We sometimes confine ourselves to a narrow definition of architectural magnificence that is framed within the context of modern examples of architecture and technology. This is not entirely wrong, but it is severely limited in its scope to truly capture the beauty of an architectural endeavour born out of painstaking efforts to carefully balance knowledge, intellect, talent, creativity, cultural and religious expression. Yet, when we observe the remnants of civilisations gone by, our minds are blown away by the mere thought of the sheer capability they possessed to have even dreamt of such fantastic artistic and architectural brilliance, let alone the ability to construct it.
When we delve deeper into the annals of history to understand the motivation for such splendour, we discover that they used their knowledge and talent to create spaces that inspired people to remember the Divine (dhikr) which, if done sincerely, causes one to turn ever more towards The Absolutely Magnificent, Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. In doing so, one recognises Allah’s total control over everything, and all that is majestic and beautiful are simply reminders of His Divine Mercy upon us. Consequently, one’s definition of magnificence is absolutely redefined.
This is Al-Andalus, and that is what it does to you, over and over again.
Innallaha Jamilun wa yuHibbul Jamal. Allah is Beautiful and He loves Beauty.