MOSQUE DESIGN IN LIGHT OF PSYCHO-RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE (ISLAMIC)

OSAMAH MOHAMMED NOOR EL-GOHARY, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Studies on mosque architecture have tended to be merely descriptive, and while a few have gone beyond description, a theoretical base to guide architects has been lacking. This study is an attempt to formulate a set of guiding principles derived from literary sources and traditional mosques, and is conceived on the basis of the psycho-religious experience that one encounters while engaged in prayer. The psychological theories of suggestion, psychoanalysis, and psychosynthesis are found to be applicable to mosque architecture. The architectural and formal elements of mosques are ordered according to these psychological principles, identified in this study as "design parameters." These design parameters facilitate the performance of prayer and, indeed, transform prayer from its secondary, ritualistic type into its primary, genuine one. These psychological processes that the mosque serves have kept the essence of prayer alive, and, on the other hand, they have an impact on those who experience the building, e.g., the users or those who are engaged in the building of this structure, such as the architects or the patrons. This impact, from a purely psychological perspective, is therapeutic in nature. The mosque, with its architectural and decorative elements, evokes therapeutic responses. The mosque thus has, in addition to its religious and educational role, the function of being a room in the city in which the psychological well-being of individuals is served. To accomplish the concretization of this physical environment, Islamic law has provided legal parameters, which correspond closely with the three therapeutic psychological parameters mentioned above. Seen in this context, the mosque is a man-made environment, and contains innovations (bida('c)), yet it is the physical expression of a society that applies its best religious and logical powers in the effort to maintain an acceptable level of human well-being.

Subject Area

Architecture

Recommended Citation

EL-GOHARY, OSAMAH MOHAMMED NOOR, "MOSQUE DESIGN IN LIGHT OF PSYCHO-RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE (ISLAMIC)" (1984). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8422900.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8422900

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