The Metamorphosis Of The Sacred Cultural Studies Essay

Globalization and the ‘Modernization ‘ of Islam, running aboard the issue of increasing engineering has contributed to the possible demand for the development of the mosque edifice type. A simple comparing between The Prophet ‘s Mosque in Medina and Zaha Hadid ‘s proposed Avenues Mall Mosque in Kuwait, has made it apparent that the perceptual experiences of the Mosque by society and the Muslim community themselves have changed. This essay seeks to discourse the demand of the development of the Mosque edifice type in order for it to incorporate and remain relevant with modern architectural design of the globalised universe and how far we should and can force the bounds in the design of the Mosque edifice type.

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2.1. Form Vs Function Vs Identity

Traditionally, mosques have been designed with ‘Minarets ‘ , which are tall towers normally placed at the corners of the construction. A ‘Dome ‘ , which is normally placed in the center of the construction, is besides another feature of the mosque constructing type as seen in Fig. A. This set construction of holding minarets and domes has been followed by mosques all around the universe.

There has ever been a great argument of ‘Form Vs. Function ‘ in architecture. But with sacred infinites, possibly there is another factor to see: Identity. Possibly it is this ‘Identity ‘ or characteristic characteristic of all sacred infinites, be it Christian, Muslim or Buddhist which makes them so distinguishable from other infinites and edifices. A mosque is structurally defined by a minaret and a dome and a church is defined by a steeple. Therefore, a edifice is presumptively “ Muslim ” if it has a minarets by its side and a dome in the Centre.

However, the Quran – the spiritual text of Islam, does n’t order the architectural linguistic communication of the Mosque. Colin Turner wrote that “ The whole universe is a ‘place of collapse ‘ and every bit long as one faces Mecca, one can pray virtually wherever one likes. ” ( 2006, p.105 ) Does that therefore mean that a mosque does non needfully have to hold a dome and a minaret in its construction?

Welzbacher wrote that “ the construct of a holy topographic point that connects heaven and earth via a metaphysical infinite does non be in Islam. Unlike a church, a mosque is non a ‘house of God ‘ but a topographic point of assembly. ” ( 2008, p.14 ) This basically means that the architectural signifier of a mosque is non restricted to be of a certain signifier, neither must it be of a typical design. Minarets and domes in the early traditional mosque architecture basically act as a signifier of beacon for the Muslim community to direct them to the mosque and do non function a structural intent. Therefore, the extent of how much we can force the boundaries of the design and the development of mosques is illimitable.

2.2. Deductions of Globalisation and Modernisation

In Arabic, the word ‘Mosque ‘ or ‘Masjid ‘ is a “ topographic point of collapse ” or bowing down to God. The Mosque is regarded as the most of import and sacred edifice used by Muslims for supplication. However, the maps of the Mosque besides extends beyond being merely a infinite for supplication. The Mosque acts as a ‘community centre ‘ – It functions as a school, a meeting point for societal and political grounds and many other maps in the Islamic community.

With the coming of Globalisation and the changeless promotion in engineering, people have become more nomadic and civilizations and faiths have been spread all over the Earth. In order to suit the different civilizations and races populating in our globalised society, states have become more secular in nature, whereby there is no accent or selective penchant on a peculiar faith in a state. Hence, more and more mosques are being designed in a more secular context.

Rapid alterations in the forms of life, originating from globalization and modernness has rendered the other maps and infinites of the mosque to be disused. This leads to a displacement in the functionality of the mosque as the “ educational and societal maps of the traditional mosque is being taken over by the province. ” ( Grabar, O. , 1994 ) Taking into illustration the Sultan Mosque in Singapore, the mosque seems to be segregated and stands apart from the urban life infinite as office edifices and commercial composite surround the next countries of the mosque. The mosque has basically evolved to be a mere symbol of faith – a memorial, instead than a communal infinite intended for worship and supplication for the Muslim people in Singapore.

With the province being more secular, the educational maps that the traditional mosque used to supply has been taken over by educational institutes built by the province and with the rise in consumerism and engineering, societal maps of the mosques have become disused as the community has moved to infinites like shopping Centres and community Centres for recreational activities.

2.3. “ Modernization ” Of Islam

The mentality of many Muslims and the traditional forms of life have been altered by the different factors of moden life ; the regular commute from place to the work topographic point and the influence of mass media. This alleged “ Modernization ” of Islam has created a new demand – the demand for the mosque to accommodate to the new perceptual experiences of its trusters and the modern society.

