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The Kaaba Orientations: Readings in Islam's Ancient House

Author/EditorO'Meara, Simon (Author)
ISBN: 9780748699308
Pub Date23/06/2020
BindingHardback
Pages320
Dimensions (mm)244(h) * 172(w)
Explores the Ka'ba as it has been conceptualised, represented and used by Muslims from the earliest period of Islam onwards.
£95.00
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What is the Ka'ba and why it is pivotal to the Islamic world? Why do pilgrims go about it, not in it? Is it empty? And why is a hollow building covered in black silk?

The most sacred site of Islam, the Ka'ba (the granite cuboid structure at the centre of the Great Mosque of Mecca) is here investigated by examining six of its predominantly spatial effects: as the qibla (the direction faced in prayer); as the axis and matrix mundi of the Islamic world; as an architectural principle in the bedrock of this world; as a circumambulated goal of pilgrimage and site of spiritual union for mystics and Sufis; and as a dwelling that is imagined to shelter temporarily an animating force; but which otherwise, as a house, holds a void.

What is the Ka'ba and why it is pivotal to the Islamic world? Why do pilgrims go about it, not in it? Is it empty? And why is a hollow building covered in black silk?

The most sacred site of Islam, the Ka'ba (the granite cuboid structure at the centre of the Great Mosque of Mecca) is here investigated by examining six of its predominantly spatial effects: as the qibla (the direction faced in prayer); as the axis and matrix mundi of the Islamic world; as an architectural principle in the bedrock of this world; as a circumambulated goal of pilgrimage and site of spiritual union for mystics and Sufis; and as a dwelling that is imagined to shelter temporarily an animating force; but which otherwise, as a house, holds a void.

Simon O'Meara is an architectural historian of early to pre-modern urban Islamic culture, with a methodological interest in using the discourses of Islam to explore Islamic visuality and understand what scholarship can struggle to accommodate or see. He is Lecturer in the History of Architecture and Archaeology of the Islamic Middle East at SOAS, University of London.

LIST OF FIGURES ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Introduction Chapter One: The Ka'ba as Qibla Chapter Two: The Ka'ba as Navel Chapter Three: The Ka'ba as Substructure Chapter Four: The Ka'ba as Beloved Chapter Five: The House as Holder Chapter Six: The House as Dwelling Conclusion bibliography ENDNOTES

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