Manal Universe

Architecture During Khalji Dynasty, Islamic Architecture

The Islamic architecture flourished under the aegis of the ruling power of the Muslim rulers of Delhi which was maintained for a period of over three and a half centuries. The origin of these architectures was from distant parts of Western Asia, which prevailed in India from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries. The architecture during Khalji dynasty was in the formative stage of building art that made a little progress in the last years of the thirteenth century in India. Khaljis were the second Muslim dynasty and ruled the Delhi Sultanate from 1290 to 1320. Under the reign of Ala-ud-din Khalji, who ascended the throne of Delhi in 1296, a crucial development in the field of architecture took place. He was considered as a great patron of Islamic architecture. This ruler’s most important building projects were the extension of the Qutb mosque and the construction of Siri Fort in Delhi.

Islamic architecture in India was introduced by Qutb-ud-din Aibak in 1191, the first Slave King from the Slave dynasty. He was the most active patron of the building art and his constructions were of the greatest significance in laying the foundations of the style. Later the tradition of the Islamic architecture was followed and continued by the Khalji dynasty. Architecture during Khalji dynasty was a lot contoured by Ala-ud-din Khalji. He reconstructed the Qutb mosque erected by his predecessors. He extended its northern end and raised a colossal minar. The proportion of the minar was double, compared to those of the one set up by the Slave Kings a century before. The main walls of the mosque are still visible; however, most of its parts are present with its huge core of rubble.

The architecture of Khalji dynasty was a great composition of creative knowledge which was completed in an intelligent supervision. The Qutb Minar and the structural element of the Alai Darwaza echo this truth. Alai Darwaza was completed in the year 1305. This structure is the southern entrance hall to the courtyard, a gateway of Ala- ud-din Khalji. Some fresh influence was present due to the assistance of the experts and mature developments were done to the building. The Alai Darwaza is a unique building art due to the shape and inventiveness of the arches, in the method of its walling, in the conception and support system for the dome and in the design of the surface decoration. The Alai Darwaza consists of many indigenous features throughout its design. Its fabric runs in the Indian manner, sometimes in the form of a mere border, at others comprising considerable parts of the pattern. It is the skilful fusion of the two modes that has produced in this building such an outstanding work of art. Ala- ud-din Khalji created four entrances to the Alai Darwaza mosque two of which were to be on the long eastern side, and one each on the north and south. However, only the southern entrance was completed comparing to the other unfinished portions. To view the progress of the work from his royal residence, the Sultan constructed the southern quarter which was one of the most artistic structural achievements produced under the Islamic rule. The designs of the three outer faces of Alai Darwaza are similar, each containing a tall archway over a flight of steps leading to the higher floor of the interior. Below is a platform, its vertical sides gracefully carved in varied bands, while the surface of the wall above is divided into two stories and then again into upright rectangular panels, the two lower being arched recesses with stone grilles. These are accomplished with the combination of red sandstone and white marble, along with the arabesques and decorative inscriptions enriching the whole. The outstanding Islamic architecture of the mosque consists of a rare kind of arch constructed in a horse-shoe shape structure. Around its outlines is a band of inscription carved in white marble, while in the inner curve is a “fringe” of spear-heads, and in the spandrels are sockets, typical of the archways in the buildings of the Saljuqs. Supporting the arch are slender nook-shafts, carved and moulded, and the whole is placed in a rectangular frame work bordered with various repeating patterns and writings in white marble. The surfaces are intricately carved with the coloured plastic scheme. The Alai Darwaza as a whole is a wonderful Islamic architecture in the Indigenous style. The structure not only depicts the finesse of Islamic architecture but also murmurs the brilliance of the development of architecture during Khalji dynasty.

Apart from the Alai Darwaza, the other architectures during Khalji Dynasty were Siri Fort, the second of the seven cities of Delhi, constructed in 1303 and the Jamaat Khana Masjid at the tomb of Nizam-ud-din Auliya, a distinguished saint of the period, erected towards the end of the Khalji rule. Several other buildings were erected near the Qutb area. One is recognised as a college and another one is the tomb of the Ala- ud-din Khalji. Another example of the Islamic architecture during the Khalji dynasty was the Ukha Masjid at Bayana in Bharatpur State, at Rajasthan. This mosque was built by Qutb-ud-din Mubarak (1316-20), the last Sultan of the Khalji dynasty.

Siri Fort in Delhi was a great example of Islamic architecture during the Khalji dynasty. It was built to protect the people from the repeated invasions of the Mongols. Apart from the palace, Siri Fort had living quarters of Khaljis and several other buildings inside it. The well-known 1,000-pillar palace of Ala-ud-din Khalji, named Hazar Sutun was also present inside the Siri Fort, however, the only existing building present inside it is the Hauz Khas. The architecture of Khalji dynasty came to an end due to the death of its last Sultan Mubarik.

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Architecture during Sayyid and Lodi Dynasty, Islamic Architecture

Architectures during the Sayyid Dynasty and Lodhi dynasty were class apart and defined the quality of art and craft that prevailed during that period. The construction of Islamic architecture during the Tughlaq dynasty was relaxed under the Sayyid and Lodhi rule. Due to the inheritance of greatly weakened state treasury, both the dynasties were not able to construct monumental buildings. So their desire for architectural constructions were projected in small tombs and mausoleum built throughout Delhi. The pattern of architecture during Sayyid and Lodhi dynasty was therefore restricted to tombs and sculptor only.

