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Kevin Throy C. Elpedes Arch 18 Prof.

CS Bulaong January 27, 2012 MIDDLE-EAST ASIAN AND PHILIPPINE ISLAMIC ARCHITECTURE The Philippines is one of the South-East Asian countries that had been reached out by the Islam faith. It was way back between the 7th and 8th centuries when the Arabs are extensively trading with the Chinese that the Islam faith became widely spread. By then, the Arabs have had several stopovers throughout South-East Asia thus encompassing and sharing the beliefs of the Muslims. Islamic architecture was one aspect which is known to have maintained its cultural values through reflecting the Islam faith. This category of architecture extended from the 7th to the 19th century. Muslims intelligently communicated with other cultures by maintaining rather than erasing them. They steered those cultures to serve Islam and cope with the mainstream in the Islamic World. For example, statues and pictures were forbidden in the architecture of mosques, so Muslim engineers alternatively mastered columns, mosaic, foliage and engineering decorations. They also paid special attention to architectural and aesthetic designs which revolutionized Islamic architecture. Today, architecture is considered a reflection to civilization and an open book in which the history of a nation is recorded. (Itewi 2007) The Middle-East Asia is seen to be the roots of Islam. This shows that the Middle-East Asia displays the first signs of Islamic Architecture. This region of Asia has a hot-and-dry climate and because of such condition, its architecture is expected to respond to its context. One situation of a hot-and-dry climate is its absence of vapour: one may walk through the deserts under the extreme heat of the sun without thirsting, because you wont feel the water evaporating from you until you collapsed. While the Middle-East Asian climate is hot-and-dry, the Philippine climate is hot-and-humid. This is the first factor that differ Philippine Islamic Architecture from its roots. Because of this, many architectural features are differed in the region. Middle-East Asian Mosques have enormous arcades that filter the heat from the outside while in the Philippines; mosques have open arcading to let the wind flow freely through the space. The presence of water is very important in the Islam faith; it represents purification of the soul of every Muslim. In the Middle-East, Mosques are known to have large courtyards each having water features as fountains etc. In the Philippines, however, Mosques dont have large courtyards and some does not have any at all. The ablution fountain is the only water feature seen from outside in a Philippine Mosque. This is because, we lack available space here and that because the climate does not require much water feature whereas in the Middle-East, fountains are very important to maintain the moisture from the outside to prevent water exhaustion of the people. Most of the Philippine mosques are near bodies of water so that its natural resource will serve a main functioning unit in such sacred placeit will serve as the purification water. In its early years of influence in the Philippines, the Islam faith has not totally moved in all its baggage here. This is why; the first built Mosques do not resemble the forms of those in the Middle-East. Early Philippine Mosques are the same as the form of the Chinese pagoda or the Javanese temples. They have multi-layered roofing that is not common in the Middle-East. Early Philippine Mosques also are made of indigenous materials that are not parallel to the materials used in the Middle-East Asian architecture. In the Middle-East Asian Mosques, minarets or the tower serves its purpose as a place to call for the people to pray. Just as the bell tower of the Christian Churches, Minarets are common in common mosques.

However, Philippine mosques dont actually have its minarets for its primary function for the calling for prayer. Because of the rise of electronic sound amplification, minarets in Philippine Mosques only serve as ornamentation in the architecture. Despite these differences, there are also parallelism in the Middle-East Asian and Philippine Architecture. The Islam faith is known for keeping prayer hours. Because of this ritual, each Muslim settlement has its own directional architectural element to define the direction towards Mecca, the sacred city in their faith. It may be a post, a wall or whatever thing that may indicate the direction for their prayer. In the Muslim tradition, animal and human figures are discouraged in their ornamentation thus abstraction is more likely observed in Muslim Architecture. This is present in the carvings in the Mosques, Madrassas, settlements and other structures. This is also seen in the Philippine torogan in its structuralornamental beam. Abstraction may be direct but some ornaments appear to be floralflower figures. This is observed in tile patterns of mosques and also in the weavings of their carpets and scarves. The Mosque is the axis mundi for the Muslims, thus it should represent their spiritual extravagance. Just like the Nasir Al-mujk Mosque in Iran which is meticulously designed to represent their heaven. It has its floral stained glass pattern all over its arcades. Just as it was in the Middle-East, Muslims in the Philippines have their own axis mundi, it was the Golden Mosque in Manila. It has a gold dome especially made for the coming Arabic delegates during the time. Islamic Architecture is not varied in its religious and secular functions. This ensures us that civil structures as schools, temples, palaces, mosques, etc. have most likely similar features. Just as the Taj Mahal in India, it also has large courtyards, arcades, and the dome even though its but a tomb. The Middle-East Asian countries and the Philippines are of different contexts; this explains the differences in its shared architectureIslamic Architecture. They may be different in the form but Islamic Architecture, wherever it may be, has never failed to install its values in every corner, in every side of its architecture.

Work/s Cited Itewi, Mahmoud. "Towards a Modern Theory of Modern Architecture." Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 2007: 153.