subject matter of this science consists in the absolute proportions applied to lines, surfaces, informative mass and other relevant aspects such as angles, lines and forms. The benefit of this science is to gain knowledge of these aspects in existing structures and confer on the mind sharpness and acuity. It provides a tremendous mental exercise since it has been agreed that architectural sciences are the most pragmatic of all sciences. Another benefit of this science is victory over ignorance thereof. It is an exact science where there is no room for imagination, nor does it allow the mind to indulge in such exercise. Compounded ignorance is nothing but the victory of the imagination over the mind.”
(4) Dr. Ali Ghaleb: “Proportional Harmony in the Architecture of Schools of the Mamaluke Era in Egypt”, authenticated by Dr. Amal A1 Amri, under publication, Silsilat Al Miat Kitab, High Egyptian Council for Monuments.
(5) Farid Chafii: “Arab Islamic Architecture: Past, Present and Future”, pp. 75-76. King Saud University, Riyadh, 1982.
(6) Mohammed Abdelsattar Othamne: “Functional Theory in Surviving Religious Monuments in Cairo”, p. 241, Dar A1 Wafaa Lidonia Tebaa Wa An-Nashr, Alexandria, 2000.
(7) Sherbel Dagher: “Islamic Art in Arab Sources: The Industry of Beauty and Aesthetics”, Dar A1 Athar A1 Islamiyya, Kuwait, 1999.
(8) Hassan Abdelwahhab: “Architectural Drawings in Islamic Architecture”, p. 77, Sumar Magazine, parts 1 and 2, issue No. 14, 1958.
(9) Ibn Iraq, Anu Mansur Ibn Ali: “Letters on Architecural Matters”, bulletin of the Ottoman Ministry of Education, Hyderabad, India.
(10) Sherbel Dagher, ibid., pp. 45-46.
(11) Ronald Lewcock: “Materials and Technique”, p. 132.
(12) Al Yaqubi, Ahmed Ibn Abi Yaqub Bin Wadeh: “Al Buldan”, pp. 241-243, Leyden 1892. Hassan Abdelwahhab: “Architectural Drawings”, p. 78. Mustafa Al Mousoui: “Historical Factors in the Development of Arab Islamic Cities”, page 135, Dar Arrachid Linnashr, 1982.
(13) Dr Mohammed Abdelsattar Othman: “Functional Theory in Surviving Religious Monuments in Cairo”, page 233.
(14) Hassan Abdelwahhab, ibid., page 81.
(15) Attabari, Abu Jaafar Mohammed Ibn Jarir: “History of Messengers and Kings”, vol. 9, page 261. Hassan Abdelwahhab, ibid., page 78.
(16) Al Maqrizi: “Al Khutat”, vol. 2, pp. 264-265.
(17) Ronald Lewcock: “'Materials and Techniques”, page 32.
(18) Ibid., page 300.
(19) Ibn Ayyas: “Badaii Azzohour”, vol. 4, page 196. Al Jabarti: “Ajaib Al Athar”, vo. 3, p. 175. Hassan Abdelwahhab: “Achitectural Drawings”. page 82, Mohammed Abdelsattar: “Functional Theory in Surviving Religious Monuments in Cairo”, page 236.
(20) Hassan Abdewahhab, ibid., pp. 81-82.
(21) Mohammed Abdelsattar, ibid., page 234.
(22) A1 Baghdadi, Abdellatif Ibn Youssef: “Benefit and Lessons from Witnessed Events and Incidents in the Land of Egypt”, page 41, Masriyya, 1988.
(23) Mohammed Abdesattar, ibid., page 234.
(24) “Ajaib A1 Athar”, vol. 4, p. 27.
(25) Hassan Abdelwahhab: “Architectural Drawings”, page 83.
(26) Ibid., page 85.
(27) Ibid., page 86.
(28) Ibn Battuta: “Tuhfat Annodhar Fi Gharaib A1 Amsar”, vol. 2, page 179.
(29) Pelagia Astrnidou: “The Architect in Ottoman Time” a study in the commemorative book published by Attamimi Foundation for Scientific Research in honor of Michael Kayle, Tunis, 2000.
(30) Al Maqrizi: “Al Khutat”, vol. 2, p. 181.
(31) Masr refers to the city of Al Fustat of which the name evolved over time to become the name of the whole country. The city was the hub of power and economy and later on became the Old Egypt, as it is known today.
