Rules and Restrictions and by PHUB

October 3, 2009
Silk was originated from China

Silk was originated from China

Silk was originally developed in China. However, Persian soldiers captured some silk makers and forced them to show their secret methods to make silk.
Silk comes from the thread of a silk worm when it makes its cocoon. The cocoon is put into hot water and the silk is then taken out.

Cocoon

Cocoon

The wealthy Muslims enjoyed wearing silk clothing which were light and comfortable in the warm climates. Men were not supposed to wear silk, according to the Qur’an, but some had silk clothing made that were part cotton. In this way they could wear silk, but follow the Qur’an, too.

Rules and Restrictions and by Prophet Muhammed :
Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammed said, “Do not wear silk (clothes). For whoever wears (them) in this life will be deprived of them in the Hereafter.”
It is not women but men who have been forbidden to wear silk dress. It is banned for men due to its aspect of adornment and beautification which is peculiar to women alone. The silk dress is not befitting to men because it affects their typical characteristics such as bravery, strength and fearlessness. Secondly, it betrays arrogance and haughtiness which is condemnable by all norms of morality. Thirdly, it has relevance to disbelievers known for their love for worldly possessions. Fourthly, its use is against that attitude which Islam aims to develop in a Muslim’s life.

Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammed  saying, “Silk (clothes) are worn only by him who has no share in the Hereafter.”
This Hadith tells us that men will fall into a serious error if they wear dress made from silk. And if they do not sincerely repent for it, they will undoubtedly be punished in Hell-fire.

Messenger of Allah,  Prophet Muhammed   said, “He who wears silk clothes in this life shall not wear them in the Hereafter.”
Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammed  holding a piece of gold in his left hand and a silk (cloth) in his right hand. Then he said, “These two are forbidden for the males of my Ummah.”

Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammed  said, “Wearing of silk and gold has been made unlawful for males and lawful for the females of my Ummah.”
Hadith indicate that the use of silk and gold is allowed to women. But Divine sanction should not be so over-stretched as to make the ornaments of gold part and parcel of marriage. Yet, unfortunately, this sad situation exists in Muslim societies, making resourceless people feel extremely ill. In fact, at need, if resources permit, women are free to use gold but without making it as an essential ingredient of marriage.

The  Prophet Muhammed,  “Prohibited us from eating or drinking in gold or silver utensils and from wearing silk and brocade, or sitting on (anything made from) them.”
There are many kinds of silk. But the real silk is that which is naturally spun by the silkworm. However, the artificially manufactured silk is also available nowadays. Men are not under ban to use it. But there are certain varieties of such cloth which are used only by women. These are forbidden to men. Besides, they are disallowed to sit on a silk cloth. Similarly, quilts, mattresses and pillows should not be made from it because both men and women use them.

Returning to the issue at hand there are other hadiths that have Muhammad expressly forbidding men from wearing silk clothes:
He heard the Prophet saying, “From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful. And there will be some people who will stay near the side of a mountain and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, ‘Return to us tomorrow.’ Allah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and He will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection.”

Summarizing the problem :

1. The Quran in many places claims that the raiment of believers in Paradise will be silk.
2. Unlike wine which is expressly prohibited here on earth but permitted in Paradise, the Quran nowhere prohibits the wearing of silk.
3. Muhammad is reported to have allowed certain men, because of their itching disease, and all women to wear silk.
4. At the same time, Muhammad disallowed the rest of the men from wearing silk.
5. Moreover, Muhammad allowed the men to sell silk, even though he asserted that those having such items would end up in hell! Seeing that wearing silk can send a person to hell, isn’t giving a silk garment to somebody just about the worst kind of gift that you can give? It is comparable to handing
someone poison.
6. Finally, Muhammad may have even contributed to women being the majority of those sent to hell for permitting them to wear silk.

Camel : Ships of the Desert

October 3, 2009

Availablity of Camel

Camel headouts Till 2003

Animals played an important role in the Islamic empires of the Middle Ages.

Camels were called “the Gift of God” and “the Ships of the Desert”.

They can glide across desert sands with ease, and provide one of the most important modes of transportation for people in desert areas. Dromedary camels can travel at speeds of up to 8 to 10 miles per hour for up to 18 hours! Bactrian camels are slower, traveling at speeds of around 5 miles per hour. But they can maintain this speed for longer periods of time over great distances (about 30 miles a day), and can carry extremely heavy loads (equivalent to 8 large suitcases!) in the process.Camels have wide, cushioned feet that spread out as they walk. This helps them maneuver in the sand. They have tough pads on their chests and knees that help support their body weight when they kneel down. To protect themselves from sandstorms, they have not one, but two rows of eyelashes, and can close their nostrils completely.
People used to think that camels stored water in their humps, but this is incorrect. Actually, camels store water in small, flask-shaped bags that line the insides of their stomachs, which have three sections. After eating without much chewing, the food goes into the first stomach. Then, like with cows and other grazers, the “cud” is regurgitated (spit up), chewed, and goes into the second and then third parts of the stomach for complete digestion. Camels can exist with very little food and water if they need to. Strong digestive systems help them get the most water and nutrients from the thorny plants, leaves, twigs, shrubs, and dried grasses they eat (and that most other animals wouldn’t think of eating). When there is plenty of food, they eat a lot and store fat in their humps. And when they are thirsty, they can drink as much as 25 gallons of water in 10 minutes. They can live without taking in water for 3 or 4 days.They conserve water because they hardly ever sweat, and because their nostrils remove moisture from their breath and recirculate it through their bodies. A camel has leathery mouth, tongue and tooth enamel, enabling it to eat thorny desert plants.

Camel was used in fight

Camel was used in fight during Prophet Muhammed's times

At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the camel was the most important animal in war. The earliest wars were attacks with warriors mounted on camels’ backs.

Pilgrims

Pilgrims

Camels were also used for pilgrims tour to Mecca.

Caravan

Caravan

Camel caravans carried goods and people across the empire. Pilgrims also traveled to Mecca from all over the World of Islam on the hajj, or Pilgrimage. Some caravans were from 1,000 to 2,000 camels. To encourage trade, the kings built caravanserai (camel “hotels”) along the trade routes.

Camel Power

Camel Power

Camels were used to turn water-wheels. They worked on farms to plow the fields and turn water wheels that brought irrigation to the desert land.

Camel Race

Camel Race

Camels were even used in war and in recreation. Without these animals, the Islamic empires never could have achieved such greatness and prosperity. Their speed and strength is shown in modern camel racing.