The architectures during Sayyid and Lodi dynasty made smaller influence to the cities where they ruled. Whatever they constructed mirrored the broken spirit of the rulers of both the dynasties. No famous building arts, capital cities, imperial palaces and fortresses were created during their regime at Delhi. They were also not credited for any mosques or colleges. During the entire regime of the Sayyid and Lodhi, they constructed several monuments as memorials to the dead. This architectural period during Sayyid and Lodhi dynasty was known as the period of the macabre (word probably derived from ‘maqbara’ or the cemetery in Arabic). A large number of tombs were constructed around the capital. The three royal tombs of Mubarak Sayyid, Muhammed Sayyid and Sikandar Lodi reflect the prototype of architecture during Sayyid and Lodhi dynasty. Apart from these, other famous architectures of Sayyid and Lodi dynasties in the Delhi neighbourhood are Bara Khan ka Gumbad, Chota Khan Ka Gumbad, Shish Gumbad, Bara Gumbad, Tomb of Shihab-ud-din Taj Khan, Poli ka Gumbad and Dadi ka Gumbad.

Architecture during Sayyid and Lodi dynasty developed a new form of Islamic architecture which was later followed by the Mughals. Sayyids and Lodis constructed the tombs in two different forms; one pattern was based on octagonal plan surrounded by arched walkway with one storey in height and the other one was based on square plan without walkway with two or three storey in height. In both the cases, the building had a dome with pillars on each side of the octagonal and the square variety. An important feature of the architecture during Sayyid and Lodi dynasty is the amazing measurements of height and width to match with the structure of the basements. The height and width of each octagonal face is thirty feet, including the basement. The ornamental pinnacles or guldasta is present at the corners. This measurement is also half the total height of the building including the finial. Each octagonal face contains three arched openings divided by pillars. The central opening of the octagonal face is slightly broader than the two other openings. The tomb chamber inside is octagonal in plan along with an “arch and beam” opening in each face. The square type tomb structure and also the octagonal type tomb structure mark the pattern of architecture during Sayyid and Lodi dynasty.

Amongst the octagonal and square tombs of the architecture during Sayyid and Lodi dynasty, octagonal tombs were reserved for the rulers and the square type tombs were reserved for the nobles of their courts. All the monuments were supposed to erect within a year or two either before or after their demise. Among the several monuments found in the city, three large mausoleums are of the rulers themselves, while the others are the resting places of several nobles of their court. The architecture of the tomb building of the three rulers Mubarak Sayyid, Muhammed Sayyid and Sikandar Lodi are identical, the only exception is the crown of the dome of Mubarak Sayyid which is four feet lower than the other two tombs. They measures 30 feet each to the octagonal side, 74 feet width, and the height of the dome, excluding the finial is 54 feet, except the Mubarak Sayyid’s tomb which is 50 feet.

The next architectural development of Sayyid and Lodi dynasty was the tomb of Sikandar Lodi, built in A.D. 1517. It reproduced the design of the tomb of Mohammed Sayyid.

Apart from all the three tombs of the rulers of the Sayyid and Lodi dynasty, most of the other tombs are isolated structures, without any surrounding wall, and if they were originally contained walls, these have since disappeared. Moreover away from the capital, several other architectures of the Sayyid and Lodi dynasty in same pattern are present in the towns of Kalpi in Bundelkhand and Lalitpur in the Jhansi district. The tomb present in Kalpi is known locally as the Chairs Gumbaz, popular for its Eighty-four Domes. This Islamic architecture is believed to be a tomb of one of the Lodi kings. The tomb present in Lalitpur is popular as Jama masjid.

The character and treatment of the monuments and tombs and the over all pattern of architecture during Sayyid and Lodi dynasty indicate the fact that Delhi and its surrounding area during that time attained a separate style of expressiveness through the etching, cutting and structuring of the stones which was later redefined by the Mughals.

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Indo- Islamic Architecture in Bijapur

Indo Islamic architecture in Bijapur, a city in the state of Karnataka flourished under the Muslim rulers in the medieval period. This city first experienced its Islamic architecture in the end of 13th century under Allaudin Khilji and later under the Bahamani Empire in 1347. However, Bijapur was decked and dotted with wonderful Indo Islamic architectures during reign of the Adil Shahi dynasty in the 15th to 17th century. The city’s greatest architectural remains are minarets, domes and echoing burial chambers like Gol Gumbaz, Ibrahim Rauza, Malik-e-Maidan, Upri Buruj, Chand Bawdi, Asar Mahal, Gagan Mahal, Barakaman, Jumna Mosque, Jal Manzil, Sat Manzil, Jod Gumbaz and Anand Mahal.

Bijapur became the capital of the Adil Shahi dynasty when the Bahmani Muslim kingdom broke up in 1482. This was the period of greatest Islamic architectural and artistic achievement. During the entire regime, Adil Shahi rulers concentrated their energies almost exclusively on architecture and on the allied arts. Each member of this dynasty developed his predecessor’s architectural projects in number, size or magnificence. Furthermore, the Adil Shahi dynasty succeeded in imbuing their subjects with the same structural ardour. There are the remains of scores of structures of high artistic excellence, in their entire region of capital territory and all possessing a notable measure of architectural merit. They constructed their buildings in three different ways-mosques, tombs, and palaces. The first one i.e. the mosques predominated in their architectures as they constructed several buildings with more than twenty tombs, and nearly the same number of palaces. However, the golden period of Indo Islamic architecture in Bijapur started during the regime of Ali Adil Shah I which was from 1557 to 1579. He combined and expanded his kingdom, built Citadels, palaces, gardens, and pavilions. He built the Jumma Masjid to celebrate the Talikota victory. After his demise, his successor Ibrahim Adil Shah II (1580-1626) expanded his kingdom at a large extent and developed the city to its political, cultural and territorial peak.