(32) The Fortress of Salah Eddine El Ayyoubi is still in existence today.
(33) Al Bindari, Al Fath Ibn Ali Ibn Mohammed: “Sana A1 Barq Ash-Shami”, p. 119, authenticated by Fathiyya Nibrawi, Maktabat A1 Khanigi, Cairo, 1979. Osama Talaat: “The Walls of Salah Edine and Their Impact on the Expansion of Cairo in the Mamluke Era”, p. 26, a Master’s Thesis, Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo Univesrity, 1992.
(34) Hassan Abdelwahhab, ibid., p. 84.
(35) Khaled Azab: “Jurisprudence of Islamic Architecture”, p. 50, Dar Annashr lil Jamiaat, Cairo, 1997.
(36) The prejudice of exposure means looking into a neighbor's house through a window. Juridical sources contain rulings as to the organization of the opening of windows. The scholar Shams Eddine Mohammed Ibn A1 Minhaji Al Asiouti, a 9th century A.H. historian, wrote the following about the subject of “Opening Windows”: “The owner has the right to enjoy his property in a way that does not prejudice his neighbor”. Scholars disagreed as to the act that prejudices the neighbor. Abu Hanifa and Chafii allowed it while Malek and Ahmed declared it as unlawful. For example, a man opens a window or an aperture that overlooks his neighbor's house. They agreed that a Muslim can elevate the building of his house but cannot breach the privacy of the neighbor. If the roof of a person is higher than those of his neighbors, Malek and Ahmed said, it is his duty to erect a partition that would prevent him from looking into his neighbor's house. Abu Hanifa and Chafii, on the other hand, said that he was under no obligation to do so. Khaled Azab: “Jurisprudence of Islamic Architecture”, p. 48, Dar Annashr lil Jamiaat, Cairo, 1997.
(37) Achizari, Abdurrahman Ibn Nasr: “Nihayat Ar-Rutba bi Talab A1-Hisba”.
(38) Ibn Rami: “A1 I'lan Bi Ahkam Al Bunyan”, page 15, authenticated by Dr Farid Suleiman, Centre for University Publishing, Tunisia, 1999.
(39) This includes the task of removing protruding porches in markets by the Muhtasib (inspector) in 590 A.H. following a directive from the sultan. Dr. Hassan A1 Pasha, ibid., vol. 3, p. 1035.
(40) Ibn Al Oukhouwa: “Maalim Al Qurba fi Ahkam Al Hissba”, pp. 234-235, authenticated by Robin Lowe, Maktabat Al Mutannabi, Cairo, undated.
(41) Registers of the Assalih Court in Cairo, register 323, entry 453, page 137.
(42) Ibid., register 582, p. 173.
(43) Al Bab Al Aali Court, register 144, entry 746, p. 229.
(44) Khalid Azab: “Architectural and Artistic Characterstics of The Mosque Monuments of Fouwa”, pp. 36-37. Symposium on Mosque Architecture, Vol. 7, King Saud University, Riyadh, 1999.
(45) Mohammed Kurd Ali: “Khutat Ash-Sham”, vol. 5, pp. 248-300.
(46) On the architecture of this school, cf.: Akram A1 'Alabi: “Khutat Ash-Sham”, pp. 135-136, Dar Attibaa, Damascus, 1989.
(47) Ahmed Teimur; “Muslim Architects”, page 76, Architecture Magazine, issue No. 2, February 1923.
(48) A1 Asqalani, Al Hafid Ibn Hijr: “Inbaa A1 Ghamr Bi Anbaa Al Omr”, vol. 2, pp. 58-59, authenticated by Dr. Hassan A1 Habachi, Higher Council for Islamic Affairs, Cairo, 1994.
(49) Ahmed Teimur: ibid., p. 80.
(50) One of the governorates of the Nile Delta in Egypt.
(51) Ahmed Teimur: ibid., p. 79.
(52) Mohammed Ibn Abdallah Noueicer: “Features of Architectural Heritage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia -Najd Region”, page 147. Department of King Abdulaziz, Riyadh, 1999.
(53) Ibid., p. 147.
(54) Hassan Abdelwahhab: “Architectural Drawings”, page 87.
(55) Rifaat A1 Jadirji: “The Social Dimension of What is Built”, p. 167. “Abwab” Magazine, issue No. 18, 1998.
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