Civilization and culture essay

The Islamic architecture that is exposed by the two featured structures portray a space for the African people and citizens of the country. These then become the symbols of the nation’s power and identity. Each structure boastfully portrays their principles and purposes which are anchored in the envisioned goal prior to the construction of the edifice. Islamic philosophies can then be reflected from those architectures. The best of them articulates the main views or principles of the audience, and lifts the audience to the highest level of which it is capable, whether in terms of pleasure, moral character or deeds.

This is one aspect of the discussion of arts in Islamic philosophy (Holod and Rastorfer 23). Those architectures have marked a myriad of notions to the civilization and culture of the era. They bring impressions regarding the identity of the Africans, regardless of where regions they come from. Definitely, Islam has colonized a vast area in the country, thus, expressing those influences and values in architectures. In general, the creation of mosques is an example of Islamic architecture that has attained to the level superior to the universal architecture.

It is the most essential edifice in the Islamic world. These are works of art that reflect the mind of the city, its ruler and its followers. It also presents notions with regards to Islamic values and philosophies, like the use of different pattern including corals and stalactites instead of human or animal figures. As such, it draws a notion that human and animal figures are extremely discouraged due to the hazard of the effigy that is being worshiped. The ideas that have been knitted come from various sources.

Rabbat’s The Citadel of Cairo presents a thorough knowledge regarding the architecture and history of the Citadel of Cairo. The author uses maps and photographs that give clear images of the structure. It portrays an array of historical documents from the construction of the Citadel during Salah al-Din’s regime up to its development. The book discusses an analysis with regards to the influences of Mamluk dynasty, the successor of Ayyubid dynasty. Rabbat gives a new interpretation for the development of Mamluk’s architecture because they were the ones who succeeded the Ayyubid, thus, made some alterations in the Citadel.

On the other hand, one of the very good references is Garlake’s Early Art and Architecture which also reveals the African history over the 5000 years. He presents some misconceptions with regards to the sophisticated nature of Islamic architecture. He focuses on the several regions of Africa alongside with their history. Thus, gives a comprehensive account about the Great Mosque of Kilwa. Another reference is Behrens-Abouseif’s Islamic Architecture in Cairo which gives a detailed knowledge regarding the Citadel, its history and the people who are involved in the creation.

It gives an introduction wherein the author presents the development of Cairo with regards to the invasion of Islamic influences in 641 A. D through the beginning of early 19th century. On the contrary, Shatzmiller’s Labour in the Medieval Islamic World delineates an extensive study of social, religious and economic life of Islamic societies in the Middle Age or Medieval Period. Furthermore, Hillenbrand’s The Mosque in the Medieval Islamic World portrays a wide and detailed knowledge with regards to mosques as symbols of Islamic architecture.

He has always been critical with the issue of the functions of each component of the mosque and draws a description of their relevance to Islam and Muslims. In contrast, Williams, Bordeaux Parker and Jaroslaw’s Islamic Monuments in Cairo: The Practical Guide bestows a revised edition on Cairo’s architectural heritage, unleashing its interesting monuments, fortifications, mosques and other structures that are definitely under the influence of Islam in the country.

Those were some of the sources that have given vast information in this study. Some of those references have just presented a general knowledge of the chosen structures. The essay of Hillenbrand helped a lot in the understanding of the forms, contents and meanings of the parts of a mosque. Rabbat’s work assisted much throughout the process and yet there were too much information that it was really hard to contain and yet it was well presented.


Behrens-Abouseif, Doris. Islamic Architecture in Cairo: An Introduction. Netherlands: Brill, 1992. Daly, M. W. and Carl F. Petry. The Cambridge History of Egypt 640-1517. Massachusetts: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Hillenbrand, Robert. “The Mosque in the Medieval Islamic World. ” Architecture in Continuity. Ed. Sherban Cantacuzino. New York: Aperture, 1985. Holod, Renata and Darl Rastorfer. Architecture and Community: Building in the Islamic World Today. USA: University of Michigan, 1983.