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The Architectural Beauty and Majestic of Ibrahim Rauza, Bijapur

The Architectural Beauty and Majestic of Ibrahim Rauza, Bijapur

The architectural styles developed by the Sultans of the Deccan plateau that are appreciated in Bijapur, Bidar, Gulbarga, and Hyderabad, are motivated from Persian and Turkish structures.

Ibrahim Adil Shah II ruled the kingdom of Bijapur from 1580 to 1627. He is reputed to be one of the most compassionate and multicultural rulers in history and was a generous patron of the arts.

The sultan of Bijapur was a descendant of the Ottoman dynasty of Istanbul, Turkey. The sultan of Golconda was a Turkman prince who had taken refuge in India. The sultans were adherents of the Shia sect of Islam and were close allies of the Safavid rulers of Iran. A distinctive culture thus developed in the pluralistic community of the Deccan plateau. In India, the Deccan plateau became the prominent center of Arabic literature and scholarship.

Ibrahim Rauza is another valuable and most stylish architectural example of the Adil Shahi style of architecture. Ibrahim Adil Shah II, one of the sultans of this dynasty, developed and organized his own final resting place.

Arched Verandah of row of pillars around the central chamber of of Ibrahim Rauza, BijapurIbrahim Rauza consists of two core constructions: a tomb and a mosque with several smaller structures. All these buildings are built within a square enclosure with an attractive garden in the front. Both the structures are built on a platform that is 360 feet long and 160 feet wide, around a walled enclosure.

At the eastern end is the tomb and at the western end is the mosque. In between is an open yard in which are found an decorative tank and a fountain. Though the size and purpose of these two structures are different, the architect has productively attempted to produce an equilibrium between them in volume and style. Nevertheless, the tomb seems to be a grander structure than the mosque. The tomb consists of a principal chamber within an arched verandah and both are scaled by a dome. Tall minar-shaped turrets are built at four corners of the building. However, the most beautiful and crowning part is the bulbous dome at the upper story.

Carved ceiling of the Mosque of Ibrahim Rauza in Bijapur

The interior has an arched verandah of row of pillars around the central chamber. They are all abundantly adorned with intricate patterns. The chamber room is a small square of 18 feet each side; but it is elegant because of the introduction of a charmingly carved ceiling at the correct height. Thus, the Ibrahim Rauza has a well-executed plan of a building in its entirety, harmonizing architecture with ornamentation.

Ibrahim Rauza of Bijapur: stylish architectural example of the Adil Shahi style of architectureThe mosque forming the other part of the Ibrahim Rauza relates harmoniously in the mass of its proportion and architectural treatment as well as width of frontage. Though it seems slightly smaller, the comparisons overlook in terms of minars at four directions and a slightly smaller elongated dome. This congruence is the real uniqueness of the Ibrahim Rauza. Between the two and in the center is a beautiful entrance with two minars at each corners. Thus, the whole composition is highly appealing.

Scholars have felt that if this were to be built of marble, the Ibrahim Rauza would have been a close challenger to the glory of the Taj Mahal.

Through architectural wonders such as the Ibrahim Rauza, the Adil Shahis immortalized themselves through this structure which is at once a combination of majesty and beauty.

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Luxurious Living for the Adil Shah Royal Family in Bijapur’s Sath Manzil

Sath Manzil palace built by Ibrahim Adil Shah II

Sath Manzil as the name itself signifies is a seven storied structure and in this case a palace. It was built by Ibrahim Adil Shah II, one of the greatest rulers of the Adil Shahi dynasty in 1583 CE. Actually, Ibrahim II is better known for his massive creation of Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur.

Sath Manzil stands near Gagan Mahal to the southwest of the latter, and enclosing a vast quadrangle known as granary. Though named Sath Manzil, today it is a structure of five stories only with a height of about 97 ft. There is a narrow staircase which connected the fifth story to the sixth which does not exist now. In the same manner, there should have been a still smaller connection between sixth and seventh and this justifies the name Sath Manzil. Ibrahim was not satisfied by the previously built Gagan Mahal that was both a palace and a durbar hall. Hence, Ibrahim II planned exclusively a palace in keeping with his status. Naturally seven storied building did not exist in Bijapur and hence Ibrahim thought of building a seven storied palace.

