Author: Abdul Karim Bi Azaar Shirazi
Mosque is as the pulsar heart of the Islamic society and the center of social activities. Muhammad Takiuchi, the member of ethnologist community of Japan described his cause of joining Islam among the other religions in Far East and Middle East areas:
‘’… Buddhism and Christianity separate the material and spiritual interests of man from each other and persuade him to be isolated from society. In spite of some sects of Christianity and Buddhism whose followers build their temples far from society and among mountains, Islam advises to build mosques in heart of cities and alleys and communal worshipping is welcomed in this religion. I believe that this time is the best method for publishing Islam in Japan’’
The complex of the Islamic civil all are related and dependent on the Jam’e (comprehensive) mosques and these mosques as the heart of society attract Muslims five times a day for worshipping from the various castes to itself.
There are some kinds of mosques in the Islamic buildings such as mosques of areas, mosques of tribes, mosques of bazaar and Friday mosques.
Jam’e mosque is the most important building in Islamic civil which is composed of the parts in below:
Mosque and mehrab(alter), pulpit, beitul maal, darul imarah, seminaries, bazaar, bath, hospital, bonds, kitchen, wedding hall and Imam house (the dedicated place for imam residency)
1) Mosque and plural worshiping into perfection
It is composed of dome, finial, shabestan(prayer hall), pulpit, mehraab (altar) and wash basin place. There was also some places for judgment in mosques which then changed to present courts. Dome and finials of mosque are symbols of a worshipper who is praying. Its dome is like head and finials are the symbols of whose hands. The interior part of the dome is the symbol of sky and means all of the creatures are praying at the same time along the worshipers:
یُسَبِّحُ لِلَّهِ مَا فِی السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِی الْأَرْضِ لَهُ الْمُلْکُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلَى کُلِّ شَیْءٍ قَدِیرٌ
There are two kinds of pulpits: short pulpit for advising worshippers, teaching the rules and etc. but tall pulpit is used for some crowded days and Friday speeches.
The columns of the mosque are the symbol of the religion columns.
2) Mosque and Mehraab (altar):
Mehraab means the place of war and battle. It is located in dished place of mosque and is the symbol of battle between man and devil. That’s why mosque is the place of gathering of people for going to battlefields and holey Jihad beside of its main characteristic as the place of worshipping.
3) Mosque and Bazaar:
Some of Friday and Jam’e mosques are linked to bazaar from four sides or two sides. Actually bazaar is a part of mosque complex and if you want to enter these bazaars have to pass the courtyard of mosque. It is because of keeping God in mind when you enter to bazaar to work.
According to architects who research about the Islamic buildings and structures, Islamic bazaar is as the main column of city and this is the used interpretation by God for property who says: الَّتِی جَعَلَ اللّهُ لَکُمْ قِیَاماً
The aim of Quran for connecting mosque and bazaar to each other is education some men whose business will not neglect them from God: رِجَالٌ لا تُلْهِیهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلا بَیْعٌ عَنْ ذِکْرِ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلاةِ
Jam’e mosque is the most important element of the Islamic cities:
Automatically execution of the Islamic economic principles were the result of linkage between bazaar and mosque and shopkeepers attended mosques five times a day. This affair prevented them from lying, lucre and etc. that’s why the deals were done with high reliance to each other and Muslims didn’t separate their business and worshipping from each other. Roje Garodi, the French Muslim author writes in his book in the name of ‘’Mosque, the mirror of Islam’’:
‘’ in Islamic empire era, all aspects of life was fluent in mosques. Commercial agreements were signed in this condition. Because there is no separation between holy and unholy in Islam and execution of religious law was done fully under authority of God. Then, any work which is done in this condition has a spiritual dimension and prayer is a halt in the chain of time and is not separated from the other actions of life’’
4) Mosque and the treasury:
Treasury had been a part of old mosques since the grand prophet of Islam’s time which was the place of keeping cashes, donations and etc. Fakhr Razi writes his comment on this verse:
إِنَّمَا یَعْمُرُ مَسَاجِدَ اللّهِ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللّهِ وَالْیَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتَى الزَّکَاةَ وَلَمْ یَخْشَ إِلاَّ اللّهَ فَعَسَى أُوْلَـئِکَ أَن یَکُونُواْ مِنَ الْمُهْتَدِینَ
‘’ paying Zakat and holding Salaat for constructing mosque are reserved. Because people flourish mosques by their presence in mosques and if they pay their Zakat, poor people will refer to mosques and increase its flourish. Because paying Zakat is compulsory and constructing mosque is optional and just grateful.
