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.
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”
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.
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.
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.