Camel products include:

* milk (which is lower in fat and lactose, and higher in vitamin C, potassium and iron than cows’ milk).

* meat (which tastes something like beef, but is tougher – it’s a delicacy (a special treat) in Arabian cuisine).

* fur and skin (leather) which were used for clothing and tents

* dung (which was a fuel for campfires on the desert and was also used in making a type of cement or plaster for desert houses when mixed with sand, clay, straw, and water).

* strong enough to carry heavy loads for the Arab caravan traders.

Water conservation in Emr region

September 29, 2009

Islam has a strong influence in the EMR
However, the same is true for social and economic issues. Hundreds of charities and cooperative organizations in the Region are based on Islamic concepts. Involving Islamic concepts and teachings in all aspects of life is endorsed by most of the countries of the Region. Leading physicians, scientists, experts of jurisprudence and religious scholars from the 23 countries of the EMR, for example, have endorsed the importance of Islamic behaviour in promoting good health. In their declaration they identified 60 lifestyle components in which Islamic teachings offer guidance on healthy and harmful behaviours. Water conservation and protection were among the areas of concern.

Water conservation is well documented in Islamic teachings

In Islam the relationship between humans and water is part of daily social existence. Humans are responsible for the welfare and the sustenance of all citizens of the world and it is believed that water is the most precious resource needed by all living creatures. This is well documented in the Holy Quran as well as in the sunna (practices undertaken or approved by the Prophet Muhammad e and established as legally binding precedents). Water is mentioned in more than 60 verses of the Holy Quran. The link between life and water is explicitly stated in several verses, e.g. We made from water everything and And Allah has sent down the water from the sky and therewith gave life to the earth after its death. Islam emphasizes the achievement of perfect harmony between spiritual and physical purification.

Conservation is a fixed concept in Islamic teachings. It is a way of living that should be implemented throughout a Muslim’s life. It is not an ad hoc approach to shortages nor occasional but should exist in all circumstances. Islamic teachings emphasize adherence to balance and the just satisfaction of individual and group desires and needs. Such teachings stem from verses of the Holy Quran such as: O sons of Adam, Look to your adornment at every place of worship, and eat and drink, but be not prodigal and the squanders were even brothers of the devils, and the devil was even ungrateful to his God. This holds for all natural resources although Islam does give special attention to water conservation. According to the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, a Muslim is ordered to be economical with water even if he takes water from a fast flowing river. The Prophet Muhammad said to someone who used excessive amounts of water for ablution, “Do not waste water”. Muhammad was then asked whether there was waste if water was used for the purpose of ablution. He replied, “Even if you are taking from a big running river” and in another narration “in anything there can be waste”. Prophet Muhammad said, “There is a shaytan (devil) for ablution called `walhan’, meaning greedy, avoid the waste of water”.

Other Islamic concepts and rules, such as human appointment as vice-regent, cooperation and public participation, public consultation and the relationship between the public and governing bodies are well documented in Islamic teachings. They can be useful tools for raising awareness and involving the public in water resource management and conservation. Water conservation is not the sole preserve of water agencies. Everyone must participate in fulfilment of the Quranic injunction: Cooperate with each other for righteousness and piety, not for wrongdoing and enmity. The whole world has been placed under human responsibility to be cared for and not misused. Furthermore, God created human beings for a great reason, namely that they might act as viceroy upon the earth. Their mastery of the earth is for its betterment and development and not for evil or misuse. And when thy Lord said unto the angels: “I am about to place a viceroy in the earth”, they said: “Wilt Thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee?” He said: “Surely I know that which ye know not” .

Typical Islamic behaviour and action is guided by: “I heard the messenger of Allah as saying: `He who amongst you sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue; and if he has not strength enough to do it, (even) he should (abhor it) from his heart and that is the least faith”.

There are misinterpretations of some Islamic concepts. For example, the Prophet Muhammad said: “People are partners in water, grass and fire” . This hadith is being used against water-pricing policies intended to reduce water demand. Some people claim that water should be supplied free of charge as it comes freely from the sky or from groundwater aquifers. This is an inaccurate interpretation. The partnership permits use of all elements of life and if one does not respect the implicit partnership he may lose his rights.

Public awareness and Islamic communication channels

Islam is the means by which ambitions within the Islamic culture are expressed. One’s belief in Islam may be viewed as a reflection of society’s state of affairs, its reality and aspirations. Likewise, society’s state of affairs and aspirations are reflections of the individuals’ religious beliefs. These are intertwined and emphasize that morality drives the behaviour of society’s building block, the individual. Morality overrides all physical benefits a Muslim might gain and hence is the basis for ethical change necessary for society .

Way to reach people :

The Islamic education system offers several forums for delivering Islamic teachings. Mosques are well respected in all Islamic countries. They continue to be the best forum for addressing the general public. Mosques exist almost everywhere. Messages that are delivered in them cover all aspects of daily life. There is a weekly opportunity, the Friday prayer, to address the public. Furthermore, in most Islamic countries, there are daily gatherings and lessons at which imams address people on important issues.A basic rule in Islam is that everyone must be an educator within the family and the society as a whole. There is a specific fatwa, or formal religious legal opinion, that environmental education is wajeb, or an obligatory action that must be followed by all Muslims. Not fulfilling wajeb is sinful for Muslims. Such fatwa make all Muslims responsible for participating in environmental education. Therefore, Islam provides a dynamic forum that can reach all the Islamic population whether in the house, street, school or mosque.

These are ideal tools for reaching the public in Islamic countries. Unfortunately, these tools are not being used efficiently. Fragmented, occasional and scattered activities have been implemented in some countries of the Region. In the few countries where religion has been used to support public awareness campaigns, it has been limited to the use of quotes from the Holy Quran and sunna in posters and newspapers. Water conservation efforts involve all people and behavioural changes are required. It involves effort and cost. It requires the full cooperation and integration of efforts of all stakeholders. Therefore, scattered activities will not achieve tangible results. Water resource management and conservation strategies that incorporate Islamic concepts in public awareness activities are needed.

Water conservation and public awareness activities within the Region

In most EMR countries there is a strong belief in water conservation as a reliable and cost-effective solution to the water shortage problem. This is clearly reflected in the recommendations made at regional and international meetings of water agencies as well as in the strategies of national and international groups. Water conservation has been given high priority in most countries of the Region.  Unfortunately, only water producers, i.e. water agencies and decision-makers, are giving this priority. Poor consumer participation indicates that the public is not fully aware of the problem. Although public awareness activities are being implemented in some EMR countries, these activities are fragmented and ad hoc.