5) Mosque and ruler’s office:
Mosques have been the political and prayer center since the grand prophet of Islam’s era and many of rulers had tried to weak this role of mosques. But Ibn Toloun constructed his ruling office in south side of the new building of Al-Askar Jam’e Mosque in 169 AH and this method changed to a common pattern in Islamic countries for some centuries later. Arg Mosque of Tehran is made according to this pattern. Marcel Bovazar writes about political aspect of mosques:
‘’ holding Friday prayer is a mean for gathering Muslims together and as the main place to discuss about various social issues like housing, political decision making and etc. holding Friday prayer is in fact as worshiping God by giving service to people’’
Friday ceremony has been so efficient in the late years especially in new independent countries, mosques have been the main center for fighting against cruel rulers. This is the work which is not still implementable by various parties and political groups.
6) Mosque and school:
فَإِذَا قُضِیَتِ الصَّلَاةُ فَانْتَشِرُوا فِی الْأَرْضِ وَابْتَغُوا مِنْ فَضْلِ اللَّهِ
The old commentators such as Hassan, Saei Bin Jubair and Makhoul have realized the above verse as learning science and gaining scholarship. Many of mosque have some rooms for residency of the seminary students and after holding salaat, students were gathered around their teacher and learned knowledge from him. Neighbor shopkeepers attended some lectures especially makasib subject for doing their deals and business more carefully and according to the religious rules. This conformity between mosque and school was the secret of success of Islamic culture because the result of having knowledge without religion and beliefs was warship, battle and corruption. Religion without knowledge result also was dogmatism. Society in Islam means university which its root is in mosque.
7) Mosque and library:
One of the most important parts of mosque is library. The holy Quran has advised people to study and Muslims who didn’t have more than one book in the name of Quran as just their only book, could write many books extracted from this single book. Many books were created and written in the fields of interpretation, Hadith (narration) and etc. they could establish libraries by gathering these books and used the prayer halls of mosques as classroom. Marcel Bovazer swrites:
‘’establishment of libraries and dedication of their prayer halls as classroom will demonstrate this fact that some assumptions about mosques which recognize them as an specialized place just for praying is wrong and mosques are surely one of the most important elements in Islamic societies.
8) Mosque and wedding ceremony:
The holy Quran has linked the related rules to family, dowry and salaat. The grand prophet of Islam held the wedding ceremony of Imam Ali and Lady Fatima in mosque and ordered to give some food to people in the mentioned mosque because of this ceremony. Following the grand prophet’s tradition, some of the Malaysian and Indonesian mosques have dedicated a part of their building to wedding ceremony.so, as Christian Nafah in his article as ‘’Mosque, the center of activities of the Islamic societies’’ writes:
‘’ mosques act as the communication center of the social institutions such as hospitals, universities, schools and hospices. But locating of these mosque in city centers which are surrounded by bazaar and various industrialists demonstrates its importance and key role in adoption of all the Islamic societies in world.
9) Mosque and medicine school:
The holy Quran is plummeted as the healing book and its command or advices are based on physical and mental health. Jurisprudents in Islam about purification, health, pietism, food, fasting, spiritual and mental health and imagining body as the temple of soul, all create a relationship between medicine and various aspects of Islamic education like the grand prophet’s era and fourteen innocents (best regards to them) whose medical advices were entered to jurisprudence. That’s why in some of the Islamic cities, constructing hospital or clinic as part of mosques had been common since past in order to do spiritual treatment beside of physical treatment. The first hospital in Islam was established in the second AH century in Bagdad and Azodi Hospital was established in fourth century AH by command of Azed Al-Doleh Deilami. Ray Hospital and Noori great Hospital were established in sixth century AH in Damascus and finally Naaseri and Mansuri Hospitals were established in Cairo along library and mosque. In Ottoman Empire era also the Darul Shafaa Hospital was established in Borsa beside of a great complex including mosque, school and hospital which were established by command of the Second Bayazid in ninth Century AH.
