islamic architecture

Menggali Nilai-Nilai Peradaban dari Arsitektur Awal Masjid Nabawi

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From the perspective of its architectural style, there is not quite much to say about the early building of Masjid Nabawi in Madinah al-Munawarah. Even so, it doesn’t mean that there’s no lesson at all from its past simplicity for our future complexity. This paper aims to discuss the architecture of Masjid Nabawi, not from the spirit of historicity, nor the revivalistic enthusiasm for the memories of the past. Else, this paper is more intended to explore and appreciate the importance of Masjid Nabawi in giving us lessons in architecture and islamic civilization, inspite of its simple architectural form. Some applications of islamic basic values that is relevant for architecture nowadays can be traced from the early architecture of Masjid Nabawi. Moreover, an important lesson about the basis of islamic civilization which were derived from the unity of iman (faith), ilmu (knowledge), and amal (deeds) can also be studied from Masjid Nabawi as the early locus of islamic civilization.

Dari segi gaya arsitektural, tidak banyak yang dapat dibahas dari arsitektur Masjid Nabawi di masa-masa awal pembangunannya oleh Nabi Muhammad saw beserta sahabat-sahabat beliau. Namun demikian, bukan berarti bentuk bangunan Masjid Nabawi yang sangat sederhana itu tidak menyampaikan pelajaran berharga apapun bagi kaum muslim yang hidup di masa kini. Tulisan ini bermaksud membahas arsitektur Masjid Nabawi, bukan dari perspektif historisitasnya maupun dari semangat revivalisme terhadap bentuk-bentuk masa lalu. Tulisan ini lebih ditujukan sebagai bentuk eksplorasi dan apresiasi mengenai arti penting Masjid Nabawi dalam memberikan pelajaran di bidang arsitektur di balik seluruh kesederhanaan bentuknya. Nilai-nilai mendasar di dalam Islam yang masih sangat relevan bagi proses berarsitektur di masa kini dan masa depan dapat kita temukan dari arsitektur masjid ini. Lebih jauh, pelajaran tentang asas peradaban Islam yang meliputi kesatuan iman, ilmu, dan amal dapat pula kita temukan di lokus awal peradaban Islam dan kaum muslim ini.

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Creativity in the Perspective of Islamic Architecture: A case of dealing positively with constraints and limitations

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Presented in Artepolis 3 International Conference on Creative Collaboration and the Making of Place: Bandung, 22-24 July 2010


From ancient cultures to modern civilizations across the world, we can evidently see traces of creativity in every human-made object. Creativity has taken an important place in the process of creating new objects or producing new ideas. Creativity also has affected a large part of our today’s lives through innovations and inventions in technology, art, science, etc. Therefore, creativity can be considered as a key to the development of our civilization.

Despite the importance of creativity, the definition of creativity itself is vague and complex (Robinson, 2008: 3). There is a lack of agreement about what the term creativity means. Torrance note that some definitions are formulated in terms of a product, while others are formulated in terms of a process, a kind of person, or a set of conditions (Torrance in Robinson, 2008: 3). In general, creativity is often described as an ability in making something uncommon, or something common in an uncommon way.  In other words, creativity is an ability to use the imagination to develop new and original ideas or things, especially in an artistic context (Encarta Dictionaries, 2008). According to Webster’s Dictionary the definition of creativity is artistic or intellectual inventiveness. Creativity is marked by the ability or power to create or bring into existence, to invest with a new form, to produce through imaginative skill, to make or bring into existence something new (Robinson, 2008: 6). Random House Webster’s College Dictionary 2nd Edition even stated that creativity is defined as “the ability to create meaningful new forms, etc.” (Robinson, 2008: 6).

Unfortunately, this lack of adequate definition of creativity has also affected in the way people practicing it. In architecture, the above Random House’s definition of creativity is often misunderstood as an ability to make certain unusual or distinct shapes and forms of buildings. The more eye-catching and striking the building, the more creative the architect will be judged by his surroundings. This kind of mindset may lead to a destructive competition between architects in order to create new amazing buildings with the intention of seeking fame or recognition from others. Nowadays, we can easily set our eyes on those kinds of buildings all over the world. They are designed and built with a hidden agenda to flourish the image of their owners and architects.