A comprehensive literature search of water conservation public awareness activities in EMR countries was carried out.
This highlights two basic problems:
•    A lack of such activities in the Region and poor information exchange and accessibility.
•    Another major problem is that most conservation activities target domestic users with very little focus on agriculture and industry.

Regional and intercountry activities

WHO has great experience in public awareness and education in the EMR through the integration of Islamic teachings in health education programmes. The Regional Office launched the programme “The right path to health: health education through religion.” This programme covered environmental health, water and sanitation relevant to the Region and was specifically designed to reflect the influence of Islam.

The United States Agency for International Development allocated approximately US$ 2.5 billion to implement its Near East Resources Action Plan (1993-1997) in Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and Oman. A substantial portion of the activities of this plan addresses water conservation and raising awareness. Other international and regional agencies such as United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), World Bank, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Arab Centre for the Study of Arid Zones and Dry Lands, and International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas also address water conservation issues in the Region.

Afghanistan

in Afghanistan, the WHO launched a health education programme through mosques. The programme included training imams on proper health practices, water conservation and the importance of safe water, proper sanitation and hygiene in the prevention of diseases. The imams who were trained and were provided with clear messages quotes from available literature and  then prepared and gave sermons on the topic during the congregational Friday prayer.

Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council

In the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) demand for water has increased dramatically as a result of rapid development, an improved standard of living and diversification of economic activity. To meet this increase in demand, desalination is being developed extensively. The very high cost of sophisticated desalination plants is putting pressure on the governments of the GCC countries. A shift in societal values from development to conservation of water resources is occurring. It is believed in GCC countries that conservation of natural resources in general, and water resources in particular, is a principal component of Islamic teaching and that the most effective way to make the public aware of conservation from an Islamic perspective is through the media and the educational system.
On the occasion of World Water Day 1998 and upon the request of the ministries of Islamic affairs, imams devoted Friday speeches to “Islam and Water Conservation” . Despite several water conservation public awareness campaigns that have been launched in the GCC countries, these efforts need to be integrated into a comprehensive, long-term plan of action which targets behavioural change. Most of the activities were implemented in close collaboration with the private sector.

Egypt

The National Community Water Conservation Programme (NCWCP) in Egypt was created to address problems of potable water loss. In 1993-1996, the strategy of water conservation communication must be global and interactive which include all consumers and the factors concerned such as religious, political, etc. In 1998, a national training were given to Imams in the environmental education system to reach to people.

Jordan

In 1993 survey in Jordan, 64% other respondents believed that Imams should play an important role in environmental education an public awareness and out of 34%  Imams are already doing so, who have been trained on conservation of water.They were provided with information on water resources and the shortage crisis faced by Jordan and the need for public cooperation in water conservation. After training, imams were to educate the public through their mosques on the issues. In 1998, 70 million cubic meters of treated domestic wastewater were reused. All this was used for restricted irrigation and accounted for 12 % of all water used for irrigation in Jordan.

Morocco

Awareness on water conservation for public was finalized by the National office for Portable Water. All public awareness was shown through television shots of 15-20 seconds and none of the message was not based on Islamic teachings but it was more focus on cost of water and health implications related to safe water and targeted to domestic sectors.

Pakistan

Pakistan is the only country under EMR that has prepared a comprehensive conservation strategy which addresses all environmental aspects. Water conservation was the main priorities where involvement as a basic perquisite for the success of any conservation activity in Pakistan. The main focus was on agricultural water and less on domestic and industrial sectors.

Oasis

September 29, 2009

Oasis
A fertile area located in a desert area. An oasis is the product of fresh water being available from underground reservoirs coming from lakes or rivers, like in Fayoum Oasis, Eygpt and the ground water is close enough to the surface to allow plant roots to reach it. In other oases, the ground water reach the surface and forms springs or pools. Many oases are very fertile, due to constant supplies of water and hot climate with much sun. Up until modern times, the oases of large deserts were stopping points for caravans. Then the oases was in constant contact with other urban settlements.

Al Hasa Oasis

Al Hasa Oasis

Al-Hasa oasis, is one of  the largest oasis in Saudi Arabia, lies about 40 miles (65 km) west of the Persian Gulf. It has about 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) of palm groves and other crops that are irrigated by the flow of 60 or more artesian springs. Many varieties of dates are grown on the more than 3 million trees in the oasis. The rest of the population is scattered through more than 50 small villages or is nomadic.
Al-Ahsa has been inhabited since prehistoric times, due to its abundance of water in an otherwise arid region. Natural fresh-water springs have surfaced at oases in the region for millennia, encouraging human habitation and agricultural efforts (date palm cultivation especially) since prehistoric times.

Discovery of Petroleum :
The Al-Hasa region began to be transformed after the discovery of huge petroleum deposits near Ad-Damm in the 1930s. The oil fields were producing more than 1 million barrels per day by the early 1960s, and the resulting oil wealth transformed Saudi Arabia out of all recognition. The terrain west and north of Al-Hasa oasis continues to constitute the principal petroleum-producing area of the nation.

Discovery of Agricultural :
The central economic activity of the oasis is agriculture, fed by more than 60 artesian wells. Agriculture in oases is dominated by date palms, but there is a great variety of other crops, including citrus fruits, figs, peaches, apricots, vegetables and cereals like wheat, barley and millet. The population of the oases vary much, from a few hundred, like in Qara Oasis, Egypt to several million, like in Damascus, Syria. Around 3 million date palms produce a variety of date. Additional products are rice, corn, citrus and other fruits.
There is also intensive raising of sheep, goats, cattle and camels. Egg farms add to the variety, making al-Hasa one of the major Saudi food producers.

Modern times have introduced pumps in many oases, either to expand agriculture into infertile land or as a measure to keep up supplies where falling ground water has stopped the natural supply of water. One of the interesting features of this irrigation system was the reservoirs that were constructed to supply water for domestic use as well as to provide swimming holes for local residents.
Wind carrying sand is a great problem for the oasis, but in modern times the government has planted protective tree barriers.

Zam zam

September 24, 2009

History of Zamzam :

scan0017

In this picture the circle indicates the exact location where the little syedna Ismael rubbed his heals and the water of zam zam burst out.

