The Institute of Ismaili Studies


Muslim Spaces of Worship and Gathering



While the mosque is the site most often associated with Muslim expressions of piety, there are a range of spaces used by Muslim communities – Shi‘a and Sunni – for their worship and gathering. These range from the ashurkhana and zawiya to the khanqah and tekke. While some of these spaces are specific to particular Muslim communities, others are clustered geographically or are prominent amongst particular cultural groups. This gallery, based on fieldwork in nine countries, showcases the richness and diversity of the Muslim umma through the diversity of the spaces used for expressions of piety.
Further Reading

There is an increasing body of academic literature on spaces and expressions of piety amongst Muslim communities. The following titles provide an introduction to various perspectives on the history, development and use of spaces by Muslims for worship and piety in both historical and contemporary contexts.

Flood, Finbar Barry. The Great Mosque of Damascus: Studies on the Makings of an Umayyad Visual Culture. E. J. Brill: Leiden, 2000.

Geels, Antoon. “A Note on the Psychology of Dhikr: The Halveti-Jerrahi Order of Dervishes in Istanbul,” International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 6:4 (1994), pp. 229-251.

Hawting, Gerald, ed. The Development of Islamic Ritual. The Formation of the Classical Islamic World, 26. Ashgate: London, 2006.

Jaschok, Maria and Shui Jingjun. The History of Women’s Mosques in Chinese Islam: A Mosque of their Own. Routledge: London, 2000.

Kahera, Akel Ismail. Deconstructing the American Mosque: Space, Gender and Aesthetics. University of Texas Press: Austin, 2002.

Keshani, Hussein. “Architecture and the Twelver Shi‘i Tradition: The Great Imambara Complex of Lucknow,” Muqarnas 23 (2006), pp. 219-250.

Lifchez, Raymond. The Dervish Lodge: Architecture, Art and Sufism in Modern Turkey. University of California Press: Los Angeles, 1992.

Manger, Leif, ed. Muslim Diversity: Local Islam in Global Contexts. Routledge: London, 1999.

Metcalf, Barbara Daly, ed. Making Muslim Space in North America and Europe. University of California Press: Los Angeles, 1996.

Norton, Augustus, R. Shi‘ism and the Ashura Ritual in Lebanon. Saqi Books: London, 2004.

Rabbat, Nasser. “The Meaning of the Umayyad Dome of the Rock,” Muqarnas 6 (1989), pp. 12-21.

Stauth, Georg, ed. On Archaeology of Sainthood and Local Spirituality in Islam: Past and Present Crossroads of Events and Ideas in Yearbook of the Sociology of Islam 5 (2004).

The Institute of Ismaili Studies - Muslim Spaces of Worship and Gathering
Last updated: 24/01/2012 12:24