The Evolution of the Minaret, With Special Reference...

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Author  K. A. C. Creswell
Publisher  Forgotten Books
Publication Date   June 18, 2012
ISBN 
Pages  34

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We shall consider the last point first. Origin of the A rabic Terms Employed. Three words have been employed to denote minarets :ini dhana or mldhana, sauma a, and mandra. The first, properly pronounced tna dhana, is derived from adhdn, the call to prayer, and simply means the place where the adhdn is pronounced. Sauma a appears to have been the name given by the A rabs to hermits towers. For example, we read that the tower of the Church of John theB aptist at Damascus was occupied by a monk, who at first refused to leave when the Khalif al-W alT dcommenced to demolish it, preparatory to building the Great Mosque; and I bn Jubayr speaks of aM oslem recluse who occupied the western minaret of the same mosque at the time of his visit. The word used in each case is sauma a. All Syrian towers before the thirteenth century were square, and in this connexion it is specially interesting to find that this word is the term employed throughout North A frica, where the minarets are nearly always of this type. The third term, mandra, originally can only have meant an object that gives light, and as such is used in Arab poetry for the oil-lamp or rush-light in the cell of the Christian monk. For the same reason it came to be applied tf) the Pharos and to light-houses generally, and then to mosque towers, our word minaret being merely a corruption of it. The earliest Mosques lacked Minarets. In the time of Muhammad no such thing as a In Diez, Churasanische Baudenkmdler, p. 133. Gottheil, The Orif in and History of theM inaret, in the Journ. A mer. Oriental Soc, Vol. XXX, p. 133. Fraenkel, A ramdische Fremdworter itn A rabischen, pp. 269-271 ;and Gottheil, loc. cit., pp. 136-137. I lmawi, Sauvaire stransl., in the Journal A siatique, gme srie, t. VII. p. 189; and I bnS hakir, in Quatremere, Sultans Mamlouks, II (i), p. 264. Quoted by Gottheil, loc. cit., p. 137. Doutt, in
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