•    According to Islamic belief, it was a miraculously – generated source of water from Allah (God), which began thousands of years ago,when there was a prophet and his name was Abraham. He had two wives, Sara and Hagar. First wife Sara did not have any children but Hagar gave birth to Ismail, who became another prophet of the World Series. Abraham was unemployed and Allah did not send the social security check to time. The triple had no money to buy milk or water for the newly born son. So Abraham sent Hagar and her newborn son hundreds of miles away and abandoned them in the middle of the desert. When Hagar was running between the hills of Safa and Marwa in the search of water with an empty feeding bottle, baby Ismail became impatient and kicked the sand when water gushed out. A pool of water surfaced and shaped itself into a well, the famous holy hole that was called  as “Zomë Zomë”which now pronounced as “Zam Zam” meaning ‘accumulate’, a command repeated by Hajar during her attempt to contain the spring water.

•    There are other versions of the story involving Allah sending his angel, Gabriel, who touched the ground where water rose.

According to Islamic tradition, Abraham rebuilt the Bait-ul-Allah (House of Allah) at the site of the well, a building which had been originally constructed by Adam, and today is called the Kaaba, a building towards which all Muslims around the world face in prayer, five times each day.

zamzamwell

Description of zam zam well

Hydrogeologically, the well is in the Wadi Ibrahim (Valley of Abraham). The upper half of the well is in the sandy alluvium of the valley, lined with stone masonry except for the top metre which has a concrete “collar”. The lower half is in the bedrock. Between the alluvium and the bedrock is a half-metre section of permeable weathered rock, lined with stone, and it is this section that provides the main water entry into the well. Water in the well comes from absorbed rainfall in the Wadi Ibrahim, as well as run-off from the local hills. Since the area has become more and more settled, water from absorbed rainfall on the Wadi Ibrahim has decreased.

Old fashion of takin zam zam from zam zam well

Old fashion of takin zam zam from zam zam well

This underground Zam zam, parlour has been closed in year 2003

This underground Zam zam, parlour has been closed in Year 2003

Originally water from the well was drawn via ropes and buckets, but today the well itself is in a basement room where it can be seen behind glass panels. Electric pumps draw the water, which is available throughout the Masjid via water fountains and dispensing containers near the Tawaf area. In Makkah free water tapes are installed  out side haram between baba-e fatha and bab-e-umra.

Location of Zamzam :

ZamZam_Tower-Mecca

Location of zam zam well

sumur-zamzam

History of zamzam well

Zam zam Well is situated in “Mutaf” and after the modern construction of masjid-ul-haram, it has been covered by a marble slab and a black circle is drawn over it which indicates the exact place where Little Innocent Ismail rubbed his heels on the earth because of intense thirst and by the order of Almighty Allah the water started to run out from the deserted land of makkah.

The Well of Zamzam is a well located within the Masjid al Haram in Mecca, 20 meters east of the Kaaba, the holiest place in Islam. After modern construction, the actual well of “Zam Zam” is now under the surface of “Mutaf” and the people has to go  in basement where a number of Basins are fixed for faithful to quench their thirst with “Zam Zam” Water. The under ground “Zam Zam” water area, is divided into two parts. One for Ladies and other one for Gents. Men and women  zam zam enclosures are marked “zam zam Rijal” and “zam zam Nisa” respectively. In arabic Rijal means men and Nisa means woman.
In the dead end of the under ground water area, there is the original Well, which is now covered  by a glass wall and  well can not be seen.

909

Corner of RUK-NE-YEMANI

It is to be noted that in year 2003, the basement of zam zam has been closed and now pilgrims can not go in basement. Reason of covering this basement is to increase the capacity of faithful in mutaf ,involved in tawaf. Now pilgrims drink zam zam from coolers  which  have been  placed in HARM every where.

Properties of Zamzam :

•     no colour
•     no  smell, but it has a distinct taste
•     pH is 7.9–8.0, indicating that it is alkaline to some extent.
•     Sodium chloride (common salt) is in excess in Zamzam making it taste salty.

Health benefits :

By the result of the hardness in the water, Muslims believe that Zamzam is beneficial for health. They also claim that the excess amount of Sodium does not cause any harmful effects.
However, independent study of the water has not been done so far.

Beliefs :
•    Muhammad, the doctor used to sprinkle the holy water of Zam Zam on sick people and make them drink the same.
•    They also believes in giving zamzam, before leaving home for good deeds. Since then, Zam Zam water became the holy water for Muslims.
•    Pilgrims drink from Zam Zam to purify their souls and supposedly be cured from any disease that they may have.
•    They also dip their future burial clothes in the Zam Zam.

Religion :
They also rub their noses and clean the wax of their ear with this holy water, a process called Ablution or Wudu. Millions of pilgrims visit the Well each year while performing the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages, in order to drink its water.

Saudia Law :

180px-Zamzambottle

This is the pot in which followers take zam zam in it.

The water cannot be sold outside of the kingdom, but because of strong demand there is a thriving market in fake Zamzam water in other countries. Upon receiving the certificate of “Al-Haj”, they collect a bottle of Zam Zam water that will be used as medicine when they return home.

Water ” Give birth to Life “

September 23, 2009

Water is of profound importance in Islam, since it ia a religion that originated in the Arabian peninsula, a desert area, and its spread mainly to other arid or semi – arid territories. Scarcity has always influenced the perception of water by Muslims and it has accordingly, shaped their behaviors and customs.Considered a blessing from God that gives and sustain life, and purifies human kind and the earth.

Water in Islam

There is not a monolithic perception of water in Islam. The vision Muslims have of water has been influenced by different factors and several conditions throughout time and space.

Water in Religion

For muslims, its enjoy special importance for its use in wudu (washing before prayer) and ghusl (bathing), the two types of ablution.

Wudu’ :
Minor purification carried out before prayer, consists of washing the hands, the face, the forearms, the head and the feet. In Hadith, performing wudu’, the believers washes away sin, and that each drop of water that falls in the hand makes the devil flee. The process of wudu’ is described in a very physical way :
Face : he contemplated with his eyes, is washed away from his face with the drop of water ;
Hands : he washed his hands, every sin they wrought is effaced.
Feet : he washes every sins towards which his feet have walked is washed away.
Until, he comes out pure of all sins.

Ghusl’ :
Major purification , cleanses the whole body from impurities and is required after intercourse, menstruation, child birth, before adapting Islam, and after death but also before important celebrations and during the Hajj.