It is the interior decorator ‘s function so, to invent new solutions and appropriate signifiers which can fulfill the point of views of the truster of the twenty-first century and the characterisitcs of the ever-changing modern society itself.

If we were to put the traditional State Mosque of Kuwait ( Fig. B ) aboard Zaha Hadid ‘s proposed Avenues Mall Mosque in Kuwait ( Fig. C ) , we can clearly see the fluctuation in the comprehension of the Mosque as a edifice type and how far we can take the design of the mosque.

( Fig. C )

( Fig. B )

Sing how the afore-mentioned mosques were designed at different times but with the factor of site context ( Kuwait ) staying as a invariable in both of the designs of the 2 mosque mentioned, would this hence lead to the thought that the altering times has influenced the manner Muslim trusters and possibly even the modern society, perceives the signifier of our sacred infinites?

In an interview with Cihan Bugdaci and Ergun Erkocu in ‘The Mosque ‘ , Cihan Bugdaci commented that “ Muslims want a mosque [ which they ] can custom-make – a criterion but flexible edifice in which faith and community are cardinal but in which we can set together a programme attuned to our ain demands. ” ( 2009, p.9 ) It therefore can be inferred that Muslims who have grown up in, or have grown accustomed to, our globalised universe do non desire faith and spiritual infinites to be an issue of ‘Us And Them ‘ whereby, ‘Us ‘ and ‘Them ‘ refers to the Muslim community and the social community severally.

Moslems basically want a mosque which makes them experience portion of the planetary community. This leads to the consideration of planing and doing the mosque a interceding point between society and faith, whereby alternatively of holding the mosque edifice type be a mere symbol of religion, it besides acts as a communal infinite for Muslims and non-Muslims likewise.

Possibly so we should take into history broadening the maps of the mosque and the installations that it provides. The earlier statement of ‘Form Vs Function Vs Identity ‘ is brought back to inquiry. Would the development of the mosque edifice type extend beyond merely it ‘s signifier and individuality as a mosque and subdivision out into its functionality?

Bugdaci argues that if the mosque were to be made multi-functional, “ the edifice would get a more cardinal function in the society, functioning the community as a whole ” ( 2009 ) and this would take to greater understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims and work outing the issue of ‘Us and Them. ‘ This is particularly of import in a secular province where at that place needs to be common apprehension between the different races and civilizations populating together.

2.4. Solving The Context

Another statement that should be considered is how the Mosque edifice type is besides affected by the cultural context of which it is placed in. A mosque in Turkey looks wholly different in signifier when compared to a mosque in Indonesia or America. With globalization contracting the distance between civilizations, how is a mosque supposed to look like in a conjectural layman puting where there are both Turkish and Indonesian trusters?

Hasan-uddin Khan, in his “ Overview of The Contemporary Mosque ” ( 1994, p.247-266 ) , argues that “ designs for mosques built in foreign cultural scenes are by and large tempered by the local context, modified by force per unit areas from the bing community or by local ordinances and be aftering Torahs. ” He further adds on that “ the external signifier is normally influenced by a individual dominant manner derived from one state or part, depending on who is financing, planing or taking the undertaking. ”

Khan, nevertheless, devises a solution as to how the infinite can still be kept as Muslim infinite even though it it set in a Non-Muslim context by adverting that “ while the outside must be designed to suit into a non-Muslim cultural context, the interior may be riotously decorated with Islamic ornamentation as if to stress that infinite as Muslim. ” ( 1994, p.253 )

Khan ‘s solution is basically a “ guess of inclusion and exclusion ” which is basically, making a infinite within a society which is besides conversely a infinite which is outside of society. Therefore the possibly the design of mosque edifice type should germinate to be an inside-outside infinite – 1 that needs an outside that remains relevant to the modern society but with an inside that is specific to the Islamic civilization and faith.

( Fig. D )

( Fig. Tocopherol )

An illustration would be the Islamic Centre Mosque in Rome ( 1992 ) by Portoghesi, Moussawi and Gigliotti. Structurally, the Islamic Centre Mosque in Rome was influenced by Cordoba and Tlemeen yet the prayer-hall of the mosque ( Fig. D ) was designed based on the programs of that of The Prophet ‘s Mosque in Medina ( Fig. E ) , which is the concluding resting topographic point of the Prophet Muhammad and is besides regarded the 2nd holiest site in Islam by Muslims.