Adil Sahi dynasty started their construction to the Bijapur city during the first half of the sixteenth century. They constructed the citadel, a fortress containing a palace, imperial buildings, and two small mosques. As the power of the Adil Shahi increased, a city developed around the citadel, and gradually they enclosed the city within strongly fortified walls. These walls were extended over six miles in circumference, and from the citadel in the centre roads had six city gates. However, they had no direct alignment and systematic planning for the city. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, expansion of the city became necessary for the Adil Sahi dynasty and so the suburbs of Shahapur on the north and Ainapur on the east arose. Their architectural constructions were influenced from the regional culture and thus became the amalgamation of Turkish culture (as they belong from the Turkish origin) with that of Indian culture. The main features of the building art of Bijapur were the dome, which, in buildings of average proportions. They were almost spherical in shape, and rises out of a band of conventional petals at its base. These forms were repeated to the turrets to provide an ornamental finishing, surmounted the principal angles of the minarets. This specific Bijapur arch was fuller in its curve and had four-centre. In the Islamic architecture of Bijapur province, they used cornice, a characteristic architectural ornament in most of the buildings which were famous for their remarkable size and projection.

Apart from their separate architectural style, the Indo Islamic architectures of Bijapur province were also famous for their sculptural element. The patterns which they used to decorate their buildings were from plastic art, so individual in character. Among these different sculptures, one important and famous pattern was the arch spandrils, consisting of a voluted bracket holding a medallion, and above the arch was a foliated finial all singularly graceful. Several other sculptures were either carved in stone or moulded in stucco with this typical design such as conventional hanging lamps, running borders, and interlaced symbols. These sculptures were gradually developed and enriched by the imaginative mind and skilled handling of the Bijapur artisans. During the entire regime of the Adil Sahi dynasty, the Islamic architecture that started with plain and simple type of building gradually became more elaborate. Its high character was maintained throughout their period. Among the various remarkable Indo Islamic architectures of Bijapur province, there are four major monuments that represent the building art in its most significant facet. These are the Jami Masjid, one of the earliest monuments to be constructed; the Ibrahim Rauza, one of the most complicated constructions; the Gol Gumbaz, and the Mihtar Mahall, depicting it in its miniature with refined and delicate manner.

The first building constructed in the beginning of the Adil Shah’s regime was the Jami Masjid, built by Ali Shah I (1558-80). It is constructed in the southeast part of Bijapur city and is the finest example of Indo Islamic architecture of that province. It is a large structure, as its plan forms a rectangle 450 feet by 225 feet, and has an entrance gate to the eastern side of the mosque. It also has two more gates in the south and north direction respectively. The walls of this building offer a considerable area of plain masonry, with two rows of arcades one above the other, the lower being merely ornamental, but the upper row is open and discloses an arched corridor resembling a loggia. The courtyard of the mosque is a square of 155 feet side, whose three sides contains superb range of arches, seven on each side, whereas on the western end forms the facade of the sanctuary. Above the middle of the sanctuary, there is the square arcaded clerestory, supporting the great dome. The architecture of this mosque has been designed in a different way and retains all of the intellectual power and dignity. The dome of the mosque is a hemispherical in shape, its peak rising up into a massive metal finial crowned by the symbol of the falcate and is a remarkable example of the Indo Islamic architecture in Bijapur. The interior of the sanctuary of this mosque consists of a large hall of 208 feet by 107 feet divided into five walkways on substantial masonry piers. Its centre portion is seventy-six feet in diameter and contains twelve arches, three on each side, and the arches on the above produces an octagonal cornice for the support of the base of the dome. Although, the mosque was started by Adil Shahi I, it was finished during Sultan Muhammad’s regime and its northern wall was added by Aurangzeb.

The second famous Indo Islamic architecture in Bijapur of this era is the Ibrahim Rauza, a mausoleum situated outside the city walls on the western side. It is the tomb of the fifth king of the Adil Sahi dynasty, Ibrahim Adil Shah II (1580-1627). The rauza consists of two main buildings, a tomb and a mosque with certain accessories all standing within a single square enclosure. It is the most perfect creation of its kind. The mausoleum is only 450 feet square, while the tomb building inside is only 115 feet. The entire architecture for every part was carried out in a most meticulous manner. Two major buildings present within the enclosure of the mausoleum having an oblong terrace 360 feet long by 150 feet wide, at the eastern end of which is the tomb and at the western end facing it is the mosque. These buildings were constructed to made balance and volume, but the tomb is manifestly the more splendid conception. In its arrangements this mausoleum building follows the usual tomb formula comprising a central chamber contained with an arched verandah, and the whole surmounted by a dome, all its parts being so combined so to present an elegant and harmonious effect. The arched verandah of the building consists of a row of pillars, forming a double arcade around the central chamber, providing a structural magnification preparing the spectator for the complete finesse of the interior scheme. The outer wall surface of the tomb chamber is ornamented with carving. Each wall is spaced into an arcade of three shallow arches. These arches are enclosed by borders and panels with a fine wharf at each angle of the building which provide the surface with graceful shapes which were filled in either with arabesques, repeating diapers, or traceries inscriptions. All these designs are distinctive of the Bijapur style of architecture, the artisans created a whole series of new forms merging the Islamic architecture into the indigenous style.

The third major monument at Bijapur of the Adil Shahi dynasty is the mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah (1627-57) commonly known as the Gol Gumbaz. This is a finest example of the Indo Islamic architecture in Bijapur during that era. It is also one of the largest and most remarkable single buildings in India of the Muslim era. The structure has a square chamber measuring nearly 160 ft on each side and covered by a huge dome 124 ft in diameter. Externally the body of the building is a great cube with a turret or tower attached to each angle, while over all hangs a large hemispherical dome. Its dome has no pillars and is the second largest in the world. At the edge of the dome has a circular balcony for devotees and visitors respectively. Anything can be heard clearly from one gallery to the opposite side. The towers present in the Gol Gumbaz consists of seven storeys in which the upper floor opens adjoining the dome. In the chamber of the mausoleum is a square shaped platform present in the centre of each side. The Gol Gumbaz is famous for its simplest architectural forms. Their architectural compositions were well balanced and satisfying especially of the ratio between the square mass below and the rounded portion above. This rounded portion had no complex curves, being in shape merely an immense inverted bowl. Some extensive structural feature of the period was undoubtedly required to finish off the angles of the composition, but it might have been an accessory less formal and in better proportioned stages than .these pagoda-like supporting turrets. The tomb of Mohammed Adil Shah is one of the finest logo Indo Islamic architecture in Bijapur. These artisans skillfully combined the various parts like arches, cornice, arcade, foliated parapet and fluted drum; all disposed in an artistic and effective manner upon a structural foundation of simple forms and produced a wonderful architecture.

