Water and the Built Environment of Muslim Societies

“We sent down water from the sky, blessed water whereby We caused to grow gardens, grains for harvest, tall palm-trees with their spathes, piled one above the other – sustenance for our servants. Therewith We gave life to a dead land.” [Quran 50:9-11]

This collection contains a sampling of items in Archnet that illustrate the significance of water in the architecture of Islamic societies. You will find information about functional systems designed to capture and deliver water for drinking, washing, and farming; as well as fountains and pools that serve ritual or decorative purposes. In reality, of course, there is often no disctinction between these types of water features. Fontains supplying water for drinking or ritual ablutions are often stunningly decrated, and the channels that bring water to gardens and farms may be as much admired as the vegetation they sustain. Water features are appreciated not just because of their intrinsic beauty or calming sounds, but also because they deliver a substance that is so essential to our survival and well being. In Islam, as in many religions, water is recognized as a divine gift.

-Michael A. Toler

Archnet Content Manager

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