( Fig. G )

( Fig. F )

However, the structural designs of the other maps of the Islamic Culture Centre in Italy, Rome was extracted from the structural designs of Roman edifices and colonnades, thereby back uping Khan ‘s theory of holding the design of mosque be a “ guess of inclusion and exclusion. ” In which the outside of the mosque is designed to accommodate the cultural context of the site but it ‘s interior is alternatively designed in conformity to the Muslim beliefs and civilization.

“ With the progressive diffusion of civilizations on a global graduated table, it is no longer possible to construct within what might be called a strictly regional manner. ” ( Khan, 1994 ) This therefore leads to a re-evaluation of the Mosque edifice type and holding the solution to be a synthesis of cross-cultural influences.

2.5. Rise In Technology As A Future Influence – The Cyborg Mosque?

Looking into the hereafter, if we were to reason that altering times affect the edifice type, would this hence mean that with the progresss in engineering and with more and more maps and installations traveling online, would it take to the mosque traveling digital? Possibly, a Cyborg Mosque?

In the article, ‘The Digital Mosque – A New Paradigm In Mosque Design ‘ , the author brings up an thought of “ the convergent mosque ” which is an on-line mosque paradigm which connects practical and physical infinites. Much like how libraries have now gone on the cyberspace, supplying books and information online, leting users to read from the amenitiess of place on their computing machine screen, the thought of the ‘Digital Mosque ‘ tallies along the same idea.

Digital engineering has allowed worlds to make “ an unlimited 3-dimensional universe within practical world. ” The article suggests that a “ convergent infinite ” which is basically “ a convergence of practical and physical infinites which relates to the constructs of: ( a ) correlativity between signifier and map, ( B ) customization of infinites, ( degree Celsius ) integrating of hardware and package and ( vitamin D ) visual image of users. ” ( As, I. 2006 )

( Fig. H )

Therefore, by holding a mosque which is strictly digital, where by the physical infinites are translated into practical infinites, the ‘Digital Mosque ‘ paradigm would supply for a cross-cultural and planetary Muslim community.

The illustration shown in Fig. I and Fig. J depicts how far the interior infinite of the mosque can be changed with the promotion in engineering. The truster stands in the physical mosque, confronting a space wall which has a projection of the Kaa’ba in Mecca, bespeaking the way of supplication ( Fig. I ) . Therefore the spacial country of the mosque is extended virtually for the user and this practical extension bridges the distance between the user and Mecca.

( Fig. I )

Additionally, this projection would alter and travel harmonizing to the motion of the user in the infinite. Thereby leting the user to experience like he is in Mecca, standing in forepart of the Kaa’ba.

( Fig. J )

The ‘Digital Mosque ‘ paradigm therefore raises a possible issue of the physical infinite of the mosque to be disused in the hereafter. If Mosques displacement from physical infinites to practical infinites, would it therefore average that the trusters would non hold a demand for a physical mosque in the hereafter and that the Mosque itself would basically germinate to be a level wall in an empty infinite?

3. Decision

Ergun Erkocu states that “ people will ever hold a demand to garner in supplication [ physically ] with like-minded people and to speak about their faith. ” ( 2009, p.12 ) Therefore there will ever be a demand for a physical mosque and in our globalised universe, we need one that can accommodate and be relevant to the altering times and at the same clip be acceptable to both the map and the context.

Despite the absence of a formal definition, understanding the maps of a mosque can enable invention to be made possible. Should both designers and the Muslim communities be more unfastened in the credence of the foundational ideological snap of Islam, merely so can the Mosque ‘s formal transmutation and cultural adaptability be made possible and successful.

4. List Of Mentions

As, I. ( 2006 ) , The Digital Mosque, Journal of Architectural Education, 10 August, 60: pp.54-66.

Erkocu, Ergun, Cihan Bugdaci, And F. Bolkestein. ( 2009 ) The Mosque: Political, Architectural And Social Transformations, Rotterdam: Nai Publishers

Frishman, Martin, Hasan Khan, And Mohammad Asad. ( 1994 ) The Mosque: History, Architectural Development & A ; Regional Diversity, New York: Thames And Hudson, pp.242-272

Welzbacher, Christian. ( 2008 ) Euro Islam Architecture: New Mosques In The West, Amsterdam: Sun

Turner, C. ( 2006 ) A Islam: The Basicss, London: Routledge, pp.100-110.


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