Kairouan Capital of Political Power and Learning in the Ifriqiya

FSTC Research Team


The following article presents a survey on some glorious pages of the history of Kairouan, the ancient capital of the Islamic Ifriqiya (present day Tunisia). Founded in 670 by ‘Uqba ibn Nafi’, the Arab general in command of the Muslim conquest of North Africa, Kairouan flourished under the Aghlabid dynasty in the 9th century and was an important urban center of the Islamic west, with a rich architectural heritage and a thriving tradition of learning.

    One Thousand Years of Missing History

Professor Salim T S Al-Hassani


The following essay aims to alert communities as to the particular significance of the Muslim civilization and its historical role in contributing to the birth of modern civilization. The author, Professor Salim Al-Hassani, a specialist of Muslim Heritage and a pioneer of its defense, focuses first on various instances of distorted history in scholarship, school curricula and media culture.

    Introduction to Islamic Art

Rabah Saoud

One area where the genius of the Muslim civilization has been recognized worldwide is that of art. The artists of the Islamic world adapted their creativity to evoke their inner beliefs in a series of abstract forms, producing some amazing works of art. Rejecting the depiction of living forms, these artists progressively established a new style substantially deviating from the Roman and Byzantine art of their time. In the mind of these artists, works of art are very much connected to ways of transmitting the message of Islam rather than the material form used in other cultures. This article briefly examines the meaning and character of art in Islamic culture and explores its main decorative forms-floral, geometrical, and calligraphic. 


Major Monuments in the Muslim World

This is a short and incomplete list of major monuments found across the Muslim World.
Great Mosque of Seville Seville, Spain 1172           
Famous for its minaret “la Giralda”

Bab Mardum Mosque Toledo, Spain 999-1000 The story of the Ribbed vaults and the Gothic inspiration.

Al-Jaferia Palace Zaragoza, Spain 1050-1083 Most important building of the Taifa Period in Andalusia.

Great Mosque of Cordoba Cordoba, Spain 700-900 The pearl of the Ummayad Khilafa in Andalusia

Al-Hambra Granada, Spain 11-1400 L’Ahambra! L’Ahambra! Palais que les genies Ont dore comme un reve et rempli d’harmonies (Victor Hugo)

La Ziza Palace Palermo 1166 Muslim architecture in Sicily

Quairawane Tunis 724-863 The oldest “and the best” of North African Muslim buildings

Aghlabid Cistrens Tunis 862 Muslim hydraulic Engineering at work

Ribat of Susse Susse, Tunisia 850 The building where Muslims first introduced the ribbed vaulting, more than 200 years before Europe.

Al-Mahdiya Mosque Mehdiya, Tunisia 916 The innovation of the porch.

Great Mosque of Telemcen Telemcen, Algeria 1030’s Unique example of Ribbed Domes in North Africa and the first appearance of stalactite vaults (muqarnas) in this region.

Ketchaoua Mosque Algiers, Algeria 1794 One of the rare Ottoman buildings preserved in Muslim Algeria

Beni Hammad Algeria 1007 The unique Muslim tower minaret

Kutubia Merrakesh, Morocco 1158 The origin of the splendour of the North African square minaret..

Al-Qarawiyin Mosque Fez, Morocco 800-1100 Almoravid architecture in Morocco

King Hassan II Mosque Casablanca, Morocco 1986-1993 The grandeur of the Muslim mosque designed by French architect

Ibn Tulun Cairo 876-879 The first building ever to systematically use the pier and pointed arch.

Azhar Mosque Cairo 972 The world’s oldest university

Bab Al-Nasre Cairo 1087-1092 Victory gate of Cairo

Bab al-Futuh Cairo late 1000’s Muslim Military architecture in Cairo

Al-Hakim Mosque Cairo 990-1013 The Fatimid Ifriquian building style

Al-Aqmar Mosque Cairo 1125 The decoration with the prayer niche.