Sath Manzil Bijapur - 1860 Steel Engraving - Print

Sath Manzil for royal family of the Adil Shahi dynastySath Manzil palace was far more extensive than it is today. Therefore, what we see today is only a partial palace and the remaining parts have been destroyed. The Chini Mahal or Faroukh Mahal, which is close by, formed a part of the original palace. A passage along the terrace above the range of rooms on the west side of the quadrangle connected the Chini Mahal. The building was specially erected for pleasure and royal bath as can be understood from the frequent occurrence of ornamental baths and cisterns in various rooms. They are all connected by the water pipes laid from story to story through masonry. Thus, this lavish distribution of water pipes and bathing cisterns is a unique feature of this building.

Jal Mandir or Water pavilion in BijapurWater cisterns are found on all the stories of this building. The walls of these bathrooms were painted with human figures and others decorative motifs. The walls were also gilded beautifully and luxuriously. Another noteworthy feature of this beautiful building is the extensive use of wood as in the case of pillars, window frames, window screens, and brackets. There is another building called Jal Mandir or Water pavilion, which originally formed a part of this grand palace. It also had floorings decorated with colored tiles of different designs. Thus, Sath Manzil is famous for luxurious living of the royal family of the Adil Shahi dynasty. Such buildings are rare.

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Beauty and Majesty of Gagan Mahal in Bijapur, Karnataka

Gagan Mahal, Bijapur

Bijapur in the Deccan plateau of south-western India was the capital of a Muslim kingdom, founded by the Yadava dynasty in the 12th century. It fell under the jurisdiction of the Bahmani Muslims in the 14th century. Its era of independent magnificence was from 1489 to 1686 when the Adil Shahi sultans made it their capital and were in charge for Islamic architecture of exceptional quality. In 1686, the Mogul emperor Aurangzeb defeated Bijapur, but was powerless to exercise firm control and the region soon fell under Maratha sway, from which it elapsed into East India Company hands in the early 19th century.

Ali Adil Shah I ascended the throne and aligned his forces with other Muslim kings of Golconda, Ahmednagar and Bidar, and jointly, they brought down the Vijayanagara empire. With the loot gained, he instigated ambitious projects. He built the Gagan Mahal, the Ibrahim Rauza (his own tomb), Chand Bawdi (a large well), and the Jami Masjid.

The Shah was supreme power but in real practice, the Jagirdars, who acted as his counsellors or advisers, regulated his sovereignty. If the ruler possessed personality and keen intelligence, he could maneuver the chiefs by playing off one against the other, but if he was a minor, or did not fully devote himself to the affairs of the state, they dominated him. With the growth of the territories of the state after 1565 and the resultant increase in the Shah’s prestige and powers, he began to conduct the business of the state with the help of ministers who were placed in charge of various departments of the administration. These ministers held office during his pleasure only. However, whenever the Shah’s authority was weak, they assumed larger importance.

Spandrels of the Gagan Mahal arches in Bijapur, decorated with fish-like and other creatures Gagan Mahal, so called because of its tallness almost touching the sky, was built during the Adil Shahi Sultan Ali Adil Shah I who ruled from 1550 AD., to 1580 AD. In keeping with his victories and wealth that he amassed, he planned to make his capital Bijapur a beautiful and imposing city with many elegant buildings. Gagan Mahal is one such building.

Gagan Mahal was built in 1561 AD., at the order of the Sultan Ali Adil Shah as his palace as also for his durbar. Thus, it served the two fold purposes of Sultani residence and royal court hall. The greatness of the building lies in the fact that it is a congruent combination of both these purposes. The private residential area was on the first floor just above the royal assembly hall. Two massive wooden pillars supported its wooden floor. It had wooden projecting balconies from where the family members of the Sultan, particularly the ladies could watch the spectacle in front, be it royal assembly or sports or any other royal event, including watching the Sultan seated on the throne. Staircases were provided on the back wall for going up or coming down. The staircases also led the inmates to the living rooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and other parts of the residence without being watched by outsiders. Thus, it provided safety, refuge, and privacy to the royal family.

The description of a city in Persian language is one of its fascinating characteristics. For poets and writers, the subject matter gives the occasion to admix poetic imagination with historical realities as well as the actual existing features of the buildings, such as, gardens and water bodies. A beautiful description of Devgiri or Daulatabad in the works of Amir Khusrau is illustrative of the point. There are plentiful descriptions of the beautiful city of Hyderabad, Bijapur, and Aurangabad in the south, Kashmir, Lahore, Kangra, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Lucknow, Narnol, Hissar and others in the north. Notwithstanding the abundance of material on cities in Persian literature in various libraries and museums, neither the works are well known nor were they used to reconstruct the cityscape.

