In this documentary, Tom Holland the author of 'In the Shadow of the Sword' claims at the time point 57:58, the Dome of Rock is the "oldest Islamic building in existence". Is he correct?

  • Do we have any reason to doubt him (ie, what are we being skeptical of here)? – Jamiec Jul 8 '16 at 11:22
  • @Jamiec According to orthodox Islamic doctrine, the Grand Mosque in Mecca is supposed to be the oldest. I think their tradition traces its history to pre-Islamic and even pre-Judaic times. It was built by Abraham or something. Don't know the actual physical history. – Dan Bron Jul 8 '16 at 11:37
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    @DavePhD Well, you trumped me. I fold. Good game. – Dan Bron Jul 8 '16 at 11:50
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    Does anyone have a timecode for the claim? I only lasted on 60 seconds before giving up on it. – Oddthinking Jul 8 '16 at 12:07
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    The trouble here is defining what an Islamic building is. For example, from a historical perspective (which is what we can go on here), I would say that anything before 610 CE when Muhammad first started reciting the Qur'an could not be Islamic. Of course, the actual building--or a part of it--might be older, but then it would not be Islamic. From a religious perspective, a Muslim might disagree as there were those who followed Islam before Muhammad recited the Qur'an--as the right submission to Allah already existed and was practiced by the other prophets. Muhammad was sent to restore Islam. – called2voyage Jul 8 '16 at 14:15

The Dome of the rock is one of the oldest standing monuments of Islamic architecture.

The Dome of the Rock is the oldest standing monument of Islamic architecture, as shown in Elad 1995, Grabar 2005, Grabar 2006, and Grabar and Kedar 2009. Grabar 2006 and Elad 1995 also show that it was built on the site of the ruined Second Jewish Temple by orders of the Umayyad caliph ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwan (r. 685–705 CE). Grabar 1959 discusses the construction, which was completed in 691–692 CE, although Blair 1992 shows that some believe 692 to be the starting point of the construction. Source: Dome of the Rock.

However, the mosques of the Prophet at Medina built in 622 C. E., the Mosque of Kufa in Iraq, the Mosque of Basra in Iraq, the Mosque of Amru, Fustat, Egypt predate the Dome of the Rock.

The House and Mosque of the Prophet at Medina: The Islamic prototype of both religious and residential architecture, built in 622 C. E. (1 A.H.or After Hegire, the emigration of the Prophet to Medina), and enlarged several times in the first century of Islam, the most important of which is the enlargement of al-Walid, the Umayyad caliph, in 707. The Early Congregational Mosques of the Amsar: Misr: Name of early Islamic garrison towns, founded in the conquered regions. The most famous amsar (pl. of misr) were Busra and Kufa in Iraq, Fustat in Egypt, and Qayrawan in Tunisia. These settlements grew from informal encampments around a central mosque to capital cities within the first century Hegire (7th-8th century C. E.). Source: The Architecture of the Early Mosques

  • That's interesting, because it seems that those mosques would predate the Islamic renovation of the Masjid al-Haram as well. – called2voyage Jul 8 '16 at 15:03
  • @called2voyage-The documentary questions whether the earlier mosque constructions were really "Islamic" since they did not face the direction of Mecca (south) but faced the direction of the sun rise (east) at 41:01 of the documentary! – pericles316 Jul 8 '16 at 15:22

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