Sultan Hassan Mosque Cairo 1356-1362 The four iwan mosque in Cairo

Mausol. of Sultan Qaitbay Cairo 1471-1474 Mamluk architecture in Cairo

Mohammed Ali Complex Cairo 1824-1848 The influence of Sinan in 19th century Cairo

Ulu Cami Mosque Bursa 1396 On the origins of Ottoman architecture

Suleimaniya Istanbul 1550-1557 The Mosque or the genius of Sinan

Bayzid Cami Istanbul 1501-1506 The maturation of the Ottoman architecture and the influence of Hagia Sophia

Shehzade Complex Istanbul 1544-1548 First important building project of Sinan

Suleymania Complex Istanbul 1550-1557 Sinan’s master piece.

Sultan Ahmed Cami Istanbul 1610-1617 Known as the Blue Mosque

Baghdad Koshk Istanbul 1638-1639 The Ottoman functional kiosk

Medrassa of Keratay Konya 1251 The dome of the Universe

Ince Minareli Medrassa Konya, Turkey 1258 The early Suljuk “Baroque”

Qasr al-hair al Sharqui Syria 728-729 Chalif Hisham’s palace in Syria.

Qasr al-hair al Gharbi Syria late 700’s

Great Mosque of Aleppo Aleppo 715-717 The main mosque of Aleppo, built by Hasan Ibn Mufarraj al-Sarmini

Aleppo Citadel Aleppo 1186-1216 Muslim military architecture in Aleppo

Ummayad Mosque Damascus 706-715 The Umayyad masterpiece.

Mutawakkil Mosque Samara, Iraq 848-849 Known as AL-Malwiya

Al-Mustansirya Baghdad 1233 One of the first Muslim Medrassas

King Abdellah Mosque Amman 1989 Older models into modern forms?

Mshatta Palace Jordan 743-744 Most lavishly constructed Palace.

Khirbat al-Mafjar Palestine Late 700’s The source inspiring the Gothic rose window.

Dome of the Rock Al-Qudse 691 The Mosque or the victory of Islam in Palestine.

Al-Aqsa Al-Qudse late 600 The origin of the T plan mosque.

El-Harem (Kaabah) Makkah, Saudi Arabia   First earthly building erected by our father Adam and restored by Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail.

Prophet’s Mosque Medina, Saudi Arabia   First Mosque of Islam

Shir-Dar-Madrassa Samarkand 1619-1636 Majestic building in Ragistan Square.

Gur-I-Mir Mausoleum Samarquand 1300-1400 The resting place of the Sultan Timur

Ulugh Beg Medrassa Samarquand 1417-1420 The oldest surviving medrassa in Asia built by the Timurid most respectable Scholar and Ruler Samarkand from 1409

Ulugh Beg Observatory Samarquand 1428/29 The remains of this important Muslim observatory in Samarkand

Registan Square Samarquand 15th century Oldest square in Samarquand

Khoja Ahmed Yaswi Complex Kazakhstan 1389-1399 Timurid architecture as its best.

Mir-I-Arab Medrassa Bukhara 1535-1536 Founded by a Yemeni Sheikh in Bukhara

Balkh Mosque Afghanistan Late 9th C. Early mosque with nine domes

Taj Mahal Agra 1632-1643 One of the wonders of the world.

Musoleum of Itimad ad-Daula Agra 1628 Technical and artistic refinement before the Taj Mahal

Atala Jami Mosque Jampur, India 1408 New phase in Muslim monumental Mosque portal

Quwwat al-Islam Complex Delhi Late 12th C. Early Muslim architecture in Delhi

Mausoleum of Humayun Delhi 1562-1571 Mughal architecture in India

Jami Mesdjid Delhi 1644-1658 The largest Mogul Mosque built by Shah Jahan.

Khass Mahal India 1637 Mughal garden tombs depicting Paradise

Friday Mosque of Hirat Hirat, Iran 1200-1201 Example of Ghurit architecture in Persia

Masjid-I-Shah Isfahan, Iran
1611-1616 Safavid architecture in Isfahan

Maidan I-Shah Isfahan, Iran
1600’s Unique Muslim Architectural complex

Khwajir Bridge Isfahan, Iran
1650 Architectural and engineering marvel of Isfahan

Friday Mosque of Isfahan Isfahan, Iran 800-1100 The four Iwan mosque famous for its ribbed dome.

King Faisal Mosque Islamabad 1966-1986

Designed by Vedat Delakoy (Turkey)

Istiglal Mosque Indonesia 1955-1984 Turkish minaret and modern “office block” look alike prayer hall.



Credit: Muslim Heritage




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