Beauty and majesty of the Gagan Mahal in Bijapur

The beauty and majesty of the Gagan Mahal structure is the vast central arch, which has a span of over sixty feet. On its both sides were two smaller spanned arches thus giving a rare spectacle of three arches in a row of superhuman magnitudes. This was indispensable because it faced the Durbar hall and the Sultan and his ministers had to have full view of the happenings in front such as sports, wrestling, music etc. Thus, it served a convenient purpose and added majesty to the building. There is a great deal of woodwork in Gagan Mahal. The complete ceiling of the main hall was of wood being supported by heavy beams, wooden window frames and projecting balconies and eaves and pillars. Most of them were painted and gilded to give a royal effect. This palace had its significant periods also. When Mughal emperor Aurangazeb defeated the last Adil Shahi ruler Sikandar, Aurangazeb sat on the throne at this palace and Sikandar was brought before Aurangazeb in silver chains as a captive.

Regrettably, most of the Gagan Mahal is in ruins today except the three main majestic arches symbolizing the strength and glory of the Adil Shahis.

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Magnificent Architectural Features of Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur, Karnataka

Muhammad Adil Shah's architectural treasures in the city of Bijapur in northern Karnataka

Celebrated for its Muhammad Adil Shah’s architectural treasures, the city of Bijapur, in northern Karnataka has in recent years gained celebrity, both in the popular domain as a destination for travel and tourism, and in the intellectual domain as an object of academic study.

Even though art-historical studies of Bijapur have tended to focus attention upon the monuments and urban layout developed during the Muhammad Adil Shah’s period, the city was already evidenced by a cosmopolitan population and architectural activity before Muhammad Adil Shah transformed it during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to function as their capital. Gol Gumbaz and Ibrahim Roza in Bijapur continue to draw hundreds of visitors every day.

There have been no reductions in the number of Indian tourists visiting the two sites, there has been a decrease of between 50 and 100 in the number of arrivals from abroad compared to last year. In order to attract more tourists, the Archaeological Survey of India has taken steps to upgrade Bara Kaman, Gagan Mahal, Chota Gumbaz and the Citadel Wall.

Magnificent Architecture of Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur, Karnataka

Gol Gumbaz, literally meaning round dome is a tomb of Muhammad Adil Shah (1627-57 CE) planned by himself even before his death. Thus, this monument is one of the largest and most outstanding single buildings in the entire country. This mausoleum is one of the finest structural triumphs of the Indian builders because of its astonishing size. It is a square building with each side measuring 205 ft and its height is 200 feet. The building consists of four thick walls topped by a dome, the outside diameter of which is 144 ft. The interior of the hall measures 135 ft across and it is 178 ft high. Thus, it has over eighteen thousand square feet. It is said that this is bigger than the Parthenon of Greece, which is one of the enormous and magnificent structures. Thus by the sheer size of various parts, Gol Gumbaz reigns supreme in the world of architecture.

Architecture is the construct of life and tradition and has to be understood as such. All plastic art forms are symbiotic on each other for their fullest expression, with the performing and literary arts playing supplementary and complementary roles in the overall composition. India, home of an ancient culture, has long been noted for its civilizational forays, which encompassed varied scientific ideas and technical skills. Its geographical position in the ancient world enabled it to become an internationally important center for integrating and transmitting new scientific ideas and techniques.

engineering wonder and Geometric precision of Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur, Karnataka

However, this is not all. Gol Gumbaz is considered an engineering wonder by the skillful composition of its various parts, the harmonious combination of arches, cornices, foliated parapet and ultimately in the interior to support the vast dome. It is so ingeniously planned to convert the square hall into a circular one by making it into eight angles over which the entire load of the dome rests. This dome is the biggest in Asia and the second biggest in the world. The dome itself is a plain plastered vault with six small openings and is 10 ft in thickness. The interior surface of the dome is placed twelve feet from the inner edge of the circle to distribute and transmit its huge weight downwards on to the four walls. The conversion of a square hall while going up into an octagon and then into a circle finally is a great engineering accomplishment. One can climb to the top through the six-sided enclosed staircases with small domes on all the four sides, which add a grace to the structure. Geometric precision was achieved for the various elements of the dome, including the cast joints, the curved tubular sections and the fixings, through meticulous workmanship.

