Deconstructing the American Mosque: Space, Gender, and by Akel Ismail Kahera

By Akel Ismail Kahera

"This textual content stands out as the vintage paintings within the box. . . . it will likely be super necessary for common Islamic stories, for reports of faith in the US, and for the examine of Islam in America." --Aminah Beverly McCloud, affiliate Professor of Islamic experiences, DePaul collage, Chicago From the avant-garde layout of the Islamic Cultural heart in manhattan urban to the simplicity of the Dar al-Islam Mosque in Abiquiu, New Mexico, the yank mosque takes many sorts of visible and architectural expression. The absence of a unmarried, authoritative version and the plurality of layout nuances mirror the heterogeneity of the yank Muslim neighborhood itself, which embodies a complete spectrum of ethnic origins, traditions, and spiritual practices. during this booklet, Akel Ismail Kahera explores the background and thought of Muslim spiritual aesthetics within the usa on the grounds that 1950. utilizing a thought of deconstruction in keeping with the techniques of "jamal" (beauty), "subject," and "object" present in the writings of Ibn Arabi (d. 1240), he translates the varieties and meanings of a number of American mosques from around the nation. His research contributes to 3 debates in the formula of a Muslim aesthetics in North America--first, over the that means, function, and serve as of visible non secular expression; moment, over the spatial and visible affinities among American and non-American mosques, together with the Prophet's mosque at Madinah, Arabia; and 3rd, over the relevance of tradition, position, and identification to the making of up to date spiritual expression in North the USA.

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This development has not 44 Deconstructing the American Mosque Detail of tile work, Ranchos mosque, Abiquiu, New Mexico. Photograph ©  by Ronald Baker. Courtesy of Ronald Baker. 9: been influenced by a single design theory but is rather the result of a complex process. For example, it is well known in the United States that most architects who have been hired to construct a mosque do not have encyclopedic mastery of the relevant planning or historical data. Establishing the concept of a spatial sunnah is essential because the search for a model can be confused by the features of hybrid examples whose origins often predate Islam.

The Great Umayyad mosque at Damascus adapts Roman and Byzantine structural columns, which are integrated into the conceptual hierarchical grid of a hypostyle hall. The significance of this type of juxtaposition is multiple. First and foremost, it presents us with a simulacrum: while the plan of the building is explicit, the use of structural elements is experimental. The use of recycled structural elements at Kairouan and the adaptation of an extant structure at Aesthetic Origins and End Conditions 47 Damascus legitimized the use of preexisting construction elements.

Many images used in these mosques draw on hybrid 32 Deconstructing the American Mosque traditions or entirely modern themes; in both instances, cultural forces are connected to the art of building, since technique alone does not explain the origins of architectural image. In investigating the origin of an architectural image, we find that the etymologies of key words that occur in the Qur’an and the hadith literature point toward what may be called the aesthetics of monotheism. Since the techniques of ornamentation and spatial order are not cultivated in one aesthetic language, and since religious dogma is often enacted through the agency of aesthetics, the term ‘‘aesthetics of monotheism’’ is well suited to explain the origin and end condition of an image.

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