The Impact of Islam on Iranian Architecture

Before discussing the main subject, it is necessary to have a proper definition of the concept of “Islamic art”.

What is Islamic art?

To get a good answer to this question, we must first consider the various options.


۱- Islamic Art means art that is derived from the teachings of Islam and in the direction of its religious goals. In fact, they can be searched in the Quran and the words of the religion Imams.

۲- Islamic Art means art that is not incompatible with the teachings of Islam. This means that religion has should and should not to do and may not have recommended the learning and use of certain arts. But his followers have prevented from the employment of some Arts. In this meaning, art becomes Islamic. An art that does not different from other arts but according to the interests of Islam has been removed parts of it and somehow adorned.

۳- Islamic Art means Muslims art. When we say that Islamic art does not mean a particular kind of art from other types of art, and we’re just talking about Muslims’ art throughout history. The advantage of this partitioning can be to prove that Muslims have not been separated from others, and Islam is not alien to art.

۴- Islamic Art means the art of Muslims but with the difference with the third case in this definition are not indifferent Muslims from other types of art. That is, Muslims have made fundamental changes in art according to their worldview and Islamic philosophy and Islamic art is not just an art of censorship and not a harmless art for the teachings of religion or the mere imitation of Muslims from the arts of others.

The complete judgment about these definitions requires more comprehensive investigation but here we can only identify our position for addressing the subject of the article. Because thought of the author of Islamic research rule out the first one and in other cases Islamic art does not have any originality and emphasizing it seems to be only a matter of religious fanaticism and not to be left behind by others.

These can be cited for reference to Iranian architecture in pre-Islamic times:


Old Elam architecture: The architecture of this period is mainly the architecture of the temples.

Ziguarat Choghazanbil is the most famous and most important monument of the Elamite architecture considered the oldest architectural monument of Iran.

Median architecture: The architecture of the Medes can be divided into two groups of rocky and ordinary. Rocky architecture uses natural materials, and houses and tombstones are examples of it. Of the typical Medes architecture, examples are the Noushjian Malayer Hills, Godin Hill, Babakhan and Hegmataneh Hills.

Achaemenid architecture: Shah’s palaces dominate the remaining monuments of this period, which refers to the Persepolis.

The major architecture of Iran after the Islamic era belongs to the Safavid era, and the mention of other appropriate cases is a historical and complete study. This article is not intended to be scientific and informational, and it should contain a personalized perspective on the impact of Islamic art on Iranian architecture. So we have to disregard the basic principles of writing a scientific article, such as documenting and referring to various sources, and so on, to the extent that we do not go away from the original purpose.


The Muslim Artist’s Viewpoint

Pre-Islamic architecture is a magnificent architecture. Now this greatness can be for a temple like Choghazanbil which is similar to the greatness of the pyramids of Egypt, or for a palace like Persepolis. Whatever is common in these two examples is to avoid ordinary people’s life. Now the origin of this disjunction may be the mythological look of Elamites and Getting more of a worship for the temple will give them more satisfaction, or if their source is quite against the mythological look and A terrestrial and human look to satisfy the superiority of the country, the king.

In Islamic architecture, there are no such monuments of this magnitude. What is the reason? Have Muslims been incapable of making huge and gigantic monuments? Definitely not. Muslim view and divine world view have led them to seek neither God in the heavens nor their human master. In the Islamic architecture, the mosques occupy temple like ChoghaZanbil, and house and water storage, bathroom and school, and… Occupied the Imperial palaces and Muslims believe that God does not need huge monuments to accept his prayers and the amount of them accept his prayers are not determined by the extent of their temple approach to the sky.

The first mosque of Islamic history, Ghoba mosque was built by the Muslims and created with His heart’s desire and no more than the cost of energy for it. A building like Chagazanbil, How can be made without slavery or forced laboring human beings? Or if also suchlike and for example, the entire constructive group have been got wage for every effort, it would be a matter of extravagance that has been criticized in Islamic culture.

It should be noted that these analyze have not been carried out in order to undermine the value of the historical and cultural heritage of Iran, and there is no doubt about the value of works such as Persepolis and Choghazenbil from an anthropology point of view and knowledge of the social and intellectual history of the past. The critique is conducted only in terms of the intellectual view of the construction of the work, which hopes to achieve a meaningful result by comparing it with the Muslim viewpoints.