There are numerous other buildings constructed during the Adil Sahi dynasty. Some of them are Shah Karim’s tomb, the tomb of Shah Nawaz, a group of mosques in the Shahpur suburb, the Anda masjjd, Malika Jahan Begum’s mosque, and Ali Shahid Pir’s masjid. However, the most remarkable building among this is the Mihtar Mahall, which, was constructed in 1620 during the reign of Ibrahim Adil Shah II. This building was famous for the character of rauza. The exterior of this building is a wonderful conception; its facade consists of two slender buttresses rising up into elegant turrets, while the window has a projected balcony on brackets and shaded by an expansive eave. Among the other architectural elements present in the building are a doorway of pointed arches, with the arrangements of flat paneling, elaborations to the buttresses, as well as string-courses and moldings. All these are decorated wonderfully, exceptionally well rendered, and each contributing to the artistic appearance of the whole. The Indo-Islamic architecture of Bijapur province is of a decidedly ambler order, and has few significant features. It took the form of palaces and civic buildings produced to the order of the various rulers, often in a style of their own and also with the fusion of Islamic and Hindu culture.

The Indo-Islamic architecture of the Bijapur province indicates their achievements by the superb quality of their workmanship in the medieval period. Their productions, as a whole, their masonry construction was excellent in India, as well as their stonework was also superb, almost equal to that of the Romans. Their brickwork, as shown in the implementation of their domes proves that they were fully aware about the preparation and their application of their materials. The presence of the architecture of intersecting arches was unique and famous construction of Adil Sahi dynasty which were accepted and developed by several other Muslim rulers for a long period in all branches of the building art in that province.

Manal Universe

Mughal Architecture During Jahangir, Islamic Architecture

In comparison to the continual architectural activity maintained during the greater part of Akbar’s regime, his son Jahangir, was in the field of the building art relative uneventful. In spite of erection of architectural monuments, this emperor was patronized enthusiastically in the school of miniature painting in the Mughal regime, and whenever constructional work was considered there more frequently took the form of laying out large formal gardens and similar decorative retreats. He privileged paintings of events from his own life instead of illustrating fictions and encouraged portraiture from the nature such as birds, flowers, and animals. Apart from the paintings, Jahangir constructed few architectural buildings that resulted a major change from sandstone to marble. Mughal architecture during Jahangir echoed the impressive styles of the Islamic architecture. One of the most remarkable buildings produced during the earlier years of Jahangir’s regime was his father’s mausoleum i.e. Akbar’s Mausoleum at Sikandra near Agra, a conception of such magnitude that it was not completed until eight years after ascending to the throne. This tomb is considered as the transition between the older architecture with that of the new which was indeed the stylistic feature of Mughal architecture during Jahangir.

Akbar’s mausoleum is an architectural retrogression that contains two buildings, one is the mausoleum itself and the other is a huge gate known as Buland darwaza, connected to each other with a wide walkway. The mausoleum was constructed on a large scale, as its perimeter walls enclose a garden of great size, while the tomb building in the centre is in plan a square of 320 feet side with a total height of over 100 feet. In the middle of each side wall is a gatehouse, three of them are false added for symmetry, and one is the main entrance present in the southern side. The main entrance represents a structure of outstanding elegance designed in a bold inlaid ornamentation with four graceful white marble minarets, one rising above each corner. The architecture of minaret applied in north India for the first time. Entering through this portal the presence of ornamental garden makes the tomb a unified composition of garden designer with craftsmen. Its square terrace contains a fountain and basin; together prove how carefully this garden approach had been worked out in relation to the architectural scheme as a whole.

The tomb building is constructed in the shape of a low truncated pyramid, built up in three stories. Among these three stories, the first one consists a huge terrace containing the basement, above which a red sandstone pavilion present in three tiers forming the middle portion of the tomb, and crowning all an open court, surrounded by a marble screen creating the uppermost storey. The basement of the tomb is constructed over 300 feet side and 30 feet high, with a series of arches in its four sides. From the southern gateway, access is achieved to the tomb chamber through a corridor. The graceful grouping of arcades and kiosks, its conflicting lights and shadows represents the elegant workmanship of Mughal architecture during Jahangir’s era. The highest storey of Akbar’s mausoleum presents a different view of the Mughal architecture in contrast to the rest of the building as it the entire top floor is composed of white marble. It is a huge structure with a solid prophetic cornice, its appearance is lightened by being enclosed within a range of delicately perforated screens while above each corner rises a tall and graceful kiosk. The inner portion of the story is an open court bounded by arcaded cloisters, with a delicately carved monument occupying the centre. This tomb is one of the grandest creations attempted by the emperor Jahangir, under whose direction the creative part of the memorial took place.

Apart from the Akbar’s Mausoleum, there were several other examples of Mughal architecture constructed during the regime of Emperor Jahangir which show the trend of the building art at this moment, like the western gateway to a Sarai at Jullundar, a small and beautiful construction. However, the wonderful architectural creation of the later years of Jahangir’s regime was his own mausoleum at Shadera, constructed near Lahore in Pakistan.