10) Mosque and public bath:
According to the principles of Islamic jurisprudence, showering and purification is compulsory before prayer. Showering is one of the advised principles in Islamic jurisprudence and medicine. Sheikh Sadouq (he may rest in peace) has quoted a narration of the grand prophet of Islam on showering in which the messenger of God says:
‘’ showering is one of the three means of treatment. That’s why, public bath had been one of the main parts of the ancient Jam’e mosque of each city.
Beside of physical purification drinking herbal syrups and distillates, massage and sitting in its hothouse also is advised in Islam. Today, hothouses are changed to saunas and the place of washing feet with cold water are used in west in the name of hydrotherapy. But the traditional Islamic mosques which many of them are findable in Iran, Turkey and Morocco are composed of four parts:
Vestry, hot and cold water sources, massage room and hot house (sauna)
11) Mosque for unity and solidarity
Mosque is the place of unity, solidarity and familiarity between Muslims that people of each area meet each other several times a day in queue of prayer and the Friday mosques also gather worshipers once a week as Masjedul Nabi and Masjedul Haraam which gathers all Muslims from various places of the world.
Marcel Bovazar writes on the great role of mosques in culture, economy, politics and unity of Muslims:
‘’ mosque is the cause of solidarity and integration of the Muslims and we cannot neglect its social and cultural role especially in contemporary era that Muslims show their enthusiasm like the first years of Islam once again. Mosques are changed to bases for spiritual educating Muslims against cruel and imperialists. They are finding their conditions of the first years of Islam again’’
12) Mosque as the mirror of Islam:
The Islamic artists have tried to show Islam and belief in various parts of mosque. Titus Burckhardt writes:
‘’ if somebody asks about Islam, has to address one of the Islamic art pieces such as Qortabeh or Ibn Toutoon Mosques in Cairo or one of the schools in Samarqand or even Taj Mahal Mosque. Because the Islamic art is sample of the concept which is extracted of its name in elegance and spirit’’
13) Mosque as the mirror for the Islamic civilization:
Mosque is the source of the Islamic civilization and by taking a look at any of the Islamic cities, we find mosque and its relevant parts as the principle and pivot of constructing of Islamic civil. Burckhardt writes in ‘’ the art of Islam, language and meaning’’ book:
‘’ the function of art is presenting an inner thought in physical and exterior aspect. The Islamic art also has to show its origins and civilization’’
14) Mosque and margins:
فَلَوْلاَ نَفَرَ مِن کُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِّنْهُمْ طَآئِفَةٌ لِّیَتَفَقَّهُواْ فِی الدِّینِ
Because of this verse of Quran, many faithful soldiers went and kept their borders safe in front of enemy during the war. They built some mosques in borders for worshipping and having some rest for themselves and the other passengers. Along these services these mosques were the place of holding lectures for like seminaries. Some of seminary teachers also attended these mosques to teach for God’s will. These bases played an important role in keeping the boundaries of the Islamic countries safe. We can find some instances of this model in Morocco, Trebles, Spain and Tunisia and always had defended of their margins in front of physical and cultural aggressions of enemy. Even some these groups revolted and established ‘Morabetin’ Government.
15) Mosque, relations and publishing books:
Before innovation of print machine, books were published in mosques in this manner that teacher called students to write what he was dictated to them from Quran or other books to write it down for with calligraphy work. People called this kind of books ‘Amali’ and gathered some money to help whom were didn’t have any money to continue their travelling, publishing books and donated some of them to the seminary students. Even some of these students could went to rthe great seminaries such as Zaituniah or Qarvbin in Faas to continue their religious education there.