Spiritual Purity

Wudu and Ghusl are both part of the act of workshop, rituals that are mandatory before starting prayers, reading or even touching the Quran. Islam emphasizes the achievement of perfect harmony between spiritual and physical purification. Physical purification cannot be achieved except by ablution and bathing, both of which require pure or clean water. Because of this, purity and cleanliness of water receive much attention in both the Holy Quran and the sunna. Muslims are urged not to pollute water. The Prophet Muhammad e said: “Let no one of you urinate in stagnant water” (related by Ibn Majah); “Let no one of you bathe in stagnant water to remove the state of ceremonial impurity” (related by Muslim); and “Guard against the three practices which invite people’s curses: evacuating one’s bowels near water sources, by the roadside and in the shade” . As such, these rituals include a spiritual component, which means that even if one is physically clean, but has not  carried out the purification in ritual fashion, it is not permitted to read the Qu’ran or even touch it.
The prohibition has nothing to do with physical purity- whether one has clean hands or whether one might stain the pages of the Holy book. It is purely question of reverence towards the word of Allah.
The physical and spiritual components of the purification ritual reflect the Islamic principle of Tawhid (unity).
BODY AND MIND should be united in the performance of religious duties.

Water in Qu’ran

It is evident that water is a major theme in Islamic cosmogony as well as in daily life. One of the most famous verses pertaining to water is taken from the Sura of the Prophets and it states,

Sura 69 The Reality, Ayat 11 :

” When the water overflowed, we loaded you on the vessel “

Sura 21 The Prophet, Ayat 30 :

” We made every liing thing out of water “
The Qur’anic account  of the the forming of the Cosmos places great emphasis on water, as demonstrated in other ayat in the preceding sura which on the one hand lists heaven, earth, the moon, the sun, night, day, etc. as natural factors in the creation of the universe and on the other speaks of a single element that infuses life into the universe : Water. The Qur’an immediately asserts however, that water fills the entire inanimate universe universe with life : ” He is the One who created Heaven and Earth in six days.His throne rises over the water.  “

Sura 2 The Cow, Ayat 73-74 :

” Water is even present in the rocks and stones “
….for there are some stones which rivers gush out of and there are others which water comes forth from when they split open, and there are still others which collapse out of awe for God. The Qur’an also teaches that “God has created every animal out of water; some of them walk on belly, while others walk on two legs and still others walk on four.

Sura 24 The Light, Ayat 45 :

” God is Able (to do) everything “

Sura 30 The Romans, Ayat 24 :

” He sends water down from the sky so He may revive the earth. “

Sura 30 , Ayat 46 :

” He sends the winds to bring news sp He may let you taste some of His mercy “

Sura 25, The Criterion, Ayat 54 :

” He is the One who crated humanity out of water; and He has grated them blood ties as well as in laws “
God is the One who created Heaven and Earth, and sends down water from the sky. He brings forth produce by means of it as sustenance for you. HE has subjected ships  to you so they may sail at sea by His command and subjected rivers to you. “

Sura 20, Taha, Ayat 53 :

” Thanks to water, God gives man plants “
He is the one who has laid out the earth as a carpet for you and has traced highways on it for you and sent down water from the sky. We have brought forth every sort of plant with it, of various types.

Sura 79, Soul- snatchers, Ayat 31 :

” and produced its water and its pasturage from it “

Sura 86, The Nightingale, Ayat 6 :

” He was created from a fluid ejected “
It’s reference to the rain, in fact expressed the cyclical pattern of nature and resurrection, and he describes this is an admirable evocation completed by that of the annual return of the vegetation.

Sura 16, The Bee, Ayat 65 :

” Gods sends water down from the sky and revives the earth with it following its death”

Sura 22, The Pilgrimage, Ayat 5 :

” You see the barren earth when We send water down upon it, stirring sprouting and producing every sort of lovely species “

Sura 18, The cave, Ayat 40-41 :

” Perhaps my Lord will still give me something better than your garden or its water will sink down some morning and you will never manage to find it again “

Sura 67, The Sovereignty, Ayat 30 :

” Have your considered who, if  your water should sink into the ground, will bring you any water from spring “

Sura 13, The Thunder, Ayat 3 and 17 :

” He is the one Who has spread the earth out and placed two pairs for every kind of fruit on it…He sends down water from the sky so that river valleys flow according to how much there is. The torrent carries along swelling foam “

Sura 23, The Believers, Ayat 18 :

” We send down water from the sky in due measure, and let it trickle into the Earth.We are even able to make it disappear. We have produced date groves and vineyards on it for you; from which you have much fruit to eat… “

Sura 24, The Moons, Ayat 28 :

” Announce to them how water must be shared among them; each will have his own special time to drink “

Sura 22, The Pilgrimage, Ayat 45 :

” their wells have been abandoned “

Sura 227, The Ant, Ayat 63 :

“The wind is the harbinger of rain which, in a dry or arid land, is one of the most obvious manifestations of divine mercy “

Sura 23, The Believers, Ayat 50 :

The term ma’ in used in this verse and meaning ” spring forth from the earth “
The unparalleled richness of Arabic in vocabulary relating to water, wells, clouds, etc
But this is not the only Allah where the word Ma’ (Water) appears since it occurs more than sixty times in the Qur’an. Several other words related to the semantics of water and hydrology such as rivers, sea, fountains, springs, rain, hail, clouds and winds, are also frequent.

Water is thus described as a gift by God so that humanity can benefit from it. This gift is the proof of the existence and uniqueness of Allah as stated in the Sura,

“Or, Who has created the heavens and the earth, and Who sneds you down water from the sky? Yea, with it We cause to grow well planted orcahrds full of beauty of delight : it is not in your power to cause the growth of the trees in them. Can be there be another god besides Allah? “

Water is also a symbol of revival since paradise is always described as a place with rivers flowing and florid vegetation.

Another aspects associated to water in the Qur’an is its purifying power. Several verses focus on the subject of purification and personal cleanliness like the following :

” It is He who sends down water upon you from the sky with which to purify you. “

Ablutions are a suty to be performed accuratley before ritual prayers in order to reach a state of purity. The Qur’an mentions that the rules should be followed when performing them.

” Believers, when you prepare for prayer wash your face and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe your heads and wash your feet up to the ankle. “

The way to perform ablution is not the only practical teaching related to water in the Qur’an pertaining to water distribution or condemning wastefulness.Water is sent by God so that men can drink it or grow agricultural products. God also created seas and rivers so that they could be used by  men for transportation.

Water is the Sunnah :

Statements or practices undertaken or approved by the Prophet considered as legally binding precedents.

