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Mahmud al-Hasan, Syed (1965) Development of mosque architecture with special reference to pre-Mughal Bengal. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis aims essentially at an investigation of the origins and developments of mosque architecture in the region of Bengal in pre-Mughal times (that is, for these purposes, to A.D. 1538); but, since the study of a limited aspect of a pan-Islamic manifestation may in itself be sterile, an attempt has been made to integrate the Islamic Bengali microcosm into the macrocosm of the mediaeval Islamic world. Firstly, therefore, the growth of religious architecture is related to its humanistic background, especially that of the development of Islam with its political and social implications increasing in importance while Islam as a religious system gathered increasing momentum. The mosque itself is then studied in various aspects: the architectural origins of the mosque as a focal point of the religious life of the community are first investigated; and then the history of mosque architecture from the beginning to A.D. 1538 is analysed in general, but always with an eye to the particular manifestations of Bengal. Evidence for the etymologies which have been proposed for the term Masjid are collected and discussed in extenso; but, to preserve the continuity of the major arguments of the thesis, this material has been relegated to an appendix. The mosque architecture of Bengal is then discussed in detail. All previous work on the subject is examined and criticized, and the errors and misapprehensions of some authors corrected and explained. The treatment of this material is at once broadly chronological and typological, and a viable classification (as exhibited in the Table of Contents) has been adopted throughout. Full use has been made of the rather confused epigraphical evidence. While Mughal architecture is not the direct concern of the thesis, an attempt has also been made to relate some characteristic aspects of Bengali building and their future employment in Mughal times. The decorative arts of the period have been considered in drawing conclusions; but the volume of evidence from this sphere is so great as to have made it necessary to exclude any detailed discussion in this thesis. Thus the thesis as a whole presents an ordered exposition of Bengali mosque architecture viewed in its wider context, which I submit as an original contribution to scholarly knowledge especially in the exercise of critical judgment over the whole field; in addition, some new evidence is here presented for the first time, which adds a further dimension to the validity of my criticism.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:25

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