The domed, centrally-planned design adopted to mark the site of Jesus’ death and resurrection was adopted as well for Christian martyria and baptisteries. However, both the architectural form and the symbolical associations of these Christian buildings were themselves obligated to earlier, non-Christian traditions. With regard to construction, both Christians and Muslims shared a common legacy of building materials, techniques, and tools passed on from the Greco-Roman, Persian, and even the earlier Etruscan worlds. The geometric references of both Christian and Islamic sacred buildings were not merely rooted in mystical thought with no scientific basis. Rather, such mystical thought was familiarly bound with pre-modern cosmology.

Corbelled dome is the Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur and Whispering Gallery

The most awe-inspiring example of a corbelled dome is the Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur. It is generally overlooked that the third largest dome in the world is built upon the megalithic principle. The distinct bricks set in the horizontal courses are embedded in so much of mortar that the dome becomes a mass of mortar to which the bricks have been added. It is believed in some quarters, for structural reasons, that the masonry of the Gol Gumbaz does serve only to transmit vertical stresses to the masonry. However, in all probability for the architect here, the traditional experience of mortar in dome was to safeguard stability for such a massive and unique structural heroic of this kind. If the cast dome of the Gol Gumbaz deserves to be called a corbelled because of its horizontally set bricks, most of the vaulting at Bijapur is pure cast forms that are not liable to collapse even when most of the underpinning has been destroyed. Many unique shapes of ceilings were possible because of the pioneering use of mortar, which is very stable.

Another greatness about this tomb is that it is a whispering gallery where even the mild sound is multiplied hundred fold and reverberates. That is the reason why this is famous all over the world as a whispering gallery. Within the center of the building and below the ground level is the real tomb of its creator Muhammad Adil Shah and his relatives. Nevertheless, what are seen on the ground now are the imitation tombs. Thus, Muhammad Adil Shah gave to the world a great and marvelous structure exhibiting the engineering skill of medieval India, which has won admiration even from modem engineers.

The rich culture, heritage, and architecture of the north Karnataka region are something to be cherished. The region is not only known for its rich cultural heritage but also for great talents in arts and literature.

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The Elegant Wooden Tipu Sultan’s Palace, Bangalore

Balconies and Wooden Palace of Tipu Sultan in Bangalore

The Bangalore fort was an ancient one with contributions from Chikkadevaraja Wadeyar, Haidar Ali, and others. Tipu Sultan dismantled some parts of it after 1792 but Dewan Poornaiah rebuilt the fort in 1800 A.D. Tipu’s palace is here within the fort area by the side of fort Venkataramana temple and actually it is very close to the Bangalore Medical College now.

It is said that this palace was begun by Haidar Ali in 1781 and Tipu made use of it later. Though the original facade and the frontal portions are not available now, the palace still makes a lasting impression as an elegant and magnificent structure worthy of the palace. The palace is basically built of wood, except for the peripheral outer walls built of mud and bricks.

Tipu Sultan's Palace, Bangalore

The superstructure is of wooden frame with two stories with minute wooden carving decorations. What now remains is a frontal corridor with an upper balcony. Wide cusped arches are very conspicuous by their presence and they add a great majestic appearance. The wooden pillars with tapering design are very tall and this adds majesty to the entire structure. The walls and ceilings are of great attraction as they contain paintings of the contemporary period, consisting mostly of geometric designs and floral decorations.

Originally the upper story had four halls each comprising of two balconies and some rooms. The balconies faced parts of the office and was also used by the prince. At times it served as an audience hall also. At the end of the balconies were some rooms which were used for private purposes of the family of the Sultan. Though they look small from the present standards, with high roof they were cool and convenient for the people to live. There is a Persian inscription to the left of the verandah which calls it abode of happiness and envy of heaven. Its construction was started in 1781 and was completed in 1791 A.D.

Facade and Front of Tipu Sultan Palace in Bangalore

After the death of Tipu Sultan it was used by Krishnaraja Wadeyar III to give audience to the citizens of Bangalore in 1808. Subsequently it was temporarily used by the British army. The Karnataka State Secretariat also worked from here. Finally it was taken over by the Archaeological Survey of India which has made it a protected monument. Thus it is a rare and elegant wooden palace at Bangalore.

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Byzantine Architecture & Spiritual Glory of Hagia Sophia

The vast, echoing interior of Hagia Sophia

For 900 years, this mountainous hulk of a building was a Christian cathedral, then for 500 years a Muslim mosque. It has not only felt the tread of mighty emperors and sultans, but also suffered the cruel predations of invading armies. Indeed, for a place of worship, Hagia Sophia (“Holy Wisdom”) bears more than its fair share of scars. Many of its once-glorious Byzantine mosaics have been either damaged or destroyed, while its sumptuous Islamic carpets have been rolled up and removed, following the building’s conversion into a museum in 1935.

