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In the Name of God بسم الله
Propaganda_of_the_Deed

Adornment and extravagance in masjids

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I could not help but notice in a recent thread on images of important shrines:

That it can be argued the visuals of the interiors, although undeniably remarkable and striking, can appear distracting and over the top.

I recall (Sunni) narrations against the adornment and extravagance in mosques and not to follow the way of ahlulkitab, especially as the Prophet's mosque in Madinah was so modest and simple.

Al-Bukhaari entitled a chapter in his Saheeh: “Chapter on the building of mosques; Abu Sa’eed said: The roof of the mosque – I.e., the mosque of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) – was made of palm branches. ‘Umar ordered that the mosque be rebuilt and he said: Protect the people from rain, but beware of using red or yellow (for adornment) and distracting the people. Anas said: They build mosques about boast about that, but they do not use them for worship except rarely. Ibn ‘Abbaas said: You are going toadorn (mosques) as the Jews and Christians adorn (their places of worship). 

Abu Dawood (448) narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have not been commanded to build lofty mosques.” Ibn ‘Abbaas said: You are going toadorn (mosques) as the Jews and Christians adorn (their places of worship). This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

 

it was cited by ʻAbdur-Razzaaq in his book Al-Musannaf as a mawqoof report (I.e. a narration attributed to a Companion) on the authority of Abu Ad-Dardaa’ may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reading, “When you adorn your mus-hafs (I.e. the written copies of the Qur'an) and embellish your mosques, then destruction will be your lot.

I think there are also Sunni narrations regarding the adornment of masajid as among the Signs of the end times.

I am unsure if we have similar ones.

I may be alone on this and I expect some to disagree, but does anyone else find the interiors of the shrines to be OTT and distracting? Surely back in the day they were more modest and humble in layout. As large and modernised as the Haramain are, certainly they are still not overly distracting visually.

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InsideImamAliMosqueNajafIraq.JPG

IMO there is far too much bling. Although elaborate and detailed, the Prophet's s.a w mosque in Madinah still has a subdued, less eye-catching look to it:

Riadhul-Jannah-in-Masjid-e-Nabwi.jpg

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I understand you have to expand and modernise to keep with the times, but it is unfortunate if at the cost of aesthetics and simplicity.

Contrast an Orientalist depiction of the shrine of Imam Hussain (عليه السلام) (1824-1904) by Jean Leon Gerome. Of course one expect it to be less adorned but can you imagine how much more spiritual the experience might be?

May we all have the honour of visiting our Imams (عليه السلام) and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), insha'Allah

 

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I do agree, but these mosques have had to be largely increased due to demand, what I wonder is, can you expand somewhere without making it blingey by default? Would you get the same amount of people come through the doors?

I often think how beautiful Mecca and Medina would be if the Saudis just left it be, I think about the graveyard and how it is totally unremarkable, you wouldn't know who was buried where, other than Hamza, he has a small mound I believe? So if other places were plain, would they be remarkable to the eye? The pomp creates a feeling of 'wow, I'm somewhere'. Or would you disagree? There is a deep connection even with plain places, the connection to those who lived there, walked there and whatnot, but at surface level we get sucked into visual theatrics I feel.

Edited by aaaz1618

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1 hour ago, Propaganda_of_the_Deed said:

They do in the West.

Come up north west England and every other corner house has  uncle sahib ji in it.

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9 minutes ago, Propaganda_of_the_Deed said:

In my area alone there are several in walking distance, most are shopfronts or houses converted into musallas/centres.

Ditto. Nothing wrong with that I must add, but the language issue makes it hard for converts. Many places have one English speaking mosque which are usually like Dewsbury Mosque, which is usually where converts and other less favourable faces are are drawn to. 

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On 6/11/2019 at 11:25 AM, Propaganda_of_the_Deed said:

That it can be argued the visuals of the interiors, although undeniably remarkable and striking, can appear distracting and over the top

The aesthetics of the shrines are monolitiic in style and quite frankly visually and spiritually ugly.

Edited by Muhammed Ali

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4 minutes ago, Propaganda_of_the_Deed said:

Honestly I was just trying to be diplomatic and polite about it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I can't be diplomatic about the numerous failings. They need to fire the people that decorated these holy places. And force them to decorate their own houses in the same manner. With metal and glass as the only material. How is a person supposed to be at ease and feel spiritual in a place so far away from nature? Anyhow, it isn't the topic of this thread.

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I understand that people want to construct masajid generously without feeling like they have made their own homes more beautiful than the masjid.

However, extravagance doesn't suit our religion and therefore our places of worship. I think there is a good balance that can be found where masajid are constructed in a nice manner without being heavily adorned or ornamented.

Wallahu a'lam 

Edited by Mahdavist

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18 hours ago, Mahdavist said:

I understand that people want to construct masajid generously without feeling like they have made their own homes more beautiful than the masjid.

However, extravagance doesn't suit our religion and therefore our places of worship. I think there is a good balance that can be found where masajid are constructed in a nice manner without being heavily adorned or ornamented.

Wallahu a'lam 

There is an incident from Time of Uthman when several sahaba inc miqdad protested against adoration of masjid nabawi 

We need solid sound structures that can protect worshippers from elements and provide comfort to them without extravagance. The brilliance of our faith is in its logic  , devotion to almighty and practicality of laws and not in uniqueness of architecture or intricacies of their artistic displays.

 

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Even more despicable is the "endless repairs and renovations" being done at crazy costs. Are the people we seek to honour by doing these displays of gold and glitz happy about this while several people even amongst their zuwaar are strangled by extreme poverty and hardship easily solvable by well organized funding bein spent to create opulent "palaces" as opposed to places of worship.

I remember one child innocently commented about the shrine of Imam Ridha's (عليه السلام) brother in shiraz that "Imam Reza shode!" (It/he has become Imam Ridha!) As his form of childish appreciation of the added opulence and decor done to the place. 

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