Saturday, October 2, 2010

Islam's Pray Anywhere Genius

Bedouin praying in the desert
Ultimately Islam is a flexible religion when it comes to its formal places of pray.
Its humble notions of adaptability and reductionist roots is manifested many times in its history. When it comes to physical environments that stands between the faithful and their God, Islam provides its minimalist practice of architectural demarcation. It is this demarcation where we see, in its most beautiful expression, the true aesthetics of functionality of religious refuge in day to day situation.
As the simple line of this separation between outside and inside erodes, so does the distance between the believer and his God.

Open air mosque in Gelibolu, Turkey

It is a common scene in Islamic countries, mostly on Fridays and religious holidays when the faithful spills over the streets, activating a particular spatiality and turning the urban environments to informal prayer halls.
Of course on occasions tensions with the authorities are all so real when protests must be put in action, making Islam all responsive to daily workings and the problems of the specific local communities. At that level, religion is not a passive piety of the masses and their everyday life but an active demonstration of a political choice by the people of the Islamic faith.   

Top; street prayers in Kashmir Region, India. Middle and bottom; street prayers in Istanbul, Turkey
All this, on the events of the people's efforts to stop Islamic Center in lower Manhattan, take note.
In that case, buildings are not necessary. The New York grid itself could be utilized. 

Map of Lower Manhattan, New York

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