His earlier phase of architectural construction was the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah at Agra, the father of his queen Nur Mahall, built in 1626. Due to its architectural style, this tomb is regarded as the connecting link between the style of Akbar and Shah Jahan. This elegant structure exemplifies a fresh interpretation of the building art of Jahangir. It is a walled enclosure of 540 feet. This mausoleum is surrounded by beautiful lawns, parterres, flagged pathways, tanks and fountains, and the tomb building itself present in white marbled structure. It is square in plan with 70 feet in diameter, comprising a central structure with large octagonal towers in the form of minarets from each angle, and a small spectator area, a kind of upper story rising above the roof. It also consists of three arched openings in each side and its cornices to the upper portion provide shadows and peace to the tomb. The inner portion of the ground floor of the Itmad-ud-Daulah’s tomb consists of several rooms and passages corresponding to an enclosed pavilion that surrounds a central chamber of the tomb. This is one of the greatest examples of Mughal architecture that stands with its accessories of garden and luxurious gateways. Its excellence is improved by the beautiful white marble of which the central structure is entirely composed and elaborately ornamented. The surface of the entire tomb is skillfully coloured by means of inlaid stones in which hard and precious stones such as lapis, onyx, jasper, topaz, cornelian etc were embedded in the marble in stylish foliations. In the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, white marbles were garnished with gold and precious stones. This particular style which was somewhat a signature style of Mughal architecture during Jahangir was later, used by several other Mughal emperors in their regime on a larger scale.

Manal Universe

The Exodus in the Qur’an, the Bible, and History (Part 2):

Alleged Evidence Against a Historical Exodus

There are several arguments regularly cited, even in reputable textbooks and scholarly works, for regarding the Exodus as largely unhistorical (though not necessarily lacking a historical core). A popular presentation of these arguments is laid out in Israel Finkelstein’s and Neil Asher Silberman’s popular book, The Bible Unearthed. Because the assertion that the Exodus tradition conflicts with archaeological evidence is so common, it is appropriate to first address these arguments and show why they are misplaced. I have summarized these responses from Kitchen.

1. No records of the Israelites in Egypt

The most common argument against the historicity of the Exodus is that ancient Egyptian records do not attest to a large group of Israelites in Egypt. The Egyptians were meticulous record-keepers, yet there are no records of the Israelites in ancient Egyptian papyrus documents, temple walls, or tomb inscriptions. Similarly, there are no records of the plagues or of the drowning of the Pharaoh’s army. Additionally, the border between Egypt and Canaan (the biblical term for ancient Palestine) was closely controlled during the New Kingdom period, when the Exodus is usually assumed to have happened. If a great mass of fleeting Israelites passed through these border fortifications, a record should exist, just as we do have a record of the escape of a small group of Edomite slaves. The only mention of Israel is the Merneptah Stele (c. 1208), which mentions the Israelites as a group existing in or around Canaan.
Answer: The Bible places the location of the Israelites in the East Nile Delta. We should not expect to find records of the Israelites there because records in the Delta are lacking in general, since papyrus records do not tend to survive its humid climate. Monuments and other ancient Egyptian remains are similarly lacking in the East Delta because they were repeatedly recycled as building material, moved, leveled, and or/built over. Moreover, the Egyptians did not usually memorialize humiliating defeats on their temple walls, only victories. Finally, the Egyptians generally referred to Semites as “Asiatics” rather than mentioning specific groups.As we will see, the story of the presence of the Israelites in the East Nile Delta fits in extremely well with what we know about the setting during the New Kingdom period, and there are many positive reasons to acknowledge it.

2. The Unlikelihood of Escaping Egypt

Argument: The escape of a large group of slaves would have been highly unlikely, because during the New Kingdom period, Egypt was at the peak of its might and its borders were heavily guarded. There was a sophisticated system of Egyptian forts, granaries, and wells established along entire length of the road to Canaan (known as the Way of Horus), with Egyptian officials in charge of administration. There were also Egyptian strongholds in various places in Canaan.

Answer: The Book of Exodus specifically states that God led the Israelites on the southern roundabout way through Sinai in order to avoid conflict:

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for God thought, ‘If the people face war, they may change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led the people by the roundabout way of the wilderness towards the Red Sea. (Exod. 13:17-18)

In fact, the archaeological data shows that the southern route was virtually free of Egyptian presence. Hence this turns out to be evidence for the historical authenticity of the Exodus account.

3. No Archaeological Remains of the Wilderness Wanderings

Argument: The Sinai desert could not have supported a group of more than a few thousand people. If the Israelites camped around in the Sinai for forty years, they should have left behind archaeological traces. Despite extensive archaeological surveys of the Sinai Peninsula—especially the traditional locations of Mount Sinai, Kadesh-barnea (where the Israelites allegedly camped for 38 years), and Ezion-Geber—no remains have been uncovered from the 13th century BCE except of some Egyptian forts on the northern coast. In contrast, archaeologists have uncovered evidence of even simple hunter-gathers and pastoral nomads from the 3rd millennium BCE.

Answer: “The state of the preservation of archaeological remains is very uneven.” We know from written texts that there was indeed considerable migration by nomadic tribes and Egyptian travelers back and forth through the Sinai Peninsula throughout the second and early first millennium BCE. Yet the archaeological remains for those are scant. Moreover, “from Sinai the Hebrews expected initially to be in Canaan in a year, not in forty years. They had no need to lug tons of heavy pottery around with them…if leatherwork or skins would do.”

4. Anachronisms in the Exodus Account

Another objection is that the books of Exodus and Numbers contain anachronisms which render their accounts historically dubious, such as the mention of Edom as a kingdom. It is not essential to address this claim here, since we are concerned with the Qur’anic account, which does not contain these specific details. However, the interested reader can consult Kitchen and Hess for crisp refutations of these claims.

Finkelstein, Israel and Silberman, Neil Asher. The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Sacred Texts. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002.


