After the death of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) , the Islamic religion was spreading rapidly all across the Middle East and the world. Because of this, there was an increased demand for mosques and spiritual gathering places. The construction of these designated places of worship marked the beginning of the influential architectural creations of the Muslims.
Islamic architecture is undeniably one of the most beautiful forms of man-made symmetry and designs. It has evolved within Muslim cultures throughout Islamic history, inspired by spiritual essence.
An important factor in every work of Islamic art and architecture is abstract decoration of the surface, whether large or small. The features of Islamic architecture, such as columns, piers, and arches, were highly inspired by the early teachings of Islam and the actions that Muslims make during prayers. Gradually over time, generations of architects and artists created urban centers in Islamic cities, all the while, adding variety and diversity to their styles, with a sense of creativity and experience. Now-a-days, people work with the basics of this type of architecture while adding a cultural twist that is best suited for their lifestyle.
The uses of brilliant colors is one of the greatest characteristics of Islamic architecture. The Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhrah) in Jerusalem is the earliest Islamic monument. It mostly retains its original form and carries a great significance because it is the spot from which Prophet Muhammad (SAW) ascended to heaven. It has a beautiful form with outstanding details, such as jewels, mosaics representing scrolling vines and flowers, and crowns that come in greens, blues, and lustrous golds. This beautiful creation was the inspiration for the Great Mosque of Damascus. With stone mosaics of shapes like crowns, plants, realistic trees, and even empty towns, the interior of both monuments was meant to represent Paradise for Muslims.
The materials and techniques used in Islamic architecture shape fascinating three-dimensional designs. Other distinguished elements of Islamic architecture are calligraphy, light, geometry, floral patterns, and water. These factors are often used in the production of Islamic monuments and are highly pleasing to the eye. The use of each of them relates to the lifestyle present in each monument’s location.
Every Islamic country has its own form of architecture and style. The notable different forms of architecture include the early Abbasid buildings, T-Type mosques, and the central-dome mosques of Anatolia. However, the different types are:
- Iwan, which is a vaulted hall or space, walled on three sides, with one end entirely open;
- Sahn, where buildings contain courtyards which are surrounded on all sides by rooms and sometimes an arcade. Mostly all traditional mosques and buildings follow this description;
- Arabesque, which is an elaborate application of repeating geometric forms that often echo the forms of shapes and plants. Arabesque is also often associated with elements of Arabic calligraphy, which is often seen on the walls and ceilings of mosques. The use of gardens is also a notable characteristic of Islamic architecture.
Many architectural features have become fixed and eternal in modern masterpieces. They help us locate and notice our architectural roots and remain true to our identity as Muslims. Today, many Muslim planners and architects are now reasserting their Islamic heritage through architectural designs. In this way, we not only are able to relate more to our religion, but we also strengthen our faith and pride in the magnanimous impact that the Islamic Empire has had on our world to this day.