Koranic inscriptions in Spanish mosques

Tehran (IQNA)- Jose Miguel Puerta, professor of art history at the University of Granada, referring to the prominent place of Koranic inscriptions and motifs in the architecture of Andalusian mosques, said that these inscriptions had a decorative function but also the objective of giving a spirituality to the architectural spaces of the mosques.

Jose Miguel Puerta is a specialist in Spanish Islamic heritage to which he has devoted his academic and professional life. He is one of the most important authors of the “Kasr El-Hamra” encyclopedia, written by a group of Spanish researchers on the history and various aspects of Andalusian art.

In an interview with the Iranian Koranic News Agency (Iqna), he discussed in detail, the Koranic motifs and inscriptions in Andalusian mosques and palaces during the period of Muslim domination in Andalusia, as well as the commonalities between the Islam and Christianity, and the need for a dialogue between religions, to combat the wave of Islamophobia that is rampant in Europe, and declared: “Although all these mosques were converted into churches after the Christian conquest of Spain, Koranic motifs and inscriptions have sometimes been preserved. These inscriptions used in the design of the buildings, confer a spirituality, a majesty and a symbolic greatness to the spaces. Many Quranic verses and suras can be seen in the architectural works of several cities and regions of Spain. I am currently directing a doctoral thesis on this subject. Although the question of Koranic motifs in Spanish architecture during the Islamic period has been studied by several researchers, these studies are isolated and have never been very thorough. The oldest inscription that has come down to us in the Mosque of Cordoba, and part of which we can still see on the exterior door, begins with Bismillah. This door is considered one of the oldest doors in Islamic architecture in Andalusia, and has influenced the design of mosque doors, in other works of Andalusian architecture. The most important collection of Koranic motifs is that found in the Mosque of Cordoba and in Andalusian Umayyad architecture in general. These inscriptions date from the time of Caliph Al-Hakim al-Mustansir Balleh (Al-Hakim II) and were made during the expansion of the mosque. A selection of Koranic verses on divine justice was added by Caliph Hakem Sani, during the development of the west wing of the mosque. These inscriptions on the punishment of blasphemy were chosen because public punishments were carried out near the “Bab al-Sadah” gate, close to the Caliph’s palace. Above the successive arches that surround the place where the Caliph stood, and in front of one of the most amazing mihrabs of Islamic architecture, we can see Koranic inscriptions that begin with Surah Fatiha, engraved on plaster , in the form of a band above the arches, the verse “Ayat al-Kursi” is engraved under Surah Fatiha. This verse can also be seen in many other Islamic buildings, such as the Al-Hamra Palace where it is engraved above a seat where the Caliph sat during the ceremony of allegiance and other religious ceremonies. Among the scattered pieces of inscriptions from the Al-Zahra Mosque in the vicinity of Cordoba, archaeologists have found parts of six decorative pieces with a height of 11 cm, on which appear the formula “Bismillah”, verse 11 of the sura al-Furqan, verse 25 of sura Houd, part of verse 96 of sura Nisa, verse 11 of sura Towbah, verse 163 of sura Anam and verse 18 of sura Ale Imran. In the mosque of Malaga, there was an inscription of this last verse, preserved in the city museum, and in the ruins of Dar al-Mulk near the mentioned mosque, there was also an inscription of verse 74 of sura Zumar. In Zaragoza’s Jafariya Mosque, also known as “Dar al-Suror”, built by Malik Abu Jafar Ahmad bin Sulaiman Al-Maqtadar Billah bin Houd who reigned between 1046 and 1081, Quranic motifs can be seen on the walls on the north side of the palace, i.e. in the old porticoes, the Al-Moqtadar Billah throne and the adjacent small mosque. In addition to these verses on important issues of human life, faith in God and forgiveness, in the inner portico of the upper floor under the dome of the mosque, we also see a tablet that Richard Ettinghausen, famous researcher in Islamic art, called the “tablet of the caliphate” where are engraved in black in separate circles, the names “Allah” and “Muhammad”, and the names of the caliphs.

خوزه میگل پوئرتا، ​​استاد تاریخ هنر در دانشگاه گرانادا (غرناطه) اسپانیا

It is not possible to say much about the Quranic inscriptions and motifs in the mosques left over from the Almohedin period in Spain, as these Quranic motifs suffered the same fate as the buildings after the Christians took over. of Spain and transformed mosques into churches. Therefore, it is difficult to talk about the Koranic motifs of the great mosque of Seville where only the Koranic inscriptions remain on both sides of the Bab al-Ghafran, the name given to the main door of the mosque after its transformation into a church. The bronze plates of the two handles of the main door of the mosque are gilded and decorated with crossed hexagons with the inscriptions of the name of Allah, and other inscriptions in Kufic characters, are also visible on the frame of the main door . There are two amazing knockers on the door of one of the rooms of the monastery, with verses 36 and 37 of sura “Noor” for the right knocker, and on the left knocker, verses 46 to 48 of sura al -Hajr, in beautiful Andalusian script. The door knockers themselves, which miraculously reached us in good condition, are shaped like a tree with hollow inner leaves. It is clear that the content of the verses is related to the functions of mosques, the offering of prayers and the ways of entering them”.

از محراب‌های معماری اسلامی در مسجد اندلس

طرح گنبد اصلی بر فراز محراب به شکلی منحصربه‌فرد و متشکل از هشت پر

نوار افقی بر فراز محراب

جایگاه کتیبه‌های قرآنی در معماری مساجد اسپانیا

در مسجد جامع بزرگی که موحدین در سویل (اشبیلیه) بنا کردند


Koranic inscriptions in Spanish mosques