Islamic Arts and Architecture of Mosques in Brunei

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Islamic art forms evolved in a unique fashion. One of the reasons for this was the idolatrous taboos placed on imagery. The result of such restrictions can be seen in the alternative representations for their religious deity and the visual worship of him.

An example of a key representation is Quaranic calligraphy, a label that is often used interchangeably with Islamic or Arabic calligraphy, though there are fine dialectal and stylistic differences between each. This form of writing is found throughout Islamic society and appears very frequently in mosques and other religious environments as a means of conveying Quaranic ideas, commands, etc.

The arts and architecture of the mosques in various Islamic countries and cultures provide fine examples of the unique expression styles obtained by Islamic peoples. For instance, Brunei, or as it is officially labeled, the Nation of Brunei, a sovereign state, located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia, is made up of primarily Islamic citizens and contains 24 mosques within its 2,226 square miles. All of these mosques were built between 1958 and 1999. The following are specific examples and explanations of the art and architecture present in the construction of some Bruneian Mosques:

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque: The most prominent feature of the mosque is the gigantic dome, which is covered in pure gold. In the context of Islam, gold is used as a means to attract attention by beautification. The dome is meant to attract the prayer goers and others to the mosque. Similar structure can be seen in other Muslim countries and cultures around the world.

Masjid Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam Mosque: The first service to take place in this mosque was held on January 28, 1999. The minaret of this mosque is also trimmed in gold and is more emphasized than the dome in this piece of architecture. The emphasis symbolizes the virtue adamantly pursued by the mosques patrons: prayer. The minaret serves as an announcement to citizens and visitors of the area for both church location and calls to prayer.

Masjid Setia Ali Mosque: The crescent is a fairly common adornment for mosque domes, but the shortness of this Mosque creates a new emphasis on it. The moon is actually a part of the moon and star emblem that early Muslims adopted to represent their faith. It has been said that the application of the moon serves as a focal point for the congregation of Islams and announces that the mosque is a place for them to meet.

The above is an example of the Islamic art that is reflected in the construction of mosques. Similar styles are evident in other architectures throughout the Muslim world.

Sara works as a content specialist and writes on Islamic arts and cultures.

Article Source: Sara_Ahmed

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