A Conceptual Framework for Sustainablility in Islamic Architecture: The Significance of the Concepts of Man and the Environment

Spahic Omer,


This article identifies and briefly examines two Islamic concepts which constitute the nucleus of the conceptual framework for sustainability in Islamic architecture. The two concepts are: 1) man as the vicegerent (khalifah) on earth, and 2) natural environment as both a field and means for man's vicegerency mission. Central to the article are the following themes: 1) the meaning and significance of Islamic architecture; 2) the position and role of man on earth; 3) peaceful and accountable (sus­tainable) coexistence with the environment; and 4) the implications of the Islamic concepts of man and the environment for sustainability in Islamic architecture. The article concludes by presenting some broad ideas as to the issue of pragmatism in practising Islamic architecture today.


Islamic architecture; sustainability; Islām; man as the vicegerent on earth; environment

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