ARP WORLD, Manal Universe, Mughal Dynasty

Mughal Architecture During Shahjahan, Islamic Architecture

Shah Jahan’s active involvement in the design and production of Mughal architecture had far exceeded that of any other Mughal emperor. Themes initially established in the buildings of his predecessors were finely honed and reached maturity under Shah Jahan. For instance, the long-standing notion that imperial Mughal mausoleum were symbols of paradise was manifest most precisely and imposingly in the Taj Mahal. More than any other ruler, Shah Jahan had sought to use architecture to project the emperor’s formal and ‘semi-divine’ character. He did so, in part, by adapting motifs found in western art and indigenous Indian architecture, such as the baluster column and baldachin covering, giving them a unique imperial context. The ‘charged’ meaning of these motifs, however, is only found in Shah Jahan’s reign, for they are seen on the earliest non-imperial structures of his successor’s reign. He had built many more mosques than did his predecessors and used this building type to project his official image as the ‘upholder of Islam’. This is indeed a trend which had accelerated under Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan’s son and successor. Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan was one over-the-top and beyond personified endeavour, which was so very much unprecedented, that no other earthly creations could indeed stand neck to neck under any circumstances. So much so was Shah Jahan’s Mughal architectural impression upon the then Indian society, that the edifices’ enormity, magnanimity, massiveness or flamboyance, that every structure loomed over from atop a hill.

Shah Jahan’s precise Mughal architectural style is deeply rooted in the buildings of his predecessors. The tomb of Mumtaz Mahal marks a return to Humayun’s Timurid tomb-type and indeed the interest in elaborate Timurid vaulting types is heightened in Shah Jahan’s reign. Trabeated pavilions, as seen in earlier Mughal reigns, grace Shah Jahan’s palaces, hunting estates and gardens. Under Shah Jahan’s rule, however, there is an emphasis unprecedented in Mughal architecture on the structure’s graceful lines and a harmonious balance among all the parts. Shah Jahan’s personal involvement in architecture and city planning appears to have motivated others, especially the high-ranking women of his court, to build. While the emperor had provided palace buildings and forts, these women and the nobility had acquired responsibility for embellishing the cities. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in his de novo city, Shahjahanabad, where mosques, gardens, markets, serais and mansions were provided by the aristocracy. This emperor was so much a man with intelligence par excellence, that Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan endeavouring to reach the peak, had in fact achieved the peak, irrespective of hostilities.

Although Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan is incredibly epitomised and personified for love and affection for the construction of the Taj Mahal – included in the prestigious list of the New Seven Wonders of the World, yet, the other architectural masterpieces are not exactly overshadowed by the former. Shah Jahan was the greatest patron of Mughal architecture. The astronomical sums that were utilised for expenditure on his tombs, palaces, hunting pavilions, pleasure gardens and entire planned cities, is extraordinary even judging by modern standards! Just as the literary and painted image of Shah Jahan became increasingly ceremonial and formal, so did his architecture. The bulk of Mughal architecture under Shah Jahan was meant to serve as an imperial setting, which had taken on a specific air of formality, unprecedented in earlier Mughal structures. The meticulous utilisation of white marble inlaid with stones, accentuated and marked during the later portion of Jahangir’s reign, characterises much of Shah Jahan’s architectural production. His buildings appear increasingly refined, establishing a style that became an Indian ‘classic’.

However, Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan, as one perceives in present times would never have materialised to such extents, had it not been for his ambitious and zealous goals to life, which were set during his early years. Under Shah Jahan, Islamic orthodoxy is known to have increased in leaps and bounds, an element which went ahead far to associate itself with architecture during Mughal times of Shah Jahan.. However the seeds of a promising future Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan rested in his capable hands at an early age, when the emperor was still a prince, being patronaged under a proud father, emperor Jahangir.

While a prince, Shah Jahan had erected the Shahi Bagh in Ahmedabad, a building characteristic of Jahangir’s time. After forcing the Udaipur rana to bow to Mughal authority, he had constructed buildings on a hill in Udaipur in 1613. The prince’s dwelling was quite near the summit. Below it the nobles built their own houses – the higher their rank, the closer to the imperial seat. Thus, early in his career, Shah Jahan had revealed an interest in the organisation of an entire imperial retinue. Indeed, if noted within the purview of princely patronaged works, Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan was becoming loftier day by day, that too when the future emperor was just crossing his teens! Near Burhanpur in the Deccan, Shah Jahan had sculpted an exquisite hunting resort on an artificial lake he had created by adding a second dam to one constructed prior to his times. Even earlier, he had commenced construction of the renowned Shalimar Garden in Kashmir. Shah Jahan deeply adored the Shalimar Garden and in 1634, after his coronation, had further embellished the site. Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan was as if a toy in the hands of a boy, excited and anxious to build and rebuild all kinds of Islamic architectural masterpieces, reminiscent of Timurid construction in Persian background.

Shah Jahan had constructed and renovated forts throughout his reign. For instance, he had continued to build at the Agra Fort long after he has shifted his capital to Delhi. However, most of the construction in his Lahore and Agra forts was accomplished in about the first decade of his rule. By contrast, Shah Jahan’s entire Red (Shahjahanabad) Fort was executed after 1639. All three of these major projects bear striking similarities, reflecting continuing Mughal practice. Perhaps the most notable from amongst the cluster of Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan was the placement of imperial chambers at the fort’s far end overlooking a river. This practice was established certainly by Akbar’s reign and probably as early as Babur’s. Although the Agra and Lahore forts were constructed at the same time, they each possess individual personalities and are worthy of separate discussion. Shortly after his accession Shah Jahan had ordered thorough renovations at the Agra and Lahore forts, then the two most substantial ones. These are but two instances of Shah Jahan’s continual effort to improve existing fortified palaces. In addition, new buildings were added to Akbar’s and Jahangir’s structures in the Gwalior Fort, but it was little utilised by the king and served primarily, as it had earlier, as a crucial jailhouse. It is known that the Kabul Fort had served as Shah Jahan’s residence during the unsuccessful campaigns to consolidate territory originally part of the Timurid homeland. However farther or to wilderness does it belong, Shah Jahan’s touches to Mughal architecture are still unprecedented, which certainly is not an overstatement, be it in Kabul, or as near as in Old Delhi.

