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Studying Islamic Architecture: Challenges and Perspectives

By Samverma10 Feb 25, 2013 741 Words

The article “Studying Islamic Architecture: Challenges and Perspectives” deals with a basic question that ‘why is western architecture always given more importance in practical and theory as compare d to that of Islamic architecture’? The article very well talks about the issue of western architecture being more important than the Islamic architecture. The article talks about both the pros and cons of the argument discussed above. The article also analyses why the two that is western architecture and Islamic architecture respectively differ. Both the architectures are very different from each other, they vary in various aspects. The research done in Islamic architecture focuses essentially on the medieval times. The Islamic architecture has very sheer masterpieces in their culture, but those masterpieces are never given the importance they deserve just for the fact they belong to the ‘non-western architecture’. But if the same monuments such as the Great mosque of Damascus, Qairawan and Isfahan would have been built in Western countries like Europe for example, then they would have been really popular, well maintained and a focus for many scholars. I completely agree with the author on the extrinsic and intrinsic features discussed. The first and the most important extrinsic feature according to me is that the libraries and other references sources are very limited to the west. They don’t get to know what they because of the limitation on the sources available. There are very few universities who are willing to invest in research practices and scholarship programs and to top it all the libraries in Islamic countries cannot afford the books available in west. Secondly, the Islamic architecture was seriously just been studies for a little more than hundred years as there was a massive change in scholarship that was available on most aspects of western architecture, it was basically in the 17th and 18th century that relevant texts and other source material were assembled. Therefore, because of some these reasons the Islamic architecture was not able to become popular. The article is very strongly and well written. The things author talks about are very much true and a part of non western architecture. In my view most western architectural buildings are given more importance because they are very well maintained and not broken or cracked and plus the government of western countries do not charge hefty prices from the people which acts as a positive point because then more people are willing to go and visit historical sites as in western countries. I completely agree with the author that at present due to a massive advent of tourist many Islamic sites and monuments are getting noticed. It is due to an incoming of mass tourism that there is an increase in the interest to know more about the culture. This is not only beneficial for the monuments but also for the country because any monument or building sites are the major tourist attraction and for this they charge heavy prices too which in turn helps the economy of a country to grow and prosper. This in turn acts out to be really useful for the country as it makes the economy prosper and makes such sites famous. But on the other hand, all these monuments are getting destroyed not by natural forces but indeed by the people themselves. The walls and staircases wear graffiti and are scribbled, the floors are cracked and fragments are removed as souvenirs. The authorities responsible for the maintenance of such building in the end either have to close the section destroyed or either start the restoration work on it which in turn spoils the entire look of the monument, for example, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul has a designated path that visitors have to follow. This degrades the value of the monument. Hence, it is mainly because of these reasons that the Islamic architecture is not given importance as compared to that of western architecture. Therefore, if we want this to change, then we need to change ourselves. We will have to stop destroying our own monuments, stop scribbling on them and also the government should take some active measures so that more people are able to access references sources available which will help them to know more about the culture and historical sites. If everyone takes a step forward and take such measures then the non western culture especially Islamic architecture be more famous than western architecture.

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