Hadiths says that :

Men are co- owners in three things : water, fire and pastures.

Who has the priority over water or whether water can be sold or if it should be considered a public good.

The quanitity of water one is allowed to take for drinking or irrigation.

Prophet prohibit excess of use of water sources even when in presence of an abundant flow.

There are also hadiths which states to be proved that actual measures for preservation of water by prohibiting to discharge feces from the body or urinate in the proximity of water sources thus to avoid pollution and spreading of diseases.

” Quranic verses and the hadiths shaped cultural values which inevitably had an impact on traditions and habits throughout the space in the Muslim world. “

Water in the Shariah :

The term Shariah itself is bound to water since it means “way” or ” path to  the  water source”.

The first interpretaion is The thirst of knowledge .

Second interpretation is A path leading to the source of truth .

The basic norms in Shariah have to be followed when consuming or managing water. Everyone not only Muslims has a right to drink and quench his thirst to assure his survival.Thus mankind has a priority in the access to water while this right is successively accorded to animals.There is also a right of irrigation that permts people to water their crops, but domestic use has precedence over agricultural.Water belongs to the community and no one is allowed to own its unless they hv provided labor or they have made an effort to carry it through recipients or to distribute it.

Offering water to the thirsty has always been a duty to be fulfilled and it is perceived as a meritorious act.It is one of the primary principles of Shariatic law. Denying water to someone asking for it is condemned by the Prophet as one of the most ignominious acts to perform.

Water in Islamic Society :

Water has spread through out on many aspects of life in Arab – Muslim Societies. Water also made an impact on art and architecture in Islamic Civilization : its presence shaped the planning of the Islamic city.

The Bathhouse and the drinking fountain : Water’s legacy in the Islamic City

Water’s importance in Islamic Culture has, over the centuries, also left its mark on the design of the city.
The fountain, cisterns and public baths that can still be found today in cities.
The hammams, the public bathhouse, has a long history that goes back to pre – Islamic times.
Prophet never visited a hammam himself, they were much frequented until running water was installed in homes, according to the scholars.
Visit to the hammams was, of course, in the first place part of the purification ritual, the steam and hot water also served medicinal purposes and many visited for health purpose.
Today hammams are not frequented as often as they were, except in North African countries like Tunisia and Morocco, where visits to the hammam have become a social event as much as a components of the religion ritual.
Before running water was installed in households, inhabitants of the Islamic city fetched their water from fountains, cisterns  or wells.
Medieval towns, water source was the place, where all the women and girls met and chatted when they come to fill their jugs and pitcher’s everyday.
Sabils were usually charitable donations from rich and powerful citizens, and their water was free for all.
They were more than just water sources; soon buildings were designed around them and they evolved to become architectural features within the urban texture, monuments to water’s holy qualities.
Drawing upon the Prophet’s word that two greatest mercies are ” Water for the thirsty and knowledge for the ignorant”.
Many sabils are combined with the small school (madrasas) school on the first floor. They are called SABIL – KUTUB. literally ” fountains of books” or “fountains school”

Fountains :

In Iran, it is used primarily in sacred gardens (our word Paradise comes from the Persian term for a walled garden)
Based on the belief universe was divided into four squares with the well spring of life in the center, the Persian garden, usually in the form of a square, would be divided into  quarters, with four water channels radiating out at 90 degree angles from the centrally located fountain.
The symmetric garden plan eventually became adopted through out the Islamic world and is often reproduced in traditional carpet motif. The aim was to re create the garden of Paradise described in the Qur’an. It is commonly found in mosques, for ablution.
The sounds of water emanating from a fountain are not unlike those from a natural waterfall and can energize, soothe and heighten spiritual awareness.Depending on the velocity, amount and direction of flow, water expresses itself with varying levels of volumes and pitch – the combination of several types of moving water has the power to create a harmonious symphony of living sounds.

Hammams :

General term used to describe both private and public bath houses. Public hammams are found throughout the Islamic world and together with the mosque are regarded as one of the essential features of an Islamic city. Private bath houses are less well known although it is known that they existed from the early Islamic period where they have been found in palaces such as Qasr al-Hayr and Ukhaidhir.

The word hammam is an Arabic word meaning “spreader of warmth”.The ritual goes back thousands of years to the Romans and Greeks who developed the communal bath as a social institution. Around 630 A.D., Mohammed recommended “sweat” baths, marking the beginning of the Islamic hammam. “Mohammed believed that the heat of the hammam enhanced fertility, and that the followers of faith should multiply. With this new religious significance, the hammam became an annex to the mosque, complying with Islamic laws of hygiene and purification. As the Islamic faith spread, so did the hammam. Like the Roman baths, it became a place to socialize. “Daily lives revolved around these bathhouses” , “A story in Scheherazade’s A Thousand and One Nights shows exactly how natural a visit to the hammam was: ‘Come let us walk about and take our solace in the city and visit the hammam.’”

When Mohammed first advocated the hammam, women were forbidden; but because women had no place to socialize with other women, eventually they were permitted to bathe at specific hours. “The hammam became so important to Muslims women that if the husband denied his wife visits, she had grounds for divorce.”
In Morocco today, even in the Berber countryside, where men ride donkeys and women scrub their clothes in the river, each village has a hammam. To this day, there are still different hours for men and women, but its purpose remains the same: a communal bath, social institution, weekly health therapy, and in many cultures, as a treatment for medical conditions.

The medical benefits of the hammam date back to 200 B.C. when the father of medicine, Hippocrates, said, “Give me the power to create a fever and I shall cure any disease.” Steam was the answer, because it raises the body temperature above normal, and stimulates the immune system to increase production of antibodies and interferon.

“This traditional steam experience allows the body to absorb heat, which stimulates the immune system and results in a total well-being experience.”

The benefits of hammam use :
Pain relief, muscle relaxation, and respiratory benefits; the hammam efficiently releases toxins from the body and provides a powerful combination with massage.

It’s no wonder that after centuries of use, hammams have taken on the unofficial name, “silent doctor”.

“Hammams are being rediscovered”,  Therapists know that nothing relaxes the muscles better than steam and heat. “When you think about the fact that people are just beginning to discover Ayurvedic treatments, which are thousands of years old, you can understand that it takes time for ancient therapies to catch on and be comfortable and not intimidating.”

“It’s expensive to build a real hammam, which is about the room itself and not the products. And even though many spas are offering exfoliating treatments and special oils and soaps, at the end of the day, the hammam is about the heart and the steam of that room.”

