As the outward and visible symbol of Islam, mosques can be found in all parts of the modern world. The mosque remains central to Islam, serving as the focal point for Muslim communities around the globe. This book, with contributions by sixteen eminent scholars, traces the history and development of the mosque since its origins in Medina and Mecca in the time of the Prophet Muhammad, explaining its traditional religious and teaching role in Muslim society as well as its architectural and decorative features. In the course of its spread from its origins in Arabia, Islam often took over and adapted existing places of worship and styles of building as it gained a foothold from Spain and sub-Saharan Africa to China and Indonesia. The development of the mosque and its architecture is presented region by region, taking into account local building material, climatic factors, and craft skills, as well as major historical events such as the rise of the Ottoman and Mughal Empires.The physical form of the mosque is analyzed and illustrated with plans, elevations, and photographs, and its modern role as a religious and social institution is reviewed in the light of political developments. Contemporary mosques worldwide are discussed in a separate chapter, encompassing both those built by leading Muslim architects such as Abdel Wahid el-Wakil and Hassan Fathy and those built by Western architects.Richly illustrated with material drawn from a wide range of sources, this book provides comprehensive coverage of the architecture of the mosque, and it serves as an invaluable guide to an understanding of the mosque's role in Muslim society and culture throughout the world. With texts by MohammedArkoun, Mohammad Al-Asad, Antonio Fernández-Puertas, Martin Frishman, Oleg Grabar, Perween Hasan, Mark Horton, Hasan-Uddin Khan, Dogan Kuban, Luo Xiaowei, Gülru Neçipoglu, Bernard O'Kane, Hugh O'Neill, Labelle Prussin, Ismail Serageldin, and Wheeler M. Thackston. 378 illustrations and photographs, 170 in color.