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Conservation in an Islamic context a case study of Makkah

Touba, El Sayed M. (1997) Conservation in an Islamic context a case study of Makkah. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The Holy Qu’ rān contains many injunctions for Muslims to respect and conserve the natural environment but few address the built environment. Habitat at the time of the Prophet (PBOH) was in the vernacular and relatively impermanent. The first habitat was the cave, the second the tent and then simple flat roofed buildings of post and lintel construction made of mud and rubble. Later buildings were not indigenous but reflected the architectural styles and techniques of Muslim pilgrims from beyond the Arabian Peninsula. Permanent exotic buildings were later erected as reminders of holy places and events. This work advances a case to restore and preserve historic and religious sites in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Makkah is the destination for millions of Muslim pilgrims who annually pay homage to Allah during the occasions of Hajj, Ramadan and Umra. The tranquillity and peaceful ambience that one associates with the holiest of Islamic experiences have, over the years, given way to jostling crowds of people who must be expediently housed, fed, transported, and protected. Due to the lack of planning and the insensitive but profitable development of the city, Makkah is in grave danger of becoming a bustling metropolis instead of a sanctuary where pilgrims gather to perform their religious rites and reaffirm their dedication to Allah. The author calls for professional planning and international cooperation to guide future development for this expanding and sensitive area. The author's ideas are grounded in practical and aesthetic study, therefore, the political, environmental and economic issues are examined in relationship to religious, historic and artistic values. The author makes proposals for a future Makkah that would provide pilgrims with the physical comforts, security, and serene environment they deserve—without destroying the city they came to visit. The author discusses preservation and conservation in the western world and the need for their acceptance in Muslim countries, the former being an aesthetic and intellectual concept sustained by law and the latter being the prescribed free expression of the individual unhindered by material considerations. Both worlds are rapidly being overwhelmed by materialism, but body, mind and spirit combine in making us aware of our surroundings and the way in what we see around us has come into being.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1997
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Oct 2012 11:40

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