“Cleanliness is next to godliness” is of the sort of platitude that grandmothers once embroidered on samplers and that mothers once invoked in the futile attempt to get children to wash behind their ears – not knowing, probably, that many of Christendom’s early philosophers completely disagreed. Indeed, because the pagan Greeks had made a cult both of personal cleanliness and of the human body, some early Christians thought that excessive attention to bodily matters was tantamount to apostasy.

By contrast, Muslims, from the time of the Prophet, had adopted ritual washing as a part of their religion and, in addition, enthusiastically advocated the healthy Greek attitude towards personal hygiene.

The Muslims, to be sure, dissociated themselves from the somewhat sybaritic attitude of the Greeks towards the human body. But at the same time they preserved that exceptionally civilized institution which the West calls “the Turkish Bath” and the Arabs call hammam. In the early days, in fact, every Muslim town and city had at least one public bath and some communities had hundreds. During the Islamic era in Spain, for example, 10th century Cordoba counted 900.

With the advent of central water supplies and modern plumbing the public bath in the Middle East, as in Europe, declined in popularity – just as, in the West, the sauna was catching on. But the hammam still exists, and in some poorer or less modernized communities is important to hygiene as well as to pleasure.

Traditional communities in the Middle East today often provide a separate hammam for men and women, while poorer communities either divide the bath houses into men’s and women’s sections, or set aside certain days during the week when the facilities can be used by women only. But the layout, typically, is the same: three main sections which include a combination reception and cold room, a medium-temperature room and a steam room.

During the Renaissance, European travelers to the East were so struck by the bath houses and the general cleanliness of the people that on their return to the West, they built their own. Hence the “Turkish Baths” of Europe, hence “Turkish” towels. Like so much else in classical culture that died in Europe during the early Middle Ages, it was left to the Muslim world first to preserve and then to reintroduce to the West advances that had been made during classical antiquity.

These advances are very much part of daily life today in many parts of the Muslim world, especially – and appropriately – in Turkey. There, the washing facilities in private homes may sometimes be rudimentary, but no village and no quarter of a large city is without its local hammam, regularly patronized by the population as frequently as time and finances allow. Many of the Turkish baths were built in the days of the Ottoman empire as a part of an endowed mosque complex or kulliye – both to provide a source of income for the mosque and its schools, and as a public charity – and are still used today.

Ingenious Technology :

The Achaemenids also made Qanats by sinking a shaft down to the water table beneath the mountains to create a tunnel which might run for 80 kilometers to a desert settlement. This was essential on the high plateau in Iran as there is very little rainfall and river water, and the water table is dependent on snow melt. The Qanats fed water into a reservoir which was slightly higher than the highest point in a garden.
The water was put to multiple uses. Some rills were very narrow and used for irrigation, others went underground and were used for periodic flooding of the sunken flower beds, and still others were there to cool the air. If there was a plentiful supply of water, you could have cascades and waterfalls as in the later Mughal Emperors’ gardens in Kashmir constructed in the early 17th century. Fountains required greater water pressure but helped cool the air and drown noise, while also keeping insects at bay.
Qanats were constructed by first sinking a series of vertical shafts, then tunneling between them to the water source
Today in Iran, now that the climate is even drier due to the activities of humans and goats which have devastated ancient forests, people are restoring qanats and using them again after many years. These ancient conduits are the best way to access precious water which lies under the mountains.
When the Arabs came from the west to Persia, they brought with them their new language and their new faith, but they adopted Persian and Sassanian habits of life. Although there are no exact images of the first Islamic desert gardens, manuscript sources give us a clear idea of the general layout. In the Qur’an (written around the seventh century CE), there are many descriptions of “paradise,” which literally means “a wall around,” based on ancient Persian gardens which became the symbols of paradise and spiritual inspiration.
A paradise garden was based on the classic chahar bagh design by which the garden was divided into four by water channels. In Islam this represented the four rivers of Paradise. The plantations of fruit trees, roses and other flowers lay in geometrically arranged beds below the level of the flanking pathways, so making irrigation simple and giving a sensation of walking on a carpet of flowers. The shapes of these gardens are recognizable from Persian and Mughal miniatures and in garden carpets dating from the 15th century. There is often a contemplative figure sitting beside a fountain and a cypress tree entwined by almond blossom as symbols respectively of immortality and rejuvenation in spring. Poets described gardens in exaggerated verse to please their kingly patrons and often described individual flowers in romantic terms.
Babur’s garden near Jalalabad, made in the early 16th century; the miniature, dated 1680, shows Babur directing his gardeners and his garden architect   [Will Parrinello and Jim Iacona]
Islamic people expanded and exported their gardening techniques all over the world. Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire that covered most of the Asian subcontinent from the early 16th to the mid-19th centuries, made gardens in Afghanistan and India, and his descendants became famous for their magnificent tomb gardens and more luxurious lake-side gardens in Kashmir.
Although the religious significance of gardens often declined as the Mughal civilization became richer, the magnificent tomb gardens where an emperor was laid to rest in a vast mausoleum at the center of a chahar bagh reinforced the original sacred element, connecting the Emperor in death with God. The Taj Mahal, built by the Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal between 1630 and 1648, was not only a great homage to her, but its architecture and layout reached a peak of perfection never surpassed. These great tomb gardens were not just private gardens but were open to the public for prayers.
All over the world gardens have been developed in the chahar bagh style, very often with no direct religious significance. But today if someone makes a paradise garden they definitely imply that it is a sacred place for meditation. Perhaps all gardens are sacred spaces. Without gardens a lot of people would be very unhappy. They are very therapeutic places to be in and if there is some spiritual connection to God, this is where you can find it.

It is available in abundance for ritual washing at mosques- often from beautiful marble fountains. Traditionally hidden from public view behind high walls, Islamic gardens- with their fountains,reflecting pools are especially private spaces designed to provide an escape from the world and invoke quiet contemplation and communion with both Nature and the Divine.
Wealth, abundance, fertility and coolness are associated with water in Islamic architecture.
Morocco bestows upon water a privileged place in its cities and home :
Irrigation canals in orchards, basins in Andalusian (style)gardens, Mhenshiya (a serpentine structure for running water) in palaces, marble basins in patios and fountains of mosaic tiles set into walls.
They include the use of moving water (as expressed through canals, falls), reflecting pools, fountains, bridges and plants that offer sights, sounds and aromas that inspire relaxation, reflection and delight.
Many of the more rich, luxurious Islamic palaces, water is actually channeled through marble conduits from room to room, offering the visitor both aesthetic pleasure and soothing coolness.

