A conceptual framework for 'Islamic architectural' education
At present "Islamic Architecture" is a controversial topic of debate within architectural forums, very much talked about but lacking a clear definition. Saudi Arabia, birth place of Islam, modern pin-up board for many an example of "islamic architecture", has cause to be intimately linked with the area concerned and has initiated a programme for its incorporation within one of its universities. The following study is an attempt to bring a conceptual clarity to the term "Islamic Architecture" and devise an educational programme for its teaching at tertiary level of education in the Saudi Arabian context. The adjective "Islamic" necessitates that any noun that it qualifies should conform to the tenets of Islam. This may not be possible with "Architecture" which, as a term, is tinged with the ethos of. Classical Greece and is associated with "technique" and "object worship". In contrast, the equivalent term used in Islam's own epistemology, Al-Imarah, associates the discipline with "shaping the most suitable environment for the sustenance of human life". Therefore it will be more appropriate to speak of a distinct discipline of Al-Imarah instead of "Islamic Architecture" In defining the parameters of an independent discipline of Al-Imarah one can also establish parameters for a universal educational model that will train those who will be responsible for the shaping of the environment conforming with the attributes of Al-Imarah. In this model, Islam's own "system of thought" and "world view" will become the postulate and the ideal "Muslim Society enjoined by Islam" as its terms of reference. Based on this model a new university programme for the teaching of AI-Imarah, together with the structure of the courses, method of teaching of the courses, and contents of the courses will be proposed. Existing programmes for the teaching of "Architecture" are also suggested to be modified in order to facilitate the incorporation of ideals embodied in the concept of Al-Imarah.