Furthermore, this definition of creativity as an ability to create meaningful new forms is also frequently associated with freedom of expressions. Some architects and artists love to use these phrases to justify their ‘unique’ and eccentric designs. One of the mainstream in art is also known by their l’art pour l’art jargon. This jargon reflected their disputes on limitations, whether by law, morality, religion, or anything else outside art itself, in their creativity process. Faisal Ismael, for example, mentioned in his book, Paradigma Kebudayaan Islam, that one of the effects of  correlating art and religion is  the limitation of freedom and creativity in art itself (Ismael, 1996: 65-66).  This statement indicates that there are certain way of thinking that considers constraints as a bound for creativity.

Such opinions, even in some sort of situations are quite tolerable, seem to indicate problems when creativity has to deal with constraints or limitations. Constraints, as has been generally known, are never absent in any circumstances of design. Unfortunately, architects and artists, consciously or unconsciously, often perceived constraints or limitations as a bound for their creativity in design. This mindset takes effect in negative attitude towards constraints as opposed to creativity. Thus, the negative perspective will strike their mind and influence the way they face those constraints along the process of design.

This paper is intended to show that both constraint and creativity are conjoined in a positive notion. Islamic architecture is used as a viewpoint, because in the perspective of Islamic architecture, there is no such thing called total freedom. When we talk about Islamic architecture, we will have to deal with some constraints that arised from Islamic values and worldview. It is noteworthy to explore how Islamic architecture can be developed creatively while people think that there are so many constraints in this field of study.

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Kindly be informed that there is a new and potentially very exciting project aiming to promote the idea of Islamic built environment based on the worldview, teachings and value system of Islam.

The project is in its embryonic phase. Thus, your visits, membership, constructive feedbacks and contributions, etc., will be appreciated.

Kindly visit:

Call for Papers: Journal of Islamic Architecture

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Journal of Islamic ArchitectureJournal of Islamic Architecture, Volume 1 Issue 2 December 2010

Dear all Under/Postgraduate Students and Academic Scholars of Architecture who have deep concern and awareness of the development of Islamic Architecture,

We gladly invite you to submit your scientific writings in widespread themes of Islamic Architecture to our “Journal of Islamic Architecture”. The journal is published by International Center for Islamic Architecture from the Sunnah (CIAS), Department of Architecture, UIN Maulana Malik Ibrahim Malang.




Writing Guidelines

  1. Language in English or Indonesian (Abstract in both English and Indonesian)
  2. A4 page size
  3. 20 – 30 pages
  4. Font Trebuchet 11
  5. Double spacing
  6. Endnote quotation (Numbering Reference)


Paper Structure

Title, Author(s), Correspondence and e-mail address, Abstract (in English), Introduction, Method (for research-based articles), Content, Conclusion, Reference

Paper Submission

  1. Submissioned by e-mail to
  2. Deadline  1 April 2010
  3. Questions and suggestions can be addressed to
  4. More about the instruction for authors: Instruction for Authors

Bagaimana Islam Menyikapi Takhayul dalam Proses Berarsitektur (Sebuah Bahan Renungan bagi Masyarakat Muslim)

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Salah satu prinsip yang sangat penting dalam proses berarsitektur di dalam Islam, adalah meniadakan kepercayaan-kepercayaan yang tidak berdasar dalam setiap proses perencanaan, pembangunan maupun pemanfaatan setiap bangunan. Salah satu jenis bangunan yang seringkali dikaitkan dengan berbagai kepercayaan ini adalah bangunan rumah tinggal. Sayangnya, prinsip dasar yang penting ini seringkali malah dilupakan dan dilanggar sendiri oleh sebagian masyarakat muslim. Karenanya, penulis menujukan tulisan ini bagi masyarakat muslim, termasuk praktisi dan akademisi muslim. Di dalam artikel ini penulis akan berusaha memaparkan beberapa hal yang berkaitan dengan dasar pemikiran dari larangan mendasarkan diri pada kepercayaan yang salah, dan dampak-dampak yang bisa jadi ditimbulkan dari diyakininya kepercayaan-kepercayaan yang tidak ada dasarnya di dalam agama itu oleh masyarakat muslim.

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