International Day of Light - May 16
The text of Surah Al-Nur surrounds the medallion of the central dome from which the chandelier is suspended in central dome of Hagia Sophia.
The Story

For very practical reasons all architecture and design is invariably about light, at least to some degree. Is the lighting functional and suitable to the purpose for which the space is designed? Does it contribute to the aesthetics of the design? In addition to these and other concerns, architects and designers are increasingly concerned with sustainable design, one aspect of which is providing illumination without excessive consumption of resources. In some cases, this has meant a return to questions architects have pondered for centuries, such as how sunlight can be exploited to maximum advantage while also mitigating impact of its heat. 


In religious architecture, light takes on additional significance, as light often represents the divine. In Islam, النور (al-Nur, The Light) is one of the 99 names of God, and Surah Al-Nur is one of the most beloved verses of The Holy Quran.  

Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth; a likeness of His light is as a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp is in a glass, (and) the glass is as it were a brightly shining star, lit from a blessed olive-tree, neither eastern nor western, the oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not – light upon light – Allah guides to His light whom He pleases, and Allah sets forth parables for men, and Allah is Cognizant of all things. (al-Nur, 24:35).

To mark International Day of Light on 16 May, we highlight light in architecture and design, particularly in structures built for use by Muslim communities. We also acknowledge the universal importance of light-practically, aesthetically, and spiritually. 

Featured
Selected Works on the Theme of Light in Islamic Architecture, Art and Design Available at Archnet.org
2022
Bait Ur Rouf Mosque
digital photograph
Koutoubia
digital photograph
Doha. QFIS/Education City Mosque. Geometric skylight.
digital photograph
MKEK Museum. Ceiling detail.
digital photograph
Al Qaraouiyine Rehabilitation
digital photograph
Jami' Aq Sunqar Restoration - DSC07308.JPG
digital photograph
Dar al-Islam Mosque 20140324_1034
digital photograph
Aga Khan Garden, Alberta
digital photograph
Shahi Hammam Conservation
digital photograph
Nur al-Din Ni'matullah Vali Shrine IMG11226
35 mm slide
Masjid-i Vakil
digital photograph
Lighting Boutique in Dhaka
digital photograph
Beirut, Nourieh Chapel
digital photograph
Nahon Synagogue, view upward of lamps
digital photograph
Al Bidiya Mosque interior view, east elevation
digital photograph