Saturday, March 16, 2024

Holy sites and sanctuaries of the pre Islamic Near and Middle East: To what extent is there a link between pre Islamic and Islamic notions of sacred space?

Habib, Manar
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Islamic origins have been studied extensively in the past, however, there is a significant gap in scholarly knowledge in this area, particularly in the realm of sacred space. It is truethat there have been discussions regarding the origins of Islamic sacred space in several academic texts, however, the persisting ambiguity surrounding the pre-Islamic influences on Islamic sacred space shows that there is a need for more research in thisarea. Thus, this thesis investigates the connection between pre-Islamic and Islamic sacred space in order to form tangible links between the two and accentuate the fact that many Islamic ideas concerning sacred space were rooted in the pre-Islamic Near and Middle East. This study will build on existing works of scholarship that have touched upon the topic of sacred space and revise those that require updating in an effort to close the gap that exists in the scholarship. Further, in order to answer several questions that concern Islamic sacred space and the foundations upon which it was established, this thesis shifts the focus from the heartlands of Islam in the Hijaz to other regions of the Near and Middle East which were likely to have had a significant influence that has been underrepresented in scholarship. The Fertile Crescent and the Levant are among the regions which will be explored in this regard. The examination of the origins of Islamic sacred space has yielded several results and has demonstrated a strong correlation between pre-Islamic notions of sacred space and those of Islam. This indicates that the Islamic rites and practices associated with sacred space have a long history and underwent an extensive process of evolution until they were subsumed into Islam and adopted an Islamic guise. These findings are important and contribute to closing the gap in scholarly knowledge on the subject, however, further research is required to better understand the different factors that embody Islamic sacred space and how they came to be.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Hugh Kennedy
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2024 14:06

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