Introversion: A conceptual study about the introversion in Islamic City



It is conventional to say that Islamic built environment is introversive. In urban and architectural studies, this term is made equal to a formal organization of voids and solids in which voids are surrounded by an impermeable mass, and then some theoretical reasoning is attached to this formal system. Here we are dealing with the issue in an alternative way; Instead of finding interpretations for existing patterns in so-called Islamic City, we try to explore resources of Islamic knowledge to find conceptual materials about built environment embedded in it. In other words, this research is founded upon a hypothesis of existence of an underlying conceptual system of image of the city (and buildings themselves) in Islamic original texts, which does not have to match with the existing objectivity of built environments that are known as Islamic. To follow this assumption, there is a need for exploring concepts of “inside” and “outside” in Islamic resources; and this exploration, in turn, makes a need for comparative base that is provided here by a brief studying of the two concepts in none-Islamic architectural literatures, which are mainly suited to western cultures. As in this study a self-centered understanding of whole world is found to be dominant in western culture and so in architectural knowledge, it becomes necessary to study the role of “I” in Islamic interpretation of the world and quality of being of human in relation with its essentials. This begins the second part of the article, while this second and main part by tuning into Islamic Culture is dealt with concept of Introversion. In this part, five main factors are provided for establishing a conceptual debate about “inside” and “outside” in Islamic context: enclosure, rules of coming in, privative space, enduring of occupying space and gender division. These are explored in four main elements of built environment which are noticed in Holy Quran: Bayt, Masjid, Sabyl and Suq which are respectively equal to: House, Mosque, Rout and Bazaar. The five socio-psychological factors are characteristics of being in a space, which are not only seminal in mental cognition of concepts of “inside” and “outside”, but also have deep roots as well as clear evidences in original Islamic texts – those go back up to only 3rd century from the Prophet’s life. This study is comparative – between general architectural literature and Islamic main literature, and for every term the architectural definition is criticized by using Islamic criteria to find how this term can be redefined in Islamic context or what its Islamic attributes are. One example of major findings is about the term ‘privacy’ which is more strictly explored and is made – in contrast with ecological psychology- opposite to ‘territoriality’; Consequences of this matter are vital in making relationship of inside and outside of a house, more Islamic : neither self- oriented and anti- social nor unveiled. The findings are presented in conceptual models. Finally a basic topologic model of “inside” and “outside” in urban context to be Islamic, is made upon findings of this research.