Fairuz, Elham (2024-02). American College Town Mosque: a Study of Mosque Architecture in a Small College Town in the United States. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • The mosque is the Muslim community's religious space. Why is this book interested in mosques, and specifically, why is the interest in the practices of the community? To answer these questions, we will need a little background here that will help with later discussions. Islam, as we know of it today, as the religion, began in the mid-6th century in the geographical location of what is modern Saudi Arabia. To be more specific, Islam was transmitted by its Prophet, Muhammad a resident of current day Makkah, the site of one of the largest annual pilgrimages today. The pilgrimage, along with a few other practices are the religious requirements of Islam. One of these is the prayer. Muslims pray five times daily, and they face Ka'aba during their prayers. The Ka'aba is a brick structure in Makkah, which Muslims believe was built by Abraham. Through ancestry, Islam claims its place with the other Abrahamic religions. When the Prophet began teaching Islam, and as the number of adherents grew, and prayer was made an obligation on every Muslim, Muhammad known to have prayed at the Ka'aba. No new structure was known to have been built at this time. People would have prayed out in the open, and that would have been the norm. Persecution and threats forced the Prophet to leave Makkah and travel north towards another city, Yaathrib or Madina, as it is known today. This is where the "architectural" history of the mosque is traced back to. The mosque is central to this architecture project. As an architectural "typology," the history of mosque architecture is studied as part of the history of Islamic architecture. This is the only building type that is directly associated with Islam as a religious practice. Although it is one of the most widely studied buildings within Islamic art and architecture, the religion or the text, i.e. the Qur'an, does not require the building of mosques. The only commandments are for establishing prayer in clean spaces and in clean clothes. Interestingly though, the Qur'an places emphasis on the maintenance and access to the mosque. With no religious prescription for creating dimensioned architectural spaces, the design development of the mosque is directly linked with the activities of the Muslim community from mid-6th century.

publication date

  • December 2023