Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Mimarbasi Sinan.
"Mimarbasi"is the title given to the chief imperial architect during Ottoman dynasty.

Quite recently, I read an article entitled "Mimarbasi Sinan and the Building Policies of the Ottoman State". It is regarding Architect Sinan, an architect (obviously) who was appointed as Mimarbasi (chief imperial architect) in 1537 by the Ottoman Sultan, of whom I suspect to be one of the great caliphs during the Ottoman Caliphate, Suleyman 1 (Suleyman the Magnificent as known to the west). Mimar Sinan was in that position for 3 generations of caliphate; Suleyman I, Selim II, and Murat III.

Usually, I am not interested in reading history. This article, however, managed to make me read till the end because it gave me a glimpse of a life when the caliphate system was still playing a major role in the world. Its hard to imagine a era where the Muslims rule the world, but a fact is a fact. The world was once under the influence of Islamic teaching, and it was not a dark age. Man live peacefully despite the difference in their belief. The political landscape was clean, and organised. The administrative system during this period was an efficient bureaucracy and central control througout the imperial domains. Knowledge was appreciated and learned. The buildings are spectacular. Look at Hagia Sofea, Selimiye Mosque (Sinan's masterpiece) and The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (designed by Sinan's senior assistant, Sedefkar Mehmet Aga). It was probably not too much to see this era as a civilized and modern era.

Selimiye Mosque

Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Even architecture plays an important role in the empire! Here is an excerpt,

"Architecture was not a simple guild activity in traditional Ottoman society. The architect, with his functions and his methods of organization, was an expert in bureaucracy and was a member of the rulling class. The Hassa Mimarlar Ocagi (Imperial Architect Organization) where the architects were educated was a military organization and the education practised there was formed not according to the imposing consumption tendencies of a wealthy class but according
to all sorts of buildings and restoration needs within the boundaries of the empire including
residences, social and technical infrastructure.

This makes the architect the person who carries out not only all the building and restoration activities of the State, but also construction activities and building supervision in general context.

The State, unlike other professions, controlled the guilds related to the building construction and especially the builders through the supervision of architects working for it."

You can find the article in, in one of the publications that they have stored in their online library.

*Sinan is now in my architectural precedents' list.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Syeikh Muhammad Sa'id Al-'Urfi berkata,

"Saudaraku, beri nama! Beri nama!"

Al-Banna bertanya,

"Apa yang akan aku beri nama?"

Ia menjawab,

"Beri nama ikhwan, sahabat dan yayasanmu.
Katakan kepada yang ini, engkau mirip Abu Bakar.
Katakan kepada yang ini, engkau mirip Umar.

Sesungguhnya yang demikian itu akan membangkitkan kesungguhan dan memotivasi mereka untuk menjadikannya tauladan."

Petikan dari Biografi Hasan Al-Banna, Dr. Anwar Al-Jundi, 2003, Darul Qalam, Beirut.