Religions of the World and Ecology home

Shakeel Hossain, an architect from India, is currently a research associate at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT and a senior fellow at the Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions. He is presently writing a book on the ritual art and architecture of Muharram in India. The other projects that he is working on are the international traveling exhibition, "The Ephemeral, the Transient, the Static: Ritual Architecture and Urbanity" (hosted at Triennale di Milano XIX International Exhibition, 1996, MIT in Spring 1997, and University of Pennsylvania in Fall 1997) and the International workshop titled "From the Traditional to the Virtual" to be hosted at MIT for the Year 2000 celebration. He is also working as an architect in Cambridge, mainly designing mosques and Islamic centers.


Abstract of paper given at Islam and Ecology conference:
Between Sinful Innovation and the Ethos of the Land: Sacred Traditions and Ritual Art of Indian Muslims

This paper presents the indigenous manifestations of rural and popular Islam in India as a platform for understanding the relationship between "Islam and Ecology." Drawing from extensive fieldwork documenting diverse sacred traditions and symbolisms of Indian Muslims, it intends to illustrate the ethos of the land in the making of their art and architecture and in their association with nature. The theoretical framework of the paper argues that only when religion embodies the ethos of the land in its regional manifestations, there then exists an ecological substructure. A mere reference to nature does not exemplify the weave of ecology.

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