Tag Archives: architecture

Endowed birds

Birdhouse on the Ayazma Camii Mosque. Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by Celalettin Güneş

Birdhouse on the Ayazma Camii Mosque. Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by Celalettin Güneş

The photo above is a two centuries old birdhouse crafted with the same care and skill as the stonework of Ayazma Camii (Holy Spring) Mosque on which it clings.

From theromantictraveler

The charters for new mosques often included provision for feeding the birds that lived in these shelters. The Beyazit II mosque in Istanbul, built in the late 15th century, had a charter that allocated 30 pieces of gold each year to look after its birds. Even when the charter was eventually revoked in the 1920s the official then in charge of the mosque continued to feed them out of his own salary until 1947. In the great Dolmabahce Palace there’s a room that was devoted to looking after sick and injured birds.

Fazil Husnu Daglarca, the famous Turkish poet, relates how a man in Sivas used the income from two shops to look after the city’s birds, and all across turkey you come across similar endowments. In Islam there’s a tradition, at least there used to be, of endowments for everything from poor kitchens, fountains, homes for widows and alms for orphans to trousseaus for poor girls and books for libraries and colleges. Endowments providing water and grain to birds and other animals were just a part of this enlightened attitude.

You can also see more photos on a recent post at Islamic Arts and Architecture.

Hat tip (again) to Dr. Stephennie Mulder.

The Shrine of Khwajah Ahmad Yasavi

To conquer the living by exalting the dead, Timur ordered a new shrine to be built atop the old tomb of the old mystic.

Masons, spared death in his campaigns, weave together the squares of earth that begin to spin Subhan Allah, Glorious is God, Subhan Allah, Glorious is God, all the way up to the edge of heaven’s dome and now as the bricks ascend on bent backs they grow lighter and lighter until the faithful below believe they see perfection; only those above know what compromises it takes to achieve the illusion of order; only they, clinging to the dome of heaven can see its faults: the azure tile is poorly centered and the blob of mortar dries out of place.

Death, in its own perfection, will find Timur too and at once they will all disperse leaving the vision perpetually incomplete.

Shrine of Khwajah Ahmad Yasavi.  Ourplace.com

Shrine of Khwajah Ahmad Yasavi.
Ourplace.com

Shrine of Khwajah Ahmad Yasavi.  Ouroyster.com

Shrine of Khwajah Ahmad Yasavi.
Photo by Marysia Maciocha. You can read more on her blog, or connect with her on twitter.

Shrine of Khwajah Ahmad Yasavi.  Archnet.org

Shrine of Khwajah Ahmad Yasavi.
Archnet.org

Squinch or pendentive?

One day I won’t need to look this up anymore but that event will likely coincide with the day I am dead.

(More) Admonitions to Christians from the Dome of the Rock

A continuation of yesterday’s post; this from the interior. The translation below starts on the south wall with breaks for each facet of the octagon.

Spandrel from the interior octagonal arcade showing the Kufic inscription band thought to be the oldest surviving sample of Quranic Arabic writing. This excerpt reads, “He quickeneth and He giveth death; and He has power over all things.”
image © Said Nuseibeh

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate. There is no god but God. He is One. He has no associate. Unto Him belongeth sovereignity and unto Him belongeth praise. He quickeneth and He giveth death; and He has power over all things. Muhammad is the servant of God and His Messenger.

Lo! God and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation. The blessing of God be on him and peace be on him, and may God have mercy. O People of the Book! Do not exaggerate in your religion

nor utter aught concerning God save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a Messenger of God, and His Word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and say not ‘Three’ – Cease! (it is)

better for you! – God is only One God. Far be it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And God is sufficient as Defender. The Messiah will never scorn to be a

servant unto God, nor will the favoured angels. Whoso scorneth His service and is proud, all such will He assemble unto Him. Oh God, bless Your Messenger and Your servant Jesus

son of Mary. Peace be on him the day he was born, and the day he dies, and the day he shall be raised alive! Such was Jesus, son of Mary, (this is) a statement of the truth concerning which they doubt. It befitteth not (the Majesty of) God that He should take unto Himself a son. Glory be to Him!

When He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is. Lo! God is my Lord and your Lord. So serve Him. That is the right path. God (Himself) is witness that there is no God save Him. And the angels and the men of learning (too are witness). Maintaining His creation in justice, there is no God save Him,

the Almighty, the Wise. Lo! religion with God (is) Islam. Those who (formerly) received the Book differed only after knowledge came unto them, through transgression among themselves. Whoso disbelieveth the revelations of God (will find that) lo! God is swift at reckoning!

translation via Islamic Awareness

Admonitions to Christians from the Dome of the Rock

I never knew that the Dome of the Rock had such a specific message to Christians — specifically concerning the Trinity. The translation below starts on the south wall with breaks for each facet of the octagon.

Dome of the Rock, exterior.
image via www.briancreese.co.uk

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate. There is no god but God. He is One. He has no associate. Say: He is God, the One! God, the eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him. Muhammad is the Messenger of God, the blessing of God be on him.

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate. There is no god but God. He is One. He has no associate. Muhammad is the Messenger of God. Lo! God and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet.

O ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation. In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate. There is no god but God. He is One. Praise be to

God, Who hath not taken unto Himself a son, and Who hath no partner in the Sovereignty, nor hath He any protecting friend through dependence. And magnify Him with all magnificence. Muhammad is the Messenger of

God, the blessing of God be on him and the angels and His prophets, and peace be on him, and may God have mercy. In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate. There is no god but God. He is One. He has no associate.

Unto Him belongeth sovereignty and unto Him belongeth praise. He quickeneth. And He giveth death; and He has Power over all things. Muhammad is the Messenger of God, the blessing of God be on him. May He accept his intercession on the Day of Judgment on behalf of his people.

In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate. There is no god but God. He is One. He has no associate. Muhammad is the Messenger of God, the blessing of God be on him. The dome was built by servant of God ‘Abd

[Allah the Imam al-Ma’mun, Commander] of the Faithful, in the year two and seventy. May God accept from him and be content with him. Amen, Lord of the worlds, praise be to God.

translation via Islamic Awareness

Buland Darwaza, The Gate of Magnificence

The inscription above the gateway reads:

Jesus, son of Mary said: ‘The world is a Bridge, pass over it, but build no houses upon it. He who hopes for a day, may hope for eternity; but the World endures but an hour. Spend it in prayer for the rest is unseen.’

Buland Darwaza. Fatehpur Sikri, India. 1601.
Wikipedia

Capital copycat

From Medieval Decorative Ornament by James Kellaway Colling. Dover Publications.