Today the two religions co-exist inside, locked in a state of suspended disharmony. Gigantic wooden discs, bearing the names of Allah and his prophet Muhammad, stare across at restored gold images of Christ Pantocrator (“All Powerful”). One faith (Islam) forbids the representation of the human or divine form, the other (Christianity) exults in it, and here the contradiction finds dramatic expression.

Hagia Sophia, Ayasofya Museum, Istanbul But while the works of art on the walls may give off conflicting messages, the building itself communicates an aura of might, with its sturdy stone columns, echoing marble floors and great slabs of stone from across the Mediterranean world (Egyptian porphyry, black stone from the Bosphorus, yellow from Syria). The great central dome soars 180 feet above the floor, pierced by 40 windows, through which stream shafts of light, giving the effect that it is floating, weightless, suspended by some heavenly force. The Hagia Sophia was rebuilt at the orders of Emperor Justinian in 537 CE. Then, for 900 years, Hagia Sophia had been the center of Orthodox Christianity until 1453 when the city was concurred by Ottomans. 500 years following the conquest of Muslims, it became a jewel for the Muslim world and as the grand mosque of the sultans.

It took 10,000 laborers to build this immense structure, and by the time it was officially consecrated in 537 CE, it was already the third Christian cathedral to have been built on this site (the first was in 360 CE). Since then Hagia Sophia has endured the very worst that humankind (wars and looting) and nature (fires and earthquakes) can visit upon it. And it is still standing.

Hagia Sophia was chosen a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1985. Hagia Sophia has became one of the most important monuments on the planet with its architecture and historical richness.

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Superb Craftsmanship of the Harem at the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

Fine Craftsmanship at the Harem at the Topkapi Palace

Escape is not a idea that has always been associated with the imperial harem—harem means “forbidden” in Arabic. Built in the mid-sixteenth century, the harem at Topkapi Palace was the personal living quarters of the female members of the Ottoman sultan’s rather large family. Its 400-plus rooms presented lavish (and not so lavish) housing for the sultan’s mother, the sultan’s wives, and, most distinctively, the sultan’s abundant concubines (which during the last days of the Ottoman Empire allegedly numbered greater than 800). Concubines were customarily attractive smart young women from prosperous families in neighboring countries brought into the Harem at a tender age where they were groomed to be prospective wives for the sultan.

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul The multiplex was controlled strictly by corps of eunuchs, selected because they would be incapable to misuse their standing. Contact with the outside world was via one carefully guarded exit, the Carriage Gate. Within, the harem was a hotbed of conspiracy, where concubines vied for the sultan’s goodwill, hoping to press forward their, and more outstandingly their sons’ fortunes. Undeniably, many concubines rose to positions of great power, dominating the royal household, and in some instances saw their sons’ rise to the rank of sultan, whereupon they would ascend to the coveted rank of sultan’s mother, or Valide Sultan. The second most powerful person in the Empire next to the Sultan, the Valide Sultan or the Queen Mother, had a enormous influence in the matters of the Harem and the relationships between the Sultan and his wives and concubines.

Added to and embellished over a four-century period, the Harem has numerous examples of superb craftsmanship. These days, you can tour many of the harem rooms that make up one of the most fascinating sections of the massive Topkapi Palace, the Ottoman Empire’s seat of authority until the mid-nineteenth century. Paradoxically, bearing in mind the powerful history of the place, the harem quarters are today rather tranquil and quiet—the tour group crowds notwithstanding—and make a welcome diversion from the hustle and bustle of downtown Istanbul and the surrounding Sultanahmet district.

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The Rushdie Affair

Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses and The Rushdie Affair

The Rushdie Affair, or The Satanic Verses controversy, was the impassioned furious reaction of several Muslims to the publication of The Satanic Verses, a novel by British Indian novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie. The Satanic Verses was first published by Viking Press in the United Kingdom in 1988.

'The Satanic Verses: A Novel' by Salman Rushdie (ISBN 0812976711) Many Muslim authorities decried The Satanic Verses as blasphemous. Its distribution and sale were banned in India, Pakistan, South Africa, and Iran. The ireful reactions became dramatic in early 1989 when Muslims in England burned copies of the novel and protest and demonstrations in Pakistan ended in killings and injuries. On 14-Feb-1989, Iranian religious leader and politician Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa urging Muslims the world over to execute those associated with the novel. The fatwa also placed a death sentence on Salman Rushdie and Viking Press, his publishers, for blasphemy against Islam. The sentence has never been discharged. The fatwa was eventually revoked under the rule of Mohammad Khatami in the late 1990s.

