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Mosque without minaret
I'm currently working on a design programme at school where i'm supposed to design a mosque. Well the problem is that lately the minaret has grown to be more symbolic than functional as with the development of Public Address system the call to prayer is not done by someone atop a tall tower shouting his lungs out. i would like to know would it be okay to take away the minaret in a mosque design or would it adversely affect its image as a mosque
Augustine Owusu-Ansah
Responses
 
Mosque without minaret
In my opinion, you do not need a minaret, to create a sustainable mosque. I believe you do not even need the mihrab or the minbar, so longs as you have a strong Qibla-wall. A strong direction is enough to establish a good mosque, in my opinion. A good space, to focus on the prayer, is all it takes. But it would be interesting to hear other peoples thoughts.
Goran Johansen
Mosque without minaret
i think it was only last year that there was a mosque of modernistic design that was revived in this forum for discussion. the mosque was essentially taken out from the traditional islamic visual features and the minaret itself looked more like a telecommunications antenna. to be honest, it did not look like a mosque at all. on second thought, however, i believe that was essentially part of the message: it showed me that i tend to associate elements of a faith to certain design features, and by so doing inadvertently and subconsiously anchor that faith to a distant past carried over to the present.

the designers of that particular mosque may have had intended to do the opposite: to create a mental image of the faith that would serve as a bridge from the present to the future. this bridging element, i believe, is the same struggle that befaces designers seeking to establish an "islamic" high rise building; because, as it stands, high-rise buildings are still very much associated with 'western' and/or 'non-islamic'.
Jofer Magsi
Mosque without minaret
The way i see it, Goran, it`s not a matter of minaret or no minaret - the minaret being a typical example of a traditional architectural element. You have so many elements of those; what you will preserve, and what you will dispense with, i think, depends on what messages you want to send by your Mosque. What principles that you ought to show by ur Architectural language. For example: You can design a modern mosque keeping most of the ancient architectural elements but in an abstract manner that they are not obvious as they used to be. You can also make it`s whole facade out of glass, which is not really traditional, to send messages of New age and transparency for people crossing by the street to see Muslims praying in a very spiritual and calm manner, not preparing bombs.

About the minaret specifically, Augustine, i think the main purpose it served in modern times, having had lost its 'calling for prayer' function a long time ago, is mainly being the landmark of the Mosque. And thru it, Mosques became landmarks of their environment, and served as identifying edifices of space. Take for example Cairo, which is a huge and ancient city, has a name 'City of a thousand Minarets'; because if you go up hill, u can see the old city spread horizontally, with thousands of minarets rocketing thru the air with different heights and character. In that image, you only see those minarets, which are basically one unit of a thousand projects, being one hallmark, unified, vertical element that helps identify the skyline of Cairo. Maybe it can also depend on what frame you want to your mosque to be seen within. Maybe ur site forces you to put ur mosque at the end of a long boulevard, and so people start seeing it from way far and maybe that will be the image of UR Mosque.

So, what i mean to say is: Take away the Minaret, but find a way for your Mosque to have that same Identity. Maybe even another element that could serve the same value. You might even go to think: Do i even want my Mosque to convey that effect? That`s what i meant in the start by saying that it goes back to what principles you want to Design your Mosque upon.

Maybe you ought to put in mind how touchy matters of Mosques and religious symbols became to be. But also don't forget that you can't impose ur opinion as a designer (saying maybe "i`ll invert the minaret and create a negative space because i am against the role of Religion in our society) because honestly, you won't be the one using that Mosque. The people who go to pray in it are the ones who are going to suffer ur effects. But then again, that is one of the influences of Architects as Critics on our cultures and built environments.

Regards.
Abdulrahman El-Taliawi
Mosque without minaret
what mosque withote minaret
we can't eliminate the minaret from the mosque design, it's the real symbol and the real affirmation of a mosque, I am sceared that if we start to illiminate one or two parts of our moskes we will remove it's and our identity. thank's
Ahmed Lairedj
Mosque without minaret
It's okay to remove the minaret, but you should see the environment besides your mosque. What kind of people who used in, how about their reaction, positif or negative. But me personally, I'd like to try not have a minaret in my design, or if i should, i'll make some activity there, like make some tour from the top. As you say, if it just a symbol without function, why should we built it?
Deena Sherezar
Mosque without minaret
Dear first of all, your way of addressing "shouting his lungs out" is not the good way to explain. An architect is supposed to be a very refined person which seems lacking in above stament.
As far as your question is concern, i would say Minaret defines the character & is symbol of mosque. You must not avoid it. You may turn this minaret into functional too, there are some other functional aspects too, those can be addressed if you have studied them properly.
Thanks and Regards
Salman Moghul
Mosque without minaret
Salaam i just become a member and you know i love this website alot and i just read what others have wrote.. May Allah give them good life...