Agra, the city – an epitome of Mughal architectural masterworks since the arrival of Babur, has untiringly assayed crucial and substantial roles in order to bring to life historic creations that one witnesses still in its intact format in present times. However, Agra’s most sublime and irreplaceable replacements of bounteous beauty were achieved during the lifetime of that individual named Shah Jahan. Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan in the Agra city, had achieved its unity in diversity in the magical and almost godly hands of the said Mughal baadshah. As early as 1637 Shah Jahan had expressed dissatisfaction with Agra’s terrain, hence with its suitability as the imperial capital. Nevertheless, he and his favourite daughter, Jahan Ara, had endeavoured to improve the city. Soon after 1637, Shah Jahan had constructed a public arena in the shape of a Baghdadi octagon in front of the fort; its perimeter consisted of small chambers and pillared arcades. At the same time, Jahan Ara had requested permission to endow a Jami mosque close to the Agra fort. Earlier one had been commenced near the river, but its construction was interrupted so that the Taj Mahal could be completed quickly. Some of the land for Jahan Ara’s mosque was crown land, but the rest had to be purchased; in accordance with tradition, it could not be confiscated.

Jahan Ara’s imposing Jami mosque is elevated well above ground level and during Mughal times was visible from a considerable distance. Its large prayer chamber composed principally of red sandstone and white marble trim is surmounted by three domes embellished with narrow rows of red and white stone. The prayer chamber’s east facade is pierced by five entrance arches, the central one within a high pishtaq. It recalls the elevation, although not the ornamentation, of Wazir Khan’s mosque in Lahore, built in 1634. Framing the pishtaq is a rectangular band of black lettering inlaid into the white marble ground, similar to the bands used on the nearby tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. Here the inscriptions are not Quranic but Persian panegyrics, largely praising Shah Jahan and his just rule. It is verily evident that Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan, during his primetime or during his later years, when the architectural wonders would stand upon royal backing for the royal household, had given birth to most unusual of sculptural pieces.

Special and exceptional palaces for hunting and retreat were another striking feature to the gradually growing scale of excellence of Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan. Hunting was an illustrious sport, but it was also intended to portray the emperor’s prowess and skill. While hunting could take place anywhere, certain areas renowned for their excellent game were maintained as imperial reserves. At a number of these, Shah Jahan, in order of betterment and to derive more pleasure from such regal pursuits, had erected permanent palaces and pavilions. By far the best preserved and largest is the hunting estate at Bari.

The Bari palace, not far from Babur’s Lotus garden at Dholpur, was accomplished by 1637. Almost every year thereafter Shah Jahan hunted here for several days. Known during Mughal times as the Lai Mahal, or Red Palace, on account of its red stone fabric, the lodge is situated on the edge of a lake. Two small walled enclosures, one of them a hammam, overlook the lake’s north end. A long causeway with chattris links these enclosures with a large pavilion on the lake’s east. This pavilion is further divided into three courtyards with a small char bagh in the middle of each. The side courtyards were utilised by men and women separately. The central one clearly was reserved for imperial use and contained the very components essential to Mughal court ritual. Centrally placed on this courtyard’s east wall is the emperor’s jharoka, or viewing balcony shrouded with a bangala roof. Whatever were the causes, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan indeed was ready with his tools to construct master architectures in almost every feasible places, just as in the Lai Mahal.

Surviving palaces at Rupbas and Mahal, not far from Agra, are considerably smaller than the one at Bari, but follow a similar layout, apparently one characteristic of a hunting lodge. Others however were less elaborate, for example, one at Sheikhupura in Punjab. This was commenced by Jahangir and in 1634 the complex was partially reconstructed by Shah Jahan.

In 1653, Shah Jahan had ordered the construction of a summer palace at Mukhlispur, approximately 120 km north of Delhi on the Yamuna River. The emperor had favoured the palace and its pavilions, renaming it ‘Faizabad’. There, he had found respite from Delhi’s blistering heat; moreover, towards the end of his reign, the palace served as a refuge when plague and cholera had infested the imperial capital. Although but a shadow of its former magnificence, this summer retreat featured all the chambers necessary for Mughal court ceremony, administration and daily life. A distinct alteration in building art during the Shah Jahan period brought in a natural change in the architectural pattern during Shah Jahan’s regime. Marble, especially of the textural quality generally provides its own decorative looks due to its delicate graining. Its ornamentation requires care, almost sparingly applied; otherwise the surfaces become fretted and perplexed. This technique was well comprehended by Shah Jahan and each of his marble structure from later years too, just like the hunting wonders, bears the testimony of the supremacy of Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan’s monumental regime.

A number of Akbar’s sandstone buildings within the Agra Fort were demolished by Shah Jahan to make room for pavilions of a more approved kind. In their place rose most of the buildings such as the Diwani-i-Am, the Khwab Garh, the Shish Mahal, the Musamman Burj and the Naulakha. Earlier Akbar had introduced the marble structures into the sandstone fortresses; however, this architectural scheme was developed further by Shah Jahan and produced several wonderful creations in the Mughal dynasty. Apart from these Islamic architectures, Shah Jahan indeed had constructed umpteen other remarkable constructions, which still stand as the bright illustrations of the colossal development of Mughal architecture during Shah Jahan’s time. All these architectural buildings were the fusion of Indian and Persian culture and have gradually become legendary worldwide.

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Mughal Architecture

Mughal architecture is an amalgamation of Islamic, Persian and Indian architecture. The architecture of the Mughal dynasty reflects their love for poetry, personality and other artistic inclinations. Mughal architecture has its origin in the religion of Islam. The concepts apparent in Islam like power, pleasure and death are reflected in the forts, durbars, mosques, tombs, gardens and so on. The Mughal architecture can be divided into two sections: Early and Later Mughal architecture.