Recommended Reading

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Naguib Mahfouz, the Arab World’s Most Prominent Literary Figure

Naguib Mahfouz, Egyptian Author, the Arab World's Most Prominent Literary Figure

Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006) was an incredibly prolific Egyptian writer who, over course of five decades, wrote over thirty-five novels, five plays, fourteen short-story collections and many articles.

After a degree in philosophy from the University of Cairo, Mahfouz got a job with the civil service. In 1939, he published his first book: a historical novel called Mockery of the Fates. Mahfouz’s first three novels dealt with ancient Egypt, but his later novels were critical of contemporary Egyptian society and portrayed human foibles.

The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz “Al-thul al-hiyyah” or “the Cairo Trilogy”, consisting of “Palace Walk” (1956), “Palace of Desire” (1957) and “Sugar Street” (1957) recounted generational and philosophical conflicts in Cairo life between 1917 and 1944, and established Mahfouz as a leading Arab novelist. Mahfouz’s celebrated work is “Palace Walk” or “Between the Two Palaces” (1956), considered by many the most famous novel in the Arabic language.

In the novel “Children of Gebelawi” or “Children of the Alley” (1959), Mahfouz portrayed feuding brothers who resemble Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed and their power struggles in a traditional Cairo neighborhood. This book portrayed God in an allegorical manner, and metaphorically suggested the failure of religion and the prospective success of science in creating a better life. The book was deemed blasphemy and was formally banned in the entire Arab world with the exception of Lebanon.

Palace Walk or Between the Two Palaces: Naguib Mahfouz's most famous novel in the Arabic language Through his writing career, Mahfouz kept his day job as a civil servant in the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Foundation for the Support of the Cinema, and the Ministry of Culture. His daily routine included taking a ninety-minute walk around Cairo, and reading the newspaper at the same Cairo cafe each day.

Naguib Mahfouz is known as the “Father of Modern Arabic Literature.” He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1988. He delivered his 1988 Nobel Lecture in Arabic, and he commenced,

I would like you to accept my talk with tolerance. For it comes in a language unknown to many of you. But it is the real winner of the prize. It is, therefore, meant that its melodies should float for the first time into your oasis of culture and civilization. I have great hopes that this will not be the last time either, and that literary writers of my nation will have the pleasure to sit with full merit amongst your international writers who have spread the fragrance of joy and wisdom in this grief-ridden world of ours.

In the late 80s, the disputes over Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” again evoked the controversy surrounding Mahfouz’s novel “Children of the Alley” (1959). In 1994, Mahfouz was the target of an assassination attempt by militant Islamists. He survived the assassination attempt but damaged the nerves in his right hand. Mahfouz could not write for more than a few minutes a day and subsequently produced fewer works. He died in 2006 at the age of 94.

Naguib Mahfouz: Written Works

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Love of Parents and Love of God: Sense of Security

Love of Parents and Love of God Sense of Security

The sense of security is an indispensable need for emotional health. We need to feel secure on several practical dimensions: financial, physical, social, interpersonal, & emotional. We also need to feel secure at a much deeper level—this is called existential insecurity.

The question to ponder is, what is it that can make a person feel secure and protected in the world? Our parents have often been held responsible for developing it in us. The love of a father and a mother creates in the child the feeling of being wanted, filling the child’s world with warmth and loving kindness. In this manner is engendered the sense of security which we all need for a happy response to the rigorous demands of everyday living.

There is no uncertainty that parental love will add to the child’s feeling of security in the world, particularly for the very young child. Yet parental love is an inadequate anchor for emotional security. For our parents are worldly and mortal, and we are bound to lose them. And even while we have them, they do not always offer us enough anchorage in life, for as we grow in emotional and worldly perception, we comprehend that our parents are but finite creatures. We are limited in the resources of wisdom and strength with which to support our own lives. We need another love to bolster parental love if we are to have durable sources of security for living.

The love which time cannot undermine, and which is available to under-gird us in our need for feeling at home in the world, is the love of God. The Holy Quran (2:165) says, “Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides God, as equal (with God): They love them as they should love God. But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for God.”

One who recognizes God’s love is psychologically prepared for the arduous business of living. For His sense of security is based on unwavering foundations. The Holy Bible says, “The steadfast love of God endures all the day” (Psalm 52:1.)

During what periods of your life have you felt secure and insecure? How have you learned to live with a certain degree of existential insecurity?

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