Mosque is a Allah home which all muslim's are pray there salat... alone as it look like a Mosque who care's about Minaret.... for me the most impormation is the inside of the Mosque so make sure of that.... I love to Build Mosque all over the world... one day.. that is my wish and work with the best team...
Shahid Mehmud
Mosque without minaret
no problem if one changes the image of the structure,but the most important thing is to keep the same ambience ,which gets hapered most of the time by the architects in the verge of changing/making it more craetive.moreover this opinion is only related to the worship places specifically as a worship place just not deal with the function but also the Psychology of the people using it.

and about the minarat,i think if there are no minarates then its ok unless and untill ,the new mosque should not give a feeling of incompleteness.the new design should overcome it.
Shruti Gokhale
Mosque without minaret
Shruti, I`ll have to disagree with you, Life, would then be a stationary stagnant entity rather than evoloved, renewed always with the creativityof the generations. If we are to stop because maybe we are afraid to change and maybe even ruin something, then we can never advance.

Plus: The mosque reflects the image of Islam. Are you a supporter of staying in the realm of the ancient methods? If so, then maybe you ought to have a classical approach. Obviously, not my choice.

Regards.
Abdulrahman El-Taliawi
Mosque without minaret
i think that one should not experiment with the originality of the worship places.The ambience created inside a mosque, temple, church,etc is just not due to the idol placed inside or womb of the worship place but also the various characters of the structure play a very important role in making its image.A worship palace is built for every person of the society so,there is no harm in using ones creativity to make it more beautiful, but unless its image is not hampered
Shruti Gokhale
Mosque without minaret
Augustine, if you are after the �functional� then you ought not be involved in sacred architecture. Try to understand the function of symbolism. Obviously designs are constrained by the context. In the US, a towering minaret is not allowed everywhere due to building codes and whatnot. A stub of a minaret may be an architectural embarrassment and therefore a good argument to do away with it.

However, AbdulRahman has a good point of the symbolic function of minarets. Personally, if I am looking for a mosque to pray in, I look for the minaret to direct me to the mosque.

And as my theater director used to say: It�s not about shouting your lungs out � It�s about projecting your voice. Loudspeakers cannot project, so they need to be high. Keep the minaret.

Additionally, Augustine, try to exercise some empathy � you are designing a place of worship, not an airport. If we let function be the pure guide of design, there would be no difference between a church and a cinema.
AbdulJaleal Nasreddin
Mosque without minaret
Hi
i blieve that islamic architecture is something more than form.1 mosque with out minaret can be a place for gathering moslim.
in Shiraz,a city in Iran,the historical mosqeue dont have dome!!!
Parastoo Eshrati
Mosque without minaret
Thanks for all your comments. And salman thank you for commenting on my languge. It realy was a silly expression to use. Thanks all!
Augustine Owusu-Ansah
Mosque without minaret
"Brother in Islam, Please Draw us a Mosque"

http://archnet.org/library/documents/one-document.jsp?document_id=2788
Salem Yousif Al Qudwa
Mosque without minaret
one main point i would like to make, as mentioned in a few other discussions, the elements found in islamic architecture were not mentioned in the Holy Qur'an nor the deeds of the Prophet. the most important thing is one's purification when entering a mosque. these elements ( minaret, mihrab, minbar, dome etc.. ) are a result of interpretation and suggestion of cultures and muslim rulers. but almot every element is more symbolic than functional, some elements are both, but i believe that a mosque is a place for person to celebrate their spirituality, their religion , belief in God and Only God, in the world in nature in life and so on.. therefore having these elements would enhance the experience for the prayer. furthermore, it is also important to mention that the minaret was traditionally built to provide a visual stamp to an islamic place, in this case the mosque, an it can be seen and identified from a distance. but it is your project and your decisions, it depends on what you would like to achieve in your design. but i suggest you would look into possibly an abstract visualisation of a minaret, a number of contemporary mosques deploy this approach, you can have at the Mosque in Denmark by BIG, it is not built yet, but there are images.
i guess i will stop here.
Goodluck
Zeina al-Ahmad
Mosque without minaret
the Prophet's mosque initially did not have a minaret, the Prphet's mosque we see today is again a result of additions by various muslim rulers and of course the saudi government. so you do not have to keep the minaret.
Zeina al-Ahmad
Mosque without minaret
My understanding of this issue is that a minaret was built to allow the imam to call the faithful to prayer.

Therefore a modern interpretation of this function is the minature minaret with a loudspeakers at the top and (as seen in Turkey), either a tall glass top with lighting inside or long green flourescent tubes which were lit up on Thursday evening for Friday worship.
Frank John Snelling
Mosque without minaret
Please check this link to a discussion and help me broadcast it to people on archnet. your help and input is valuable to my project.

http://archnet.org/forum/view.jsp?message_id=271740
Zeina al-Ahmad
Mosque without minaret
Thanks for your responses. It so happens that even though this thread was started 2 years ago, I recently decided to touch up my portfolio with a few alterations here and there so I'm currently working on that same mosque.

I have gone for a 'minaret' that is not so tall (because of the presence of overhead phone lines in the area) and have tried to mimic the look of the kabbah. There's also some visibility at into the top most floor of the minaret. I will put up pictures of it later, but in the meanwhile what do you think about this idea... Thanks
Augustine Owusu-Ansah
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