Red Fort, New Delhi :
There water is channeled in an open canal that runs through the whole length of the building, in and out of rooms, under screen and platforms, cutting through the floor which it decorates and of which it forms a part. It also unifies the entire layout of the palace, linking all the pavilions in a directional sequence.
The Islamic chadar is a narrow, sloping channel that carries water from the terrace to another, often causing the descending water to reflect full, direct sunlight.
Pools of water multiply the images they contain and distort their reality, like the decoration they mirror, they are immutable, yet constantly changing, fluid and dynamic, yet static.
One of the most famous reflecting pools in the world can be found at the Taj Mahal which is considered a structure of singular grace and beauty.Often containing sacred flowers such as the lotus or water lily, the mirror pool elevates can already inspiring structure to one of the great spiritual power and mystery embracing both the human world and the heavenly realms that lie beyond.

Architecture :

Islam molded the dominant character of its art in two respects, at least.

First, it taught man that he was the highest form of creation in all the world – ‘Ashraful Makhluqat’.
This meant that he was to aspire to lofty heights, and not to the conditions of lower objects:
“Do you not see that Allah has made what is
in the heavens and what is in the earth subservient
to you, and made complete to you His favours
outwardly and inwardly?”

Secondly, man was taught to avoid
“exalting the physical fact above the spiritual.”
He was not to focus attention on his bodily aspect but to point to “some universal idea beyond himself,” and to remember that this life after all was transitory. This philosophy translated into the works of the architects of Islam who could weave “such strange enchantment through domes and minars.” They could “suggest  the cool splendour of moonlight by means of columns and arcades,” and over and above that, it was to “delight the heart with laughing water,…to keep the vision agog with racing surface lines, or to sober it with broad sweeps of gently graded masses.” Indeed, Islamic architecture was a reflection of Islam:
“the sacred message of Allah was inscribed upon its walls, in the very shape of  the arch was the Peace prescribed by Islam.”

Islamic architecture  can be divided in religious and secular structures. As already stated earlier, the relatively simple rituals of Islam gave rise to a unique religious architecture in the forms of the mosque(masjid) and the madressah or religious school, and then the mausoleum which served a dual purpose – as a tomb for a ruler or a holy man and as a symbol of political power. In the realm of secular architecture come the palaces, caravansaries and cities.
To begin with, the mosque – a place of community gathering and prayer, was “the stronghold of the spirit, the refreshment of  the tired body, and the confirmation of the doubting mind. In the courtyard of the mosque circumscribed by aisles, the believer could always glimpse the silent serenity of the sky and remain in complete oblivion to the humdrum world outside.”
This unique religious edifice had various prominent features – the ‘Mihrab’ which identifies the Qibla within the mosque; enclosed ‘Courtyard’ with arcades at the side, and as already mentioned earlier, containing all the basic features of the Prophet’s house at Medina.
And then, there is the ‘Minaret.’ During the time of the Holy Prophet, the call to prayer was made from the rooftop, following the Jewish practice of blowing the ram’s horn or the early Christian use of a clapper to summon the worshippers.
It is believed that a  Syrian tradition of marking the corners of a building by four short towers was the beginning of the ‘Minaret’ from which the muezzin gave the call to prayer. The best preserved example of an early courtyard mosque with a
minaret is the Great Mosque at Damascus(Syria).
An outstandingly prominent feature of the mosque is the ‘Dome.’ Dome of the Rock at Jerussalem is considered  to be a great religious structure of the world as it marks the spot where, according to tradition, the Holy Prophet embarked upon Meraj. Then, there is the ‘Mimbar’ (pulpit) the first use of which was in the mosque of Medina, generally used for preaching and addressing the congregation present in the mosque.

As far as the architectural decoration was concerned in Islamic architecture, plaster, patterned brickwork and tile were used as “decorative media.” Splendid molded mihrab facings, composed of “columnar bands of Quranic inscriptions” were used for tiles. Tiles in various shapes were fitted together into wall panels. “Timbered architecture featured mihrab coverings of brilliant tile mosaic, in which the individual colours were fired separately to achieve their fullest intensity.” Tiles became so prominent an element of decoration in the Islamic architecture that tile industry was established in Turkey and Iran in the 15th century, and while new buildings received elegant tile settings, even the older buildings were redecorated with tiles.
These tiles were in gold and green, and different colours were blended together in patterns.
Other examples of decoration in Islamic architecture comprised wood carving used on mimbars, doors and windows. Stone reliefs and marble inlays could be found in Spain, Turkey and Egypt.
In addition to the numerous variety of forms – the arches, domes and vaults that were prominent features of Islamic architecture, the Iranian architects were the first to use colour with great boldness and taste on the exteriors of the buildings.
One superb aspect of architectural splendour was the use of gold-plating. Gold was used profusely for ornamenting buildings both religious as well as secular. Gold-plating was seen mainly in Syria, Palestine,Iran, Byzantine Rome and in India.
Islam also applied this medium in palaces and sanctuaries.  The belief was that gold had akin ship with the colour of the sun and it was with the help of the sun that the effect of gold was enhanced. Obviously therefore, the aim was “to dazzle the eye of the beholder” in awe and splendour!

Creation of remarkable religious buildings.
Iranian arts such as calligraphy, stucco, mirror work and mosaic work, became closely tied together in new era.
Islamic architecture and building decoration among the most beautiful means of expression
Inscriptions of the mosque have been written on colored tiles.

The Chehel Sutua palace at Isfahan stands amid a garden called Jahan Nama. The wooden columns of the palace are placed on stone plinths. The ceiling has been decorated by fine wooden frames of different geometrical shapes. A vast water pond was built in front of the building which gives a mirror like image of it.
Badgirs and great Anbars (water stores) of Kavir are among the most interesting architectural development of Iran.
Rarity of water in Kavir regions, people have devised ab-abnars as water storages. Interesting techniques for the constructions of anbar in Yazd. One of the most valuable and well preserved ab-abnars in the town is the one with siz huge badgirs used to cool its water.
Iranian architecture at Kavir towns is not limited to the construction of ab-abnars and badgris, but its main importance lies in house building and city planning.
Iranian were the first nation to carry water from underground channels to the surface.
Iranian architects have created valuable monuments in area such as water and irrigation, dams, canals, bridges or rivers.


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