Early Mughal Architecture
Mughal architecture came into prominence and gained reputation with the rule of Babur who was the first Mughal emperor in India in 1526. Babur’s victory over Ibrahim Lodi, initiated the erection of a mosque at Panipat succeeded by another called the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya. The Maqbara in Vadodara is an example of the early Mughal architecture. Early Mughal architecture relied on post-and-beam construction and scarcely used arches. Some great forts and palaces of the early Mughal period can be traced in the reign of Akbar (1556-1605) in Agra Mausoleum to Humayun is another important signifier of the early architecture of the Mughals.

Mughal Architecture during Akbar’s reign
Mughal architecture gained prominence during the rule of Akbar. He built massively and the style was unique. Most of Akbar’s buildings are in red sandstone, exempted at times through marble inlay. Fatehpur Sikri which is located 26 miles west of Agra. Mausoleum was constructed in the late 1500s and bears the testimony to the era of his royal heritage. In Gujarat and many other places we find the presence of a style, which is a blend of Muslim and Hindu characteristic features of architecture. The great mosque is one such epitome of architectural brilliance unmatched in elegance and splendour. The south gateway is well known, excelling any similar entrance in India in its size and structure. The Tomb of Humayun and tomb of Akbar at Sikandrabad are some finest work of architectural magnificence which highlights the Mughal architecture prototypes. The tomb situated in a garden at Delhi, has an intricate ground plan with central octagonal chambers, which is joined by an elegantly facade archway, surmounted by cupolas, kiosks.

Mughal Architecture during Jahangir’s reign
During the reign of Jahangirfrom 1605- 1627, the decline in the Hindu influence on Mughal architecture was witnessed. His style was Persian like his great mosque at Lahore, which is covered Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulawith enamelled tiles. Akbar’s mausoleum was built during his rule. “Verinag” and “Chashma-Shahi” are gardens built by Jahangir beautifully around spring. The tomb of Itimad-ud-Daula completed in 1628, was built entirely of white marble and covered wholly by pietra dura mosaic. The Shalimar Gardens and other pavilions on the shore of Kashmir’s Dal lakewas also built by him. The Shalimar garden is also his creation that is distinguished by a series of pavilions on carved pillars, surrounded by pools with seats which can be reached by stepping stones. Jahangir was responsible for the development of the Mughal garden. Jahangir’s own tomb has no dome, minarets and ornamentation are only evident. The extensive use of white marble as a material and inlay as a decorative motif were the two major innovations that were introduced by the Mughals.

Mughal Architecture during Shah Jahan’s reign
Mughal architecture attained its perfection in the construction of Jama Masjid of Delhi during the rule of Shah Jahan. Humayun’s tomb was the first of the tombs, which continued the saga of the succession of tombs out of which the Taj Mahal is a magnificent piece of art. The Red Fort contains the imperial Mughal Palace, which is situated in Delhi. Marble was used for the constructions. In the palace fort of Agra, Shah Jahan replaced old structures along as well as built a couple of new ones. An inlay of black marbles was used for the re-building of The Diwan-I-Am. The Moti Masjid is another beautiful creation which was built during his rule. The Pearl Mosque of Agra is reminiscent of the style that was eminent in Mughal era. Shah Jahan built a new capital, Shahjahanabad, with its magnificent Red Fort. The Hall of Public Audience, in the fort contains the Peacock Throne, which consists of jewels and precious metals and stones. It took ten years to build the city. It has three mosques that have survived the ravages of time.

Later Mughal Architecture
Art and architecture took a backseat during Aurangazeb’s rule. As he wanted to overpower Hinduism, he made the Great Mosque towering over the Hindu holy city of Varanasi.

A standard mosque form was developed in his reign where the eminence of three domes over the sanctuary in conjunction with a raised central arch and engaged minarets could be seen. The Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque was built by Aurangzebin the Red Fort at Delhi incorporated a three-domed sanctuary with a raised central arch and mini-domed pillars projecting out of the roof to resemble minarets.

Aurangazeb’s was more concerned seems to be for garden architecture than construction of palaces. Fatehbad district near Agra is one of the most impressive of these gardens.

Characteristics of Mughal Architecture
Perfect or bilateral symmetry, red sandstone with white marble inlays, later pure white marble surfaces, geometric ornament, domes which are slightly pointed instead of hemispherical ones and garden surroundings are the features of Mughal architecture. In addition to the fine-cut stone masonry used for facades, rough rubble stone construction was used for the majority of walls. For the construction of domes and arches baked brick was used that was covered with plaster or facing stones. The design of gardens is one of the most significant aspects of Mughal architecture which provided the setting for tombs and palaces and also helped for relaxation.

Buildings were decorated with ceramic tile work, pietra dura inlay with coloured and semi-precious stones, carved and inlaid stonework. Carved stonework is another interesting feature in the Mughal architecture, ranging from shallow relief depictions of flowers to intricate pierced-marble screens known as jalis.

There is the existence of various influences of the Persian and Hindu architecture in the Mughal architecture. Shallow arches made out of corbels rather than voussoirs and richly ornamented carved piers and columns are some typical features of Hindu architecture that have been incorporated in the Mughal architecture. Other constructions like the chhatris- a domed kiosk resting on pillars, chajjas and jarokhas- a projecting balcony supported on corbels with a hood resting on columns became a part of the Mughal characteristics. Extensive use of tile work, the iwan as a central feature in mosques, the garden, divided into four and the four-centre point arch and the use of domes are the features borrowed from the Persian architecture.

The Mughal Architecture can be termed as the Indo-Islamic architecture. Hindu architecture was modified and elements of spaciousness, immensity and extent were incorporated by the Mughal architecture. The kalash on top of the Hindu temple was borrowed and replaced by a dome. Exquisite monuments like the Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar, Alai Darwaza, Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, Vitthala temple, Tughlaqabad Fort, Kirti Stambha, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort, Red Fort have glorified India.

The entire Mughal architecture is an excellent combination of various local and foreign characteristics, which associates it universally with many distinct forms of architecture. These are also a source of inspiration to many other forms of architecture with different cultural background.