"The fact that many features are standard to the oldest surviving mosques suggests that a canonical type, mostly a courtyard surrounded by four porticoes, did exist early in Islamic history. Such a template would have been copied by the builders of later mosques, combined with modifications inspired by the varying local architectural heritage. The evolution of such a universally-endorsed prototype, and the many influences that shaped it, have been copiously discussed. In the absence of reliable archaeological evidence, nonetheless, the question of how the mosque was made represents a real challenge. Its origin remains moot despite many attempts to settle the question. However, the devotional prompts for the mosque institution are either underestimated or totally dismissed by most writings, mainly because of the belief that the Prophet did not fundamentally know the mosque type. The idea that the creation of the mosque has only little to do with the Prophet's career is supported by formulaic views on Arabia and Islam (a region of poor architectural and artistic heritage; a religion dismissive of building and decoration). While the structure built by the Prophet in Madina, soon after the Hijra in 622 AD, is believed by many to have later provided the prototype of the mosque, the dominant theory that it was only a private residence casts doubt on that belief. The current study provides fresh evidence, based on the Qurʼ¿n, ḥadīth and early poetry, that this structure was indeed built to be a mosque. This finding is decisive for a number of undecided issues such as the immediate origin of the mosque type and the kind of impulses that shaped its design. A mosque founded and approved by the Prophet would constitute a religious context for the development of the mosque and give the big number of mosque-related ḥadīths more point and more reliability"--
Islamic history and thought ;
Includes bibliographical references and index.