 The limited and reasonable magnificent of Islamic mosques is mostly visible in bed chamber and the dome and minaret that are the reason for the spiritual and mental connection of prayer with the heavenly world. He is guided to the top but not because God is in heaven, And not in the form of a winged cow or an animal that has a human head, And other mythological symbols, but also with Islamic and Arabesque designs which has ground and natural basis, and naskh and sols (style of writing used in typography) inscriptions and Turquoise colors and the mirror decorations that, instead of emphasizing the greatness of human such as a lord or myth, was called him, self-humiliation and inherent inferiority against unique GOD. An Islamic artist like a pre-Islamic artist uses some sort of abstraction but his abstraction is meaningful instead of referring to the myth.

For example, the Arabesque and abstract designs of the plant, and the plant are a symbol of nature. But this design is not applicable to the actual and external form of the plant. It has been falsified and abstracted. It has become analyzed rotational and repetitive roles that represent a general overview of the order of the natural world. In the first place, the concept of unity in its plurality is touchable and observable. This concept draws humanity from the nature of the creation of the work to the supernatural universe. A world in which one can search for the main unity governing the plurality of the natural world.

This same universe is the meaning of the attention of the Islamic artist. Monotheism is the main criterion governing the Islamic architecture of Iran, which can be searched less in pre-Islamic architecture. In the Islamic architecture of Iran there is no news of the idols. What kind of person like a king and superhuman like myth.

Applied and humanity mode

The opposition of Islamic thought to slavery and its implications for the inherent dignity of the human beings caused the Islamic architecture more colorful. It becomes more functional and descends from the beauty of life or mythological and imperial.  Another point that is significant in Islamic architecture is the concept of calmness. Pre-Islamic buildings in Iran, rather than inviting the audience to inner peace, seem to have looked at him in horror. Fear of the greatness and power of the idols or fear of the king. For example:

 Persepolis complex consists of.

۱- Large staircase

۲- The great gate of Xerxes, known as the Gate of All Nations

۳- Apadana palace

۴- Three Gate Palace

۵- Dariush’s Private Palace

۶-official reception palace of king khashayar

۷- One hundred pillars Hall and king Treasury

۸- Ninety nine pillars Hall (central part of the treasury), which has pillars with heads of animals

۹-king treasury storages

And etc.

Naqsh-e Jahan of Isfahan complex consist of:


۱- Imam mosque


۲- sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque

۳-Ali Qupo or Dolatkhaneh (Government House) palace

۴- The Imperial Bazaar which is not the only market to trades is a collection of caravansaries, schools, baths and other places like Assarkhaneh(was referred to special mills, which were used to grind stuff such as stones, turmeric and pepper, and… in the ancient cities of Iran) and mosque.

»Roger Sivery» is a prominent Iranian scholar who has extensive studies in Safavid history, by relying on historical documents and evidence, the field describes the Naghsh-e jahan square: » Naghsh-e jahan square was the place where the king and the citizens met each other. Around the edge of the square, a stream of 3.5 meters wide and 2 meters deep flow. Across the stream, a row of plane trees shadows the passersby.

Naghsh-e jahan square represents the blessed bond between the state and the nation. A Muslim nation whose needs to the mosque, market, bathroom, school and Government House. The companionship of the Shah’s palace in this square with other popular needs is by no means comparable to the distraction of the kings in pre-Islamic monuments.

According to what is briefly and substantively referred to, a concise summary of the most important aspects of Iranian architecture, the effect of Islamic culture on Iranian architecture can be summarized. The popularity and applicability of this art, while being in harmony with the spiritual and divine point of view. The same unity in the plurality of simple and beautiful motifs of Islamic architecture refers to it.

… Taken from hozor dell.Com…

Seyed Sadra Hashemi

Hello. Dear friend, I am very glad that I heard Mishijan historical castle is being restored.

Please provide more detailed information than those people who lived there. Interview with elderly people and their information about the entire castle in the past, and the adventures of Mishijan and the surrounding villages of it and old and new pictures of the castle and village. Please also visit our village site.

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  • Management of Mishijan castle


 Thanks for your goodwill and suggestion

Be sure to publish an article about the adventure of the village and Mishijan historical castle at the first opportunity on the site.

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